O Grande Amor, the song of stress.

Stan Getz

I simply cannot explain it.  It’s bizarre but I had to listen to this fantastic album again yesterday to find out that this is the name of the song which I have noticed that I hum to myself in times of stress.  I had mistakenly thought it was another on the album, which I catch myself humming when things are getting all too much.  It starts off as an unconscious thing, but then I realise and it is like an old friend, immediately calming.

I first recall the regularity of humming it whilst walking through the corridors of the cardiac unit with my father, when he returned to see the consultant after having a heart bypass. But it has been with me far longer than that, occasionally I attempt to sing parts of it too.  I have owned the album for many years, since 1998 when I began to buy CD’s more often than cassette tapes. I have also found that after arguments it also mysteriously appears.

I have no idea as to the why?  I am unable to shed any light upon why of all the music I have heard over the years and grown up with, this is the one which returns and why there is one at all. Perhaps there is some deep seated reason I have yet to find out, but  I do love the song and I know that I love listening to Jazz music.

Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – O Grande Amor

Sheet Music and Musical Events.

I remember that I am sitting in my Grandmother’s house, at the time when I was learning to play the recorder. I had to learn how to read music. It was the only way I would progress and be able to play in the school orchestra. As a small child, I did not have the lungpower for a proper wind instrument. I had only a small voice and couldn’t quite muster enough puff to play for any length of time. However, my Grandmother persisted with me. She would always help you if you were willing to be taught, laughing as I write this as the reality dawns that I am exactly the same in that respect. You shouldn’t waste your time on people with no wish to learn. If only I had remembered that in the training sessions of my later employ, when others who did not wish to partake, sat looking blankly on, saying that they just, didn’t “get it.”

I remember her running through the notes with me, singing which were which and explaining each one of them to me and where they would be within the piece of music.
Gone with the mists of time I now do not recall any of the knowledge behind it, I remember that I like the treble clef with it’s artistic swirl at the beginning of a piece. Whether it will return or be dragged from my mind kicking and screaming remains to be seen. I had decided that I wanted to learn a musical instrument. The recorder was a cheap instrument for my parents to buy, they couldn’t afford a trumpet, my hands were so small that I probably in truth couldn’t hold one. I could barely reach the bottom hole on the recorder. I had a Hohner recorder, it was black with a cream line around each section where it screwed together and you could dismantle it for cleaning, along with a plastic cleaner like a large needle and a piece of fabric threaded through the top. You pulled it through the instrument to remove saliva deposits so that it didn’t sound like you were just blowing bubbles. I also had a bamboo recorder, which had been acquired from goodness knows where, but my mother deemed unhygienic and spirited away. I think that one had come from one of the jumble sales. My Grandmother For the classes at school, I was required to learn to read music, so that we could play whatever was required for assembly or the forthcoming concerts.

Although I have a love of music, playing an instrument did not come easily to me, around the same time, my parents decided to play and sing together in a band. My father on guitar and them both vocalising, my mother also had a tambourine to accompany them. They enjoyed themselves and would take us along to visit other churches, parties at houses of the people in the church and various places, the songs were religious and they were part of the local Baptist church congregation. They would take my brother and I along. I played a tambourine to join in but I think my brother just sat it out, he wasn‘t one for singing or musical instruments. It was at this time, that I recall they played at an asylum, it happened more than once, but I remember feeling distinctly uncomfortable being there. There were patients milling around and a few “orderlies” standing around listening to them in a room. It seemed to go on forever and as small children do from time to time, I needed to go to the bathroom. They hadn’t finished their song, but I couldn’t wait, so telling my Mother where I was going, they continued to sing and play. I remember walking along the corridor to the toilet, I saw a man was coming the other way. I looked at my feet, attempting not to make eye contact and attempted to walk on past, he suddenly veered towards me and I looked up, at that point the man shrieked at me and clasped his hands to his head, then went off to bang his head against the wall. I ran away as he laughed manically. There was a room with people in further down , a lady screamed out, someone told her to calm down and not to fuss, what on earth were they doing to her in there?

