Chopin, Nocturnes, Sheet Music and the Brownies

As a small child I was encouraged by my mother to join the Brownies, an institution she had relished so much in her own childhood that she had gone on to be a Girl Guide and the veteran of many a Brownie and Girl Guide camping expedition.  At the time as a seven year old  I was rather more keen on climbing trees and joining the Boy Scouts but I knew how much my mother had enjoyed this mysterious organisation and so I went along quite hopefully to my first Brownie ‘pack’ meeting.  Perhaps if  I had ever made it to the camping stage of proceedings, all might have been well but the moment I entered the meeting hall and was nominated to join fairy troop, I think I knew that things were not going to work out.  I skulked around in corners trying to avoid joining in the ‘girlie’ games for a number of weeks, the only reason for my persistant attendance  being the presence in the meeting hall of an old upright piano.  I had no repertoire to play on this battered old instrument as we did not have a  piano at home but my grandparents did and whenever we had visited them I had been shown the rudiments of ‘Chopsticks’ and an ancient Glenn Miller tune which I proceeded to bash out on the keys in the moments before the Brownie patrols were called to attention.   Sadly my lack of interest in the actual Brownie side of the meetings was impossible to conceal and my childish attempts at piano-playing were temporarily nipped in the bud as my mother kindly acknowledged my desire to relinquish the Fairy Badge and get back to the world of cowboys and indians.  The magic of that old piano however had already worked its’ spell and my desire to learn to play it would stay with me for some years to come…………………………………… (stay tuned – there is a second part to this story! )

ALL PHOTOS © JANE MORLEY

34 Comments Add yours

    1. Many thanks AnaLuciaSilva ! Delighted you like them

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  1. west517 says:

    Unforgettable photos! My mother is a pianist and following her footsteps I started taking lessons when I was a very young girl. I am very thankful that she gave me her music– I still love to play today~ ❤ … but listening to her play is by far my favorite!

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    1. Oh how lovely west517 ! I didn’t get to do my lessons until I was in my late 20’s but that’s for part 2 !! Glad you like the pics 🙂

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  2. I lasted even less time in the Brownies! Exquisite photos (again!).

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    1. HaHa! I knew I wasn’t the only one Sarah! Glad you like the pics 🙂

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  3. I wasn’t allowed to join the Brownies…A pity as it would have been right up my street. 👿
    Also….I was actively encouraged NOT to play music….My mother, (who in many ways was actually quite a good one), sadly considered it noise….No guitars, no pianos, no drums……Dreadful!
    No wonder I ended up in a band.
    Lovely pics Jane…but ….(deep breathe), can I say, I actually don’t like the ribbon?….Can I?…..You don’t hate me do you?….
    I’d so much prefer a bit of well fingered string……Sorry, it’s probably a geezer thing. 🙂

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    1. I suspect you would have been perfect as an ‘imp’ but I’m not sure the brown uniform dress would have been quite your thing? :/ Does this mean you played the marakas or perhaps you were the vocalist? o_O I agree the ribbon is a bit girlie, wanted to try some different things for my card range, I personally like the faded roses and the torn music with the treble clef best of all! More on this theme to come…. 🙂

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      1. I didn’t investigate cross dressing until my twenties….Obviously I wanted to be allowed to attend wearing my usual ‘Precocious Yet Cute, Under Ten Male Child’ attire….
        Those Brownies would have loved me…I was so damn kissable!!!

        Of course, I ignored my mother, bought a guitar AND a microphone and lived in the back of a transit van for almost ten years…..I should have listened to her.
        o_O

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      2. I am tempted to answer with a o_O and another o_O but this is only because I’m having a hard time imagining the PYCUTMC attire you mention o_O I do hope you and the guitar and the microphone got out of the transit van to do the odd gig every now and then? Did you have any musical assistants like a page turner or anything? A roadie perhaps? Someone to do the laundry o_O :/ 😦 I’m also wondering how long I can last not asking the name of the band… my mind is boggling 😀 ?? o_O Go on , it was Punk Flied wasn’t it?! Lad Zippilin, The Spanglers? 🙂

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      3. The attire was standard PYCUTMC for the period…Stingray T-shirt, brown corduroy shorts and Clarks Wayfarers…
        Yes I know, Adorable!

