I have spent a good deal of time today with Ding Dong Merrily On High and O Holy Night. Such cheery tasks.
We went to the trains early doors, and both got on. At York, Jamie stayed put, bound for London, and I got off and had a chat with Mum and cousin George. George went to work and Mum and I spent the day wandering purposefully on the city walls, through several shops and around the Minster. Being achy of feet we returned to York Station ahead of time for a sit-down prior to departure. Mum’s train had been cancelled, so she ended up getting on a variety of earlier ones, and still made it home on schedule. Mine was delayed and so I ended up hightailing it through Newcastle to the buses and made it home at 7pm.
We liked the walls. We loved the Minster (especially as we had our returning visitor tickets!), and I was very excited to see scaffolding around the quire and other bits. I do like scaffolding on iconic buildings mostly because it usually means that they’re being cared for.
Album – The Evidence Of Feet. I needed to collect train tickets from a ticket machine at a station, so I plumped for Alnmouth and decided to walk there. I parked the car in my usual spot at Warkworth Beach and set out. The first thing I spotted was a discarded shoe and that set my agenda for this four hour walk to Alnmouth and back. It started out cloudy with a southerly breeze, and ended up cloudy with a southerly breeze, but the sun came out briefly to warm me up. By the time I got back to the car park, there was a veritable traffic jam – a most unusual thing for me, but I coped admirably.
Monday, so as all Mondays, totally taken up with matter concerning The Bridge Singers. Rehearsal tonight which was buzzing as usual, but during the day I’ve set up a Youtube channel for us, so that from now on the choir’s videos will not have to be on mine. I also made two cakes today which are yummy.
Today the following things have been said or written to me about various examples of my music:
“I thought it was just another of ‘Cheryl’s difficult pieces’ but now I’m into it I can see where you’re coming from. It’s a challenge but it’s really very effective.”
“It’s such a simple piece, but very effective. I love it.”
“You’ve created another corker with that.”
“It’s too late to be telling me about Christmas music. I’ve already selected mine.”
“It’s too early to be telling me about Christmas music. I’m busy with remembrance music.”
Basically you can’t win, but neither can you lose, so I’ll just plough on, shall I?
More shopping, more singing, more apple picking (they’re exceptionally large, unchomped-by-creatures and sweetish this year). I added some more apple and a can of cider to one of our bags of blackcurrant and apple gloop from the freezer and made crumbles for the next few days. We had one while watching the final episode of Killing Eve on the BBCiPlayer. An excellent series. I recommend it to one and all. Also today, views on my Youtube channel seapieparcel (https://www.youtube.com/user/seapieparcel) passed 35,000, and also someone bought scores of my arrangement of The Lambton Worm from my website. This fade-in features The Bridge Singers on a snippet of that song from 2016 and the viewing figures conveniently stopped dead on 35,000 so I could grab a screenshot of the momentous event – three seconds after this it raced to 35,001!
Shopping. I also went up and visited three old friends, and started a new song.
There’s a type of juice I love from Marks and Spencer, which I believe we now have to call M&S because it’s more snappy and “today”. The juice is filled with pineapple, mango and passionfruit. They have it on offer – 2 for £4. Today, after depping for Veronica one final time in Wooler, I drove the car to Morpeth Station for Jamie to use later and walked down to the bus station. On the way I popped into the afore-mentioned retail outlet for said juice and noticed another sitting by its side, also part of the offer – strawberry and banana. I got one of each. They are both delicious. This is a happy turn of events as a bit of variety is an excellent thing. Once home, I made cheese straws for Lionheart Harmony, three of them came along and we sang and laughed and ate cheese straws, then they left. Then I walked up to Sylvia and Don’s house where about 15 of us ate snacks and remembered our friend Bob whose funeral had been earlier in the week.
Another new spiritual to me is Ride The Chariot which I’ve been arranging today for tomorrow’s Cheviot Singers. I’ve listened to a few versions, and I rather like this one. I went out for the sunrise this morning and it was glorious. Quite a contrast to Monday.
I went to the sunrise, but it was dark and rainy, so as you see there was not so much of the oranges and pinks as other days. It’s rather thrilling walking along the beach in such darkness – all sorts of noises you cannot see the source of. Because it was so dreich there were no other people – another bonus. The sea was behaving exactly as in the lyrics of this song. David on Twitter wrote: This is a really gorgeous piece by @seapieparcel
Later it was the joy of The Bridge Singers and we worked hard, as ever, including on my You Will Remember.
Christmas cakes! Mmm. Also, I have new slippers. This is a good time of year to buy yourself new slippers because the shops think we want to buy them for our relatives for Christmas. The warm embrace with which they welcome your feet when they are brand new like this is truly a wondrous feeling. Because I mostly work at home they really are my work shoes, so it’s very important that they cause no distress from the getgo. So essentially today, I made Christmas cakes in my new kitchen with my new slippers on my feet and it was therefore a splendid day.
