A Phenomenal Ballet Performance – “Yablochko” by Igor Moiseyev

Apologies for not posting much recently. I’m still exhausted from an earlier fire in March that saw me lose my home, although life has begun to return to normal.

Rather than post an update, I thought I’d share a phenomenal excerpt from a Ballet performance of The Sailor Dance found in the Ballet Yablochko (Russian for “Little Apple”). I myself have played parts of the second dance (featuring the accordionist) to accompany student dancers in the role of piano accompanist and the piece never fails to haunt me (albeit, in a good way).

The Sailor Dance does not have a known composer, but various composers have adapted it – eg. Igor Moiseyev. In terms of meaning and politics, I think it’s satirical – maybe fun, friendship and mischief, a bit of a laugh at the Establishment.

Great.

I hope you will enjoy the performance. Till next time.

A New Language Course

This beauty came in the post today, courtesy of Amazon.

I’ve spoken German for several years now. In some ways, I find it easier than French. For just over a year, I’ve subscribed to Herr Professor’s free daily podcasts on verb juggling. The guy in charge, Manuel, is an engineer by trade. He’s fluent in Spanish and English (as well as being a native German). For further details, visit: http://herrprofessor.com

The podcasts have really helped my speed in spoken German, along with providing a greater understanding of grammar, namely Cases and Pronouns. However, I’d like to develop my listening skills and widen my vocabulary, so I thought I’d order Teach Yourself Complete German by Paul Coggle and and Heiner Schenke, (standard B1-B2). I’ll do both courses together.

I look forward to delving into the new course tomorrow. Till next time!

A Decade On…

Exactly ten years ago today, I smoked my final cigarette.

Several times, especially in the early days, I considered buying a pack and smoking them all, then quitting again, but this rarely works. Thankfully, I was able not to succumb at all.

Here’s to another decade of not smoking.

(Finding the heat difficult)

Till next time!

Boiling

The title sums it up, I hope. The temperature has risen, the heat unrelenting.

I’ve settled into my new flat and have met the new neighbours and various cafe and shop owners. It does truly feel like home.

Recently, I’ve spent my evenings on the computer, writing a social drama that tackles nail biting themes. So far, a small audience have read the material, with overwhelming and positive feedback. At some point, I will need to make a decision about mainstream distribution.

Other than that, the heat has left me tired and lethargic. This Saturday, I will reach my tenth anniversary of giving up smoking – something I thought would never happen.

Till next time.

Nearly A Decade As An Ex-Smoker

Every year, I approach this anniversary, often tentatively, as if I don’t quite believe it.

To place things in context, I smoked from a young age, despite my initial aversion. Within a few years, I became a chain-smoker and would smoke between forty and sixty a day, often late at night. I smoked through flu and pneumonia.

I made countless attempts to quit but always relapsed, especially on the problematic third day – the most challenging day for people hoping to quit. I believed I would never succeed in stopping as I couldn’t imagine life without cigarettes.

I particularly liked the smell of cigarettes, the acrid taste, the sensation of the smoke in my throat, even when I couldn’t stop coughing. For me, the habit wasn’t disgusting, just addictive and costly, financially.

Nearly ten years ago, a practice nurse carried out tests and informed me that my true lung age was significantly higher than my actual age. The comparison to old age really shocked and worried me. After agreeing on a quit smoking date, I spent a week smoking ceaselessly, in order to prepare mentally. I reached a point where I felt ready and in the early hours of Monday 23 July 2012, I smoked my final cigarette. I have never relapsed. No secret cigarette. No drag on a cigarette.

I should mention that I didn’t stop cold turkey. I used Nicorette as an aid, and I still do. Some people disagree strongly with the use of Nicorette, but I can only state that it worked for me. The smoke itself is dangerous. The chemicals. Not small amounts of nicotine that one gets from Nicorette.

In conclusion, I would make three points:

A person generally needs a strong reason for wanting to give up smoking, especially after years of addiction. I don’t believe the financial cost alone is a powerful enough reason.

For many, no smoking means never having a cigarette again, even socially. The idea of just-one-cigarette/then try-again rarely works.

Cravings usually become challenging, unbearably so, after 48 hours of smoking the last cigarette (ie the so-called “third day”).

Of course other ex-smokers will have their own methods and techniques. Not everyone will agree with my approach – but it has worked for me for nearly ten years and I expect it will continue to do so.

Till next time.

The Weeping House – Poetic Fiction

I went up with the cello,
steering the instrument around the staircase,
to my bedroom on the first floor.
I had the largest room in the house,
overlooking fields and orchards.
It had a mattress against the far wall in place of a bed,
a writing desk with ink stains and a scratched surface,
a chair with loose legs,
an old-fashioned chest of drawers in the corner.
The curtains matched the carpet in colour.
A shelf that…

No,
I mustn’t remember the grey-white building that had stood secluded off a country lane.
An entrance door situated around the side.
Ivy sprouting from walls,
untidy, unmanageable.
Broken chimney pots in the driveway,
A staircase that creaked, even when no one used it.
The building stands in ruins now,
surrounded by gnarled tree trunks like a row of weeping gargoyles.

No, I don’t want to see that house again.
But I do, and I always will in my dreams.


From an old novel attempt

Guilt By Association – Short Writing Sample

He coughs, clears his throat. ‘As I see it, we have two options. The best thing would be going to the police. But if we did…well, think about it. You wouldn’t want to be driven out, would you?  You’re innocent in all this.’

She pictures the scene. Journalists surrounding them. Cameramen chasing them to the car.  A woman with a mop of unkempt grey hair snarling that she hopes they all rot, spittle flying from her lips.  Afterwards, they return to the village  – to the whispers, the sniggers, the social isolation.    ‘What’s the other option?’  

‘The other option?  You play their game.  You give the impression you want to comply.  You arrange contact, and that is where I come in.’

‘And what’s your plan?’

‘You would simply have to trust me – that’s if you choose the other option.’


On A Lighter Note

Hi – I’ve settled in at the new flat. Just three weeks have passed since friends helped me decorate, but the time feels much longer.

I’m enjoying playing the piano on a daily basis again and reading to relax in the evenings.

I have little to post at the moment – just this old digital photo of my favourite animals over the years. Something light. The animals pictured are generally delightful but naughty!

Till next time.