It's been a day of meeting friends. Everyone needs a day like this from time to time...
Hilary came up to Highgate first thing and we walked through the woods up to Muswell Hill where we bought pastries before heading back via Parkland Walk with its Mrs Tiggywinklesque elevated views across the city.
It's always so lovely to see Hils. There was a time before she moved to Lewes and had little Jago, when we saw each other all the time and I miss our chats about music and singing and art.
We went down to Giraffe on the South Bank this afternoon for Ian's goodbye drinks. So many people were there: Abbie and Ian, Julie, Sam and Matt, Anthony, Shannon, Llio... We laughed a great deal, had some lovely food, wound Anthony up a treat and sang Goodbye-ee and lots of other First World War songs. In fact, at one point we sang in such glorious multi part harmony that the entire restaurant started clapping!
Highlight of the evening was undoubtedly taking Llio's portrait for the front cover of the Pepys Motet album. Llio sings the pivotal alto three track on all movements of the piece. The third alto sings almost constantly through the piece, and has a lot of prominent solo lines.
We set up a fabulous photograph in front of the Royal Festival Hall with a load of candles and lanterns. Anthony and Nathan shone torches onto Llio's face and Shannon dropped glitter in front of the camera for a little added campery. The results were dramatic and beautiful. Llio looked like Tori Amos; red hair glowing like the embers of a dying fire.
We drove Ian and Jem back to Friern Barnet at the end of the evening, vowing to see Ian again before he leaves next Saturday. Procrastination, or what? I genuinely don't want to say goodbye to him! None of us do.
We get to keep Jem for a few more weeks...