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If you are a long-time reader of this blog then you may recall the adventure of having the garden redone in Mitcham and great, nigh-on ruinous expense. The country cottage has a much smaller outside space, only a terrace, but over the course of the past couple of months we have installed shelves, pots, baskets and plants, so that it now represents a real oasis. It is also slightly lower than the area around it, thus providing shelter and a little privacy when needed, but still within contact of the others in the courtyard.  Yesterday our outside table and chairs arrived, so we spent a very pleasant evening indeed enjoying the calm of the evening, then the calm of candlelit night, until it was time to retire.  This morning, keen to enjoy the space, I made the effort to get up early and sit outside, fuelled by my morning coffee, and am dishing out bright hellos to postmen, neighbours and dog walkers.  Silently I must admit that, while it is good to be thought of as a composer, it is possibly a little better to be seen to be a composer!

The needs of the Anghiari Festival are coming to the fore, and I spent part of yesterday adding some authentically inauthentic parts to the first movement of Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, one for open-string violins and another for triangle.  One of the events will involve Southbank Sinfonia playing side-by-side with Italian children, and we are keen to get as many involved as possible.  I’m half tempted to join in on open-string violin myself if there happens to be one available!

There are also introductions to write, although the number of these has declined over the years, and this fact, combined with the reappearance of pieces from time to time, means that the number has diminished from something epic around the seventy mark in my first year at the Festival to twenty or so this time around.

It means that this week needs to be one of getting ahead as much as possible, and that includes work on the new setting of the Te Deum for the Parliament Choir.  Today is Wednesday and it would be wonderful to think that the bulk of the sketching for the piece might be done by Saturday.  It would involve a hefty amount of work and a little bit of skilful dodging of writer’s block, but it could be done.  As the sun creeps onto the terrace I think that I shall retire indoors and get out the manuscript and pencils.  It’s time to get to work.