It has been an exhausting week. I was in London on Monday, back to Somerset on Monday evening, returned to London on Tuesday night, was up at the crack of dawn on Wednesday and Thursday to get into town for work before the chaos of the Tube strikes hit, up again at the crack of dawn on Friday for an airport run, then back to Somerset, in Taunton on Saturday evening for a RetroChic gig, then to London once more, getting in at half past two, and up at six to get into town to run the music at a church all day. I sit here on Sunday afternoon having just spent the past hour asleep on the floor of the choir room – thankfully, I can nap more or less anywhere, though I know I shall sleep well tonight.

In addition to all the travel I have been getting some serious work done on the cantata, completing two of the soloists’ movements and getting the vocal lines sketched in full for the remaining two. One more proper stint to get the accompaniment sketched and then a few runs to iron out the details and the complete cantata will be in place which will, I must admit, be something of a relief.

The plan post-sabbatical was never to be quite this busy again, or at least to be differently busy, so what free time I have had this week has often been spent trying to work out how I have got myself into this situation, and I have come to the conclusion that this is still the period when the work I took on during the pandemic and the work which has returned of late are overlapping. The former I agreed to do because not so long ago I was at the stage when anything was worth taking on, but the speed with which the latter has returned has been a pleasant surprise.

It will take me a little time to recalibrate, maybe a few weeks, and I have already decided this week to shed one long-standing engagement, and another one might follow, because I need to bear in mind that time to compose is what it is all about. Also, spending so much time away from home was never in the plan. However, as the engagements I took on during the pandemic gradually fall away I think that I should get back to the new normal, or at least the new new normal.

Meanwhile the events in Ukraine serve as a sharp reminder of just how lucky so many of us are, how much we sometimes take for granted, and how the brutality of some people to others, their ability to strip them of their humanness, has not changed in a thousand years – as Philip Larkin said “Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf.” Being tired at the end of a week is a small price to pay when it is merely a side effect of being able to live my life freely an according to my own decisions.