Thursday, June 13, 2013

Singing with Angels

Were you ever so happy that you just knew you were surrounded by angels? Well, that's how I felt last Saturday evening when I was in the church of St George, Beckenham. It was the occasion of a charity concert that had been organised by the committee of the Beckenham Ladies Choir. The church was full to standing (though extra chairs were brought in so that everyone had a seat), and boy, was that large audience in for a treat. The Ladies Choir was joined by the Blaenavon Male Voice Choir, and a young man, Oliver Wass, who played the harp. The male voice choir were absolutely fantastic, they were a hard act to follow, but of course, we ladies rose to the occasion. Music lovers watch out for Oliver Wass, he is extremely talented, and treated us to a brilliant performance. All profits are to go to provide stroke rehabilitation equipment at Hildenborough hospital.

 As you see, I snook a couple of pictures before the concert started. Here you see our lovely choir mistress opening the event.
I thought this photo surreal. Of course it is not a ghost! It does show off the inside of St George's
Church though.

Well, that was Saturday, and it is now Thursday, so what has happened in between? There was church on Sunday morning. I went to Clock House where Mary played organ this week, so I could relax and enjoy the service. There was also a little birthday celebration for her afterwards, which included a giant chocolate cake made by one of the congregation. It was mightily delicious. At 12.30 I met Jo and Jack in Beckenham, and together with Jack's other grandma and auntie, we went for lunch at Prezzio, an Italian Restaurant on the high street. I have to admit, after the chocolate cake, I wasn't too hungry, but I did enjoy a glass of white wine and a salad.

Monday was a busy day. First my little volunteer job at the coffee shop, then a visit to the medical center to get my prescriptions, I was told it took 48hrs, so to come back in a couple of days. I shopped at Sainsbury's and caught the 227 bus home. Cello practice came next, and then I was off again, this time to Penge to the regular choir practice. We were given new music for our next concert in October,

Poetry Please! (as they say). I have joined the Shortlands Poetry Circle, and was extremely well received by the other members. This week we had researched the lives and poems of Miroslav Holub,  Anna Akhmatova, and C P Cavafy. Everyone read two poems which they had chosen from the works of these three poets. I was asked to read Cavafy's Ithaca in Greek, I think it upped my street cred. It really was a wonderful afternoon. So that was Tuesday.

Cello lesson yesterday was exciting, as I learned some new stuff. I am very happy with my new teacher, and she has asked me to a concert at Kings Hospital, London, next week, where she will be playing with her friends. So, another adventure to look forward to.

And today, I am going to put together a small collection of my poems, and try to make a little pamphlet to take to Middlesbrough at the end of the month, for the Literary Festival, and the 50th birthday celebrations of Marton Library. I've got quite a busy life, I haven't time to worry about the weather, which by the way, is a little grey, but we make our own sunshine, don't we?

Have a lovely weekend my friends, may the angels watch over you.
Love Jane x

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I Found Me A Bentley!

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 What a great week I have had. I had chance to pull out all the stops at Beckenham Methodist Church, when I was treated to spend an hour trying out my skills on the big pipe organ. It was a bit scary, but David, one of the regular organists, explained the ins and outs of the levers (stops) and what went on with 'feet'. He then left me to it. I was able to practice a few hymns and provide a bit of background music for the coffee shop clientele, but I don't think I am ready to be unleashed in front of a congregation. I'm happy with the electronic Yamaha that I play at Clock House. The experience was great, though, and I can go and play some more whenever I want.

After my volunteer job at the coffee shop, on Monday, I decided to walk back home via Kelsey Park. It was delightful, full of green, green, and smelling of excited cytoplasm. Birds were twittering, squirrels were darting about, and wood pigeons shyly strutted in the shade of tall trees. It was the stuff that poems are made of.
 So, speaking of poetry, what do you think to Carol Ann Duffy's poem for the Coronation celebration in Westminster Abbey. I thought it was a lovely poem, brilliantly crafted. And I liked it even better when I saw it written down.
The Crown
The crown translates a woman to a Queen –
endless gold, circling itself, an O like a well,
fathomless, for the years to drown in – history's bride,
anointed, blessed, for a crowning. One head alone
can know its weight, on throne, in pageantry,
and feel it still, in private space, when it's lifted:
not a hollow thing, but a measuring; no halo,
treasure, but a valuing; decades and duty. Time-gifted,
the crown is old light, journeying from skulls of kings
to living Queen.
                                           Its jewels glow, virtues; loyalty's ruby, blood-deep; sapphire's ice resilience; emerald evergreen;
the shy pearl, humility. My whole life, whether it be long
or short, devoted to your service.
 Not lightly worn.
Of course I may be a bit bias, but Carol Ann Duffy was one of my mentors way back in 1993, along with Mathew Sweeney, both excellent poets.

If you missed watching the service with all it's pageantry, music and fashions, then I urge you to pop on You Tube and select one of the many recordings made.
So, after a relaxing day at home with the Queen, my cello and a few episodes of The Tudors, on TV, I slept soundly, and was up at the crack of dawn this morning to do a bit of housework and get ready for another adventurous day.

10.30 a.m. Coffee Morning at Abbeyfield, where I was invited to offer a rendering of one of my poems, and talk a little about my book, Tears from the Sun - A Cretan Journey. And after that I went to the Jolly Woodman with my new friends from the Beckenham Ladies Choir, to fill in an hour before heading of to Chiselhurst where we gave an afternoon concert.
As you can see I had an attentive audience at Abbeyfield.
And then to the stuff that dreams are made of. As we came out of the residential home, full of tea, biscuits, and Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend (part of our repertoire), I couldn't help taking advantage of a photo with this parked Bentley. You may not know this, but this car is on my vision board, I just had to touch it, very lightly of course so as not to leave a smudge. Personally, I think we look good together!
Well, dream the music and the tune follows! Dum-de-dum! Bye for now, I'm off to my kitchen to sizzle up some sausages.

May the sun be shining on you wherever you are.

Bye for now, love Jane x

Tears From The Sun - The Story