Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background……sort of

The latest Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘In the background,’ isn’t as straight forward as I at first thought. I looked out a few pics with something interesting in the background, like this one of Table Mountain in Cape Town,


and one taken from our hotel balcony in Rio, with Sugar Loaf Mountain in the distance,


and one taken across the Hudson River, with the Twin Towers rising above Lower Manhattan.


Then there is this one taken on our long-boat canal tour, showing Bangkok coming into view.


What about this one of a country market in Ecuador, with a giant yellow blow-up ‘Pilsener Light’ beer bottle and the smoke from a volcano in the background?


and this one taken on a boat off the coast of San Pedro in Belize, with hubby and his dive buddy bobbing around in the background.


I also love this smiley one of little Sienna, with a shark in the background.


Then as my teachers at school used to tell me, I thought, “Let me read the question again.”

In the Background: The places that we pass through day after day, or even once in a lifetime, leave in their small way, echoes and traces of themselves upon us. But so often when taking self portraits or pictures of friends, the places themselves become a soft blurred mush of indistinct semi-nothingness, the limelight stolen by our smiling faces. In today’s challenge, let’s turn the tables. Take a picture of yourself or someone else as a shadow, a reflection, or a lesser part of a scene, making the background, or — as in the example above — the foreground, the center of attention.

Well this was a different kettle of fish entirely, and all I could come up with, was this one taken by hubby during our kitchen renovations in Florida. 😀


I hope you’ve enjoyed my pics of foregrounds and backgrounds nevertheless, even if I didn’t keep strictly to Michael Pick’s guidelines. 😳

The Jackhammer, and some musical memories.

Firstly today, hubby asked me to share this photo, as proof that he didn’t jackhammer the kitchen floor whilst wearing his flip flops, Some of you expressed concern for the safety of his feet, after seeing his bare tootsies in my weekend post for the “Thankful” theme. I even persuaded him to wear long trousers, to prevent any more gashes on his legs, as we were running out of sticking plasters. 🙂 In this pic, he is digging around to expose the water pipes, so that he can move the plumbing for the sink and dishwasher over to the outside wall. Strangely enough the sound of the jackhammer wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, so something to be grateful for.

Yesterday, we went to choose the granite for the counter tops,

so I really feel like we’re getting somewhere. It’s called “Butterfly Beige.” Can’t wait until it’s all finished.

I haven’t done any piano playing since all the upheaval started. My piano is covered in painter’s plastic sheeting, silently awaiting my eager fingers, but I can’t compete with the sounds of hammering, drilling and banging. 😉

I thought I would share with you some of the experiences I’ve had as a musician, especially as an organist, which I was for many years. The very first wedding I played for was for my best friend’s son, and I didn’t sleep properly for days before, as I was so worried I might mess up, after all, you only get one crack at it.  Luckily I didn’t, and all went well, although my nerves were totally finished by the end of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, as they left the church. Organs can be so unpredictable, and on one occasion, I was half way through Wagner’s “Here comes the bride” march, when the power cable got struck by lightning and that was the end of that. Not my fault of course, but embarrassing all the same. I had to transfer myself over to a very much out-of-tune piano in the other corner, and  it didn’t sound nearly as impressive, as you can well imagine. 😦

The very worst experience I ever had, was when I was playing lovely, quiet and relaxing music, whilst the bridegroom and wedding guests were sitting waiting for the bride to arrive. The organ was down a couple of steps in a sort of well at the front of the church. I sensed that someone was approaching me down the side aisle, as I was busy concentrating on my music. Suddenly this rather large lady in a big hat, fell down the steps, which she hadn’t realised were there, right onto the organ, hitting all the stops and buttons and landing on the pedals. Well, that certainly woke everyone up! What a cacophony of sound, as it brought in the trumpets, percussion and most everything else you can think of. People stopped chatting, and glared at me in stunned amazement. I nearly fell off the stool in fright. After I had helped her up, I found out that the rather shaken lady, was the bride’s mother who had just come to bring me a gift and a ‘thank you’ card. How very kind of her. 🙂 I think she was more embarrassed than I was, and it took us both some time to regain our equilibrium.

Then there was the time when I spied a HUGE Parktown Prawn, which is a South African King Cricket, skuttling around underneath the organ pedals. These creatures are on my list of most horrific critters to be avoided at all costs.

My first reaction was to jump up and run screaming into the middle distance, but I had a duty to perform, and as the saying goes, “the show must go on.” What an absolute Nightmare! The adrenalin was certainly pumping, but I had to refrain from screaming, as it’s not something wedding organists are expected to do. 😉 I didn’t see it again, but for obvious reasons, I never ever felt totally at ease, when sitting on that particular organ stool.

I usually had to play for about fifteen minutes before the bride arrived, but on one occasion, it stretched to almost an hour and a half, as the bride’s uncle had taken the wrong road and was on his merry way to Edenvale when he should have been in Hurlingham; poles apart! A search party was dispatched, and eventually one of the groomsmen found the lost sheep and guided him to the church, but not before my poor fingers were almost falling off, and my sizeable repertoire, just about exhausted. I still had to play all the wedding music, and I didn’t get paid overtime either. On one occasion, the bride forgot her bouquet at home, and someone had to rush off to get it, whilst I of course was left to entertain the fidgety congregation.

I’ve seen several brides faint, a few rings misplaced, and also witnessed some very strange wedding attire, like the bride who got married in black whilst her groom was all in white. The six foot bridesmaid looking very Goth, in a witch-like outfit, and black lipstick, sported ‘Doc Martins’ on her rather large feet. I have been playing my heart out, with the bride and groom already present, as the minister was frantically phoned whilst he was at home mowing his lawn, having entirely forgotten about the ceremony. He arrived very late, and looking decidedly hot under the clerical collar and also somewhat dishevelled. Mind you, I have to confess my own guilt too. One time I arrived at the wrong church, and had to drive all the way home again in order to check my diary, as there was no-one at home to answer my distress call. After driving like a ‘bat out of hell’ and jumping a few red traffic lights on the way, I arrived at the correct church just as the bridal car was about to turn in, and I’m ashamed to say, I rather rudely shot in front of them at the stop street in order to rush down the aisle and onto the organ seat just in the nick of time. The minister was getting very agitated as you may well imagine.

There was a certain Dr. of Divinity, of South African radio ‘fame’, who used to be quite popular as a wedding minister. Dr. Reg Barrett, since deceased, never bothered to learn the names of the couples he was marrying. He just used to say, “Repeat after me, I full name, take you full name to be my lawful wedded wife or husband.” Of course, it had to happen that one day, the nervous groom said exactly those words, instead of substituting  his and his intended’s names. This very flamboyant man, always ended the service with the same adjuration to the newlyweds, “Go forth and multiply in many different ways.” Whatever that may mean! 😆 I hope you’ve enjoyed my musical memories, and I haven’t even started on the funerals, which is a tale all on its own.