Alluring, active April

Another month passes, another blog post. Month 4 now, a little late posting but ... it’s still posted. This years New Years resolution may actually stick.

Well it’s time to get my ass in gear and get fit (no pun intended). That’s the first thing on my non-music related agenda for April. I have a month until a friends hen party abroad so it’s time to lose this winter warmer and get some Gillian Michaels action. Anyone tried Gillian Michaels 30-day shred? I have…..when I say tried, I mean I’ve started it, pranced about in my living room for 5 consecutive days, then developed a frustrated reaction at not seeing one bit of difference in body shape, followed by a thought that it must be because my body’s bored of level 1 and I need to move on to level 2. Level 2 commences for 2 consecutive days then quite frankly it stops there. I’ve dipped my toe into the pool of level three (with the same misguided logic that my body hasn’t changed shape, it must be because it’s bored of level 2). This rare occasion happened once, typically a few days before my wedding. Since then, I havn’t managed to get past level one. So here I am again, telling myself I’m going to do the 30 day shred and I’m going to be so happy when I’ve done it and can see the new slimmer, fitter me! … What I don’t understand is how three years ago, when I was single, I was running. I mean running? Who DOES that! I’ve never been a sporty person nevermind a runner. I grew up going to dance classes and swimming — that was the maximum sporting endurance I’d entertain. Dancing because moving to music is a refreshing break from composing or playing it. Swimming because I enter an imaginary world inspired by the 1978 film ‘The Waterbabies’ and the 1984 film ‘Splash’ where I escape all the problems of the outside world and dive into the deep blue ocean to swim like a mermaid amongst the fishies without a care in the world … (new age hippy alert). That’s the level of my sporting activity, so running regularly at the age of 30 something was not normal. Another phase? I like to think it wasn’t but currently there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. Maybe I should start running again now? Or maybe not I say to myself as I look out at the Surrey downs which would form the terrain for such shenanigans. So it’s back to GM in my living room I guess. Watch this space…

The beginning of April saw a weekend break to Norway. Bergen to be more precise. I’ve always had an interest in going to Norway. It stemmed from a penpal friendship I developed with an elderly couple one year whilst on our annual family holiday to Agia Napa. An important thing to note at this point is that this was before Agia Napa became Agia Napa. My parents are not the type to take their children abroad to raving party locations and my new befriended elderly couple were not ‘living it large’ in the nightclubs. Agia Napa used to be a peaceful beautiful part of Cyprus with white sandy beaches and crystal clear turquoise sea. I’m not quite sure how to describe it now but natural scenic beauty would not be an adjective I’d associate with it. (I digress … first time for digression in this post. I must be improving). As I was saying … I don’t know what my 12-year old mind spoke to them about. I can imagine it was something rather mundane to an elder generation but they were kind enough to entertain it. They became my pen pals and I’m told I wrote to them for quite a few years. This was back in the days when the internet didn’t exist. People still used a pen and paper and postage stamps. They would send me pictures of their house in Norway. Printed pictures that is, from an analogue camera…you know the type, where the roll of film came in a plastic tube and you had to take it out carefully trying to avoid getting finger prints on the film and insert it into the camera pulling it across and making sure it catches at the other side so it can wind itself around the rod. Shutting the back door of the camera and winding it forward until it clicks to get rid of the bad film at the beginning of the roll. ….. that type of camera. Their analogue photos instigated a desire to visit Norway one day. I should probably point out I had to ask my Mum to recall such memories for me. My memory is frustratingly diabolical so I rely on family and friends to remind me of my childhood life. On numerous occasions in various social environments a common question has been asked; ‘what’s your earliest memory’. This leaves me with two possible answers … either I make up some sort of story from my childhood which will likely reveal itself as a lie which is as see-through as a newly cleaned window because my inability to lie is chronic. Or … I openly admit to the fact that I struggle to remember what I did last week nevermind when I was a child. Either way it’s a failure in a social context.

Inability to remember things makes learning music a little difficult. It would likely be presumed that I should be an auditory learner because I’ve been surrounded by music all my life. However, a test revealed that I’m quite the opposite, I’m a visual learner. Likely because if I write something down I can’t forget it because ultimately I’ll find what I wrote and be reminded of it. The term ‘in one ear and out the other’ really is quite apt when discussing my auditory learning. I wonder if it’s partly due to being deaf in one ear…..maybe I couldn’t always hear things properly so I evolved into a visual learner. Mmmmmmm

So Norway, what a beautiful place. It really is as I expected it. Steep mountainous landscape set against the turquoise blue lakes and sea, colourful wooden houses, genuine friendly locals. That, I wasn’t expecting. Living in and traveling around Europe, being exposed to areas where the economy thrives off tourism and little else, I have become cynical about the locals opinion of tourists. My immediate reaction to any suggestions of a tour or any offering of advice or just simply to take a group photo is how are they conning us, what will they expect for their advice. I feel awful to admit such cynical thoughts because I approach the rest of my life with such positivity. But Norway … Well that is completely different. They are such friendly people with no expectations of what you should give them for their hospitality. They don’t see you as a money bag. They see you as a tourist who is interested to learn about country. They see you as a person. They are so helpful and genuine….that’s the word…genuine. It was refreshing and we also learnt more about the culture because we were able to engage with the locals. Norway is expensive, I mean, really expensive, apparently Oslo is the one of the two most expensive cities in the world….however, I would recommend that people should visit once if only for a weekend. To see the natural beautify of the fjords and also the natural beauty of the Norwegian people’s spirit. Maybe I’ve been unfair in my cynicisms. I do feel ashamed of the UK when I see tourists in London having to pay to use the public toilets at Victoria station, or when they see all the miserable people on the tube, very few people look up to smile, gently nudging people out of the way when they’re walking too slow, not having time to stop and help a lost tourist find their way on a map. I say all this but again it’s the cynicism and far too generalist. I have seen some friendly Londoners help tourists on their adventures I suppose.

So April, I’m looking forward to seeing what the next two weeks bring. I feel like I need to write a mid-month blogpost as well because this one is now too long but I have so much more to say. A mid-month blogpost — now that would be an achievement.

Quotes for the month

‘Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality’ Nikos Kazantzakis.

‘Change is the law of life. Those who look only to the past or present miss the future’ John E. Kennedy.

‘Very often a change of self is needed more than of a change of scene’ A. C. Benson

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