WELL, no, it’s not good enough, actually. I creak and croak through our (now regular) singing sessions in the village hall and though everybody else sounds pitch-perfect I still cringe as I hear myself trying – usually in vain – to hit those high notes. But the words from  “SING,” written by Joe Raposo for the children’s television programme Sesame Street and recorded by The Carpenters, says it all, really – “Sing, sing a song, sing out loud, sing out strong . . . Sing of good things, not bad, Sing of happy not sad . . . Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear, Just sing, sing a song.”

And so we do – nearly 30 of us now, under the direction of Diana, a retired music teacher – every other Monday. I look round at the lovely, friendly, increasingly familiar faces in our amateur choir (though Diana doesn’t want us to call it that – yet) and think how incredibly lucky we are to have ended up in this particular village of all the ones we looked at in our search for a home in the Dales. Earlier in the day I’d been helping with the WI lunch – soup and sweet for £4 a head, all welcome – all proceeds to various community good causes: Christmas lunch for pensioners, the school, refurbishing the village hall. It’s the sort of thing we’re led to believe just doesn’t happen any more in violent, drink-sodden, drug-addicted, MP fiddling country. But it does; it happens in Askrigg, and it’s good to be part of it all. So totally different from anything else I’ve experienced in the various places I’ve called home.  At this rate I might just become a country mouse . . .


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