Friday, 20 August 2010

The Watermill

I have just read another beautiful blog by Rhonda at Down to Earth. She makes such sense, and writes with such affection I love reading her thoughts and daily doings. Today she was talking about slow cooking, and I am just in awe of all the baking and magnificent meals from scratch that she does, and how wonderfully heartwarming her photos are. I wish I could do that.

At the moment my only contribution to the eating world is my laden damson tree which is full to busting of delicious and juicy fruits. However I have done nothing clever with them, just gobbled them down fresh, given some away or put some small bags of them in my freezer. Which means I will HAVE to cook them when I want to use them - any suggestions gratefully received so long as they are nothing complicated al la the great chefs, or Delia. Can't cook, and hate mess!

I have no songs which revolve around food, that I can think of, but I am sure something will pop into my over stuffed musical brain ....Ah yes, the wonderful 'The Watermill' by Vaughan Williams which has the lines,

The Miller's wife and his eldest girl clean and cook while the mill wheel whirls,
The children take their meat to school........

The supper stands on the clean scrubbed board,
And the miller drinks like a thirsty lord ;
The young men come for his daughter's sake,
But she never knows which one to take:
She drives her needle, and pins her stuff,
While the moon shines gold, and the lamp shines buff.

This is only part of the poem, and once again VW composes a fantastically evocative musical painting of the Mill House, the miller, his wife and children and the daily events in their lives. It is bustling and peaceful at the same time, and an absolute swine to sing - the entries are devilish !

It is meant as a huge compliment to Rhonda Jean when I say that much of the sentiment and poetry of this song reminds me of her lifestyle. Rural and real, slow and steady, like the swish of the watermill turning, and so utterly grounded.

I look back on my posts and see much by Vaughan Williams.........does this say something about my real love? I am passionately fond of the 20th Century English Art Song, and VW wins most of the prizes here! I have noticed a trend/theme happening which surprises me and, if I am honest, delights me! Apropos of my post about Middy, whom I hope you all feel like you know by now, I think my love of that style comes directly from her. If I close my eyes I can time warp back to her music room and hear her telling a then 16 year old 'blaster' to 'shhh and be tender dear, the words are more important than you are !'

Never a truer word.

Youtube 'The Watermill' by Vaughan Williams and give yourselves a treat, but make sure it is a really good recording!
Don't worry, I have found it for you - the singer is not named, but it is superb, and sounds remarkably like Anthony Rolfe Johnson whom I had the privilege of singing with a number of times in my 30's. It sounds just like his floating tone and extraordinary care over the words. Enjoy! Music and photos.


  1. Hi Ann! I found your blog through Down-to-Earth, and I just love it. You are inspiring me to give music more room in my busy-mommy life. I actually posted a comment on your Splendour Falls post. I love Vaughan Williams, too. Thank you for your insights and inspiration. Your blog really speaks to me at the moment.
    -Helene in Utah, USA

  2. Dear Helene, Thank you so much for your lovely comments, and I am so glad to have found another VW lover! If I have managed to inspire you to give more time for your music, you, and your children will enjoy the result I feel sure. It is humbling to think that folk are reading my random thought in all corners of the world.