You should see my new watering can.  It wasn’t expected.  I wrote down the code of a cheap plastic one but at the counter they told me they had sold out.  A voice from the back called out they had plenty of metal ones.  It is massive!  Beautifully shiney and looks very robust – ideal.  The unexpected is the norm in this house.  When one of my pupil’s Dads arrived to pick up his daughter after her piano lesson he accepted without comment the vision of us both dressed up with feathered headdresses playing a tune on page 12 called Hiawatha’s Dance.  The tune wasn’t particularly exciting but the story warranted me fetching one of my treasured possessions, a present from my Dad after one of his trips to America.  Another unexpected event this week.  We were at the tile warehouse in Bradford when my phone rang.  Huge apologies, Bradford Literature Festival thought the hotel had rung me and they thought the Festival office had rung me – was I free to play on Thursday night!  It is the first night dinner and I have  proudly played for the event every single year since it’s  inception.  I shall need two harps, one in the upstairs ballroom for the reception and one in the downstairs ballroom for the dinner and a splendid dress, to compete with the Saris priced in thousands  – one last year hand woven in gold thread in India.  When the guests are called to dinner I shall drum them out of the room and down the stairs then run through the kitchen, a short cut, and be playing Mascagny’s Intermezzo etc as they arrive for dinner. 

Practice in the dark

I am always telling my pupils to close their eyes or turn the light off. To listen instead of watching their fingers, to feel the music with their whole being.  As a child I always played in the dark, letting the music take over and never knowing where it would take me.  The other day I was booked to play at a local venue which had just finished a massive refurbishment.  It looked beautiful.  Alas the door didn’t work but I waited outside with my harp and a lady in her wheelchair whilst they ran up and down the stairs visible through the massive glass window till they found a plastic card that opened the door.  The auditorium was fantastic.  The chairs rose up in front of me to a great height and it was wonderful to see familiar faces and children in the audience.  I was looked after like a star!  Would I like tea or coffee?  Did I like the dressing room? Was it big enough?  Did I like the ensuite shower and bathroom?  Yes! (Wow!). The lights dimmed and I started to play.  Suddenly we were all plunged into pitch darkness.  I carried on and the audience applauded at the end of the piece.  A lady from the back apologised and said we could wait whilst they called the lighting engineer who had gone for lunch.  I replied no need if everyone was happy and to just leave the auditorium lights on.  I set off again and to our surprise the lights suddenly came on, followed immediately by a multicoloured disco effect zooming around the stage.  The audience cheered at the end of the tune, and the next and the next as we went from disco to black, to strobe, to zooming, to spotlight, and back to disco.  The children loved it and we had an amazing time.  I asked “any questions?” and over a hundred excited hands raised.  When we finally ended over 30 children and adults came to ‘have a go’.   The lady from the back was stressed.  We would have to leave and there wasn’t tine for this as there was a book group at 2 pm.  I packed up and carried my harp to the door.  A young man ran up apologising.  He was sorry he went for lunch.  That’s alright I replied, we made the best of it.  Apparently the lights were on automatic setting for a magic show…..