It was not really a surprise that the Patronal Festival at Mary Abbots was abandoned over the weekend, instead becoming a service in memory of the late Queen, the performance of the St. Mary Abbots Jubilate pushed back to another time. As with most people who work in churches, the details of the next week or so are all subject to change, at least until the official period of mourning is over.

I did go back to the symphony towards the end of the week and over the weekend, noting from my files that it has been over a year since I have done any work on it, which seems at once extraordinary and completely unsurprising. Although the longer I left it the more obstructive the obstacles seemed that prevented me from going back, it actually turned out to be far easier than I had thought to return to it, to pick up the orchestration exactly where I had left off.

As I left the symphony after that first new session I found myself feeling enthusiastic once again, ready to get going into the piece after a long break and aware that, even if the end of the road is a long way off, it will be reached one small step at a time until the point that I stand there at the destination, wondering why it took me quite so long. Will it be done by the end of the year? Maybe.

It happens that the suspension of Parliamentary business in this period of official mourning means that I have a couple of unexpectedly free days in my calendar, and I intend to use those to continue beavering away on the symphony and the several other pieces on the table, to use the time wisely. Parliament Choir ended up being back in the chapel only for the single rehearsal, but somehow it seemed appropriate that we were looking at “Go in the name of angels and archangels” from The Dream Of Gerontius.

I was also immensely cheered to hear of the probable first performance of my setting of Adam Lay Ybounden, which should receive an outing shortly before Christmas, the first of the green shoots of this post-sabbatical, post-Covid and now post-Elizabethan age. This is the product of an unexpected link with a choir which came about through one of my other lives, one of those delightful surprises that life can sometimes throw our way. Times change and people come and go and we must carry on carrying on.