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October 23, 2013

Clouds And Shadows

"Alfred Dunhill Limited was a wonderful company to be associated with and they gave me an excellent foundation on which to build my working life,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Clouds And Shadows" »

October 16, 2013

The Things People Do

"As for those film-stars and public figures who take face-lifts and Botox to the nth degree of ridiculosity, I feel they get what they ask for: stiffened smiles and permanently surprised looks,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "The Things People Do" »

October 09, 2013

Transcendent Friendships

"Wonderful, life-long friendships grow when musicians play together. I am incredibly lucky to be a musician, and to have forged so many marvellous musical friendships in 50 years, and counting, of playing my flute,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Transcendent Friendships" »

September 25, 2013

A Magical Carpet Ride

...Later, a friend who comes to most of my concerts apologised that she had ‘nodded off’, during the music. I was secretly delighted. She hadn’t felt my tension, had relaxed as completely as I regularly do when listening to good musicians playing well-loved music...

Isabel Bradley's wonderful words remind us how hard musicians have to work to create the sounds which delight the soul.

Continue reading "A Magical Carpet Ride" »

September 18, 2013

Goodness, Gracious!

...Take cover,
Gird your loins,
Prepare to be trampled!
Here comes Christmas...

Isabel Bradley has already been compelled to think of December 25, 2013!

Continue reading "Goodness, Gracious!" »

September 11, 2013

That Awful Blankness

...Gone is that wondrous feeling
Of fingers turning thoughts
To words...

Isabel Bradley squares up to the challenge that every writer, at one time or another, has to face.

Continue reading "That Awful Blankness " »

September 04, 2013

Women And Violence

"Women are capable of changing the world,'' declares columnist Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Women And Violence" »

August 21, 2013

Inspired By Music

Isabel Bradley tells of a glorious piece of music by Kuhlau who was known as 'the Beethoven of the flute'.

Continue reading "Inspired By Music" »

August 14, 2013

Returning To Macedonia

...The soldiers edged closer, lifted their rifles higher. The dogs barked even louder. Anton and Elena ignored us and enjoyed another really long, juicy kiss....

Isabel Bradley tells of tensions at a European border crossing.

Continue reading "Returning To Macedonia" »

August 07, 2013

Macedonian And Greek Adventures

...The centre of Bitola is a long pedestrian mall called Sirok Sokak, lined with umbrella-shaded tables tumbling out of cafés. On those first days, when the heat was well over 40°C, the tables were always occupied...

Columnist Isabel Bradley goes exploring in Macedonia and Greece.

Continue reading "Macedonian And Greek Adventures" »

July 31, 2013

The Moon And I

Isabel Bradley's poem captures and perpetuates moments of sheer enchantment.

Continue reading "The Moon And I" »

July 24, 2013

Macedonia, A Country Forgotten

Continue reading "Macedonia, A Country Forgotten" »

July 17, 2013

And Then - The Reception

...The main meal was served at 10pm, by which time we were really hungry. Viv and Rich took the children back to the hotel just after the meal. We all stayed on until the cake was cut by Anton and Elena at around midnight. After we’d enjoyed our slices of the cake, we started to make a farewell ‘parade’ down the hall, saying goodbye and waving royally...

Isabel Bradley concludes her account of attending a wedding in Macedonia -"a wonderful, exotic, and exuberant experience."

Continue reading "And Then - The Reception" »

July 10, 2013

What A Wedding

...It was a gorgeous, exotic ceremony, to be followed by a fabulous party...

Isabel Bradley tells of a family wedding at St Demetrius Macedonian Orthodox Church in Bitola.

Continue reading "What A Wedding" »

June 19, 2013


When it comes to reading and writing Isabel Bradley has enthusiastically enlisted into the electronic age.

Continue reading "Conversion" »

May 29, 2013

A Sunny But Eroded Weekend

...Passing through Butha-Buthe, the potholes were just as bad as they had been when we arrived, though they were now mostly dry. At the passport control counter in Lesotho, we had to wake the official who stamped our passports...

Isabel Bradley brings a colourful snapshot of life in the kingdom of Lesotho.

Continue reading "A Sunny But Eroded Weekend" »

May 22, 2013

A Soggy Journey

...Rivers were flooding, sometimes across the road, the countryside was muddy and sodden and riddled with vast tracts of erosion that seemed to be spreading as we watched. People wrapped in blankets or cheap anoraks rode on shaggy, drenched donkeys, wretchedly wet ponies, or splashed along the road-side...

Columnist Isabel Bradley tells of a rain-soaked time in the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.

Continue reading "A Soggy Journey" »

May 08, 2013

An Ode To My Computer

"At last, my computer is once again up and running after five weeks without it. On reflection, it amazes me just how dependant I am for day-to-day running of my life, on the computer,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "An Ode To My Computer" »

April 24, 2013

Some ‘Hair-raising’ Tales

...I find these reactions to my change of image rather irritating. After all, what business is it of theirs what I do with my hair?...

Columnist and musician Isabel Bradley has been far from pleased with some reactions to her re-styled barnet.

Continue reading "Some ‘Hair-raising’ Tales" »

April 17, 2013

Goodbye To A Good Friend

...He often told the tale of how, on a trip to Antarctica, he dressed up in a tuxedo and ventured onto the ice to have his photograph taken with a penguin.* After the photo shoot was over, a blizzard roared into the bay and he and his companions were stranded there with minimal clothing until the rubber duck from the ship could eventually rescue them...

Columnist and musician Isabel Bradley pays tribute to a very special friend.

Continue reading "Goodbye To A Good Friend" »

April 10, 2013

Oh, The Stress!

...In fact, I’ll be nervous until I find myself outside the airport in Skopje, on my way to Bitola with Leon and Anton and Elena, who we’re meeting there. Only then will I be certain that I’ll be attending my stepson’s wedding...

Isabel Bradley tells of the acute stress of arranging a visit to Macedonia.

Continue reading "Oh, The Stress!" »

April 03, 2013

Downhill Is Free

...Having driven this wonderful car for just over three months, I now look around me and wonder why there aren’t more of these vehicles on the road...

Isabel Bradley is delighted with her new car which saves on petrol by also using electricity generated by the friction of braking.

Continue reading "Downhill Is Free" »

March 27, 2013

The Amazing Youth Of Today

...It seems that the young generation of musicians are being raised not only with talent and passion for music, but to play as perfectly as possible, taking into consideration physical technique, quality of sound and musical interpretation, as well as appearance when performing. They are also expected, for the most part, to perform without referring to sheet music, playing, note-perfect, from memory...

Writer and flautist Isabel Bradley has been hugely impressed by the performances of young musicians she has heard in recent days.

Continue reading "The Amazing Youth Of Today" »

March 20, 2013


Isabel Bradley sometimes wishes she was a Time Lord.

Continue reading "Time" »

March 13, 2013

Why We Should Appreciate Hydrophobia

"Imagine how useful it would be to have spectacle lenses that repel rain; clothing that keeps one completely dry in a storm; windscreens that hardly need wiping and don’t fog up when its wet or cold outside,'' writes columnist Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Why We Should Appreciate Hydrophobia" »

March 06, 2013


"Maybe it was more than mere nostalgia that ‘attacked’ me that day, perhaps it was a dose of nostalgia-on-steroids? It was all I could do to stop myself from sobbing aloud as we stood at the bar with other members of the audience, discussing the show,'' writes Isabel Bradley, overwhelmed by an actor's performance of some of Kipling's Just So Stories.

Continue reading "Nostalgia" »

February 27, 2013

Dire Straits

...The bass-player rocked and grinned at the drummer and any other member of the band he made eye-contact with. The saxophonist strutted about the stage, playing duets with every other musician in turn. The main keyboard player leapt between his instruments and from time to time played delicately and sensitively, between pouring powerful sounds into the auditorium...

Isabel Bradley rocks and bops at a Dire Straits concert.

Continue reading "Dire Straits" »

February 06, 2013

Lazy Sundays

"My conviction that Sundays should be spent as lazily as possible were definitely confirmed,'' writes columnist Isabel Bradley, following a snooze-inducing morning in a church.

Continue reading "Lazy Sundays" »

January 30, 2013

The Birds In My Life

Continue reading "The Birds In My Life" »

January 23, 2013


"Change, whether small or momentous, is inevitable,'' writes columnist Isabel Bradley - though sudden changes can be exceedingly irritating.

Continue reading "Change" »

January 09, 2013

Fizzing Fireworks

"Now however, South Africa has joined the rest of the world and we celebrate all holidays with public and private firework displays,'' reports Isabel Bradley following a New Year's Eve in which all quarters of the sky were illuminated.

Continue reading "Fizzing Fireworks" »

January 02, 2013

A Tale Of A Snail

...As we were enjoying tea, coffee and chocolates at the end of the meal, Tersia pointed to the patio, where a giant snail was sliming its way across the floor tiles towards the dining room...

Isabel Bradley tells of a snail as long as her foot.

Continue reading "A Tale Of A Snail" »

December 26, 2012

A Christmas Gift

...“Yes, a red car for Christmas would be ideal,” added Leon.
And the red car was available....

Now Isabel Bradley has a new "friend'' Sally - a beautiful, ruby-red, metallic-finished Yarris Hybrid.

Continue reading "A Christmas Gift " »

December 12, 2012

A Jolly Good 25 Years

"For about 12 years, I was the receptionist and head-master’s secretary at the primary school where my children began their school careers. In many ways, it was the happiest time of my working life,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "A Jolly Good 25 Years" »

December 05, 2012


Isabel Bradley tells of a day when she was in a strange, unfamiliar frame of mind.

Continue reading "Deserted" »

November 28, 2012


"As far back as I can remember, probably at about the age of five, I absolutely loathed Mom or Dad being cross with or disappointed in me. That’s where self-discipline began,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

"Self-discipline creates a magic circle: work produces results, which provides enjoyment and success, and more hard work creates increasing success.''

Continue reading "Self-Discipline" »

November 21, 2012

Musical Memories

"My parents were wonderful – they gave me love, laughter, joy, fun, security, discipline – and music,'' acknowledges writer and flautist Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Musical Memories" »

November 14, 2012

From A New Angle

Columnist and musician Isabel Bradley tells of a very special concert held in Johannesburg last weekend.

Continue reading "From A New Angle" »

November 07, 2012

Lapidary – Art From Tribology

"Cutting, polishing and shaping stones is an ancient art, known as lapidary. Lapidarists, sometimes known as lapidaries, are not only artists, but are experienced Tribologists, applying their knowledge of friction, wear, materials and lubrication to create exquisite gems from raw rock,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Lapidary – Art From Tribology" »

October 24, 2012

Nothing On My Mind

"Having a blank mind is completely unfamiliar, and most unwelcome,'' writes columnist Isabel Bradley before realising that she has plenty to think about.

Continue reading "Nothing On My Mind" »

October 10, 2012

Utter Luxury

"We all deserve times of rest and relaxation, free of guilt, filled with escape from our everyday pressures,'' writes columnist and musician Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Utter Luxury" »

October 03, 2012

Why Tribology?

"The application of Tribological Principles would go a long way to preventing climate change, water pollution and to maintaining and improving food production. In fact, understanding and applying Tribology in every sphere of activity has the potential to save enormous amounts of money, time and energy,'' declares columnist Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Why Tribology?" »

September 26, 2012

Our Children

"When a young couple, who seem very much in love, part ways, their grief is often felt equally by their families and friends,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Our Children" »

September 19, 2012

A Musical Mystery

...The music was difficult – not only for those interpreting it, but to listen to. It was discordant, went off at unexpected tangents, and some of the sounds created by finger-sliding on strings were completely other-worldly and rather like the symptoms of violent indigestion...

Writer and musician Isabel Bradley prefers romantic music and is no lover of many 20th Century composers, such as Benjamin Britten.

Continue reading "A Musical Mystery" »

September 12, 2012

It's All In The Timing

"It’s all in the timing, isn’t it? Timed right, a punch-line will be responded to with a laugh, timed wrong, it all falls flat, leaving an embarrassed silence in its wake,'' writes musician and columnist Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "It's All In The Timing" »

September 05, 2012

A Joint Effort

"In the joints of the human body, there is a world of tribology, ranging from friction to wear and the use of materials and lubrication preventing the associated risk of damage.
Human joints are ingeniously constructed to prevent friction, thus preventing wear of bone and cartilage, which causes inflammation, pain, and disability,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "A Joint Effort" »

August 29, 2012


...I discovered that in the human sense, American women seem to think they have a monopoly on being ‘cougars’, and pick particularly beautiful young men to prey on...

Columnist Isabel Bradley tells of cougars, both the two- and four-legged variety.

Continue reading "Cougars" »

August 22, 2012


"From the first moment, the entire audience was enthralled: The musicians obviously enjoyed every note, they made eye contact and smiled and nodded at each other as the most glorious sounds poured from their instruments...''

Musician and writer Isabel Bradley was entranced by a performance of a work by Schumann.

Continue reading "Exhilaration" »

August 15, 2012


"Having been deprived of comfort for so long, returning to normal is absolutely wonderful,'' writes Isabel Bradley, relishing the delights of her refurbished home.

Continue reading "Bliss" »

August 08, 2012

Joyful "Tests''

"Sometimes it seems as if doctors are ‘playing at God’, and yet how can anyone deny parents who would be otherwise barren,'' writes Isabel Bradley, telling of a friend who has had two "test tube'' babies.

Continue reading "Joyful "Tests''" »

August 01, 2012

Human Skin, A Tribological Organ

"The skin is the body’s largest organ: according to National Geographic, it covers approximately 2 square metres and weighs up to 3.6 kilograms in adults. It holds our skeleton, muscles and other organs in place, and is our first line of defence against germs and bacteria,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Human Skin, A Tribological Organ" »

July 25, 2012

A Curse, Or A Blessing?

...Oh, there’s still some painting to be done,
And one room’s floor to be tiled –
But that’s no reason to be riled!...

Isabel Bradley has been undergoing the ordeal of having her house ripped apart - but the return of home sweet home is now in sight.

Continue reading "A Curse, Or A Blessing?" »

July 11, 2012

All In The Preparation

...the house was filled with bangs and crashes as workers chipped tiles off walls and floors. A huge pile of rubble grew outside the back door, and everything in the house was covered in dust...

Workmen are busy reburbishing Isabel Bradley's house - and in the meantime it's micro-waved meals from Woolworths.

Continue reading "All In The Preparation" »

July 04, 2012

The Eternal Battle Against Water Erosion

"In construction of buildings, roads and bridges, an important part of a civil engineer’s work is controlling the flow of water,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "The Eternal Battle Against Water Erosion" »

June 27, 2012

The Essential Self

"Whether they are good or bad, as people grow older, they become, increasingly, the essence of themselves,'' declares Isabel Bradley in this column which will prompt you to ponder deeply and observe people closely for the rest of the week.

Continue reading "The Essential Self" »

June 20, 2012

Suite Antique

"Susan, my pianist, and I recently added a new work to our repertoire for flute and piano; well, it’s new to us. It is the Suite Antique for flute, harpsichord and strings, the accompaniment transcribed for piano by the composer, John Rutter,'' writes columnist and musician Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Suite Antique" »

June 13, 2012

Butterflies Are Free

...While driving through the bush at Welgevonden Game Reserve, we often splash through rivers and streams, where, in the mud, flights of large, brilliant blue butterflies hover, dip and dance in the sunlight...

Isabel Bradley tells of an incredible journey taken by a butterfly - a journey which did not involve so much as a single wing flap.

Continue reading "Butterflies Are Free" »

June 06, 2012

In The End

Isabel Bradley tells of an orchestra rehearsal day that ran less smoothly than a rusty clock.

Ah, but the concert day itself...!

Continue reading "In The End" »

May 30, 2012

What A Difference

...The entire hour of music ranged from boring to moments that hurt the teeth and ground through the sinuses, to whole phrases that had me itching and twitching in my seat...

Isabel Bradley attends two amplified musical events - one a pain, the other a joy.

Continue reading "What A Difference" »

May 23, 2012

The Beauty Of The Small Audience

Flautist and writer Isabel Bradley suggests that the level of appreciation is more important than the size of an audience.

Continue reading "The Beauty Of The Small Audience" »

May 16, 2012


Isabel Bradley's life has been ticking along like a well-tuned engine - but change is on the way.

Continue reading "Upheavals" »

May 09, 2012

Awakening Memories

"Glenshiel is a beautiful old house in Johannesburg. Built of golden stone, it stands on a high ridge in the suburb of Westcliffe. It was built in 1908 for mining magnate Sir William Dalrymple and his wife, Lady Isobel. It boasted the first swimming pool and tennis court to be built in the growing city. The couple was known for their entertaining including music and tennis parties,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Isabel tells of recently giving a concert at Glenshiel, highlighting her account of an enjoyable occasion with four entrancing poems.

