Tag Archives: Childhood

New Season of Thursday Lunchtime Concerts at St John’s Smith Square. The Fidelio Trio and Learning to Play the Cello

Fidelio Trio poster for September 6th 2018 1.05pm

Delighted that the Thursday lunchtime concerts at St John’s Smith Square London SW1P 3HA have started again after the August break.

And what a fabulous concert to open with: the Fidelio Trio playing Fauré‘s (1845-1924) Piano Trio in D Minor op 120 – which I feel rather lukewarm about – and Schoenberg’s (1874-1951) Verklärte Nachte Op 4 which was fantastic.

Something so exciting about the stage set for the trio and an expectant audience

Composed in 1899, the Schoenberg was written as a sextet and arranged beautifully as a trio by Eduard Steuermann in 1932.

This was the first time I’d heard Verklärte Nachte in full. I’d previously only heard excerpts in lectures on Schoenberg and the 2nd Viennese School. I hadn’t realised how many lyrical passages he had written as well as his signature discords.

All three musicians – Darragh Morgan (violin), Adi Tal (cello) and Mary Dulles (piano) were great but i especially liked the cello. Adi Tal’s playing made me almost wish i hadn’t given up playing the cello when i left school.

Listen to my account of learning to play the cello from my memoir Woman in a White Coat Chapter 7 Music Studies Pages 96-98

 

You can buy a copy of my memoir Woman in a White Coat on Kindle at £2.99 or as a Paperback on Amazon at £9.99

Memoir Extract – Learning to play the Cello

An ex-student, who’d gone on to play second violin in the London Symphony Orchestra, gave our school a cello. I put my name down to have free lessons, but I wasn’t very hopeful because I was already having piano lessons. I wasn’t altogether pleased when my form mistress stopped me at the end of the week and told me I had been chosen to learn the cello. We always had loads of homework and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fit in practising the cello as well as the piano. Continue reading New Season of Thursday Lunchtime Concerts at St John’s Smith Square. The Fidelio Trio and Learning to Play the Cello

Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos 1, 3 & 5 at the BBC Proms at the Albert Hall

Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Conductor Thomas Dausgaard

Another visit to the BBC Proms 2018. A wonderful concert in a pleasantly cool Albert Hall. The three fabulous Bach Brandenburg Concertos were interspersed with three modern pieces.

Cellist Maya Beiser taking a bow after the piece ‘Maya’ written for her

The first modern piece was Maya by the British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage with the brilliant American cellist Maya Beiser – an interesting virtuoso piece, moving and exciting.

After the Brandenburg Concerto No 3  the orchestra played Bach Materia by Swedish Anders Hillborg with the Finnish violinist Pekka Kuussisto . A fantastic piece – especially the duet between the violin and double bass.

Last modern piece was Hamsa by the American composer Uri Caine playing the piano part himself – for me a sorry parody of the great 5th Brandenburg Concerto which preceded it. Much of the piano part was a cacophony sounding like a cat walking over the keys – banging out tight discords.

I was nine years old when I started to learn to play the piano with the organist of the local church. At the time, 1940-1942,  I was evacuated to a hostel for Jewish Children in Dawlish, South Devon.

Listen to my account of that experience from my memoir Woman in a White Coat. You can buy my book on Kindle at £2.99 or search on ISBN 9781979834391 for the paperback version on Amazon at £9.99

Memoir extract from Chapter 5 Pages 68-71 To Dawlish

Matron put up a notice saying she had written to our parents asking if they wanted us to learn to play the piano. I didn’t think my parents would agree to pay for lessons though they were quite cheap, especially as I had just been in trouble for refusing to wash on the Sabbath. Continue reading Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos 1, 3 & 5 at the BBC Proms at the Albert Hall

Polio Epidemics pre-WW2

Woman in White Coat paperback, some reference books, my stethoscope, a couple of teeth and a doll box – souvenirs of my various careers

Before the advent of the anti-polio vaccine, in 1955, here in the UK there was an epidemic of poliomyelitis (Infantile Paralysis) every summer.

In 1938, the dreaded disease came to our tenements.

Memoir Extract from Woman in a White Coat Chapter 2 pp 29-30

Buy ‘Woman in a White Coat’  as an eBook from Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback from Amazon at £9.99

We all caught measles, chicken pox and whooping cough. The only immunization we had was against smallpox – it left an ugly scar on your upper arm. Continue reading Polio Epidemics pre-WW2

Do cats really have nine lives? ‘Woman in a White Coat’ Book Reading #2.

The paperback version

Thank you for your comments on the first reading from my memoir Woman in a White Coat.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter #2 about a little black kitten called Rupert

 

Woman in a White Coat’  is available on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

Reading from Chapter 2 Pages 18-22

(Scroll down to read text)

A kitten for me

Book Excerpt

Chapter 2 pp 18-22

We always had a cat. Most people in The Buildings kept a cat, because we all had mice, even on the third floor. I never caught sight of a mouse in our flat, but often there would be a few mouse droppings. Now and again my father baited two or three mouse traps with cheese, but he rarely caught a mouse. They were too wary. They had learned how to steal the cheese without getting trapped.

