With apologies to any of you who might believe that the Almighty created the human being Perfect, I have to report that THERE IS A SERIOUS DESIGN FAULT IN THE HUMAN BACK.
Last weekend, in a flurry of 'Beloved Clara' anxiety, I spent three happy hours gardening. Monday morning I woke up and could hardly move. I've done nothing useful this week except lie on my back in 'Alexander Technique' pose trying to straighten out my spine, which isn't broken but feels as if it is. Back pain is vile. It not only scuppers you physically, but also mentally. I've written nothing (except Dulwich blog entry, pretending all was well!), read nothing, listened to nothing, been no further from the house than Waitrose (3 mins gentle stroll) and only watched one French film (Jean de Florette, which I've seen 5 times already).
When things get you down this way, you can become 'half in love with easeful death' - at least with the notion of an anaesthetic to knock you out for a few weeks. But there is one thing to live for. Music, of course.
I've spent two hours this afternoon gritting my teeth and playing the piano. I've played through the Franck violin sonata to make sure I can still play it (yes!), brushing up the Debussy 'Clair de lune' (my party piece since 1981) and reading through some of my beloved Faure's abominably tricky nocturnes. Even if my back isn't better, my soul is on the mend. As long as there is music of such overwhelming beauty in the world, it's worth being here.
Having nothing better to do, besides practising, than surf the internet, I've just come across a blog by Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker, which is excellent - link under Music Friends. Alex, sorry you knew about my blog before I knew about yours, but better late than never!
Of course, one of the other things worth living for is good food. I've had some major successes with Nigella Lawson's recipes, especially the ones from 'Forever Summer'.
Actually, there's plenty to live for, isn't there!