Christmas in Cardiff has been rather wonderful. Gladys gave me a black leather handbag, and as I consider the contrasting stitching, the detail on the strap, I see that it is designed in perfect taste, enough detail to be worth looking at without being fussy or precious. Rhianwen, who is 13, knitted her grandmother Gladys a scarf with a very fine wool, so that it is light and soft. I played I giorni on the piano. Louise loves it and will get it on ITunes. Rhydian played the first movement of the Pathétique sonata. This has inspired me to get out some old repertoire, and work up Rachmaninov’s C# minor prelude. I played it for a group, and a woman said those three unison octaves made her think “Let Me Out”, but she tolerated my performance: it is a wonderful piece for a frustrated teenager, just bash the piano and get it out of the system.

Is there a tincture of boasting in writing of this? I started the piano when I was six, I have a certain natural talent, and I have done the work to recreate these wonderful works of art in my own living room, or those of friends. Making that recreation, joining my own interpretation to the soul of the notes, gives me great joy and joy for others. Rhianwen has just passed her Grade II, and is getting the joy of it even if she is only practising an hour a week at the moment. All that effort, for that result, it is beautiful and a source of delight.

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