FROM MY ALBUM
Jean’s grandparents Jane MacKenzie and John Logan in 1894. The little boy is Jean's father George.
I THINK I WOULD be 8 and Rita 5 when we began piano lessons. Probably we weren’t particularly keen on the idea (I wanted a banjo) but all decisions affecting us children were made by our parents, and that was that!
Our teacher was Aunt Frances, the youngest of our mother’s siblings, and she had 12 letters after her name! Wow!!
The fact that she was a relation made no difference in her attitude towards us. We were her pupils and we were treated like all the others.
I remember the routine well. Our mother would take us to see Grandma Hardie who lived next door to Frances, and, when my lesson was due, I would go to Frances’ house, go into the hall, where I would change into carpet slippers, and then quietly slip into the big front room to wait till the previous pupil had finished.
I’m sure that in the early days we went along well prepared, for Mother used to sit with us while we did our compulsory half-hour practice every day. Later on however I sometimes went for my lesson, wishing that I had been a bit more industrious during the week.
Minuet in G by Beethoven was one of my earlier pieces, and this is a very pleasant orchestral version.
Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young (Theodore Roosevelt)
At school there were certain poems that really caught my imagination, and “Abou Ben Adhem” by Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) was one. Here it is :-
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight of his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold.
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said “I pray thee then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.”
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names who love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
SEVENTY YEARS AGO
On 23rd August 1939 the world was shocked to learn that a non-aggression pact had been signed between Germany and Russia.
Two days later Britain and Poland signed an agreement which stated that, in the event of either of them being attacked, the other would come to its aid.
With those two events the possibility of war became almost unavoidable.
This is an 1886 photograph of some of the inhabitants of St Kilda outside their cottages.
St Kilda is a number of little islands 40 miles from the Outer Hebrides in Scotland.
There had been a small population there for hundreds of years, but since the middle of the 19th century there were never more than 100 people living there. The story of the evacuation of the inhabitants in 1930 is well-known, but I was too young then to know anything about it.
Today St Kilda is owned by the National Trust and became a World Heritage Site in 1986. The island attracts a good number of bird-watchers for it has become famous as a breeding ground for seabirds, and other visitors are volunteers who are helping to restore some of the ruined houses. There’s also a small military base on the island.
This is an interesting slide show of St Kilda, showing how it was then, and as it is today. I find that I like more time to look at the pictures, and so the PAUSE button comes in handy.