YoungB performing at a school concert in 2006.
Days like today are entirely too few.
Dr B has been practising his classical guitar quite religiously for weeks now, because he has a hand condition that improves with precisely the sorts of exercising involved in playing guitar. YoungB has commented upon the audible improvement to Dr B’s playing.
Today, we were all sitting about feeling various stages of unwell – Dr B is almost over the URTI he passed on to me, and I’m probably about halfway but with a twist he didn’t manage (namely raging sinusitis, so my head still feels like it’s going to explode if I lean over too far), and YoungB, despite his considerable dedication to not breathing near us more than he absolutely has to, is probably coming down with it.
What do you do on a day like that? Well, if you’re Dr B you call me in to help with a couple of piano questions (easily sorted once I realised I couldn’t actually read the bar numbers and Dr B pointed out which bar he wanted me to play). If you’re YoungB, you dose up on anything you can find – Vitamin C, garlic, ginger, lemon, whatever tea with honey – and haul out your flute so you can practise up some of that fun music from primary school. And if you’re me, because you’re there you stay at the piano and grab the accompaniment so you can play along with YoungB.
Although I’m not in that photo – it’s an old one, taken in poor lighting from much too far a distance for the camera’s capacity, so please forgive its graininess – on that occasion, I accompanied YoungB. He thought his schoolmates would laugh at him, but he got up there and performed anyway. So did I, on a piano even less up to the task than the camera! In fact, YoungB’s mates actually thought it was pretty cool and probably only Dr B and the music teacher were as disconcerted as I by how bad the piano was. YoungB has forgotten all of that. I haven’t.
Today, I don’t care what housework didn’t get done. To be fair, I’m too sick to do much but laundry, and the menfolk aren’t much better. We’re getting by on the occasional supermarket dash and perhaps too many pre-prepared meals, but we are in no danger of starving or dying of malnutrition, and we are resting. All of that aside, the main thing is that we had an afternoon of making music together. Money can’t buy that sort of pleasure and fulfilment.
Then, in light of the news of Franco Zeffirelli’s death, of course we’ve spent this evening sitting upright on the sofa and rewatching – for the I couldn’t tell you how-many-eth time – our old and somewhat dodgy recording of his fabulous La Traviata with Teresa Stratas and Placido Domingo. Yeah. I can sit there and gasp, and nobody cares whether it’s because I’m trying to breathe or just gasping in awe.
Vale, Franco, and thank you for all the pleasure your artistic vision has given to so many of us for such a long time. The world is a lesser place.