WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Monday, 4 February 2013

A 5 o'clock sing along.

The most beautiful day today here in the Alentejo.  The sun popped his head out about 10.30 am..warm and smiling . For the first time it was warm. 
I can probably say its the best  day of the year so far.    Around 5pm I decided to take a walk with the dogs..just down my entrance road..  The afternoon and the setting sun were just perfect ..and made my heart sing.  The land was full of hues and shadows jumping off the olive trees onto the long grass.. like the clouds , figures played with my imagination, and I started to sing. The shadows were following me.

"Me and my shadow"- I wasn't walking down the avenue..just around.  I popped back into the house to get my camera. Just as we all do! and here are some photos i took of me and my shadow. And the tune came into my head.. I was singing along to myself while taking the photos.
                                                               long tall Sally!
                                                      shadow's on the wall
                                                       shadow on the gravel
                                                  My shadow- trying to hide behind the oleanders

                                                            My shadow floating over the shrubs.. it was following me everywhere.

My father was a professional musician ... he played many instruments, I grew up with him playing the  piano ..my son Filipe still has the piano.. its an upright grand.. There was the flute,a sax and trumpet.   My uncle Jim used to play the trumpet.  My father and his brothers were all sent to music school . They  started learning music at an early age . My father played in the big bands of the 1940's era.. his main instrument being the trombone.  I still become melencoly when i hear the trombone played. Its a fantastic instrument, and when listning to music ..i can hear if there is a trombone playing or not.

I used to love to see him dressed in his black suit and bow tie, his white stiff collar all starched , his black patent leather shoes that sparkled like a mirror.    Oh..gosh, he was ever so handsome and dashing.  I can see him now, just like it was then.  Walking out the door of an evening..and giving me a big big hug.

He played the trombone like he was talking to it.. sliding the slide up and down with his tender movement of the hand , he made magical sounds.

I  remember as a little girl, holding his muffler and standing in front of him.. when he gave me a wink, I had to put the muffler very quickly into the trombone end , and the notes would change. He used to tell me to tap my foot just like he did, to the rythym .. 1. 2. 123. and so on. 2 time..3 time. 4. time.. I grew up with music and my feet tapping away.. I would dance around the house.

 That is my first recollection of music in my home.  Our house was full of love and laughter.. my mother in her early years was a ballroom dancer.. thats how they met, their love story lasted more than 65 years.
  My parents friends would come around to our house sometimes .. I was  sent off to bed. And the night would be spent with them playing music with their instruments, jamming and swinging along to Jimmy Dempsy , the dixie music..and so much more.   The ladies singing in sync with the songs that they played  ..( I interject, to tell you.. i did not go to bed!). I used to pretend to be asleep, and then i would hop out of bed and go  sit at the top of the stairs and listen to them..  It  was  pure magic in my home.

My father was truly blessed to see 3 of his grandchildren playing instruments.  He did the same with them when they were children.. tap your feet to the music and listen.  That is what they did.
My daughter plays Piano and has her licentiate in music from Trinity college of London. Her two daughters play both piano and flute.
My son Miguel writes and plays the guitar.
My son Filipe ..has a licentiate / masters degree  in Music from the University of Evora..and was a professor there for 4 years.  Its in the family.

Here Is the sun setting on a happy day around Val's place.        I leave you with the song that I am still humming to myself.. I like this version of "Me and my shadow" by dear Judy Garland..

Hope you enjoy it to.  A wonderful monday evening to you all.



  1. Hello Val:
    How wonderful to have so many talented musicians in your family. When you are all assembled it must be a veritable orchestra! Such happy memories of your childhood too resurrected on what sounds to have been a lovely day with you!

    Judy Garland, such a sad life and ended all too soon!

  2. Simply delightful to read your kind comments Jane and Lance.
    Yes.. the family get togethers can sometimes be pretty 'musical ' to say the least.
    I love to dance..
    Yes, poor Judy Garland.. a very sad life. Her and Mickey Rooney.. Holywood was not a nice place in those day.. its still a hard place today.
    I do love the song.. and I was in a rather nostalgic mood..

