Saturday, 5th August, 2023

[Day 1237]

Today dawned as a thoroughly wet and miserable day and it threatened to rain all day – and certainly did this morning. We thought we pop into Waitrose for a coffee this morning and bumped into one of our regulars but another two of our Saturday morning regulars may have been deterred by the rain. We spent a pleasant half hour or so, chatting about this and that and the subject of reading matter came up. I promised to let our friend have our copy of Michelle Obama’s biography to read because she had already read Barack Obama’s biography and enjoyed that so I thought she would probably enjoy that of his wife as well. Whenever Michelle Obama used to visit London, she often visited the poorer (and black) areas of East London where she must have been an amazing inspiration for some of those childdren, coming from similar roots herself. After we had done a bit of shopping we decided to go home but via our favourite little charity shop which is ‘suburban’ rather than High Street and where the staff are always incredibly friendly. Moreover, the shop is always crammed full of really interesting stuff as well. I popped into to see if tbey did have some cushion covers and picked up four for less than £2.00. But I must say I was tempted by some ceramic owls that I think could be lit internally with little tree lights but looked quite presentable in themselves. Whilst these were being packed for me, the assistant pointed out two stunning vases that had just been dropped into the shop that morning and as an impulse buy, I bought both of them because I think they will be a very useful addition to an otherwise bare window sill so these were added to the collection as well. When I got Meg home and sitting down with a cup of tea and some biscuits, I gave my new purchases a wash and got them located just where I wanted within a few minutes. Throughout the course of this morning, I have given the bamboo chair I am restoring for our domestic help another quick treatment of Scratch cover remover (used as a restoring agent in this case) When this preparation is first applied, it gives the bamboo a fairly lustrous appearance but it then fades after an hour to a more muted look. I am assuming that after a few more coats, the waxes in the preparation might have built up somewhat but when the improvements have come to a halt, as it were, I shall attempt an actual bit of beeswax on an unconspicuous part of the frame to see if I dare extend this treatment to the whole of it.

Last night in the course of the evening, I heard a rendition of the American song ‘Shenandoah‘ broadcast on Classic FM. For reasons, I cannot fully explain, I have always enjoyed the slow but evocative rhythms of this piece (not too different to the ‘Barcarolle‘ when you think about it). I have a vague recollection of singing this in a public concert put on for/by primary school children as part of some local festival – this may be a part of a false memory syndrome but I have always enjoyed the piece. During the night, in a wakeful session, I managed to locate and download a simplified version of ‘Shenandoah‘ and then practiced it for a few times (evidently very softly on my instruments) I have not got it absolutely right just yet but with a bit more practice, I will probably be able to get the whole thing more or less correct. This afternoon, I have interspersed bits of reading with bits of music pracice and bits of furniture restoration before we went to the station at 4.00pm in order to collect my son from his jolly dog-sitting duties. I got to the station two minutes late and collected my son before delivering him to his own house. My all too frequent slow puncture symbol started to appear in the car so on the way homne, I needed to go and get the tyre inflated and if I drive carefully, it should be OK until Monday when I will go and get it fixed.

There was a story in ‘The Times’ today which warmed the heart. The Fringe events in the Edinburgh festival often attact very small audiences but the other night, one performer put on her act/play to the one person who had bought a ticket and turned up to constitute the audience. The performer tweeted her distress in social media but the following night had a complete surprise. So many of her fellow performers had taken pity on her and had bought up tickets so that on the following day, there was a sell-out and the performance went ahead to a full house. Many of the artist’s fellow performers indicated that performing to an incredibly small audience was the stuff of their private nightmares so collectively, they had taken pity on her and given her the surprise of her life. So I found this story to be quite a heart-warming one when you consider the rest of the dismal news to which we are subject daily.