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Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

Posted by: Anita Procter on 26-03-2020

At Christmas, I listen to Magic radio - nothing but Christmas songs, at other times it has to be Absolute Classic Rock.  However, Magic have launched a new radio station: Magic at the Musicals.  Oh, the joy at being able to listen to something from Chicago, then a burst of Annie, finishing with a song entitled "Michael in the bathroom at a party."  The latter song is about being shy, not Social Distancing, but I still applaud his foresight.  My favourite songs, however, come from the musicals I knew when I was younger (and yes, we did have films when I was younger, and yes, they were in colour.  Mostly.)  The WIzard of Oz, High Society and, of course, The Sound of Music.  Ah, Julie Andrews!  Now known for voicing the queen in Shrek 72 (maybe 2; I've done no research), Julie Andrews' voice is instantly recognisable.  Now for those who have yet to experience the delights of The Sound of Music, a summary:

She's a nun, who is thrown out of the nunnery for climbing trees, skipping and wearing curlers (ask your grandparents - via Houseparty, obviously).  Now I'm not sure why the nuns have the power to exclude one of their own without referring it to a higher power (no pun intended), but the Mother Superior advises her that if she sees a mountain, she should climb it (now, this is set in Austria  - lots of mountains; I'm not sure how she got anything done) and sends her to live with a Captain and his million children.  Their mother is dead (probably from exhaustion  - there are a huge number of children) and the Captain needs someone to look after them.  Again, Social Distancing in action - he never really goes near them.

Anyway, stuff happens and they have to run away from the Nazis.  Sorry, forgot to mention this is a war-time musical, based on real life events.  Although I'm not sure the nuns sang much in real life; you never know, perhaps it was a singing order.  Julie and the crowd of children cut up curtains and go on picnics.  And sing.  Lots of singing.  Even the smallest child, who sings with a lisp.  They get lots of fresh air - just once a day and away from other people, but then go to a gathering.  This is not Social Distancing and should not be emulated at this present time.  They get into trouble at the social gathering and have to leave.  Someone sees them and reports them for not Social Distancing (or some other infraction) and they have to run again.  More stuff happens and then the film ends.

My point, as is probably obvious from the above, is that singing is good for you.  I can raise my spirits by caterwauling "Memory" and get myself moving by bellowing out "You Can't Stop the Beat."  It can help when you're feeling a bit down and things aren't going how you want them to.  The best song in The Sound of Music, apart from "The Lonely Goatherd," is "My Favourite Things."  Julie Andrews is in a rather fetching night-gown that goes from her neck to her toes, sitting in a double bed, when there is a thunder storm.  One by one, the millions of children find their way to her room and she reassures them by singing.  This is a brilliant parenting hack and works for me:  whenever I sing, my children say they feel better and go away.  These children stay and listen to Julie Andrews telling them about her favourite things (see title of the song).  What are her favourite things, I hear you ask - good question:

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens".  A good start.  A nice bit of alliteration and then a reference to baby animals.

"Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens".  Ok.  It was 1930s Austria, so there were no eletric kettles, but a favourite thing?  Maybe she likes a cup of tea.  And Austria can be cold, so ok to the mittens; no one likes cold hands.

"Brown paper packages tied up with strings."  Really?  I suppose it is the mystery of what's inside.  However, they used to wrap up raw meat like that.

"Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels."  Specifically cream coloured? Niche.  I will allow the pudding.

"Door bells, and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles."  No.  If I'm in the bath and the door bell goes, it's never anything exciting.  Sleigh bells, ok,that's Christmas.  And NOONE eats their schnitzel with noodles, not even in Austria in the 1930s.

There is more, lots more, stuff about blue satin sashes, geese flying at night, snow - after you've finished on Google Classroom, taken your daily exercise and practised your social skills at a distance, watch it.  It's a long film, but the songs are fabulous and Christopher Plummer is very funny, unintentionally - but you get the gist.  In order to reassure the plethera of children, Julie Andrews points out the little things that make her happy.

You know where this is going - why don't you do the same?  It doesn't have to massive stuff and it doesn't have to rhyme.  Being resilient means acknowledging the positive and finding things to make you smile, even just a little bit.

 

Stay safe and savour the little things.

 

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