Sunday, 4 October 2015


So, it turns out that my sister-in-law, Sam, whom we toasted earlier in the week, didn't get actually married in a wedding chapel in Las Vegas (as reported in Monday's blog), she had a much more glamorous and astonishing-sounding ceremony in the open air at the Valley of Fire, which is part of the Grand Canyon. I'm told it was just her, her new husband, a photographer and the registrar in the middle of nowhere, which sounds sounds utterly spectacular. Over the past three weeks Sam and Julius have been biking their way along the entire length of Route 66, all the way from Chicago to Santa Monica Pier in LA. They did the entire trip on Harley Davidsons, which is about as cool as you can get, and they finally completed their journey yesterday. It's curious to think of them driving along the last section of Route 66, the Santa Monica Boulevard, which was the road we spent much of our time on whilst staying with Matt in LA in July.

It's felt incredibly autumnal today. Everything was a little hazy and the sun took most of the day to break through. Heaven knows why, but the air smelt of woodsmoke when I left the house. It's a smell I associate with the countryside rather than Highgate and it's incredibly reminiscent of my childhood.

I got incredibly stressed leaving the house today after realising quite how much I've still to do on Brass. At some point along the line on this project, I let my guard down, thinking I had nearly finished, so everything I'm forced to do now feels just miserable. It doesn't help that I've had no time to keep fit. My skin is breaking out in spots. When I run for trains, I feel out of breath. In the last few days, my back has gone into spasms. I'd love to say that nothing was worth this sort of stress, but, of course, it is. It's my career and unfortunately I've realised of late that I'm one of those people who's always climbing a hill rather than sailing down the other side! Perhaps my subconscious feels something isn't actually worth doing unless I'm grinding myself unnecessarily into the ground!

Life is very complicated sometimes.

It was cake and craft this afternoon and I went down to Catford via public transport because Nathan was up in Stamford doing a gig. Fortunately the journey passed without incident and I was down there before I knew it.

Today's Craft and Cake was great fun. It was a good crowd and Julie spoilt us with raspberry eclairs, scones and a fruit cake.

I cadged a lift back to central London with Uncle Bill who was heading to the theatre. Sadly we got horribly snarled up in South London traffic (mainly jams caused by aggressive drivers) and watched the sat nav as our expected arrival time haemorrhaged from thirty minutes before the show to ten minutes after! Fortunately we were able to park up just outside the theatre, so I reckon she won't have missed too much.

The show she was seeing was at the Shaw Theatre up near Euston in the area known as Somers Town, where I once spent a term teaching singing in a very under-privileged school. It was a sad old place; a wonderful school, but because the kids were from so many different backgrounds, the school was forced to prioritise bi-lingual classroom assistants over any form of musical provision. They used to bring me in for a few lessons here and there when they could afford it.

I remember a little Bengali girl at the school who was blind. She was a lovely natured girl who used to like to sit behind the piano with me. It turned out that she had perfect pitch. Had she come from a more middle class background, or been born in the 1970s when music provision in schools was taken seriously, I'm sure she would have made a very fine musician... Or at the least, a piano tuner! It made me angry.

One of the streets in that particular area is called Polygon Road. I'm told it's named after a very curious and eccentric multi-sided building which, until the 1860s, stood in the middle of a square in the area, growing over the course of many years with people adding little bits to it whenever they felt so obliged. I imagine if it were about today, it would be a major tourist attraction. Instead, its foundations lie under a pool of concrete.

I got home and spent the evening working on Brass with Strictly on in the background. There are some lovely performers this year. I still don't know who many of them are!

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