3 February 2011

Posted by DMC on 3 February 2011 in Diary |

A Happy New Year to all my Chinese readers. GONG XI FA CAI (for my Mandarin readers) KUNG HAI FAT CHOY (for my Cantonese readers) – I hope I got that right! In any event, I hope you all have a wonderful year of the Golden Rabbit.

After yet another session on the remote assist with Ben, of AbilityNet I hope to have sorted out  most of my computer problems

Another WendyLett sheet arrived today from me to try. This is a three-quarter length sheet which allows you to have an under sheet to give friction for your feet.

We will try this tomorrow and I will report back. Lynn, my OT, popped in just before lunch to check on the new shower chair which he says is still not quite right, so she has more work to do on that. She is a really caring conscientious person and is determined to do everything she can to make life easier for me. After I let her know whether this new Wend Lett is satisfactory  she is prepared approach our local PCT about their willingness or otherwise to pay for these sheets, as do the Somerset PCT as I gather they are quite expensive will stop

This afternoon one the ‘old faithfuls’,_Douglas Gordon, dropped in for tea and a chat. Douglas, my erstwhile stockbroker, founded the best village magazine in the country, which has been acknowledged as such. Indeed the village of Newport now runs a national competition, annually, to find the best village magazine.. Douglas also founded a croquet club in Newport, which seems to be going great guns.

Douglas’wife, the aptly named Cecilia (the patron saint of Music) is my erstwhile piano teacher (referred to in the following extract has’ the local piano teacher’). I can best recount my piano playing days by reproducing an extract from my autobiographical notes. From the chapter entitled Musical or Not!

I was at a supper party one day in my 40th year and a discussion ensued about playing the piano.  I heard myself say how much I would love to be able to play myself. I had, in fact, started once in my teens, but, having no piano of our own, I was forced to practice on a friend’s. After a couple weeks his mother could stand it any longer and my piano playing aspirations withered.

On the way home from that dinner party, musing on the things that we had discussed, I realized what a stupid comment I had made in saying how much I would love to be able to play.  If I really wished I could play the piano, what was stopping me? The following day I bought a piano and signed up with the local   piano teacher for lessons. I decided that I would get up every day at six o’clock and practice for 40 minutes.  I would give myself 10 years to see if I could reach a reasonable level of competence.  After a year or so I entered for my Grade 1 examination.. I was extremely nervous.  I remember that my ‘big’ piece was called something like Swans and Ducks, which I practiced assiduously, for weeks,  before the big day.

The day of the examination arrived.  I presented myself at the Village Hall, along with of a half a  dozen toddlers taking the same examination.. When it came to my turn I entered the examination with trepidation.  I marched up to the invigilator, who was busy recording the efforts of the last examinee.  I stuck out my hand which she ignored as she continued to write.  She impatiently waved me away in the direction of the piano.  I sat down on the stool and found that I could not get my knees under the keyboard. The stool was, not surprisingly, far too high as the last hopeful had been little more than 3 feet tall.  I spent the next few minutes working myself up into a muck sweat trying to wind it down.

By this time the invigilator was getting ready impatient and told me, rather peremptorily, “to get on with it.”  She immediately demanded an arpeggio, from the top down and up.  I had only been taught to play them from the bottom up and down, so  was immediately thrown off my stride.  I fumbled my way through that and the scales and so on, until I came to my ‘big’  piece.  Somehow I struggled through it until I got to the last eight bars by which time I could not recognize a single note. All I could see were, what looked like, black inkblots.

I achieved a score on 101 marks -the pass mark  being 100. So my piano career was off to a stumbling start. I continued to practice daily, as I had promised myself, and after 10 years reached Grade 5 level. I then assessed my competence and decided that I would murder the instrument no longer, and have never played a note since.  The piano was shortly after purloined by my musical daughter and I’m pleased to say that grandson Fred has just taken ( Mar.2009) his Grade 1 piano exam, and hopefully passed with flying colours.

A rather risque joke with apologies to my Greek readers. Giving back to the church

He did!

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