Continue reading "Awakening Memories" »

May 02, 2012

What A Mouthful!

"Throughout the ages, human beings have used various items for scrubbing dirt off their teeth, including feathers, bones, quills and sticks,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "What A Mouthful!" »

April 25, 2012

Passions And Joys

Isabel Bradley looks forwards to a grand event with this series of poems inspired by poems, inspired by César Franck’s Sonata in A Major

Continue reading "Passions And Joys" »

April 18, 2012

A Marvelous Museum

Isabel Bradley tells of her days as an assistant curator of a marveloys museum.

Continue reading "A Marvelous Museum" »

April 04, 2012


...It often amazes me, what people will say to a performer. I was delighted with a harpist friend’s comment, “Isabel, your sound is the best flute sound in town, I really like your sound!”...

Writer and musician Isabel Bradley says that comments from the audience after a concert are icing on the cake.

Continue reading "Comments" »

March 21, 2012

The Joys Of Research

"It is sad that such beautiful objects are rapidly becoming obsolete. Soon books will be found only in museums, shut away from use in locked glass cabinets,'' writes columnist Isabel Bradley, who now combs the Internet when assembling information for musical programme notes.

Continue reading "The Joys Of Research" »

March 14, 2012


Unexpected meetings with old friends prompted Isabel Bradley to write the following poem

Continue reading "Soul-Sunshine" »

March 07, 2012

A Maiden Voyage

...We drove slowly on, and around a bend came upon a small herd of zebra. A trio faced towards the trees, presenting us with a delightful view of three black-, brown- and white-striped bottoms. Nearby, a ‘teenaged’ youngster scratched his side against a tree. The view rolled to the horizon, filled with blue, purple and green-clad mountains, the road ahead red-dust and winding into the distance....

Columnist Isabel Bradley conveys the thrill and deep joy of being among wild animals in the African bush.

Continue reading "A Maiden Voyage" »

February 22, 2012

Mouth-Watering Meals In The Bush

...Each couple and Chris were asked to provide one brunch and one evening meal for the group during our stay. We enjoyed a wonderful variety of breakfasts: French toast with bacon; rösti with cheese, bacon and onion mixed in with the potatoes; an assortment of breads with a choice of cheeses and spreads; bacon, sausages and scrambled eggs; and a Macedonian dish with pasta, ham, cheese, mayonnaise and yoghurt...

Isabel Bradley tells of eating like royalty for five days and nights in the South African bush.

Continue reading "Mouth-Watering Meals In The Bush" »

February 15, 2012

Love To Be Lazy

"Crawling out of bed at nine, or even later in the morning on the weekends is absolute luxury for me, a luxury I wallow in as often as possible,'' reveals columnist Isabel Bradley.

But she confesses that despite all she does every week - "work, gym, running the orchestra, rehearsing with my lovely pianist, teaching, cooking, and shopping'' -she still finds it difficult to persuade herself to switch off.

Continue reading "Love To Be Lazy" »

February 08, 2012

Eee, By Gum

"When my 3-year-old daughter innocently came out with a good, strong, ‘Damn it!’ after her doll fell out of its pram, I resolved to replace all swear words with other words that could, as easily, become habitual, but be totally harmless when uttered in public,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Eee, By Gum" »

January 25, 2012


...The musicians, pianist, ‘cellist and clarinettist, were ushered onstage and into the vast cage, which clanged shut behind them...

Isabel Bradley tells of an extraordinary concert when the music was "filtered'' through gaps between cage bars.

Continue reading "Caged" »

January 18, 2012

An Obsolete Instrument

Musician and writer Isabel Bradley introduces us to the arpeggione, an instrument that was fairly popular for ten years in the 19th Century before falling into disuse.

Continue reading "An Obsolete Instrument" »

January 11, 2012


"Cleansing of any kind invariably improves my mood. Washing my face and hands in cool water is always refreshing, as is a warm shower. Bathing leaves me rested and relaxed,'' writes a sparkling Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Cleansing" »

January 04, 2012

Notes On Shakespeare

The wonderful Isabel Bradley tells of an occasion when the wordfs of the greatest of all writers were matched with fine music to create a most pleasing delight.

Continue reading "Notes On Shakespeare" »

December 21, 2011

Christmas Again

"It’s Christmas again –
Oh, woe is us!''

Isabel Bradley longs for a peaceful meal, and being waited on hand and foot.

Continue reading "Christmas Again" »

December 06, 2011

End Of An Era

...Leon and I have attended a marvellous array of performances by solo instrumentalists of all types, mixed chamber music groups, fabulous choirs and, occasionally, cross-over classical-jazz. Our Monday evenings have been filled with music of the highest standard...

Columnist and musician Isabel Bradley pays tribute to Rita van den Heever who arranged concerts for 14 years for music lovers in Johannesburg.

Continue reading "End Of An Era" »

November 30, 2011

The Wonder Of Words

"Words are the most basic tool of anyone who wants to communicate. They are the bricks from which we build phrases, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, articles, stories, fantasies. Words are powerful and should be chosen with care. Being a "word virtuoso" can begin, simply, by playing with words,'' writes columnist Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "The Wonder Of Words" »

November 23, 2011

Not For Sissies

...“Old age,” my mother often said, “is not for sissies.” As she always smiled when she said this, none of us took her seriously...

Columnist Isabel Bradley philosophically faces up to the consequences of living to an advandced age.

Continue reading "Not For Sissies" »

November 16, 2011


"Over many years I’ve been in the habit of talking to myself,'' admits Isabel Bradley in this chuckle-inducing column.

Continue reading "Doggerel" »

November 02, 2011

Be Prepared

Continue reading "Be Prepared" »

October 26, 2011

An Unholy Blast From The Past

"The thought of a steam-powered trombone made my insides shudder,'' writes columnist and musician Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "An Unholy Blast From The Past" »

October 19, 2011

Science Friction!

"Whenever I tell people that I work for the Southern African Institute of Tribology, they get a gleam in their eyes,'' writes columnist Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Science Friction!" »

October 12, 2011

Arachnids Ahoy

"Suspended in mid-air on an invisible thread, a tiny black spider swayed in the breeze from the open window. It was so small; I could only just make out its minute body and the fuzzy frieze that was its legs. Being in a magnanimous mood, I left it in peace,'' writes our columnist Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Arachnids Ahoy" »

October 05, 2011


"Those of us in South Africa who haven’t been directly touched by violent crime are few and far between, and extremely lucky,''; writes Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "Alarmed" »

September 21, 2011

On My Knees

"After being interrupted twice during a recent flute and poetry performance by the dreaded chirping of mobile phones, which we in South Africa call cell-phones, I decided to write a poem which just may have the desired effect if I recite it before my next performance,'' says Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "On My Knees" »

September 14, 2011

Why Don't They Listen

"We all need to pay more attention to the world around us, or sooner or later we’ll miss out on something really important,'' says Isabel Bradley, who thinks that electronic gadgetry may have resulted in a shrinking of attention-span.

Continue reading "Why Don't They Listen" »

August 31, 2011

Changing Feet

"We all make enormous faux pas, which, as they leave our mouths, immediately make us want to crawl under the carpet and hide in embarrassment,'' writes Isabel Bradley in this chuckle-rich column.

Continue reading "Changing Feet" »

August 24, 2011

The Flute!

"It is certainly hard physical work, reaching and maintaining a high standard of playing. As I grow a little older each day, I find the physical requirements of playing the instrument cause pain and discomfort in my neck, shoulder-blades and back, and my hands tend to ache somewhat with rheumatic pain after a particularly long session of playing,'' admits flautist Isabel Bradley in this splendid tribute to the instrument which has brought great joy to her life.

Continue reading "The Flute!" »

August 17, 2011

On The Trail

"I vividly remember the good times and the bad times of hiking, and I thought that this trail tale may do well to introduce Philippe Gaubert’s Fantasy for flute and piano,'' writes Isabel Bradley, presenting a poem which highlights the delights and drama of a long-distance hike.

Continue reading "On The Trail" »

August 10, 2011

Mind Games

...The ice-cream was placed in front of us in, with separate little jugs of steaming sauce. We both poured a generous dollop of sauce over our ice-cream and dug in. After a few mouthfuls, I turned to Leon and said, “I think there’s something not quite right about this chocolate sauce. How does yours taste?”...

Isabel Bradley reveals that things are not always what they appear to be.

Continue reading "Mind Games" »

August 03, 2011

My Mother

...“I’ll miss your Mom’s smile,” the minister said to me on the day of the memorial service, “She had such a warm and loving smile!”...

Isabel Bradley pays tribute to a very, very special lady.

Continue reading "My Mother" »

July 27, 2011

A Fond Farewell

...When I married Leon, Bill was first among my male friends to make sure that Leon knew who he’d have to deal with if I was hurt in any way. Bill’s fierce blue eyes and beetling brows were daunting, even though he was at that time well into his 70’s. Luckily for us, Leon was the best person ever to ‘happen’ to me, and soon he and Bill were firm friends....

Isabel Bradley pays tribute to a wonderful man and a wonderful friend.

Continue reading "A Fond Farewell" »

June 08, 2011

A Chairman's Lot

Isabel Bradley acknowledges that the buck always stops with thye chairman - but "sometimes only stops by butting me hard.''

Continue reading "A Chairman's Lot" »

May 18, 2011

Friday The Thirteenth

...While we chatted, I decided that my hands uncomfortably dry, fished in my handbag for the little tube of lotion that I keep for emergencies, then took off my wedding ring and carefully balanced it on my right leg. I obviously wasn’t careful enough, the ring rolled off my leg and vanished...

Isabel Bradley tells traumatic moments on Friday the Thirteenth.

Continue reading "Friday The Thirteenth" »

May 11, 2011

It Could Happen To Anyone

...Peter and Gail were waiting for us outside. From this point of view, no damage was visible, just a very damp pathway leading into the house. Inside, the acrid smell of damp burnt wood and soot filled our senses, and there was a gaping, black hole in the living-room ceiling...

Isabel Bradley tells of a disaster which has overwhelmed her friends - a disaster which brings a stern warning to every home owner.

Continue reading "It Could Happen To Anyone" »

May 04, 2011

A Right Royal Celebration

...Leon and I had dressed with great care that morning. We’d been looking forward to Heather’s ‘Royal Wedding Street Party’ for weeks. I dressed in red, white and denim and threw a red and gold chiffon scarf over my hair as I loathe wearing hats. Leon wore English tweeds, a deer-stalker hat, and Union Jack socks. The other ladies wore delicate, spring-like dresses and skirts, with large hats and were a little uncomfortable in the rather cool autumn weather. The other men were comfy in jeans and T-shirts, some with pullovers...

Isabel Bradley tells of a joyous party in Johannesburg to celebrate a Royal wedding in London.

Continue reading "A Right Royal Celebration" »

April 27, 2011

A Reason To Celebrate

...In preparation, I spent hours in the kitchen on Friday, baking sausage rolls, cheese biscuits, cakes and shortbread, enough to feed the five thousand. What a glorious way to spend an afternoon. The whole house, and possibly the neighbourhood, was perfumed with the scent of fresh goodies, and my spirits rose with the fragrant steam...

Isabel Bradley organises the celebration of her mother's 91st birthday.

Continue reading "A Reason To Celebrate" »

April 20, 2011

A Matter Of Trust

...Laughter echoes and rolls through our souls,
Reviving us each
With the warmth of tried and trusted

Isabel Bradley tells of the joy of friendship.

Continue reading "A Matter Of Trust" »

April 13, 2011

Making Sense Of It All

...Running an orchestra is very different from playing in one. It is a position requiring a huge number of managerial skills, which I was learning the hard way, mistake and success alike. Little of it came naturally to me...

Musician and writer Isabel Bradley tells of the organisational and emotional demands of running a small orchestra.

Continue reading "Making Sense Of It All" »

April 06, 2011

Life Is A Soap Opera

''Life is never predictable and very often turns out to be far more bizarre than the most heatedly imagined plots dreamed up in fiction.,'' says Isabel Bradley in telling a true-life drama involving bombing automatic banking machines, violent armed robberies and murder.

Continue reading "Life Is A Soap Opera" »

March 30, 2011

Social Norms

...With a crash and a shout, the groom’s father and youngest brother were suddenly on their feet, father punching son, knocking him to the ground, standing over him and swearing at the top of his voice...

Isabel Bradley tells of violence which was ignored.

Continue reading "Social Norms" »

March 23, 2011

And The Rest Is History

...Eventually, they began to chat, and to his delight James discovered that not only could Liz dress elegantly, but she had just returned from a hike in the bush where she’d actually walked with elephants! He fell in love...

Isabel Bradley tells of romantic encounters which led on to great happiness.

Continue reading "And The Rest Is History" »

March 16, 2011

What If?

Isabel Bradley grapples to understand the depths of suffering and change brought about in Japan by earthquake and tsunami.

Continue reading "What If?" »

February 23, 2011

Adrenaline Junkie

...As I reversed out of the parking bay, I scrabbled in my bag for my mobile, looking over my left shoulder, swinging to the right to avoid the pole that wasn’t there… CRASH, CRUNCH!!! Oh, my beautiful little car…

Isabel Bradley tells of high-adrenaline events, some welcomed, some not.

Continue reading "Adrenaline Junkie" »

February 09, 2011

The Zone

...During a recent trio recital at the University of Johannesburg, fellow musicians, Peta-Ann and Susan, page-turner Leon, and I all were privileged to experience the joy and rapture of entering ‘the zone’...

Isabel Bradley enters a zone of pure bliss.

Continue reading "The Zone" »

February 03, 2011

Close Encounters With Elephants

...Elephant and vehicle were on a collision course for a ford in the river, the vehicle very slightly ahead of Mountainous Maximus …who sped up as if this were a race, head up, eyes glittering, trunk and ears waving threateningly...

Isabel Bradley brings a vivid account of close encounters with elephants.

Continue reading "Close Encounters With Elephants" »

February 02, 2011

Triumph Over C haos

Continue reading "Triumph Over C haos" »

January 19, 2011

A Gem From The Past

Isabel Bradley writes a joy-filled poem as a tribute to the instrument that makes her life very special - the flute.

Continue reading "A Gem From The Past" »

January 12, 2011

The Joy Of Music

"Those of us privileged to play instruments are indeed steeped in the joy of music,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

And Isabel is doubly blessed. She is not only able to please to listeners with her interpretations of some of the greatest music ever written. She also brings great pleasure to readers with her written words.

Continue reading "The Joy Of Music" »

January 05, 2011

Mogzi’s Christmas

Isabel Bradley tells in prose and verse of a fraught Christmas looking after (and not looking after) her son's pet cat Mogzi.

Continue reading "Mogzi’s Christmas" »

December 29, 2010

Another ‘Annus Horribilus’ Bites The Dust

Isabel Bradley looks back on a year which contained more than its share of unpleasant challenges.

Continue reading "Another ‘Annus Horribilus’ Bites The Dust" »

December 22, 2010

A Christmas To Suit Everyone

...American author, Lenora Mattingly Weber, wrote: “Christmas is for children. But it is for grownups too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts."...

Isabel Bradley brings us a splendidly gift-wrapped article about THE BIG DAY which is almost upon us.

Continue reading "A Christmas To Suit Everyone" »

December 15, 2010

Home From Home

...And so last week, nine years after I left Welties, I returned, as I do every year and sometimes in between, and was immediately drawn into that core, that charmed circle where laughter and fun and friendship reign.

Thank you, Welties, for holding me up, carrying me through – and welcoming me back with open arms...

Isabel Bradley is welcomed in by old friends when she returns to the school where she worked.

Continue reading "Home From Home" »

December 08, 2010

A Beautiful Bird?

Isabel Bradley in prose and verse tells of Burchell's Coucal, a beautiful but predatory South African bird.

Continue reading "A Beautiful Bird?" »

December 01, 2010

What's In A Name?

Whatever else you do, don't call Isabel Bradley "Izzy''.

And do be careful when using names. If you accidentally use the wrong name you could be taking the first step down the slippery slope which leads to divorce.

Whatever your name you are sure to enjoy this column by Isabel. To read more of her words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "What's In A Name?" »

November 24, 2010

The Vanishing

Isabel Bradley ponders upon one of the great mysteries of life - things which "disappear'', are frantically hunted for, then turn up in the accustomed place.

To read more of Isabel's brilliant columns please visit http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Vanishing" »

November 17, 2010


Isabel Bradley brings some cautionary words on the reliability of friendship.

Continue reading "Ghosts" »

November 03, 2010

Fascinating Frédéric

Musician and writer Isabel Bradley tells of the life of the great composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth.