        Forward a few years and gigs were many and various, some even involved payment, (but those were few and far between). I shared van space with three other likely fellows, none of whom did laundry, and even if you asked I wouldn’t tell you….Somethings are best left in the last century.
        😀

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      4. Ahh! I can just imagine the look, my brother was the same but wearing Ladybird T’s! I figured you wouldn’t tell about the band – good job I resisted asking 😀 I’m sure you’re right, we’ll leave the grubby foursome trundling round in the Transit, back in days of old…… :/ 😀

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      5. A Ladybird T would never attract kisses from a Brownie…I knew what I was doing even then….

        As for those ne’er-do-well’s… Best place for’em 😀

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      6. Perhaps sh! The Ladybird child was definitely more Enid Blyton than Stingray, bit like Clarks and Startrite!! Those were the days eh! 😀

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      7. Is that a certain Mr Freeman in the house? :/ (Bit early for me but iconic nonetheless ! ) Or is it Smashy & Nicey ? 😀

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      8. Once I again I am forced to realise I am a relic….Thank you Jane.
        😦

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      9. Hey sh, don’t wish to drag this on endlessly but we’ve had some fun this afternoon trying to remember the names of the other DJ’s at the time and the insprirations for ‘Smashie & Nicey’, I went for Alan Freeman and someone called ‘Dave Boy’ something or other, finally remembered Dave Kid Jensen! Do you remember him! 😀

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      10. How could anyone ever forget Kid Jensen?…
        He’s firmly stamped on my psyche…Along with Crippen, Mussolini, Vlad the Impaler, and the seven riders of the apocalypse….
        (Lets not even mention ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton…True Evil!)

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      11. Blimey, I’d forgotten about him 👿 Thank heaven for Gloria Hunniford 🙂

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      12. Surely if we need to thank anyone for GH it would be that chap from the underworld…?

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      13. Yes..That’s the one.

        Hunniford, Bride of Lucifer..AAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!

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      14. Aaaaagh indeed! Spooky stuff o_O :/ 😦 PS Please stick around, I’m battling away here with a particularly recalcitrant WP theme (GGrrrrrrr 👿 ) about to post, hopefully before midnight a ‘vintage’ inspired post….. 🙂

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      15. Sorry M de M…I’m going to be missing for a few…
        Sadly we are on route back to UK..
        sobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsobsob.
        😦

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      16. Oh dear! Poor sh! I hope you have a good journey and that England is bright and sunny for your arrival home :/ Failing that I hope at least it isn’t blowing a hooley 😦 Bon courage o_O

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  4. arttart4 says:

    Fabulous photographs. I can’t even take a ‘selfie’ – so far have managed; a foot with a lot of tarmac and a thumb with sunlight!

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    1. Keep trying – it’s only a matter of time :/ Hope all is well chez toi, internet nightmare resolved? Keep smiling as they say o_O 🙂

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  5. Ever thought of doing a coffee table book of your photography? They are exquisite shots! And of my favorite composer to boot.
    Never did the Girl Scout thing, as in Wisconsin, being part of an agrarian society, it was a given that you were automatically enrolled in a club called 4-H. Something similar in that it of course gave everyone plenty of opportunities for community service and project based learning, but I was there strictly to show horses. I didn’t have one of my own, but had worked out a deal with a local farmer that I’d be a farm slave as long as I had access to riding and showing one of his stock. It was a pretty square deal.
    Of course during the 4-H meetings, I did anything but pay attention. It was basically a venue for eating potluck food, overindulging on the dessert side and running around like an idiot outside afterward with friends until a couple of parents threw you back into the station wagon to go home for chores. Ah, childhood.
    Look forward to part two!

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    1. It’s amazing how quickly we learn as children about trading and leverage! At least at your 4-H meetings there was food! Sounds much more fun than the Brownies! Hope you’ll like part 2 – just posted! 🙂

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  6. katisimone says:

    Loved those photos….. 🙂

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    1. Thankyou very much katisimone!

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