Up at 7, showered and dressed, then running for the tram a little before 8 as I had decided beforehand to do. Today is the centenary of my mother’s birth [1909-1993] and she, the breadwinner of the house, was forever running for the bus early in the mornings – the stop was just across from our house. She had strong legs and could run well. (Her father, by the way, William Biggar [1877-1935], had been a footballer and it is pleasing to see that there are some little biographies of him on the Net). In my case it is not necessary to run, as the tram stop is out of sight around the corner. Nevertheless I ran for a while and then was pleased as I neared the stop to find that I actually DID have to run for real, as a no.12 came racing along. Heh-heh. Nice that it worked out as planned.
Into the centre of Amsterdam only to find it more or less deserted and nowhere much to have breakfast. This is decidedly NOT Italy. I settled eventually on a place in Rembrandtplein and ate a rather poor 8 euro ontbijt. Anyway, it’s the thought that counts. I bought some lilies on the way home and went back to bed. Contrary to expectation I had had a nightmare during the night. Something about me being guilty of murder and sought by the police…………oh dear…………
But later I completed one of the other tasks for today. I went to the children’s zoo in Rembrandtpark to look at the poultry because my mother adored hens. I sat there a long time and covered several pages of ms paper – I had also written a page in the café in the morning. Indeed it is now certain that the only way I really like writing music is in this manner. I developed it for my Grand Sonata for 2 pianos and 6 percussion (2004). That had to be written in about 2 weeks. I map out some sort of structure, including silences by the way – this is very important, and then write notes at lightning speed.
The “finale” for today was meant to be a trip to the cinema (The Tushcinski) to see the new Harry Potter. But I couldn’t face another trip to the centre so instead I hired a video of the charming movie Minoes which served more or less the same purpose. My mother adored cats and also she had a nice feeling for this kind of fairy tale. Incidentally, my companion at breakfast was a black and white cat. She did that lovely cat thing in totally ignoring me, though I was sitting on the same chair as she was. I didn’t have much room but she, of course, was not going to shift for me. I had to smile.
What does one say about one’s mother? “Thank you” is never going to be enough. Nothing is enough. Nothing can ever repay the debt, except perhaps, as Michelle Obama often says, in the action of Giving Back. I do a bit of that, but nothing like enough.