Spent a large part of last night's session with the Fiddlers wishing I was a better fiddler than I am now. This has probably got everything to do with the fact that the wee reel I'd practised assiduously all week and thought - hey, I'm getting the hang of this - turned out to be one of those tunes that require playing with one's bow a blur and fingers flying. Like an old 33r.p.m L.P played at the speed of a 45 r.p.m.single. Or a treadmill at the gym speeded up from walk to sprint. Aaaaargh. Fingermangle. How the heck...? Donald says it's muscle memory (obviously my muscles have got dementia) and Pete says don't think about it - it's easier.Oh, how we laffed.
As with most things, it's practise. Or practice. Just do it.
But supply your family with ear-muffs and plugs before you begin.
There was a stunningly talented piper at the session last night. Small pipes, I hasten to add .The piper's effect on the resident black labrador ( Fergus) was marked. Fergus came round all the fiddlers, one by one, looking for reassurance that the Boy With The Waily-Waily Thing was actually Safe. Poor Fergus. not only having to put up with weekly infestations of fiddles, but now a plague of pipes?
But even if I do practise till my fingers bleed, I'll never catch up with the Fiddlers. I swear they've all been playing since they were tots, like me, but unlike me they didn't give up in their teen years, and carried on fiddling all the way through their twenties, thirties, forties and are now amazing. Really, truly amazingly talented people. It's a joy to occasionally have a tune with them.
At least ritual humiliation-by-fiddle took my mind off the terrors of packing for Bologna. I'm over that now. I've been to have my first hair-cut for a whole year, and...well...it's signally failed to have the desired morale-boosting effect. Perhaps I should have embraced my Inner-Harridan/ Unst Granny* with the long wild hair , but I had a yen for sleek shiny hair ironed flat. I know, it's lamentable to be so damn vain especially when you're ( whisper it) Getting On A Bit- but my Inner Fluff-Brain occasionally does get her turn in the driving seat and such is her unfamiliarity with the controls ( ooooh, what's this knob? gosh, I wonder what happens when I press this one? what's that siren sound? why are there red flashy thingsin my rearview mirror?) that it's a safe bet that it will all end in tears.
So - not quite tears, but it is a pretty indifferent haircut, made even less flattering by the fact that due to advancing decreptitude, what I now appear to have is a sleek headful of grey ironed flat stuff. I look, in short, like I'm about to audition for Blake 7.
* Thankyou to Mel for this glorious image. Unst Grannies, Fetlar Uncles, Yell Spouses and suchlike can all be found at 60 degrees North.