I was invited to a fund-raising evening in the tiny village of Orston last Saturday. It's only two miles from where I live, but I clambered into the mini bus along with a handful of lovely neighbours. The evening was to raise money for research into the treatment and prevention of ALD. (http://www.oliversarmy.org/)
Martha and the Vandellas flew over from Detroit especially to perform on a temporary stage in the back garden of the parents who've lost a son to ALD. The couple picked up the trio from the airport. Can you imagine?
"See you later. Just popping out to pick up Martha and the Vandellas!"
They even stayed overnight at the house where the event was taking place.
What an amazing night. We ate pie and peas whilst sitting 8ft away from Martha and her sisters singing the original Jimmy Mack, Dancing in the Street and Heatwave. She was witty, modestly self-deprecating, as fit as a fiddle and still has an amazing voice at 70! She had us dancing on the lawn and singing along. She sang a tribute song of Michael Jackson's and I only wish I had as much energy!
As well as being an incredible night full of soulful melodies, as a writer, I had my eyes peeled for new characters, overheard conversations and even the latest bit of juicy gossip. I found it in spades!! I had to draw the line at taking my ever present notebook out of my handbag, but I gathered information which I scribbled in my notebook the next day.
I saw an eminent doctor having a crafty cigarette, a famous singer from the 60's squeezed into some eye-wateringly tight jeans to accompany his tinted hair, a tipsy judge and some blatant flirting whilst spouses back's were turned. All in all, some fabulous characters to work into a chapter of my next novel, Sugar and Spite.
The evening itself had a mauve haze to it as dusk fell. The heady fragrance from the flowers and ladies' perfumes added a spice to the colourful characters and laughter-filled huddles. I made new friends as well as caught up with old ones. The weather was as mild as a Mediterranean memory as we topped up our glasses and sang along to Mowtown and Soul legends.
A writer's dream!