Continue reading "Fascinating Frédéric" »

October 27, 2010

A Pirandellian Plot

...When Happiness, in the form of a handsome and charming man, spilt wine in the lap of her borrowed white dress one evening after a concert, she laughed, opened her eyes wide, and accepted it with open arms.

From the time she left Misery to live with Happiness, she became a whole woman, no longer the fragmented person she had been...

Isabel Bradley presents a portrait of a life which travelled from the shadows into bright sunlight.

Continue reading "A Pirandellian Plot" »

October 20, 2010

The Power Of The Pen

...Wikipedia suggests that “With the advent of e-mail and the general decline in letter writing, poison pen letters have become something of a rarity.” Unfortunately, this is not true. Brazen ill-wishers find it easier than ever to send hate-mail, oozing inflammatory and vitriolic comments and curses, to anyone they choose and with the click of an electronic mouse on the ‘send’ button, copy it to hundreds of addresses in their Contacts list.

Unfortunately, some people read such mails, written to friends and family, and immediately believe the content, just because it appears on a computer screen...

Isabel Bradley highlights the damage that malevolent people can do with the aid of modern technology,

Continue reading "The Power Of The Pen" »

October 13, 2010

The Darker Face Of Bereavement

"When a much-loved person dies, it is as if a black hole has been ripped in our hearts,'' writes Isabel Bradley.

Isabel presents a poem which highlights the family turmoil which can follow bereavment, then points the way to Web sites which offer help to those in turmoil.

Continue reading "The Darker Face Of Bereavement" »

October 06, 2010

The Art Of Titivating

Continue reading "The Art Of Titivating" »

September 29, 2010

Musical Trunks

...For a while we sat watching a cheetah prowling in the thin shade of a thorn-tree. Later and a few kilometres further on, two rhinos lumbered slowly to a dam where they bent to drink from their reflections, while a pair of hippo yawned widely a few feet away from them, open mouths glowing red in the setting sun...

Isabel Bradley vividly conveys the wonders of the African bush.

For more of Isabel's must-read columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Musical Trunks" »

September 22, 2010

What Does The Future Hold?

...Finally, there came the personal computer, with its amazing word-processing facilities, including cut and paste. Writer’s heaven had arrived. I took a writing course and have been writing endlessly ever since… I still use pen and notebook, diary and pretty note-paper for more personal jottings...

Isabel Bradley demonstrates that no matter what instrument or machine you use to "record'' your words, if those words have quality they will survive far longer than any pencil or pen, typewriter or computer keyboard.

Continue reading "What Does The Future Hold?" »

September 15, 2010

Self Control

...Self-control is essential to living reasonably happily, successfully, creating financial and emotional independence and living within the law. If one surrenders control of one’s self to anything or anyone, personal chaos is bound to follow...

Isabel Bradley reports on the consequences of not taking control of one's own life.

To read more of Isabel's columns please visit http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Self Control" »

August 25, 2010

Alone At Last

Isabel Bradley tells the hilarious tale of Leon’s not-so-lonely loo.

To read more of Isabel's priceless columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Alone At Last" »

August 11, 2010

Rediscovering Motherhood

Continue reading "Rediscovering Motherhood" »

July 28, 2010

Listen To Your Body - Part Two

"‘Listening’ to one’s body, and doing what it’s asking, isn’t always a matter of life and death, but it can mean the difference between living in comfort or pain,'' says Isabel Bradley, backing up her statement with a personal story which will prompt every reader who requires porfessional medical advice to immediately seek it.

Continue reading "Listen To Your Body - Part Two" »

July 21, 2010

Listen To Your Body

...In the 21st Century, with medical knowledge and ability to prevent suffering at an all-time high, anyone who ignores symptoms of change and discomfort is asking for trouble. This doesn’t mean that all conditions are life-threatening, or that all can be cured or successfully treated. More than ever before, however, if a problem is diagnosed early the likelihood of a happy, comfortable and long life is far greater than ever before in history...

Isabel Bradley brings what could be the most important advice that you ever read.

Continue reading "Listen To Your Body" »

July 07, 2010

Colour, Noise and Excitement - World Cup Glory

...the World Cup is a glorious occasion and South Africa has gone soccer-mad. Orchestral rehearsals, concerts, birthdays, christenings and other celebrations either take place when there is no match scheduled, or will have to wait until after the month of soccer is over.

Whoever wins the FIFA World Cup, the ultimate winners of this Celebration of Soccer will be all those who participate and enjoy every moment in our winter-cold, beautiful country...

Isabel Bradley celebrates the major sporting event which is bringing glory to her country.

Continue reading "Colour, Noise and Excitement - World Cup Glory" »

June 30, 2010

Musical Magic

...As often happens when learning new works, I was inspired by the music to write poems which harmonized with the atmosphere of the sounds we were discovering...

Isabel Bradley presents a series of poems which match the moods of some of the best music ever written.

Continue reading "Musical Magic" »

June 23, 2010

String Of Pearls - Final Episode

...At the fringes of her mind, memories tingled, of stars swirling, moons marching, of a voice singing to her and Kieran, of trumpets drawing them through space. As she tried to grasp it, the memory blew away with the star-dust of dreams....

Isabel Bradley concluded her imaginative five-part story. To read the first four episodes, and lots more columns by Isabel, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "String Of Pearls - Final Episode" »

June 16, 2010

String of Pearls, Part 4

...Devorah and Kieran have been guided through space to the blue and green planet, known as Earth. There, they hover in the hospital room above Debbie, the pregnant woman who is in a coma after a collision between a car and a truck...

Isabel Bradley continues her intriguing, mind-stretching story. To read the first four parts of the story, and many more columns by Isabel, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "String of Pearls, Part 4" »

June 09, 2010

A String of Pearls -Part 3

...Debbie, severely injured, was in a coma, on life-support in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. Mike, her husband, remained at her bedside, distraught, praying for a miracle, and begging her to return to their life. Her unborn child continued to thrive in her womb, unaware of the trauma his parents were experiencing...

Isabel Bradley continues her imaginative story.

Continue reading "A String of Pearls -Part 3" »

June 02, 2010

A String Of Pearls, Part 2

....Back on earth, Debbie, Mike and their unborn child are in a speeding car on a wet and slippery road, while light years away...

Isabel Bradley continues the intriguing story which she began last week.

Continue reading "A String Of Pearls, Part 2" »

May 26, 2010

A String Of Pearls, Part One

"I’ve just finished reading Stephenie Meyer’s remarkable and beautiful book, Host, about two souls living in one body – and so much more,'' writes Isabel Bradley. "It reminded of a story I wrote, which I’ve revised. The first of five episodes appears in Open Writing today.

"This story was written in 1994 when the newspapers were filled with beautiful pictures of a comet heading for Jupiter, breaking up into what was described as ‘a string of pearls’ that plunged into the gaseous planet

Continue reading "A String Of Pearls, Part One" »

May 12, 2010

What’s In A Name?

...“I knew a German man whose surname was ‘Nagel’ – ‘nail’ in that language. He was a rather prickly personality, and he became an acupuncturist!”...

Isabel Bradley wonders whether names can match personality, and possibly employment.

To read more of Isabel's sparkling columns please click on

Continue reading "What’s In A Name?" »

May 05, 2010

A Mother To Be Proud Of

...As a mother, she was loving and indulgent. She and Dad made huge sacrifices, financially and with their time, to ensure we had music lessons from the best private teachers in Johannesburg. She read us bed-time stories, admired everything we did, and protected us from every threat, real and perceived. She taught us to laugh at life, to enjoy music, books and the company of happy people...

Isabel Bradley pays a moving tribute to her mother, Muriel.

Every daughter should be lucky enough to have a mother such as Muriel - and every mother lucky enough to have a daughter such as Isabel.

Continue reading "A Mother To Be Proud Of" »

April 28, 2010

Musical Delights And Audiences

Every musical event in Johannesburg offers a combination of fascination, interest, beauty and amusement, no less the audience with their flamboyant dress and odd behaviour. What would we do without them?

Isabel Bradley relishes a fabulous week of musical abundance.

Continue reading "Musical Delights And Audiences" »

April 21, 2010

Short And Savoury

Isabel Bradley wonderfully conveys the delight of an afternoon of fun, friendship and happy conversation

Continue reading "Short And Savoury" »

April 14, 2010

Women Dress Because…

Why do women enjoy clothes so much, why dress up, or down, why create the images they do?

Isabel Bradley brings an answer to those question which will startle many a man.

To read more of Isabel's brilliant columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading " Women Dress Because…" »

April 07, 2010


Isabel Bradley faces up to the challenge of owning a domain.

Continue reading "Domain" »

March 31, 2010

Changing Generations

...Gran and Pop were committed church-goers, belonging to the local Congregational Church. They were always the first to welcome new members of the congregation with dinner at their family home. Every ‘lame duck’ in the neighbourhood knew that Gran would help out with a free meal, every abandoned widow and lone widower was invited to Christmas lunch, all this while they could barely afford to feed themselves.

My uncles and my mother were raised by Gran and Pop to be gentlemen and a gentlewoman in all meanings of the words – strong, gentle people, with marvellous manners, a sincere desire to help others less fortunate than themselves, kind, caring people who maintained their personal integrity, seemingly without effort...

Isabel Bradley paints a wonderfully warm and understanding word portrait of a beloved grandmother.

Continue reading "Changing Generations" »

March 24, 2010

A Lovely Wedding

...It rained that afternoon. Correction: it poured. The marriage officer, who arrived on a motor-bike, was soaked to the skin; Leon was soaked getting my mother out of the car and indoors; my mother was somewhat traumatised after the drive through pelting rain, almost-continuous lightning and roaring thunder; several guests were caught in the traffic jam caused by the storm and missing the ceremony. Di waited over half an hour after the scheduled time of the wedding, until the rain turned to a light drizzle, then I played my flute while she and her adopted older brother, Antony, walked arm-in-arm down the path of coloured rose-petals on the green lawn to the rose arch where Adam waited...

Despite the weather, Diane had a lovely wedding day. And if ever a girl deserved a happy wedding it is Diane, as her mother Isabel Bradley reveals in this extra-special column.

Continue reading " A Lovely Wedding" »

March 17, 2010

Of Rescue, And Colonies

...Penguins, as everyone knows, are flightless birds, who waddle in a very upright position when on land. When swimming, they use their flippers as if they were wings, and seem to ‘fly’ through the water. Their black and white feathers are in a pattern that looks rather like a business suit, and when walking, look rather like businessmen strutting around, their flippers held straight down at their sides...

Isabel Bradley shares the pleasure of a holiday visit to the Cape Town area.

For more if Isabel's delight-filled columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Of Rescue, And Colonies" »

March 03, 2010

Beautiful, Wonderful And Amazing

‘…At eleven in the morning, we drove out of the sun-drenched village of Matjiesfontein, heading for further discoveries, re-discoveries and adventures in Cape Town…’

Isabel Bradley's account of a journey through a beautiful land makes you long to go travelling in her footsteps.

Continue reading "Beautiful, Wonderful And Amazing" »

February 24, 2010

Matjiesfontein, A National Monument

...The Lord Milner Hotel is an imposing white building, with castellated turrets at each end and in the centre. From each turret, flew a flag: in the centre, the new South African Flag, to its left, the Union Jack, and to its right, the old South African Flag...

Isabel Bradley gives an enticing account of a visit to Matjiesfontein, a centre of power during Britain's colonial rule in South Africa.

To read more of Isabel's entertaining columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Matjiesfontein, A National Monument" »

February 17, 2010


...We ambled around, taking photographs of the old buildings and grounds, and then went to the main building, a converted barn, for dinner. Our host and hostess, Paul and Annelise, had set a table for two outside under the trees, where the last rays of the setting sun reflected off the high branches of a tall blue-gum tree...

Isabel Bradley paints a most enticing word picture of a holiday drive from Johannesburg down the long roads to the Cape.

Continue reading "Rediscovering" »

February 03, 2010

Those Silent Conversations

...straying thoughts always have tangible results. This is particularly evident when performing on stage. It’s acknowledged that much of the secret of playing music is what happens in the mind. Thoughts flow through the performer’s mind, and through the minds of the audience, and there seems to be a ‘silent conversation’ between them, a sub-text not immediately evident...

Isabel Bradley reveals what goes on in a musician's mind while playing some of the greatest music ever written.

Continue reading "Those Silent Conversations" »

January 27, 2010

Treasures Of Our Past

...Holding this treasure-box carefully, I clambered down and put it on the kitchen counter to examine the contents. There was a tiny Coca-a-Cola bottle, reminder of the fact that at one time I drank gallons of that beverage. I smiled and turned over a few other items that no longer held any interest for me. Then, carefully wrapped in tissue paper, I found my tiny china Eskimo...

Isabel Bradley is reminded of bygone days.

Continue reading "Treasures Of Our Past" »

January 20, 2010

Music for Everyone!

Isabel Bradley was a guest at a great-fun sixtieth birthday party which "proved once and for all, that the Rock ‘n Roll music of the nineteen-fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties, is indeed music for everyone.''

Continue reading "Music for Everyone!" »

January 13, 2010

The Course of True Love - Part Two

...Lovely English widow, Pat Gray, met the love of her life, John Craig, in London. Fate – or perhaps, William Shakespeare – seemed determined to put as many obstacles as possible in the path of their relationship. John worked in Saudi Arabia, and left London the night they met.

Pat, longing to be with John, went on holiday instead to her family in South Africa. Eventually, she and John agreed to meet in Cairo at the end of her holiday. She finally arrived in Egypt and after fighting her way through the complexities of the demands of the immigration officers; perspiring but triumphant, found John’s waiting at the taxi rank outside the airport.

John kissed her chastely on the forehead. Then he said, “Hi – you’ve chipped your tooth, that’ll need fixing!” He swept her into the taxi, while the driver loaded the luggage...

Isabel Bradley concludes a real-life love story.

To read the first part of this story, and many more of Isabel's superby words, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Course of True Love - Part Two" »

January 06, 2010

The Course of True Love - Part One

...One look at John, and Pat forgot where she was and who she was visiting. The sight of the tall elegant American from Indiana left her weak at the knees. He grinned down at her, brown eyes sparkling, and said, “Can I get you a beer, Honey?” in a smooth American drawl. Pat was lost....

Isabel Bradley begins to tell a true love story - the sort that Hollywood films are made of!

Continue reading "The Course of True Love - Part One" »

December 30, 2009

‘Close Encounters’ - or - Just My Imagination

...It would be good to know that those we love, who leave us behind in this world, continue to live and love in whatever the next may be...

Isabel Bradley tells of experiences which seem to be well beyond the realms of coincidence.

Continue reading "‘Close Encounters’ - or - Just My Imagination" »

December 23, 2009

The Festive Season

...There was the excitement of presents hidden in cupboards, the joy of going to midnight services on Christmas Eve, when we were old enough, in warm, starlit mid-summer nights. Often, when we were smaller, Gran slept in the lounge on the sleeper-couch, with Mac, her blue budgie, in his covered cage near her head and we could creep in and wake this darling lady on Christmas mornings...

Isabel Bradley captures the wondrous excitement of Christmas.

Continue reading "The Festive Season" »

December 16, 2009

Four-and-Twenty Hadedas

...This bird is surprisingly clumsy and with a loud humanlike voice shouts as it flies: ‘ha – ha – ha-deda,’ as if saying, ‘I’m afraid of heights, I’m going to fall! Aaaah!” They are incredibly noisy, and far from welcome when they rouse one from sleep at dawn...

But it was the tiny "human Hadedas''who caught and held Isabel Bradley's enthusiastic attention at the year-end nurery school concert.

Continue reading "Four-and-Twenty Hadedas" »

December 09, 2009

A Glittering Occasion

...Finally came the moment many of the Grade Seven children had been waiting for: the Prefects’ Candle Ceremony. The lights in the hall were darkened, and to the sound of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s ‘Memory’, played on the flute, this year’s prefects slowly processed up the centre aisle, each carrying a lit candle. The lights glimmered, sparkling in eyes that remembered last year’s ceremony, and the year before, going back for at least fifteen years...

Isabel Bradley illuminates the memory of a special school occasion with engaging and enthusiastic words.

Continue reading " A Glittering Occasion" »

December 02, 2009

A Question of Morals?

...Are Leon and I and the other fans of ‘Dexter’ world-wide, crossing a line in morality, ourselves, or is it the writers who have crossed this line? The series is cleverly-written. We find ourselves holding our breaths when this ‘loveable psychopath’ is about to be caught in the act of monstrous murder, hoping beyond hope that somehow he will fool the cops...

Isabel Bradley questions the morality of producing and viewing some popular American TV shows.

Continue reading "A Question of Morals?" »

November 25, 2009

More On Musicians’ CVs – Or Should That Be ‘Bios’?