Continue reading Do cats really have nine lives? ‘Woman in a White Coat’ Book Reading #2.

Westminster Libraries – Book Readings from ‘Woman in a White Coat – 1. Petticoat Lane

The paperback version

Several people at the readings I have given from my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ in Westminster Libraries have suggested that I record excerpts. I am therefore appending  a reading from Chapter 1 and the corresponding text.

Please  contact me at abbyjw@outlook.com with any comments.

‘Woman in a White Coat’ is the story of a young Jewish girl brought up in a cold-water tenement in London’s East End. In spite of her disadvantages, she becomes in turn a Harley Street dentist, an entrepreneur, a Consultant Pathologist and Director of a Cancer Research laboratory, as well as a wife and mother of four children.

Woman in a White Coat’  is available on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

This excerpt starts in 1931 when Dr Abby J Waterman was born.

Excerpts from ‘Woman in a White Coat

116 Wentworth Dwellings  where I lived  on the 3rd floor 1931-1943 -. the entrance has been shuttered since gentrification

Chapter 1

My mother said she cried for days when I was born. I wasn’t the son she wanted, the son who would carry on the family name and say the prayer for the dead (the Kadesh) at her funeral. She didn’t need a third daughter.

Continue reading Westminster Libraries – Book Readings from ‘Woman in a White Coat – 1. Petticoat Lane

Askew Road Library , Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 9AS – What a delightful library

The library entrance now with the almost ubiquitous Amazon pickup locker

It was lovely to be invited by the librarian of Askew Road library to give a talk and reading from my memoir Woman in a White Coat. The occasion was one of the Wednesday coffee mornings that have been running in the library for many years.

Friendly open space

The library is on one floor and in a light friendly open space. To one side, towards the back, is a gaily coloured children’s area with carpeting so the children can read and play on the floor.

Intimidating when empty

The chairs for the participants were arranged in a large semicircle. Louise was in the UK with her family for Easter and she came with Josh so I had an audience of at least two plus the librarians. But when I sat at the table at the front,  the expanse of empty chairs looked enormous. Louise and Josh were lost at one end.

However, to my surprise and delight, by the time we started at 11am, not only were all the chairs filled  but some latecomers had to fetch extra seating.

Most of the audience – mainly women with one man – were seniors who remembered life pre-WW2 and my story of life in a cold water tenement  resonated with them, as did the medical episodes. They laughed and caught their breath in all the right places.

What a lovely responsive audience and welcoming library staff. I felt very lucky to have been given this invitation and have promised to return – perhaps with my sequel ’25 houses’

My Maternal Grandmother, Rachel

 

My grandmother

I adored my grandmother, Rachel, and was broken-hearted when she died. Whenever I read this excerpt from my memoir Woman in a White Coat my throat thickens and tears come to my eyes.

Memoir Extract

In 1937, when I was six, my grandmother had a stroke while she was scrubbing the stairs. She was dead on arrival at The London Hospital. Continue reading My Maternal Grandmother, Rachel

Christmas and giving ‘Woman in the White Coat’ and Visiting ‘The Singing Tree’ at the V&A.

The Singing Tree by ES Devlin

This year the V&A Christmas tree, the Singing Tree by Es Devlin, is made up of sound and light.

 

Composed of birch ply, steel cable and projected light, you can hear the tree ‘singing’ as you move round it.

 

The individual little plaques bear printed words from visitors placed in the collection box or online.

Presentaion at Pimlico Library

At the talk I gave at Pimlico library last Wednesday I was delighted to have people saying they were buying copies of my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ to give as Christmas presents.

It’s also available on Kobo, Barnes and Noble, iBooks et as well as on Kindle.

And lovely seeing some of my dearest friends there.

Fantastic!! The paperback of ‘Woman in a White Coat’ is here!!

The paperback at last!!

It was lovely seeing my memoir on Kindle and reading those very positive reviews on Amazon but nothing compares with the pleasure of having a real book in my hands.

Wonderful!!

You can buy the paperback of my memoir Woman in a White Coat on Amazon or order it from your local bookshop at around £9.99.

The Kindle version is still online at £2,99.

 http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

or outside the UK  https://books2read.com/Drabbyjw

Enjoy!!

Autumn Again – Leaves and More Leaves. Jasper Johns’ Broom required

Great for kids!!

How the kids must love sliding down into the piles of gorgeous leaves.

You can’t help wondering where they all go. There’s no way these layers and layers of leaves could be swept up.

Fool’s House 1962

 

What is desperately needed is a mega broom of the type in Jasper johns’ collage!!

This collage by Jasper Johns is painted in oil on canvas with a broom, sculptural towel, stretcher and cup. On the poster it looks like a painting but in the flesh the objects are real and attached to a painted background.

 

You can read my memoir Woman in a White Coat on Amazon Kindle as well as Google, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.
Email me on mailto:abby@abbyjw.com and I will send the first responders a free copy to review.