Monday, December 29, 2008

Music Mondays; Memories of Yesterday

As this year draws to a close it has marked some personal highs and lows, the nadir being the unexpected death of my mother back in October.

It’s quite bizarre how sometimes you’re going about your daily business and then suddenly the enormity of having lost someone you love hits you. Memories once blurred become very vivid; sights, sounds and even smells come flooding back, swamping you in a current of unrestrained emotions.

Music has many associations for me and sometimes particular songs have stayed with me for….for as long as I can remember….

Years before my family had a record player my parents used to play cassettes on a radio/cassette recorder in the kitchen. We had a wonderful country garden and my father used to sit looking out of the kitchen window at the wildlife, the shrubs and flowers and the surrounding woods. I often wondered what he was thinking about for hours on end. Although he could be very funny and sociable at times he was also quite a quiet, introspective man who had contemplated the priesthood in his youth.

Music often played in the kitchen especially in those early days when it more commonplace to listen to the radio than watch television. Two artists that my parents listened to with regularity were Joan Baez and Charles Aznavour. I’m sure they were my father’s choice because they always remind me of him. ( I think it would be fair to say my mum was the funky one!)

A song that really reminds me of my father and which is one of my all time favourites is Yesterday by Charles Aznavour. It’s not the more well know “Yesterday” by the Beatles, but I’m sure you’ll agree this song is just as good, if not better. I love everything about this song; the melancholic reflective mood, the angst in Charles Aznavour’s voice and the contemplative moving lyrics. If I close my eyes to this record I can always see my father... and as I get older the lyrics become even more meaningful.

The version I’m playing is one Charles Aznavour performed live at The Carnegie Hall- I’ve heard him sing it substantially better but I think you’ll find it’s still a great song;

(If the video is not showing please try this link. My blog seems to be experiencing some interference.)

This is the view from just outside the kitchen window the day my mother and I said goodbye to our family home for over 40 years. In earlier years the garden had more trees; mainly fruit trees but there was also an oak my younger brother had planted as a toddler. The fruit trees eventually came down as they passed their life expectancy and the oak became diseased a year or two before this photograph was taken and that too had to come down. The garden probably returned to a more natural state. Backing onto the Mendip woods there was a proliferation of wildlife; woodpeckers, jays and even buzzards made an appearance amongst the more frequent visitors. Foxes and badgers made regular appearances and even the odd cow or deer peered over the back wall!

This is the skyline a bit further along from the kitchen, looking up to the woods; no wonder my father's favourite place was in his chair by the kitchen window.

Yesterday, when I was young.

Copyright Jane Turley 2008

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  1. Wonderful pictures of your former abode, and thanks for sharing a few memories of yourself.

  2. Thanks for sharing such intensely personal memories Jane .A big hug and best wishes , good health and peace for the coming year

  3. Hi Georgie,

    Thanks... it's the end of a reflective year for me.(Though I know with my usual silliness around the blogosphere it might be hard to believe!)I am definately looking forward to the new year.

    Mrs G,

    Lovely to see you again Mrs G! I think I've got one more reflective post in me and then it's back to the usual madness before all this reflection makes me even more bonkers! If Mrs T doesn't get her daily dose of silliness then things can go(even more) disastrously wrong!

    Thanks for the warm wishes; may 2009 be a better year for all of us.

  4. This is a pretty cool version of the song. I've never heard of it before.

    Btw, happy new year!!

  5. Ahh.. what a beautiful song..thanks for sharing the song and the memory..

    Happy New Year!

  6. Interesting.... This was a song my Father really liked as well. He played the Shirley Bassey version:

    What a coincidence! Sweet choice!

  7. Rozella and LJ,

    I'm glad you liked the song; it's not everyones cup of tea as it's so reflective but I think it's a special song however you look at it.

    Mr I,

    Blimey, that is a coincidence! I've heard the Shirley Bassey version which is very powerful but I suppose I prefer the subtlety of Aznavour's. I've always liked the song since I first heard it as a young girl which is probably why it has stayed with me so long. If my father had been keen on The Sex Pistols the memories might not have been so vivid! (Ps The mere thought of my father liking The Sex Pistols just cracks me up - he would have been mortified! - I guess your father would have been too!)

  8. thanks for allowing a peek into your past jane...Spinoza was smiling on this place..

    a picture is worth a thousand words .. don't you know... ;^)


  9. Ah yes Eddie, a picture can paint a thousand words!

    ( I think I prefer the Bread version of If but you know Telly Savalas has a certain appeal...Mmm those lollipops...)

    But 'tis true...

    Well, I had to google again! Just to refresh my memory of who Spinoza was...which is shameful as I studied philosophy in my first year of university. Religous and moral philosophy was fine but then we got to mind was blown by the lecture on;

    What is the meaning of the word "Chair"?

    One day, I'll get around to blogging on that lecture. Though to be honest 20 odd years on I'm still confused!

    Thank goodness for Wikipedia!

    And yes, I expect Spinoza was smiling.

  10. Thank you for sharing your experiences and such personal memories. Music is so soothing for the soul. When my Mother moved on, I had so many questions, I found comfort in the music she listened to. I ask a friend, if he believed in time travel. He looked and me, with those trusting bog brown eyes and said....... Laura, yes, time travel does exist. How? He replied. While you sleep or mediate you can take your soul anywhere you want to be..... and so I did, and still do.

    Best of wishes and Happy New Year

  11. Jane, these are such beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing. Hugs to you and wishing you a happy, peaceful 2009.

  12. Thank you Sue. I took them for posterity and now I'm really glad I did.. Hug's to you too!

  13. Great garden, Jane. Looks like a beautiful area of countryside (but mustn't drool too much over the wonderful pics or the colours will run). I like Charles Aznavour's version of 'Yesterday' too (and you told me you didn't speak French!), but wouldn't mind hearing the Sex Pistol's cover of it (always thought they did a great cover of 'God Save the Queen').

    Is it me or has something changed with the layout of your blog? I've switched to Mozilla recently (to solve problems at other blogs), and don't know whether the changes to your site are because of this, or because you've reformatted (that Choccy pudding again), or because I've drunk way too much recently and need an extensive period of drying out to get rid of the D.T.s, the pink rabbits and... well, maybe I should go back to Internet Explorer and see if that helps my liver.


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