Isabel Bradley responds to comments from a reader in New York on one of her columns which appeared in Open Writing earlier this year.

Isabel maintains that musicians should be trained in all the protocols of performanceand the careful writing of personal information, which interests everyone in the audience, should be part of that training.”

Continue reading "More On Musicians’ CVs – Or Should That Be ‘Bios’?" »

November 18, 2009

No Guarantees

... Many parents, in the absence of knowledge of alternative methods of discipline, allow their children to grow up without any sense of action, reaction and consequence, of the need to control themselves and take responsibility for their own behaviour, both good and bad. Good parenting is not a natural instinct, and to make matters more difficult, each child is different, and so needs to be treated differently within the family....

Isabel Bradley brings excellent advice on how best to instil civilised behaviour in children.

To read more of Isabel's superb columns please click on

Continue reading "No Guarantees" »

November 11, 2009

Guy Fawkes, Past, Present And Fictional

...Ninny that I was, I’d shriek and jump and run as Dad and my brother, Roger, gleefully lit strings of jumping-jacks that popped and jumped after me on the slate-paved veranda, and rush to my bedroom and hide my head under layers of pillows when they set off the ‘big bangs’...

Isabel Bradley remembers the fearful fun of Guy Fawkes night, celebrated in South Africa as it is in Britain.

To read more of Isabel's entertaining columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading " Guy Fawkes, Past, Present And Fictional" »

November 04, 2009

Swallows, Bats And Creepy-Crawlies

As summer arrives in Johannesburg Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon are mesmerized by an amazing aerial ballet.

To read more of Isabel's engaging words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Swallows, Bats And Creepy-Crawlies" »

October 28, 2009

Our Children

...We all wish to be everything, do everything for our children, be mother, father, confidant, healer, there at every moment, to soothe every pain. That isn’t possible, but with a little faith in the Universe, we can relax a little in the knowledge that the right person will be there to guide them in their need...

Isabel Bradley
presents poems which express the profundity of parental love.

Continue reading "Our Children" »

October 21, 2009

Where To Look

Describing the stage presence of various musicians Isabel Bradley concludes "It takes a master performer with supreme self-confidence to perform comfortably while gazing into the eyes of an audience.''

To read more of Isabel's immensly satisfying columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Where To Look" »

October 14, 2009

From Unconscious Incompetence…

...“Now,” she says, it’s your turn. She removes the top joint, the one with the Dali-shaped plate with the hole in it. She explains how you need to hold it against the hollow below your lip, that you need to smile, then make a pin-hole in the middle of the smile, and blow across the hole in the lip-plate, or the flute’s ‘embouchure’, to make a sound...

Flute player Isabel Bradley tells of the complex stages and endless hours of practice required to master her chosen instrument.

Non-musicians can only marvel at the beautiful sounds sent forth by the skilled flautist.

To read more of Isabel's tuneful columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "From Unconscious Incompetence…" »

October 07, 2009

More Magical Music

...And so the afternoon progressed, one piece of fascinating musical history followed by another, demonstrated with heavenly music played on the various pianos and keyboards, often with Kate Semmens adding her glorious soprano to the mix, singing Wolff, Schubert and Rossini...

Isabel Bradley continues her account of a most entertaining day spent at Finchcocks Musical Museum in Kent.

To read the first part of her account, and many more of Isabel's outstanding and enjoyable columns, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "More Magical Music" »

September 30, 2009

Magical, Musical Finchcocks

...We almost drove past the sign pointing to Finchcocks, but saw it just in time and swerved into the lane leading behind the first buildings of the village and onto an unpaved road winding between green fields. Red chimney tops came into view...

Musician and writer Isabel Bradley enjoyed a visit to Finchcock's Musical Museum in Kent.

For more of Isabel's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Magical, Musical Finchcocks" »

September 23, 2009

Your Attention, Please!

...She raised five children of her own, enjoyed the company of her seventeen grandchildren, and worshipped the newborn forms of at least two great-grandchildren. Gran never raised her voice to any of us. She always spoke quietly, always imparting love, mixed with down-to-earth common-sense.

Perhaps Gran’s approach is one of the ‘secrets’ of raising children. After all, children learn by example far more often than by what we say to them...

Isabel Bradley suggests that to speak quietly, or play music on a "quiet'' instrument, is the best way to win and hold attention.

For more of Isabel's words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Your Attention, Please!" »

September 16, 2009

Who Am I To Judge?

"How often do we condemn others, express our judgement, without realising how harsh, how uncompromising and unforgiving we are?,'' asks Isabel Bradley.

In this thoughtful and entertaining column she quotes Henry Wordsworth Longfellow: “Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.”

For more of Isabel's well-crafted words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Who Am I To Judge?" »

September 09, 2009

The Bassoon

..The bassoon is, perhaps wrongly, reputed to be the clown of the orchestra. When well-played, its sonorous sounds are rich and glorious. It can also make some rather rough, ‘over-ripe’ tones when required...

Isabel Bradley delightfully defends "a glorious and, sadly, underestimated instrument''.

To read more of Isabel's delicious columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Bassoon" »

September 02, 2009

A Fairy-tale Visit

Isabel Bradley visits Bodiam Castle - a castle from fairy-tales with its towers and turrets reflected in the wide, still moat, forbidding grey walls softened by the pale-green spring branches of massive trees that waved in the sharp breeze.

To read more of Isabel's luxurious words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "A Fairy-tale Visit" »

August 26, 2009

Guide For A Peaceful Day

...“It’s wonderful to be here this evening, just women enjoying each other’s company, laughing together until our stomachs ache and the tears run down our cheeks, isn’t it?” The ladies all agreed...

Flute player Isabel Bradley tells of a special event when a group of ladies gathered for dinner and a variety concert to celebrate South Africa's Women's Month.

To read more of Isabel's brilliant columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading " Guide For A Peaceful Day" »

August 19, 2009

Flutes Through The Ages

...Recently, in the Ach Valley in Southern Germany, the earliest manufactured musical instrument was discovered. Thirty-five thousand years ago, our humanoid ancestors discovered that blowing across an opening in a hollow tube and creating other holes which the fingers closed and opened in various patterns, created melody. As a flautist, I was delighted that this historic instrument was my own beloved flute...

Isabel Bradley writes an ode to honour her favourite instrument.

To read more of her delicious words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading " Flutes Through The Ages" »

August 12, 2009

Fit For A Prince

On a cold, wet morning Isabel Bradley and her step-son Anton ambled into the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.

They found themselves enchanted by a fabulous palace.

To read more of Isabel's memorable columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Fit For A Prince" »

August 05, 2009

Music To Warm The Soul

...A moment before going on-stage, we reluctantly took off our coats and gloves and marched through the wings onto the stage. I glanced at the audience, all wearing coats, scarves, hats and gloves, and was jealous. Jill and I bowed, took our places, and after a quick welcome, I introduced the Chaminade with a poem...

Flute player Isabel Bradley and her pianist friend Jill Richards recently gave a concert in the somewhat chilly concrete theatre of the University of Johannesburg.

To read more of Isabel’s columns on music, and many other topics, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Music To Warm The Soul" »

July 29, 2009

Words As Weapons

...Our words and the way we say them will affect the lives of many people, not necessarily only the people they are ‘aimed at’...

Isabel Bradley tells of a big lie that changed the lives of everyone it touched.

To read more of Isabel's profound words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Words As Weapons" »

July 22, 2009

Cool Music

...The afternoon’s artists were the Charles du Plessis trio: Charles on piano, Werner Spies on ‘stick’ bass and Hugo Radyn on drums. Behind Hugo and a little to his left stood an ugly green hat-stand, with more arms than an octopus, bearing three battered hats. Next to it, on an old side-board, stood a pair of cowboy boots topped by a cowboy hat...

Isabel Bradley conveys the high delight of Sunday afternoon jazz in Johannesburg's Olde 'n New Antiques shop.

To read more of Isabel's well-tuned words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Cool Music" »

July 15, 2009

Dentists Today And Yesterday

...As the dentist targeted two old, blackened amalgam fillings, the drill whined like a mosquito which had found its way into my sinuses. “What,” I wondered, “do my teeth look like when they’re on edge?”...

Star columnist Isabel Bradley manages to raise a smile at the dentist's.

For more of Isabel's entertaining words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Dentists Today And Yesterday" »

July 08, 2009

Balancing Act

...Sitting at a computer keyboard, writing articles like this is remarkably thought-provoking. Writing poetry is often pure ease for my soul. Occasionally, I find the time to write a short story, which is enormous fun. Once, I wrote a novel set during World War One...

Isabel Bradley highlights the path which leads to a well-balanced and happy life.

To read more of Isabel's entertaining columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Balancing Act" »

June 24, 2009

What Goes Around…

...“Hallo, daughter-darling,” I said, having noticed her number on my mobile phone before taking the call, “How are you?”

“I’m fine!” she said, sounding very cheerful. “Mom – I’m married!”...

But was daughter Diane really married? Isabel Bradley tells of a shocking fraud.

Continue reading "What Goes Around…" »

June 17, 2009

A Huge Success

...All four parents had taken great trouble to dress themselves and the babies beautifully for the occasion. Viv was elegant in black and cream, with a black, cream-trimmed hat to match. Joanna was lovely in black and white, with a white, black-trimmed hat. The men were smart in suits and ties, and the babies were lovely in pretty dresses and tiny cardigans. No one thought to turn the lovely family group into a photograph, though the memory lives on, fresh and gorgeous, for everyone who was there...

Isabel Bradley writes with pride and joy of a wonderful and unforgettable family occasion when two babies were welcomed into the Jewish community.

For more of Isabel's prose, and also poems, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "A Huge Success" »

June 10, 2009


...Surely, our memories of those we have loved are all that keeps them alive in this world, and when those who remember them have passed on to the next, there is no need for solid memorials such as head-stones and plots of earth, no matter how beautifully planted with glorious blooms...

Isabel Bradley muses on the purpose of graveyards - and the feelings they inspire.

Continue reading "Graveyards" »

June 03, 2009

Fluting Questions Answered

...After a preview concert given at home recently, an acquaintance approached me and said, “I’ve been watching you breathe as you play… Do you always breathe that way, or only when you’re playing, I notice it’s very different from the way we all breathe!”...

Flute-player Isabel Bradley lets us into some secrets of playing her instrument of choice.

For more of Isabel's "tuneful'' columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Fluting Questions Answered" »

June 02, 2009


...Surely, our memories of those we have loved are all that keeps them alive in this world, and when those who remember them have passed on to the next, there is no need for solid memorials such as head-stones and plots of earth, no matter how beautifully planted with glorious blooms...

Isabel Bradley muses on the purpose of graveyards - and the feelings they inspire.

Continue reading "Graveyards" »

May 27, 2009

The Juggler

Isabel Bradley says that she and her husband Leon arrived early at the departure gate for a flight to London.

"We watched a juggler for nearly half an hour. Was he rehearsing? Waiting for friends? Bored? We’ll never know. He left the area and moved on.

"Watching people at airports and speculating about who they are, what they do and where they’re going is usually fun, but on this occasion, it was truly extraordinary!''

To read more of Isabel's extraordianrily entertaining columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Juggler" »

May 20, 2009

Great Expectations?

Isabel Bradley tells of two much-burdened women, one who had the courage to break her bonds, and one who remained at the beck and call of a demanding family.

To read more of Isabel's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Great Expectations?" »

May 13, 2009

The Room, Part Five

At the end of the fourth part of this story Alain gently touched the cheek of his disabled daughter, Zara.

Isabel Bradley concludes her highly original story concerning the continuity of life.

To read the earlier sections of this story, and many more columns by Isabel, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Room, Part Five" »

May 06, 2009

The Room, Part Four

At the end of Part Three: Alain was alone with the rocking chair, the clock, the tables, the fireplace. A shaft of silver sunshine caressed a glowing tapestry hanging against the oak panelling. Zara , who had just died, finished stitching it a week ago...

Isabel Bradley continues her vivid and imaginative tale. To read the first three parts, and many more columns by Isabel, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Room, Part Four" »

April 29, 2009

The Room, Part Three

At the end of Part Two of Isabel Bradley's imaginative tale Alain, now a handsome ten-year-old, cuddled his baby sister closer. The emptiness in his heart felt, somehow, less empty, warmed, as if the sun had peeked through the clouds. Alain rocked, and rocked, with Zara in his arms...

To read the first two parts of the story, and lots more first-class writing by Isabel, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Room, Part Three" »

April 22, 2009

The Room - Part Two

At the end of Part One of Isabel Bradley's story Alain, a toddler whose mother had just died, curled up on the chair, and sobbed himself, hopelessly, to sleep. The chair rocked him gently, creak-crick, creak-crick. Tenderly, the room held him in his human grief.

Now read on...

Continue reading "The Room - Part Two" »

April 15, 2009

The Room - Part One

...The time left to Zara before the Council of Souls called her away was almost over. Her earth-body, the body of the mother who had born Alain, had died a few moments ago. The motherless child was alone, bewildered. Zara's soul had drifted into The Room to comfort the grief-stricken child....

Isabel Bradley begins an imaginative fiv e-part story. Part Two will appear next Wednesday.

Continue reading "The Room - Part One" »

April 08, 2009

A Musician's Curriculum Vitae

...While waiting for this near-perfect performance to begin, however, I glanced through the curricula vitae of the artistes, printed in the programme. They comprised lists of qualifications achieved, prizes won, awards received, master-classes participated in, teachers with unpronounceable and unheard-of names. They were boring...

Isabel Bradley thinks that musicians, besides being trained in all the protocols of performance, should also be taught how to write a curriculum vitae which whets an audiences's sense of anticiptation.

To read more of Isabel's delicious and varied columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "A Musician's Curriculum Vitae" »

April 01, 2009

What a Quandary!

...Of course, apart from photographic and written treasures, many items take up space in hidden corners of our home that are seemingly useless, but with which I’m emotionally unready to part. Most of these precious items have no value to others. Once I ‘shuffle off this mortal coil’, most of my ‘treasures’ will probably end in second-hand shops or on that dreaded rubbish dump...

Isabel Bradley squares up to the task of preserving the words she has written and the photographs which provide information and insights into her way of life.

To read more of Isabel's sparkling columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "What a Quandary!" »

March 25, 2009

R & J Revisited (Conclusion)

What's this? A snoring Romeo.

Isabel Bradley has great fun in continuing one of the greatest love stories ever told.

This is the third and concluding part of the story. To read the first two episodes, and lots more brilliant words by Isabel, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "R & J Revisited (Conclusion)" »

March 18, 2009

R & J Revisited (Part Two)

...Jill liked Ross. After a session he always showered and put on a musky deodorant. His hazelnut hair was neatly styled, and when not plastered to his head with sweat it gleamed in the sun. His face had strong planes and interesting shadows. He had the most sensuous lips she had ever seen, not too full and pulled slightly down at the corners in a sort of lop-sided, self-deprecating, upside-down grin. And those eyes beneath their dark brows… more than once she felt herself melting into them, and had to control herself, in case he devoured her whole...

So Romeo and Juliet, reincarnated, meet up again - in a sweaty gym!

Isabel Bradley continues her remarkable love story.

To read the first part of this three-part story, and lots of other articles by Isabel, please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "R & J Revisited (Part Two)" »

March 11, 2009

R & J Re-visited (Part One)

So...what if Romeo and Juliet decided to return to Earth, there to give love another whirl?

Writer Isabel Bradley conjures up a most engaging scenario.

This tale will be continued next Wednesday.

For more of Isabel's enchanting words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading " R & J Re-visited (Part One)" »

February 25, 2009

To Talk, Or Not?

...At serious recitals and chamber music concerts, the fashion seems to be changing. Increasingly, soloist, accompanist or a member of a group will speak about some aspect of each piece...

Isabel Bradley says that audiences now enjoy enjoy receiving information, and if that comes in an interesting package, making the humanity of the composers real to them, helping them understand the working of the minds who created the glorious sounds they’re about to hear, so much the better.

For more of Isabel's fascinating words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "To Talk, Or Not?" »

February 18, 2009

Fascinating Free State

We toured their garden: the Chinese section, complete with Buddha and koi pond, and the duck pond where two indigenous, yellow-billed ducks showed off their beautiful brown-and-white plumage. Andrée said, “I’ve told these ducks, if they don’t produce chicks soon, I’ll give them pornographic magazines to show them what needs to be done!”

Isabel Bradley continues her account of a visit to South Africa's Eastern Free State Province where she met fascinating people.

"The Eastern Free State offers magnificent scenery, interesting and quirky villages and towns, unusual and lovely art-works, adventure holidays offering hiking and four-by-four trails, horse-riding, hunting, visiting game-farms and searching for historic artefacts. More than this, however, it offers warm hospitality and fascinating people.''

