The beginning of November has not been too bad, although it could barely have been worse than a ghastly October in which pretty much everything fell to bits from the first day to the last. Thankfully, for every personal, professional or practical thing that went wrong there appeared to be innumerable people who were prepared to help sort things out.

Firstly, foremostly, composition. Last week was not good, for reasons that anybody who reads those entries will know, and I deliberately stepped away from the whole thing so as to get a clearer view of the horizon and not to focus on negatives. As if to perk me up, though, The Parliament Choir were in excellent voice on their first run through The Oxen last night, a warm musical embrace from a choir I know well, and on Wednesday I shall pop up to Bristol in the Audi to attend the Exultate Singers’ rehearsal of This Light Of Reason, now with added cello part.

Ah, I slipped in “the Audi” there – did you spot it? My brother was one of those prepared to help sort things out in last month and hearing that a large percentage of the Astra had bounced away down the hill in my rear view mirror he was available pretty much within the hour with a solution, hence the Audi. I wafted back to Somerset in said machinery last night, quite relieved that I did not have to worry about something falling off every time I went over a bump. The Vauxhall was fun but it was also on the fragile side, lesson learned.

I spent yesterday morning in the down times between playing people in and out of graduations at the Royal Festival Hall to go through forthcoming composition competitions and pick out the juiciest candidates, especially as I think that the time really definitely has come for me to aim consistently for bigger fry. Allied to that endeavour, I scanned through the “In Progress” folder in my Sibelius files and found several pieces in there of which I have no recollection at all, but I clearly have been much more active than I had thought over the past decade.

There are complete choral works, fragmentary instrumental pieces, including about three minutes for tuba and piano, seven minutes of a viola concerto, a synopsis for a children’s opera and something that might – might – just be the start of a large orchestral work. Almost all of these look as if they could be recast as entries for competitions at some point in the next year, which is very good news indeed, and a reminder never to throw anything away, also that every idea, however small, can be useful.