Thrilling Moments

I’ve just been reading about wonderful performances experienced by Elaine at Random Jottings and I was immediately reminded of one of the best birthday treats of my life. Back in the very late 1970s I was still living at home, in Bath, but was just about grownup and earning my own living. We were lucky enough to have the wonderful Bath Festival held in the city every year and I had usually been involved in fringe events with my drama group. This particular year, I decided that I would buy a ticket to every single lunchtime performance. As they were short concerts, and in the day, they were much more affordable. I worked as a Civil Servant so I saved up plenty of flexi-time so that I could get myself to and from the concerts as well as allowing time for the performances themselves.

I can hardly remember what I saw and heard except for the concert on my birthday. The performer was a pianist, a dark foreigner with a beard. He played Bartok which I believe is probably not the sort of thing for neophyte concert-goers……. but ….

……….. his hands posed above the piano he played as if his very being depended on the music .. the music was alive and I could feel it. I have never before and never since felt that way about any music. I knew it was something special. As a single entity, the audience was bowled over by his performance and we clapped and clapped and clapped and clapped and clapped and clapped until our hands ached. He was so unassuming. He humbly stood and bowed at the end of the piece, almost as if he was thanking us. When the applause would not die down he seemed stunned as though he had not known how well he could play and what an experience it was to hear the music that eminated from him.

I was so pleased that I had gone to that performance not knowing anything about the music or the pianist. No one needed to tell me, I just knew he was an amazing pianist, I could feel it. His name was Andre Tchaikowksy and it wasn’t until he died a few years later that I found out that I “should” have thought he was something special. That is probably the mark of true genius. It is obvious even to those who have no idea about such matters.

When my birthday comes round later this year, don’t bother racking your brains for the perfect present because nothing will ever come anywhere near what he gave to me that day. I tremble now when I remember it and I doubt if I will ever feel like that about anything ever, for the rest of my life.

Posted in music. 4 Comments »

The James Lipton Questionnaire

Goodness me, I’ve never been tagged to do a meme before. Harriet tagged me and as a consequence I now have to answer questions which look easy when you see someone else’s answers but not quite so easy when you are the one in the inquisitor’s chair. I

What is your favorite word?
Lugubrious, but I have yet to use it in normal conversation.

What is your least favorite word?

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Fresh air, clear skies, birdsong

What turns you off?
Rush hour travel to central London (Thankfully I only do that once or twice a year)

What is your favorite curse word?

What sound or noise do you love?
Breaking waves

What sound or noise do you hate?
The same annoying woman who talks inane chatter on her mobile EVERY morning on MY train. I wouldn’t mind if it was a quick, “shall I pick up some milk on the way in” or “I’m running a bit late……” This woman just witters on and on and on and on and on and says absolutely nothing while her grating voice drills into my brain and spoils any chance of reading a book.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Something to do with textiles.

What profession would you not like to do?
Anthing to do with sport, especially competitive sport.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Come on in, this is a TOTALLY smoke free area “.

Now I’m tagging Elaine over at Random Jottings to do this! Can’t wait to see your answers RJ

No other book?

As I suspected, I felt disinclined to have Gilead as my travelling companion for the week. As is often the case I just had to go for whatever was to hand, which happened to be


Another book written by a man. There have been quite a run of those in my recent reading but this is not just any man, this is an old friend. Such an old friend that I know that his name is not pronounced Bry-ann but something like Bree-an. His novels are usually slim, simply written, usually centred around one person in a way that is almost female. He was born and grew up as a Roman Catholic in Northern Ireland and in many of his novels there is no way to get away from the church. In fact the novels go even further and have the main protagonist as a Catholic priest often questioning his own belief.  I have just dipped into the first few pages, far enough to discover that this priest has lived in Ganae, a fictitious Caribbean country, teaching in a school for the elite of the country for thirty years. He has reached retirement and we begin to look back at his life in this poor country.

Over on Anne’s blog, she also has spread her wings for sunnier climes and has been reading a book set on the island of Crete, a place where she lived for several years, and which is the setting of her novel in progress. She confesses that she picked up the book she is reading because of where it is set. I picked up mine because of the author but other recent reads were chosen by the name of the character in the title and the delightful cover design. Is there right or wrong reason to choose a book?

