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Archive for December, 2013

Live Christmas Present Under the Tree: One Kitten

Here is Molly who believes she makes as good a Christmas present as any other you might find under the tree.

Molly under the Christmas Tree 17 Dec 2013 (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Molly under the Christmas Tree 17 Dec 2013 (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Standing Ovations and Encores for Songlines Community Choir in Leamington Spa

On Saturday night 7 December 2013 our local community choir, Songlines, conducted by Bruce Knight, gave  a concert at St Mary’s  Church, in Leamington Spa, to raise money for Water Aid.

Bruce Knight conducting Songlines Community Choir in a performance of Nkosi Sikelelik 'lAfrika in St Mary's Church Leamington Spa on Saturday  7 December 2013

Bruce Knight conducting Songlines Community Choir in a performance of Nkosi Sikelelik ‘lAfrika in St Mary’s Church Leamington Spa on Saturday 7 December 2013

It was a night where we saw and felt the power of music to bring joy and to uplift.

A standing ovation and calls for an encore confirmed this.

Our programme encompassed community choir arrangements of the moving Zulu song Egalile, full of exhuberant synchronized movements, including our well-rehearsed African shuffle; Let the River Run by Carly Simon, Sunday Morning by Reed & Cale, arr.Knight; the Beatles’ song Nowhere Man; Wake Up by Nick Prater arr. Ali Orbaum, and the Samoan song Fa’afetai i le Atua arr. Tony Backhouse.

A smaller group called Extra-stronglines also sang the gorgeous harmonies of the Beatles’ song Because.

A highlight was a performance of the South African National anthem Nkosi Sikeleli’l Afrika in tribute to the recent passing of Nelson Mandela.

And at the end, we walked off the stage, singing Love is like a river, let it flow, let it flow, let it flow.

 

Long may we celebrate the gift of music in our lives.

Lovely Lake District in Autumn 2013

We spent a few days in England’s lovely Lake District during the recent autumn half term.

Ashness Bridge, near Derwentwater (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Ashness Bridge, near Derwentwater (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

The Lake District is special to me, not only because of its association with numerous famous writers, with Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin, William Wordsworth; but also because of memories from childhood holidays there, and the fact that I regularly visited it during the time I spent as an undergraduate at Lancaster University (approximately 40 minutes drive from Windermere).

As a member of the university hiking club, I became familiar with the Old Man of Coniston and Scafell Pike and I soon learned that hiking didn’t mean gentle  rambling, it meant something very akin to mountain-climbing except without the ropes and crampons, as we scrambled up and slid down steep slopes of scree!

cruise on Lake Windermere (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

cruise on Lake Windermere (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Surprise View, Derwentwater (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Surprise View, Derwentwater (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Bowness-on-Windermere is distinctive for me, as I would go there with my parents when they came to visit me for the weekend. For me, it was a translation from the world of student accommodation to the Old England Hotel. I returned there on later occasions with friends, for afternoon tea on the terrace, overlooking Lake Windermere. The Old England Hotel has held a special place in my memory  ever since.

It is said that the Lake District has the highest rainfall in England. Those who go there must take mist, rain, muted colours, a moist  atmosphere, brooding clouds, along with everything else the Lake District has to offer; and be prepared to carry on regardless, wearing waterproofs. If you experience  the lakes and mountains in bright sunshine, count yourself blessed!

The Lake District is an inspirational place that speaks directly to the spirit.

Here are some more images from our recent visit:

Derwentwater from Keswick (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Derwentwater from Keswick (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Boats beside Derwentwater (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

Boats beside Derwentwater (photo credit Abigail Robinson)

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Ruth Clemence is a writer and blogger living in South West England.