Music for simple minds

Violin resting on sheet music

Since lockdown began six (or is it seven?) millenia ago, I have begun to realise how reliant I am on the companionship of sound, and of classical music in particular.

Violin resting on sheet music

I wake up to Russell Torrance and his gentle Scottish brogue on Classic FM, then move on to my late father’s classical music CD collection for the rest of my working-from-home day. Once meticulously filed in alphabetical order in his study, it’s now a jumbled pile in his old bedroom – my current retreat. I sift through it for old favourites – the B for Bach, H for Handel and M for Mozart sections were always heavily weighted on Dad’s shelves – and spend hours every day of this 21st century pandemic immersed in 18th century music.

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The Long Distance Grandmother

Regular readers may have seen this story on various social media platforms but it is reproduced here in celebration of the new-look DIY Woman, becoming a grandmother and the light at the end of the lockdown tunnel.

Greyhound on the beach leaping with joyBeing a long distance grandmother has its compensations. Every morning since corona-lockdown, I’ve woken to images of my son and his young family managing their splendid self-isolation in northern NSW. There are five of them and they’re in this together: mother, father, toddler, newborn and Norman. (Norman is a greyhound but try convincing him.)

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The kindness of strangers

A recent invitation to join the Kindness Pandemic Facebook page brought to mind this story I wrote for The Age in 2009 shortly after the car crash that – in a strange way – was the catalyst for DIY Woman. I was determined to make the most of the life I had been spared to live. It was the inception of what started out as a guide to separation, divorce and living happily ever after, and grew into a blog for the Daring Intuitive Young@heart Woman I aspire to be. The type of woman (and occasional man) I write for. And that is you, dear reader. I hope you enjoy this story from The Age archives.

The Kindness Pandemic artwork

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Beating the Isolation Blues

A few Saturday nights ago – a lifetime away – I had an epiphany. 

 I was in a form of self-imposed isolation due to a cold I had picked up from some visiting relatives. It was early on in the unfolding of the coronavirus catastrophe to come. According to the Nurse-On-Call, I didn’t tick any of the boxes that would have entitled me to coronavirus testing. So I was erring on the side of caution. And there was something seductive about cancelling all social engagements and staying in on a Saturday night. Especially with Hugh Grant for company. A Very British Scandal was showing on iview, so my pyjamas and I settled in for episode one.

Isolation in front of the TV with slippers
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They cancelled Eurovision

This year would have marked the 65th anniversary of Eurovision.

Sixty-four years of big hair, wind machines and pyrotechnics up in smoke. For this year anyway – the year I made the decision to experience firsthand the highs, the lows, the costume reveals and the money notes. The year I sweated over three laptops simultaneously logged in to the second round of ticket sales and won and lost tickets in less than five heartbreaking minutes. And won again.

Three laptops open at the Eurovision booking page
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Ageing audiences a privilege to play for

In an excerpt from his book Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More in the current issue of Limelight magazine, Stephen Hough wrote of his reaction on seeing an elderly man being wheeled into the concert hall where Hough was about to perform.

‘My heart instantly lifted,’ he wrote. ‘It struck me as wonderful that he was here to hear Beethoven and I was the one who this evening was to bring that music to life.’

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Late bloomers: flowering later in life and loving it.

Pink late bloomer roses on a red and white checked tablecloth in front of a yellow chair

Australian women are amongst the most long-lived on the planet.

Current statistics tell us we can expect to live to an average age of 85: twenty years beyond what used to be called retirement age. For some, the prospect of filling in those extra decades is daunting. For others – the late bloomers – it’s an opportunity to achieve the goals they set out to reach before life got too busy or too messy.

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