I was actually looking for an old passport - one of my blue British passports that are apparently going to reappear and make us all proud - when I turned up this brown newspaper cutting in the back of the drawer where the table mats are kept. It's the review from the Dunoon Observer of the very first concert of the choir we started when we moved here - we needed a choir to sing in, and there wasn't anything suitable!
In those days we had men: three hearty basses from the same Church of Scotland; a lovely but dyslexic tenor and one who was a good reader who was at the time the organist of Holy Trinity. (He was also an accountant, though I don't remember what his musical counting was like). I see from the review that 500 people turned out to hear us, presumably out of curiosity. The language of the piece is incredibly pompous (as well as lacking in the grammar department), but allows that the singing was "satisfactory".
We called the choir The Hesperians, the suggestion of the husband of a second soprano, and in the years to come we developed traditions that have since become more common - a concert of Words and Music for Christmas (with our own special punch recipe and shortbread at the interval) became a much-anticipated regular event on the third Sunday in Advent. Our children grew up with Tuesday night babysitters and evenings sitting in the front row of concerts, swinging their legs. Latterly our #2 son sang treble with the choir and took the solo Pie Jesu in the Fauré Requiem.
It strikes me that I've not put any of this in the context of a time scale. That first concert was in April 1975, just a year after we'd arrived with our five-week old first child. The choir we now run - 8+1 - began with the encouragement of some of the women who had sung in the last era of the Hesperians before it folded for lack of suitable men. We now sing with female tenors and the one man (Mr PB, who also directs us) of our name. And the alto on my left today is the same person who sang on my left in 1975.
And that is a Good Thing.