We woke early again this morning – perhaps this is a sign of spring when we tend to awaken with the sunlight pouring into our bedroom (although it wasn’t quite doing that this morning) and husband was showered and dressed and leaving the house to collect our newspaper before 9 am.
Then, on his return, he made breakfast for us, bacon & tomatoes on toast, which I had in bed with a fresh pot of coffee. How lovely to be able to relax in bed and have breakfast brought to me! But I made up for this indulgence later when I cooked a roast chicken lunch for us. I made it as simple a roast as possible, and served it with just tiny roast potatoes, braised red cabbage (which I had in the freezer, and which just needed re-heating), purple sprouting broccoli, and gravy. Dessert was melon with slivers of stem ginger and some fresh raspberries.
And then, as I was preparing lunch – and had just poured each of us a pre-prandial G&T with ice and lemon and (we rarely have a drink before lunch, but we weren’t going to be driving anywhere) – I heard from the sitting room the mellow voice of Andy Williams singing Bridge Over Troubled Water. So I yelled out to husband, “Don’t we have any other records?” This is a recurring joke as we have many LPs that we still play (as well as CDs, of course, but as we have a turn table with our aged stereo system, we kept our LPs) because whenever he puts a record on, it’s usually this one.
Throughout our married life we have loved music but when we were younger we played far more classical music than we have done of late and, indeed, attended many classical concerts and opera in our town (before the festival theatre was turned into a multiplex cinema) and in Exeter and in Plymouth. However, many of our CDs are also, as well as classical, music of the big bands from the 1940s and 1950s, and music such as the sound track to the BBC drama series, Pennies from Heaven.
When I was a child I had singing lessons (I was a mezzo soprano in those days), and later I sang with the local operatic society. Later still I was a member of the South Devon choir and, with them, performed such choral works as Elijah and the St Matthew Passion, Messiah and St Paul. We both love Beethoven and Mozart, Mahler and Bach, and so many composers, but somehow, on a damp and misty Sunday such as today, the mellow sounds of Andy Williams were just right.
My first LP, the one I bought when I was 14 or so, was Grieg’s Peer Gynt. I still have it. We were studying this music at school in Music Appreciation classes (and were asked to make a musical appreciation scrapbook; mine won the prize for the best scrapbook, the only prize I have ever won in this way!) Later, I enjoyed pop music, and Elvis was my idol. I went to see him in some of his films, and adored GI Blues – I was told that I even looked like the leading lady, Juliet Prowse (well, in those days, not now!)
I also loved the music of The Shadows (never Cliff Richard – I thought he was ‘wet’, as we called wussy people in those days) but I loved the Shads and bought their first LP (which was so long ago, like the Elvis LP above, it wasn’t even in stereo, but mono.)
Hearing, even seeing the record sleeves, takes me right back to when I was 14, then 17 for The Shadows, and Elvis. Strangely enough, some friends and I also loved the music of Frank Sinatra, who would’ve been a whole generation or more older than ourselves, on a par with our parents! But even now, Frank’s voice when he was young and singing such numbers as Saturday Night (is the loneliest night of the week), The Nearness of You and All or Nothing at All, recorded more than 70 years ago, still sends shivers down my spine. His voice became less clear as he grew older – not surprisingly – but right until the end, ol’ blue eyes could sing better than many would-be singers today.
And so we had out little lunch time concert – Andy Williams, Frank, and the Shadows. Perhaps next Sunday it will be Abba, James Last and Neil Diamond. But you never know, it might just as easily be John Williams (the guitarist, not the composer of Hollywood film themes) and Julian Bream, or Jacqueline du Pre with Elgar’s marvellous Cello Concerto, or the Bach Brandenburgs, or even Carousel or Oklahoma, or Elgar’s Enigma Variations, or James Last, or Yehudi Menuhin and Mendelssohn’s violin concerto, or Jessye Norman singing Strauss’s Four Last Songs, or even Charles Trennet and his wonderfully evocative, La Mer … Where would we be without music? Indeed, it does remind us of times past, does it not?
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I mentioned my habit of occasionally matching bookmarks to the books I am reading and I have some photos I thought I might show you to demonstrate this habit still further. I don’t always do this; indeed, I don’t spend hours searching for a suitable marker, it’s just that sometimes a photograph or a postcard or a bookmark presents itself as just being suitable.
None of the postcards or photographs (which are my own work) ‘match’ exactly, but they just somehow seem (to me, anyway) to ‘go’ with these books. This is really a total waste of time, a piece of plain paper would act just as well as a bookmark, but to me having a nice marker adds something to the reading experience. Indeed, here are two of my favourite paintings (as postcards) by the painter, Patrick Adam. I love paintings of interiors (as I’ve mentioned in a previous post), especially when you can see – as you can in the painting on the left below, an enticing view of a room beyond which you will never be able to enter.
I hope you have had as lovely as Sunday as we have had. And we have Endeavour to look forward to (and the first episode of Series 7 of Homeland, which I shall record.)
Until next time.