Letouttoplay

Life, photos but not the universe

mist, mellow, music.

We had Mr and Mrs and Little Middle to stay on Friday.  It’s completely confused me, I no longer know whether it’s Saturday or Sunday, bed time or waking up time, going out or staying in time.  It’s definitely coffee time though.  Possibly going out with the camera time too.  That would tend to make it day time (though at some time over the weekend I did feel tempted to abandon sleep and go out with the camera in the moonlight which would have made a pig’s ear of sleeping time so I didn’t).

Yes well I did the weekend and now it seems to be Monday.  Blogger is having a day off as well I notice, three times it told me it couldn’t grant my request.  No Comment.  No comments, that is, till it’s back.

As I shall be babyminding again this week and then going out on a boat for a few days (Not our own one twelfth but that of Marvellous Mr and Mrs M and their Dog Jacko) I feel that there are many tasks looming ahead which must be done quickly.    Things like shopping, washing and packing.  Ooh and I must nip next door and ask if the neighbours will feed the cat.  Also I have had a request for a list of things I’d like for my birthday.

One of them is a Kindle.  I know I want that but I also know that Mrs Middle has this in hand and that it is a thing that will not inspire Barney.  Also I realise that he has no more free time in which to buy anything unless he gets something online.  This would fill us both with anxiety since he  (officially*) hates the computer and I worry that he might not have the patience or concentration necessary to avoid buying too many or the wrong thing or forgetting a password or staying logged in to some evil and rapacious site or any of the myriad little things that can cause stress.  Anyway I’ve just had a look at a few interesting sites and after lusting after a number of  really beautiful silk scarves I’m rejecting them on the grounds that it’s almost immoral to pay £50 for a scarf however silk and designed it may be.  Almost.

This reminded me of the Harry Potter book on Antiques Roadshow last night.  Ok, it may have been an earlyish edition (not first) and signed by most of the cast but £600?   Hmm.

That reminded me that my Fiddle Wizard once told me that any old violin (as opposed to a new one) is valued not according to its playing qualities but as an antique.  So while it’s not likely that you’d find a Strad in a junk shop you might just possibly find an old fiddle that sounds like a Strad.   Actually that’s not likely either.  The makers whose work was prized because they made the most beautiful sounding fiddles long ago are still prized today by dealers because of their antique value.  The ones that sounded like strangled cats probably got binned when their owners  died and only the ones that sang like nightingales and everyone fell in love with were kept to be dealt today**.  Still, it’s worth considering that when you go to a violin shop looking for a good fiddle, you’re essentially talking to an antique dealer who isn’t necessarily a violinist or even a musician.  (Fiddle Wizard plays the violin a little and is a very good lutanist.  He also makes rather wonderful lutes)

Another thought that occasionally makes me seethe a bit is that there are a good number of very lovely and hugely valuable fiddles which live in bank vaults because they have been bought as investments.  One of these was played by my fiddle teacher when she was a child prodigy and when it’s owner died it was taken away from her by the inheritor and banked.  For some reason I feel really strongly abut buried fiddles.  I can just about cope with books kept under glass and lock and key since, by their nature books are a repeatable phenomenon but each violin has a unique voice which gradually fades and rusts when it’s not used.  Would you shut Maria Callas or Kathleen Ferrier in a vault?????  I can hardly bear to think about the paintings and the other beautiful things that no one ever sees but at least they don’t die in the dark.

Oh well.  My gig fiddle came from Fiddle Wizard and cost £60.  It has a warm, deep voice with dark undertones but according to him it’s a horrible thing with ghastly red varnish and clunky workmanship and he was going to throw it in an auction bin – in fact he could hardly bear to be associated with it at all.  Well it isn’t very pretty, true, but it does the job and I’m fond of it the way you love an old, ugly mongrel with bad breath and a heart of gold.

My other fiddle came from my half sister’s family and may be worth a few hundred pounds or an appalling number of thousands but only the latter if an appalling number of thousands were spent on restoring it first and then only if an expert would be prepared to certificate it***.  It is somewhat fragile, having a crack across the pegboard which has needed repairing twice.  It has a sweet voice but wouldn’t stand up to heavy work.  I love it the way you’d love a beautiful old thoroughbred which has damaged legs but still loves to run and gives you affectionate breaths and a warm silky nose to stroke whenever you take it out.

Perhaps it’s time to leave you in the woods again and go and play for half an hour.

Oops, Monday’s slipped away and Tuesday has arrived.  Better get a move on.  I have arranged cat feeding with the neighbours and made a shopping list but I’ve also done a whole lot of other things that weren’t on the original list so it doesn’t look much shorter than it did this morning.   Typical.  Never mind.   I hope your list is short and all crossed out.

*Well he hates it when it doesn’t do what he want immediately or tells him something new or asks him if he wants to do something he doesn’t understand or if I’m using it for myself and he wants to sit and look at his email for a few minutes.  He likes it when people send him nice emails or I make him a few stamp pages or he can look up an online auction.

**The fact that some violins were preserved for centuries isn’t a good yardstick for sound quality either since the workman and tools saying applies to musical instruments as much as any other creative instrument.  Some fiddle players can make a piece of old fencing sound as if angels were singing and some people can only get a strangled squawk or two out of a Strad.

***And I only have the word of an enthusiastic and slightly mad young Belgian maker for it’s possible provenance. 

November 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 9 Comments