Yesterday, wanting sprouts and knowing deep down in my heart that there were some in the freezer, but not being able to locate them in said appliance, I remembered the old fridge freezer still whirring away in the utility room from the golden summer days of the temporary kitchen, the days of crisp sandwiches, the days before the orange. It’s funny how you forget about a thing even though you pass it several times a day as you head to the back door, to the washing machine, to the glass recycling receptacle, as it stands there bigly blocking out the light, preventing other things being put back in their rightful place… and yet you do forget. I did find the sprouts and also a drawerful of blackcurrants awaiting their fate (also a six-pack of sausages). We decided that today would be the day to clear out this fridge freezer completely, and deal to the blackcurrants, which as you recall were abundant this year.
And so, this morning we hied to Cramlington with a list as long as your lower arm plus your hand, almost exceeded the four-hour parking limit as we trailed through more shops than you might imagine usefully existed there, and came home with all the paraphernalia required to implement our plans. After the entire afternoon of chopping apples, washing and picking over blackcurrants, washing jam jars covered in builder’s dust, stirring, decanting, listening to Cardiff City continue their non-winning streak live on the radio, being stared at through the window by the new holiday let guests next door, we are now the owners of two large Kilner jars of steeping blackcurrant liqueur, 36 jars of blackcurrant jam and vast quantities of apple and blackcurrant gloop for future use in crumbles and the like. In the quiet moments, I weighed and set a-soaking-in-whiskey-or-rum two lots of fruit to make Christmas cakes tomorrow, ironed a shirt for tonight’s gig in Alnwick, sorted music for the same, and as we screwed the last lid on the last jar of jam with moments to spare, we hightailed it to Barbara’s birthday party to meet up with our fellow Lionheart Harmony chums. It’s the first time since the new kitchen that I did not clean it up when I left it. It is also the first time that the tiled splashback behind the stove had a thorough workout with the spluttering jam. I might add that I did wipe that down, afeared as I was of permanent pinking of my grout, but it held up well.
I have spent a lot of today in the company of this wonderful arrangement by Vaughan Williams. The Bridge Singers will be including it the “War Composers” section of their Commemoration Recital on November 10th – a section of the concert that will be focussing on more optimistic feelings and interpretations of that whole WW1 experience. One of the beauties of it is that we can also sing it in our Christmas recital which is merely a month later. Later in the day Jamie and I were doing more Christmas planning sitting on our coppery stools in the kitchen with recipe books, and then off I went to Fingers Adrift where we tootled away on more of Alison’s vast collection of music for ensembles. I was particularly taken with some Italian dances by Anon, and also some other Italian dances which required me to use my fingers in a fleeting manner.
I went off to Wooler again this morning to dep for Veronica with the Cheviot Singers. What a laugh we have – and lots of singing done too. When I got home my new New Zealand passport had arrived. What larks Jamie and I had trying to take a photo of me which met all the criteria – our first effort was rejected, so the arrival of this document was a big relief as much as anything. I’d like to go to New Zealand now, thank you. This evening was Lionheart Harmony preparing for Barbara’s 70th birthday party sing on Saturday evening with lots of merriment as ever. When I got home from this one, there was one of those photo challenges awaiting me on Twitter – my life in seven black and white photos, no explanations. I don’t like these challenges particularly and I won’t be following the rules out of contrariness, but it set me a-thinking and a-rootling, so what I’ve found thus far….
Lotsa learning tracks…and spirituals. This was a new one to me. I shall try it out tomorrow in Wooler.
Extreme Laziness. However, I did do a bit of sorting and in the evening Jamie and I went for a walk along the beach at sunset. A rare treat indeed. I took my camera and the sea pie were on display in front of a splashy sea.
Finishing off the scores for my new song, which is now called, Not The Sort Of Song I Sing In The Shower, trying the song out on Alison, musician-chat with Alison, printing scores, taking choir. This latter was hard because of the absence of Bob who was large in body and also in personality and had been on such excellent form in recent weeks. We did start learning my new song at the end of the rehearsal, but I did not explain its significance as I thought this would set me and perhaps several others off. I spoke to and laughed with Bob often recently about the benefits of grasping opportunities when they present themselves and giving fully of oneself to everything one does, about being happy and busy in the face of quite a lot of sadness, as both he and I have tried to do throughout this rather distressing year. I saw no reason to ignore his advice, just because it was he himself who was causing our sadness. If I am to grasp my opportunities and give fully of myself, and be happy and busy, as he advocated, then it is to create and facilitate musicmaking and try to enthuse the choir to love doing so as much as I do. This was my approach to last night’s rehearsal. I did send an explanation in an email later.