Friday, 30 July 2010

Weird sheep

I was awoken at 5am this morning by the very strange sound of sheep.

Sleeping in a tent is a peculiar experience, particularly in a camp site in the middle of nowhere, which becomes almost deathly silent after dark. The strangest sounds get amplified out of all proportion and in your little synthetic bubble, you lose all sense of where they’re coming from. At one point I could hear a girl’s voice talking in her sleep. It sounded like the voice of an angel in my slumber.

The sheep, however, were highly entertaining. They were so loud that I assumed a massive herd of them were wondering past my tent. I know livestock are meant to bleat and moo with regional accents, but these chaps sounded really weird. I became certain that within the melee, at least one human was doing unconvincing sheep impressions!

I had to be up supremely early to be interviewed by BBC Breakfast at Rievaulx Abbey. A very charming man, with startling blue eyes did the introductions, whilst members of the Yorkshire Wind Ensemble played a few bars of my music... again and again! No one had told them they’d need to play, so I was thrilled that they were able to remember anything of the symphony at all! Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that they’d be playing whilst I spoke and I found the whole experience extremely confusing to the point I’m not sure I said anything that made any sense whatsoever!

Still, the journey across the moors to Helmsley was astonishingly pleasant. We drifted over the tops of beautiful hillsides covered in “shining purple heather” and looked down into valleys where little swirls of mist hung over the rocks like puffs of smoke. Our journey took us up and over the famous Rosedale Chimney so I was finally able to see the stunning view from there. Keen readers of this blog will remember that my last visit to the place was marred by a ridiculous unseasonal mist, which restricted the view to a white cloud which seemed to be strangling a little wooden bench!

As an interesting addendum to my rant yesterday. I discovered that my friend Meriel, upon telling the York Minster people that she wanted to use the building to reflect and pray, was given free entry, which made me feel a great deal less angry about the situation. Perhaps the church of England isn’t as bad or money-grabbing as I’d first thought! And, in response to the comment left on yesterday’s blog, I do appreciate that these churches and cathedrals are extremely expensive to maintain and would be horrified to see them turning to dust.

350 years ago, and Pepys was very proudly showing his father his new home and office. Later on they were joined by Pepys’ former neighbour, Mrs Crisp, who obviously had a whiff of the Anna Rider Richardsons about her, for she made a number of suggestions as to how the house might be better furnished.

Pepys received his first quarter’s salary, and went drinking in Westminster to celebrate. It was at the Rhenish Winehouse that he was sought out by the entertainingly named Mr. man, better known as the sword-bearer of London, who wanted to purchase Pepys’ Clerk of the Acts position. Quite why he felt this would be either practical or legitimate, I’ve no idea, but Pepys humoured him, suggesting they talk about it in the morning.

And for those of you who can’t wait to see A Symphony for Yorkshire, a trailer is now up on You Tube, so take a look, and let me know your thoughts. The full thing will be displayed on You Tube from mid-day on Sunday. I really hope you enjoy it...

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