We have just returned from Snape where we listened to and watched the wonderful Nicola Benedetti playing works by Biber, Bach, Paganini and Ysaÿe, whom I’d never heard of but glad I’ve now met. She has a charming presence and took us through the works with such warmth on her £2,000,000 Gariel Stradivarius, that the hour flashed by far too fast. We wanted to hear more, especially Paganini, but with a concert immediately following, there was no time for an encore.
Here is an interesting link. Nicola chats about her violin.
Speaking of violinists, Jorge Jiménez, our wonderful composer/virtuoso and neighbour, has just released a new CD, Lunaris featuring his own compositions and works by Ysaÿe, Berio, Bartók and Merula. Along with Anna Stegmann, the Recorder player, has created an eerie, moody Lunar soundscape in the pattern of the 28 day moon cycle: New, Crescent, Full and Eclipse. It is rather esoteric but fascinating – and certainly creates atmosphere.
Jorge continues his work with the Hanover Band on their project to complete the full set of Beethoven Symphonies recorded in the Mansion House in London. All eight of them have now been presented and the 9th will be streamed next week. Here is Mark Elder talking about the symphony which he will be conducting. Jorge is the lead violinist. It has been beautiful listening. All the instruments are period pieces:
I thought I should mention this 1-MINUTE-FILM-ABOUT-MARRIAGE. We’ve not been streaming only escapism only but trying to find other insightful creations too – “art baby!” There’s a limit to how far MAR DE PLASTICO and BARBARIAN can take you! Have a look at this, it is very sweet and only takes a minute:
Our walks continue. 22 kilometres was our biggest one since my last post. On this subject may I have a little rant? Forgive me, but today it’s farmers!
As you know we walk a great deal all over the Tendring and Shotley peninsulas taking advantage of the literally hundreds of specially marked pathways that crisscross farmland, through woods and along riversides. Most of these we have memorised over the years but we have a set of survey maps of the area to make sure we do not stray into forbidden territory or get lost. East Anglia is flat and low lying and once you’re out there it can be confusing despite the smallness of the landscape in these islands.
Why are farmers so grumpy always? Our experience is purely anecdotal of course and I have no statistical evidence to back me up here other than what we see and hear around us on our walks, on the television and the radio.
With Brexit coming up and all the lunacy surrounding that, the farmers are now holding their collective breaths. Gone will be the protections of the Common Agricultural Policy and who knows what will replace it? Yet it was many farmers that wanted this; they want ‘out’ but want the privileges of ‘in’; they never get enough subsidy or if they do its unfairly distributed; the weather is too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry; the public are a nuisance; the public should not roam the land; they don’t want immigrants but can’t find migrants to harvest their land, to pick their cherries and apples and fruit; English labour is useless we have been told; they don’t want immigrants but are not prepared or are incapable of doing, themselves, the grubby, back breaking jobs that migrants do.
Farmers plead poverty but seem in many cases to be able to afford public schooling for their children and, one hears, private medicare, Bupa and so forth. I know this is not universal but it happens.
One of the things they frequently do around here is obliterate the pathways and even maliciously destroy signposting so that you can suddenly become lost in a clod-turned field, reminiscent of the muds and clays of the trenches of world war one! Short cuts become long doglegs turning for example a ten miler into twelve or thirteen; what was there last year has gone this. It can be infuriating.
Then there is the evidence hidden in ditches of carelessness with rubbish. Driving along in a car you see a beautiful landscape, hedgerows, avenues of trees and immaculate fields. But walking slowly along these routes you see evidence in the ditches and under the brambles of detritus strewn about. Not just coke cans, burger boxes and bottles (which could be passing cars) but empty plastic containers of fertilizers and chemicals and other farming detritus just dumped in ditches and concealed by brambles.
Well that’s enough rant for this post! At least we get to walk the routes and draw sustenance from this beautiful landscape – despite the farmers, not because of them.
We are going to Canada for Christmas – seeing our family there at last. It has entailed the most extraordinary skill navigating the labyrinthine eVoucher and airline schedules; the restrictions, the quarantine regulations – all an exciting travel adventure on their own. There are no direct flights to Ottawa; we fly via Toronto being one of the three airports open in Canada for Inbound international flights. We have had to fill in special quarantine forms which, in Canada, unlike here, are properly policed. So the entire family will lockdown at home for two weeks. Stocks have been laid in and all measures to survive the siege are in place! It remains to be seen whether we are all sane at the other side! Watch this space, dear Friends.
I don’t really like Round Robin Christmas Cards and have sent real ones this year to as many as I can but for those who are in parts unrefreshed by my postal enthusiasm I want to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and, please god, a very Healthy, Prosperous and Vaccine-filled New Year. Great Mistley talents, Derek & Nancy Bell designed the Christmas Window here. I love it because it is both Festive and Hopeful. Their home overlooks the ghastly fence along the quay which we have all protested about for twelve years now. At last the Supreme Court will rule and we are all hopeful that we will win and the monstrosity will be removed. So the little fence at the bottom of the picture will perhaps not appear in next year’s festive greeting!
For those of you watching the Good Ship Britannia slipping itself from its European moorings on an unchartered course to who knows where, we ask your prayers!
And here is a wonderful Christmas Carol by Friend Jo Michie in Scotland to be sung to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas:
THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2020 The first day of Christmas Covid gave to me A pandemic level tier three. The second day of Christmas Covid gave to me Two hand sanitisers …and a pandemic level tier three The third day of Christmas Covid gave to me Three potential vaccines ..and a pandemic level tier three. On the fourth day of Christmas, Covid gave to me Four in our bubble ….and a pandemic level tier three! On the fifth day of Christmas, Covid gave to me Five flimsy face masks ….and a pandemic level tier three! On the sixth day of Christmas, Covid gave to me Six pairs of gloves …..and a pandemic level tier three! On the seventh day of Christmas, Covid gave to me Seven shops going bankrupt….and a pandemic level tier three! On the eighth day of Christmas, Covid gave to me Eight pubs a ’closing …and a pandemic level tier three! On the ninth day of Christmas, Covid gave to me Nine Zoom meetings ….and a pandemic level tier three! On the tenth day of Christmas, Covid gave to me Ten exhausted medics …and a pandemic level tier three! On the eleventh day of Christmas, Covid gave to me Eleven MPs faffing …and a pandemic level tier three! On the twelfth day of Christmas, Covid gave to me Twelve more days of lockdown …and a pandemic level tier three! Jo Michie