For once this weekend was relatively free of music making, as our house was the centre of birthday festivities for my wiser and better half. It felt as if we spent most of our time eating out with various relations, the whole experience culminating in dinner à deux at our favourite restaurant, the wonderful Sotto Sotto in Bath.

We also had photographic evidence that it was not just the humans who were celebrating, but also those in the house who think that they might just be human enough on a good day to take part in things. He denied it, but I think that the photo speaks for itself…

Your honour, the prosecution rests…

Friday was a productive day, however, as I continued to update and tweak the website, an ongoing process, and worked on with some sketches. I also took the opportunity to study a couple of my favourite composition books, as one of the things I intend to do in my quiet time is to ‘take’ a self-designed course in order to improve the technical side of my writing.

The thought is that any technical improvement will also serve to free up my imagination, allowing me to aim for ideas that are currently either unobtainable or unimaginable. I keep reminding myself that Leonardo sketched, sketched and sketched some more and never tired of acquiring more craft, and he turned out to be not so shabby as artists go.

For this week it will be mainly carols and work on various charts for a gig at the end of next week, together with performances of The Oxen tomorrow and Wednesday (moved from Thursday) at St. Mary Abbots. At some point I also need to get started on the orchestration for the Dunstan cantata, but I think that might have to wait until the current run of services is over and I have just a little more time to sit down and focus my mind on the task.