It is a matter of considerable irritation to me that I haven’t posted for over a month. It wasn’t because of any shortage of topics about which to write but rather a shortage of inclination. That annoys me because it is a poor excuse. After all, this blog is of no importance. It is only an informal record of sundry happenings that seem to me to deserve comment and are mainly of interest (if at all) to other family members. Therefore, there is no good reason for sitting looking at a blank screen wondering what to write simply because of fear of failing to write a perfect post.
I have two rules: The first is to write what I know about (others may disagree). The second is to write in the manner of a letter addressed to just one person, rather than a speech to be delivered to a crowd. So writing the odd post every few days should not be too difficult and I want to get back into the habit.
So what has been happening recently? Well, towards the end of March I reached one of those big deal milestones, my 70th birthday. I suppose that, on thinking about it, I was a bit surprised to have survived that long, despite popular demand. But it crept up on me, arrived, departed, and I didn’t feel a thing. We had a nice quiet gathering here of my immediate family – which was my idea (and rather quieter than others were anticipating) as I hate fuss, surprises, crowds and noisy restaurants. I received super cards (two of them made by my five and eight-year-old grandsons) some of them with badges that were duly worn. I also had great presents which included a big contribution from Granny Anne towards my lovely new violin and, from Jennie and family, a perfect mobile phone (for me anyway) that has all the features that I really wanted but is easier to use than its much less capable predecessor yet a great deal cheaper to run than the even more trendy top mobiles of the moment.
Henry, our tortoise, has been living in the lap of luxury… …Oh alright then… …in his customised “house” on the tabletop in my study (that sounds pompous but what else should I call it – hobbies room, den, lair, pit, tiny spare bedroom?) since early January when he awoke from hibernation. He has had a great appetite for sundry greens, thinly sliced apple, even the odd strawberry among other things (pampered or what!), plus nutritional supplements from our well-stocked local pet shop. During the several very sunny days recently he has been spending more and more time out in the garden, coming indoors again in the early evening. Now his house has been moved to the rear section of our garage and contains lots of hay in which he buries himself at night. So he is in no danger from frost (if there is any). Around the end of the month it might be possible to put him outside 24/7.
Meanwhile, with Henry’s “house” out of the way, I have been creating even more space in my study (hobbies room, den, lair, pit or tiny spare bedroom etc.) by reducing still further the contents of cupboards and drawers and moving the surplus into boxes in the garage. There it will be sorted, like everything else, into numbered containers and dealt with appropriately if no longer required. I have even managed to dismantle and remove a large cupboard, freeing a few more square feet of floor space. This is a “Good Thing” (to quote that excellent British history textbook from my youth “1066 and All That”).
It was a Good Thing because musical activities continue and we needed more space. I mentioned here last year that I had started to give some basic violin tuition to our friend Maria. I played the violin throughout my teens while Maria did the same on the clarinet (though a few decades later of course). It seems that our respective areas of expertise are complementary. Maria is the more fluent reader of music and has made impressive progress in following the printed music on the violin. By contrast I have no problem playing the instrument up to and some way beyond my earlier standard but, while I can follow the printed music I have some difficulty with timing. The problem is (and it is quite a nice problem) that, more often than not, I can play a piece of music by ear more easily than by following the printed music. Therefore, I have not paid enough attention to printed music. Indeed, when using printed music now I am sometimes so fascinated by seeing how familiar phrases are written that I forget to keep reading ahead. It is essential to read ahead of the notes being played unless, of course, you know that particular arrangement so well that you don’t need to read it at all. So we are not so much teacher and pupil as joint learners – and I have plenty to learn.
The sun has been shining on us for a few days now. The weather is warmer and the grass has been mowed and trimmed for the first time this year. I am not yet motivated to get out on my bicycle and it remains to be seen whether that will change. I do feel a slight inclination to do a bit of painting. We shall see.