Many of you will know that for many years my main instrument was the cello. Indeed, it is the instrument on which I am technically most advanced on. Many of you will also know the stereotypes surrounding string players, most notably the almost maternal care for their instruments. A great deal of care and attention that needs to go into looking after a stringed instrument, such as regularly cleaning the strings, wiping down the body to remove rosin dust, wiping down the fingerboard to remove greasy finger marks, changing the strings on a fairly regular basis, storing the instrument in a controlled environment. I have to admit, I do very few of these things. My cello sits in its case until I need to use it, and although I refrain from dunking it in the bath to clean it, I honestly can’t say I’ve changed the strings more than once since I bought it!
To a certain degree, guitarists can sometimes fall into this trap of becoming excessively obsessive about their instruments. Some would say that strings ought to be changed at least once every three months, and that some strings (depending on your personal playing style and the nature of the instrument) need to be replaced even more often than that. Thankfully, I’m not one of those people. I did give my guitar a whole new set of strings this week, but only because my D string broke again and I figured it’s been almost a year since I bought the guitar and it was about time I treated it to a new set! I’m still in the process of playing them in at the moment. I also bought a new plectrum while I was in the shop, to replace my now very used one that I bought for my previous guitar. Sadly, the new plectrum, whilst being the same thickness as my old one, snapped the day after I bought it, so I’m back to using old faithful after all!
In other news, my ring came back from the shop this week too. I had had to take it back to be resized, since it was too big when I first picked it up and I was afraid of it dropping off every time I swung my arm. So I’m now down to a size N. It’s a very nice engagement ring though, silver with two small inset diamonds. Not quite as impressive as Ellie’s ring, but very nice nonetheless. And of course it suits me a lot better than a whopping great sticking-out ring. I’m beginning to get used to it now, having worn it for a few days on the trot. I still fiddle with it a lot, but not as much as when I first got it – it’s slowing feeling more like it’s supposed to be there!
Oh, and I’m also running. Well, jogging. I decided that it was about time I started doing some regular exercise, having spent the last 10 months sat vegetating in front of my computer. When I was working at the Chaplaincy I cycled onto campus every day, which was really good, but having bought a car and started working from home, I haven’t had any reason to cycle anywhere (in addition to which my rear tyre needs a new inner tube). Neither have I been doing any sports or any sort of exercise, and I’m beginning to feel it. It’s not that I’m getting fat, it’s just that I haven’t been feeling quite as fit as I used to, and I’m feeling guilty about it. So I’ve decided to run. If I go round to Ellie’s, I shall be running home. Today I jogged across the fields onto campus, and jogged half way back (I was walking Ellie home the first half). I’m not feeling the effects yet, but I’m hoping to get to a stage eventually where I can jog much further without getting too worn out, so that when Ellie moves to the other end of Wivenhoe I’ll still be able to get there and back in a reasonable time without having to get the car out!!
And finally, an update on our baby collared dove. It’s no longer a baby! A couple of days after my previous post, where I expressed my concern for the poor thing having wandered out of our garden, I saw it perched on the greenhouse with the mother. It had grown so much that it looked almost the same size, and the only way I could tell it was the baby was that it was preening out its fluffy down feathers! It’s so satisfying to know that it survived! Unfortunately I can’t tell one from the other, so I wouldn’t know if it came along again, it would just look like any other collared dove. But I hope that deep down inside that little bird would remember me, and all the kind and helpful things I did to secure its safety while it was maturing…