A few things that have been on the to-happen list for ages have taken place, notably the replacement of the horrid (in both the nasty and the bristling sense) carpet tiles in the passageway and the return of the pianola. So the next thing will be for me to improve my piano playing a bit.
I’ve been wrecked as a pianist by playing the organ, which I don’t even enjoy in any case. It has ruined my touch – I just thump away and the volume is regulated by the stops, not by how I play. And, because I can’t be bothered with the pedals any more, the stretch of all the chords is often too much, so I simply leave out the trickier notes – churn out the tune with my right hand, some bass chords with my left and aim for some of the notes as they’re written – it isn’t exactly a compliment to Beethoven, Schubert et al to treat their works like that on a piano, but it’s a hard habit to overcome. Rereading this, I realise I sound dismissive of organists – it’s a tremendously hard instrument to play well and sounds wonderful when it is – I’m incapable of even a passable standard on the organ and have become discouraged. In addition, as I said, I’ve never liked playing it. No insult intended, however, I only am criticising myself.
It was because I realised, when I was in my late thirties, that I was never going to bring my piano playing back to the standard (never that good) I’d reached twenty years earlier, that I took up the clarinet. But I could be better than I am now and at least be able to enjoy it a bit. Funny that I like playing the piano and not the organ, isn’t it? It feels like a warmer, if not a richer instrument.
The next thing I’ve managed in the last few months is to grow my nails, at least to an extent (one broke only yesterday). It’s not easy because I’m literally very hands-on, I get going and don’t fuss about my nails until it’s too late. But I’ll try to keep them stronger, now that I’ve made the initial effort.
The next thing, of course, is this motorbike training. Sorry, Sir B, I just didn’t find – or maybe make – the time during the autumn. I knew I’d be busy, but not quite how busy.
I have managed to fit in time for some of the things I enjoy, though that largely involves going away – finding a few days free and taking advantage of them has been my saviour this autumn. It’s not been an easy year in many ways – largely because of some extraordinarily bad decisions on Russell’s part – all agreements to repair things, all attempts to help have been disregarded, to the extent that his blog name has been dropped. It’s not remarkable that we ignored our 40th wedding anniversary, as we’ve never taken much notice of anniversaries anyway, but it was a difficult period and I’ve been closer to despair than ever before in my life. But I’ve got my resilience back and things have been sorted out and it’s ok now.
I’m not making great plans for next year – as I said yesterday, my priority is my sister and I’ll be with her for as long as she needs me once she has her hip replacement. I’m hoping to fit in a visit to Elle and her family in Berlin this winter, but will have to see if the timings work. The next priority (equal in magnitude to Wink’s, but later in the year and there will be no clash) is Ro and Dora’s wedding.
As far as the school goes, it’ll be busy. But I like having commitments, makes me plan and fill my days and gives me a buzz. I’d be discontented with not enough to do.
We have hopes of help in the garden from April. That’ll be brilliant – though I’m sorry about the circumstances, which involve redundancy (the owner of a company is to retire and close it down), but it will really help us. I hope to get the kitchen garden up and running again this year and I’m afraid the chickens are not having it permanently. We do need a long-term solution for them, but that isn’t it.
The other thing to look forward to is next year’s blog party, if you still would like it to happen – I’ll be asking about possible dates very soon.
I know some of you have worries, mainly about illness of people dear to you. May we all have health, strength and love to see us through. Happy New Year, darlings.