February has been a real drag of a month and everything seems to have taken an age. My running really suffered after the crash as I had to cut my mileage right back until different bits of me stopped aching and complaining. Anyway, I've been doing lots of stretches and low impact work to get my flexibility back and the only bits of me that are irksome now are my lower back and my neck. I managed a 20 miler yesterday without too much discomfort so I'm feeling a bit happier about the forthcoming marathons (only 6 weeks until the first of my treble in Brighton - gulp!). There are lots of skippy little lambs about now and I couldn't resist snapping this cute little black one.
On the knitting front, progress has been slow. I cast on the Cabled yoke cardi by Amy Polcyn from the Winter 2009/10 issue of Designer Knitting (why oh why was it renamed Designer Knitting in the UK but is still Vogue Knitting in the USA?).
I'm using Gedifra Belisana which is a lovely mohair yarn to work with. I chose the colours specifically to work with this blouse and added my own contrast stripes and they seem to work well. I've just got to turn up the lower edge and then do the button band. The only thing I'm not keen on now it's nearly finished is the waist ribbing which doesn't really add anything to the design. I don't think I'll rip it back though.
It's taken an age to knit as my knitting time has been hampered by not being able to hold my head in the necessary position for any length of time as my neck kept seizing up. The Physiotherapist has been doing lots of prodding and ultrasound which seems to be helping at last so I think my knitting time will increase soon.
February was certainly an eventful month in many ways as we had to reschedule the recording of Mike's Violin Sonata as it was originally booked for early in the New Year but poor Mike still couldn't walk then. When the day dawned (literally as we had a long way to travel!) I was rather apprehensive as I hadn't driven any great distance since the crash. Thankfully the weather was kind to us and the motorway wasn't too bad - well, if ever the M25 can be described as not being too bad!
So here it is, the Menuhin Hall, opened in 2006 within the grounds of the Yehudi Menuhin School in Stoke d'Abernon as a memorial to the late, great Yehudi Menuhin.
It is situated close to his grave on which is the inscription "He who makes music in this life makes music in the next". His wife's ashes were scattered under the tree on the right and there is a small plaque on the ground. It's as if he is still there watching over the proceedings.
It's an amazing hall with fantastic acoustics as you would expect. This screen outside the hall allows you to check what's going on before entering (you can imagine how unpopular you'd be if went barging in when they were recording!) Here, Mike is chatting to Mike Ponder, the sound engineer who was doing the recording for us, as he sets up the microphones etc.
The beautiful Steinway Concert Grand was wheeled out and the piano tuner came in to tune it before the performance. Mike couldn't resist trying it out and it really did sound magnificent. Mike said the tone was so good that it played itself. This wasn't quite true as it certainly didn't sound very good when I played it!
So here we have our 2 players - Huw Watkins himself a renowned composer but also a brilliant pianist and Alexandra Wood an accomplished and very talented violinst.
They are talking to a good friend of ours, Levine Andrade who was one of the 12 founder members of the Yehudi Menuhin School. In the Lobby, there's a lovely photo of him and the others founder members together with Yehudi Menuhin. He arranged the players for Mike and came along to add an extra pair of ears and to offer guidance to Alexandra if needed.
I spent most of the day making drinks, preparing food and knitting. I did actually sneak out for an hour after lunch as I'd spotted a large Garden Centre nearby so I had a good old mooch around there and of course came back with some goodies for the garden.
The players were amazing (and believe me they had to be as Mike's music is certainly not pedestrian!) and the sonata sounds fantastic. It was a great day and it was wonderful to hear Mike's music played by such wonderful players.