Sunday, 5 December 2010

Bladder stones in the ashes

I’m currently sitting on a train which is speeding its way back to London. I’m absolutely shattered. The rail network is in total disarray this evening, and an “emergency” service is being run, so I’m not altogether sure why all the seats seem to have been reserved. I have a horrible feeling that I’m going to get as far as York before being decanted into another carriage by a belligerent old bat.

My trip to London will be short and potentially not that sweet! I have an awful lot of washing to do before I return to Northern climes. I’m up with the lark tomorrow for a preliminary hearing at Melton Mowbray County Court. Apparently, I can only expect the meeting to be 15 minutes long, which seems a bit tough after an 8 hour journey! A preliminary hearing for a small claims dispute is apparently incredibly rare. We’re there to decide if an expert witness needs to be called to assess whether my writing is too difficult for a choir to perform. From my perspective, one shouldn’t attempt to argue that something’s impossible to perform until one has actually tried to perform it, but I guess I’m just the writer!

Upsettingly, my lawyer from the MU is stranded somewhere in Manchester, so won’t be able to attend the hearing with me. This frightens me, because the world of courtrooms is totally unfamiliar, but as she points out, I’ll be in and out in seconds. I’m to remember that this is not the actual hearing, and my parents will be there for moral support. Deep breaths...

Today’s auditions went extremely well. We were in a shopping centre in Newcastle, and I was particularly thrilled that someone I’d met at the Karaoke on Friday night had been able to come along. We met some wonderful singers and some incredibly inspiring characters. One lady made me cry with a rendition of that song about remembering September. I don’t know what it’s called, but it broke my heart because she sang it like Judith Durham. She was also blind, which had no bearing on her performance, but brought a whole new meaning to the lyric. Earlier in the day, we’d had a real Susan Boyle moment, when a woman in a scruffy woolly hat turned up, opened her mouth and unleashed Shirley Bassey!

My Judith Durham

It’s amazing to hear people’s stories. I realised today how often sheer good luck, or a face which somehow fits the Zeiitgeist, makes the difference between someone becoming wealthy and someone languishing in a life of bitter disappointment and missed opportunities. Some of the people I heard today have voices which knock the spots off many of the professionals I’ve worked with; and their attitudes are streaks better. One of the things I love most about my career is that I get to work with people who seem to care passionately about what we're doing together; it's not just great fun, but it also improves their outlook on life, and their sense of self esteem.
So life is good, even thought this train carriage smells like a combination of poo, cheese, and eau de Cologne, which is disconcerting to say the least!

Wednesday 5th December 1660, and Pepys was once again at the theatre, this time watching a performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which he thought was generally badly acted. On the way home, he called in on his parents and found his mother still ill with her bladder/ kidney stones, one of which she’d newly “voided” and dropped into the fireplace, no doubt horrified at its size and the pain it had caused on its way out. Pepys, being an inquisitive/unsqueamish sort, asked to see it, so his poor, (unwell) mother was forced to get onto her hands and knees to sift through the ashes until she could satisfy her son’s request.

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