It was quite some distance from the room where my parents were, to the visitors toilets. I don’t think that the organisers had put much thought into it putting us in a lounge away from the usual visitor area. I didn’t like the place, it made me so terribly sad to be there. In this huge and beautiful old building, on a bright sunny day with a wonderful wide expanse of garden outside, where no-one was allowed to play and where supervised people shuffled along the pathways, unable to walk on the grass. A place where despite the singing and praising the Lord, all I could hear was screams and cries. I went to the bathroom and despite my fear of being locked into places, I locked that door. I did not want anyone to come and get me, besides I had to pull together enough courage to make it back along the corridors.

I ran back to the room, clattering along the corridors, I saw a lady curled up in a corner, two nurses were trying to get her back into her room, she clearly did not want to go, she wrestled with them. They asked me what I was doing in that part of the hospital on my own, I shouldn’t be there. I explained that I was going to the toilet. Keep going they urged me and don’t stop to talk. I flew along the corridors and crashed back into the room, the parents were still playing, surrounded by inmates who were now singing along in their own way, rocking back and forth, emitting strange noises. I’m not sure, but think that it did them some good,. I was quiet on the way home. I asked later told my parents that I didn‘t want to have to go back there. I was scared of the people there, they were in the process of telling me that I shouldn‘t worry they were only people who were sick, that we were trying to help. But I was adamant that I did not want to return and told them what had happened when I needed to go to the toilet. My mother berated me for not taking my (older) brother with me when I went. I said, he wouldn’t be allowed in the girls toilet. So after that they agreed that it probably wasn’t a good idea for me to go again. On going to school, the next day I was asked in class what we did at the weekend. I told the teacher, she did not believe that I could possibly have been there, why would a child go to such a place. Surely I had made it up, some of the children decided to be cruel, chanting that I had been to the “nut house” and that my parents must have taken me there because I needed to see a Doctor, and I should have been left there. My sleep was disturbed for some time afterwards, I regularly had nightmares about the place.

I think that after that, my love of learning music waned. I do not remember continuing and being a part of the Orchestra for the school concert. Later I looked at learning the piano, but my parents would not entertain it. It’s a shame since in my earlier years, we actually had a piano. I did teach myself “Do Re Mi” from the Sound of Music on the piano which was held in a room at a church we later attended, it was a beautiful grand piano which had rolls of music which could play fantastic pieces, if you wound it up, I would spend hours in there just listening to it. Someone had donated it to them and it was kept in a room there. I always snuck in there to play it whenever I had the chance. Most people learned chopsticks, I was different. Looking at a page of music, I now only see notes and not a way to play them, maybe I have blocked it all out

Years later, my friend was stationed at the same hospital for part of her nurse training, I stayed well away from the building but did visit her in the nurses quarters on a few occasions.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I saw on Twitter yesterday, I think that is why this particular memory came back to me. At eight years old I decided that I never wanted to be put in one of “those places“, who knows what happened there, but the people were so very broken, they would never be the same again. I did not know, nor was it pointed out to me that sometimes people actually recovered from mental illness. No-one thought to explain what mental illness was or that it affects people in varying degrees and takes on many different forms. For many years, I had one view of it, I thought that it was where people “ended up” since there was often talk of suicides there and I certainly did not want to go there or join that club. To this day, I struggle with seeing people rocking, it takes me right back to that time. I do want to try and help, to hold them close, take away their pain and stop them from doing it. Seeing that person rocking years ago, throwing their body into the wall, faster and faster has stayed with me. I did not understand the relief that could possibly be gained from literally banging your head against the wall, later I figured it was as they tried to escape from themselves and the pain that they were in. I have always tried to avoid doing the headbanging, it tends to be a more subliminal thing with me. Years ago, I watched the film One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with Jack Nicholson. Although I could appreciate the acting in it was brilliant, I found it one of the most disturbing films that I have ever seen, it brought back so many of the images from those visits to the hospital which had lain buried for years. There is a stigma, no one wants to be thought of as unstable, deranged or messed up. We all have our moments, some last longer than others. Some feel as though they are insurmountable. Some get help and iron out the crumpled bits, living to fight another day. Some fight their own battles for years, denying they even exist then life slams your head into that wall and you get a wake up call.

