Tuesday, November 27, 2007


So where has she been?

That Sally Lomax woman.

Two weeks without posting.

It's unheard of..

Oh... She's probably run out of bank accounts to talk about.

Got bored with blogging....

Got a new blog somewhere?

Been offered a big writing contract?

An acting job?


Life is not nearly as exciting as that.

However, I did get home from work a week last Saturday, and find a parcel.....

From Beccy!!

Some of her lovely handmade jewellery. It was for winning a competetition of hers, and it's beautiful.

Thank you Beccy!!

p.s. I'll tell you what I've been doing in the next installment...... Sorry not to have been on any of your blogs recently either.....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I need to transfer some money from one account to another.

Easy job.

I do it by electronic transfer using the phone. It is the same bank, different accounts, so it goes in immediately.

Cash transaction really. Simple. Bank Account A to Bank Account B.

Then I realise that actually it is not a good day to do it, and so ring the bank again.

"Can I transfer some money from Bank Account B to Bank Account A please?"

"No, sorry. Bank account B is the wrong type of account. To do electronic transfers you need to have the accounts linked."

"But it's the same bank. I have simply moved the money from one pot to another, and now I want to move it back again."

I'm sorry but to transfer money into Bank Account A which is a particular type of account ... (and a different particular type of account to bank account B)... you will have to link the accounts first, and then transfer the money."

"How long will that take?"

"About four days."

"Can I do it another way?"

"You can do it in person at the branch. Move the cash.

Nearest branch is 12 miles away and we are now out of opening hours anyway.

"So why can't you do it now?"

"Because the system doesn't let me."

"But it was less than half an hour ago that I moved the money, and now I realise that there is a cheque going through on the account from where I have moved the money and if I don't move it back there won't be sufficient funds to pay that cheque, and then you will bounce it."


"And then you will charge me."

"Yes it will probably incur a charge if there aren't sufficient funds in the account when the cheque is presented."

Do they teach these people to speak bankese I wonder when they join the bank?

"So what can I do?"

"Well, you could phone us when you get charged, and we will probably remove the charge, as you have phoned us to alert us to the problem."

"But you can't stop that happening now by simply transferring he money back into the account?"


"But I transfer money from bank account to bank account all the time and I never had this problem before."

"Yes but......" ............Bank account B needs to be linked to bank account A to do this type of transfer. You have said that already I think....

Now of course, had I known that I would need a degree in banking to run very meagre funds in different accounts I would perhaps have taken one....

On the other hand, life is quite short.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Singers Anonymous.

It all started in primary school.

It was a typical audition. Dear "Miss" Lavender, our teacher, played the piano. It was in the days when, with no keyboards available, her back was necessarily to the class.

I did my song.

No-one told me to stand up, so I didn't. Being a law abiding student.

When the person who went after me was singing, the teacher turned round half way through and asked her to "STAND UP YOU SILLY GIRL. HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO SING SITTING DOWN?"

I wanted to put my hand up and tell her that I too had been sitting down.

But I didn't.

I sat quietly, like a mouse, and accepted my fate when I was told that my voice wouldn't make the choir.

I knew it to be the case of course anyway. My father, who has a lovely singing voice had told me that I wasn't a singer. My brothers 8 and 12 years older than me, constantly reminded me that I couldn't sing.

I never understood it though.

You see, my speaking voice has been my trademark. Throughout my life I have been praised for it, have acted with it, passed exams that needed "speaky type" things for it, and have been paid many mars bars worth of cash on occasion to use it for voice overs.

I used to say to my Dad. "I don't understand why I can't sing, when the same instrument provides my speaking voice."

"We can't all do everything." He would say. "You have a beautiful speaking voice"

I have sung of course over the years. In my way. I sing loudly at the children's Harvest Festival Services and Carol Services to the annoyance of my children. I sang children's songs when acting with my Theatre in Education Company, and I sang dozens of nursery rhymes to the children when they were little.

