As I mentioned in Friday's post, I spent the weekend at the Malcolm Arnold Festival in Northampton. It was, shall we say, a bit of a curate's egg; some of the music was wonderful, some of it not so wonderful. Arnold had various troubles in his life that are reflected in his works and I think some of the pieces we heard might have been written when he was having a bad day. However, it probably says more about me than him that I find that solo brass performances sound as though the player is running through his rudiments, rather than trying to entertain the audience.
One of the talks we sat through was equally challenging. It should have been fascinating - the role of the CIA in controlling the music scene - but it was just baffling. I'm not an idiot (quiet at the back!), but I found it rather demoralising to keep being told 'Of course, you all know that...' when I didn't!
I went to another less than satisfying talk last night, this time on the topic of Agatha Christie. There is an excellent exhibition in our town museum about this writer, and the woman behind the collection was at the art gallery to give us a talk. Trouble was that while she was undoubtedly a fan and clearly has a lot of memorabilia, a public speaker she was not. Now, as regular readers will know, I'm no public speaker either - but then I don't pretend to be.
I've edited enough books by subject experts to be able to say that knowing all there is to know about something doesn't mean you can write about it or, it seems, speak about it. Am I being harsh? Perhaps. I'm sorry: I have a cold.
Join the blog hop and share your celebrations with us. Here are mine.
My day began with a text from a friend wishing me a happy day, for no reason other than that she was thinking of me. Isn't that nice?
Then I got an email from Smashwords to say someone had left me a 5-star review for my free short story 'Briefs Encounter'. Well, thank you!
I have a weekend of culture planned. It's the Malcolm Arnold Festival in Northampton, so I'm dusting off my opera glasses and intelligent conversation to go and mix with the musical cognoscenti of the county.
I was co-host at a yoga workshop yesterday, which is always a lovely way to spend an afternoon. What was particularly nice this time was that everyone there knew at least one other person; sitting in a circle, there was a complete chain link through the whole group. We did some bending and stretching, working through chakras and making the best of the autumn sunshine. (Apparently it rained at home, which was all of half an hour away.) We finished, as always, with deep relaxation. Bliss!
There was a nice connection this afternoon, too, when on the spur of the moment I went to the Weaving Words writing group run by Kezzabelle, our local performance poet and all round good egg. Who should open the door, but one of my former yoga students!
One of the exercises we did together was to write a list of all the things we'd done in our lives that we were proud of. I found this incredibly difficult - in fact, we all did. I could remember doing well in a primary school, but beyond that... After some discussion/therapy, we picked one thing off our preliminary list and worked it up into the beginnings of something literary. Because I'm not very good at it, and because Kezza is a poet, I thought I'd have a go at something verse-like. All I can say is, if they ever need someone to rework Rupert the Bear, I'm the woman for a job.
Sometimes all you want to do is stand on top of a hill in the autumn sunshine with a good friend and let the wind blow away your cares. Well, I'm celebrating that I had the chance to do just that with my pal Steph, whom I've known since we were 11 and who has had the good sense to move to Skipton. There's nothing like a weekend in Yorkshire for lifting spirits.
We walked up Sharp Haw, where if you look one way you can see the Lake District; turn around and you can see the Yorkshire Dales. Perfect.
We've had birthday celebrations, too: my sister-in-law Melanie, my 'baby' Joe, who is now 23, and, tomorrow, my godson Chris. Good times all round.
Just a quick one today: I'm celebrating shopping local. I went into Not Just Words bookshop+ to drop in a donation for the local food bank. Rachel who runs the shop is holding a music night there tomorrow to raise funds and I can't go because I'm off to Skipton for the weekend (because that's how I roll). Of course, I came home with a bag of books. Well, it would be rude not too!
Then I went into Waterstones and bought tickets for the next two comedy events at the Arts Centre, had a little browse around the market, bought something for tea and then came home.
Last night I taught a Wednesday evening yoga class for the last time. My other classes will carry on, but from next week this one will be in the capable hands of Claire.
I've been with this group for about seven years, which hardly seems possible. We've shared some good times. For instance, there was that memorable night in June when the council folk turned up at the school to set up for polling day and I forcibly evicted them for being noisy. Just because we're tranquil (ahem) doesn't mean you can push us around. Even last night, there was a funny moment when proceedings ground to a halt while a visiting spider was evicted, with considerably more care than the polling people, I might add.
Over the years, we've had news of new babies, weddings and other celebrations; and also some bereavements and other upsets. Through it all, my yogis have been loyal and turned up rain or shine to do some bending and stretching, some mindful breathing and some lying down.
I'm giving up this class to make space for other things, and it will free up quite a bit of time. It's not just the 90 minutes of the class itself, but also the half-hour either side for travelling and on-site admin: plus, of course the behind-scenes planning and follow-up paperwork. Perhaps I'll finally get round to writing that next yoga book. Watch this space.