Dona eis Requiem

This Friday is celebrated as All Souls, when we remember those of our loved ones who have died. We shall be at St Mary’s Cathedral with other members with peace and quiet in which to contemplate life and death. There is no doubt, that at some time in the future, soon or late, we shall join those being remembered.

So why do we pray for them, and not just give them the occasional thought? Do we wish to keep their memory alive and so keep them eternal, at least in our minds? Do we hope to intercede on their behalf, and so make their time in the hereafter more comfortable? Do we wonder what is happening to them?

While silence will be a large part of the time, the choir will be performing one of the most evocative pieces of music, with which I have ever been associated, ‘Requiem’, by Gabriel Faure. There has been a debate about whether he wrote it as a response to his father’s death, but whether or not, we know that his parents both died at that time, so one can then begin to understand the dramatic effect which it has on the human psyche.

Forty etc…..

“Forty Days and forty nights……….”

“Forty years long was I grieved with this generation…”

“Life begins at forty….”

“When forty winters shall beseige thy brow…..”

“Forty years on, when afar and asunder, parted are those who are singing today” (From the Harrow School Song)…….

Writers seem to feel that something special attaches to the number forty. Any dictionary of quotations will give many references if you care to look them up.

This weekend, the Lady of the House, and I celebrated forty years of marriage, and it doesn’t seem as long as that. Actually I have no real idea what 40 years is like! The passage of such a large amount of time can only be assessed in retrospect, but as the time goes on, you do not have any great sensation of such a time approaching.

Only when such an event comes does it actually hit you that this is a milestone which you will not pass again. You may have acquired more acquaintences but you basic friends stay the same. It has been great fun and as long as health is preserved then we hope to see 50 years…..so here’s to the next ten !!

Where to?

The darkening evenings bring out in the female of the species, the need, nay, the desire, to visit the travel agents and come away with an armfull of glossy brochures, with the idea of picking next year’s perambulations……i.e. hols in the sun.

The concept of a cheap holiday has now evaporated with the dramatic increase in fuel costs, and some of the costs are quite frightening to say the least.

One friend, who likes his multiple-holiday-year recently said….’The holiday descriptions make your mouth water, but the prices make your eyes water’.

He sure is right!   Anyone fancy a camping holiday in the back garden?

All change…at least the clocks

So here we go again, with the season slowly changing, we go through the twice-yearly stupid ritual of preparing and executing the clock changes…..

  • do we change them just before bedtime?
  • do we change them slightly earlier to get used to the new time?
  • did we remember to change them all?
  • what about the microwave, and the cooker?
  • and the mobile phone alert?
  • and the video?
  • and the spare room clock?
  • and the heating and light timers?
  • what time should the kids be home (old time or new time)?
  • does anyone actually get up at 2am to make the changes?

At least we can forget the computer clock….it changes automatically, and everywhere across the civilised world, people will be turning on theirs on Sunday morning, to the reassurance that they are on GMT, and that they got most of the clocks right!

So don’t forget on Saturday night to put your clocks BACK…..(or is it forward?)

Triple Troubles!

In ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, Oscar Wilde coined the famous phrase….’to lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness!’

In similar vein, one could say that having one of the family having medical treatment is understandable; but to have three of them undergoing treatment at the same time, seems a trifle over the top!’

This is my situation just now…hope I don’t trip over my shadow somewhere, and end-up making it a full-house!

Starry, starry, night….

One of the joys of this time of year, and living where we live, is the clear, crisp air and the cloudless evening sky which is the fore-runner of frost. We can take the chance of looking over the Campsie Fells and seeing the glory of the heavens… the stars, constellations and the moon…. and ask the fundamental questions of existence (or maybe not!).

When studing optics, I was intrigued with the fact that two instruments, the telescope and microscope, (which use the same basic components) had extended man’s observational possibilities in opposite directions.

The only problem is that as the technologies have improved, and extended the observable data, we constantly see something just out of focus…now if only the lenses were more powerful, or the images were a little sharper, then we might make out more details….

It’s an impossible dream….the laws of physics forbid it, so the chance to see the ultimate particles of matter, or the edges of the universe is not to be ours.

Meanwhile I think there is plenty to see and wonder at, even without the help of curved bits of glass…..

….and Son makes three!

After quite a few years of being ‘Darby and Joan!’ and the relative peace it brings, Son is now quite often at our house as he suffers the agony of nerve pains. He can get peace and quiet to snooze when he needs-to, from the effect of the pain-killers he has to take, as they occasionally ‘knock him out’.

Like all such medications, they have their side-effects, and remind us that there are rarely black-and-white solutions to the problems of this world. Almost every action taken has a repercussion, which then demands a solution, and possibly further action etc etc.  He is now on a cocktail of pills, and will hopefully be able to get off them slowly, as and when the body is able to recover.

One can only stand and watch, wait and hope, that it will not be too long, so that he can return to the bosom of his own family………..taking his pills with him…….

What a Picture!

The header picture above just shows what a beautiful country Scotland is. It was one of a series of photos taken in an early Spring morning from our room in the Green Park Hotel in Pitlochry. I was intrigued by the movement of the cloud across the hills and this one showed the effect of the reflection off Loch Faskally…fabulous!

Another day…another theatre

We were at the other end of the entertainment scale yesterday. The Kirkie Players’ Turret Theatre in Kirkintilloch holds about 60 in a very-close-up performers/audience scenario. Having been going there for probably 20 years, we know and admire many of the actors quite well, and yet, the same suspension of reality is no-less astonishing than it was at the King’s Theatre.

Each of us knows that the script, emotions, sets, costumes, lights, background sounds, and the presence of a prompter are all artificial and yet the anticipation is always there. I certainly go to be entertained (whatever that exactly means) and amused and  there are obviously enough like-minded people to fill the little auditorium on each performance. Considering that every-one here is unpaid and gives freely of their time and effort, they do a wonderful job.

The play was J.B.Priestly’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ and so is well-known in the repertoire of  drama clubs. It brings a problem for the Producer who must bring some form of fresh approach to prevent direct comparison to the ‘professional’ performances. Nothing ‘amateurish’ about Kirkie Players, however…..they make it seem so easy.

So, another production and performance of which all can be proud!

The Theatre and Imagination

The last time I was at the King’s Theatre, was in 1990, when Glasgow was European Capital of Culture, and I was asked to check the loop system for hearing-aid wearers (it was rubbish!). The Young Lady of the House, and I were there again tonight, to see Blood Brothers, with StageText for those who could not hear the script well.

It is amazing how the mind can accept images and situations (which are obviously contrived, and in many ways un-realistic, as in opera), for some hours. Even the break in the middle for an ice-cream (you know, the tub with the little spoon) did not really break the continuity. We  seemed to settle back into the imaginary world very quickly.

The story-line took the theme of twins separated at birth, and followed their two parallel universes, and becomes increasingly-predictable. The individual performances were spectacular, and the music, whilst not ‘hummable’ (to use the composer’s own words), was very enjoyable.

Glasgow was always known as the ‘entertainers’ graveyard’, but the standing applause from the packed audience certainly indicated the success they had made of their job.

But what is their job? Is it to suspend reality? Is it to stir-up our emotions? Is it to make us think differently about some subject? Is it to take us out of our normal life for a few hours?

……anyway we can both certainly recommend this production!