Tag Archives: cake

The healing power of cake

Sometimes, when even the pips’ pips are squeaking, the decision is made to invest a few pounds in a cup of tea and a piece of cake with a good friend.

Handing over Β£10 for a replacement student ID card earlier in the afternoon was like stabbing myself through the heart, so when I came back from the (rather fabulous) loo to find my share of the bill had been paid, I was both lost for words and incredibly grateful. I protested briefly but we both knew what this meant and how much it was needed.

(I didn’t sneak off to avoid paying)

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Good things

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I had some bad news today. It was nothing I didn’t already suspect, but somehow seeing it confirmed in black and white made it all the more real. It’s big news and has a big impact on my the immediate future. However I am determined not to let it put me off course.

So I am thinking about good things. Counting my blessings if you will.

I’m currently watching Frontline to Finish Line – the Race2Recovery team’s incredible journey to compete in and complete the Dakar Rally. Simply amazing – the hardest race in the world, completed by injured servicemen.

I have a sleek black greyhound snoozing away either side of me on the sofa. These beautiful gentle creatures (well maybe not if you are a cat or a hedghog) are happy, healthy rescued retired racers who faced an uncertain future before they came to live with me.

I have a good education, plenty to eat, good medical care and access to clean water.

Every day I get to do something amazing when I pull my harp onto my right shoulder and play wonderful music with my friends. I have big plans on this front.

I’ve had some great feedback on my blog recently, including visits from some very important people and a comment (followed up with an email) from someone especially important. I write it mostly for myself, but I’m enjoying blogging so it has been a real boost to know that it is being well received.

Earlier this week I met a new harp buddy for coffee and we had a great mixture of harp and bike racing chat.

Every day I open my curtains and see the Campsie Fells behind my house.

Tonight I’m going to give my much loved jaffa orange KitchenAid a work out and bake some cakes.

I have a hugely supportive family who I love to bits. I don’t see them often enough but we are in touch regularly.

Some of my oldest friends have a new baby girl and I can’t wait to meet her.

Oh and I might just have reversed my run of seemingly endless rubbish luck on the man front…. And he’s a chef πŸ™‚

The photo at the top of this post was taken outside the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art in EdinburghΒ last SaturdayΒ – at first I thought it was rather glum, but I thought about it on my way across to perform in the Cathedral and felt differently.

Miracles rarely happen. I truly believe we make our own luck by working hard and putting ourself in the right places where ‘lucky’ things may happen. I thank Jennifer CrookΒ for these words of wisdom some years ago.

Today demonstrates that bad times come, but I hope that by thinking of Good Things, I can keep myself on track and not get dragged down.

Across the road from the sign above, there was this sign

I couldn’t get my own picture as I was too far away Β (this one is from the BBC News website).

Today, thinking back to it, I am reminded of John Lennon’s words as posted on my blog a few weeks ago.

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Pausing for breath

Things are quiet on the harp front at the moment. I’m about to go into my second weekend of no weddings – a treat at this time of year. It’s a BIG birthday for a very dear friend, so I have been keeping it free. We are off to one of my favourite ever cities. I took refuge there after the wedding that wasn’t, and enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon for one at The Royal Crescent Hotel. I can’t stretch to staying there for a while, but I remember the time very fondly.

I’m enjoying having a little time to myself, and have used it to literally get my house in order, hopefully ready for the impending move north. This is currently on hold, waiting on a form to be filled in for an appeal – my tuition fee loan application has been rejected due to dropping out of previous studies, and I am waiting on a letter from my doctor to explain the circumstances. I am not a patient person so this is a tricky exercise in hoping and trusting that things meant for me won’t pass me by.

I read lots of blogs over the course of a week, and a popular feature on many of them is a weekly round up of lovely links to internet joy. I have wanted to do this for a long time, but am not sure I can commit to a specific day each week. Tuesday is always a tricky day in the week (from my time in a previous job, it was everyone’s most hated day – no weekend in immediate memory, not even the middle of the week yet) so maybe I’ll adopt that as an attempt to spread some cheerfulness.

I discovered this recently Play Me I’m Yours – Stunning Pianos in Toronto – these are dotted around Toronto, open for all to play as they wish until the end of July. Each one has been painted by an artist from each country taking part in the PanAm Games in 2015. I saw one such piano in Colchester once, and loved the concept. Pianos are many people’s first instruments, and a feature in many homes up and down the country. The piano was my first love, the first instrument I learned, and unfortunately once I progressed on the harp, my time at the piano became very limited. I’m not sure Play Me I’m Yours would work in our current UK climate, but how incredible would it be if some way of bringing music to the masses could have been incorporated into the up and coming Olympics!

I also found Pianists from the Inside – this was an utter gem, given my previous post on struggling to find much in the way of discussion of creativity in the context of music. I discovered it via Twitter, and particularly enjoyed the article exploring the impact of a bad teacher early in one’s musical career.

Completely unrelated to music, or pianos – one of my favourite websites ever, the fabulous Cake Wrecks is devoted to cake disasters. Some are hilarious, some are incredibly rude, some are just plain bizarre. Also featured are episodes of genius – a recent favourite was Swoon-worthy Steampunk Sweets. The Steampunk thing has gone mostly over my head, I love the clothes but don’t really ‘get’ it. But in terms of sheer beauty, these cakes have it. Stunning.

Extremely Relieved

Well I survived the audition!

After a reassuring practice the afternoon before, I took myself out for dinner and popped round to a new harp buddy’s flat for supper. The day arrived, I managed some breakfast and had a good warm up. One of the girls at the conservatoire had texted me to ask which harp I wanted to use which was a really lovely touch, and really helped put me at ease. The harp I had used to practice on was really wonderful to play, and so I asked for this one again as it was now familiar.

To say I was incredibly nervous would be an understatement. But I got through, I played well in places and was pleased with how it went (compared to how I was afraid it might go, it was a breeze!).

I promised myself something nice to eat and drink afterwards, so after a little amble around the city centre, I found a nice little chocolate cafe in the St Enoch centre. I was feeling distinctly faint but managed to restrict myself to a large piece of Rocky Road and a pot of tea. I did this before I wandered around the rest of the shop, which was a smart move as I would have spent a LOT of money if I’d done it the other way round.

I was rather taken by the words on the side of my tea cup – advice for life indeed!

I had a little wander around some more, and then found myself in the stunning Frasers building…. wow. I love a department store, and this was one of the most beautiful I have ever been in. Don’t ask me how I ended up strolling past the mens underwear (I swear it was the beautiful carving and glass!) but I happened to locate the champagne bar. It would seem that you can take the girl out of Essex but you can’t take the Essex out of the girl!

Compared to down south, the prices were quite reasonable for a cocktail, and then I spotted a cocktail that ingeniously combined champagne AND gin, so I pulled up a chair and settled in. The cocktail was far too sweet, and the burger I ordered was rather too big after I’d tucked into the Rocky Road, but I was celebrating and I enjoyed every mouthful.

A massive weight has been lifted now, and I feel a lot more free again. My dogs are still in the kennels until tomorrow morning, so I am enjoying having the sofa to myself. But I have missed them terribly and I can’t wait to take them for a good long stroll at the weekend.

I started working on an idea for a composition when I got in from the station tonight (long day in London for the day job) and am looking forward to getting more stuck into this now my audition is out of the way.

I have a rehearsal with my favouritest harp buddy on Saturday afternoon and can’t wait to see her. Harp life is good if exhausting… mind you, check out my poor blistered right thumb! Yuk! Truly a warning to keep on top of your practice!