Etched Behind Eyelids | February 2021
I began the month with grand plans to make some progress on my first Rachmaninoff prelude, but February had other ideas.
Some late winter sunshine at the Vale on my daily circuit of the neighbourhood.
Marking up my Barenreiter urtext edition of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. I’ve been working on learning the D minor first movement in recent months and have been playing from a Schirmer edition which I bought when I was eighteen. The urtext edition is an ‘unedited’ version which is much closer to what Bach wrote, but it comes without finger patterns, bowing markings and dynamics so you have to put those in yourself after listening to different musicians play the music to discover your own interpretation.
Of course Minou had to have a cuddle half way through!
Following a power cut we spent a morning without water, which meant we had no heating. Minou was not impressed.
A patch of wall on one of the quiet streets on my daily circuit of the neighbourhood.
My beautiful Minou, asleep at the dinner table one evening. She has joined us for dinner for years. It’s a tradition she began when she moved in with us in 2012. If we didn’t set her a chair, she’d cry until we pulled a stool up. These past three years as her health has declined we’ve often pulled an armchair up to the table rather than the stool so that she can be with us, but find a comfortable position to sleep in if she’s unwell. It’s just lovely to have her company.
An afternoon at Winterbourne and a good gauge of my mood this month.
Minou stopped eating in the second week of February, something that happens every few months because of her pancreatitis and kidney disease. I syringe fed her water to keep her hydrated while she was off her food and she briefly started eating again, or at least drinking the sauce from her fish even though she couldn’t manage the chunks. Sadly it didn’t last and she stopped eating, drinking and walking altogether on the afternoon of 19th February. It was a moment we knew was coming, the vet had warned us back in November that we really were in the final stretch with her as her body was shutting down even then, but knowing that something you dread is inevitable doesn’t make it any easier to cope with emotionally. I have written about our grief at losing Minou, so I will save myself from repeating it here.
It’s been almost a week now since I kissed her goodbye for the last time, and without Minou by my side I feel so lost. We miss her so much, she was such a wonderful friend to us both and life without her will never be the same.
The light is back, and it’s so beautiful. If Minou were still with us and she was well she’d be sat by the French doors in the living room with her eyes closed, basking in the first warm rays of the year. I don’t know who is going to ‘call’ the first day of spring this year without Minou turning right out of her cat flap to sit on the bench in the sun on the first truly warm afternoon. Maybe I’ll have to be the meteorologist this year, raising a cup of tea in memory of Minou in her garden in the sky.
One afternoon each week, Ed’s school has been cancelling lessons to give staff and children a break from staring at screens. Ed’s been going in to school and teaching from his classroom during this latest lockdown / shutdown, but on quiet days with fewer lessons he’s been going in late or coming home early and finishing things up at home. The children return to classrooms on Monday 8th March, so he’s enjoying the flexibility while it lasts.