Picnic at Ealing summer jazz festival
Every summer I cycle to Walpole Park in the London Borough of Ealing to see a sea of strange faces. Couples lie on the grass. Families sit on blankets brought for picnics. Children play against the background of jazz music. The smell of freshly grilled chicken satay fill the air.
My musician friends Mike and Lynda invited me to join their picnic tonight. Having enjoyed their self-catered post-orchestral dinner party a couple summers back, I looked forward to an evening of succulent home-made dishes. Their interest in music and food have fused together in their own catering company and the launch of the Ealing Chamber Music Club. I was curious what motivated them to diversify from IT and consulting to follow their passions.
My mobile rang while I was cycling in the park.
"Hi Anne, where ARE you?" shouted Mike over the crowd.
"I am almost there. Where are YOU?"
"We're between the food stalls and the ice cream van."
After locking my bicycle, I looked for them, lost in a kaleidoscope of bodies big and small. I passed by the huge white tent where the jazz band was playing. I spotted the ice cream van next to it.
"Mike," I spoke into my phone. "I am by the ice cream van."
"And I'm waving at you," he said.
Mike and Lynda indulged me with their gourmet aubergine dip and roasted organic courgette salad. We were joined by more friends of theirs in a short while.
Against the setting sun and the distant music we caught up on a year of musical and personal developments. I asked them about the nuances of violin and viola and told them about my struggles with composing for string instruments. We ate. We drank. And most of all, we laughed.
All I ever wanted at the Ealing summer jazz festival was to sit and have a picnic with good friends rather than cycle to the park and witness other people having fun.
In our picnic, I learned the magic formula of "work like you don't need the money." You get tired of doing what you were trained to do. So you begin to do what you love to do. Not for money, but for the sheer love of it.
1 August 2004 Sunday
Career change and second passions, Le Bon Journal ezine