Continue reading "Fascinating Free State" »

February 11, 2009

A Village Called Rosendal

...As we bounced around in the traditional ten-seater, four-wheel-drive vehicle, the tension of city living evaporated. Vistas of mountains and valleys stretched our eyes. Rare black wildebeest, golden tails flying and glossy chestnut coats gleaming, galloped giddily in the company of white-faced blesbok and zebra. A large herd of springbok ran in long, leaping waves, a truly unforgettable sight, and then settled to graze....

No-one conveys more vividly than Isabel Bradley the scents and scenes in the African bush and remote townships.

To read more of Isabel's evocative words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "A Village Called Rosendal" »

February 04, 2009

The Importance Of Pianists, Conclusion

...To all the wonderful accompanists I’ve worked with: thank you for being my partners...

Isabel Bradley concludes her wonderfully engaging account of the pianists who have accompanied her flute playing in public concerts.

To read more of Isabel's tuneful words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Importance Of Pianists, Conclusion" »

January 28, 2009

The Importance Of The Pianist

...During a performance, the pianist I’m working with is the most important person on stage. I must know that we have rehearsed sufficiently, and that we have a musical intimacy gained through working together. I need to know that I can rely on the pianist to cover my imperfections and to travel the musical road we’re on, in the same way that I will...

Isabel Bradley tells of that wonderful interlocking of talents between an accompanying pianist and a soloist.

For more of Isabel's engaging words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Importance Of The Pianist" »

January 21, 2009

Troubled Treble

A good writer is never beaten, even when the ideas refuse to flow.

And Isabel Bradley is a very good writer!

For more of her memorable words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Troubled Treble" »

January 14, 2009

Bush Music Revisited – Part Two

...About an hour later, we’d navigated incredibly steep, rocky roads, which had been eroded by recent rains. We gazed in delight at a plain on a high plateau, overlooking mountains and valleys in every direction. A pair of black-backed jackal sat in the shade of some acacia trees to our left. To the right, were huge herds of impala, zebra, wildebeest and about forty eland., A steppe-buzzard perched on a tree-top and three giraffe gracefully glided by on the horizon. The scene was idyllic...

Isabel Bradley vividly conveys the allure of watching animals in their natural African habitat.

For more of Isabel's enticing words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Bush Music Revisited – Part Two" »

January 07, 2009

Bush Music Revisited

...Instead of turning right and heading directly for our lodge, he turned left into an area of the reserve we’d never seen before. Within two minutes, we were gazing, enraptured, at a lioness and her two juvenile male cubs. They had just feasted on a kill, and were rather lethargic, but after a while mother stood up and staggered a short distance, pausing every three or four steps to pant. Her distended stomach dragged against her spine. Soon, the effort of moving became too much, her legs buckled and she lay down. Her sons followed her in similar fashion, looking as uncomfortable as I usually feel after Christmas lunch. What a thrill, seeing the first of the Big Five within ten minutes...

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon delight in another visit to a South African game reserve.

Continue reading "Bush Music Revisited" »

December 31, 2008

The Gift

If you had been blind for seventy years would you welcome the prospect of having your sight restored?

Isabel Bradley tells a fascinating tale.

To read more of Isabel's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Gift" »

Revolutionary Lists

...Lists have always been my way of dealing successfully with life, which, for me is filled with shopping lists, daily ‘to-do’ lists at work and at home, lists of pros and cons when a decision is difficult to make, and lists of tasks to be done when organising an event, whether musical or social. When I’m sure that every item I can think of is there, I simply work through the list, one step at a time...

Isabel Bradley reflects on the making of lists and resolutions.

To read more of Isabel's well-tuned words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Revolutionary Lists" »

December 17, 2008

A Flute Player’s Fantasies

Gifted musician and writer Isabel Bradley tells of Beethoven piano variations and a piece by Saint-Saëns which sparked a poem into life.

There's also a joke which is worth telling again and again.

Continue reading "A Flute Player’s Fantasies" »

December 10, 2008

There’s An Orchestra In My Cupboard

During a very odd conversation Isabel Bradley found herself musing on how many homes around the world have sad, silent pianos standing in hallways, lounges or parlours, longing to be played but being used only as display tables for photographs and nick-nacks.

The musing led on to her imagining a tart argument involving various instruments – an argument which eventually led to sweet harmony.

To read more of Isabel’s wonderful words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "There’s An Orchestra In My Cupboard" »

December 03, 2008


...Western society has lost sight of the confusion faced by children as they go through the changes leading to adulthood. Children enter puberty without guidance, discovering ‘facts’ through conversations with friends, peeking through parents’ doors, reading the wrong kind of magazines, or looking at inappropriate sites on the web. Promiscuity, disease and badly managed relationships proliferate...

Isabel Bradley gives some thoughtful guidance for entering into adulthood.

To read more of Isabel's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Initiation" »

November 26, 2008

Mice, Men And Secretary Birds: Part Two

“Nancy longed to meet him in person. She knew that he and she had more than the normal-secretary relationship, even though all she knew of him was his wonderful, deep, sexy voice...”

Busy school secretary, Nancy, has to deal with a ‘mice’ problem, but takes a moment in the school’s strong-room to fantasize about the school’s headmaster, the Mysterious Mr Passmore.

The first part of this story appeared last week. http://www.openwriting.com/archives/2008/11/mice_men_and_se_1.php Today Isabel Bradley brings the tale to a most satisfactory conclusion.

Continue reading "Mice, Men And Secretary Birds: Part Two" »

November 19, 2008

Mice, Men And Secretary Birds: Part One

...A twelve-year-old stood there, tapping his fingers impatiently on the counter, regarding Nancy with a saucy grin. Nancy, fingering her left ear-ring, examined the child in return. He was one of her favourites, full of fun, naughty, though never nasty.

"Yes, James, what can I do for you this morning? Do you need another scolding?"

"No, Miss, please, Mr. Thompson asked me to borrow the gelatine, he wants to cut up some paper!"

Admirably restraining her laughter, Nancy lifted the heavy guillotine from her desk and passed it across the counter to James...

This week Isabel Bradley brings us a story which brings an insight into school life.

Continue reading "Mice, Men And Secretary Birds: Part One" »

November 12, 2008

A Furry Face-Lift

Isabel Bradley tells of Bully the bulldog, and an operation which brought an end to irritation.

To read more of Isabel's sparkling words please click on

Continue reading "A Furry Face-Lift" »

November 05, 2008

Time Of The Jacarandas

...For the first two weeks of October, I watched as first one tree, then another, burst into joyous purple blossom, and the great urban forest began to blush with the almost-indecent colour of bougainvillea clambering, cerise, through dark pine trees and frothing over garden walls....

Flautist Isabel Bradley so hoped that the jacaranda trees would be in bloom when she and young pianist Michael played a programme entitled "Flute Fantasies'' at one of Johannesburg’s finest old buildings, Northwards House.

To read more of Isabel's delightful columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Time Of The Jacarandas" »

October 29, 2008

Modern Miracles

Who cares about preparing the salad when friends are phoning?

But there other other ways of staying in touch across the continents, as Isabel Bradley reveals.

To read more of Isabel's sparkling columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Modern Miracles" »

October 22, 2008

Turning The Pages

...Inevitably, being distracted, rather nervous and not having rehearsed my role, I turned two pages at once, then flapped the pages back and forward while Paul improvised masterfully for several extremely long seconds until I gave him the correct page. There and then, I vowed that I would never again turn pages at a public concert for anyone...

Turning those pages for a keyboard player requires great skill, as Isabel Bradley discovered.

For more of Isabel's very special pages of prose please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Turning The Pages" »

October 15, 2008

A Composer Extraordinaire

...Francis Poulenc was referred to by one critic as ‘part bad boy, part monk.’...

Writer and musician Isabel Bradley is enchanted by the music of the French composer, of whom it was said “his music is so individual, it’s difficult to imagine what anyone could have taught him.”

To read more of Isabel's enchanting columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "A Composer Extraordinaire" »

October 08, 2008

Life, Death And A Wedding

Isabel Bradley dedicates a wonderful piece of music and a poem to a dear friend who died all-too unexpectedly.

For more of Isabel's wonderful words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Life, Death And A Wedding" »

October 01, 2008


...With fifteen minutes until the end of the working-day and about to be consumed by boredom, I decided that the alternative was to put my fingers to the keyboard and see what happened...

In that quarter-hour Isabel Bradley produced a prose-poem which reminds us that time spent waiting for something to happen should be viewed as a gift, rather than a burden.

To read more of Isabel's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Waiting" »

September 24, 2008


...In our orchestra, where many members are of an age when several pairs of spectacles are required, it has become habit for my oboe-playing colleague and me to remind each other to ‘change glasses’ at the beginning and end of rehearsals. Driving home at night with music-reading specs would be a danger to ourselves and others on the road....

Isabel Bradley, a most insightful writer and musician, gets in a tizzy and a tangle over spectacles.

To read more of Isabel's delicious columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Spectacular" »

September 17, 2008

The Dog Next Door

...A streak of golden muscles rushed soundlessly toward me, lifting off the floor, bared teeth aimed at my throat. Time slowed as I lifted my hands to ward off the attack. Dimly, I heard the dog’s master order him down. The animal dropped instantly, his muzzle touching the toes of my shoes. A moment later, his master grabbed his collar and dragged the reluctant beast to the kitchen, shutting him in. I was rooted to the spot. Delayed shock made all of us shake – a disaster had been narrowly averted...

Isabel Bradley comes perilously close to the teeth of the dog next door.

To read more of Isabel's ever-surprising columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "The Dog Next Door" »

September 10, 2008

Our Valuable Differences

...We all share emotions and motivations with everyone else in the world, and the convenience of a global village cannot be denied, but it is in our differences that we, humanity, show our truly miraculous nature...

In telling the remarkable story of a 'White African' Isabel Bradley focuses on the essence of what it is to be civilised.

For more of Isabel's wonderful words please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Our Valuable Differences" »

September 03, 2008

Afternoon With An Angel

When Isabel Bradley agreed to assist her first husband in his application to the Catholic Church to have their marriage annulled she found herself embarking on a voyage of emotional self-discovery.

To read more of Isabel's inspirational columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Afternoon With An Angel" »

August 27, 2008


...Then it was time to begin. The players in their crow-black dresses and penguin-suits filed on-stage, instruments tucked under their arms. They tuned to the lonely wail of the oboe. Rexleigh, our conductor, marched on-stage, dressed in a purple trouser-suit. She bowed to the audience, then turned and beckoned to me. The pleasurable flutter of anticipation in my stomach increased a notch as I worked my way between the ranks of first and second violins and suddenly realized that my music-reading spectacles were sitting uselessly in my music bag, backstage. The vary-focal glasses I was wearing were not ideal for music reading...

The wonderful Isabel Bradley tells of the tensions and excitement of being a concert solist - and an orchestra member - on a special musical occasion.

For further reading delight please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Francophony" »

August 20, 2008

A Great Hall

Isabel Bradley recalls experiences in the hall which has played such an important part in her musical life.

For more of Isabel's engaging columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "A Great Hall" »

August 13, 2008

Tribute To An Amazing Woman

“I do not believe that the few women who have achieved greatness in creative work are the exception, but I think that life has been hard on women; it has not given them opportunity. Women … have been handicapped, and only the few, through force of circumstances or inherent strength, have been able to get the better of that handicap.''

So said Cécile Louise Stéphanie Chaminade, a French musician and composer.

Isabel Bradley pays tribute to a remarkable woman who composed wonderful music.

To read more of Isabel's columns please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/here_comes_treble/

Continue reading "Tribute To An Amazing Woman" »

July 30, 2008

Scattered Shadows

In verse and prose the inimitable Isabel Bradley reveals the secrets of pigeon racing.

For more columns and poems by Isabel please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading " Scattered Shadows" »

July 23, 2008

Uninvited Guest

Hurtful memories should be examined from time to time, says Isabel Bradley - but the examination should not be prolonged.

Continue reading "Uninvited Guest" »

July 16, 2008

“Help – Rape!'' Or Should that be "Fire''?

Isabel Bradley tells of the frightening conclusion to a marriage which began in fairy-tale surroundings.

Continue reading " “Help – Rape!'' Or Should that be "Fire''?" »

July 09, 2008

Farewell To A Great Man Of Music

...Their home was filled with music, even when it was silent. ‘Cello’s hung on the walls, there were musical ornaments dotted around every room, yellowed and well-used sheet-music was piled on cupboards and music stands and filled cupboards in Jaap’s study. The study was dominated with a large, upright piano, fitted with an organ’s foot-keyboard. In the hallway under the stairs two tiny pipe organs faced each other...

Isabel Bradley pays tribute to a great musician, Jaap Hillen, who died last month.

For more of Isabel's wonderful and moving words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading " Farewell To A Great Man Of Music" »

July 02, 2008

The Majesty Of The Smoke That Thunders

Isabel Bradley describes in glorious and enticing detail a visit to view the Smoke That Thunders - Victoria Falls.

To read more of Isabel's vivid words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading " The Majesty Of The Smoke That Thunders" »

June 25, 2008

Solstice Celebration

...Our host and hostess provided a marvelous spread, ‘Christmas in June’. It began with a warming butternut soup, followed by ham and roast turkey with all the traditional trimmings. The meal ended with plum pudding, brandy butter, trifle, cream, ice-cream and chocolates, all accompanied by mulled wine...

Isabel Bradley attends a Winter Solstice party and witnesses a "pig'' burning ceremony.

For more of Isabel's splendid columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Solstice Celebration" »

June 18, 2008

Children Of The Bush

...We drove on with Herbert at the wheel and very much in charge. Soon, we happened across Mr and Mrs Lion lying in dappled shade. He was magnificently maned, arrogant and regal. She was nonchalant, pale beige and queenly. They ignored us completely. As they wore radio collars, I quipped, “they’re probably radio-controlled models, made to twitch and occasionally turn their heads.”...

Isabel Bradley relishes encounters with wildlife in Welgevonden, a lovely private game reserve.

To read more of Isabel's refreshing columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Children Of The Bush" »

June 11, 2008

Flame In Crystal

In this brilliant column, filled with joy, love, grief, pain, Isabel Bradley captures in words the agony and the ecstasy of being a daughter, wife, mother - of being loved, reviled and rejected.

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June 04, 2008

Marvellously, Magically South African

...The director and conductor of the Mzantsi Traditional Orchestra strode on stage, beaming from ear to ear. “My name,” he said slowly, “is George Mxadna” phonetically ‘M-click-ahd-nah’ then running the sounds together, he repeated, “Mxadna.” He laughed as several of the white people in the audience attempted the difficult click. “It is a Xhosa surname,” he explained, pronouncing the ‘xh’ as a click. The Xhosa speaking people come from an area in South Africa known as the Eastern Cape...

Isabel Bradley delights in foot-jigging music played by an orchestra of which every South African can be proud - an orchestra which should play in all the big international venues, starting with Carnegie Hall, New York.

Continue reading "Marvellously, Magically South African" »

May 28, 2008

Dreadfully, Appallingly, South African

...Those people privileged to remain safely in their suburban brick houses, behind high walls topped with electric fences, with automatic gates hopefully keeping out the criminal elements, watch their television sets with horror. Pictures of foreign nationals being set alight and ripped limb from limb, flash across their screens. They see images of shouting mobs looting make-shift shops run by Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, immigrants from Malawi, Somalia, Nigeria or Pakistan...

Isabel Bradley tells of the horrors now unleashed in South Africa.

Here are vitally important words which demand to be read, pondered and heeded.

Continue reading " Dreadfully, Appallingly, South African" »

May 21, 2008

Do People ‘Match’ Their E-mail Address

...Bright and orange, flames roared high, as half a tree trunk slipped off the pyramid of logs into the ashes. One of the chefs used a long-handled shovel to re-position the fallen log.

People stood in clusters, drinking and talking in a variety of languages and accents. This was the Speakers’ Braai or barbecue, the pre-conference gathering of luminaries from around the world....

Musician and writer Isabel Bradley helped to organise a conference in South Africa for doctors, professors and professionals in the engineering field.

Continue reading " Do People ‘Match’ Their E-mail Address" »

May 14, 2008

Our Mother

On a very special day Isabel Bradley pays a moving poetic tribute to her mother.

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May 07, 2008

Music In The Antique Shop

...We then worked on the second half of the programme. Two minutes into the gentle Morceau de Concours by Fauré, one of Johannesburg’s mini-bus taxis pulled up outside the open door of the shop, its sound system pumping full-blast. The pounding bass should have been capable of propelling the vehicle without the need for an engine. Instead, it remained there, pulsing with noise. We continued playing, ignoring the din. The marvellous strains of the morsel of music soared among chairs which swayed above us to the booming beat from outside. We finished the Fauré two minutes later, just as the taxi moved on...

