So, four performances this week, three of The Angel Gabriel and one of A Sad Carol For These Distracted Tymes. I was present for two of these, and all was well, reactions from singers and listeners decent. Heartening, too, was that all four performances were in different venues and with different performers, so there is a sign there that various pieces are beginning to spread around.
After the oppressive hustle and bustle of the capital, including two severe delays on the tube on Wednesday, many carol services and miles of walking, things are beginning to open up as we head into the final full week before Christmas. It looks as though there might be time for some solid writing next week, which is great news. In stolen moments I have continued work on the Carta Cantata, as well as sketching out some preliminary material for O God Of Earth And Altar, the new piece for the Parliament Choir’s spring concert. Even the act of writing out simple permutations of basic material is thrilling (to me, at least), the possibilities opened up demanding to be investigated…or maybe I should just get out more.
Get out I have done, though, and, after a rather off-putting experience in a local hostelry last week, think that I have found a home from home here in Somerset. We sauntered into the old part of the town to find a hidden gem of a pub with all the boxes ticked (dog, log fire, proper beer, no TV), complete with cheery bar staff and friendly, chatty landlord. When we asked about a particular bottle of wine we were offered a taste and then given the bottle as a welcome gesture, invited to drop by as and when we liked rather than to heed the official opening hours, and even invited to the Christmas Day staff get-together. This all within two hours of arriving. For ten years I searched for something similar near me in London, in vain, and yet here is the public house of quaint dreams only a short walk up the road. Perfect!
So yet another little bonus has manifested itself as we work out where to go and where not to go, and I can see many a country walk ending either next to their fire in winter or on the lovely terrace in summer. Morning for writing, afternoon for walking, perhaps?
Fingers crossed, next week is the week when everything calms down after the ruckus of the move and all the stress prior to that. In the moments when I am able to sit down with pencil or mouse I am being highly productive, so I need to carve out more time to devote to that activity, but I am sure that it will come. For the time being, though, the lightness of soul to be gained from the Somerset life is enough to offset the grinding tube delays, the slow pedestrians and the overlong carol services of London work. Knowing that, at a certain point, you can leave it all behind is great. Knowing that the most hospitable pub in the world is only just up the road is an unexpected bonus.