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Saturday evening and I am back at home after a couple of delectable weeks away, hidden from the crowds in Wordsworth’s Grasmere, exploring the environs and immersing myself in the local way of life, wonderful stuff. I have to admit that I have written less than I had expected to write, and have, for once, taken some time off, listening to the advice given to me by a fellow musician just before I headed up the M6. I have not been away from the manuscript entirely, but I have let things drift just a little to allow myself to do some drifting as well.

The weather has been as expected, but we have managed to put in some decent walking, including a rather impressive 10-miler around Derwentwater, followed by champagne and tapas, very civilised indeed. We watched Tosca at the local cinema, including a truly excellent Scarpia, I thought, visited friends in Yorkshire and Kirkby-in-Furness, discovered several new and very wonderful eateries, discovered one totally terrible eaterie, made friends with the locals, many of whom we now know reasonably well from previous visits…and so on.

Astonishingly, though, having moved to Somerset from London last November, it is clear that Grasmere, the lovely honeypot village, is loud, of all things. Not Mitcham aggressively-in-your-face loud, but still coaches-down-the-road and restaurant-bottles-into-the-skip loud. All relative, I know, but it has been amusing to realise that there is louder than home, also thoroughly rewarding to know that this year, for the first time, we stuck to the west of the country all the way home. There is the same kind of feel of community up there that we have in Shepton, sadly also the same kinds of house prices that we had in London, but it already looks as though it will be Northern rain rather than Southern sun again next year. If next year’s Anghiari is anything like as hot as this year’s it will be similar blessed relief.

This has been the first break I have really had since the move last year, also the first summer holiday for a long time that has not been interrupted by some kind of monumental drama or other. For once I feel that I am ready to get back to work, even with the various projects (two pieces, two proposals et alia) that need to be done afore September arrives, and it has been useful to see how much work I managed to pack in before the break – when I have opened the files of work in progress I have been pleased to see that the emphasis has truly been on the progress.

In the immediate future, though, there are two performances of Melody Divined with the Malcolm Sargent Festival Choir, and the London University Church Choir will be performing The Lord Is My Light on the same morning, so it is a good return to performances straight away. Hopefully there will be many more to come to add to those already in the diary before the end of the year.