I have managed to eke out a little space in my house to do some work this morning. The post-holiday bump was more of a bang yesterday, especially as my bespoke composing space is some way from being bespoke. In fact, it’s some way from being a space, full as it is with angle grinders, fragments of carpet, piles of dust and, somewhere underneath it all, my scores and manuscripts.

I managed to get the dust covers off my desk this morning, however, so, after a decent session of text-hunting last night, I have converted and sent off the music I’ve been editing for the past week and a bit. I had a little bit of a fright when I thought I couldn’t find a file, but it turns out that it had never been sent through in the first place. I am sure that the choir will survive.

Priorities for today are really to balance my precarious finances and to decide what to write next. There are some lovely competitions out there and, in my more optimistic moments, I like to imagine that I will enter them all, but, reality being what it is, I need to be a little more cautious in my planning, even if my intentions are good.

As alluded to above, I spent a good hour and a half last night looking for texts for some new pieces. Next year will be an important one in terms of anniversaries – the Queen’s 60th Jubilee, the Olympics and, less in the public eye, the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. I know that many composers will be aiming for the specific, something linked directly to any or all of the above, but I like to look a little further afield. Nothing dates as quickly as fashion, and specific pieces fall out of use almost immediately.

I managed to dig out one or two useful texts last night, one of which could be nearly perfect for a piece in the offing. I am going to forward it to the relevant people and see what they say. The other texts are reserves, as it were, to be used if and when the appropriate commissions come into being. It would be remiss of me to write here of what they might be, but, if things happen, I will tell all, of course.

I must admit that I am being slightly uncharitable about my composing space, probably to elicit sympathy. As I write my builder is bashing away merrily upstairs, and he was here until gone 9 on Sunday evening – on a Bank Holiday weekend, no less. The next time I ask for an extension on a compositional deadline I shall give my builder a call and buy him a drink to assuage my guilt. For now it’s enough to have a desk at which to sit and a house which is becoming a home. When it’s done it will be a great inducement to work and creativity and I might get to enter all those competitions after all.