There was a variety noises off when Isabel Bradley rehearsed for a concert in Johnnesberg last month, but her concentration rose to the challenge.

Reading Isabel's splendid column is the next best thing to having been there to enjoy the music.

Continue reading "Music In The Antique Shop" »

April 30, 2008

Pathfinders – End

...Warming a crystal goblet of aged brandy between elegant, jewelled hands, The Guardian sank into a chair facing the two young people and began her tale. "It all started many centuries ago, at the End - and at the Beginning. It started with Jonathan, with The Great War, with the End of Humanity....

Isabel Bradley brings her imaginative future-age love story to a significant and satisfying conclusion.

To read the first two parts of this story - along with more of Isabel's sparkling columns - please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Pathfinders – End" »

April 23, 2008

Pathfinders – Middle

...Unaware of everything but her numb emptiness, Zoë arrived at the door of her apartment. She pressed her palm to the panel beside the door. “One machine recognizing another,” she muttered as the door hushed open and closed behind her....

Zoë an android, has been rejected by an attractive young man, Tom. But there is a big surprise in store for both of them.

Isabel Bradley continues her three-part love story set in a future time.

Continue reading "Pathfinders – Middle" »

April 16, 2008

Pathfinders – Beginning

...The dread of approaching loss tasted bitter in her throat. She opened her mouth. Nothing happened. She disengaged a tiny hand and raised it to her mouth, cleared her throat and tried again. "Tom," she said, "I'm different. I'm not like you. I'm… not really… human."...

Tom is shocked to find just how different this beautiful young woman, Zoë, really is.

Isabel Bradley begins a remarkable love story set in a future time.

Continue reading "Pathfinders – Beginning" »

April 09, 2008

The Chair: a Cautionary Tale

Did it ever occur to you that a chair might be sensitive? That it might have feelings?

I do hope you are sitting comfortably as you read this cautionary short story by Isabel Bradley.

Continue reading "The Chair: a Cautionary Tale" »

April 02, 2008

Creatures Of Habit

Isabel Bradley, a self-confessed creature of habit, sweats away the calories in a gym, casting an eye over the regular exercisers as she does so.

To read more of Isabel's wonderfully entertaining columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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March 26, 2008

Magical Bush Music

Then we came across a lioness lolling in the sun-baked centre of the road, feeding two cubs. They were about a month old. We watched as she tried to dislodge the little ones by rolling over, but they clung like burs and tumbled with her, attached only by their suckling mouths. They toppled over her, and disappeared behind her tawny body. Eventually, they re-appeared, with rolling gait, around her head, sat in the road and cleaned their milk-coated muzzles with over-large paws.

Isabel Bradley recalls a magical time of viewing big game animals and making music with friends in Welgevonden reserve.

To read more of Isabel's memorable words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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March 19, 2008


...Allison, the bride, sat with her back to this window, surrounded by her family. Her heart-shaped face was framed by jet-black hair, her shining dark eyes were over-arched by graceful brows, her lips were full and red. In her simple white dress, she was exquisite. Her parents, our good friends Roland and Marion, called us over to take our places behind them, and so we found our way into the photograph album....

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon are guests at a happy traditional wedding ceremony in Toronto.

Continue reading "Tradition" »

March 12, 2008

Never Mind The Weather

...After a delicious evening meal which left us feeling lethargic, Liz said, “How about a walk around the block?” The temperature, shown on the thermometer fitted to the outside of the window, was now a ‘mild’ minus sixteen...

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon spend a joyous, though chilly, winter holiday in Canada.

Continue reading "Never Mind The Weather" »

January 16, 2008

Not A Walk In The Park

...Whales tumble and blow lazily, out in the deep blue sea, waving flippers and tail-fins, keeping pace with hikers as they stride out along a flat cliff-top path, the beach hundreds of metres below...

Isabel Bradley vividly conveys the wonders and delights of the Otter Trail - a South African hiking trail.

Continue reading "Not A Walk In The Park" »

January 09, 2008

The Wonder Of Indian Classical

...The simple wooden flute played a breathy note, which the singer matched with ease, and the music began. Complex rhythm tapped, clicked and boomed from both ends of the drum. The voice, wavering, sang in un-articulated vowels. The flute echoed each tiny change of pitch barely an instant behind the voice...

Isabel Bradley is enchanted by classical Indian music and dance.

To read more of Isabel's perfectly-tuned words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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January 02, 2008

Memories Of The Millennium

Isabel Bradley tells of a most memorable New Year's Eve in Washington DC - an evening when President Clinton and his wife were mere dots in the distance

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December 26, 2007

Don’t Panic – It’s Christmas!

Isabel Bradley goes through frantic hours of planning, shopping, gift wrapping - then homes in on the most significant message of December 25: "Ultimately, it’s love that counts; not only at Christmas, but always – love for our family and friends, and enjoying the time we spend together.''

Continue reading "Don’t Panic – It’s Christmas!" »

December 18, 2007

Confucius’s Theory on Electricity

...Apart from domestic implications, the effects on the general economy are staggering. Traffic lights do not function. People are late for appointments. Businesses, hospitals, schools, and agriculture grind to a halt as most modern activities rely on a steady and reliable supply of electricity. Computers, heart-monitors, switchboards, and a myriad of industrial machines cannot work without it. Sensitive appliances suffer premature breakdowns because of surges as power is reconnected...

South Africans are experiencing frequent, and sometimes prolonged, power blackouts. But Isabel Bradley, remembering Confucius's theory that every negative situation should be viewed as a positive, is finding silver linings.

Continue reading "Confucius’s Theory on Electricity" »

December 12, 2007

A Feast Of Music

...The ability to play music with ease at first sight is one that can be learned, and the more one sight-reads with other musicians, the easier it becomes. Being able to sight read with ease has brought huge pleasure into my life and helped me make friends wherever I’ve travelled...

Isabel Bradley tells of a glorious afternoon in Toronto when she and her husand Leon took part in a Sight Reading performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Continue reading "A Feast Of Music" »

December 05, 2007

Daniel Barenboim - A Communicator Of Note

...“Daniel Barenboim, for instance – a world-class pianist – take his sheet music away and he can’t play a note!”

A comment on a talk radio programme compels Isabel Bradley to present the true facts about a brilliant musician and an outstanding human being.

To read more of Isabel's sparkling prose please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Daniel Barenboim - A Communicator Of Note" »

November 28, 2007

Two Millenia Ago

...The standard of life, almost two thousand years ago in Verulamium, was amazingly luxurious. Citizens enjoyed running water, central heating and private and public bath-houses. Ladies, gentlemen and children wore exquisite jewellery and beautiful clothes. They worshipped in various temples, played games and attended the theatre. Apart from the lack of motorised transport, anyone from the twenty-first century would have felt quite comfortable living there...

Isabel Bradley visits St Albans, which is built over the ruins of Verulamium, the Romans' first capital city in England.

Continue reading "Two Millenia Ago" »

November 21, 2007

A Week In The Life Of Mia

"Mia was a delight. Within a few hours, she grew accustomed to having two more grandparents adoring her and burst into sunshine smiles whenever she saw us. She crawled, crab-wise, on one knee, with the other leg stretched out, foot on the ground, covering a surprising distance with great rapidity. Not a cuddly baby, she delighted in being thrown into the air and caught again, being held tight and tickled until she squealed. She loved bath-times and thought cleaning her teeth was terrific fun. When she got on her feet behind her little wooden trolley, she staggered off across the room at high speed. Her shouts of delight filled the house, while the grin on her face showed she was thrilled with life...''

Isabel Bradley conveys the joy and delight of being with an infant who is beginning to discover the wonders of the world.

Continue reading "A Week In The Life Of Mia" »

Ballet In The Sky

Thumps in spectators’ ears:
Chinook takes to the skies
With giant pirouettes,
And elephantine en-pointe!

Isabel Bradley is enchanted by an aerial ballet at the Duxford Imperial War Museum in England.

For more of Isabel's colourful words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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November 14, 2007

A Memorable Musical Moment

...Everyone settled quickly, the five musicians in a circle facing each other. We had plenty of music to sight-read. ‘Sight-reading’ is a skill which many musicians foster: it consists of playing music one has never seen before, while making as much sense of it as possible – particularly when doing so in the company of other musicians. The more one sight-reads the easier it becomes; and the more fun it is. It’s a wonderful way of communicating in the international language of music...

Isabel Bradley noticed a regretful note from Jean of Ashstead, England, in the Amateur Chamber Music Player's newsletter: “…Nobody has ever rung me to ask me to play, which I put down to … living on the outskirts of London.”

While on holiday in England Isabel visited Jean - and the result was a magical musical occasion.

Continue reading "A Memorable Musical Moment" »

November 07, 2007

Sixties Surprises

John Lennon, James Bond, the Beatles, Elvis…and This Is Your Life.

Isabel Bradley tells of a fun-filled fancy-dress sixtieth birthday party. You will wish you'd been there!

For more of Isabel's enticing words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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October 31, 2007

Irresistible Invitations

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon prepare for a long and exciting holiday on two contients - a holiday which will include special family events, meeting old friends, seeing new sights and making music.

To read more of Isabel's joyful coumns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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October 17, 2007

A "Massage'' For Artistes

...You who are artistes – musicians and singers among others – are privileged to have many opportunities to look as grand as possible. In fact, it is your duty...

Music makers should look the part says flautist Isabel Bradley.

For more of Isabel's words, which weave "melodies'' in the mind, please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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October 10, 2007

It's A Puzzle

Isabel Bradley writes about that most elusive quantity - time.

For more of Isabel's sparkling words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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October 03, 2007

Ugly Is Beautiful?

Why, after playing in a large youth symphony orchestra for many years, did Isabel Bradley turn her back on the chance to become a professional musician? Her poem explains all.

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September 26, 2007

A Touch Of Musical History - Part Three

...In the early nineteenth century, composers eventually became bored with being unemotional and elegant. They looked for ways to break away from the traditions and the old ways...

Isabel Bradley, with an appealing blend of prose and poetry, concludes her three-part introduction to the glory that is music.

To read the first two parts of A Touch of Musical History, and many more columns by Isabel, please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on his page.

Continue reading "A Touch Of Musical History - Part Three" »

September 19, 2007

A Touch Of Musical History - Part Two

...Music became complex and highly decorated – rather like the cathedrals in which much of it was performed. In cathedrals are rows of soaring archways, statues, gargoyles, carvings, curlicues and magnificent stained-glass windows. In Baroque music, trills, runs, little repeated motifs weave in and out of each other, melodies run from one instrument to the next, one voice to another....

Isabel Bradley, blending prose and poetry into a sinfonietta in words, continues her engaging history of music.

To read more of Isabel's columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "A Touch Of Musical History - Part Two" »

September 12, 2007

A Touch Of Musical History - Part One

In a magically enticing weave of poetry and prose, Isabel Bradley presents a brief and engaging history of music.

This is the first of three articles. The second in the series will appear in Open Writing next Wednesday, and the third on Wednesday, Sept 26. Do watch out for them.

Continue reading "A Touch Of Musical History - Part One" »

September 05, 2007

Poetic Introductions

Gifted flute player and writer Isabel Bradley weaves words and music into an enchanting experience for both listeners and readers.

For many more of Isabel's wonderful columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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August 29, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened

"None of us is immune to making mistakes, doing strange things or raising a laugh in public,'' says Isabel Bradley. "It is always entertaining noticing such moments, which often go largely unnoticed. Giving members of an audience a moment of ‘glory’ can make a performance memorable for everyone.''

Isabel recalls some memorable 'glory' moments.

Continue reading "A Funny Thing Happened" »

August 22, 2007

On Stage - A Nail!

...He holds a permanent position at the Cologne Opera House in Germany; has sung in operas at the Concert Gebauw in Amsterdam and in oratorios in Siberia. Moosa is becoming a favourite with international audiences. When clothed in the cream satin of the eighteenth-century, with powdered wig enhancing his broad, white smile and accentuating his chocolate-coloured skin, he is a startling sight...

Isabel Bradley tells of meetings with Moosa, a country boy from South Africa who is beoming a big name in the operatic world.

For more of Isabel's inspring columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "On Stage - A Nail!" »

August 15, 2007

Devil's Wood

In moving words and verse Isabel Bradley highlights the message of a terrible battle that was fought ninety-one years ago.

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August 09, 2007

Who’s Your Virtuoso?

...However, technique without artistry is not the full answer to becoming a virtuoso: technical perfection must be the vehicle that permits artistry to turn mere sequences of notes into music which speaks directly to the heart of anyone who listens....

Isabel Bradley writes engagingly about musical viruosity and introduces us to her "virtuoso of the moment", Damascus-born clarinettist Kinan Azmeh.

Continue reading "Who’s Your Virtuoso?" »

August 01, 2007

The Inner Child

...Inside everyone is the child they used to be, often hiding away beneath a façade of adulthood...

Isabel Bradley recognises the truth about our inner selves.

To read more of Isabel's perceptive and entertaining columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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July 25, 2007


Words uttered in anger can cause enormous emotional hurt, says Isabel Bradley.

For lots more of Isabel's wonderful words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on his page.

Continue reading "Words" »

July 18, 2007

American Dreams

Isabel Bradley wrote the following poems while working on a transcription for the flute of music composed by Antonin Dvorak.

To read more of Isabel's memorable words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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July 11, 2007

The Odd Thing About Language

The trouble with language, says Isabel Bradley, is that it is often a barrier to understanding and appreciation rather than revealing facts and feelings with glorious lucidity, particularly when words accompany fine music.

For more of Isabel's enjoyable words, which always make the point she wishes to make, please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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July 04, 2007

The Magic Triangle

What is art? Isabel Bradley views an exhibition of work by Sue Pam-Grant which comprises old junior school chairs, a battered suitcase, girls' school shoes and yards of tired flesh-coloured knicker elastic.

"The pieces woke magical memories of walking with my best friend on the playground in grade school, our arms draped across each other’s shoulders; of being the new girl at high school, in college, at work, and how lonely and uncomfortable that felt,'' says Isabel.

To read more of Isabel's columns which cover an astonishing range of subjects please click on Here Comes Trebel in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "The Magic Triangle" »

June 27, 2007

A Stradivarius Among Women

"It is time for women to recognise their own worth,'' declares Isabel Bradley, calling for a realistic attitude to the physical effects of the passing years. "We improve with age!''

For more of Isabel's vigorous and encouraging words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "A Stradivarius Among Women" »

June 20, 2007

Families In The Bush

...The other members of my human family arrived and we went out onto the deck. Monkeys scattered to the surrounding trees from where they kept us under surveillance: if we turned our backs or went inside to make tea, they pounced – cheese rolls vanished, to be seen in tiny monkey hands; nibbling monkeys grinned at us, flaunting their spoils and dropping crumbs to the ground to be retrieved later. While we sat around the table after breakfast, the little beasties played games with us, young ones climbing onto the railings around the deck, dancing and distracting us, while older animals crept behind us to try to invade the lodge and steal the fruit!...

In this colourful column Isabel Bradley conveys the immense thrill of seeing animals in the wild.

For more of Isabel's words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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June 13, 2007

Sun Seekers In The Bush

…Each time the vehicle stopped, the dust we’d stirred up overtook us. Sneezing explosively, Chris commented, “The dust of Africa – it gets into your blood. That’s why I couldn’t live anywhere else…”

I retorted, “It may be in our blood, but it would be good if we could keep it out of our sinuses!”…

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon go game driving in the cool South African winter.

In this wonderful blend of prose and poetry Isabel evokes the splendours of the African bush.

For more of Isabel’s columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on his page.

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June 06, 2007

“Grande Dame” Of Amsterdam

...Her house was the width of one large room and a staircase, four tall stories high and up to five rooms deep. Its staircases were so steep I wished for mountaineering equipment each time I climbed them; there was a cupboard-transformed-into-a-shower with ancient plumbing; the rooms had high ceilings and huge, picture windows...

Isabel Bradley pays tribute to a splendid, never-to-be-forgotten Dutch lady whose home in Amsterdam contained a treasury of wonders.

Continue reading "“Grande Dame” Of Amsterdam" »

May 30, 2007

Nights of Glamour

...What joy to watch a full symphony orchestra in the throes of creating the most glorious sounds in the world. Like ballet dancers, the violins’ bows rose and fell in perfect formation, emulated by the bows of violas and ‘cellos. Dark-suited men bent over double-bases, making love to the long strings with more bows; on the tiers above them, the timpanist waited, beaters poised, to strike a sudden note or hammer out a rolling peal of thunder....

With generous words, Isabel Bradley shares the excitement and intense delight of her early concert-going days in Johannesburg.

