It is getting close to the time of year when I shut down the blog for Christmas, and while this would normally happen slightly later in the year, maybe a few days from now, the truth is that at the moment there is very little of musical note (see what I did there?) happening at all, so there is almost nothing to write about. The tree is up, the cat is ridiculously excited about his presents – no, really – our Christmas plans are still up in the air, and of carol services there are none.

It seems foolhardy even to plan anything later in the week, given that a press conference could arrive out of the blue, start late, as they always do, and change things yet again. It is probably viewed as a very small thing by those in charge, but I cannot help viewing the consistent late starting of those conferences as indicative of either a complete shambles behind the scenes or a total lack of respect for those of us, admittedly probably few in number, who sit down on time hoping to hear something of substance. Or both.

Just as the memory of being bitten by a dog will forever change your expectations of said animal, so the (how many? I’ve lost count) frantic and beyond last minute changes of what we are and are not allowed to do over the past months make me uncertain that this is solid ground on which we now stand. Somebody should make some kind of proverb about it – once bitten, twice shy, maybe?

Anyway, I cheered myself up on the morning of the darkest day of the year by looking ahead and sketching out some topics for a set of online lecture-type things in the New Year, taking advantage of the new technology to do something I would not have considered only nine months ago. I therefore spent part of the morning listening to the ‘Gaelic’ Symphony by Amy Beach as featured in the number one bestselling book, and a fabulous piece it is too.

I have decided that Beach will be the focus of one of the sessions, and I am thoroughly enjoying what I have discovered so far of her music, strong, confident, eloquent and, yes, Brahmsian. There are some other less trodden musical avenues to explore as part of those sessions, so while there is very little making of music to be done at present at least I can go discovering and keep that particular experience going.