I opened a tin of tomato soup a couple of nights ago, very excited about the prospect of light snack at the end of a tiring day. I took the lid off the can, and was slightly horrified to find something light-coloured which looked a little like a finger nail inside. A bit of digging revealed it was actually a baked bean. And not just one baked bean. It was a full tin of Heinz baked beans! How bizarre is that? One wonders how many other tins have been mixed up in this manner. More worryingly, it occurred to me that someone might one day open a tin of vegetarian soup and find a meat-based soup inside. We were with my Mum last night, and, as I recounted the story, she chipped in: "I've opened a tin of baked beans before and found sausages inside! In fairness, it did say 'baked beans with sausages' on the label..." The point of my story seemed to be slightly lost on her!
I met Little Michelle in Cambridge yesterday and we had a lovely little drift around the shops together. We found ourselves somewhere near Magdalene college and it suddenly struck me that we might be able to visit the Pepys Library. It's so rarely open, but a quick check on the website revealed we were in luck. Michelle has sung both versions of the Pepys Motet, so was the perfect person to drag along.
The Pepys Library consists of the large collection of books which Pepys bequeathed to his old college when he died. It's a hugely important resource which features an esoteric and highly eclectic set of books including a series of incredibly rare medieval manuscripts. It's astonishing that the collection has survived for over 350 years entirely intact. They even survived the Great Fire of London. The books are still in the cases that Pepys himself designed and had built by navy carpenters. They are actually the first example in the world of adjustable shelves. Fact.
Nathan picked us up from a pub near Lammas Land and we drove down to Thaxted for a ten-minute cup of tea and slice of cake before hot-footing it to a community centre in a deeply rural village near Bishop's Stortford, where the phone reception was non-existent.
We were doing a quiz. It was a quiz for fun rather than a quiz for work. It was one of those quizzes where the quirky personality of the quiz mater shines through in an occasionally brutal manner. There were all sorts of super hero questions and questions about Star Trek and Lego. It was a real geek fest. There was a music round, but it revolved around male vocalists from the 1970s, which was so specific it hurt. It was one of those quizzes which I started to lose interest in towards the end, which is really very rare for me.
This morning we woke up and tidied the house for a major rehearsal for Em. Twelve of my favourite people gathered in our front room at 1pm and we went through the ensemble vocals for the album whilst drinking copious cups of tea and eating biscuits and sweets. I think people in the room were differently prepared, shall we say. Some were rather too reliant on those who were better prepared. It was a fairly gruelling rehearsal but at least everyone now has a sense of what they need to go away and practise! There's a lot of material. Next Saturday in the studio will be exhausting unless everyone brings their A game. But what a treat it was to have all of those wonderful people together in a room. It's like a little family. A lot of the singers were in Brass at some point along its journey. Others have come on board with Em, premiering songs at various cabarets or, in the case of the hugely luminous Maeve, reading the script and providing Irish know how! I always feel a bit like a mother hen in those circumstances.
Sadly, I had to dart off before the end of the rehearsal to mark another quiz. It was was in a liberal synagogue in Knightsbridge and went very well. I'm officially exhausted, though. My enormous puffy eye is an indication of how run down I am, but I certainly feel like I'm living life!