Travelling Through April

April 30th
I popped out at 2pm for a bit of alto practice and when I came back my seapieparcel channel on Youtube had slipped past its next 1000. I do like to note these milestones. I thought it was probably all the sopranos and altos singing along with Red, Red Rose in readiness for tonight’s The Bridge Singers rehearsal. It turned out it was, and we notebashed the first verse this evening with great enthusiasm and as ever, I was tackled about the wide range of time signatures used. Yet….we managed to perform that section with reasonable accuracy to the tenors and basses who had been next door westling their winds.

April 29th
I went to Newcastle today with a list of unorthodox shopping items. I managed to find them, which in itself is noteworthy, but a more remarkable and rare occurrence than even this, resulted from the fact that I missed the planned train back to Morpeth and had forgotten to take my phone with me, so I used a payphone to let Jamie know my updated plan. A payphone…with coins. (No more than four – Be ready to insert more!) I had to follow the instructions – it’s been so long. No red phone boxes, alas…but still! Later, when I related this tale to a friend, she commented on my success at locating a working payphone. For your information, and should you ever require one, there’s one on Platform 3 at Newcastle Central. The woman on the train announcements waited until Jamie picked up the phone before she told me fortissimo about every train that was leaving the station in the next half hour, but my four coins held out until she gave up.

April 28th
The Bridge Singers were the choir at Andy and Olivia’s wedding at Brinkburn Priory this afternoon. This choir goes from strength to strength – such a beautiful, blended sound on five songs in a wide range of styles (from 16th century 8-part antiphonal Guerrero to modern day finger-clicking Ed Sheeran with some 20th century hits thrown in). These photos show us concert ready (apart from the fact that we still have our coats on in this most chilled of gorgeous churches) in our “Huey Lewis Power Of Love” transept. Most of us then descended with merry disposition on the Angler’s Arms at Weldon Bridge, which I thought coped admirably with 30 or so unbooked diners descending on them towards the end of their lunch service. Top pie and chat. A brief sojourn on the sofa, and then I was off out again for the Regency Ball bus to Alnwick where I tootled along on flute and recorders as part of the band for the dances The bus back was exceedingly merry with several Bridge Singers towards the back giving the rest of the revellers the benefit of their lubricated vocal skills on our wedding repertoire. Back to the wedding, and I spotted this on Instagram later. Also, the organist and the vicar were both delighted with and impressed by us – handshakes, hugs and compliments all round.

Brinkburn wedding rehearsal looking down (with deceased spider)

Brinkburn wedding rehearsal looking up (with vicar’s bag).



April 27th
I spent a lot of today singing along with John Rutter’s Magnificat and Ahoy by Alexander L’Estrange, in readiness for a rehearsal tonight with Rock Festival Choir in which we sang through them again. This is all for the big Alnwick Sings extravaganza at The Sage Gateshead in May. This will be a thrilling day singing as part of a 250-strong choir. I must admit, though that my favourite part of the rehearsal was revising the 12th movement of Rachmaninov’s Vespers in readiness for Edinburgh in August and seeing all my RFC buddies again after a short absence. Prior to that, I went to Brinkburn Priory for the rehearsal for tomorrow’s wedding. I had a moment to myself in there while the vicar went off to fetch the bride and groom.

April 26th
Sunrise. Thinking about Dad. When it’s two weeks since your Dad died and your Dad was the sort of Dad with whom you laughed and who gave the impression that he was proud of you and who was one of the very best of men, well you think about him all the time. You walk along the beach at sunrise and remember walking along the beach with him when you were little and shell collecting, nose down at sand level along the tideline where the curly ones can sometimes be found amongst the limpets and razors. You resolve to collect a shell before you leave the beach. You see the golf club flag at half mast and think fancifully that it’s in respect for him. He, who never played golf, would have laughed though because it is so much lower than half mast that it’s absurd. We laughed at things that were absurd. We laughed at things that weren’t absurd. We just laughed. We never cried, but now you do cry quite a bit. You resolve not to cry so much. The man ahead with the two dogs stoops to poop scoop. One dog is restless and on a lead, the other trots unfettered calmly beside him. Dad was a dog whisperer. He could calm the most outrageously barky dog. You are reminded of the photo of him nose to nose with next door’s Alsatian, chatting. You have not inherited this trait. Dogs go for you. You drive carefully home through some new tears, curly shell in pocket, then make yesterday’s video with your new photos.

April 25th
I started work on this video, but then decided I needed different photos, so had to wait until tomorrow morning to get them! It’s Rock Festival Choir again singing part of Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil, which we’ll be singing again in August at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

April 24th

Interval slipper and London on the stage curtain.

Tonight we went to see Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle. The tickets were part of my end of year gift from The Bridge Singers. It was wonderful. I love dancey things with quirky shapes and moves. And the music by Prokofiev is simply splendid. Also today I caught up with episodes of The Assassination of Gianni Versace on the BBCiplayer in readiness for the final episode which is on tomorrow. I gather that this series has not been particularly well-received, but I have found it fascinating – cleverly put together in reverse chronological order, with a real insight into the killer and his unfortunate first two victims. Splendid acting too. But back to the dance – so brilliant. Do go if you get a chance. There are some excellent mirror ball effects too which caused me great delight.

April 23rd

Good Morning Mr. Sea Pie.

