Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Full Moon and The White Evening Star *

Good Evening Dear Friends!

Welcome to the still-warm, still, warm rooms of Myrtle House where, although the heat of the day has dissipated somewhat it's still too hot to think of doing a very great deal except perhaps indulging in a few moments pleasant chat with dear friends; it's so good of you to tramp your way here, especially given the what other less charitable folk might refer to as 'unseasonable' weather; pull up a chair, sip a lemonade and let's see what's been occurring whilst you've been elsewhere . . .

Lots of bits and bobs happening, notably my involvement with a couple of dedicated friends whose ambition is to bring some world-class acoustic music to our sleepy backwater and, in fact, have been managing to do so on a monthly basis for nearly five years so far; they go by the collective name of Acoustic Roots and all of the concerts use All Saints Parish Church just around the bend from here as a venue because not only is it a beautiful setting but has the loveliest of acoustics.  In August they are hosting a wonderful group from Atlanta, Georgia named Larkin Poe (after the grandfather of the two girls who front the band!) and tickets are still available . . . I've been asked to become involved in publishing a monthly e-newsletter on their behalf which, if you'd like a copy, you can get by dropping your name and email address here and one will be winging it's way to you immediately!

For quite a number of months now I've spent a couple of hours each Wednesday evening in the very delicious and pleasant company of some fellow scribes; we meet and each week pull a topic randomly out of a 'hat' - in this case a musical biscuit tin which plays 'Silent Night"  - and the following week we present our offerings for comment and appreciation.  This has meant that yours truly has finally got his finger out and begun to format the fruits of his labours in a form ready for publishing and, because I don't feel you've suffered enough simply by reading this blog, I've decided to include a few links should you wish to download an example or two of my works; they are, of course, completely free of both charge and viruses and are in PDF format so it shouldn't matter which particular implement you use to access them.  So here, for your delectation, are ChoicesThe LookoutThe Unopened Present and the one pictured above Family Photograph - I do hope you enjoy; please feel free to let me know, whatever your opinion !

The gloaming has begun to seep into the brickwork of the old homestead and here, in my sequestered grange as dear old Matthew Arnold would say, it feels as though it's nearly time to seek my straw . . .  I think of all the words I have written and what they mean; and all the words of people gone before and wonder what will happen to mine, lost in the maelstrom of all the others - for example, does anybody read Matthew Arnold these days? I know but a few scant verses of The Scholar Gypsy and Thyrsis and find it so emotive, even given its age, but does anyone under fifty even know who he was? Ah well, us poor scribblers have no choice it seems but to write and let our words drip into the vast ocean and hope that someone, somewhere,
sometime feels a glimmer of recognition;  just like Matthew, I sit and wait for the spark from heaven to fall . . .

And look, the curfew tolls the knell of parting day, and it is already nearly time for you to plod your weary way homeward and leave the world to darkness and to me; its been lovely to see you once again and I do hope you've enjoyed your brief sojourn.  As you walk perhaps you could mull over these last few words from Thyrsis; I've quoted them before often I know but I find them so beautiful that I steadfastly refuse to make an excuse for doing so again:

Let in thy voice a whisper often come,
to chase fatigue and fear:
Why fainstest thou! I wander'd till I died.
Roam on! The light we sought is shining still.
Our tree yet crowns the hill,
Our Scholar travels yet the loved hill-side.

And so there we have it; I hope the weekend ahead fills you with love and joy and all that you truly desire becomes yours. I'm off to roam a hillside!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

* from Thyrsis by Matthew Arnold

Monday, 27 May 2013

All the World's A Stage . . . *

Good Afternoon My Dear Friends!

Welcome to yet another posting - it's becoming quite a habit isn't it! - and, as the photograph to the left tries to demonstrate albeit in a rather typically  understated manner, you find me amid the showery splendours of yet another Bank Holiday Monday; this month really does seem to have a surfeit of these double-Sundays and, of course this being England and the merry month of May this tends to preclude any kind of hey - nonny - noe-ing due to a preponderance of precipitation . . . oh hum!  Still, how can one be downhearted with stout fellows such as you willing to trudge across the sodden meadows to join me for tea in the study? Pull up a chair and butter yourself a crumpet and we shall begin; shall I be Mother?

So what has occurred since last we met? Well, I'm involved in a somewhat exciting, precarious and, as some doubters would probably say, foolhardy attempt to hold back the veritable tsunami of austerity and depression sweeping the land by struggling to keep a little lifeboat of art and culture upright in treacherous seas . . . if it works it will be by dint of the sheer willpower and courage of Cap'n Jayne, my good friend and collaborator who is much nicer to have in the boat than a tiger for example, but is probably just as fierce in fighting for what she believes in! It's all at a rather delicate phase at the moment so I shall say no more on the subject but please watch this space for how you may help, should the desire arise . . .

