The work continued to come in yesterday as the world, or at least this part of it, appears to be returning to normal. Some of the unusual dynamics of the period are becoming apparent, such as the glut of weddings suddenly being booked after all the cancellations and postponements of the past couple of years. The numbers are up significantly on previous Septembers, and I see no reason for this trend to abate before the end of the year.

This all bodes well for keeping the household finances tickng over, important also for keeping the foundations in place for me to get on with the next section of my life. I still cannot quite decide if I am retired, semi-retired or just a full-time slacker, but even with all the extra work flying around things seem to be calmer than they were before.

Part of that is definitely due to my decision to step away from academic work. Once upon a time, as does pretty much every teacher who has seen Dead Poets Society, I imagined sending class after class of enthusiastic musicians out into the world, all enthused about the way Beethoven develops his themes across an entire work and listening to the intricacies of the Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues for solace, and there were, I think, some students who did go out in that vein, but many were at college just because it felt like the right thing to do.

Still, I could deal with that when it was about discussing the music and playing examples and passing on knowledge, but eventually it became about forms and feedback and quotas and targets. Bit by bit that part of me that loved it and wanted to do it forever gradually fell away, and I spent so much of my time researching and listening and writing notes that I was unable to write notes. Like so many musicians, I slowly but surely moved away from making music to talking about it, or, to be more precise, to dealing with the admin that allowed me to talk about it.

On Monday morning just past, on a trip up the High Street in London, I actually took time to sit down and have a coffee when, illo tempore, I would have been leaping from tube to pavement to train. Already the gaps in my timetable that I have created are being filled by appointments, but they are playing appointments, most importantly, engagements where I turn up and play and do not have to devote hours to them both before and after. Much as I miss the passing on of knowledge, I am happier this way, and it frees up more time for me to go writing.