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It was a weekend of music making and trying to put my professional house in order. I spent Saturday playing for the Occam Singers’ concert in Godalming, Bruckner and Gabrieli, also editing and tidying some arrangements in preparation for the first rehearsal for their summer concert. Some of the notation in the Gabrieli was so small and the light in the church so poor, despite many people’s best efforts, that I felt I had survived that particular piece by the skin of my teeth, getting all the major and minor chords not only in the right place but also in the right order. One of the other players was not so lucky in the Bruckner, and he was unlucky that his moment happened during a very, very loud chord. Oh well.

On Sunday I played an easy service up in Hampstead and then headed home to listen to – there being no TV licence chez O’Neill any more – one of the most unexpected Grand Prix results since…well, when? I was musing to myself on Friday about the nature of those occasional bizarre results, but, even in my wildest dreams, I would never have put a fiver on Pastor. Still, the boy clearly learns as well as drives quickly, and that is to be admired, as is his talk of a championship tilt. After yesterday it would be a brave soul to deny him that chance.

This links in with a talk I heard on Radio 4 on Saturday evening about talent and effort, specifically about how it is the latter, not the former, which makes achievement achievable. It is something I saw and tried to instil in my piano and organ students again and again, that effort put it on a regular basis cannot fail to cause improvement, which, in turn, leads to more effort. I need to seek out that podcast and use it as a motivational tool, probably for me more than anybody else.

Some more arranging landed in my inbox on Sunday afternoon, nothing major but enough to keep the wolf from the door. It is going to mean a busy week’s work, as there are three separate deadlines I need to hit, but I am feeling good about work at the moment, optimistic about the way things are going. I also had a “Should I go back to teaching?” chat yesterday with somebody close to me. It is close to the time to make that decision, and it really does look as if I might be able to eke this adventure out for another year at least.

Lastly, yesterday afternoon saw a welcome return to the gaming table for sessions of Pandemic, where the players unite against the game (it sounds odd, but it really works), the elegant and concise Glen More, and the ferociously demanding Pret-a-Porter, a game whose accessibility is not helped by a woeful translation of the rules from the original Polish. Apart from a mid-Pret moment of near despair a good time was had by all, and we even managed to beat Pandemic on one occasion.

I need to bite the bullet this week as far as writing is concerned, and I think that I should shift my emphasis sightly and make sure that, whatever else is going on, I do a little fresh composing every day. That Viola Concerto has been going nowhere for a while, so today is the day to grasp the nettle and start attacking it anew.