Other than that the year speeds by at an unconscionable rate and I find to my surprise that in a few days time it will be the eighth birthday of The Famous Sally Dog and, a few days after that, the second anniversary of the Old Duchess' death . . . "time is an illusion; teatime doubly so" as I read in my first book all those years and tears ago and the verisimilitude of that statement has become more so down the days since . . . and now, today, as the Bank Hol winds down - if such a energy-less day could become more so that is - like a forgotten grandfather clock and the light dims and the gloaming is upon us once again, I find myself wondering whether there was ever a plan to all this madness, or did it just sort of happen?  . . . I can only give thanks to the great goddess iCal for keeping me on track and providing me with some sort of structure to my life; sometimes it seems to me that my life is not dissimilar to a drunk at a cocktail party, stumbling around and bumping into situations and conversations, politely and randomly experiencing things which appear to make little or no sense before going home to sleep it off; perhaps that's how it was meant to be? 

Oh, but look how rude I am; rambling on with my inner dialogue whilst you sit there, pretending not to be bored, a look upon your face that suggests mental and metaphorical thumb-twiddling if ever I saw it! And who can blame you? It is the curse of double Sundays I'm afraid and for that I can only beg  and crave your pardon.

I hope the rest of this foreshortened week can be dragged into a positive perspective for you all and that the miserable drizzle which has been the year thus far becomes something more akin to Spring - just in time for the midsummer solstice! I do hope you have a wonderful time; please call back and visit me soon;  I notice that my answer to the last quiz still remains to be conjured up, you could always have a go and drop me a line?  In the meantime, have a marvellous time and may your best bib and tucker be permanently splattered with love and best wishes.

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

*  . . . which could have ended " ... that I'm going though" ... but was, in fact:
 "All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.”  ― Seán O'Casey

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Words, So Beautiful And Sad, Like Music *

Good Evening My Dear Friends !

Welcome to this which is, I am ashamed to say, the very first blog of 2013 ! The last time I saw you was on the 19th of December last year and much has happened in between and betwixt as the old tautology goes, far too much to go into in this brief but, one hopes, enchanting encounter; suffice it to say it has not been the easiest of times - then again I'm pretty sure the same could be said for us all!  Allons! and let us get on with the scribble which is surely why you are here in the first place!

It is Tuesday evening and the sun is still slowly dripping, albeit in a somewhat desultory fashion, through the windows of the study at Myrtle House. Spring, according to experts and hedge-pigs alike, seems to be about a month adrift this year and everything, not unlike Yours Truly, seems to be on something of a go-slow; even the positively feral Rose Campion (a lovely girl deep down!) is somewhat reluctant in her occupation of the courtyard this year so far; snails are few and far between and there is only a poor showing in the nettle department too . . . now whilst this is undoubtedly good news for those of us hardly to be regarded as sons of the soil, I'm sure it holds more trouble in store for us down the line.  In conversations with friends deep in the heart of Costa today, where Sister Cate and I held court, the subject of the weather was, of course, briefly touched upon and they had heard tell that Flaming June was more likely to be flaming awful with nothing much but rain to look forward to - bad news indeed for masses of wildlife and pollinators who have but a short span as the assuredly wise saying goes . . .  Like most things in life it seems we can do little but wait and see, oh hum!

Of course it would be positively churlish to go any further without mention of that doggy doyen and star of stage, screen and supermarket dog-food aisle The Famous Sally Dog; the large contingent of readers of this blog who count themselves as avid followers of her antics - well, alright, everyone who reads this blog and numbers themselves in that category - will be pleased to hear that, as she approaches her 8th birthday at the end of the month very little has changed . . . arguably the difference in size between either end of this canine cutiepie is increasing somewhat and it is a race to see which one will come out on top, as it were ! As her nether regions extend due to the numbers of treats she purloins from friends, relatives and absolute stranger, so too her does her bonce from the masses of compliments and adoring cuddles she receives every day . . . me? Jealous? The very thought . . . Anyhow, here she is depicted doing her best to persuade those lovely people at Taylor Guitars to donate one of their lovely 414s to her beloved pack-leader as he so obviously and desperately needs one to join the family of ukuleles and the gorgeous GS Mini in the Music Room at Myrtle House . . . if you are unfamiliar with the wonderfulness that is a Taylor guitar I can only suggest you rectify this gaping hole in your existence by popping into a reputable music store - such as the superb Symphony Music located not too far from the old homestead in Wigan - and try one out; it will change your life ...and deplete your bank balance somewhat but hey-ho!

And on that note (geddit?) I fear our brief sojourn must end for today at least; it has been lovely to have you here again and I hope very much that the gap between now and our next visit is considerably shorter than the last . . . I do hope you also enjoy the picture just above these words; I think I could be justified in offering a small prizette to the first responder who is able to accurately identify the dapper chappie enjoying what is probably a chord of A Major on a rather curvaceous creation from, I would guess, the 1920s possibly . . . a clue? well ... a: it isn't me b: you will have heard of him and c: he is (was) a writer!
So now that your enthusiasm is fired up and a whole evening of febrile searching Google awaits you, I shall bid you a fond farewell for the time being.  I am aware that this posting is a bit of a Parson's Egg of a blog; in my defense I would ask you to consider the amount of time and water that has flowed under a number of bridges since your last visit - one does get out of practice and, of course, I would be only too happy to respond to any comments you would like to leave . . . hint, hint!

So may the time 'til we meet again be awash with sunshine and love

Be Seeing You !  

*“He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music."        A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man - James Joyce