Carpe Diem – family and friends make it all possible!

I am having fun!  So i have moved out of feeling weepy and bleak  ‘i am not ready to die mode’  –  which really  only lasted a short time –  to living like  I  do not have cancer and  it is not really happening even though it is constantly in my mind.   Brazilian friend Martha who is living, researching. writing  in London until February  came back for a few days with her nephew Adrian and we went to Roslin so they could see ‘Da Vinci’ code ending place.  Having been there a few times i opted out and sat in the sunshine in the graveyard and deliberated quite happily on wether to be buried in a graveyard as beautiful as Roslin with its timeless view; or in the ‘natural’ wood burial place that i have been told about by Edinburgh’s  Costorphine Hill; or cremated and scattered around in various places like with my parents by the reservoir near Bolton; on top of Cierro Nielol, Temuco, Chile;  in the rose garden at the back of  my church, Christ Church in Edinburgh; and maybe around the bass rock North Berwick… be some fun trips for my children  to do that…  but maybe a bit laboured!!! reminds me of a song sung by Chile’s Violeta Parra in which she places bit of her body in places she enumerate  Chile: something like ‘mi corazón en Curacautín’ (i know that is actually not the accurate words, but that line  means ‘my heart in Curacautín’ which would be true for me).  Anway i am sure to choose  a wicker basket for a coffin and am not sure about what i will decide about the rest yet! i do not think  it is not black to talk about this – my mate Peter with whom i do meditation and chat each week or every 2 weeks  says  the woodland burial site would be his choice!

I then took Martha and Adrian to Direleton, a favourite ‘perfect’ old village,  to have a late lunch at the  Inn on the green and then a visit to the castle. We went on the North Berwick where we walked the beach and then Adrian went out in fast boat around the bass rock – he was thrilled. Martha and i chatted work music things and then we all ate outside at the fantastic ‘new this year’  Lobster Shack in the port – delicious fresh fish and lobster at modest  prices.  It just happened to be the night that  several hundred local runners run from the port up North Berwick Law (steep hill at back of town!) and back  which some did in 20 mins. We bumped into Edinburgh friend Robin who told  us  he had first done the run  40 years ago and had won every year for the first seven years he did it. Still a  skinny, lanky man he came in the first 15 this time and he must be in his 60s now! The magnificent, local NB  Pipe band played and then two young girls did fessty and beautiful highland dancing and Martha, Adrian and I were in bliss – total Scotland!

A day later my brother Rod came for 24 hours from Wales, and we went to the Myreton Motor Museum near Aberlady; and then the Museum of flight at East Fortune. These are two local places i have always seen signs  too yet never visited  and both were utterly great: Myreton boasts an amazing collection of re-furbished old cars collected by a local farmer and now his family and stored in outbuildings – a private museum  full of cars, motor bikes, cycles and ephemera  that evoked memories of our childhood. My brother is a train, car, plane and motor bike   man and knows a lot about all three so he loved it. We went inside a Concord at East Fortune and saw a historic number of planes housed in the military airfield which is being kept just as it was.

French friends Antoine and Christine came on Saturday and that evening at 10.30pm we went to Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms on the mound  to see the fringe show Soy de Cuba directed/ partly produced by theatre director friend Toby Gough. It was terrific show  – fullo f Cuban panache and ‘sabor’- very  high quality dancing and good music  – produced for France in the Autumn and doing its first performances for a month here in Edinburgh.

I think i have seen practically  all the  international touring Cuban shows as they are either produced and directed by Toby or his old mate Jon Lee or my Cuban choreographer friend Nilda Guerra. Lady Salas was good; Havana Rumba was best especially in its first weeks as it was the most ‘political’;  not seen Bar At Buena Vista; Soy de Cuba is totally celebratory, compares well and should please audiences. First time howrever that i have seen Cuban dancers who are rather on skinny  side, especially a few of the girls.  Most of them actually.  On the whole Cuban dancers  usually have ‘real’ ‘curvy’ bodies with great asses. Could ‘western  body models have permeated finally into artistic bosy  aesthetics in a country which still does not formally have advertising? i think so via DVD and TV and internet access there now and they certainly ‘white’ ‘skinny’ bodies creeping into video films made on the island a  few years back by great, award-winning  director (whose name i forget for a second) – i asked him about  this  in Havana and again when he came to the the ICA in London a few years back  and he said yes…  they were trying to get the videos into Miami  and other Latin formats for possible broadcast and were adopting diferent visual values.

Yesterday Sunday Antoine, Christine and I  we went  to see the sculptures in the woods at Jupiter Artland – in the rain with boots and wellies and woolly hats it being summer here! –  and then at 6pm to the Edinburgh’s wonderful Cameo cinema (the oldest in the city -original  architecture inside and out, lovely old-fashioned interior)   to see Henry Fourth Part 2,  a filmed live performance from London’s  Globe Theatre. We barely understood the complexity of the  synopsis but the play made it all clear  and was quite superb. We had a picnic of chicken sandwiches and wine and crisps and salad in our seats!  Tonight  we are going to see a film of a live MET performance of Madame Butterfly.

I feel i must be looking into  alternative cancer treatemt  agin and must do that later this week.


About Jan Fairley

I am an experienced and passionate ethnomusicologist working as an arts and music journalist and broadcaster, writer and editor as well as researcher, lecturer, radio presenter and producer. I have a breadth of organising experience at home and abroad. I am a fluent Spanish speaker. I love travelling and have worked abroad (notably Chile 1971-3 and again in 1994) and researched in Cuba, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Finland.
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3 Responses to Carpe Diem – family and friends make it all possible!

  1. Hugh Kerr says:

    gosh you tire me out just reading your cultural excursions Jan keep it up Hugh x ps saw a great Nabucco last night at the Cameo live from a Greek arena in Sicily

  2. Ann McFall says:

    I’ve finally made it to the blog. Great to see you yesterday.
    An hour after you left, the fire in the sitting-room suddenly began to blaze (with no help, just slow to get going)
    Let me know if there’s a good film you want to see and I could come with you
    Will be in touch.

  3. Sara Trevelyan says:

    Hi Jan, I have been reading your blog tonight – picked it up through the comments you made on Philip Rogers site. I’m really sorry to hear you have cancer I know of you, rather than know you, through Babs Orton. I live part time in Findhorn and still have a base in Edinburgh. I have spent years working as a psychotherapist, but recently trained in Barbara Brennan energy healing. This is what Philip has been having. I know Philip from here and gave him a treatment today. If you felt you would like to have a session – no charge for the first one – do e mail me. I have a small healing centre in Edinburgh at the back of the Botanical Gdns. I love to dip into the Festival so I will be back down to Edinburgh in a weeks time and around the following week.
    Have been moved reading your comments – your courageous resilient spirit shines through as well as your determination to live as fully as you can – even if you can’t travel much further than Berwick at the moment! I wish you all the support you need to keep going as long as you can and if you want to be in touch I would be happy to hear from you. Lots of healing, Sara (Trevelyan)(

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