Monday, 8 October 2018

Country air

The tubes were all broken when I reached the underground this morning. There’s a horrible moment, as the tube doors open, when you realise you’re in for a rough journey. A haze of sweat rolls out of the carriage and it becomes obvious that the group of individuals within have become an amorphous mass, with faces and arms crammed into every single corner. It’s a terribly depressing way to start the week.

The weekend was rather relaxing. It kicked off with a synagogue service. Michael is away in Italy at the moment, so we were without a conductor, but it was an experienced bunch of singers and we blended well. We always have such wonderfully erudite conversations whilst we’re on our tea break. We regularly talk about religion, culture, politics and the murky world of gender and sexuality. On Saturday, we discussed generational divides in the way that people perceive, and respond to, mental health issues. There is a Jewish tradition of debating in synagogues. We may not be discussing the finer points of the Torah, but we always do our bit when it comes to talking about the big issues.

I went home for a while and entered a sort of reverie, staring at the television, wondering if I should have a sleep. Nathan was due to arrive back from Northern Ireland on a late night flight into Stansted, so I called the parents to see if they were free to take a visitor whilst I waited to pick him up. As it happened, they weren’t, but they were planning to go to a quiz, and didn’t have enough people on their team, so I jumped into a car and joined them at the Thaxted bowls club, which is actually in the middle of a darkened field with no discernible front door.

The quiz itself was aimed at a different demographic, with the music round dedicated to songs from the 50s and 60s.

Despite not being a massively useful team member, it was hugely gratifying to look around and see that I was the youngest person in the room. That doesn’t happen very often these days! The quiz master was somewhat lacking in charisma, and showed such personal bias in his questions, that the team with his wife on ended up winning, but it’s easy to underestimate how difficult and thankless writing and running a quiz can be. Simply for getting off his harris and doing it, he deserved a hearty round of applause.

Nathan was kind enough to take an Uber from Stansted to the bowls club to enable me to keep quizzing, and when everything was over, and we’d come a miserable third out of five, we headed back to the parents’ house to watch Strictly. Obviously I’m still supporting the iconic Faye off of Steps, so it was pleasing to me that she did so well.

We ended up staying the night in Thaxted. I went out like a light and slept like the dead and we managed a Sunday pub lunch before heading back to London. I worked the entire afternoon and evening putting final touches to the new orchestrations for Brass, which I finally sent off at about midnight, feeling as relieved to have finished as I felt resentful that they’d taken so long!

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