If there are too many summer weekends like this, there is a distinct risk that my usual cautious pessimism will vanish altogether. Already, I find myself grinning happily for no reason at all. Not only is the ‘glass half full’ but it’s rather near brimming.
I blame the weather. It’s like SAD – seasonal affective disorder, but with the opposite effect to the usual depression caused by wintry lack of daylight – hardly a disorder however in this particular instance: SAO (for order) perhaps?
Anyway, I went to a lovely concert at Snape Maltings the other night. It was the Britten Sinfonia, playing music by Ravel, Sibelius, Vaughan Williams and Mozart, plus the world premiere of Michael Zev Gordon’s oboe concerto, which has been commissioned by the BBC – because of this the concert was being recorded by Radio 3. After the concerto was played, the composer joined the soloist, orchestra and conductor on the stage – how wonderful it must be, to hear your piece played in public for the first time in such a fabulous setting.
I went on my own, which allows time and opportunity to watch one’s fellow concert-goers. My neighbour was alone too, a man in his fifties or sixties – he had an almost unlined face but snow-white hair. His hands caught my eye, initially because of his rings. Unusually, he wore a ring on each forefinger, but on no other finger. He had very lovely hands, quite small with slender fingers and particularly well-manicured nails. It was because of the shapliness of his forefingers that he could get away with the rings, which I admired; both gold, one a slender triple coil ending in a rounded, flattened oval, and the other a plain band, decorated only by an intricate, though understated, knot. I arrived after him and he had to stand up for me. The seats are firm and I always take two cushions “You’re well padded” he said, smiling, then “Oh! I mean, um to sit down, er….” I assured him I’d taken it in the least personal sense possible and we both laughed.