It had to happen sooner or later, I suppose. On the road for nearly thirty years with nary a scratch, I was rudely and suddenly back-ended at the Longleat roundabout on the way up to London early yesterday afternoon. Somebody was dawdling at what I would call an uncharitably low speed about five cars ahead and the people behind me clearly reacted far too late. Cue a scream of tyres and an abrupt kick up the rear. I cannot now remember the order in which these thoughts arrived, but it went something like this – Have I hit the car in front? No, I’ve been hit quite enthusiastically. I’ll have to let people know I can’t be in London. Am I ok? How damaged is my car? Are they ok? How damaged is their car?
First things first, nobody was hurt. As it happens, my trusty Toyota is clearly made of solid stuff as she also – miraculously, I must admit – got away without a scratch, at least not one I could make out from under all the grime, while their car bore some of the smaller scars of battle. To add insult to injury, the couple in the car behind were on their way to Longleat for a weekend break so were only half a mile from their destination when they got up close and personal. Still, details exchanged and the like, I continued up to London, only slightly delayed, and am glad to find that there is no nasty lingering whiplash or any soreness. Those cold callers will be disappointed.
My brain still appears to be in close to working order, though, and I keep adding details to a couple of new pieces, testing out new ideas, probing new avenues for exploration. There are some new choral pieces to be written for the end of the year, and possibly something larger for 2017 or the year after, so, in this brief lull, I am attacking my musical language hard, trying to push back the boundaries of difficulty and find some new fluency.
The next performance of my music is tomorrow morning, at Christ Church, Hampstead, the Missa Sancti Nicolai, which so excited a couple of people on the interweb when it was performed at Midnight Mass on BBC1 a few years ago. This performance has rather snuck up on me, especially as I’ll be playing for it, but if I cannot play my own music then there must be something awry. Maybe I’ll blame whiplash…