Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Dracula in Whitby

Beautiful Whitby Abbey

Sorry to my readers, but the internet service in ‘sopranoland’ has been down for the last wee while! Apart from that, it is so lovely to be here and not dashing around at the local festival, or being like ships that pass in the night, on my way to masterclass or teach elsewhere in the UK. J and I can actually sit down and catch up over copious cups of strong Yorkshire tea.
We had a great day in Whitby being undercover tourists. We even spent a glorious 90 minutes on an open topped tour bus being told about the many and various attractions of Whitby, the religious history of the Abbey, and the not to reverent facts about Bram Stoker’s stay here and his setting of the first 3 chapters of his most famous tome – Dracula.......................

Now I can, at this point, make some small and rather tenuous references to singing, which is quite a feat of circuitous thought! As a class teacher in the 1980’s I used much fun children’s music by composers such as the late Michael Hurd who wrote ‘The Daniel Jazz’ and ‘Swinging Samson’, ‘Jonah Man Jazz’ and ‘Hip Hip Horatio’. Well, there is another of those admirable and most accessibly clever children’s ‘cantatas’ which is entitled ‘Dracula’, and was written by another of the great children’s composers of the second half of the 20th Century, Carey Blyton, who was the nephew of Enid Blyton, so came from a fantastic heritage in terms of entertaining children on wet afternoons, obviously with lashings of ginger beer at hand on his piano! The piece is very funny, with witty lyrics and the main melody has a circus music swing using the words ;

‘I’m a very friendly vampire
On your neck I’ll leave my mark,
But I never seem to say things right
‘Cos my bite is worse than my bark.’ (this is a memory of 25 years ago, so it may not be exact!)

So there you go – it is possible to relate anything to almost anything else if you think laterally and have a brain stuffed like an overripe baked potato full of a mixture of musical fillings.

Back on the Bus.

We saw views of the bay, the magnificent cliffsides, and the fantastically endless sandy shoreline, which shimmered with the retreating tide. A small copy of the tall ship Endeavour, Captain Cook’s ship, was entering the harbour, full of tourists relishing the sea breeze and the blinding sunshine, and we slowly wound our way around the narrow curling maze of lanes with wonderful and descriptive names such as Khyber Pass, The Ropery, Spitalfield and Haggs Lane .................

We ate fresh, and almost wriggling haddock and scampi in Trenchers, simply one of the finest Fish and Chip establishments in North Yorkshire, then wended our weary way home after a short stop off at the Co op for some comestibles to keep us through the coming, and possibly gruelling week of holiday, rest and pastoral pleasures.

It’s a tough life, but someone has to do it.

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