But Karaoke?

Well. What a mistake that was. Every time I got up to sing a song that I THOUGHT I knew, to a backing track that I definitely didn't know, I failed dismally, and of course reinforced my opinion and everyone else's that singing was just not my thing......

So then..........

I recently started going along to some acting workshops. As my last dramatic exit off the stage in March had made me vow never to return again to an Am Dram Society, I took a brave step. I dusted off my Equity Card and got in touch with some kind people at the theatre in Cheltenham who run courses for professional actors. I sent in my CV, half doubtful as to whether or not I would have had enough experience to be accepted. But they did. Accept me that is.

And it has all been going very well. I have really enjoyed myself over the last few weeks.


Next on the list was the singing workshop. "How to pass a singing audition".

I quaked with fear. I had to prepare a song.

This was "Singers Anonymous" BIG TIME.

I had to do it. I had to overcome my fear.

I chose one.

"Maybe this Time", from Cabaret. Brave choice considering it was made famous by dear Liza Minnelli. But, in my wisdom I decided that I would and could do it. I grabbed my singing teacher for ten minutes in the break at my Stage School on Saturday. "You can sing. " she said. You just need to learn how to support your voice. She got me to belt it out like no tomorrow. I wasn't sure that I could do it......

Then in the afternoon, I grabbed another singing teacher, who said that
I could sing too, and that ideally that for the long term I should work on it in a lower key..... And that I should sing more....

Singing teacher number one very kindly offered me a lesson prior to the workshop. I set off, backing track in hand, determined to crack this singing thing..........

And in true Sally style, Hubby had the new car so I was driving ED's mini...And.... um... the clutch started slipping.

I rang Hubby. My singing teacher happens live in place where Hubby works. "You'll be fine he said. Carry on, and we can swap cars, and you can go home in the new one...."

I struggled on for a few more miles and then......... made the decision to return home, before I couldn't. Bar having to drop it back down a hill, so that I could get it going again, I managed to get it as far as our house, where the clutch went completely, just in front of our door......

It was fate.

But I didn't get my singing lesson.

Hubby got home with the other car, in time for me to get out to my workshop.....

The first two hours were brilliant. We had an amazingly "tolerant of 'non proper singing actors' " MD running the evening, and he got us to sing notes that we didn't even know existed..... He said that he very much likes actors singing, because they put across songs well, and people can understand what is being sung. He said that on the other hand, when opera singers sing, you need sub titles, even when they sing in English...

Then it was solo time.

My heart was in my mouth.

We had almost got through the group. It was 9.20, and the workshop was due to finish at 9.30. Maybe there wouldn't be time for my song after all... In fact, I could walk out with my head held very high, and everyone would have known that I COULD sing. I had just sadly, run out of time....

"Sally?" said the the MD.

I stood up. I was shaking. I dropped my music. I dropped my backing track. Not that I needed it of course, as we had pianist. I picked up the music again. I walked over to the keyboard.

"I need to have the melody line" I said. "Otherwise I have no hope."

"Shhh, said the MD. Don't tell them that" (Them being 'the others'. "Tell me. I'm your friend."

I whispered, in a stage whisper. "I need the melody line..."

I announced to the audience before I started that like many others in the room that night I too was a recovering non singer....

And then I sang.

Then he made some suggestions, and he dropped it down three keys for me.

And I sang again.

He told me to "belt" the last bit.

So I did.

I sang the whole song for a third time.

In tune.


And VERY loudly. Incredibly loudly. I shocked myself.

I got a big clap.........

They said it was brilliant.

It was of course a room full of actors, so we are habitually overly nice to each other......

But I did do it...........

And then then I shook for the next three hours.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dressing up............

A few year's back, one of the local Churches decided that to counteract Halloween they would provide a firework display and evening of fun for the village.

A great idea indeed. All the villagers are invited each year. Entry to the event is free and then there are pay as you go fairground type activities for the kids. It is a good night, the fireworks are excellent and everyone has a good time.

