Thursday, 5 April 2012

Red, white and green

It’s incredibly cold. I’ve just had to turn the heating on. Usually, I’d simply put a jumper on, but I can’t find one! I’m absolutely wiped out. I didn’t sleep well last night. I drank a cup of tea just before bed, which wasn’t particularly sensible. I drifted off to sleep, and then woke up with a start and then it was telly-a-ho for much of the night!

Last night a small group of York-based singers gathered in a recording studio to make a demo of all the individual parts for the anthem I’ve written. It all went very smoothly, but predictably, we ran out of time. It also struck me that everything was a tone too high. The brass band had a rehearsal on the piece last night, and oddly, they too feel it’s a tone too high, so the decision has been made to drop the key. Unfortunately this means we have to start all over again with the recording, which I might have to do in London as it’s very expensive to keep training me up to York, particularly at short notice. Still, it’s worth it, as I think the excellent soprano who joined us yesterday was slightly perturbed by the concept of singing a top B flat! Writing a top B flat was not very community-spirited of me! It’s a luxury to hear some of the very people singing the music who will be performing it in July, and it’s spurred me on to re-write a few of the corners they seemed to struggle with.

The Queen was in York this morning, in fact, she was due to arrive in the train station the very time that my train was due to leave. Micklegate was absolutely heaving with people; all waiting patiently with their little union flags. Use them whilst you can, I say. When Scotland leaves the union, we’ll have to have a serious redesign. A Blue Peter competition, maybe.  I favour replacing blue with green to represent Wales. A red, white and blue flag is so 19th Century!

I sat in the train station waiting for my train with a cup of tea. The two girls on the table behind me were students at the university. I was fairly astonished by their conversation, which had, understandably turned to the Queen and the concept of royalty. “I quite like that we have a monarch” said one, “there aren’t many countries in the world with a monarchy are there?” There was a pause. “I can’t think of any” she said. “Spain. Spain has a king.” “I don’t think so,” (The other one finally piped up.) “Are we the only country with a Queen? France doesn’t have a queen, does it?” There was another pause, and then from nowhere... “India” one of them said, “India’s the sort of country that would have a Queen.” And then, the ultimate line dripped out of one of their mouths; “people are really jealous of the Queen, aren’t they? The Americans and the Australians all wish they had one.” I feel obliged to point out that these girls were UNIVERSITY students, not two six year-old girls in a special needs class! Sometimes I worry that the intelligence levels of students has almost dropped through the floor... Or maybe I was that dense when I was a student. Maybe I’ve just accumulated a lot of knowledge since leaving? I remember Fiona having to explain the concept of Karma to me when I was in the Upper Sixth. I felt even then that it was something I should have known...

Here's a question. I've just been on google analytics to look at my website stats, and I seem to have a large fan base in Leicester. Why? I've never worked in Leicester... I've only ever been to cout in Leciester!
350 years ago, Pepys did a spin in the garden to gossip with the influential Sir George Carteret about Sir William Batten, who Pepys was beginning to loathe and resent. In the afternoon, a workman turned up to discuss the idea of adding more floors to the houses within the Navy Office complex. Pepys almost permanently had builders in. This really was the age of home improvements.

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