Bikers, Bells and Band

It has been one of “those” days today. You know the ones, where randomness happens throughout the day and you just have to shake your head and say, “well, that was a bit good!”

Well my day has been a bit like that.

First of all I went to Stay and Play this morning and saw absolute genius in action. One of our mums is blind, and she has managed her baby very well with the help of either her own mum or a carer who was there to help guide her around and to make sure that the baby was always looked after. The baby has now grown up a little bit and is toddling around quite happily on her own two feet, but today, the mum came without the aid of either her mum or her carer, instead relying on the help of one of the other mums (a friend of hers anyway) to get her into the church hall and to get her seated and so on. The genius bit was this:


A set of jingle bells round the little girl’s ankle so that her mum could hear where she was in the hall and could track her movements easily. We were all astounded at how such a simple thing could mean such a lot – that not only could the mum enjoy some independence, but that the baby could also enjoy running around without getting too far away from mum. Of course there are always lots of people watching out and interacting with the mums and tots in the group so there would never be any real danger, but how’s that for a stroke of genius to help them both enjoy a bit of living!

Nature was also having a bit of genius this morning too. How’s about these couple of beauties?






Still reeling from the gorgeous skies and cold, crisp air, came a demonstration of something deeply moving. At about 12 o’clock, there was an almighty roar of engines going past the church hall as a big group of bikers made their way noisily up the main road. About 15 minutes or so later, they all came back again, this time doubled in number, going half the speed and leading out a hearse and a funeral cortege down towards the crematorium. The flowers on top of the coffin were in the shape of a motorbike, and the flowers down the side of the hearse spelled out BROTHER in black flowers. What a sight, and what a gesture to witness. Here is a video of the tail end of the procession so you can see for yourself.

Then this evening, I had the utmost pleasure and privilege to sit and listen to the Pemberton Old Band as they were put through their paces at a rehearsal for an upcoming contest. I have been going there for the last couple of months with Ethan, who is playing bass trombone for them, and I have heard the piece they are playing take shape and get generally better and better each week. The band has a great sound and tonight they were pushed to really play proper pianissimo and fortissimo, which was fantastic to hear. There are another couple of rehearsals to go before the contest at the end of the month, and it promises to be a great performance. Looking forward to it.

So there you have it, a couple of things that have made up my day today. Random? Or simply a reflection of the eclectic life I have?!

Either way, today has been a good one.



Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Speaking of 180…when was the last time you ‘did a 180’ on something?

Earlier this week. Let me explain: I have played in so many “Last Night of the Proms” tour de yorkshireconcerts in my musical career that they wear a little (LOT) thin and generally I don’t like doing that type of music. Being a conductor I get to choose what we play and so when we were asked to do a joint set with a choir this coming Saturday at a concert to mark the grande depart for the Tour de France, I thought I would give a little nod to it and gave my suggested songlist to the choirmaster, purposely leaving out “Land of Hope and Glory”. I hate it. With a passion. It drives me bananas and I can’t abide it. (Can you guess my feelings about this one?). I thought I was being clever by suggesting other songs instead of this one…but the choir have insisted that we sing/play it. Doh! So much for my adamant posturing that I will NEVER conduct this piece again in my life.

2.  It’s Independence week in the US of A! What’s your favourite thing about America right this very minute? Favourites only! Let’s hear what you love about America!
My favourite thing about America at the moment is the romantic notion I have of the northernmost states. In particular the Olympic Northwest, Maine, New England etc. I dream of visiting Vermont and Maine one day and then making my way westwards towards Washington state to Seattle and beyond.
3. Stars or stripes? Red, white, or blue? Watermelon, homemade vanilla ice cream, or blueberry pie?
Difficult question, being a Brit! But ok, I’ll play along:
Stars (twinkly ones in the sky)
Blue (it’s my favourite colour for everything, including my favourite football team)
Ice-cream (can’t stand watermelon and never had blueberry pie)
4. When did you last see stars, figuratively speaking?
I slipped in the shower last week and banged my head on the shelf at the bottom of the bath. The panic of slipping combined with the clonk on the head made things go a bit starry for a little while!
5. ‘Clear as a bell’, ‘with bells on’, ‘lots of bells and whistles’, ‘saved by the bell’…which phrase ‘rings’ truest for you lately? Have you ever seen The Liberty Bell?
“Clear as a bell”….as in “I wish my hearing was as clear as a bell”. We have a tendency to tinnitus and deafness in my family, and recently I have been experiencing more spells of tinnitus than I’ve had before. I have had it on and off for as long as I can remember, but just at the moment it seems to be more frequent, more annoying and louder in volume than it has in the past. It has begun interfering with my hearing too, and at one point over the weekend when I was climbing the stairs, I got an attack of the whistling in my left ear at the precise time my right ear hearing “timed out” for a couple of seconds and I over-balanced slightly. Actually come to think of it, I wonder if that’s why I fell in the shower too? Hmmm…might have to go and have that checked at the doctors.
And no, I’ve never seen the Liberty Bell but I have played it lots of times!!
6. Are you caught up in World Cup Fever? Have you watched a lot, a little or none at all?
I wouldn’t say I’m caught up in the fever of it all, but I have really enjoyed the matches that I have watched. We didn’t expect our team to do very well, but even by England’s standards, that showing in the group stages was woefully pitiful. But, looking on the bright side, being a Manchester City supporter, there were plenty more opportunities to see my favourite players in action because they play all over the world. (I know there’s an argument to be had about the state of the domestic league’s make up of national players but hey, I’m not getting into that here!). I was rooting for the USA last night – Tim Howard is a hero – but I’m glad that my Vincent Kompany’s side did well and got through.
7.  Bid farewell to June in ten words or less.
Is it that time ALREADY??
8. My random thought:
I don’t know that I have got enough fingernails left to last me until I get my result from my OU module in a couple of weeks. We have been told it will be sometime after the online forums go to “read only”, and definitely before 18th July but we don’t know exactly when it will happen. The forums went to read only over the weekend… *chew, bite, gnaw, chew, nibble….