Apollo Bay Community Choir

Raelene Hyatt 47/365


I have just been on the ABC radio and I had to keep admitting that my phoning friends blog is going to take some time. It’s all so emotional, you see, 365 days is nothing when it comes to digging up your past (with the receiver of a phone as a spade) and spreading it out across the internet for all to see. And the rush…I get excited that I will be ringing someone on, say, Friday, there’s the build up and then there’s the abject joy and hilarity in speaking to them down the line. Then comes the write up and that’s always packed with a suitcase full of emotion and then there’s the photo and the finished page, which I sometimes don’t want to move on from too quickly.

Damian 46/365, has been up there like a memorial statue to my youth for the last three weeks! It had taken me  three weeks in the beginning, just to digest the call.

Friends, we are losing a lot of sensory activity as the landline disappears into the landfill.

Here is the article. http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2015/04/14/4216203.htm

In the title, Larissa Romensky from the ABC has written that I had endeavoured to ring all my friends in a year but you and I both know I have failed at that! I was saying as much to my friend Raelene after I’d put the phone down to Larissa and she had rung the door bell and walked in with a moist chocolate cake- Raelene, not Larissa!

‘I’m trying to contact my friends but it’s hard, very few seem to be able to get to a landline, I’d like to get to page 50 by May.’ Raelene looked at me with her big brown eyes and told me reassuringly that I’d get there.

Then I said ‘You’re my friend aren’t you?’ she looked at me quizzically. ‘I mean you are my friend on Facebook’ and then I remembered all the pictures I’d seen of her daughters dressed up as fairies, dancing in the local forest. ‘You’re next!’ I said, relieved that as I see her twice a week, I won’t have to run the gamut of my emotions with this one and I picked up my pencil.

‘You’re a great friend,’ I said, ‘you bring cake and your daughter draw pictures of me!’ What more could I want in a friendship! I quickly took a snap of her and she turned away because she wasn’t wearing make-up. ‘That’s a good one!’ I say, turning it round, and she agrees to let me use it.

She’s number 47, a prime number for a prime friend, she’s a singer, we are sopranos in the choir together- giggling at the high notes, she lives over the road, she’s Anglo-Indian, her husband is part indiginous Australian, she makes balloon animals and sells popcorn, she face-paints and she bakes cakes. She’s Raelene and look, thank goodness for her,  there is no tear in my eye today.

Paige fairy Paige pic

Kate Wagstaff 28/365

In a world where bad news is no longer currency, but wallpaper, it pays to have someone like Kate Wagstaff in your life. As dispositions go, I would say that she is the most sanguine person I know.
Kate lives almost round the corner, give or take a few junctions, and we phone each other up often enough for her to have my name come up in lights on her landline (but it could well say ‘Crazy Pom’).
We lament that the phones have stopped ringing. Apart from close family calling, she never needs to pick up the phone and taps out Fb messages/texts to close friends because that is the only way they communicate now. She misses the hidden treats that a phone conversation brings, a mention about the weather, the tone of a voice.
And speaking of voice tone, Kate was born with an extraordinary singing voice that she never shows off about, and should. In choir we hardly practice her solos and know that the sound she will make on the night will knock the socks off the front row.
I begin relating a story to her about what happened last week when I was nearly squashed by an enormous falling tree on the Great Ocean Road. I had to accelerate under it on the wrong side of the road and it fell behind me. Long story but it gave me such a fright that I rang my daughter’s school an hour away and cancelled their evening arrangements, asking them to make sure my daughters got on the bus. One got a message, one didn’t so I had to drive up in the dark looking at tree tops against the moonlight all the way. At the end Kate reminds me that I told her about it last week in person but says it was quite nice to hear it again. I suddenly feel my age, 46.
Trees falling is an everyday hazard here. Putting small children on a bus and waving to it as it sets off for the 23 km ride to primary school felt like an extreme hazard when we moved to the area. That’s why we chose the school where Kate’s mum was the secretary and her brother the bus driver. We were all spoilt. Having come from London I would have a small panic about my five year old not getting on the right bus home. I didn’t know for almost six months that buses didn’t drive up to the stop, load up with kids and drive away. They were parked outside the school for about twenty minutes and registers taken, but Kate’s mum still went out to check that my lithe little child had sat down in the right place.
Kate then says that she wonders how bad it must be for families in war torn countries to put their children on a boat to Australia. We talk about the nine Tamil asylum seekers that Australian Customs officers trained in how to skipper an orange lifeboat back to India.
Kate says it would be like them giving us instructions on how to sail a ship across the Indian Ocean and I have to admit that sometimes we make a big deal about our pain in reading music.

choir prac

choir cheque
Members of the choir accept our sponsorship cheque from the Bendigo Bank. Singing makes you happy! Kate is the angelic looking one, far right and far left; balanced.