It’s not just looking after the children that’s taken my time, it’s been all the driving too, as I mentioned the other day. It all went wonderfully well, I’ve had a lovely week and I hope that Zerlina and Gus have too.
After all the complicated to-ing and fro-ing, I brought Z back here last night. She’d had tea with her friends at the party, so I hadn’t had to feed her myself. Once she was in bed, I didn’t know what to eat. I’d bought a lamb chop for myself but I didn’t feel like cooking or eating it. In the end, I ate chorizo, cheese and olives with cherry tomatoes and sliced pepper, sitting in front of the fire watching Wolf Hall. I watched two episodes back to back in fact, as I’d missed last week’s and I realised at 8 o’clock that I could catch up and watch the next one immediately afterwards.
Today, things went efficiently too. I was awake for several hours in the night so was too sleepy to revive when Z woke up at about 7.40. I mumbled the pass code for my iPad and went straight back to sleep for another hour, to the amusement of my gardener when I came downstairs in my dressing gown. “The clocks haven’t changed yet,” he remarked.
He had a small job to get on with, so I cooked bacon for Z and me and an egg for her. I went out to the bantams, but they hadn’t laid any eggs this morning (they didn’t all day, in fact, nor yesterday, little scamps) so I just gave them breakfast and let them out. We each had two sizeable rashers,, she had a fried egg and bread and butter, I had a piece of toast. Once she’d polished that off, she asked if she could have more bacon, so I cooked two more rashers and then she had toast too. She’s only six and, though tall, she’s a slender child and I can’t think where she puts it.
I went round the garden with Wince and we agreed what the programme for his day was, then I lit the bonfire as he assured me it would rain this afternoon. Then, Zerlina and I went out in the car on a series of errands – first, to get a couple of bags of mixed corn for the chickens. Then we went back to Yagnub by the back road, which reminded me to get diesel for the car. Then up to the farm for eggs and a litre of raw milk (I don’t need the milk and will have to think of a way to use it, but it’s fun to fill the bottle) and back to the garden centre on the same road, for bags of compost ready for seed sowing when my order arrives. As we came through the town, I was able to stop in a 20 minute parking place right by the shops, so was able to pop in and get a loaf of bread. We called in at the store near me, wanting to buy some plants for the pond, but it’s too early in the year so we amused ourselves for half an hour watching the tropical fish, terrapins and frogs, and the rabbits and guinea pigs.
Zerlina had asked for pancakes again and, since she’d had a protein-filled breakfast and I like to say Yes!, that’s what we had for lunch. Mine were flavoured with sugar and lemon juice, but only one of hers was. One contained syrup and the other was spread with Nutella. Then Z went through to have fun with Roses while I went off to the church to play the organ for a funeral.
I didn’t know the lady nor any of her family, except by name but she was clearly very much loved. I haven’t been playing for funerals for several years but ran through the music and it was okay, and set out the books in the order I wanted to play the voluntaries (which are pieces of music played before and after the service). The funeral was due to start at 2, so at 1.58, I started on the piece I planned to be playing as the coffin was brought in.
This is something that no one would think about, but careful timing is aimed for. When the coffin is brought in, the parson intoning “I am the Resurrection and the Life…”, it’s brought along the aisle and placed carefully on trestles by the pallbearers, what the organist wants to do is to continue to play suitable music right up until the bearers walk away and the vicar stops speaking. Five seconds or so either way is fine, but one doesn’t want a long silence nor to keep people waiting – nor to have to stop abruptly. It’s something that one only notices if it’s done badly. Today, the coffin was brought in late.
The organ is up by the choir stalls and I can’t see when the coffin is being brought up the path. At last week’s funeral it was fine, a CD was being played and the verger looked out and put it on at the right time. I played my piece twice and then moved on to another suitable item. There’s another thing, by the way – if you are shuffling through your music as the vicar starts to speak it’s very awkward, so you try not to have more than a second or two as a changeover.
Time passed and I kept playing. I played a third piece. I had a fourth, but by this time it was ten past two and it was rather long and I hadn’t checked for mid-piece stopping places, so I didn’t risk it.
Back to piece one. Back to piece two. I was well into that again when, just after quarter past two, I finally heard the Rector’s voice. And I got the timing right, to my great relief. And the going out was fine because I’d reserved my music for that, I didn’t want to use it early and discreetly shuffle through papers for something to go out to.
It transpired that the person reading a poem had travelled by coach from London and was unavoidably late. If it had been a crematorium, it would have been impossible to wait for him, but timing in a church can be kinder and the Rector did the right thing by reassuring the family and just waiting. I wish I’d known, but I don’t really see how I could have been told and it didn’t actually matter. I have, however, brought home the music of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring to practise a bit because I haven’t played it for several years (it’s not a favourite) but it has the advantages of going on for ages with lots of opportunities for repeats but also for stoppages. However, it’s so well known that I couldn’t risk winging it as any mistakes would have been obvious.
Later, I dropped Roses off at the garage, Stevo back at home and took Zerlina to Boringland to meet her mother. So now I’m on my own and about to cook that lamb chop that I didn’t have yesterday.
Tomorrow, I have no idea what I’ll do. I might prepare the greenhouse, I might turn out a cupboard, I might spend the day cooking or I might just slob in front of the tv. I might even go shopping.