To read more of Isabel's wonderfully satisfying columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Nights of Glamour" »

May 23, 2007

Brass, Glorious Brass!

...Brass players’ lips can be very sensitive – their notes are created by delicate and precise lip and cheek movement, as well as instrument pressure against the lips. This explained the jokes, and the long breaks between pieces, while lips were refreshed by horse-like flubbering – placing the lips together then blowing through them with a sort of rude, ‘prrrrrrrpppppp’ sound....

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon enjoy a concert of brassy uplifting music which causes them them, and everyone else in the audience, to smile.

For more of Isabel's resonant words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Brass, Glorious Brass!" »

May 16, 2007

Home Sweet Home

So the builders have to make alterations to the new house, then the walls look grubby and the painters have to be called in, and after the painters have departed there are those cracked tiles in the passage floor require attention...

And you end up wondering if this really is home sweet home.

Isabel Bradley makes living in a tent seem all too appealing in this delicious Here Comes Treble column.

Continue reading "Home Sweet Home" »

May 09, 2007

The Story Of Barry Barrett

...“Can I introduce you,” said Barry, holding out a blanket-wrapped bundle, “to my youngest child, Sarah – I want you to be her godfather!” She was a lovely, milky-pale baby, with dark hair and eyes.

Leon was honoured to be the child’s godfather, but rather puzzled as to her parentage. Barry was, as far as Leon knew, living alone; where did Sarah come from? Barry told him, “Her mother is Bimba, my Zulu housekeeper.”

At that time in South Africa, this type of inter-racial relationship was not merely frowned upon, it was illegal. Barry and Bimba could have been imprisoned for sleeping together; having a mixed race child was viewed as a particularly serious crime...

Isabel Bradley tells the inspirational story of a man who followed the dictates of his heart, flouting South Africa's former apartheid system.

For more of Isabel's memorable columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "The Story Of Barry Barrett" »

May 02, 2007

Intimate Evenings

...Playing chamber music is known as “the intimate art”. For twenty years I was truly privileged to enjoy playing the flute each week in an amateur wind quintet – purely for fun. My fellow musicians were Clive on oboe, Pat on clarinet, Haydn on bassoon and Jack on horn. Each had a passion for music and their sense of humour was decidedly whacky...

This scintillating article by Isabel Bradley (Isabel Larsen as she was then) was first published in the newsletter of the Flute Federation of South Africa in April 1994. If you don't play an instrument, if you have never been part of a chamber group or orchestra, after reading this you will regret missing out on a heap of fun.

For more of Isabel's tuneful words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on his page.

Continue reading "Intimate Evenings" »

April 25, 2007

Shades Of Brilliance

...The first inkling we had that Mass had begun, was a rich baritone voice chanting in Russian behind the screen. Draped in a heavy crimson and gold cape and wearing a tall flat topped crimson hat, the priest moved into sight in the doorway at the centre of the screen. In counterpoint to the chanting were the sweetly-woven voices of a four-part ladies’ choir, soaring from the gallery above. Music filled the vast space, ringing up into the dome around the glittering chandelier...

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon encounter human anguish amid the rich sights and sounds of an Easter Sunday Russian Orthodox Mass.

Isabel's words go straight to the heart of what it is to be human. To read more of her deeply-involving words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Shades Of Brilliance" »

April 18, 2007

Largely Eclectic

Isabel Bradley introduces us to a fascinating friend, Chris, a large man, in body, heart and lifestyle. After reading this engaging portrait you wil wish you could spend time with Chris, chatting, hearing him sing to the acommpaniment of a Broadwood and Sons baby grand piano...

For more of Isabel's exhilarating words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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April 11, 2007


...Many people, however, cannot completely cut their ties to people they once loved. There are important reasons for divorced couples to interact on a regular basis: usually young children to be cared for, shared, and sadly, quite often fought over. In many cases, while two people find it impossible to live with each other, they also find it impossible to live without each other. This creates a tangle of emotional and financial interdependence and upheaval that is only complicated by divorce...

Isabel Bradley tells of ties that still bind in an age when divorce and re-marriage are increasingly commonplace.

Isabel's civilised columns are a constant source of satisfaction. To read more of them please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "United?" »

April 04, 2007

The Arts - Jewels Of Life

A widely-travelled Russian lady told Isabel Bradley that individuals need to feel oppressed or to have lost their dreams before they can do something new.

That thought led Isabel to muse on the stresses and strains which have produced great works of art.

For more of Isabel's splendid columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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March 28, 2007

...But Not For Lunch

...Then suddenly, Leon was home. Every day, all day. There is a popular saying, quoted at men’s retirement parties, supposedly said by scores of wives of pensioners: “I married him for better or for worse – but not for lunch!” Lunch was the least of our problems....

Isabel Bradley writes perceptively of the stresses that can arise in a marriage when retirement compels couples to spend many more hours together.

Isabel says that if you are fortunate enough to have time to prepare for retirement, life will be easier if you and your partner know how you are going to spend the extra eight hours a day together; considering practical matters such the as physical space you need will also ease the transition.

To read more of Isabel's wise and entertaining words please click on Here Comes Treble in he menu on this page.

Continue reading "...But Not For Lunch" »

March 21, 2007

The Privilege Of Performing

...Performing for these warm-hearted, appreciative people was a delight. Frustration, agitation and discomfort might never have happened. Every note fell where it should: it felt as if the composers spoke through us, sending messages of peace, joy and love....

Flautist Isabel Bradley has the ability to produce magical sounds from her instrument, and also to express in words the soaring joy which music brings to performers and their audiences.

For more of Isabel's wonderful columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "The Privilege Of Performing" »

March 14, 2007

The Trouble With Television

...characters are intimately defined; colours, actions, locations, voices, sound and improbable background music are imposed on the passive audience. The imagination and memory is not stimulated. We are only required to receive what is presented. One day, maybe someone will invent a way of synthesising and broadcasting smell and taste, then the last vestige of creative imagination will be redundant...

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon lead full, useful and satisfying lives - and they don't own a television set.

For more of Isabel's exhilirating and liberating columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "The Trouble With Television" »

March 07, 2007

The Advantages Of Aggie

...All went smoothly until we left the motorway and headed into the high streets of Greater London. It was Friday afternoon, and all of London was on the move, going in the same direction as us....

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon find themselves trapped in the traffic jams of England - but then the wonderful "Aggie'' comes to the rescue.

To read more of Isabel's delightful columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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February 28, 2007

Two "D's''

...In times when divorce is easy and frequent, death can create uncanny situations, dredging up long-buried emotions and memories.

Recently, my previous husband died. He adopted my daughter and was the father of my son...

Isabel Bradley expresses her reactions to a strange, strange day.

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February 22, 2007


...Dawn is a time of transition: between night and day, old and new – a time when possibilities are endless and hopes are high...

Isabel Bradley presents a sequence of poems about the most optimistic hour in every day.

To read more of Isabel's enchanting words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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February 21, 2007

What's Good About English Weather?

...Although this was supposedly the warmest English winter on record, and the warmest January in living memory, it was more than cold enough for me. Gloomy skies hung down somewhere around my chin, and outdoors I was never warm enough, no matter how many clothes I wore. Indoors, I found myself stripping off layer after layer of woollies! Having lived all my life in South Africa, where we huddle over free-standing heaters during cold winter evenings, and dress for weather that is similar indoors and out, I could not adjust to the contrasts of the bitterly cold outdoors and the centrally heated homes in England!...

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon left their South African home to spend some time with relatives in England this month - and the English weather was less than welcoming.

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February 14, 2007

"You Haven;t Lived Until...''

...Leon, though initially a little worried about the possibility of hurting this fragile little person, quickly became adept at taking Mia from her mother; he spoke to her very seriously of how welcome she is, and how very much she is loved; showed her the balloons and flowers still displayed in the living room, and the garden where she’ll play in a year or two. He jiggled her on his knee, helping to dislodge those winds that babies find so uncomfortable, while reciting, “This is how the farmer rides – gal-lop-a-trot, gal-lop-a-trot; and this is how the young lady rides – trip-trap, trip-trap…” We watched in delight as Viv explained to Mia words in the Yiddish-English dictionary we’d bought that morning....

In this warm and loving column step-grandmother Isabel Bradley expresses the wonder and joy of tending to a new-born babe.

For more of Isabel's memorable columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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February 07, 2007

Celebrating Sixty

...Like all of life’s milestones, becoming sixty needs to be accepted and marked with festivities. This party – Leon’s sixtieth – was a grand occasion. It was a hot summer afternoon. The rooms and garden buzzed with chatter and laughter. Tables were laden with food, crockery and cutlery. We provided a buffet lunch of cold roast meats and huge salads. To our surprise, fruit juices and soft drinks were far more popular than wine and other alcoholic beverages, though a fair amount of those flowed, too...

Isabel Bradley allows us to share in a very special day in the life of her husband, Leon.

To read more of Isabel's delightful columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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January 31, 2007

A Summer Medley

Isabel Bradley brings us a medley of seven poems which capture the awesomeness and delight of summertime in South Africa.

For more of Isabel's delicious words - prose and poems - please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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January 24, 2007

Visting Heavin

In this fascinating article Isabel Bradley tells of a unique couple, Heather and Kevin Harvey, the only husband and wife Masters of the American Bladesmiths Society and the only Master Bladesmiths in Africa.

After reading Isabel's vivid words you will be eager to see knives and swords crafted by Heather and Kevin. A link is provided which will enable you to do so.

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January 17, 2007

Meditation On A Wasp

Meditation can take many forms, sometimes expressing itself in a poem, as Isabel Bradley reveals.

For more of Isabel's deliciously satisfying columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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January 10, 2007

Judge Not...

...In matters of personal relationships, acceptance and gaining an understanding of each other’s diversity is the key to living together in harmony...

What does a mother who doesn't like vegetables do when her son becomes a vegetarian? Isabel Bradley puts in a plea for tolerance and acceptance.

For more of Isabel's varied and ever-readable columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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January 03, 2007

Wiggling And Wobbling For Charity

...Our club’s theme was ‘Manto’s Vegetable Garden’ – a tongue-in-cheek chuckle at the South African Minister of Health’s ridiculous proposition that HIV and AIDS can be better addressed with fresh vegetables than anti-retro-viral medication. We wore headgear made of cabbage leaves and sun-hats dangling onions, garlic cloves and beetroot from the brims. Necklaces of African potatoes, known as madumbis, bumped on our chests, and purple aubergines dangled from our ears, commented on with envy by many ladies from other clubs.

The walk took us, for a short way, along the edge of a golf course, then uphill through the suburbs, past beautiful homes with manicured lawns, hiding behind high stone walls. Huge dogs rushed to the tall barred gates, barking fiercely as the crowd flowed past like a huge, human river. At intersections, marshals waving red flags smiled and thanked us for participating as they held the traffic at bay....

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon join the wigglers and the wobblers in the annual charity hat race organised by Johannesburg's Pirates Running Club.

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December 27, 2006

A New Year's Wish

...By thinking constantly about something, you attract it to yourself. Insisting that you are allergic to cats results in cats rubbing themselves against your legs or sitting in your lap, causing streaming eyes and uncontrollable sneezing. A fear of bees results in more frequent stings. What you fear, you attract...

Isabel Bradley assures us that the mind can create miracles - but we need to think hard before making a wish.

Isabel's words are a constant delight, year-in, year-out. Do please read more of them by clicking on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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December 20, 2006

The Scent Of Christmas

...My brother and I made our own decorations each year, with crinkle paper and flour-and-water paste, mixed by Mum. We waited for the holiday on sixteenth December, then sneezed our way around the large lounge-cum-dining room, draping gaudy red and green paper chains and twirlies from one side to the other, disturbing a year’s worth of dust as we went. Cards, which overflowed the letter-box each day, were strung amongst the chains, adding to the confusion; tinsel was draped over picture frames - it was a glorious mish-mash with very little elegance, which expressed our unrestrained excitement and joy...

Christmas breakfasts were thick slices of slightly-burnt, hot, buttered toast, eaten with piles of peaches picked, ripe and fragrant, from the tree in the back garden...

In this joyous account of festive celebrations Isabel Bradley vividly recalls the taste and scent of Chrismases in South Africa.

For more of Isabel's columns, which bring joy year-round to Open Writing readers, please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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December 13, 2006

For The Love Of Music

...It is, however, just as true to say that not all amateur musicians and unskilled or inexperienced. If one traces the word ‘amateur’, one finds it is rooted in the French and Italian, ‘amatore’ and the earlier Latin, amator or amatoris, all of which mean ‘lover’. While there are many amateurs who prove the Oxford Dictionary’s definition, there are far more fine musicians who choose to ‘play for love’, earning their living as lawyers, shop-keepers or secretaries. Such musicians are dedicated...

Isabel Bradley says that most people would prefer to hear a musician who plays passionately, loving every note of the music, rather than a person who plays only for money.

To read more of Isabel's entertaining and well-tuned words please visit Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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December 06, 2006

Conflict In The Bush

...As a gust of wind cleared the air, we saw two rhinoceros pushing each other backwards and forwards at an amazing speed, each hooking viciously at the other’s face with deadly horns, fighting for territory and females. This was a battle of titans: first one then the other took the advantage as they raged through the open spaces, dodging trees and bushes, moving first closer then further from our fragile vehicle....

Isabel Bradley brings a colourful, thrilling, and also sobering report of game viewing in the African bush.

For more of Isabel's enthusiastic and entertaining words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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November 29, 2006

Diary Of A Game Drive

...As we rounded a bend, we came across a young elephant tussling with a tree. He ripped off a branch, turned, flared his ears and threw it in our direction, before stomping silently away. A sulky teenager...

Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon go on a game drive through a private game park in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Read Isabel's vivid account of a charging elephant, plummeting monkeys, promanading zebra - and you can imagine yourself right there, face to face with wildlife.

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November 22, 2006

A Last Cough

...Etiquette requires that a cough during a concert be suppressed at whatever cost to the cougher. Tears pour down the cheeks, and suffocation is preferable to interrupting the music. Cough drops or sweets should be unwrapped before the concert and placed on one’s lap or in a convenient pocket where they can be reached with a minimum of movement. Standing, moving past people absorbed in the music, clattering up stairs, noisily opening the door and causing a disturbance before the door closes is totally unacceptable....

Musician Isabel Bradley gives polite advice on proper behaviour in the concert hall.

Isabel has now been contributing to Open Writing for a year. This is her 52nd column. Happy first birthday, Isabel!

Do please read more of her civilised words by clicking on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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November 15, 2006

Miracles, Or Self-Knowledge

...Miracles of healing could happen regularly if the medical profession recognised the benefits of communication and working with their patients, rather than imposing negativity and impersonal treatments on them...

Isabel Bradley, from personal experience, realising that there is a definite link between one’s emotions and one’s health, brings advice that is worth its weight in South African diamonds.

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November 08, 2006

Instruments Are Individuals Too!

...Each musical instrument, though it is engineered similarly to every other of its kind, has unique characteristics. Finding one’s own ‘perfect instrument’ is as difficult as finding the perfect person to marry...

Flautist Isabel Bradley, with an infectious enthusiasm, tells of her "perfect'' instrument which helps her to produce sounds she never imagined possible: rich and growling or velvety dark in the lower register, singing and ringing in the middle and upper registers.

Isabel's wonderful words make "music'' for the mind. To read more of them please click on Here Comes Trebel in the menu on this page.

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November 01, 2006

Knoweldge And Truth

"My flautist’s mind contains the theoretical knowledge of the techniques needed to play the flute: how to create a sound and its variations; how to control breathing; how to use the tongue to make interesting sound-textures; the fingering needed for each note and how to persuade the fingers to fly from one to another at any required speed; how to read and make sense of written music; how to listen to others in an ensemble...''

Isabel Bradley suggests that taking control of our own lives is essential if we are to be happy and healthy.

To read more of Isabel's wide-ranging and stimulating columns please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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October 25, 2006

Falling In Love Again

...How could such small hands draw so much feeling from that antique piano; how did her fingers encompass all those notes, written by men with huge hands?...

Flautist Isabel Bradley and Russian pianist Olga, playing a Steinway grand piano that is more than a hundred years old, gave a concert in a splendid Johannesburg mansion, Northwards House.

"After the audience left Northwards, Olga stretched her arms across that gleaming piano, laying her face on the surface in a touching gesture of love and farewell,'' Isabel records in this enchanting column.

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October 18, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

...Susan, carrying a litre bottle of cold drink. She lifted it, then used it to hammer down on the back of the younger woman’s head. As it shattered, showering them both with sticky, fizzy liquid, Susan grunted, crumpled slowly, then lay still, spread-eagled at the foot of the sheltering dune. In her fair hair blood blossomed and flowed to mix with the syrupy drink, forming a dark stain in the sand.'''

