September 2020 – Earthbound

Running and leaping towards Lindisfarne

September 16th

Me and the obelisk at the northern end of Ross Sands. The 2nd from right picture makes me look as though I’ve just slid down!

This morning I went to Ross Sands at sunrise and walked through the northerly wind to the obelisks. I did have to negotiate the cows at Ross Farm on the way back to the car, but I managed OK even though they were all over the path. The sun was behind clouds, so all was grey, but there was enough colour yesterday to seem me through!

There were three seals at the far end too, lolling!

Later, I made the singing learning tracks for Water of Tyne. Here’s the compilation of all mine and Jamie’s renditions. For the learning tracks they just hear one part being sung with the others on a harp sound!

Water Of Tyne by me and Jamie to help the choir hear how the parts fit together.

September 15th

I went up to Howick for today’s sunrise walk – so very colourful.

Tropical Northumberland

For the rest of the day I was a little exercised by the news that one of the exemptions from the Government’s new “Rule of 6” is grouse shooting. Having spent a lot of this year learning about grouse shooting for my hen harrier song, and also a lot of this year trying to make headway with all the restrictions that are imposed upon our cheer-inducing, mental-health-benefitting, beautifully calming pastime of singing, the suggestion that we should all take up our catapults and head into the moors to sing, seems suddenly not so ridiculous. We could take a pop at a bunny or two through our peashooters, and croon a ditty in between.

September 14th

We had a committee meeting today for The Bridge Singers…well six of us met together – the other two were not allowed of course, because of the “Rule of 6” which came into force today. I spent a lot of yesterday preparing for this meeting with lists of pros and cons of various possible venues for a sing-song. The meeting was all very positive in spirit and we all have our tasks to do before the next one next Monday, but in the meantime, we’ll do another video – Water of Tyne. It’s the Lionheart Harmony arrangement arranged for mixed choir!

Lionheart Harmony singing Water Of Tyne – I’ve fiddled with the arrangement to make it suitable for The Bridge Singers!
Sedimentary layers of rock at Cheswick!

September 13th

Today Jamie and I went up to Cheswick where we parked the car then walked to Spittal on the outskirts of Berwick upon Tweed. There was lots of geology and birds to admire and delight in and the views from the coastal path are stunning.

Mushroom season in Acklington Woods on 9th September
Evening walk along the river on 11th September

September 7-12th

It’s been a quiet sort of week, with some walking and some music and not much else really. We went to Embleton for a rehearsal of Rock Festival Choir on Tuesday evening. There were 14 of us spread out greatly and it was good to sing. Arrangements were made for more, but then we heard that while we were singing, the restrictions were being tightened again, so no more for the foreseeable future. This of course has a bearing on The Bridge Singers too and this causes me a lots of sadness at times. Just got to keep on leaping and keep on musicking, I guess.

Us and Nick in his garden

September 6th

We went to visit Nick and Barbara this morning after Skyping with Australia. We haven’t seen them since March, so it was lovely to catch-up and see their remarkable garden. In the afternoon I made this video using an old recording from The Bridge Singers of my arrangement of Burns’ Now Westlin Winds using some more of yesterday’s photos. I also listened to and watched the cricket on the BBC – another victory for England over Australia. Excellent stuff!

The tenors and basses of The Bridge Singers illustrated by images from yesterday’s trip to Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Happy birthday Jamie leap in a secluded glade.

September 5th

Jamie’s birthday. We headed to Edinburgh in the morning on a fairly empty train in our purple facemasks (after a merry cross-rail chat with Hazel on opposite platforms at Alnmouth). It was 50 minutes late which means we can claim back half the fare, I’m told. 50 minutes late meant that we still had plenty of time to make it to the botanic gardens for our entry time slot. The sun shone. We ate our some of our snacks. We spotted two different divaricating shrubs from New Zealand. We spent a very cheery ten minutes watching a pair of goldcrests in a tree near the “Scottish Tree Walk”. Tiny wee things they are, and they don’t half flit about. We leapt. I took lots of photos. We found two Barbara Hepworth sculptures – one is another manifestation of the one in Alnwick Gardens. I heard myself exclaiming at too haughty a volume, “Oh, It’s Ascending Form!” We tittered, and moved on to the other one for our messing about with the timer.

Messing about with Barbara.

Our journey home started well enough and on time, but somewhere between Dunbar and Berwick a woman towards the front of the train fell over and dislocated her knee, so an ambulance was called to Berwick Station and we all (almost all) waited patiently for the poor woman to be attended to. This meant that by the time we got to Alnmouth the train was 45 minutes late. Apparently this means that we can claim half of that fare back too! We did have an M&S curry waiting for us at home, but we decided during the delay that it would be too late for us by then, so we polished off some more of our treats, and saved the curry for tomorrow.

Green and white berries on the same tree. A type of Sorbus, we read.

September 4th

A bits and bobs sort of day. I went to Alnwick to get treats for Jamie’s birthday tomorrow. I realised when I was there that it’s the first time I’ve been shopping on my own since March. Masks on, people being ridiculous barging in to where their preferred purchases were regardless of how close other people might be…how quickly people forget how we’re supposed to be looking out for each other. Anyway, I obtained what I needed to and maintained a cheery disposition. Later, England beat Australia in the cricket. So all in all, a good day!

September 3rd

Today I have spent all day making The Bridge Singers’ Review Of The Year 2019-2020 – a happy and a sad task all in one!

Lots of memories, musical highlights and photographs from the last twelve months.
Ten pictures at the beach – three leaps among ’em

September 2nd

Lark which thinks if it doesn’t move, it cannot be seen!

I walked to Warkworth this morning, finished the music notating in the afternoon and then was rather tired so had a sleep! The highlight of my rather muddy walk was this lark “hiding” in the cut down stalks of a grain field. There were also lots of curlews again – mostly also in fields rather than at the coast. It looks as though choir cannot start until October at the earliest, so one more recording project might be the order of the day. Such a shame.

A weir on the Coquet

September 1st

I’ve been notating someone else’s music today – a glorified aural exam really. It’s a lovely song that The Bridge Singers will probably be learning/ recording/ performing later on this year. It’s in a folky style so lots of syncopation and free rhythms to master. in the evening, Jamie and I went for a stroll into Felton Park and gazed at the weir there

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