Posted in Personal life

The Medicine of Music

In the Hawkesbury Parish News this month, I was looking on the bright side of hospital visits.

Although I was not keen on the closure of Frenchay Hospital, every time I go to the revamped Southmead site, I find more to love about it.

When I went to visit a poorly friend today, entering the soaring light-filled atrium immediately made me feel more cheerful as I sought the right “gate” for her ward. Glorious paintings and photographs on the walls, with interesting notes from the artists and photographers, took my mind off medical issues. I felt as if I was about to jet off on holiday, or to enjoy a pleasant day at an art gallery, rather than spend time in hospital.

painting of aprons

The most pleasing touch came at the end of my visit. As I was descending the stairs, I became aware of distant piano music, reminding me of posh hotel lounge bars. As if lured by an NHS Pied Piper, I followed the sound down the atrium until I discovered a grand piano, complete with live pianist, and a sign inviting volunteers to play for the benefit of others.  It wasn’t just the music that moved me, but the generosity of the musicians who took the time and trouble to perform there for free.

grand piano being played in hospital atrium
Unexpected medical instrument

For patients and visitors, such acts of kindness are a real tonic. It’s just a shame you can’t get them on prescription.

sign calling for piano players



Research scientist, Laura and two JDRF reps
Visiting the research labs with the JDRF (diabetes charity)

Tour of Hope at Southmead Hospital (report on tour of research labs with JDRF)

Always Someone Worse Off Than Me (funny post about overheard conversation)




English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

3 thoughts on “The Medicine of Music

    1. Apparently other musicians go in too, including choirs. It’s such a lovely big space that it wouldn’t feel intrusive even if they put a whole orchestra in there!

  1. I love that they’re doing that. My mum’s care home quite often has volunteer musicians in playing the piano or guitar, and it adds so much vibrancy to the mix!

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