The Music of The Hills

6 (6)A storm is brewing, keep things close at hand.
The woods gently sing their quiet song.
The wind is blowing across the top along the land,
Begins it’s low howl it resonates deep and long.
Building itself up, as though to make an entrance,
Bending trees along the way, start to sway and dance.
Reaching it‘s crescendo thunder crashing through the hills,
A dramatic drum roll there it’s mad frenzy sending chills.
Hurling itself up before swirling around the ledges,
Nature singing out from the safety of the hedges,
Cattle calling across the way, invisible in the mist.
Lovers lost to it’s emotions, meeting for their tryst.
Eerily silent once again, this weather is a curse,
before tinkling raindrops signal the next verse.
Thoughts are stirred up taking you right back,
For a moment, you temporarily sidetrack.
Lost up there in music, a world away from your own,
As they rest again exhausted, the hills will sigh and moan.
This is the music of the hills,
Pay close attention to how it feels,
Of all things fierce and good.
Played out by the Orchestra of the Wood.

The Daily Post – The Music of The Hills

A Little bit of Glamour, or Striving for Fabulous

It’s about time that I got glammed up again. I know that things must be getting better after all this time, when I start to think to myself I am feeling the urge to get glammed up. A chance to be Glamorous again. This urge, can last a mere moment, or if I am lucky I will push myself, find something smart to wear and try new make up, so that IF I should venture out somewhere and my weight or shape hasn’t changed then I am sure to know what to wear and not spend hours hunting for the perfect thing. I even thought about doing my nails. And was thinking about a photograph which was taken some years ago now, when I was going out to a function, In my mother in law’s gifted fur coat, good jewellery and make up and a sparkly dress. I showed my partner the photo a few months ago, he asked who it was. Then he remembered the coat and realised. My mother told me that I didn’t look like me. I took that as a kind of compliment, that I had somehow pulled it off being dressed up to the nines.

Ok so I might have to push myself to actually do this again now. I haven’t worn earrings for years and nail varnish for about 4 years, none not even when going out. I bought some, but it has gone off. Hmm, a lot can be said for that comment alone…

You know rather than an old favourite dress, I could try something new or wear something different. I am not used to going out you see, I used to be.  I worked in the events industry for a while, so I was used to being around people and mingling.  Some years ago, we had a different life to the one we had now. We had holidays abroad, went out to events and dinners’ fairly regularly and had a busy social life. I was quite the social butterfly. I am not quite sure what changed it all so drastically, but it stopped, so completely that I began to feel like a fish out of water in such places. I think it was after my last surgery, which changed both my body and my frame of mind.

A Hysterectomy can cause havoc upon your self confidence! Although I always felt as though my life had truly begun, opening up opportunities to enjoy myself in ways that I couldn’t before. My life totally changed. When your life changes in such a way, you are often unrecognisable to yourself, let alone others.

I have not been able to drink like I used to, which is not such a bad thing it’s definitely healthier for me. Although people think that you can’t have so much fun. I guess you see fun in a different light and sober you can‘t see the sense in not knowing how you made it home. I also figured that if I drove myself, then I would always know that particular answer. However, I do still have the occasional few drinks but don‘t get smashed very often. I also have an inbuilt stop button, where suddenly when I have had enough alcohol, I will just stop and drink water. I can’t help it, I get thirsty!

I also figured that I wasn‘t great around loud noise any more, with high blood pressure, a side effect of growing up in our family which arrived before the operation and has not left, I find that the bass or beats pound through my head, raising it to an uncomfortable level leaving the throbbing in my ears and waves of nausea through my body and a headache which can last for hours. So bang goes the nightclub lifestyle or live music events, which is difficult to explain to a family who love it and is full of musicians.

We used to go to nice restaurants, especially when we were away. It is a sad indictment that the first words you learn in a foreign language for your holiday are “Hello, I am Lactose Intolerant, Please No Dairy.” It kinds of restricts you before you even start, at best, the resident chef will make you his project for “interesting new dishes” and at worst, you will suffer as I did in a beautiful chateau in France, where this was ignored and every dish was cooked in Butter. Tasting absolutely amazing, but I couldn’t make it through the meal before running for the bathroom.

