Monday 10 September 2018

All We Like Sheep

It wasn’t that we were enthusiastically Christian.

In fact, we weren’t Christian at all but my brother

who loved singing was in a choir that was going

to sing the ‘Messiah’. Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and he

practised at home. From another part of the flat,

we would hear, ‘Every valley shall be exalted’. It

came into my head: ‘Every va-alley’. And it was

going to be exalted. And the ‘exalted’ came out as

‘exal.....ted’. But which valleys? Where were

these valleys? We went on camping

holidays and walked up valleys. We camped in

a valley in Wales. Would it be exalted? And what

is exalting? How do you exalt a valley? I was 12

and I didn’t have the answer to these questions

but because my parents started singing it round

our flat, ‘Every valley shall be exalted’ as well as

my brother, I didn’t ask. It was just an obvious thing

that you could sing about. The valleys were going to

be exalted. And there were other bits that stuck too:

‘All we like sheep who’ve gone astray-ay-ay-ay-ay....’

That was the valley in Wales again. The farmer had

hundreds of sheep and some of them went astray.

My mother thought this one was funny. I had no idea

why she thought that was funny. We might be

listening to the radio and some item on the news

would set her off singing, ‘All we like sheep have

gone astray-ay-ay-ay....’. And everyone would join in.

Me too.