Neglected Structures & Overgrown Places #06 — Defunct Garden Clock

Garden Clock

I wonder whether this clock ground to a halt at 6.30 in the morning or evening and what time of year it happened. Perhaps it was summer, so the gardener was outside and missed his breakfast or tea as a result. Maybe it gave up the ghost at the same moment as someone died, a bit like the grandfather clock in the well-known song written by Henry Clay in 1876.

Remembrance Day: They Shall Grow Not Old

With rue my heart is laden
For golden friends I had,
For many a rose-lipt maiden
And many a lightfoot lad.

By brooks too broad for leaping
The lightfoot boys are laid;
The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
In fields where roses fade.

Words: A.E. Houseman (1859-1936) – A poem from The Shropshire Lad

Music: George Butterworth (1885-1916) who died in the Battle of the Somme and received the Military Cross for his bravery.

Sunlight through stained glass:
names of the war dead dappled
in crimson and gold.

Tanka #11 / Novel Writing/ Early Music Concerts


Lost in her tale,
the writer became a fox
leaping boundaries.
See that bushy red tail
vanishing into the blue.


This tanka is a surreal explanation of why I’m being less attentive to my fellow bloggers than usual. Please bear with me, as  I’ve reached the halfway mark with my work-in-progress started on January 1st. My speculative novel has removed me to a different time and place, but I should return to relative normality by mid-July.

At present, our town’s annual cultural festival is taking place. It opened on 30th March and runs until 21st April. Although this festival is eating into my writing time, it does stop me becoming surgically attached to my computer. Last week, our early music chamber choir, LuxAeterna, gave a recital, which included in the programme a fiendishly difficult, not often performed Mass by Giovanni Animuccia (c 1500-1571).

LuxAeterna Early Music Chamber Choir

For those who are interested, here’s our programme (all music composed before c 1630):

The Curtain drawn – Giles Farnaby
A little pretty bonnie lass – John Farmer
Il bianco e dolce cigno – Jacob Arcadelt
Le Sourvenir – Robert Morton
Though Philomela lost her love – Thomas Morley
Thus said fair Chloris bright – John Wilbye
Flow not so fast ye fountains – John Dowland
(Organ – Canzona Ariosa by Andrea Gabrielli)
Au joli bois – Claudin de Sermisy
Chambriere – Jean Planson
Il est bel est bon – Pierre Passereau
Ave verum corpus – Solesmes
Sacerdotes Domini – William Byrd
Adoramus te – Jacob Clemens non Papa
(Organ -Variations on ‘Mein junges Leben hat ein Eng’ by Jan Pietersoon Sweelinck)
Hymnus ‘Condiro Alme Siderum’
Miss ‘Conditor Alme Siderum’ (Kyrie, Sanctus, Benedictus, & Gloria) – Giovanni Animuccia

My husband, Victor, also gave a harpsichord recital on an instrument he has restored and re-strung. This was a nerve-wracking experience for him, as this was his first full length recital on the instrument and he didn’t know if the strings would hold up to prolonged use. Fortunately, he didn’t have to stop playing to re-tune the instrument and there were no embarrassing loud pings in the middle of a piece. My job was as page-turner, which rather daunted me, as harpsichord music has loads of ornamentation which is open to interpretation by the player. This means that there are all sorts of twiddly bits that are not fully written out, making it very hard for a page-turner to follow the music.

The maestro himself
Victor at the harpsichord

The Song of the Depressive Bear (Who Hates Picnics)


If you go down to the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today
You’ll find one bear in disguise.

The rudest bear that ever there was,
shuns good company, because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.


Fasting time for Teddy Bear,
The mouldy old recluse is having a grouchy time today.
Watch him, catch him unaware,
And see him starving on his own today.
See him glumly stick about.
He hates to play and shout,
but be weighed down by his cares.
At six o’clock his grandchildren come
To take him home to bed,
because he’s a sad old teddy bear.

If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better not go alone.
There’s one cross bear in the woods today,
So safer to stay at home.

The rudest bear that ever there was,
shuns good company, because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.


This old bear that’s hidden out,
Is sure of hunger today.
There’s only bark and beetles to eat,
and miserable thoughts to play.

Inside a tree where nobody sees,
He hides his bulk without any please,
‘Cause that’s the way to avoid a teddy bear picnic.


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