Well......... nearly everyone.............

One of the conditions of the event though is that you are not allowed to dress up in anything remotely Halloween oriented, because that is against the ethos....

Nine year old Gymnast fully understands of course. Her best friend's Dad is one of the organisers, and she wouldn't want to offend best friend who freely gives us all Divinity lessons on every visit to our house. It's handy for me, because despite having attended very heavily Church oriented schools, I clearly missed out on large parts of my divine education, especially the bits that said that no works of literature involving any witch or wizard should enter the house. And in particular any works of literature that involve a boy with the initials H and P.......

Seven year old Tinkerbell Mushroom is less convinced. Why shouldn't she wear her witch's hat and highly garish orange wig? It was actually quite a long time ago that we used to burn witches at the stake after all............ and she's not exactly planning on following Satan's gang, raising the dead or slaying vampires. She is just simply dressing up........

Hubby meanwhile was organising a drinks night and meeting for the parents of the Air Cadets.*
He rang one of the parents. The Air Cadets had been invited to a Halloween party at another Squadron, leaving the venue free for the parents' meeting. Parent on the phone was seriously not impressed. Their son would NOT be attending the party, and because the meeting was on that particular night - being the most convenient for all concerned, they would NOT be attending the meeting either, because clearly a large amount of devil worshipping was about to go on, given the date of the meeting and the location of the cadets.


Halloween over, Christmas came up in the conversation.

"Best Friend doesn't believe in Father Christmas" said Gymnast. "Oh?" I mused idly. So who does she thinks gives her Christmas presents then?" I said.

"God." said Gymnast.

I looked at her incredulously......................

Now don't get me wrong. I am certainly not an aetheist, and I do believe that God gives.......... in more mysterious ways....... But where in the Bible does it say that he dons a red cloak and wraps his presents in fancy paper?

A friend of one of my brothers as a little boy wasn't even allowed that much. His parents stopped whoever it was that left the presents at Christmas from even entering the house.........

The little boy had no presents at all. Now excuse me, but where again was the Sunday School lesson that said that you had to be mean to your children? I think I missed that one too........

And where does it say that we cannot dress up, have some make believe and do some acting? Is "make believe" not the way to explore life in an innocent and harmless way?

Besides, depriving kids of certain things "for their own good" has never shown to have great results as far as I am aware. My mother didn't allow us biscuits in the house when we were growing up. I now love biscuits.... And have a serious problem in leaving a packet half full. In fact, I think I need to go to biscuits anonymous.

Then there was a boy from a strictly vegan family who was in ED's in primary school a few years back..... And he has, it has to be said been known to be spotted in town more recently with a milk chocolate bar in one hand and a burger in the other...........

For any Christians reading this. Please don't get me wrong............... I am not anti Christian in any way. But I am equally not sure that we shouldn't allow our children to have fun - as children.....

In the meantime I'm off to negotiate with Father Christmas, as he might need to do more of the present giving than us this year. Things being a bit tight. I'll let you know what he says......

*Being that we only have the five children, we are very good at being available for every vacant secretary ship and chairmanship that is ever needed. A few year's back I seemed to be in charge of everything imaginable. It was the MUG sticker on my forehead that did it..... But gradually I have learnt to pull back and no longer put my name forward first. It took great skill and learning and bravery on my part and a bit of therapy, but finally I got there. "Mugs Anonymous" won their battle with me............. Not because I'm mean, or lazy..... But......... I do get tired. And I am quite busy in normal life! Hubby however, who was a bit slower than me in coming forward in the first place has recently managed to land himself both Secretary and Chairman of the Air Cadets as well as Treasurer of his chess club....

p.s. Have just discovered that Chris B, one of my very first blogging friends, has awarded me a "You make me smile award!"

Thank you Chris!! I'm honoured......

And I pass the honour onto Enidd and Alice Band......