Virginia Barton

20 June 2015: The Hills are Alive


20 June 2015


BH sings early in the morning, just as soon as he gets out of bed. Opera favourites such as “Clear the way for the Calf of Gold”, or ribald ditties remembered from his army days. The lyrics of these never-to-be-forgotten songs he shares with our son whom, I suspect, has his own share of that particularly masculine genre, garnered at school.

I affect not to hear or understand them, and in fact have never enjoyed blue jokes of any kind. (Are they still called “blue”?) I never heard my father swear, and my mother invented her own words when exasperated — “bingkit” being her favourite. I, too, say it in moments of stress. It’s a curiously satisfying word, guilt-free and yet expressive. Also mysterious and rather cool.


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From arias to questionable army verses to show tunes. In his sunset years BH has discovered the American Musical and I can’t keep up with him. We are stacking up a fine collection of DVD’s – not without spats along the way:

“No, Porgy and Bess is an opera, not a musical.”

“In that case so is West Side Story.”  Point taken.

Kiss me Kate, Guys and Dolls, Calamity Jane, South Pacific, Camelot, Evita, The Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady. But not Carousel, High Society (he doesn’t care for Grace Kelly) or, sadly from my point of view, Oh What a Lovely War. These never pall for BH no matter how many times they are played.


P and P


When all else fails there’s always P and P.

“Anything worth seeing tonight?” say I brightly, looking forward to a decent thriller. The Perfect Spy perhaps.

”No, it’s a P and P night.”

“Which version?” Need I ask, he reckons there is only one worth watching; although sometimes Keira Knightly gets a look-in if time is short.

“The best.”

This means Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle in the BBC TV production of Pride and Prejudice, made in 1995.

Settling down in his recliner, looking just like Frasier’s Dad only larger and minus dog, BH smiles contentedly. He tells me he only watches it to be absolutely certain there’s a happy ending.






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