Cimbalo echoing …


Art and remembering echo come to us in so many rich forms. I came across a photo of Aksana Nairanouskaya earlier today and remembered meeting her in Barcelona a few years ago. Her enthusiasm and joy were infectious and, like the city itself, unforgettable. Interestingly though, I came to meet her by way of having first been moved to tears.

Ambling along on one of those balmy Barcelona days, the afternoon temperature just perfect for me, I suddenly felt myself welling up, ‘tears tripping,’ as they say, without immediately knowing why. And then I saw Aksana at her cimbalo, and recognised her playing – on that occasion – what is, to me, one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most haunting, loving, tender, teaching pieces of music on earth: the theme for Schindler’s List. That’s the power of music’s evocation – moved to tears before even properly registering what I was hearing. And ever thereafter still echoing …

Aaah. Beautiful, beautiful Barcelona! … fins la pròxima vegada ...


Change of mood

Photo Smart Garden Guide

Some poets say they’ll go on strike
and damn it the interest rate
has gone to pot again and it
might rain and that will wreck your now
unaffordable hairdo and
your flimsy blue paper mask too –
what to do Prime Minister – tell
me will you what to bloody do?

This woman looked at oxalis
and picked
up her pencil and began to
draw – for she knows the score that with
breakfast news you can swallow it
and suffer or instead turn to
muse-create and think of a date
for rendez-vous and masked picnic

The news sponge looks grey – past knowing
what to do or say – while pencilled
oxalis triangulates on
paper and her interested
eyes lead the artist to surmise
that attention given to a
fragile leaf must change someone’s mood

For the better

Everything waiting

Photo 2CRG

David Whyte speaks of ‘the intimacy of your surroundings’ in his ‘Everything is Waiting for You’ – and thereby changed the way I look at life and our world; at a robin, morning mist hung low over the Pennine Ridge at sunrise, a blade of grass, a waxy leaf, the smile of a food hall cashier, the warmth contained in a person’s expressed hopes, spent energy, graced art, delights, desires, grief or pain.

I celebrate the intimacy of my surroundings at home, in the volumes on my library shelves, in growing compost, in oceans, and the great bodies of water in English Lakeland, in who and what I am, in memories, supper, and plans for tomorrow. And I am not alone …

A nip in the air

Photo 2CRG

There’s a distinct nip in the air this morning and condensation is blurring the view from the windows here. Everyone I’ve seen has been bright and cheerful – the (very real) concerns of C-19 life in the UK giving way to blue skies, crisp air, freshness and – well – whatever it is that makes us leap up and out and about with enthusiasm on a day like today.

William Stafford reflected in an autumn-sort-of-a-way in his Vocation (link)

Now both of my parents, the long line through the plain,
the meadowlarks, the sky, the world’s whole dream
remain, and I hear him say while I stand between the two,
helpless, both of them part of me:
“Your job is to find what the world is trying to be.”

Close bosom-friend

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage trees …

John Keats

Autumn mornings like this one have me up from bed and off downstairs, barefoot, to stand for a few moments on the bejewelled grass – and be thankful …

Borders and beyond

Photo by Leah Kelley on

I’m fond of Border Terriers – chiefly because their faces are so expressive. I came across two of them with their human earlier. Each little face – without words – was quite clearly saying: ‘let’s go on adventures.’ And it occurred to me that their freedom of spirit is precisely why they always look so cheerful, and up for whatever’s coming their way. So look out. When we meet I’ll want to chat about what adventures we’ve got lined up!

Who knew?

Photo 2CRG

Funny how little things spark memories and inner warmth. I couldn’t help noticing the very brightly painted, multicoloured fingernails of a lady on our village green today. I was instantly taken back to February this year, in Castries, St Lucia, where I spotted this fabulous little place. El Shaddai is translated in English as ‘God Almighty.’ Who knew that the Divine has their own hair and nail salon? This serves as a prompt to post some more photos of one of the most colourful and friendly places I’ve seen.


Image by pasja1000 at Pixabay

Chatting with a friend over lunch today touched upon the beauty of ‘Austen-esque’ language. Full of words and modes of speech that have become rather old-fashioned to contemporary ears, Jane Austen’s classics are no less loved by me for that.

One such word, at least one that I don’t often hear, is ‘enthralled’ – which really quite describes me! On the one hand I’ve begun to believe myself a bit forgetful, and on the other I’m enjoying a kind of renaissance-return to the beguiled delights of curious childhood, before ‘education’ and ‘what you need to do now’ interrupted my reverie.

Today I find myself glad again to have time to take time – and observe that there’s a great deal to have one’s attention held by – often tiny things. Pasja1000 created this marvellous photograph of a single lawn daisy and I am, Miss Bennet, ‘enthralled’ by all that I see (and hear?) in it.


Photo by Nandhu Kumar on

If you were able to find what your precious heart most loves and reaches out to; your boundless soul most aspires to and takes delight in; your extra-ordinary mind most often returns to and celebrates; and your beautiful body most yearns for – glowing with health and joy and connected profoundly: where (and maybe with whom – known or imagined) would you be?


Please indulge me again. I know I keep coming back to this piece. The music is sublime, but I’ve come back to this little video at least once a week for years, I think, because the intense and delightful connection between conductor, musicians and choir leaves me utterly spellbound. Note the conductor’s continued concentration and movement into the silence at the end of the piece – and his delight, throughout, in both the music and the connection. I think this is close to musical perfection … as some of you may have noticed from time to time in the past!