I cycle into town through this local Oxford park. It is far from the tourist trail, and is a nice place for locals – popular with dog walkers and people taking a short cut into town.
I was full of the joys of a slightly dull, misty September morning and, as I was cycling slowly through the park, an old man with dog said out loud:
At first, I thought he was talking to his dog, but then realised his dog wasn’t saying anything, he was talking to me.
I was singing to myself and obviously had strayed into being audible. I hadn’t realised it, which is just slightly disconcerting; I hope it’s not the first signs of madness. He must have very good hearing.
I am trying to learn a few songs of Sri Chinmoy at the moment, and they seem to pop into my head whilst cycling into town.
As irritating habits go, singing aloud is not the worst, but I did admit the old man had a point – I probably would have found it a bit annoying if he was singing to himself.
But, I couldn’t help observe that it’s not very British to actually articulate minor irritations like this. We usually put with worse than someone muttering a half-hearted bit of singing in a public park.
Poor chap looked like he could do with a bit of cheering up. He seemed to be in a mood to see the glass as not just half empty – but rather dubious of the liquid left in the glass. It reminded me of an article I wrote many years ago – How to avoid becoming a grumpy old man.
Singing can be a very good way to lift the spirits. Just imagine the joy of being in a proper choir like this – Llanelli Male Voice Choir – Land of my Fathers (youtube) or Trelawnyd Male Voice choir at (Vimeo).
Afterwards I popped into Oxford Botanic Garden and, staying very quiet, I took a few photos. It was a little less misty.
Magdalen College Tower in the background.