What?: I’ve avoided this for ages on the assumption that it would be happy-clappy hell. And yes, it’s very happy, and clappy, but it’s certainly not hell – or at least it wasn’t on the fairly miserable morning we finally summoned the energy to make it down to Clerkenwell for 10am. I was in a pretty crappy mood and thought maybe a good old-fashioned singalong would lift me out of it, and if it didn’t then I was feeling too wretched to care anyway. We’d moved house a few days earlier and Babu was as unsettled as me and insisting on toting the dreaded dum-dum everywhere we went, which she hadn’t done since she was about 18 months old. We needed something drastic to snap us out of it. We needed organised fun.
It was already pretty chaotic when we arrived at the hall, with toddlers snatching ukuleles from one and other, and adults getting territorial about seating. For the first 15 minutes my friend and I sat chatting, willing the singing to start as our kids wreaked havoc – hers snatching ukuleles and mine generally whinging at the injustices of life. Then Mrs H, whose name is actually Harriette Ashcroft and not Mrs H at all, bounded in, all enthusiasm and eccentricity. Given that her website states that she places a “strong emphasis on audience participation”, I was a bit nervous she’d have all the mums up on stage doing solos, but the worst that happened was she asked a few of us (not me) to come up with new words for the numbers 1-10, and a couple of people were asked to hold banners.
It wasn’t your average rhyme-time twinkle-twinkle fest and we didn’t know any of the words, but it really didn’t matter. There was no singling-out of anyone not singing, and there was plenty of repetition to help newcomers big and small pick everything up. There were also the banners, which probably weren’t massively helpful to the majority of the under-5s audience but they did help to engage the adults – and, in turn, the toddlers – resulting in a much more interactive session. Overall it was a great class, albeit perhaps not one that I’d naturally rush to sign up for. Babu loved it, I didn’t hate it and we both left in slightly better moods than the ones we’d arrived in, so I’m calling that a win.
Where and When?: Term-time Wednesdays 10-11am and 11-12 noon, and Thursdays 10-11am in the Our Most Holy Redeemer church hall, 24 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell (Farringdon 11 mins walk).
Best Bits: A lovely, simple, mood-lifting class in a great location.
Worst Bits: None really, unless you really hate singing.
Facilities: Buggy parking, step-free access, toilets, baby changing.
Cost: Free, though £5 donations are welcomed.
Would We Come Back?: Yes.
Babu and dum-dum lose themselves in the music at a Mrs H and the Sing-along Band session, Clerkenwell.