Given that my planned day off on Thursday never really happened, I instead disappeared into town yesterday, having edited and uploaded two more scores to my website. After lunch I dived into the National Portrait Gallery, paying my respects to Purcell, Elgar, Walton, Thomas Hardy and many others. For all the hassle that one can encounter living in London, I still believe that it is the finest city in Europe for ‘things to do’, and the NPG is free these days, of course. I then strode gently up Charing Cross Road, looked lovingly at some books, salivated gently over some board games, but settled on some half price coffee cups for my daily espresso and then returned home for an evening of moving furniture and sipping wine.
The furniture needed to be moved because – whisper it – phase one of my house work is now very nearly complete, the only remaining bits of crashing, banging and swearing being minor ones, I hope. I will spend at least some of today moving things around in my composing room in the hope that some time next week it will begin to serve its intended function. This has been a long and hard road, and, while it has not brought me to financial ruin, it has certainly made life more stressful than it might otherwise have been. The bits of the house that have been done do look fantastic, however, and I think I shall probably have a little cry of stress relief when my builder finally flees the nest. It has run to about five times my original intended spend, and six times the duration. Like some composers’ commissions, probably, ho ho.
All is quiet next door as well, and I suspect very strongly that certain people have been arrested, for the vans and cars have been conspicuous by their absence. Their washing has been on the line for three days now, and the bicycle tyre remains in its tree, all very strange, but, given that it is the middle of half term, the parties I feared really do seem to have been cancelled.
I had a long discussion last night with my better half about my work and its timetable, and I think that I am going to shift my day around ever so slightly. While keeping ‘normal’ hours might bring with it the promise of making me healthy, wealthy and wise, the reality is that my post-teaching timetable has seen the majority of my work gravitate towards the evening, and, when work finishes at 9, for example, and it takes me an hour to get home, I barely get time to catch my breath before I have to hurl myself into bed in order to be up at sensible o’clock. If I have a concert in Peterborough, let’s say, and am not home until 12 then things begin to get silly. Thus, for the next week or so, I am going to try shifting things slightly so that my day is the same length but moved a little later. As it is only Sunday mornings which entail an early start in my current timetable, I think this little tweak might prove to be productive, as long as I can lay guilt aside. I do love the quiet of the morning, make no mistake, but I think that I have always been a night owl at heart.
The rest of today is full of things to do. Once I have finished watching cars going round in circles I shall do some editing, some writing, some shifting, some tidying, and then, I hope, some relaxing, maybe trying to extend my winning board game run from yesterday. By this evening my house might even be starting to look like a home, one I can be proud of, and, if I’m really lucky, there won’t even be some hellish party going on next door.