Yesterday morning was a time of editing and administration yet again, as I tidied up a few of my more unkempt Advent and Christmas pieces in preparation for sending them off to various places. Even though it is November, some places are still putting their festive music lists together, so there is time yet to angle for some more performances.

From about midday, though, yesterday was a day off, and I traipsed into town to offer the services of my nose in support of my better half’s quest for a new perfume. The day did not get off to the greatest of starts, however. There is a large red mechanical contraption in the perfume department of Liberty’s and I rather displayed my ignorance by asking the assistant whether it was a device for drying wet dogs. She informed me that it was actually a perfume chamber. I decided to keep my mouth shut after that and let the experts do their thing.

It will sound rather far-fetched, I know, but I actually had a lovely day just meandering around various departments of the shop while Katie did her thing (Liberty’s do not sell proper coffee makers, by the way). We adjourned for lunch in Leon’s while I sounded off about my plans for composition in 2012 and bewailed my currently parlous financial state, and then headed to Old Bond Street and thence to Sloane Square in search of the perfect scent. The good news is that, after trying what seemed like thousands, we finally had a winner, and I was treated to some very fine chocolates to reward me for my patience and nasal skills.

It was raining hard by this time, but, as luck would have it, there was a very welcoming wine bar nearby where we ate and drank very well, and relatively frugally too, despite the boorish noises of what I presume were drunk estate agents and their, ahem, ‘secretaries’ on the next table, and then we wended our fragrant way home.

Over the past few years I have almost forgotten what a day off is like, that mythical weekend or time off of which normal people speak. I realise that my timetable is still some way from coinciding with that of a normal person, but I think that I have underestimated the restorative effect of a day away from the computer screen, especially where chocolate is involved. I would be nervous taking too much time away from my writing, even two days in a row, but one day in seven is a decent punctuation mark in my work, a reward to be anticipated.

Today marks my return to work, and, apart from sending out invoices to chase up some urgently needed money, I have three tasks in mind, four if one includes the next step in cleaning the house. I need to edit and correct A New Unison Mass, do likewise to my less terrible Christmas repertoire, and finish Dansante, the harp piece. I only have a little teaching to do this afternoon, so I am optimistic of having enough drive to fit it all in, especially if I take my netbook with me on my travels. I am beginning to get something of a fondness for days off, however.

Over my lunchtime chat with Katie yesterday I mused that what I really needed right now was a nice big commission from somewhere to write a 30 minute choral work, maybe, or an orchestral overture. Until my finances settle a little I feel that I am going to be in a slightly worried state of mind, but I think that only the single piece of good fortune would really serve to level things out, even though I have no idea where that might come from. I realise darkly that this is the gambler’s mentality, but the professional gambler will always size up their EV (expected value) before taking a shot, leaving the offer behind if the sums do not add up. To stick to that kind of terminology, I feel as if I am in a period of high variance and need to reach the long run to see exactly what my results are. My, it sounds as if all that perfume really has gone to my head.

Once this blog is posted and a couple of other small things are done I shall be at my computer, tapping away on a couple of pieces, sending them to my target audience and uploading them to my website. Based on recent events, all should be quiet around me as well, now that my builder and neighbours are gone. I should be glad (and I am!) that the only trouble my ex-neighbours are now giving me is in my dreams. Last night I dreamed that they had broken down my fences, moved in two families and were holding a party in their and my gardens. I was relieved to wake and see only Joey the cat staring me in the face, sniffing me quizzically, as if to ask “Dior?”.

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