Sunday, 4 August 2013

Sunshine and Smiles!

 Magnificent Maurice!!!

Sunday 10 March 2013 ... Mother's Day ... and a trip to East Midlands Dog Rescue to help some of the dogs recently brought in from a Puppy Farm in Lincolnshire.

Maurice was in a truly terrible state.  He was very underweight, covered in sores and scars, mouth full of ulcers and abcesses so unable to eat or yawn because of so much pain, ears so badly infected that the vet was sick when he saw them. Having spent his whole life there, working as a stud, his useful days were over.  He was discarded with the others without any care or thanks from those that had no doubt made a great deal of money from breeding him, and he was rescued by the incredible Sandy at EMDR.

Following 6 weeks in the wonderful foster care of Suzanne and her family, I officially adopted Maurice on Tuesday 7 May, and we haven't looked back ... which is why my blog is so late in arriving!!!  Having never lived in a house, gone for a walk, learned to play, or experienced much kindness or love, it is unbelievable that he has become such a wonderful, intelligent, cheeky and good-tempered dog, who, to quote my friend Kate, "brings a smile to everyone's face!"

Musical Inclusion Programme
Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT) 

Always on the lookout for new and interesting musical ventures, I applied to be on a database for musicians providing input to the NMPAT Musical Inclusion Programme.  Instead of a formal interview, successful applicants were invited to lead a session at Rowan Gate Primary School in Wellingborough, working with a class of children with diverse special needs.  

The outcome was to be invited to be part of the Development Team for Musical Inclusion in Northamptonshire, led by Simon Steptoe, and working with several other brilliant practitioners to develop a programme across the county, working with a range of groups with very different needs.  We are in the early stages, and I'm so excited to have my work valued in this way.  From performing an improvised score for partially-sighted dancers from Salamander Tandem at the new Corby Cube building, to spending a day co-leading a music workshop for Young Carers with Kate Rounding, I look forward to building on and extending this area of my work.

We continue to play together regularly, and have one or two promising new members!  We all enjoyed performing at a fabulous charity event in Littlethorpe, plus a return to Oakfest on a glorious sunny afternoon in June, both events that Paula and Reid McKillop had a big hand in organising.  If your event needs a little "ooomph" - get in touch!

Phil Riley and Julie Wright
Phil and I continue to play and work on new songs.  A particularly enjoyable gig was at the new music venue run by Pete James in Melton Mowbray, Melton Cafe, a great evening and fabulous place to spend an evening (even if we're not playing!)  We also returned to Worksop for an evening with The Valley Social Club - adults with learning difficulties who meet on Mondays for a variety of social activities.  I've been running sessions with them for years, it's great to see familiar faces, and Phil adds an extra dimension with his guitar and songs for us to drum along to!!!   

Silva's Party!
Possibly one of the most unusual and most fun bookings I've ever had!  Silva works at Wessex Gardens Primary School in London, where I had been earlier in the year to work with KS1 children - you may recall I've returned many times over the years.  Silva invited me to a celebration she was having for family and friends, who were mostly Armenians, gathered from all corners of the world.  As well as running a "have-a-go" session later in the evening (after some totally amazing food!) I found myself playing, with the Headteacher of the Armenian School in Paris at the piano, while guests sang and danced and smashed plates!  I'm now an honorary Armenian!   

Meanwhile ... regular teaching will continue at various local schools when term begins in September, as well as other one-off workshops and performances in the East Midlands and beyond.  For now, though, Maurice and I are continuing getting to know each other, and enjoying the sunshine  :)  we hope you are too  :)