Saturday, 17 April 2010

Every day bringing me a fresh sense of the pleasure of my present life

There’s definitely something odd going on in the atmosphere. Perhaps it’s just me, but Yorkshire seems just a little bit hazy. There are very strange, curiously pink, wispy cloud formations hovering in the sky and periodically the air smells a tad sulphurous. Alison’s car was covered in dust this morning, which she seemed to think was the simple accumulation of months of neglect but when every car we passed on our journey looked just as filthy, even she started to wonder if we were looking at something which belonged to Iceland. How dare they try to repay their banking debts with volcanic dust!

Today we did our first day of auditions, in Hull of all places. The turnout was low, although many of the musicians from East Yorkshire will come as part of larger musical ensembles. It’s also the first of two audition days in the city and the experience rather eased us into the process. It was worth it, though, because I can guarantee at least three of the musicians who turned up will have solos into the final piece. One of them was a saxophonist who specialised in playing baroque music and another was a violinist whose father once piloted ferries on the Humber. He reminded me pretty much of everyone I knew in my youth orchestra days. The poor lad was out of practice and terrified, but beneath the bow shakes a very fine violinist was waiting to pounce.

After lunch we went location hunting and I found myself standing underneath the awe-inspiring Humber suspension bridge. It’s an astonishing feat of engineering and from below it seems to disappear into the distance in a perfect inverted triangle. How cool would it be to film there?

I’m still burning the candles at both ends. I was working on the motet at 2am this morning and doing the same thing over breakfast at 7.

April 17th 1660 was a clear, sunny day and Pepys spent much of the afternoon on the deck with Montagu’s telescope looking across the English Channel to Calais. The cliffs over there were apparently “as plain to be seen as Kent” so much so that Montagu tricked Pepys into believing they were Kent! We can deduce from this information that the Nazeby was no longer anchored outside Deal and had made progress into the Channel. Pepys was an innocent abroad (or aboard), but he wasn’t stupid!

He drifted off to sleep that night whilst John Goods and William Howe sat by his bedside talking, which seems strange by 21st Century standards. His last line proves that Pepy- the-optimist was still very much alive and well;

So to sleep, every day bringing me a fresh sense of the pleasure of my present life

If only we could all drift off to sleep in that frame of mind...

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