Christmas School Carol Services

It has been a busy week. On Monday afternoon I had a rehearsal for Pershore High School’s Christmas Services which were then held in Pershore Abbey on Wednesday morning, evening and Thursday morning.

On Tuesday morning I rehearsed for St Mary’s Convent School service, held that evening in St George’s Roman Catholic Church in Worcester. This was where Elgar was organist in the 1880s. The organ he played is still there and from the newer console, those pipes can be played. The stops for those pipes are marked with E for Elgar.

If you want to see the photos I took in St George’s Church, have a look here.

Published in: on December 17, 2005 at 5:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Elegy for a Well-Loved Friend

The day has finally come. I’ve known for a long time that it was terminal and nothing could be done to stop the inevitable demise of my dearest friend, but I carried on ignoring his infirmities and imperfections because of my love and huge affection for him.

The experts have been advising me for years to ditch him and transfer my allegiance, turf him out, put him out to grass – but when you have grown up knowing every little nuance of a character, it is not easy to make the decision to turn your back.

The final straw had been on Wednesday this week. He was in trouble again. Only weeks after his last check-up and and fitness tests, I had had to call the doctor back and he just couldn’t do any more for him so yesterday was the day I went out and bought – a new piano!

Stephen and I hit the shops and tried out digital ones and acoustic ones till our heads were reeling. Then we found it.

For years, Barnaby Fitch, the piano tuner (known as God!) has been saying, “Get a Schimmel!” I’d never even seen one till yesterday. Linda Lowe in VALE PIANOS (whose husband, Craig, many years ago was one of 7 piano tuners I went through in 5 years trying to find someone to put my beloved Challen right) showed us a very nice Kawai which was within what I thought might be my budget. It was “nice” but nothing was going to come up to the standard I wanted before I would be happy allowing my piano to go to the Great Piano Maker in the Sky. Then she showed me the Schimmel and I made the mistake (or was it?) of trying it. And I played it; and I played it, and played it, and then she asked me a question. I couldn’t reply and I cried and even Stephen wasn;t totally dry-eyed, and . . . yes, I bought it.

I have no idea quite yet how I’m going to pay for it. But it’s the right one for me. Linda said (having now heard me play obviously) that I need a musician’s piano and although the Kawai (£2,000 cheaper) is “nice” – “it ain’t ever going to be a Schimmel”.

So Old Faithful, having been my pride and joy since I was 15 and seen God-knows-how-many children through their learning, is now to retire. They could only offer me £200 in part exchange as he is so bad at staying in tune that they couldn’t sell it on. So if they are intent on scrapping the poor thing, I shall give it to the local High School for nothing so that I can keep en eye on him and see that he still gives children pleasure in his old age.

A sad day but an exciting one – and bugger the next door neighbours. I shall be playing the new one all day every day!

Published in: on December 11, 2005 at 7:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Birthday Party

It’s not EVERY day one has a BIG birthday – I celebrated my 50th on November 26th and had a large party to mark the occasion. It was held in Drakes Broughton Village Hall, the scene of many previous happy family occasions in the days when I used to live in that village, not to mention memories of Playgroup, Brownies and Sunday School for my daughters.

You can see the photographs starting HERE.

The entertainment was provided by one of my ex-pupils, jazz-singer, Nick Long, and his friend, Michelle. Nick is also my hairdresser. In his rendition of “Have You Met Miss Jones”, (changed to “Ms Joynes”!) he had me on stage sitting on a bar stool. I expected him to whip out his scissors at any moment!

Their selection was followed by internet friend, Malcolm Jeffrey singing some of Jake Thackaray’s best and one by Tom Lehrer.

Bringing up the rear, so to speak, were two Victoria Wood songs, performed by me. I don’t think I’ve missed my vocation but I do enjoy singing and accompanying myself. If you want to hear the results of all this you can listen here to the Birthday Entertainment.

Published in: on December 6, 2005 at 9:19 pm  Leave a Comment