Cuddles, Cakes and Choo Choos

Avon Steam RailwayDespite the mixed weather, today has been a really nice mix of family and fun. It all started with a visit to The Chiefs Trading Post in Oldland Common for a birthday breakfast with Charlotte. Sadly she couldn’t bring the boys with her because Jake and Zach are both suffering from the Slap Cheek virus, so it was a fairly quiet affair.

Following copious amounts of Tea Cake and coffee, we took a stroll around the place, which is ostensibly a garden centre, but punctuated with huge numbers of an eclectic mix of statues. We managed to avoid buying anything on a whim, though we did procure a couple of nice plants, including a particularly beautiful pelargonium for Bumble.

Leaving with a plethora of kisses and cuddles, B and I decided to take a diversion through Bitton, with a visit to the Avon Steam Railway. The visit was well worth the trip, and as the rain held off, we were treated to the sight, sounds and smells of a nice tank engine in full steam. That smell is so evocative, bringing back memories of past times spent with my paternal grandfather, down at the shunting yards in Margate.

Memories are such sweet things when they conjure up images of pleasant times past. I always find it strange that the passage of time deprives us of our most recent recollections whilst enhancing and enriching our older memories. Whilst not all memories are of pleasant times, it is wonderful that we can relive times gone by through the simple experience of a long forgotten scent or smell.

Music As It Should Be

Starry NightHaving spent the day being forced to listen to Radio 1, it was a wonderful relief to listen to some proper music, music the way it should be played, watching the Don MacLean Songbook on Sky Arts. I had forgotten just how much I loved the lyrics to his song Vincent.

In my teens, I used to play Vincent on my old Echo six string, and the words are wonderful:

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colours on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflecting Vincent’s eyes of China blue
Colours changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hands

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you Vincent
This world was never meant for one as
beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget
Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
A silver thorn on a bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will

Kutai Squared

Oh YesWatching Yes Speak on Sky Arts 1 tonight was brilliant. I’ve loved Yes since I was back in sixth form, just after the Romans left Britain, so watching the program caused the expected outpouring of memories. But it also brought back memories of watching Jon and Rick in Poole last October, so kutai of kutai, a rather strange, but magical feeling.

The human brain is an amazing thing. On the one hand we can remember people and events from forty years and more ago. On the other, I can walk from the lounge into the kitchen and forget why I went in the first place, and I know we’ve all been there.

Amazing stuff that grey matter, a hugely complex system of neurons and synapses awash in a cocktail of serotonin, dopamine and countless other magical neurotransmitters, all busy doing their own thing, but all in sync. And all it needs, to switch on some memory buried deep in time, is a handful of notes in a particular sequence.

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