Friday, May 2, 2014

The Cadence of Emma Ayres

We were in for a treat when we signed up to listen to the author talk by Emma Ayres on her book titled Cadence.  She took us on her personal journey and we travelled through the stories of her growing up in England, learning to play a musical instrument, cycling across two continents, working in HongKong and finally ending up in Australia and landing a job with ABC Radio. It was an evening of laughter and inspiration and the audience of North Shore residents were captivated.

Emma was well known to most of the audience as many wake up each morning to her breakfast show on ABC Classic FM.  For her, it was a wonderful opportunity to actually meet the listeners she talks to each morning and to share her story.  She is a wonderful entertainer and full of humour, most of which is directed at herself. Her story starts during her childhood years when her mother askes her a questions she identifies as life changing, ‘what instrument do you want to play?”  She chose the cello but somehow ended up learning to play the violin.  Through the years she graduated to playing the viola and finally found the time and space in her life to learn the cello as well.
Emma_ayres140x150 Her book is part memoir and part music guide but what fascinated me was the cycling adventure she undertook from Shropshire in England to Hongkong with a violin called Aurelia strapped to her back.  Having embarked on a solo backpacking adventure myself, I am amazed that she was able to complete this trip with just what she carried on the panniers of her bike.  She did have people visit along the way though and they often brought with them some of the gear she needed.  She cycled through some incredibly difficult country including the over the Karakorum Mountains, along the most westerly part of the Great Wall of China and is one of the few people to have cycled across the Taklamakan Desert.

Emma explained that when she is struggling with making big decisions, she poses the question to her 90-year old self.  The answer of course is usually – yes, go for it!   This idea resonates with me.  I often picture myself lying in a hospital bed at the end of my life and ask myself what it is I want to look back.  Never has the answer been that I should be stuck in an office working myself to the bone J and most of the adventures I have undertaken have been because I firmly believe in the principle of ‘Living in the NOW’, and am not prepared to put my life on hold till I retire!

We loved listening to Emma.  She entertained us with her humour, music and her stories and inspired us with her courage and honesty.  She has had an incredible diverse life which has included playing with for Radio Television HongKong as well as with the Afghan Youth Orchestra.  

The author talks are a wonderful local resource that brings a buzz to the library and brightens up a mid week evening for the local community and we feel lucky to live in local government area where the arts are celebrated in this manner.

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