Yesterday was a better day all round, both in terms of work and mood, and this morning I am up early and planning to spend a decent part of the morning on the orchestral piece. I also want to do a little planning for a couple of choral pieces – one a commission, one a competition – that will need to be written further down the year.

We shall have to see how the afternoon goes, for I suspect that I might well have my feet up on the sofa and a cat on my lap, as I was up for an hour in the middle of the night, pacing up and down the house and unable to sleep. When I did finally manage to get back to bed at four o’clock a particularly enthusiastic bird began trilling outside and, to my huge sadness, I had to get up and close the window in order to be able to nod off.

The birdsong outside has been one of the few delights of the lock down, and I am convinced, like many, that it has become louder than ever, although that may well be a result of the lack of background hum in our quieter world. It is a payoff I am happy to have, although I would never have imagined quite how loud the songs could become.

Birdsong in notated music makes one think immediately of Messiaen, of course, for whom it was the unfiltered and joyful music of God’s creation. More significantly, he was able to use it much in the way that other composers use chant, in order to signify certain times of day or year, as a powerful tool which help to define one’s temporal location.

Maybe it is time to give the Catalogue d’Oiseaux a spin this afternoon, or even the Vingt Regards, which I could follow along in the hefty and expensive score that sits on my shelf, although I suspect that I might just lie on the sofa and listen to what is going on outside, ignoring the human noise and peeling back the layers to what lies beneath. If it gets too hustly and bustly then I could always get up at four o’clock again and sit out on my own with the first cup of coffee of the day, something that suddenly seems very tempting indeed.