Sunday Salon: Mr Pip has gone

I can’t keep up with all these erudite book reviews and I’m always terrified that anything I do write will act as a spoiler so instead I will just lay a few words on the screen / page:

simple life
fish out of water
trouble and strife
in the water
fish out of water
can life be simple?
That’s all folks – see you next Sunday in the Salon. I’ve picked up Gilead by Marilynne Robinson but I’m not sure if I will stay the course yet. It’s beautifully written and I appreciate the idea of it but I’m not sure it’s the right book for me at the moment.

SUNDAY SALON: Nearly finished – what’s next?


During the past week I have been reading

I was so engrossed with it that just as I stepped off the train at my station, and the automatic doors shut, I realised that I had left my other bag with a file from work and a poster for my son on the seat INSIDE the train. The ticket office was just closing and the chap there tried to call the station at the end of the line, but just as he had expected they had left for the evening. So I had an unexpected 30 mins of reading time, whilst I slowly froze, waiting for my train to come back in the other direction.

I could have kissed the guard when I discovered he had my bag in his guardsvan. He looked extremely uncomfortable when I expressed my feeling of gratitude to him! I still have a few pages left so I will save any comments till later. For now I will just say that it has turned out to be a surprising book.

So what will I turn to next? I’ve just popped over to Harriet’s blog. In fact I still have it open in another tab as I am lapping up the Sonific music she has playing there at the moment. Harriet has tempted me to consider reading Sarah Stovell’s ….


I don’t have the book yet so I may have to read one or two from the tottering TBR heap first. Have a good Sunday Salon everyone.


I’ve not read “The Needle in the Blood”

Maybe this will get me in the mood.

Slattern or Seraph?

After my steaming cup of tea, brought to me by MDB (My Dearly Beloved), I made my usual visit to DoveGreyReader. No mention of books this Saturday morning. just domestic stuff about removing cat’s stitches and vacuum cleaner bags. DGR confesses that removed from her appliance she has no idea which bags to buy. Surprisingly that is the sort of info that I do have up my sleeve when out shopping. So that set me thinking. Normally I veer to the slattern end of the domestic manager scale but in a few areas I am fully winged and haloed.

So I thought I might share a few of my virtuous practices with you all, and invite you to pat yourself on the back about your domestic management skills. So without further ado ….

  1. I know which vac bags to buy for my dust-guzzler and I write the date that the bag is changed on the new bag.
  2. I hang a spiral-bound reporter’s notebook near the kettle and have trained the WHOLE family to write down items BEFORE they run out. Unlike a friend of mine who tried to implement the same scheme, my family do not abuse this notebook by writing items such as Porsche, Viagra for Dad etc.
  3. All members of the family have been trained and adhere to my laundry system. Dirty clothes are placed in the correct place. (Training to retrieve correct “person pile” of clean clothes is still in progress).
  4. Recycling is well-organised and family adhere to implemented system.
  5. Rubbish putting out is organised and involves a 2-member team. To avoid fox scavenging I place bag(s) ready to go out last thing at night before rubbish day & MDB puts bag(s) out as he leaves the house early in the morning. Usually the foxes have gone off to bed before he does this so no mess.
  6. A Large HOUSE file/ring binder keeps all appliance purchases & repairs & building works bills & receipts in one place. I can easily look back to see when things were purchased / repaired / installed. This has proved invaluable when dealing with recurring drain problems with our water authority as I have a full log of all my calls to them.
  7. A large CAR file / ring binder does the same for road tax, MOT, insurance, services, repairs.
  8. Household Address Book. This little book is a treasure trove of trademan’s phone numbers.
  9. Composting container on draining board > bucket on patio where mixed with pet rabbit poo > compost bin at bottom of garden.
  10. Bulldog clip on back of front door holds letters ready to be posted.

So those are my seraphic ways. I am not going to share my slattern ways with you as they are too numerous.

Now it’s time for you to pat yourself on he back and pass on your ways of good household management.

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