I am off today to perform with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra at the Concert Hall in Singapore. I have been back and forth to Asia for several trips over the years and it is always exciting. On this occasion I will be performing Yiu-Kwong Chung’s Concerto for Percussion and Traditional Chinese Orchestra and “The Sun” from The New Millennium of the Dragon Year” by Kuan Nai-Chung.

As I depart from our wonderful sunny weather here in the UK I feel very refreshed having enjoyed a beautiful weekend of clear blue skies and the warm kiss of the summer sun at last. I am always amazed at the way the weather affects our mood and general feeling of ‘well being’ it must be all the vitamin D!

When I look around me at the airport I notice throngs of people heading off with their bags packed full of holiday items with an eagerness that at last they will be able to sit by the pool and bathe on warm sunny beaches. I am not sure if it is a because I am from the North of Scotland or that I was brought up on a farm but I have never actively sought the sunshine. However I do feel revived and replenished and happy when I have been able to get out into my garden at the weekend.

I get a lot of inspiration from gardening and I often feel there is a definite sensation of ‘power’ gained when pulling weeds out! As I tug and pull I imagine a musical garden with plenty of exquisite notes represented by flowers and plants and as I move along the rows I weed out the rogue notes allowing the music to flow gently onwards and upwards. Border plants become low notes spreading along the bass and delicate Lilly’s and Orchids reach for the high notes. Bright sounding Marigolds push themselves forward and Marguerite Daisies prance around in the breeze like delicate violins.

I become systematic and almost aggressive as I wrench out the weeds that choke the stems of the plants I want to encourage, I can also become totally absorbed in the garden, so much so that I forget the time.

When I am done and put away my tools, I stand back and get a great sense of achievement at a job really well done – to me if feels just like practising for hours before finally getting it right and knowing that I have conquered the piece – just in time for tea!

Image: © Philipp Rathmer/Brigitte (used by kind permission)

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