Well another week has rolled by. This last one has been rather busy – no surprises there. I was working Tuesday-Friday and Sunday as well – really enjoying the job! Enough to do to keep me busy without being stressful. Ideal.
On the Saturday I had a wedding to play for in Halifax at Holdsworth House Hotel. Once I drove out of Manchester I suddenly entered a winter wonderland. The roads were just about clear and the snowy scenery over the Pennines was gorgeous.
So a relatively easy journey until I get to the hotel itself. The single track driveway was very icy and snowy and I just managed to slide onto it when a car leaving the hotel started driving towards me. She was obviously not going to stop so I had to reverse off the snow back onto the road to give her enough room to get out – I’m already sliding all over the place so mild panic ensues. But anyway, I manage to get into the car park – which is ankle deep in snow, after a lot of skidding around (I wonder if onlookers thought I was doing it for fun) I managed to follow some tracks into a space at the far end of the car park.
Ok the car is parked, next hurdle, how to wheel a harp across the tundra previously known as the car park. A man who went by the name of Jaf was busily shovelling snow and I asked if he would help me – but by help I meant carry my bag, steady the harp and catch it if I slip. His definition of help was rather different. As soon as the harp was loaded onto the trolley he started wheeling it – I freaked out slightly but then realised there was no way I could have managed it so I just let him get on with it. I must say he did an excellent job – so well done Jaf !
The venue itself looked very beautiful:
I had been asked to play this for the Bride’s entrance:
At first I thought it a little strange to play video game music at a wedding but, to be fair, it’s a lovely piece of music.
The two readings were also lovely – Shakepeare’s Sonnet 116 – the one made even more famous by Sense and Sensibility, and an Edward Monkton story called Love Monkey:
It was once custom that every monkey would carve for himself a wooden heart.
And the heart that love monkey carved was the most beautiful of all.
Its contours were soft and rounded, like an ancient pebble sculpted by the oceans.
Its surface was smooth and shiny like liquid silk, and it shone as bright as a ruby in the desert sun.
“Take your hearts with you wherever you go,” said their teacher.
“Nurture them as a mother nurtures her new-born baby.
For when you want to give of yourself fully, your heart is the only true gift you will have.”
That night, Love Monkey had a dream.
He dreamt of a monkey whose smile lit up his sole like sunshine.
He held out his hear to her, so radiant, so splendid and so new.
She took him in her arms and he felt truly, perfectly, at peace.
When Love Monkey awoke he resolved that, from that day forward,
he would search for his Dream Monkey until he could stand before her and give to her his perfect heart.
He travelled through deserts…and climbed over mountains.
He trekked across forests…and sailed many oceans.
Love Monkey looked after his heart as best he could, but the storms that he endured on his travels chipped away at its surface and each new adventure reshaped it.
By the time he arrived on the last distant shore, his heart was so changed by the patina of time that it barely resembled his old heart at all.
And then, he saw her.
Standing before him, as radiant and as beautiful as the sunshine, was his Dream Monkey.
At firs the cold not speak. But then, from somewhere deep inside himself, he found a voice.
“I have travelled the world over to find you, and to give you my hear,” he said.
“But now that I am finally with you, I see how foolish I have been.
You are so beautiful, so perfect. And my heart that was once smooth, so bright and so new is now not something that I could even bring myself to show you,” and he turned to go.
“Let me see it,” said Dream Monkey. She took his heart and held it up to the light.
“Nothing to me is more beautiful. Every fissure tells a story.
Every blemish makes you more real. All my life I have been waiting for a heart like this; a heart that speaks the truth.”
“Come here,” she said. “I have something for you too.”
In her hand was a tiny golden heart. It was as worn and as scratched as Love Monkey’s own
…and it was the most precious thing that he had ever seen.
Love Monkey put his arms around her and they held each other for a long, long time.
“I shall treasure this heart for as long as I live,” said Dream Monkey, running her fingers over its ridged and dimpled surface.
Then they looked into each other’s eyes and, feeling the joy of truth in their souls for the first time, they began to laugh.
And often they sit together still, holding each other’s hearts in their warm hands, lifting them to the light…and laughing.
There were a lot of tears at this wedding, happy tears.
The ceremony was over rather quickly – and I played some music while people were leaving, I had one gentleman come up and start videoing me half way through Andrew Lloyd Webber’s All I Ask Of You – I’m not one to be put off easily but all I wanted to ask of him was to stop it!
So afterwards I had to bring my car round to the entrance so I could get the harp back in, this time I had to ask two guys to push my car through the snow – and of course Jaf was on hand to wheel my harp to my car. I could get used to all this help! So I slid back down the driveway and went on my merry way – it’s good to get back into the routine of doing gigs! And there are plenty more coming in the next few weeks.