Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Landing with a bump

I landed back in London last night with something of a bump. Everyone who walked past me at King's Cross station seemed to be either angry or depressed, and I realised that grumpiness is really part of the make-up of London. In fact, I started to think what an impossible task the manager of that Tesco store in Hackney will have trying to get his staff to give decent customer service.  The majority of Londoners are in such a hurry to be somewhere - anywhere - else that everything else goes out of the window!

So today I've been formatting and sifting through the notes I made in Leeds, whilst simultaneously trying to empty my suitcase, do my washing, and make a start on the last two Pepys Motet linking sequences. For some reason, my hands smell of bleach.

I've also been transcribing a 90-year old Leeds woman singing a song about the Barnbow Lassies, recorded in the early 90s
about six months before she died. It's apparently the song the women used to sing as they filled shells in the factory. I'm astounded she remembered it for the best part of 80 years. Transcribing it was complicated and involved a lot of guess work. It didn't seem to scan particularly well and there were sections where she'd plainly forgotten the melody and opted to make something rather tuneless up whilst focussing on the words. But what a treat it was to hear her voice - her wonderful West Riding accent lilting through.  Just lovely. 

Nathan arrived home from Coventry an hour ago, clasping a manuscript pad from our friend Carrie, who he's been working with for the last couple of days. Carrie had seen the book whilst shopping in Newquay and thought of me. How touching is that? It's a lovely thing and I've decided to use it the very next time I put pen to paper. I could have done with it today, actually. 

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