January 2017 Music Notes

The beginning of yet another New Year was nearly upon me, and a proverbial blank piece of music manuscript lay on the table….my head buzzing with thoughts of what might be in the year ahead. This was all accompanied by feelings of both excitement and trepidation of the hidden and yet to unfold secrets of the on-coming year. I mulled on the sense of dormancy that January brings….and that like nature, most of us are ‘underground’ and preparing to burst forth in Spring….to re-emerge full of hope and creative ideas of what can be made to happen within the months ahead.

The doorbell rang and I was suddenly jolted back in to reality….I was greeted by the sweet dulcet tones of my dear friend Fiona, (one third of “Tricksy Trobairitz”) trilling on the doorstep, fresh from merry making at a music rehearsal in far away Nottingham. I squinted at the bedazzling sight of my friend covered in flashing coloured lights and tinsel, and with an enormous basket of apples in one hand and two bottles of likely strong cider clutched adroitly in the other. I smiled as she entered, noting that the xmas tree beside her now seemed dismally dull and underdressed! Fiona set her multifarious belongings down, cheerily directing me to find a pan big enough to steep the apples with the cider and herbs to concoct a frothing brew. That done and bubbling away, we sat in silence, both pondering on the blank piece of manuscript….”What do you wish for?”, said she to me….and I envisaged with my inner eyes the beautiful rolling hills of Perugia with its verdant green pastures and a little farm cottage set in acres of land…oh, and the olive groves….however not wishing to share just yet I replied ”I dunno….what do you wish for?”. I saw the middle distant glaze come over her eyes as she pondered on her own dreams…”Mmm…it’d be good to get some more gigs this year!”…(ever the jobbing musicians plight…but of course it is more than that now, especially as our old friend AGE is knocking at our door). Our thoughts turned away from merely existing, and towards dreaming big, keeping healthy, loving well and living with authenticity.

Needing a bit of libatious assistance we plunged our chalices into the wassailing brew that had been gently tumbling around in the pan on the stove, filling the room with a sweet heady scented aroma of cloves, cinnamon, apples and orange…and we reminisced back over our 38 years of friendship and music making. After a couple more servings of Fiona’s wassail brew we concluded that many things hadn’t changed at all – only the quality of our cider!

Later: Darkness had fallen and the village had become quiet.  Needing some fresh air by this time we went for a bit of a wobbly walk in the church graveyard. I couldn’t let the year go out without visiting my late father’s memorial tree there, so I tied a bauble on to a twig and gave the tree a big hug. Fiona started to talk (well after the wassail cup it was more of a slur to be honest) and came up with a poem about a wishing tree. I whipped out my trusty recorder (always to hand) and tooted a few notes that came to me. Never missing a moment, Fiona primed her iphone to record the goings-on…we were in full creative flow….you just never know where or when its going to hit you!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year dear readers…..never give up on your dreams

Catherine Shrubshall (with contributions from Fiona Baines)

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