Tuesday 10th. December, 2013 -- A Good News Day 

Our old family favourite Christmas decorations are starting to reappear

Got up and walked Mix before breakfast and then came across to the Granary intending to finish my book (which I did this afternoon). However, on checking my emails I found the request for music for the service at Arrochar so I spent a bit of time preparing that. I enjoy doing that and now that I am retired there is no pressure of time and I have rediscovered the pleasure I got from doing it in the early years when it was all new to me.

I can’t quite remember when we started controlling the hymns at Arrochar by midi file but I’m guessing that it would be around 2002. Davina had taken ill; there was no one to play the organ and it was Christmas time. On Boxing Day I drove down to Newcastle to my brother’s home. He took me into a Boxing Day sale in the biggest organ shop I had ever seen and there we got a real bargain – a Yamaha organ that could be controlled by midi file with a floppy disk player on it. I had only the vaguest idea of what to do with it. I thought at first I would have to play each tune onto the machine (but that I could do this at home over and over again until I got it right). Then I thought I might be able to download midi files from the internet and use them. But the great breakthrough was to get a computer programme which allowed me to write hymns onto disks and play these through the computer. Nothing was too much of a problem now, no hymn was too difficult to reproduce and I thanked my good fortune in having been made to wade through so many musical theory examinations when I was young. It was being put to good use some fifty years later on. Here in my study I still have that same organ sitting behind me – the Church has progressed to an even more sophisticated one – and when I am not producing hymns then I produce Gilbert and Sullivan and sing along with the organ. (If only these machines had existed in the days of our Gilbert and Sullivan theatre group.)

In amongst my clothes, the organ I wouldn’t be without

No sooner had I prepared the music and sent it off to Jamie than the phone rang. My summer house is arriving on Thursday. Contacted Tom who said that he would be here to help unload and who told me that we would be drinking tea in the summer house by Sunday. I can’t help thinking that this might be a tad optimistic but who knows?

Went into Duns to sort out my money at the bank and when I came home I walked Mix (he had been with me in the new cage in the back of the car and behaved perfectly). After the walk I finished my book before dinner.

We ate together in the farmhouse – our little community coming together to eat, as it does every evening – and then Rachel and I came back to our home in the Granary. I spent some time in the study tracking down some information about the cutlery my mother got from America more than sixty years ago. Her Aunt, in the days following the second world war when my parents were recently married sent one place-setting every so often until they had accumulated a full set. It was really appreciated because in those days in Britain such luxuries were neither available nor affordable. The cutlery is called Queen Bess and is Tudor Silver Plate. You can still get it on ebay although it is almost always to be found in the United States.

Stopped to watch a Midsomer Murder which I hadn’t seen before and carried on to watch Law and Order UK which I really enjoy. Should really have been watching the reports of the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life from South Africa – I caught bits of it on the news. I thought that President Obama spoke well but I was sorry that there was no European to speak about the anti-apartheid campaigns which were hugely supported here and which in part contributed to the regime change in South Africa.

Walked the dog and was surprised to discover that the wind has blown up again. This certainly seems to be rather a windy spot to live.

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