I went off for a sunrise walk at Warkworth Beach this morning. Splendid effort by the sun. I also saw a hare on the beach which might be a first for me. Spent the day drawing post boxes and bicycles on the computer, then headed off to The Bridge Singers in the evening – our last rehearsal before Saturday’s wedding, and a big push on the fa la las in Fyer Fyer. A rum and coke in the Foxes Den afterwards and a good sleep to follow hopefully. Amongst all this, here’s a new video for the Rock Festival Choir YouTube Channel, which uses photos and music by me.

April 22nd
Hard to sleep after the thrills of yesterday, so up designing posters and planning the Remembrance concert, then back to bed, then up again for a committee meeting, then back to sleep in front of the telly, then an evening stroll up to the sycamores with Jamie, then more sleep. Let’s try for more action tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s one of our proposed items for the November concert.


April 21st

Tenor Twosome, Jamie and Chris

It’s been The Bridge Singers’ Singing Day at Howick where we did proper thinking about our voices and sound producing bits guided by our resident vocal therapist Jenny, and sang lots of our

Jenny tells it like it is.

favourites and some of our “one day will be” favourites, which included starting to learn this one. It was very sunny outside so we had our shared lunch al fresco as you see. Photos by Shirley.


April 20th
Today there was preparing for tomorrow’s Singing Day with The Bridge Singers – some music, some cooking. Also this evening Fingers Adrift rattled through some Canzonas, and I played every single one of my recorders with only minimal mix-ups between the two sets of fingering and one moment of finishing before everyone else. Here’s a song by Hirini Melbourne which we might have a go of tomorrow in our warm-ups.

April 19th
It really is a travelling month – today I came back to Northumberland – I was very lucky to only be in this traffic jam for about 25 minutes – by the time I got past this scene, the police had still not arrived and so I must have been at the very start of it. My traffic jam neighbour was a cattle truck – a very impatient driver, and yet for all his dodging in and out of lanes and reluctance to let people in as three lanes merged into one, I still caught up with him well before we left Yorkshire. Dipstick! Lionheart Harmony this evening was a delight. I was going to share some of our music but the machines have let me down.

Three fool about as a ruffled swan wonders when it will all end.

April 18th
After depositing Jamie at Retford Station for his night ride to Chester, Mum, Michael and Cheryl carried on to the lakes at Daneshill for a warm and sunny stroll.

Goose peep

Fledgling reeds

Edinburgh 250 miles

Leaf Burst

A bonny night for fishing with your three rods.

Something is rife.

Tree soup.

Fluff opening.

Branches, buds and bird.

New dam since our last visit.

Birds galore in the trees. A honkfest on the lake. Sunshine warming us softly for the first time this year.













April 16th
A recording of my “Three Burns Songs” which was composed in the early 1990s and won the Phillip Neill Memorial Prize one year in New Zealand is the “Resound Audio of the Week” this week. Yay!


April 15th
Today I went for a sunrise walk for the first time in ages and ages and ages. The sun played ball and there was a sea pie as you see here, indeed a whole parcel of them. I spent the rest of the day doing things my Dad would have heartily approved of: having naps and eating more cake than is actually necessary.

April 12th
After a morning commute through Yorkshire, which I’m sure is usually beautiful but today was full of fog and traffic jams, I went to Huddersfield and Meltham for a day of Musical Sorcery.

April 11th
My Dad is the very loveliest, funniest, most generous of men and a few years ago he recorded this for me to help with some workshops I was giving in Wakefield. (Also featured is Great Auntie Vera). We played it to him today in Doncaster Hospital. He’s been asleep/unconscious all day so I don’t know if he knew what we were laughing and joking about, but it surely cheered the rest of us Camms up.

April 10th
Tonight I drove back to Worksop through long traffic jams and very thick fog. It took about two hours longer than normal. My knees were shaking when I finally arrived – braking and gear-changing and not being able to see the sides of the road once I got off the A1 were the main reasons for the latter. I can report though that the play of oncoming headlights through the barriers down the middle of the A1 with the dense fog is rather beautiful and would be more so if you were not actually driving.

April 9th
At The Bridge Singers tonight we had a detailed crack at Guerrero’s Ego Flos Campi, which we are singing at a wedding in a couple of weeks’ time. It’s so rewarding to know the notes and rhythms of a piece so well that we can just concentrate on other matters – phrasing, dynamics, blending….etc. Next week, the bride and groom are coming along to hear how we’re getting on 🙂


April 4th-8th
Not much music on these days, alas, but my main triumph has been doing a reverse manoeuvre into a parallel parking space in Doncaster. I’m rubbish at this and have not even attempted such a thing in the last 15 or so years, but this one was achieved with no messing, in one move, and look how close I am to the kerb!

April 3rd
The choir I sing in, Rock Festival Choir, is off to the Edinburgh Fringe in August to do a couple of performances of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil (Vespers), so today I’ve been helping with the publicity for this by setting up a YouTube Channel for the choir. Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to:

April 2nd
The Bridge Singers learned this tonight, on a bank holiday, with laughter and hard work and increasingly excellent choral craft. Wouldn’t it be great to sing it like this with no sheet music, such excellent ensemble skills and a bit of bravura like that be-hatted bass?

April 1st
April Fools’ Day. Easter Sunday. Day when Jamie has a rest from work. Day when we venture forth to Newcastle for breakfast. Day of “Finding Your Feet” at the Tyneside Cinema. Day of chortling. Day of watching “The Way” on the telly. Day of tasty snacks. Day of singing practice. Day of plenty of sleep. Sets you up for April 2nd, right?

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