Saturday night stories

To put these into context, I should explain that I’ve just spent the weekend in a sleepy Derbyshire town, doing ‘visioning’ stuff with the other leaders of OneSound, staying in a youth hostel type place & getting lots of work done.

1. The benefits of pianos in restaurants…
Dinner was at a rather random Italian restaurant situated underneath/in (we weren’t sure) a daycare centre for the elderly. (It was a small, small town.) When our food ended up taking an hour and a half to arrive, we did what any sensible gathering of musos would do – played around on the piano conveniently located next to our table.
Fortunately, the place was deserted apart from us (20 young-ish people) and 10 silver-haired diners. The music started off low-key – a bit of classic jazz to pass the time – but soon turned to musicals. A couple of us couldn’t resist a rendition of ‘Suddenly Seymour’, and pretty soon all had joined in.
Within minutes, a silver-haired lady came over with a request:
Could we possibly do ‘Shine Jesus Shine’?
Firstly, how did she know we were Christians?? We’d sung nothing religious! (Well, apart from something off the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, but that doesn’t count.) Was it tatooed on our foreheads? Was there a holy glow about us? Or was it simply that we’d not left, despite the long wait for our food?
Turns out she didn’t go to church, but had been to a wedding recently where it had been sung and she’d really liked it. Of course, we obliged with that and a few others. (It’s kind of musical evangelism.) They danced, applauded and we eventually got to eat. Happy times.
2. The problem with visiting country pubs…
Sometimes strangers just aren’t welcome. After our eventful meal, a group of us went along to a local pub for a drink (or three). It was already the third time we’d been in since Friday and it had seemed quite normal. The others times, we’d been in a side room, but this time we went straight into the main bar.
It didn’t look odd, until a friend mentioned it was all men (at that point we had 5 girls and 2 boys). We giggled, took seats and our men went to the bar. Suddenly, a hush descended upon the room. Looking up, I realised every single man was staring at us. (It probably didn’t help that my extrovert friend Morv had chosen that moment to sit on my lap.)
It was difficult to establish whether it was simply the shock of 5 women arriving, or the fact that we clearly weren’t from ’round these parts’, but it was a distinctly chilly reception. We retreated into the side room and stayed away for the rest of the evening. There we discovered a couple playing scrabble in the company of a toy badger…I’m not sure what else there is to say about that.
All this, my friends, is why it’s good to leave the Big Smoke from time to time!

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