I mis-timed things yesterday and ended up a dot on a country road in the dark! As with most Sundays, the hours were swallowed up in the mundane, relaxing that bit too much, convincing oneself it is deserved until, suddenly, it is time for Songs of Praise – well, metaphorically speaking! I used to dread the sound of hymn singing emanating from the television, signalling the inevitable preparation for the constraints of the coming week: that Maths prep one brought home on Friday knowing nobody in the house could do but, somehow, one succeeded in putting out of one’s head – Help! – and, of course, bath, hair and early to bed. I used to listen to Radio Luxembourg under the covers until I drifted off. Sunday nights. The memory never fades. I remember Pop lamenting the fact and he was 91! I wonder why it is? Was it so traumatic? I was happy at school but I suppose it is the freedom aspect; being told where to be, what to do, when … I have never been a fan but, then, that’s life.
Actually, I was dreaming, the other night, of upping sticks, heading off to Montana and offering my services at Triple Creek Ranch. Why not? The great outdoors offering the power of perspective. Unbridled inspiration to write and photograph, a world away from the intensity that is life, today. No clones, just individuals seeking escape. It is a thought. Wonder if there is a bunk house for employees?
Little wonder I don’t sleep much. In fact, last night, my brain just refused to switch off! Writing in my head the whole time, I did contemplate getting out of bed to commit my genius to paper but it was just too damn cold! Now, forgotten the lot. What were the odds? So it is that I am sitting here on the gloomiest of days wearing at least five layers of clothing with a heater at my feet! I haven’t ventured forth but I am assuming it must be freezing or … no, COVID is manifest in a fever not goose bumps!
I, actually, intended to recount my walk in the dark last night but digressed, as is my wont. What caught me short, though, was the sudden fall of night well before 8pm. My walk is one along a relatively narrow country road with verges rather than pavement. Scenic, once upon a time, it was a quiet, windy route driven, only, by the infrequent local or farm vehicle. Not anymore! At times, a seemingly constant stream of cars, I have no idea where they are going. Many drive as though on a practice lap for Formula One, requiring of a swift leap onto the greenery, while others abide by the country code, slowing right down and waving in acknowledgement as they pass. Therein, the human being in all his glory! It’s like anything, I suppose, revealing of character.
Spotify. Of course, I knew of it but I have never downloaded it. How does one?! Manny had an account on the desktop in the study at Cammo and I did, actually, compile a superb playlist for when friends came round for dinner. Seventies? The only thing missing was Jonny Walker, himself! I loved it – and Manny grew to love it, too, more through necessity than choice as, if I was listening to it, so was he! Might I add that he gleaned a lot of inspiration from my chosen artists from which he has only benefitted. Anyway, I have always avoided Spotify on my phone, still mourning the demise of the ipod and all too aware that downloading songs costs money. Why should there be laughter at my demonstration of frugality? Ignore and move on … Suffice to say, I decided music would benefit my frequent walks, though, at the same time, increasing the danger! Becca downloaded said app on my phone and I dug out an old set of ear plugs – with wires! I know, get with it! I do have a lovely lime green, cordless set but then there’s something called Bluetooth … On the plus side, I heard on the news today that the Government is, generously, going to supply an ipad for each of the elderly in Care Homes across England. Perhaps, it’s a ‘Thank You’ for signing the ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ mandate in the last lockdown? Anyway, I’m sure that it is worth prolonging a life of isolation from one’s loved ones, spending what little time one has left reliant on a screen for comfort rather than the human touch of one’s family.
So, as night fell on the winding country road, I could be found modelling a dark brown Barbour while plugged into my free Spotify playlists – and, contrary to assumption, I am still rather prone to breathing …. I could exaggerate some of the songs which came up but one I have heard many times, of late, is ‘My Life’, Billy Joel. (Actually, digressing again, I found my old ticket stub to his concert in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh in February 1979. A flimsy bit of coloured paper, its cost was £3.50!) It’s weird but that song has been quite significant in my life. Not only does it take me right back to halcyon student days when Billy Joel first burst onto the scene with that iconic album, ‘The Stranger’ – and that amazing concert at the Usher Hall when he sang five encores – but it was, also, played repeatedly by the band at our wedding. My sister had had freehand in selecting said band – hindsight is a great thing – and it turned out that ‘My Life’ was the only current song they could play! Still makes me smile and, as it turns out, rather an appropriate title for me. An anthem, of sorts, in this COVID dictatorship formerly known as life, the lyrics I sing – and always have – with great gusto.
I wonder why it is that certain songs seem to be played, repeatedly, at certain times? A reminder of the importance of music in one’s life; the proverbial soundtrack to one’s years. Sometimes it feels as though a sign; a message from above. I have heard many times, of late, Frank Sinatra’s ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’. In my mind, that is a nod from Pop! Another I hadn’t heard for too long, until recently, is Phil Collins’ ‘You’ll Be in My Heart’. One of my all-time favourites, it is a beautiful song with a sentiment which always delivers. Why have I heard it more than once in the past few days? Call it a reminder …
‘Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it and remembering.’
This is Trish, signing off.