I do enjoy this particular fortnight, the breeze coming through the cottage, a glass of something civil in hand and the sounds of upsets and endeavour from SW19 filtering through the speakers. Time was that when they pulled the covers over I had five minutes to get the washing in, but now I live a little further away.

Against that soundtrack I managed to forge head substantially yesterday with the cantata, to the extent that for once I do not have to talk about ‘tinkering’ or ‘sketching’. Instead I reached that stage in one particular movement where material begets material and suddenly (well, after a couple of hours) the clouds began to clear, the journey ahead just a little less obstructed.

I totted up the sketches I have – one of the five movements is yet to be started in anger – and found out that I already have over half of the length of the cantata sketched, which, at this stage, is very heartening indeed. The plan is to continue to add raw material until the end of this month and then to use August to prepare the piano score so that it is good to go in September.

Of the four movements that are in progress I would say that three of them certainly have enough material in situ to prevent too many difficulties as I go on, which should clear up time to work in depth on the fifth. Things could change, of course, but I am reasonably happy in my ability to be able to write myself out of a corner with enough application and thought.

There has been the smallest bit of detail work to be done on the book over the part week, and the Anghiari introductions remain to be written, but otherwise the cantata is certainly going to be my main focus of the coming days. Well, that and the tennis.