Da capo Posted on February 20, 2020

It happens every time I start on a job that needs only moderate concentration. Today it’s tidying a trellis above the wall, pruning a Clematis viticella right back, disentangling last year’s sprawling growth, finding, pruning and tying the rose (Bantry Bay) in the middle of it and tying in the Viburnum x burkwoodii that shares the wall. What happens? I find words and music recycling on a loop in my brain. Often from Hymns Ancient and Modern. Today ‘Lead kindly light, amid the encircling gloom…’ round and round and round. It’s often Bach (usually the B Minor Mass) or something of Stanford’s.

It can be words without music. King Lear, for some reason, keeps popping up – but then I do keep quoting the bit where Goneril (or is it Regan?) asks him why he needs twenty-five, or twelve, or five, or even one knight to serve him, when her whole household is at his disposal. His response is ‘Oh reason not the need’, with heavy emphasis on the last word. And mine when my wife questions me buying a new…… almost anything. I don’t need a new trowel, but I saw a jolly nice one in Rassell’s over the road.

The da capo in my head is apparently called an earworm, and can be so persistent, says Google, that it rivals tinnitus as a problem. To me (touch wood) it’s more of a pleasant distraction. To turn it off I just got out the ladder and tackled the high bits. That called my brain away to more serious business.

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