Old dogz

Yes, as Mike suggests, it can be more a matter of keeping up and improving the things you can do than starting to learn entirely new ones.  Although there must be a point at which that decision is made … for example, I was about 38 when I started clarinet lessons.  I had the advantage of being able to read music though, so it wasn’t as hard as it might have been (I’m being modest there, btw – yes, I know that’s a rarity – I worked extremely hard, practised hours a day), but now, although I often think how much I’d like to be able to play more instruments, I think I’m going to stick with the ones I’ve got.

When I was young, I often chose to learn skills that had little or no practical application.  As time went by, however, I found that was becoming harder – that is, if it wasn’t going to be used, what was the point in acquiring the knowledge?  There have been times when I’ve been too practical, I think, but that’s been when I’ve had too much on my plate already and had to prioritise.

I played the organ for the church service this morning, not very well.  I hope it wasn’t too obvious.  I kept the tune going throughout, but the notes I played with the left hand rarely bore much relationship to the ones on the page.  I was just filling in with chords at random.  Well no, not at random.  Reasonably harmonious, just not as written which was a bit worrying as I was never sure what was going to come out.  I’d forgotten my glasses, which didn’t help – the distance I am from the page is just wrong, either for my left short-sighted eye or my right contact lens-corrected one.  It’s something I’d give up altogether if I could – playing the organ, that is.  I’ve done it for well over twenty years and it still gives me no pleasure at all, unlike playing the piano which I do enjoy, however badly I do it.  Funny, isn’t it?  You’d not think the one was so different from the other.  But I digress.  Actually, having started writing this yesterday and not had time to finish it, I’m not sure – again – what I wanted to say.  Oh damn, darlings, I’m cracking up.

I think it was about what one learns and why, and at what age one is happy to hold on to what one has, whether to do it better or at least hang on to the capability one already has.  I’m feeling slightly bored at present, or at least restless.  I don’t think I’ve shot my learning bolt yet, but I don’t know what to choose.  And I don’t, in truth, have much spare time – apart from this week … maybe it’s just because I’ve had a few days without a load of papers to read and meetings to prepare for, which reminds me that the agenda for the next governors’ meeting has to go out on Wednesday.  

What I shall have is some space, in the physical sense, because Al and the family are planning to buy a house and move away from here (not very far) in the near future.   So a house that we already rattle around in is going to get that much larger.  Good job we’ve got Elle here for the time being – except not for the next couple of weeks because she’s staying with a friend.  The Sage and I will have to think of something to talk about to each other again.  Right now, he’s tapping away on one keyboard and I’m on another.  Perhaps we’ll just communicate by email.

11 comments on “Old dogz

  1. Pat

    I can’t believe you have time to fill. However two of the things I did in much younger days which gave me endless fun and enjoyment was to belong to a choir and also later a drama group.
    Therapeutic if nothing else.

  2. mig

    I’m fairly impressed that you play the piano but the organ is surely a whole order of complicatedness higher? And bigger.

    (And just thinking, you’ll need to watch the lovely Sage when you have more space!)

  3. Z

    I can’t co-ordinate all four limbs, so if I play the pedal I forget the left hand in times of stress, which happen every other bar. And playing the organ has ruined my touch on the piano, because there’s no finesse, you just thump away.

    Oh yes, you summed him up in one visit, Mig. You’re absolutely right.

  4. Z

    As ever, I was the last to hear about them. I don’t mind what he does as long as stuff isn’t dumped in there. He might find himself locked out of this one if he turns it into chaos, as he did the present dining room. I can’t deal with that ever again, it’d be a marriage breaker.

  5. Blue Witch

    I did wonder worriedly at the time (and since) whether he’d shared his plans with you.

    I also now wonder whether he’s changed his mind about what he’s going to do in there?

    The idea then involved hanging rather than dumping and one couldn’t dump with visitors or they wouldn’t come back…

  6. Z

    He doesn’t share plans with me, neither consults nor tells me. I heard it from someone else and angled the conversation round later so that it looked as if I’d guessed.


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