Isabel Bradley tells of murderous events in a small South African mining town.

For more of Isabel's wide-ranging thoughts and words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on his page.

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October 11, 2006

Murder And Mayhem

...The police were soon underfoot; Detectives Porter and Sherry sniffed out clues left, right and centre, but then fell asleep on the job. Inspector McClue made irregular and inopportune appearances, casting nasty aspersions on everyone...

Isabel Bradley and her husand Leon are caught up in the glorious fun and escapism of a murder mystery dinner party.

To read more of Isabel's zestful words please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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October 04, 2006

Love And Judgement

"Perhaps learning to accept those around us as they are, without wishing or trying to change them, is one of the most difficult and important of life’s lessons,'' says Isabel Bradley.

Isabel, who lives in South Africa, quotes the compassionate Nelson Mandela: "No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love...''

To read more of Isabel's thoughtful and enjoyable columns click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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September 27, 2006

All That Glitters

...Leon poured rich, red wine into sparkling glasses, while our friend set up a bright spotlight at one end of the table, then opened an old cigar box which contained ranks of tiny envelopes. As he opened them, they revealed a collection of exquisite garnets...

Isabel Bradley is dazzled by a collection of gem stones which were assembled from all parts of the world over many decades.

To read more of Isabel's polished words click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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September 20, 2006

Naming Tigger

Isabel Bradley introduces us to a car called Tigger, explaining how it came to be named after the bouncy character in a delightful A A Milne children's story.

To read more of Isabel's zestful words click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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September 13, 2006

Where Have All The Gift Soaps Gone?

...Scented soaps and bottles of bubble-bath, doyleys, picture-frames, figurines, a candle in a half ostrich-shell, decorated with African beadwork...

Isabel Bradley focuses on the sensitive subject of unwanted gifts.

For a special treat do please click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page, and read more of Isabel's entertaining columns.

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September 06, 2006

A Piccolo Player's Memoirs

...At the age of thirteen I was the youngest member of the SABC Junior Orchestra, the only youth orchestra in South Africa. My position was Third Flute and Piccolo. I was delighted to be with people like me, who played and enjoyed classical music; who didn’t laugh at me or point me out as the only one who didn’t know what was number one on the hit parade. After years of being an outsider, it was marvelous to be accepted...

In this gloriously enthusiastic column Isabel Bradley conveys the immense and intense joy of playing in an orchestra.

Isabel would like to hear from others who were her contemporaries in the SABC Junior Orchestra.

Experience the pleasure of reading more of Isabel's words by clicking on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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August 30, 2006

Seeds Of Death

Within the space of one shocking week four of Isabel Bradley's friends revealed that they were suffering from cancer.

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August 23, 2006

Musical Memories, And More...

...At least four times a year, Mom invited all of the neighbourhood’s musical children to her Musical Afternoons. Our large dining-room table was laden with jugs of jelly drink, little cakes, zoo biscuits, crisps and sweets. The first half of the afternoon was torture for many children: more than one sat at the piano, picking out their party pieces note by note, tears of terror dripping down their cheeks! As we applauded each others’ efforts, tears were replaced by smiles. After everyone had done their best, it was time to attack the goodies on the table, then end the afternoon with a boisterous game of musical chairs...

When Isabel Bradley went for lessons at the home of her beloved flute teacher there were always policemen in the house. As a nine-year-old Isabel wasn't at all curious when the police checked her flute and music bags. Why were the police there? Isabel reveals the reason in this joy-filled tribute to a splendid lady.

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August 16, 2006

Keep Them Toes A-Tappin'!

Feet were tapping, bodies rocking in seats, when the Redhand Blues Quintet jazzed up the proceedings at the Monday Sundowner concert in the Arts Centre of the University of Johannesburg. Classical musician Isabel Bradley, swaying to the beat, reminds us that the reason for music, whether classical or jazz, is to bring fun and delight.

To read more of Isabel's well-modulated words, which bring pleasure and delight, click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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August 09, 2006

A Caution Against Complacency

Isabel Bradley tells of four alarming incidents which highlight the need to be ever alert while at the wheel of, or a passenger in, a car.

Isabel frequently writes about one of the greatest joys - the making of fine music. She also writes about the sombre side of life. To read more of her ever-interesting words click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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August 02, 2006


"One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in life is that most of my troubles and triumphs are a direct result of the choices I’ve made,'' says Isabel Bradley in this thoughtful, self-revelatory column.

Isabel, a flautist and writer, embellishes her thoughts with a poem on the subject of choices.

To read more of Isabel's engaging words click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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July 26, 2006

Who'd Be A Musical Instrument

...Many a clarinet, oboe or flute has been sat on by its owner, returning after a cup of tea – or something stronger – and forgetting it was left on the chair...

Isabel Bradley's delicious column highlights the high-risk business of being a musical instrument. Make sure you are sitting down when you reach the bit about the French horn - otherwise you may laugh so hard that you bump into the furniture.

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July 19, 2006

A Portrait Of Inspiration

...Seventeen years ago, Helen, a beautiful nineteen year old, was seriously injured in a motor accident: she lost the use of her limbs, becoming a quadriplegic who needs help with almost everything. These physical limitations did not impede Helen for long...

Isabel Bradley paints an unforgetable portrait of an indominatble lady. Isabel's words will make you feel humble, then happy to belong to he human race.

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July 12, 2006

The Soul Of Music

“Glorious music flowed in and around me, floated up to the lovely arches and drifted through shafts of sunlight. I felt as if every flautist who ever lived was playing through me and that Handel lived again in every silver note...”

Isabel Bradley writes of making music in the beautiful white cathedral in Breda, Holland. Isabel comes as close as mere words will allow to expressing the glory and wonder of great music.

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July 05, 2006

A Living Legend

...Sir Simon Rattle appeared at the top of the stage: his silver-grey, bushy hair framed a serene, young face. He smiled at the audience and bowed. As he turned to his orchestra, his face lit with excitement. He lifted his hands. It seemed, for a moment, as if everyone in the hall held their breath in anticipation...

Isabel Bradley recalls the rapture of a concert given in Vienna by the great Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Read more of Isabel's wonderful words by clicking on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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June 28, 2006

Sandy's Baby

Isabel Bradley's deeply sympathetic blend of prose and verse is dedicated to Sandy whose first child, a baby girl, was stillborn, and to all mothers who have lost a child.

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June 21, 2006

Don't Nourish Violence

"Leaving an abusive relationship takes courage and determination, but it is the only possible solution. An abusive person will not stop abusing his victim until the victim stops accepting the abuse...''

Isabel Bradley writes about domestic violence - "a topic that makes me want to take people and shake reason into them. I hope that by putting these thoughts on the Net I will perhaps, reach one person who will hear what I'm saying and take that first step.''

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June 14, 2006

The Other Story - Difficult Men!

"Sometimes, in their inability to manage their own emotions, men criticise or berate those closest to them...'' In this sympathetic let's-get-along-together column Isabel Bradley calls on the female partner of "difficult'' men to respond with love and understanding.

For more of Isabel's columns click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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June 07, 2006

In With The New!

"Today’s world-class musicians create an increasingly crystalline quality of sound,'' declares Isabel Bradley, expressing enthusiastic support for modern instruments, rather than for the "original'' instruments which produce fuzzy and unfocussed sounds.

Read more of Isabel's tuneful and entertaining columns by clicking on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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May 31, 2006

The Last Twang-O

"When a new piano is introduced into a family, it brings with it a certain excitement. There is that lovely smell of newly-finished wood; the shine of black and white keys reflecting back at themselves in the name-board when the keyboard is opened...

But what happens when the instrument reaches the end of its natural life? What do you do with a dead piano? Isabel Bradley's husband Leon came up with an unusual solution.

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May 24, 2006

Music's Hope

"It was a humbling experience to listen to all twenty-three of these young musicians. Each of them has parents who are prepared to sacrifice time, effort and money – and peace and quiet at home while tedious practicing is done – for the sake of giving their children an education in this most precious commodity, music...''

Isabel Bradley describes with passion and enthusiasm the audition day for a Youth Concert which will take place in August. "While so many young musicians live for and through music, music itself will live on,'' says Isabel.

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May 17, 2006

The Many Triggers Of Memory

"Mom’s beautiful green hat with its elegant, upswept brim, decorated with brilliant orange feathers, the one she wore when she went on honeymoon, brought back all the fun of “dressing up” on rainy days: the hat slipping down over my eyes; clip-clopping noisily on wooden floors in high heeled shoes five sizes too big; tripping over skirts that swept the floor; scarlet lipstick smeared inexpertly on my seven-year-old lips; the clips on my ears pinching unbearably. Gloomy skies, lightning flashing, thunder crashing and rain hammering on the iron roof were all forgotten in the delights of being so grown up...''

While clearing out the cottage where her mother lived for the last twelve years Isabel Bradley finds herself taking a richly evocative walk down memory lane.

As you read this heartfelt column you will discover that the door of your own memory storehouse has been unlocked.

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May 10, 2006

A Car By Any Other Name

Isabel Bradley writes affectionately of good friends, Henry and Harry, Freddy and Lucy, Jemima Puddleduck and Peppi. It may surprise you to learn that Lucy underwent a "sex change'' to become Freddy the Second. Even more surprising is the fact that these friends had four wheels, rather than two legs.

For more of Isabel's entertaining and tuneful words click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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May 03, 2006

Women - difficult? Never!

"Husbands, when your peace is shattered by your wife, now in her late forties or early fifties, bursting into tears, throwing tantrums, opening a window on a freezing winter day or shivering and snuggling up in the middle of a sweltering summer night – be patient and understanding. Physically she is uncomfortable. Emotionally, she is facing her own mortality.''

Women of all ages will nod in agreement when they read Isabel Bradley's words. Men should read and digest what she has to say - then resolve not to be difficult.

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April 26, 2006

Musical Reflections

...As a child, sitting beside my brother, Roger on the piano stool, I would be mesmerised by his strong, elegant fingers attacking the ivory and ebony keys, calling forth the crashing sounds demanded by Beethoven, Liszt, or Rachmaninov...

Isabel Bradley, whose enthusiastic prose makes its own unique "music'', writes of pianists she has known, and her enthusiasm for the king of instruments.

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April 19, 2006

Three Little Words

Get those unpleasant chores done, advises Isabel Bradley, then enjoy almost unlimited hours in which to do those things that make life worthwhile.

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April 12, 2006

A Sparkling City

Did you know that when purchasing diamonds, the five "C's'' must be considered: Colour, Clarity, Carat, Cut - and Compliments?

Isabel Bradley presents an array of extraordinary facts in this glittering portrait of the diamond city, Kimberley.

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April 05, 2006

Modern Miracles

"Let us make the most of the modern miracles of technology,'' says Isabel Bradley in a column which marvels at how far we have come in the span of a human lifetime.

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March 29, 2006

What Is An Audience?

“I can only sit and listen,” the musician responds: “Without you, the audience, I am nothing, and all that I do is wasted. Thank you for listening!''

Isabel Bradley, a musician and writer, reminds us that audiences empower artists, enabling culture to develop and remain vibrant.

For more of Isabel's tuneful words visit Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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March 22, 2006

The Bells Of London

The fourth movement of Joseph Haydn's final symphony conjures up for Isabel Bradley the vivid details of an early-morning London street scene.

Read more of Isabel's melodic columns which blend in equal measure a love of music and a love of writing. Click on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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March 15, 2006

The Ultimate Musical Question

…The need to play an instrument stems from the player’s delight in the sound it produces. If that basic affinity with the instrument is absent, there will be no joy in playing it…

Isabel Bradley asks musicians why they chose to play one particular instrument - then expresses her own deep emotional attachment to the flute.

Isabel delights in words and music. Read more of her noteworthy columns by clicking on Here Comes Treble in the menu on this page.

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March 08, 2006

The End Of The Line?

A memorial service to celebrate the life of an aunt directed Isabel Bradley's thoughts along sombre paths.

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March 01, 2006

The Stranger In The Mirror

...Discovering a new wrinkle can be a matter for celebration. It means we’ve smiled today! Each discomfort is a symptom of Life itself; and being alive is glorious. Life means loving and being loved; enjoying a sunset, the scent of flowers, cool rain, warmth, the music left to us by those great souls who have preceded us...

Isabel Bradley reflects on the aging process and reaches a wonderfully positive conclusion.

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February 22, 2006

Do Clothes Make The Friend?

...“You obviously don’t recognize me with my clothes on!” The man grinning across my reception desk was smartly dressed in collar and tie and a smart grey suit...

Isabel Bradley, chuckling as she writes, gives examples of our failure to always instantly recognize people when we see them out of their usual context.

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February 15, 2006

Three French Fluting Treats

Weaving a magical mixture of poetic words and music Isabel Bradley introduces three French composers who wrote works for flute and piano.

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February 08, 2006

Music In The City Of Salt

Isabel Bradley visits Salzburg, birth place of the great and incomparable Mozart, and explores the magical musical heart of the city.

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January 25, 2006

Music In The African Bush

"Meanwhile, the wind players, with joyful anticipation, moved into the cool, thatched-roof lounge. There, we assembled and tuned our instruments, and played quintets by composers such as Anton Reicha, Frans Danzi, and an unknown’s beautiful transcription of a Mozart violin sonata. Each member of the group was immersed in the music – the notes on the page translating from little black dots to glorious sounds; fingers flew, lungs breathed in and out with great control, tongues attacked reeds; and the magic happened: five individuals became the voice of the composers, the very voice of music. Marion joined us on the keyboard, and the glory of the music surrounded us, absorbed us all: the silver song of the flute, the plaintive sadness of the oboe, the burbling delight of the clarinet, the sonorous and sometimes pompous roundness of the French horn, the insistent, rich, deep jocularity of the bassoon, were joined by the majestic might of the piano… We played the Brahmsian Thuille wind-and-piano sextet; a superb arrangement of a Dvorak work. The music we made poured from the cool, dark chalet into the sun-drenched bushveld…

Outside, sunbirds the size of a thumb and the colours of brightly-polished jewels flashed through the trees, calling and twittering; monkeys leapt from the branches onto the deck where the table was now clear, except for a large bowl of fruit; and dainty antelope paused to drink from the river that flowed lazily past, lifting their heads now and then to look around with large and fearful dark eyes, wondering if they would be tomorrow morning’s meal for the roaring lions...

In this magical column musician and writer Isabel Bradley combines her enthusiasm for great music with a passion for Africa and its wildlife.

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January 18, 2006

The "Treble'' Truth

The musical population is just as much a cross-section of humanity as any other group of people. There are good, mediocre, bad and sometimes downright evil people who are also, incidentally, musicians, says Isabel Bradley.

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January 11, 2006

Two Hundred and Fifty Years Of Hit Music

"Mozart’s music and musicianship were without parallel. No-one before or since has written music of such beauty, or with such ease...'' Musician and writer Isabel Bradley reflects on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the greatest of all the great composers.

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January 04, 2006

The Dangers Of Negative Speech

"Each act of violence hidden from public knowledge is likely to be repeated, probably with greater force. Broken bones, rape and even murder can follow. Violence feeds on deceit; it escalates when hidden or ignored.... It is time to stop this flow of deception, which leads to gossip and lies; which feeds violence. It is time to move away from the negative.'' Isabel Bradley has some serious and constructive suggestions for the best path to follow in this new year.

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Songs Of Oranjemund

In these five poems musician and writer Isabel Bradley reflects on Oranjemund, a desert-girt town in Namibia.

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December 28, 2005

Oranjemund's Christmas Medley

Christmas is the time for babies, and this year some special babies have been roaming the streets of Oranjemund in Namibia, as Isabel Bradley reveals. There has been festive laughter and jollity in the desert oasis community - but there was also a dark, terrible tragedy.

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December 14, 2005

Variations On A Theme - Weather (or not?)

"Everyone has their “funny little ways” – things they do which they believe makes their lives more comfortable, easier to live. One of mine is to listen to or watch any and every weather forecast that I can....'' But Isabel Bradley and her husband Leon are now in Oranjemund, Namibia, a part of the world ignored by meteorologists.

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A Patchwork Of Weddings

"I’ve been privileged to have been married four times. No, I didn’t set out to break hearts or records, that’s just how life worked out. Each wedding was different from the others, wonderful in its own way...'' With self-confessional honesty, Isabel Bradley writes entertainingly and enthusiastically about the most important of all human ceremonies.

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December 07, 2005

Death Of A Tenor

Isabel Bradley mourns the death of a tenor with a golden voice.

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November 30, 2005


Isabel Bradley’s delicious account of her introduction to music is a foretaste of delights to come in her weekly Here Comes Treble column.

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