Backache, headache; tomorrow is the day

Moving house is an opportunity to lift some of the weight of possessions from our shoulders. I knew this before we started packing 70 crates, why wasn’t I more ruthless? We have so many items that we have trailed with us from place to place.

Today we gave away three pieces of furniture to a man that restores things, in the hope that they can find a new home.

My mother’s 1950s Singer treadle sewing machine that she could never use because of the callipers she wore. During my childhood it sat under the window of the spare bedroom in my grand parents house. Topped by a potted aspidistra; years of water damage led to the slow degradation of the veneer beneath. I inherited the sewing machine in 1972, using it to alter clothes and make soft furnishings.

Our bed for the first ten years together; an early 20th century slatted oak head and foot boards. It had lain in the loft wrapped in polythene for the last three years.

A momento of one of our happy excursions to the southern highlands of New South Wales. A small Art Deco side table with a diagonal grain veneer top.

This represents the start of releasing the pretty things from our nest; a new chapter.

The magic of music

What is music but a collection of sounds and vibrations? For me it is more than that, it is two letters away from magic. At a personal level it has the power to bring pleasure, connect people together, invoke emotions and memories. Collectively it can represent a sense of belonging and national pride. It is inclusive of all age groups and generations.

My first memory of classical music was filing into assembly at Welsh House Farm Junior and Infant School to the sound Greig’s Peer Gynt and Holst’s Planet Suite with background crackles and pops of mono vinyl recordings, it was the late 1960s after all.

Count Dracula
My appreciation of music grew during my time at secondary school in the ’70s. I remember a formative moment aged 11, as if it were yesterday of being totally captivated by Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre. Mr Lancaster, our teacher asked us to draw what we heard. I’m sure he told us the story behind the piece as I drew a churchyard scene at night, including graves opening, skeletons appearing and a cockerel heralding the dawn. This experience resonated with me on so many different levels as I had an unhealthy fascination with horror stories and the legends of Vlad the Impaler.

An unholy din
I drove my family to the brink of despair with my attempt at learning to play the violin. Even today I am convinced that the peripatetic teacher disappeared suddenly as a result of the squeals, squawks and squalls from an instrument that in the right hands can bring joy and sadness to listeners.

Knowing my limits
I accept the fact that my musical talents are limited so I have settled into the role of appreciator. Luckily for me Birmingham City Library had a huge collection of vinyl recordings that I took full advantage in borrowing. It was a special moment after a couple of decades and living a dream that I saw Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Holst’s Planet’s performed at the Sydney Opera House.

Even now I’m carried along on the waves of the sound of the strings when listening to Barber’s Adagio, the mournful troughs and sweeping crescendos connect with my spirit. The magic of music has been part of my world for as long as I can remember, it brings me peace.

One Little Candle Burning Bright