Now, our social events usually revolve around a meal with family or friends, usually relaxed and in one or other’s homes. The chance to talk, (we do a lot of that) and I feel that in some ways, even though it may be temporary, we are living slightly vicariously, hearing about other’s fantastic holidays and events and this needs to change.

So although it has been a while, I think that I should make time to find a nice outfit, as though I was going out somewhere fabulous again, prepare myself for the event and do my make up and with it build the confidence to throw myself back out there headlong into the world and all it has to offer.
I think even if I can’t quite pull off Glamorous, then I should at least aim for Fabulous.

The lyrics in my head, “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again”

The Music Box

You are listening to the Fleur de Lys,
And how the music is there to please.
Caught up at once in a whirl,
Watching as around she twirls.
Her audience of silver and gold,
Sparkle and glint from days of old.
The box you would buy for a little girl,
As you watch her wonderful life unfurl.
Dressing up pieces for her pleasure.
Are the items she will come to treasure.
Replaced in the box and wind the key,
Poised for the next time you want to see.
Ready to dance you’d see that she did,
After all those years when you lifted the lid.
Spring it open and look what you found,
As she spins around and around.
Her paint is old, her skirt is tattered,
Dressing up jewellery broken and battered
As you open the box, she’ll take to the stage
Despite the fact, she’s showing her age.
Relentless she dances on and on,
The Music box still plays her song.
Around the room, a little girl dances
With grace, she bends and prances
As she listens to the favoured tune,
Head so dizzy she starts to swoon.
As you open it up, surprised to find,
A dancer who stands up there behind,
You wind her up and watch her go,
On her stage to see her show.

Soliloquy

Soliloquy –
noun, plural soliloquies.
1.
an utterance or discourse by a person who is talking to himself or herself or is disregardful of or oblivious to any hearers present (often used as a device in drama to disclose a character’s innermost thoughts): Hamlet’s soliloquy begins with “To be or not to be.”.
2.
the act of talking while or as if alone.

How odd, how sometimes just a word will come to you out of the blue. It’s meaning is not even clear at the time. Sometimes you will not pay it attention and it will hang there in the air, awaiting your consideration for another time.

The word appeared in my head I had to look up the meaning of it, as I could not recall. But there I was, suddenly I was googling who the music was by as it reminded me that I once had a friend many years ago, who had a great Jazz album which I loved and listened to often. It was called Soliloquy, it was by Dick Morrissey and I had an urge just to listen to the music again.

When Will It Be?

I wonder when the notes we’ll send,
Or when we get to see our friends.
When the time is right and we are able
To gather them around the table.
To celebrate with us in the here and now.
A dearest wish, no it’s a vow!
So open your diaries, save the date
It’s time for me to marry my mate.
You see there are some plans in place.
A smile planted firmly on my face.
An occasion that’s usually lent,
To conversation and merriment!
You wanted to marry by your 60 years,
That day will come with Happy tears.
We’ve waited so long for this time,
To show in front of the world, you’re mine.
So open your diaries, save the date
It’s time for us to accept our fate.

We had booked the church and hired the hall,
But Nature was harsh and so very cruel.
So the date was put off, just postponed,
And to our surprise, nobody moaned.
The dresses packed up safe and secure,
Shoes in the box, an exciting lure.
Our lives are filled with much emotion
A light never dulled with such devotion
So here you have stayed and we have lasted,
Through sickness and health we haven’t parted.
We just put it off till the time was right
It will be soon, Our Day, Our Night.

In my head just think of the party we’ll plan,
In a beautiful place, along with my man.
A place to sit with our friends who will dine,
At the end of a day that’s filled with sunshine.
A day that’s long we’ll enjoy to the end,
a meal so grand the occasion to lend.
We are all seated down by the river,
I’m there in the moment, it sends a shiver.
With music and dancing and happiness too,
Conversation and laughter between the few.
This is my wish and I must believe,
That it’s one for us, that we will achieve.