Striking a chord

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The Guitar Player (c. 1672), by Johannes Verme...

The Guitar Player (c. 1672), by Johannes Vermeer, guitar Voboam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had one electrical job to do on Wednesday for an elderly lady living in a village about three miles distant. I had called there last week to assess the work over a cup of coffee. I mentioned this in a previous post a couple of days ago (God's mother?). I knew I would be in for a nice time whilst working there. I was installing three under-the-units light fittings in her kitchen for she had complained that there was insufficient light in the kitchen with just the ceiling light. She had a point. Now that I have completed the work I don't think she will be complaining about a lack of light any longer! Each unit is fitted with its own switch so that she can have any combination of lights on at any time. She was a chatty woman, something I have found with many women her age, in fact I tend to be just the same. The problem with folk who have employed me to do their work is that sometimes they don't realise that I need to get on with the job. I have to tread carefully and be patient but in the back of my mind I am keen to get on with it. Fortunately after about fifteen minutes of chatting and drinking coffee I was left to my own devices to get on with the work. She interrupted me twice in order to make me a drink and then left the room. All the work had been done but I had to make a final connection to an existing circuit which meant isolating that circuit. She thought I was going to switch everything off but of course that isn't necessary. She watched as I made that connection then reinstate the supply. I could hear the 'Oos and ahrs' as the lights came on. She was excited that the lighting was so effective and thanked me for what I had done. Once again she chatted away but this time it didn't matter, I had finished the work. She began talking about her family, her sisters and the husband of her granddaughter whilst showing me pictures of them. She mentioned that the young husband of her granddaughter was into 'Heavy Metal' music though she couldn't remember the term. I hinted and she remembered. Evidently he played guitar in a band and was so happy that he had married into her family for it appears many of them play instruments and get together occasionally. Her sister is a singer and is still active in the older club scene in Liverpool and she is around eighty years of age! She told me that she could play the guitar too and showed me the instrument she had bought recently. It was a three-quarter sized acoustic guitar partly strung with nylon strings more usual on guitars playing country or folk music. One of the steel strings was missing, bottom E. It was way out of tune but nylon strings do tend to drift out of tune more easily. She offered me the instrument to play and I tried to tune it as best I could for I am wary of tuning someone else's instrument in case the strings break. I told her as much but I made an attempt at playing some of my own compositions. I could just about get the songs out and had to sing along for them to sound reasonable, a little difficult with a five-stringed guitar that is woefully out of tune. She asked about my own guitar and how long I'd been playing. She told me she had been playing for forty years but that she couldn't read music or play chords and demonstrated how she played. Well I have to say I was impressed as she only used the bottom strings whilst strumming out a song. Essentially she was holding down just a couple of notes but it sounded good. I said that I would like to bring my own guitar if ever I was to go there again and we could have a musical afternoon. Maybe I will get such an invite sometime.

Shirley Anne

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2 responses

  1. What a lovely story. I hope you do manage a return visit so that you can play along together. I’m still a novice on my little stringed instrument, but always enjoy it when my son or cousin turn up for a jamming session.

    I’m impressed that you’re able to sing along. Achieving a convincing female pitch is quite a challenge, though I did just about manage it when we played ‘Cecilia’ a few weeks ago.

  2. Thanks Angela. If I do go back I shall have to take some new strings for her guitar! I am not sure how my voice sounds to others when I attempt to sing but no-one has ever passed comment. I guess I must sound ok. Not that I often sing for others these days.

    Shirley Anne x