The cleaners did everything except hoover two bedrooms, so I’ve got a lovely clean house – that is, just surface cleaned, you’ll have to excuse me moving the furniture (though I have in the annexe. Well, not the piano, the rest of it).
I’ve discovered that, when I’m awake in the night, putting a radio programme on iPlayer sends me back to sleep. I’ve not heard the end of a half-hour programme yet. I don’t listen live because, sooner or later it’ll wake me up again, but an episode of something quietly comes to an end without waking me.
Now taking the papers to bed, knowing I don’t have to hurry in the morning – we had a meeting planned, but have been able to do all the business by email. Two cancelled in a week for that reason, such efficiency!
And now you know all my clothes washing habits. Oh good.
Tomorrow, the cleaners are coming, two of them for a couple of hours. Since I’ve done all the sorting out, I don’t see why they can’t hoover and dust throughout the house in the time, I could in a morning. I won’t be here, unfortunately, but that’s because of a small misunderstanding between ‘every fourth Tuesday (of the month)’ and ‘every fourth Tuesday’ which is entirely understandable when you think about it. And, since the third Tuesday isn’t good for me, it’s fortunate that it’ll only be this month and next, after which it’ll be the second Tuesday – yes, I know, this is getting both boring and bewildering. If you’re still interested, check out the calendar, otherwise just nod and pass it by. Anyhoo, the point is that the housework will be basically done, I’ll just have to waft a duster next week. And you’ll take me as you find me, innit? Clean sheets and good kitchen hygiene are all that matter, when it comes down to it, though a ringless bath is a bonus.
Russell has some sorting out to do tomorrow. I’ve let him off the eighteen – yes, truly – boxes he dumped in Ro’s room, along with leaving the four black bags because he couldn’t be arsed to take them downstairs, but have stipulated other things, because the cleaners need a clear run for maximum efficiency.
I’ve just had a phone call from Weeza. Little Zerlina isn’t very well – unfortunately, the commitments I have tomorrow aren’t easy to get out of at this late stage, but I’m free Friday, so Weeza will take tomorrow off and I’ll come and babysit Gus on Friday so that she can make up the day then. She works Monday to Wednesday normally, though is always available on phone or email – she and her boss are pretty relaxed and confident and as long as the work is done, all’s fine.
And so to bed, dear hearts. I haven’t looked at today’s papers and I have yet to walk the dog. But I have put the clean and dry washing away and emptied the dishwasher. Oh yes.
Another lovely concert last night, and the composer of the Horn Concerto played, Colin Matthews, was present and was called on to the stage to be applauded, and he looked very proud and pleased, as well he might be. A wonderful piece of work, beautifully performed. Weeza and I had a really good evening. I forgot to take our tickets and went to the box office to own up – of course, the chap could look them up and reprint them, but he jovially reprimanded me and I was duly humble – all in jest, of course. Once, years ago, I managed to throw away all my tickets to all the concerts and was able to get another set, so it wasn’t my daftest action.
I’m way behind in my letter-writing – it’s all this blogging that takes my time – and am going to write to Martina now. If only Seattle were not so far away – she is one of so many lovely people I’ve met here whom I’d love to meet.
If I’ve left your name out it’s because I am fundamentally a bit hopeless, so please just tell me you’re coming, and if you haven’t told me yet then you’re certainly invited. There’s room to stay but there might be a slight bed shortage, so it’ll be good (but not essential) to have time to think things through. I’ve certainly got three double beds and a single and more spare rooms without beds in them yet, but have options. It’ll be fine, don’t let a question of accommodation concern you.
The list I have, and apologies for anyone I’ve left off –
PixieMum and Ian
Compostwoman, if her back is up to the journey
Wendz and Martin
Mike and Ann
Sir Bruin and Liz
Blue Witch and Mr BW
Rog and Mrs Rine (with Holly and Lily)
Mig and Barney
Roses and Lawrence
Macy, who’s been silent of late
Family – Ro and Dora will be in Paris but the rest hope to come. That is –
The Sage and Z (well, obv)
Weeza, Phil, Zerlina and Augustus
Al, Dilly, Squiffany, Pugsley and Hadrian
There’s no limit to numbers, we have plenty of room and I’ll just borrow more tables and crockery if we run out. I haven’t started to think about food yet, but let me know if there’s anything you don’t eat if I don’t already know it. And don’t be concerned about not knowing people, everyone is so friendly and welcoming that you soon will.