  3. i like your shadow walk. glad you got out to feel some sunshine.

    1. Thank you Tex.
      I enjoyed walking with my shadow.. weird shapes emerged):

  4. Dear Val - I know exactly how you are feeling - full of the joys of spring. I felt exactly the same last Saturday, the skies were brilliant blue and we had wall to wall sunshine for the whole day - what a tonic.
    For some reason I have a song going around in my head, perhaps you can guess which one?
    So lovely that there is such a great musical heritage within your family, I could sense that was the case when you had the celebration birthday for Mr. M.
    Lots of lovely recollections from your time with your parents, and your father's musical career.

    1. Thank you Rosemary for your lovely comment
      Its a wonderful feeling to be happy it is a true tonic.. when the sun comes out, I am like a child.
      I inherited the gift of loving music.. all music pleases me.
      I hope that you continue today singing the song.. of course, I must tell you.. I added a little happiness to my version.. with a hop and a skip. );

  5. Dear Val, A lovely day and a lovely post. A musical family is the most wondrous gift, and I can imagine you sitting on the stairs listening to your father and his friends...magical. Your talented children have certainly inherited the music. Singing makes me happy too; that is why I sing in choirs. Shadow pics are a treat, so clever an idea. Everyone will want to do that now, but you were first! I just came home from sending your little red bird to you, and so happy to read your post and listen to Judy sing - poor dear Judy with the nostalgic voice I've always loved. take care Val,xxx

    1. Hello Patricia,
      Yes, it was a lovely day yesterday.. I can feel spring creeping upon us.. but stlll a time to go. I would have loved to sing in a choir.. at school i sang in the church choir.
      the shadows yesterday were unbelievable. So pleased you enjoyed the post.
      You will have to post some photos of your shadow following you.
      Can't wait to get my little red cardinal birdie..
      Yes, poor Judy. I did however sing my version with a happy tone .. x

  6. It is good to have happy days and like yourself and the days of your life.

    1. Thank you Wild Magnolia.
      Its god's gift, to be happy.. its medicinal..

  7. Dear Val

    I am delighted you took a walk with your camera and it prompted this beautiful and joyful memory of your parents. I can just see you sitting on the top step and listening to the adults chat and play music.

    Have a wonderful week


    1. Thank you dear Helen,
      I was so young..seems the older we get, the more we remember.. I used to love to hide on the top stair and listen and watch my parents. I was blessed

  8. Hello Val,
    I found your blog through Patricia at the Red Cardinal. I love your stories and I am your newest follower. I look forward to reading more of your delightful posts.

    1. Hello Sanda..
      Welcome to my blog. I am so happy that you like my blog and now follow.
      looking forward to getting to know you.
      Thank you for passing by.
      Patricia has a great blog, and a very nice blogger friend

  9. hello val,
    it's great to have musicians in your family !
    I loved the first photo,very inspiring!

    1. Thank you Gorkçe..
      It is great sometimes to get together ..

  10. Beautiful post, Val. Such wonderful memories. There was no music in my home as a child. In my early 60's I decided I wanted to learn the guitar.....and I did. It has brought so much pleasure to me.

    1. I see from your blog photo that you play the guitar..
      How I would have loved too. There is nothing like music to lift our spirits and bring laughter and happiness.
      Thank you Meggie.

  11. So lovely memories from your childhood and you must very proud for your family !You have rooted musical of family and continue your kids!Very beautiful photos with the shadows playing !
    Have a sunny day !

    1. Hello dear Olympia.
      thank you for your lovely comments.. Yes, my father was a musician and now 3 of my children..one professionally

  12. Dear Val your post is
    very nice and touching, full of beautiful moments and memories with your parents!It's great to have musicians in your family !
    I like your shadow pictures!Have a lovely week!

