Every two or three times a year I get to sing in this building.
Only a couple of weeks ago Emily O'Hara (of Vila Verde) and I walked along the Thames from Twickenham to Richmond and were stunned into silence at the sight of it on the hill over the river. It was built during WWI for victims of mustard-gas and has housed ex-service men and women ever since.
I wish I could show you the ballroom I sing in. It has a stage, a grand piano, and huge windows looking out at a magnificent terrace which itself looks down at the Thames. Pat Maynard is an octogenarian with heaps of energy, who organises the entertainment on Tuesday nights and who makes a perfect cup of tea and dainty sandwiches and battenburg cake for the performers.
Our changing room: As you can see, I'm putting the Happie Loves It dress to immediate use. With me is Margaret Lion who is from New Zealand and who works harder than anyone I know. She trundles her piano and suitcase of concert dresses from gig to gig, taking buses, trains, underground and taxis all over the country. She has been doing this for a couple of decades.
She didn't have to trundle her piano today, anyway.
We always manage to meet on the walk to venues because we both like to be early and we both like to walk. Here is Margaret as she is almost every day of the week.