I’d rather put it all behind me, I’ve managed to clear the decks for the weekend pretty well and I’m not going to call myself lazy for at least a week as a consequence. Tomorrow, I’m having a new mattress delivered, which was only ordered this afternoon – the local shop is fabulous. Al and Dilly bought a new bed when they moved and left their wooden bedstead behind, telling us that it could do with a new mattress and, since the room will probably be called into use over the blog party weekend, I knew I had to deal with it. But there were a number of more pressing matters and it’s a mark of my getting on with things that I can look a whole fortnight ahead now. And it was easy. I walked in, was taken up to the top floor where they keep the stock, I chose a mattress and agreed a delivery time of 8.30 tomorrow morning, paid and walked out, all within ten minutes. It’s the best shop in the world. You can buy a reel of cotton, a ball of wool or a pair of gloves, or else a glamourous nightie or some old-fashioned big knickers, you can carpet your house and go some way towards furnishing it and you can buy your bed, duvet and pillows there and have a reasonable choice of linen for it, as well as a range of materials for the curtains. Which they will make for you if you aren’t that sort of needleperson. And it’s all done at a fair price, promptly. Yagnub is a lucky town.
But I’m a pretty lucky Z too, as far as customer service goes. I’ve had to deal with a good many firms by phone yesterday and today and they have all been fabulous. It’s turned a dreary and tedious amount of work into something that has given me satisfaction for a job that’s been well completed, even if it’s left me drained.
Tonight, I’m listening to Radio 3 iPlayer, the recording of Peter Grimes. When I went on Sunday, they were recording for the beach performances, but on Friday it was being played live on Radio 3 and that’s what I’ve got on. Lovely, brings back the feel of five nights ago.
Last night, after an hour’s sleep, I woke and couldn’t sleep again. At 1.30 there was the ping of an email from a member of staff. A few minutes later, another and then a third. I was being copied into emails, they weren’t addressed to me, but all the same, I emailed back … “M, shouldn’t you get some sleep?” I asked mildly. I received the reply at 7.24. H’m. A work/life balance slippage there.
This evening, I combed Ben. I filled the wastepaper basket with hair. At least the carpet (which is Ben-coloured) should be spared for the next couple of days. The Sage has been splendid, doing most of the dog-walking, but Ben and I had a lovely cuddle and a frolic this afternoon and he knows I still love him, however busy I am. A bit earlier, the Sage had called me. “Ben’s got something in his mouth.” He picks up all sorts of things he shouldn’t, so I addressed him sternly. “Give, Ben, give,” and prised his mouth open. Staring him in the eye made him submit. On his tongue was one of his own dog biscuits, uneaten. He’d have let me take it, too. Of course, I let him go and said he could eat it. But I’m not sure there has ever been a sweeter-natured dog, ever.
My teacher could never understand why I flatly refused to take clarinet exams. “You’ve got Grade 5 Theory, you could go straight in at 5, you play at diploma level already,” she said. But I loathed piano exams when I was a child and they certainly spoiled my enjoyment of playing the piano. Having to thump out the same dreary tunes for ages in preparation for an exam, the dreadful fear (for an acutely self-conscious child) of being watched as I played, by a judgemental stranger – I hated every minute and only ever scraped though the exams (though getting full marks for the written theory exams, which I enjoyed) and all for something that was of no importance at all, as far as I could see. I said to her, I didn’t feel the need to prove anything. I didn’t want to measure myself, I just wanted to learn the clarinet for pleasure and play as well as I could for my own satisfaction and sense of fulfilment.
Years ago, I’d have not played in public out of fear, and that was largely a hang-over from those beastly exams, but I’ve been playing in church (and played in those little end of term concerts) enough times to have got that well out of my system – although, of course, one is always nervous before a special occasion and so one should be. So now I know for sure that I simply don’t want to do it, I don’t want to be the focus of attention, I don’t like showing off, which is what it feels like to me.
Many people who are good at singing or playing want to show other people how well they can do it, to give them pleasure, to make them happy, and I’m very glad they do. And it can complete the learning of a piece and give their efforts a purpose. However, I have no comprehension of that desire. I don’t need or like applause and I know I’m not so good that that it would be worth overcoming my reluctance to perform.
I’m at Snape, having eaten a plateful of very good fish stew and not yet finished a bottle of the beer that Adnams brewed especially for Britten’s centenary: Native Britten, made from Suffolk ingredients and flavoured with honey and thyme. It’s a beautiful, peaceful sight from the window, reed beds and the river, one of my favourite places in Suffolk.
It took a while to relax, having had a 9 o’clock meeting that went on for nearly three hours, after which I had to do some follow-up work straight away and it was just as well I had an afternoon concert to go to (Britten, Janáček and Schubert [I’m dead impressed, the iPhone autofilled in Janáček, accents and all] ) which was lovely, at Blythburgh church and I came straight on over. I phoned the Sage, all is well at home.
Tonight, it’s piano music from the last hundred years. I know very little of it, though I’m sure that John Cage’s 4’33” will not sound unfamiliar (the last word is hardly required).
The sun has come out again. This year’s Aldeburgh Festival is just what I need, I’ve felt jagged for too long. Not that I can relax for a bit, but a little respite is allowed and very much appreciated.
Sent from Z’s iPhone