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It has been a busy, no, hectic week.  Things in my house are gradually finding their ways into cardboard boxes, items retrieved from the backs of cupboards bringing their ghosts out with them.  The local charity shops will shortly have something of a bonanza windfall, especially if there is a strong market for dog-eared poetry paperbacks (now replaced by never-to-be-ejected Folio editions), and the recycling bin at the local Sainsbury’s is set for a slap-up meal.

In the midst of this whirlwind I have been preparing for lectures and even doing some writing.  The Carta Cantata is within a Runnymede reed’s width of being complete in its first sketch, and, for all the joy of the impending move, it is just a little frustrating not to have the time I would like to spend on it just when I need to.  I have also put down small ideas for various other pieces on the go.

My arrangement of The Angel Gabriel seems to be picking up a little momentum.  It will have its first outing on December 3rd at St. John’s, Smith Square, at the Parliament Choir’s carol concert, and is then set to be performed at Mary Abbots at services on the 10th, 11th and 23rd.  I am hoping that others will also pick up this piece before Christmas, but this is a great start.  The second of those three dates is the one to give me most pleasure, as it is for the Dalzell Trust carols, an extraordinary and moving event.

I was disappointed to read that ENO have cancelled their collaboration with the Bristol Old Vic for 2015.  This was to be Monteverdi’s Orfeo, and I was certainly going to go, especially as it would have been directed by Tom Morris, with whom I worked on Messiah in the summer of 2013.  Having experienced Tom’s technique and energy first-hand I have no doubt that this would have been a vivid and most memorable production.  Sadly, the recent drastic cuts in funding to ENO, totally out of proportion to those imposed on other arts and operatic organisations, have forced a rethinking of their strategy when it comes to “risky” ventures.  These cuts have already played a part in seeing off my old schoolmate Ed Gardner to foreign climes (their gain, our loss).  I know that something has to give, but ENO’s cuts do seem awfully unfair.

We complete tomorrow, and the valuable things (manuscripts and board games!) are coming with me so that any damage will be my fault and my fault alone, the main move taking place next week.  Of course, I will be keeping this house and renting it out, but it will be strange to come back and find it empty, at least until my tenant moves in.  There are ghosts here, memories good and bad.  For the next few days, though, the cats are enjoying the adventure playground provided by the boxes.

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