Today seems to have lasted forever, and from beginning to end I’ve felt a rather mellow, warm sensation radiating from the pit of my stomach! The feeling kicked in whilst I was on The Strand having lunch with my dear friend, Ellie. We were at university together; fellow 'cellists in the orchestra, and inseparable through much of our college careers. She now works as a producer at Radio Three, has a tidy little nuclear family of two girls plus a husband who recently qualified as a lawyer. She got married at 32, had her first child a year later and now lives in a cottage in East Sussex. She is, in short, exactly where she predicted she'd be at the age of 38 when we first met back in 1992. I have enormous respect for her single-mindedness. Nathan always describes her as my most sensible friend. Sensible in a completely non-boring way, that is.
I met my lawyer from the MU in Farringdon in the afternoon and took to her immediately. I wasn't at all surprised to learn that she’d grown up ten miles down the A6 from my childhood home of Higham Ferrers. I could have talked to her all day, but had to leave at 5 to attend the first rehearsal for Oranges and Lemons at St Olave's Church.
For some pathetic reason I found the whole experience incredibly moving. Here was a choir of odd balls; some of whom I'd met through the Pepys projects, others who'd performed the work before. We nestled together in a corner of St Olave's, singing by lamp-light, dusting off the pages of my beloved score. As I studied the choir, I felt continual waves of warmth drifting towards Nathan and me. One girl in particular, who also sings with the trebles in the Pepys motet, has the kindest face I've seen in some years. Everyone worked so hard, and the musical notes felt like old friends. The biggest treat of all, however, was having my brother in the choir, singing proudly and beautifully with the basses. There are few words to describe how magical and right that rehearsal felt, and how lucky I'm feeling as I write this blog tonight.
November 16th 1660 didn’t yield a particularly interesting diary entry from our hero. Pepys went to the Temple and then to Westminster. After dinner, he discussed the possibility of loaning a man 80l, who was offering 15l per year for 8 years in return, which Pepys refused, writing; “I did not think [it] profit enough, and so he seemed to be disappointed by my refusal of it, but I would not now part with my money easily”