• Nathaniel Keen

Photo deliveries

Musician: Nat Keen (guitar)

I passed some time with JG, her room was warm, possibly on the verge of baking hot. The sun was blazing outside and it was no cooler inside, this had the effect of creating a dozy siesta atmosphere for the two of us. I played some music for a while and as the first few bars began JG would sit up, alert and ready to receive the musical offering, however, after a minute or so she would feel suitably relaxed enough to shift her legs around and recline into the Optimum Relaxation Position (O.R.P). After a few minutes the music would suddenly take her attention again and the scene would be reset as she awoke from her blissful cocoon, eyes wide open, turning to sit and face me. Whether she'd remembered that I'd been there for a while repeating this process or not didn't seem to matter, the potentially endless cycle of slumbering and awakening to a person playing music was evidently comforting to her.


I went to see AS next. Last week I had shown her a digital version of a photo taken of her sitting with her family at the Jubilee celebration in the garden. The photo included 3 generations, all together and beaming, and her proudly sat in the centre. Jane and Thom from the Spitz had since organised the printing of said photo and I arrived at her door ready to present the gift to her. Unfortunately, AS hadn't slept much due to a very painful leg and seemed reluctant to engage, however, I felt very confident that upon seeing the beautiful photo, her pain would be temporarily forgotten about. I was right, as soon as she clapped eyes on it, a huge smile lit up her face, she studied each face and proudly informed me of their names, repeatedly mentioning how much she loved it. At this point I improvised a heartfelt Flamenco song about the suffering she felt from her leg pain;


'Ohhhh, somebody free her, god take away the pain, the pain can't remain, let her sit by the sea, by the sea with her family'

This was delivered with enough gusto and silliness that AS was in stitches, giggling and yelping 'ole!!!' With her leg pain all but forgotten, our conversation inevitably gravitated towards how much better Spain is than England, or at least I think that's what we were talking about. AS, having become comfortable around me basically talks entirely in Spanish and the reality is that my comprehension percentage lurks at around 10% (at a push). Anyway, we seem to understand each other in our way and it was great to see her enjoying and clapping along to my playing. She then began to quiz me on music from around the world and asked if I could play something from each country she could name, I found Rwanda challenging.... and Bangladesh...and quite a few others.


Following the great success of my first photo delivery job, I had a spring in my step and headed down to see JB and her partner Sadik who a beautiful photo had also been taken of. I found JB looking stronger and with her usual warm and welcoming smile. With true Turkish hospitality Sadik cleared the sofa space for me and offered me refreshments as we chatted. I showed the two of them the photo, a beautiful shot of the two of them in the sunshine, holding hands and smiling. Sadik looked over it for a while and then took it to JB whose smile graduated into an expression of deep happiness and contentment...'yes'...'yes and yes'...'yes and yes' she kept repeating. Sadik placed the photo temporarily in a frame so JB could see and frequently she would point over to it...'look, look'....and then there were words, new words that I couldn't quite decipher but Sadik excitedly urged me to listen closely. I couldn't make out the words but I was excited for them and incredibly impressed again by the strength of their relationship. I moved in to a position where JB could see me and played songs for her which she listened to deeply, occasionally glancing over at Sadik for reassurance that the moment was being shared together.

After nailing a slightly soggy Cornetto I continued on my way and bumped into Yvette (BSL activities co-ordinator), she was with DB and rather bluntly instructed him…'D, take Nathaniel to your room, he will play for you'. This was the polar opposite approach I'd been taking with DB as I'd been informed and learned that he prefers to be in open spaces rather than enclosed ones. However, I was impressed and surprised when I saw DB coming down the corridor towards me, proceeding to prop his room door open, presumably for the visitor (me). Feeling like his room was perhaps too intense a space, I invited him into the living room which was large and airy. DB sat opposite me for about 30 seconds while I played .......and then made a beeline for the door. We'll get there eventually.

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