If you didn’t get out of bed the very second the morning bell went you were in trouble. It was the Headgirl’s job to wake everyone up, about 100 girls in total in dormitories of up to 30. My bed was closest to the door once and we all used to shove it up against the door so that she couldn’t get the door open. It gave us a few more seconds in bed but it was surprising how quickly she got round the whole school. If you were still in bed when she came in she rang the bell right next to your head. If that didn’t work or you were just stunned for a second with the noise she would grab your mattress at your feet and roll it up. The technique must have been practised by each new Head as it very effectively put you on the floor. Very surprisingly I had forgotten all about this until we watched a programme about Borstal Boys the other night …! In this programme the warden just tipped the whole bed over so I guess we were lucky! The harps are struggling with the cold at the moment. I took ‘Chorus’ out last week to play to some ladies and the Village Hall was swelteringly hot. The harp literally shed a bucket of water. I explained to the bemused ladies what was going on as I dusted and mopped the soundboard. Luckily I was booked to talk about the harp as well so we had a good laugh and after 20 minutes Chorus was sounding her best.
Was too busy doing Winter Weddings these past two weeks but the weddings were particularly amazing – every year winter weddings seem to take on a new high. The ‘tech’ teams for the lighting are now arriving in huge artics! The old country house hotels I work in are transformed into wonderlands – either with huge ‘Victorian’ mechanical Christmas toys or ceilings lit up with thousands of tiny lights so that when you look up you think there is no roof and you are literally looking up into Heaven itself. The weather was either wet and grey – in which case it was lovely to be transformed – or it was deep in snow ‘deep and crisp and even’! Back at the farm Dodge the donkey was unimpressed however. He loves to work and we are looking for a small cart for him. Growing up we had a donkey called Flossy and Dad commissioned a proper sleigh to be made one Christmas. Wooden reindeer antlers were strapped onto Flossy’s bridal and there were secret wheels set under the skids out of sight. She pulled this sleigh around the houses where we lived and Father Christmas sat in the sleigh and gave out presents. Occasionally disaster would happen as Flossy loved sherry and mince pies. She was quite a large donkey and if she tried to set off up the garden path she completely forgot about her precious cargo and it was left stuck in the gate hole as she grabbed her booty.
”Rain, rain go away, come again another day” … The puddles around here are very deceiving – every now and then we get sink holes and you step in and your foot is sucked down – usually to just above the top of your wellies so that the cold muddy water rushes down your leg. Hmmmm! The garden around the house is drenched or under water and we scrape the ditches and drains clean with a special hoe to keep the water running down hill! At boarding school the back door out onto the fruit gardens was constantly flooding. The water used to creep down the corridor and we used to ‘dare’ to test its deepness. It was usually Sister Janet Elizabeth’s job to sort it (JE for short) and she hitched her habit and red petticoat up into her knotted waist rope. Nuns started off with a plain black rope and ‘achieved’ up to 3 status knots. One was for chastity but I cannot remember what the other two were for. I did wonder though why they didn’t automatically get them all at the start. Anyway the nun’s habit is totally impractical for flood defence work and the poor woman got thoroughly soaked. We liked JE and had a lot of respect for her so used to crowd into the corridor and cheer her on. In the summer we used to volunteer to pick the raspberries and strawberries – we had to whistle constantly and an old nun was ordered to sit in an equally old deck chair and listen. I was never any good at whistling but some girls claimed they managed to eat loads. A Christmas wedding today – all the old favourites – ‘I’m dreaming of a White Christmas’ – during the signing of the Register – and in my favourite hotel … 🙂
I am nearly ready with black button boots, long wool coat trimmed with velvet and matching hat … As a hobby I make the clothes for ventriloquist puppets. In today’s outing the Sultan of Khaidalu, Mr Jinx and a vicar will accompany me to the Steampunk Festival in Haworth. They are all suitably dressed. The Sultan of Khaidalu has swopped his massive turban for a stovepipe hat, decorated with Victorian ribbon and 2 feathers – one bright red, donated by my parrot, Lils, and the other, copper black from one of my hens. I always loved dressing up and have wardrobes full of harp costumes – Elizabethan, Georgian, medieval etc and when I am out playing my harp people come up to me and ask if I would like a box of ribbons or buttons which they were just about to throw out. I treasure each button and keep them in old tins on the kitchen shelf. My kitchen is very different as it is the hub of all my creativity. Harps get made on the table, there is usually a sewing project on the go and in and amongst the cooking gets done!
here is a quote about Fiona Katie from another website
Fiona Katie Roberts
Fiona-Katie started her musical career at the age of 11 years old and went on to achieve prize winning performances at both concerts and festivals.
After following her dream to research and resurrect the rare 16th C Italianate tripleharp, Fiona-Katie now designs and makes her own exquisite harps and has a collection of over 26 historical and modern harps, with many period costumes to add extra special ambience to any event.
Fiona-Katie has memorised many hours of music and has a highly impressive repertoire which remains timeless and covers many different cultures.Fiona-Katie continues to deliver time after time giving show stopping, foot tapping performances at both concerts and festivals and has worked alongside top bands whilst on tour in America.