On my way to giving a concert in Ashburton I had an idyllic spring ride along the edge of Dartmoor.
The point of the fundraising was to raise money for legal fees to contest the proposal for bottom ash to be dumped in a nearby quarry with the risk of serious contamination of our beautiful river Dart let alone a horrific volume of heavy lorries through the very small moorland town of Buckfastleigh.
It was a lovely evening although I say it, and I was greatly supported by generous friends, staying in their beautiful home overlooking the Dart valley. Thank you Juliet, Oliver, Michaela and Jose for your wonderful welcome, feeding me and delivering my uncrumpled clothes to the door!!
The next day I continued my little tour by crossing to Totnes via ( and seriously uphill!) Landscove…. More bluebells and soft spring-time delights….
….and the ever-beautiful Dartington gardens. When my daughter Ruth was little we both wished we could make these giant rhododendrons our fairy home.
Then it was all go and swinging in to an evening in Margaret Merrington’s exquisite ‘Phoenix Shack’, named after a fire destroyed the original studio with the result that this most lovely room was built to replace it.
This time the funds raised went to continue our support for Andrew’s cancer treatment and dear friends gave generously.
Both evenings, with their slightly different flavour nonetheless remind me just what a profound impact Beethoven’s music in the context of the human journey has upon all of us.
Perhaps it is time to take it out further and allow more people to taste these fruits.
I am wondering about how to move forward with this in a way that is authentic, manageable and human.
If there is anyone out there with thoughts about this, I would be delighted to hear them!
Last night it was pretty cold again, but the stunning evening sky drew me out of my little hut to take a last look. Thank you all for the messages of enthusiasm and support. It means a lot to me as I do sometimes flounder.
I think I miss the outer journey more than I could have imagined when I set off. I am constantly reminding myself that it is time to pursue harmony and balance with the continuing inner journey.
I wish I had had my paint box with me, but I also love this camera.
Many thoughts of all my friends far and wide …. those of you who are still in touch, those of you who aren’t. I hope these will reach some of you in Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Sicily and Greece….. Not to mention my crowd back home!
Happy Spring and Ascension day tomorrow. ( See you at Ashburton or Totnes sat/sun )
Good morning on this beautiful 2nd May day!
Here are details of my next 2 concerts.
Saturday May 11th at 7.30 pm in St. Lawrence Lane Chapel, Ashburton.
Tickets from Delizios in Buckfastleigh or bar 14 in Ashburton. This is in aid of the ‘fight the quarry fund’
Then Sunday, 12th May at 7 pm in Margaret Merrington’s lovely studio, 26 South Street, Totnes.
This is a more intimate space, so do reserve your space. ( I can email contact numbers for Margaret or Edwina)
This is a continuation of fund raising for our very dear friend Andrew who is having treatment for cancer.
On another note I had the great happiness of wandering and snoozing around Dartington Gardens yesterday. Birds rioting and ‘darling buds’ galore. . I was transported back to the days of hide and seek and those unbearably delicious butterflies when trying not to be discovered! I still get them when I hide from Ollie!
A rather poignant moment when I think now that I often haven’t a clue where they are, let alone which bush they are behind. . pang. .
Neither did I have an all dancing singing mobile phone from which to send all this into the ether !! How times change.
Happy May bank holiday to you all.
… round the world
Forces my soul to search her depths for God-like powers and set them free
To sending them winging out into the world”
This is the beautiful chapel/space into which I played the other night, and with the most sensitive and heartful listening. .
Despite feeling very poorly, it did indeed ‘set me free’, so a big thank you to all at Forest Row for enabling me to share all the music and stories.
And at last, spring is truly in the air.
If so, I am doing a ‘Beethoven by Bike’ concert and bringing some of my paintings to display at the Christian Community, in Hartfield Road, Forest Row, starting at 8 pm. Do come along, it would be great to see you! Tickets on the door. . suggested donation £8 (£7 concessions). I have been practising and it’s a gorgeous of program. . Grieg, Pachulski, Janacek, Bartok, and naturally Beethoven opus 110.
I am on the train to Devon and to John’s funeral tomorrow. . full of so many memories over the last 44 years. . How lovely to see the video of his MBE celebration, along with those photos spanning a music and family-filled life.
Unforgettable, that relaxed, wide, warm hand. . encouraging smile. . a moment of entry, just from an eyebrow? ” altos, you are rather conspiratorial today” = “sing up, I can’t hear you” . .
oh bother, I can’t swivel this little picture from my all singing-dancing phone. . oh well.
This is just one of the many ways I will remember John.
It is with great sadness that I heard yesterday that John had died.
As a little girl of 11 I had relished his Festival Hall children’s concerts…. his charismatic presence at our school music festivals…. his immense energy at the ERMA choral courses… not to mention his wonderful performance of the Ravel Piano concerto for left hand ( his R little finger taking all the strong notes intended for the L thumb )
These were my early, more distant impressions. Later, by several years, I noticed he was living in Devon and plucked up the courage to have a piano lesson. His response was typically warm and supportive…. he laid his great big hand on mine and with a twinkle suggested very mildly that I might like to take my performance diploma.
He was mystified by my lack of key sense…. equally by my complete ignorance of harmony, but he patiently persevered and got me through.
Then another nudge. Why not take my teaching diploma with the Associated Board? Again, such encouragement and support.
How many pupils of his will have experienced not just his breadth of musicianship but also, his unfailing pastoral care and interest and not a little charming vagueness!
His influence in my musical life has been life changing for me. It was at his suggestion in 1996 that I embarked on the first of Beethoven’s last 3 sonatas. Whenever my tension got the better of me he would suggest some subtle alterations that could bring me back to stillness so that the essence of the music could then speak. I am sure there will be so many over the decades who will feel just the same.
His laid back (nearly to the horizontal) manner at pupil concerts and gentlemanly, unflappable humour in concert with his more nervy duet partner Kate, were an absolute joy, and there is this quality of joy in the particular sound he made at the piano. His arrangements for one hand were so good that those of us with 2 good hands would have been hard pushed to reproduce them.
My love and sympathy go to his family… Lucy, Ed and John.
I was privileged to have such a dear friend, mentor and teacher and I will miss him very much.