“Living French” – London Charity Shops And An Unexpected Treasure

A person can find unexpected treasures in a charity shop. A few weeks ago, I found a copy of the paperback Living French by T W Knight in a north London charity shop.

I remember the book from my childhood, although the translations and exercises always seemed out of reach then. Not anymore. This particular version contains keys to all exercises, so the student can check their progress. And progress is possible for an adult learner, as I’ve seen for myself.

The book provides an excellent introduction to the French language, touching on more advanced grammatical points at times. The vocabulary is far from simple, requiring an eye for detail. Having completed numerous conversation-only courses, I value the opportunity to delve into a somewhat more old-fashioned approach – although I continue to listen to up to date French on a daily basis.

I believe in translating all French exercises into English by speaking (rather than writing), and by going over previous exercises at regular intervals. I also regard listening as crucial; therefore, I’m complementing Living French with studying the dialogues from the Intermediate course: French Experience 2.

Meanwhile, I hope to get my German and Russian up to a good level as well.

Till next time.


Take A Risk And Do It Anyway

Fear. Angst. Regret. A famous self-help book makes an interesting point. Although pursuing a dream or aspiration invariably involves fear (sometimes intense), not pursuing the dream brings a different type of angst: regret.

A case of, do it anyway, even if it doesn’t work out.

The Stats Don’t Lie…(Some Encouragement)

Like lots of Indie artists, I get discouraged by the progress of my endeavours (or lack of progress).

Music. Writing. The journey goes on, as I wrote on a blog post elsewhere. For most artists, that journey is rarely smooth.

Times change, though, and the last couple of decades have seen something of a revolution in opportunities for Indies, many of those opportunities free of charge, apart for the cost of the internet connection.

I think that a WordPress blog is an excellent tool in expression of the arts via a publishing platform and I have maintained a WordPress blog for more than nine years. I suppose that, like some people, I had reservations about blogging when I first considered it, seeing it as being somehow unprofessional. Since then, the humble blog has grown and developed into a powerful promotional tool for many. And so has self-publishing.

Although I don’t often pay attention to the WordPress Stats, this evening I took a look at the figures for this blog for the past year (2017) and noticed (to my pleasant surprise) that readers from 102 countries had clicked on links to blog posts I’d written. It seems a lot for an Indie. A bit of encouragement.

Till next time.

A Deep Breath? (Or A Slow One?)

Contradictory advice. Take a full breath, inhaling as much as possible. Take slow but shallow breaths. A person needs more oxygen. Healthy people already have enough oxygen; the problem rests with the relationship between oxygen and carbon dioxide. A lack of balance.

I have taken an active interest in slow or deep breathing since giving up smoking five and a half years ago. Although no one can truly gain an accurate record of their breathing rate, I averaged between fifteen and seventeen breaths a minute at the time. Normal is between eight and twelve.

At first, I followed the method of inhale for some, hold, exhale more than the inhale, hold. This brought the breathing rate down slightly.

Then I tried Buteyko, but struggled.

Along the way, I’ve practised pranayama, Coherent Breathing and Pursed Lips Breathing, and have managed to average between nine and eleven breaths approximately, going down to about four and a half after several short rounds of breath work.

Holding the breath does not help in my case.

Now I’ve heard of a new technique to address stress and hyperventilating – normal breath in through the nose, followed by a sighing exhale through the mouth. Repeat as required/for a few minutes if necessary. A natural tranquilliser, so people claim.

Does it work? I have no idea, but I think it’s worth trying for a while. In any case, there are so many ideas on the internet and in self-help books about the correct way to breathe, many contradictory. No one really knows whether we should breathe in more or breathe in less.

Just a few of my thoughts.

Still Recovering…

A winter cold. This one has been particularly harsh, dampening my mood and the birthday celebrations on St Patrick’s Day. I spent most of St Patrick’s Day in bed before heading to my local pub with friends to celebrate with whisky and wine – although I felt much better in the morning.

I keep busy with work and language studies (French, German, Russian). At the moment, I’m polishing my piano repertoire with the First Polonaise by Franz Liszt.

My third book, My Musical Journey by Lawrence Estrey, is now available as a paperback and online. An autobiography, the book details my musical aspirations and various struggles along the way. Do consider popping over to Amazon to catch a preview on Kindle!

A Winter Virus

Finally, I’ve succumbed to a winter virus and have spent the last few days resting at home, sleeping, taking paracetamol and piriton, and coughing away. The weather is miserable, but not too cold. I have a busy week ahead, so am hoping for a speedy recovery.

Till next time.

Snow, Cold, And A Wait

Storm EMMA has come and the temperatures have dipped. The snow has settled. Yesterday, I went to work and got back safely. The evening was freezing. The snow remains.

My latest book, an autobiography, My Musical Journey, is now available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle and as a paperback from Amazon (US). I’m still waiting for the booksellers in the UK to stock the book. Another week or so, I expect.

My Musical Journey by Lawrence Estrey

A teenage boy. A piano. Aspirations and ruin.

The narrative touches on a number of topics, including gangs, post traumatic stress, and religion.

The Paperback Arrived Last Night

Well, not exactly. I came home from work at around nine last night, and the books were waiting for me in the hallway.

The proof copies of my autobiography, My Musical Journey by Lawrence Estrey.

Publishing can take a while. I’ve approved the book for distribution – meaning another short wait before the title appears on various bookseller sites.

In the meantime, readers can access the kindle version on amazon.

About My Musical Journey

No spoilers. The narrative touches on a number of themes, revolving around a personal journey that involves huge struggles at times, leaving the author hypothetically viewing half a glass of water (life) as half-full some days and half-empty others.

My Book’s On Kindle

Hi, I’m still waiting for the paperback copy of my book My Musical Journey by Lawrence Estrey, but the eBook version is now available on amazon Kindle.

The book tells my life story, paying particular emphasis to music – in particular, the piano and concert performance.

It feels strange going through the whole self-publishing process a third time, but I think it’s worth it.

Till next time.