Suddenly Autumn is Here

A couple of weeks ago when I was driving back to Bath from Berwick-upon-Tweed it still seemed to be summer.

Sitting in an open air cafe with my Dad we noticed these little swallows sitting in a line above us. They were clearly fledglings, because a parent was feeding them.

This was around September 14th. That seems very late in the year, I guess the lateness is the result of the bad weather earlier this year.

Now suddenly autumn is here. Leaves on the tree outside my window are turning brown. There is a distinct chill in the air.

Another year is on its way out. I hate that. Each year there is a point around usually around mid April when I realise that another winter is past, warm weather is on its way, and I am filled with optimism about what the summer will bring. I really felt good about life earlier this year.

Then suddenly it is autumn again. Nothing much has been achieved and another year is on its way out. This time it just rained rained rained. Plus I was diagnosed with cancer a couple of months ago, which kind of put a dampener on any sense of optimism I might have been feeling.

Truly, if you want to give the universe a good laugh, just tell it your plans.

Playing the Violin

Another pictures of my violin

I am enjoying playing the violin now. For a while I had really got bogged down in trying to understand various staccato bowing techniques – really not easy. It had begun to feel a bit sterile, it was difficult to find the motivation to practise.

So I decided that what I needed was to just play some tunes. I dug out a book of Irish session tunes that I used to play on the flute and whistle, and have been very much enjoying it. I have always felt that Irish music makes more sense on the fiddle, particularly the ornamentation. So suddenly I feel like I am playing the violin rather than just learning it, which is a much better feeling. And I don’t sound too bad (I think).

Also I have been playing a bit more in higher positions. Until recently I hardly ever left first position. Actually I don’t find playing in higher positions too hard, it is mostly just muscle memory. If you are used to playing in tune in first position then extending it to higher positions seems fairly natural.

So now I am starting to feel like I can actually play the violin a bit. I mostly took it up again because I wanted to get more insight into string technique for my composing, but it would be nice to be able to produce something approaching music. There is a pleasure in playing a musical instrument like nothing else, I have missed it because I have been concentrating on composition.

I have found a particularly useful site at – lots of examples of violin technique.