Friday, May 13, 2005

Tiredness, apricots and musical instruments

I'm normally an early bird, getting up somewhere between 6.30 and 7.30am. I like to have a couple of hours to myself before my later-rising family get up - I suppose it's my recharge time to read and think and potter.

However this week I've had to set my alarm rather than just wake up when I was ready, because Daniel needed to be at the theatre by 7am to get to various places for performances. Unfortunately his alarm doesn't work, and he seems to sleep through other alarms so I get up - since it's not too hard for me to do so - and then wake him up. But of course that means I squeeze orange juice earlier than usual, or he does it instead, and we chat a bit - which is nice - but my peaceful time alone doesn't happen. There's more time when he's left, but it's not quite the same, somehow. Once is no problem at all, twice is OK, but for some reason three times in a week has left me feeling very tired and rather drained.

Or maybe it's the weather. Summer seems to be arriving at last, and as ever the change feels quite major when it happens. I went to the bank this morning, and then I had to walk to the supermarket with my trolley, since Richard's away and I don't drive. It's only five minutes' walk, and I didn't need a whole lot since we got heavy stuff last week, but by about 9.30am the weather was feeling distinctly hot, and I was exhausted by the time I got home again.

According to my favourite weather site it's been about 27C today, but that's 27 in the shade... and I was mostly walking in the sun where I guess it was at least four or five degrees hotter. Perhaps more. [For anyone reading in the USA where imperial measurements are still used, 27C is about 80F. It felt quite pleasant in the shade - in the height of summer we run our air-conditioning at 28C [82F] and it feels quite chilly compared to the surroundings. But I'm not good in sun anyway, and 33 or 34 or whatever it was felt distinctly uncomfortable.

Still, there were apricots in the supermarket! We love apricots... they were fairly expensive so I didn't buy a whole load, just a few for us to eat raw today and tomorrow. They'll probably only be available for a few weeks - fruits are often very seasonal here - but if they reduce in price I'll make some apricot jam.

When I was a bit less tired, I did freeze another three loads of loquats - I think there are now eight litre-sized containers of those in the freezer, and six litres of lemon juice. I feel rather pleased about that...

Daniel had his first (impromptu) violin lesson today. The theatre group did their performance in Nicosia outside, then ran some workshops for the children. It was a Greek-speaking school, so three Greek-speaking theatre staff were leading them. Daniel was sitting watching with the violinist (who also doesn't speak much Greek) and since he had been thinking for a while that he would like to learn the violin, he asked her if he could have a quick lesson. So she explained how to hold the violin, and how to stand, and how to move the bow, and the basic theory... and then taught him one of the theme tunes from the play! I gather he learned fairly fast; she said he had a good ear, but I imagine that it was easier for him because he plays other instruments and has done music in general for many years now.

Dan had a clarinet lesson this afternoon, and arrived home with an extra clarinet - one of the spare ones from the music school, which he says is in dire need of a service. He asked if he could borrow one to experiment on, and while his teacher was a little cynical, Dan explained that he needed some practice in re-padding and re-corking. He still needs some tools, but he's found a supply place in Nicosia that sells pads, and he's been reading his two books to find out the correct techniques for various repair-work. He isn't going to do anything major yet, but wants to get started on the most common maintenance that has to be done.

Meanwhile Tim went with Dan to the music school because Dan had told him that there's a clavinova type electronic piano in the band room that's barely used. He got permission to play it, and spent an hour and a half enjoying it...

Earlier this morning Tim worked out how to play 'Amazing Grace' on his bass guitar, having seen a fabulous performance on a music DVD of someone doing that as a solo in concert. Yes, that was bass guitar! Tim's quite capable of playing it on his ordinary classical guitar, or his acoustic guitar, or indeed the piano, but I gather it's a great deal more complicated on a bass guitar.

It still sometimes strikes me afresh how very odd it is to have two such musical sons without either Richard or myself playing any instruments.


Lora said...

I can definitely relate to the effects of the lost of your alone time. If I don't get enough time to myself I feel quite edgy and worn out.

I do appreciate you thoughtfully including the conversion of Celsius to Fahrenheit. I was trying to remember the formula, which do have handy, but not memorized. I can think in Kilometers and in litres, but Celcius has always been harder for me to grasp.

Sue said...

I think the conversion is something like multiply by 9, then divide by 5, then add 32. I happen to know a few correlations and if I have to work it out, I do so from there. Eg 20C is 68F - temperature we used to process films back before it was cheaper to get them done commercially. Also 28C is 82F - reverse the digits!