    1. Thank you Dimi.
      I did enjoy writing this post..just a little of my family history.

  13. Dear Val, What wonderful childhood memories you shared with us. Such a heartwarming post. Thank you. ox, Gina

    1. Thank you dear Gina.
      We all have something good to tell about our childhood.. mine was a happy childhood.

  14. Music is a wonderful legacy. I grew up in the same way, with a mother who sang and directed choirs. Each of us plays at least one instrument, but brother is the most eclectic, playing the tuba, the piano and the bagpipes. We have some good parties!

    1. Hello Pondside
      How wonderful that you all play an instrument.. your brother would have much in common with my younger son. I can imagine the great times that you all have when together.

  15. Hello Val, We had a lovely day yesterday, I worked out in the backyard for about three hours. I got warm enough from working that after about an hour I had to shed my coat . . . spring is on the way. I am an old Judy Garland fan . . . I grew up watching her old movies on TV. She was such a showman . . . I sing and play a couple of her songs. I'll have to find the music for this one and see if I can learn to play it.

    How exciting . . . England for Valentine's Day . . . you'll have to feast of scones, honey and hot tea . . . Yummy:) I am delighted that you like my drawings . . . I do have fun :)
    Have a lovely trip and enjoy the sunshine.
    Your blogging sister, Connie :)

  16. Thank you for your lovely comments Connie.
    I too am a fan of Judy Garland.. I loved her in Show Boat... I hope you learn to play this song.
    Great that your weather is getting warmer.
    I do hope I can spoil myself with some hot scones and honey..with a good cup of ceylon tea.

  17. Your post made my heart sing too with the warmth, shadows and music. Do you have any photos of your father with a musical instrument?
    Sarah x

    1. Such a kind comment Sarah,
      When my parents died.. my father being the last... my eldest niece took all the photos.. I have had some difficulty getting them.. I must try again.
      I know there are a couple of good ones with my dad.

  18. Val,
    Your house was so full of music and love, and the musical genes got passed down to the generations, how special is that? My son plays the guitar a bit, and I just love to hear him play. That is one of the prettiest sunsets ever, Val. I would love to take a walk with you around your countryside. I can imagine all the lovelies I would see.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

    1. My childhood was full of magic Sheri.
      How great that your son plays the guitar. I didnt know you had a son.. thought it was just you and the girls.. !
      How lovely that would be to take a walk with you my dear friend.

  19. Dear Val, Lovely evocative post. Nothing like growing up in a musical family. So good for the soul. Great shadow pictures.
    Hope you have a wonderful time in Norfolk.
    Happy days, Betty

    1. Thank you Betty,
      so kind of you. Its so good for the soul to have music around us.
      thanks for your wishes. always nice to see you.

  20. Hi Val,
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful family memories. The photos of your property are amazing. You truly have a wonderful place to call home...Have a lovely day!

    1. Hello Heidi,
      Thank you, I am pleased you like the place I call home.. I do love it myself.
      greetings to you..

  21. Hi Val, it's a beautiful post! I enjoyed your pictures, your memories, and the music piece. In fact, I'm bookmarking the song, so I can listen to it again as it's so beautiful.

    1. Thank you Olga..
      pleased you like my post.. Its nostalgic ..but sometimes great to remember when we were young.
      great that you listened and liked the song. Its a very old song.

  22. I tried to reply to the comment you left me earlier but it failed so I thought I would jump over here and write it! lol It's about the scrub jay and Azure winged Magpie.
    I looked up the one you said first and came up with a link to this magpie. I see that they are in the crow family and I think the scrub jay is, too. I'll have to look it up. The Azure winged Magpie is gorgeous! What a showy bird he is! It must be fun to see one of those, too!

    Thanks for the good comments. I think we're learning something today! I know I am! Sweet hugs, Diane

  23. Hi Diane,
    It would be interesting to find out if these birds are related.. I somehow think they are..as they all belong to the crow family.

  24. What a wonderful memory. I love the old band tunes, and still play them on the 40's station. My aunts and uncles all played guitar and fiddle and old Spanish tunes. I remember falling asleep to homemade music too.


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