The Anghiari Festival is a strange mix for me. The music, company and quality of life is outstanding, as anybody who has been here can attest, yet I find it very tiring, not least because the timetable is shifted strongly towards the evening.

The final concert of the day does not end until around half past ten, and then there is the obligatory socialising to be done, so those wise decisions about early nights tend to be non-starters. For all my resolutions to get up early, beaver away at this and that, I tend to take my sleep and rest where I can get it.

Back in the early days of the Festival the schedule was not so much intense as punishing, and I have memories of split-second timing to get from one venue to the next. Things are more considered these days, which makes everything easier for audience, performers and workers, and that is no bad thing.

The moments of calm are precious, though, especially those minutes spent around the lunch table, and I was fortunate enough to be invited up to the Castello di Montauto once more yesterday to spend some time in good company. It is one of my favourite places to be, with a spectacular view and a lavender plant that is afizz with butterflies and bees.

The tiredness and the other things will fade, of course, and the memories that remain will be of the music and the friendships. Today is the half way point of the Festival for me, meaning that each step is now closer to home, and this evening will bring the concert by the Allegri Quartet, which is always one of my favourite moments of the week. Rumours have it that a board gaming session has been arranged for afterwards as well…

Time to breathe the air.