Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Fill my heart with song and let me sing forevermore..."

I had such a good time tonight playing the piano at Warwick's and Elizabeth's I don't know if I can concentrate enough to write a coherent entry... is is 11:30pm and all I want to do is go to bed so I can lie there, warm and toasty under the covers, and revel in the good feelings playing music always gives me.

Today was extremely cold for December in New Zealand; so cold, in fact, that when I was outside working in the garden this afternoon I put on my coat! The one upside of this was the heavy low cloud minimised the risk of sunburn; I have a sunburn on my lower back right now from bending over weeding and having my shirt ride up my spine, exposing my skin. I was alarmed at how red and severe the burn was, considering the sun was only out for perhaps twenty minutes yesterday from 8:30-8:50am, and of that my back was only facing into the sun for maybe ten of those. Two lessons learned: 1) any part of the body can burn, not just arms and legs and faces (duh), and 2) it is best to wear long shirts and tuck them in!

This morning I worked in the front garden weeding until 10:15am or so, and then Skye and Finn and I went down to the church to watch the children's nativity pageant. Well, it turns out it started at 10am, not 10:30, so we only caught the last few minutes, but in reality that was enough for me; I'm not much for nativity pageants, and while the little three- and four-year-olds were cute, I'm also not fond of preschoolers (as anyone who has worked with me at the Forest Museum knows). After the pageant tea and sandwiches were served outside on the lawn, and once again I was struck by how hard it is for my brain to accept that it is December, and the early days of summer.

After lunch I did some work on the computer, helped my Scottish friend Jen figure out Skype on her new MacBook (somehow I managed not to make and "Mc" or "Mac" Scottish jokes while doing that, te he), and then walked downtown to the OP Shop (the thrift store run by the church) to buy some clothes to wear while gardening. Shirts for $2! Can't beat that.

The rest of the afternoon I spent weeding again; I'm happy to say that the front garden is more or less completely weeded now. I'm thinking of starting on the side or on weeding the driveway itself, which is more weeds than gravel in certain sections; but of course, what I do is up to Skye.

After dinner Skye and I headed up the hill to Warwick's and Elizabeth's (Finn decided to stay home), and I entertained the three of them by playing a mini "concert" as it were... which consisted of me playing several pieces properly (Bach French Suite in E, Chopin's "Raindrop Prelude"), and then sharing a few little ditties from my years learning from RCM books ("Oriental Flower", "Boats at Anchor", "The Clown", "Gallop"). I also played a piece I wrote, and then simply improvised on a few folk songs. When Warwick and Elizabeth went to get us a cup of tea I degenerated into total improvising on chord progressions, but Skye didn't seem to mind indulging my wanderings.

After playing we all sat around the living room (Warwick and I on either side of the coffee table, Elizabeth and Skye on the couch), and had conversations on several interesting topics, ranging from coffins and cremation to teaching and WWOOFing! Warwick and I also conversed at length about all things musical; it was so nice to have a fellow musician to talk to, as we could speak of chord progressions and styles and composers and songs and know that the other was following along perfectly. I miss being able to say things like, "Well, I was going to put a VII chord after the vi, but decided II was a better choice, because vi - II - IV - I works better in terms of symmetry of falling fourths" and having the other person go, "Oh, yes, I agree! Or you could substitute the vi for VI and then use VII to I, and have it be a cliché pop ending...".

Warwick invited me to come up and play again any time that I like, and gave me a big hug as Skye and I left, thanking me for sharing my music with him; he said hearing his Bechstein being played has inspired him to practise some solo repertoire. I told him he should dig out his duet books for when I come by again...

But now it is late (almost 11:45pm) and I must be up early again tomorrow, so will end this entry here. Night!


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