A new Chapter in Beethoven by Bike
I confess that for these months since my return I have felt more as if I were wrestling than landing.
Perhaps I am a very slow learner in that transition is not something I fully comprehend despite so many attempts during my life and in so many different ways… this ‘journey’ being so much more than I ever really imagined…. or is it just that this IS life?
I am girding my cycling and adventure loins again…. different kind of adventure, but certainly there is a Beethovian continuity, as I am going to take the train to Inverness and ride up to Moniak Mhor at the weekend to embark on a week of writing under the wing of the Arvon Foundation and then I’ll potter around gently on my E-bike for another week in the Scottish landscape ( I am too tired to make an enormous physical effort to get anywhere too strenuous) with my paints and, inevitably, my waterproofs!
It’s easy enough to cobble together little posts for a blog. I just write what comes into my head and heart and hope for the best.
But do I really want to write a book??
I think I do.
I think that the sense of Beethoven and all that he has taken me to is worthy of the effort…. that thread of music and its power to demolish, rebuild and support me throughout my 56 years….. his example of inspiration, dedication and service to mankind through his art…. the enthralling writing of authors fired by their own passions or the captivating craft of artists and musicians…
Perhaps it’s my turn to have a go?
As I gear up for my week of study, I can feel a shift of energy… although I have such a huge resistance to sitting still for half a minute let alone regular disciplined academic work, I do really relish a good project! If I can let it feed me instead of getting depleted by the ‘burn’, I am sure I shall love it.
Let’s see what happens when those cylinders start to fire and we put the thing into gear….
I am listening to Jon Lord’s radiant Durham concerto, which for all sorts of reasons has just come my way. Friendship, summer, camp fires, landscape, meditation and gifts of the spirit will be forever embedded in this piece for me. I am nearly ready to move away from the haven that has been the home for my shepherd’s hut and this CD gift of appreciation from my dear friends with whom I have been staying will conjure all of that.
Here is a pic of Ollie on HIS first long ride, with Nanny trying to keep up.
We got from Exmouth to Topsham and back to Star Cross on Saurday. 2 ferries, lots of snacks, hurtling along and then a tired wobbly last couple of miles just as the only (astonishingly rude ) traffic compelled me to take up a great deal of protective space around him…. did I care if they swore? Nope!
…. and you know what he loved the most when we got back? Having his feet washed in a little bowl of hot water. Simple, humble pleasures.
Packing. 2bags hrrmm? Will it all fit in?
Wish me good luck.
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.