Alexander Averin

Saturday 21 January 2012

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul
Plato 428-328 BC

I'm in a musical mood tonight.

I watched a lovely programme last night on BBC4 about Simon and Garfunkel. It was called Imagine and was the story of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's beginnings and went on to the making of their iconic album that is Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Quite by chance one of my granddaughters visited me today and as she was making tea for all the family who were also visiting (I forgot to say she is also an angel) she said

Do you know that song which has the line

Me and Julio down by the school yard?   I love that

and that one called Cecilia?

That got us both singing (as I was last night while watching the programme). She hadn't seen the programme so it was just another one of those coincidences (or windows into the Divine as I prefer to call them).

Bridge Over Troubled Water is one of my top favourite albums, It was called an LP when I owned it and the songs take me back to my younger life and all  its happy memories. The music is classic, it will never stop being loved if my teenage granddaughter is anything to go by. Her mother, my daughter, grew up with our music and so she has been well acquainted with masses of good stuff. I don't feel we are so well served with such great songs nowadays, not in such a great number as in the sixties and seventies. What do you think?

I have been thinking about the programme today and I thought I would do a series of blogs about my top albums, ones that I would take to a Desert Island, not singles but whole albums. I would love your suggestions as well and I could post songs from them.

I find it hard to choose a favourite from Bridge.  I also adore their Sounds of Silence album and Paul Simon's Graceland  is terrific.

My favourites are the title song Bridge..... of course, The Only Living Boy in New York, The Boxer and Song for the Asking

Side 1

  1. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" – 4:52
  2. "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" (Daniel Alomía Robles, English lyrics by Paul Simon, arranged by Jorge Milchberg) – 3:06
  3. "Cecilia" – 2:55
  4. "Keep the Customer Satisfied" – 2:33
  5. "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" – 3:41

[edit]Side 2

  1. "The Boxer" – 5:08
  2. "Baby Driver" – 3:14
  3. "The Only Living Boy in New York" – 3:58
  4. "Why Don't You Write Me" – 2:45
  5. "Bye Bye Love" (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant) (live recording from Ames, Iowa) – 2:55
  6. "Song for the Asking" – 1:3

Anyway have a listen, go down memory lane, if you are as old as I am. 

 I will start with Bridge tonight.


Thursday 19 January 2012



The tiny bedroom at night has order,
stonewalled serenity like a nun’s cell.
No-sound, such quietness a rarity.
One green candle burns, its scent fills the room
with patchouli, geranium, basil.
I sip hot chocolate, such sweetness comforts,
soothes and sedates me, entices me to sleep.
I feel pain-free and unusually warm,
my blood seems free-flowing, unchilled for once.
I rediscover a stillness which comes with
just listening, not-doing, just-being,
hearing its peace which only speaks in silence.

Cait O’Connor

Monday 16 January 2012

Stop What You Are Doing And Read This

This is a must-read book recommendation.

In the ten essays in this book some of our finest authors and passionate advocates from the worlds of science, publishing, technology and social enterprise tell us about the experience of reading, why access to books should never be taken forgranted, how reading transforms our brains, and how literature can save lives. In any 24 hours there are so many demands on your time and attention - make books one of them.


Carmen Callil

Tim Parks

Nicholas Carr

Michael Rosen

Jane Davis

Zadie Smith

Mark Haddon

Jeanette Winterson

Blake Morrison

Dr Maryanne Wolf

Dr Mirit Barzillai

Did anyone else catch this book? It was Book of the Week recently on Radio 4 and was brilliant, especially Jeanette Winterson's essay, that was my favourite... but then I love all her writings. I have been musing and trying to write my own essay in my mind but I felt I was just repeating what everyone else had already said. And I have blogged so much in the past about the joy of books and reading, it is my passion after all. Anyway I took a wee walk this morning and from this came a wee poem.

The cottage sits softly on a January noon

The cottage sits softly on a January noon,

soaking up the Winter sun, secure and cosy

in her wrap-around garden ,she still appears

warm amongst the hardness of white frost.

All lies in wait for spring, though daffodils in

January are really not usual,

nothing confuses, nothing will waver,

Nature will cope, only humans falter.

Logs lie about, they too are waiting,

only the dogs are desperate to run.

As usual I am musing, today on

a lifelong passion for the written word,

squiggles on paper, symbols of language,

a love affair that has lasted, can you

think of another the same?

Ah, the smell of books, the look, the feel,

soul linking soul to soul, writers

reaching to me from the heart with prose to

wallow in, dream of, escape to, become lost in

(with no need for rescue)

and the crown that is poetry, which can

be pure magic, living on forever

in one’s memory.

Cait O’Connor

Saturday 14 January 2012

A Round Tuit

Ever wished you had one of these?

I found one in a local Oxfam shop.

(can you spot the missing word though?)

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Ghastly Gallstones Diet

He that takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skills of the physician
Chinese Proverb

Dear Diary,
Although I didn't need to I've lost a lot of weight eating a less than 5%/ low fat diet while I wait for my gallbladder operation and a lot of people have asked me what I am eating (or not eating) so I have put my diet notes on this blog on a stand alone page -  see the link in the right sidebar. It's a bit higgledy-piggeldy but I hope it makes sense.  If you are trying to lose weight  -  and a lot of folk are at this time of year - then it may be of use to you. But don't exclude fats altogether if you don't have to as they are essential to good health -  but take in moderation, like all things. If you have the ghastly gallstones then I hope it may be of some help to you. I had no instruction or advice from the medical profession; I have researched it all myself and found the best information, solace, companionship and comfort at this site, (Jamie's ideas asylum)The first part of my diet sheet I have copied from the site, thanks Jamie, you are a star.

Happy Eating,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Sunday 8 January 2012

Happy New Year

Winter - Royo

Dear Diary,

A library is a hospital for the mind

This will be a short post just to update you and apologise for my absence recently. I have had another attack of biliary colic – I have gallstones and am waiting for an operation – and was taken to hospital in an ambulance, all lights flashing on New Year’s Eve evening – bad timing don’t you agree?

Home now and very pleased to be here.  I will be catching up with blog reading soon.

I am on a low fat diet and if anyone wants tips on how to lose weight, just ask!  Trouble is I was never overweight to start with.

Anyway I just want to wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year. Have you made any resolutions?

Before I go, here is a (very well known) poem,nothing to do with illness or the New Year but I did watch Bright Star yesterday, the film about John Keats and I loved it so. A visual and a romantic delight; if you haven't seen it try and do so.


A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never 
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep 
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep 
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. 
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing 
A flowery band to bind us to the earth, 
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth 
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, 
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways 
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all, 
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall 
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, 
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon 
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils 
With the green world they live in; and clear rills 
That for themselves a cooling covert make 
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake, 
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms: 
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms 
We have imagined for the mighty dead; 
An endless fountain of immortal drink, 
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink. 

John Keats 

Bye for now.