It’s been a bit of a day, in one way and another. I went off to practise the hymns and Jesu Joy and other voluntaries quite early, because a bit of time on my own is useful. I tend to play carelessly the first time, because it makes me quicker-witted. I find that, if I’m playing a piece I know well and make a silly mistake, I can be quite confounded, but if I am used to making mistakes I know how to cover them up. I am a genuinely poor player and I need trickery to get by.
The family came in early and didn’t follow the coffin, which meant that they would hear everything. Bummer. I played various stock voluntaries, checking the time every moment my left hand was free (only trouble with having a phone as a clock, the display turns off) and counted 20 after 5 minutes and started the intro. I noticed, with interest, as I counted the final few silent seconds, that my hands were shaking. I played through, got to the end and there was no sign of the parson. I had planned for that and more-or-less seamlessly started again. He came in, intoning, part-way through Page 2. I’d planned for that too, and marked a section I could leave out and go to the final half page. Remarkably, the timing worked perfectly. I entered the final bar as he spoke his last words and, with a held-on final chord, gave him time to reach his place and the pall-bearers to leave the coffin. It rarely happens so exactly. In due course, I launched into the first hymn and, when it finished, observed that my left leg was twitching jerkily. I couldn’t feel it, but nor could I stop.
It doesn’t normally hit me this way, but they are a really musical family.
Anyway, it was all right and afterwards the churchwarden said that she wished I was their organist, so it must have really been all right. And the Sage came up to say I’d played well, which was very kind (he’s totally unmusical so he hasn’t a clue really, but it was appreciated as he isn’t free with praise).
I had said to him, if a family member invited me to the bunfight afterwards I’d have to go, but otherwise I wouldn’t; he’d go anyway and could give my apologies. And that’s what happened, which meant I had time to come and let Tilly out and go and do some sorting out at the shop and phone in the order before my next appointment.
Later, I had a further appointment at the blood donor clinic. I haven’t donated since my hip operation, as I reckoned I’d want 6 months to be all fit and hearty. I got home and drank a pint of water and had a mug of tea in preparation, then went and read the paper for a bit (I did other things but not a lot) and then realised it was 20 to 7 and time I was off. I went for my car keys. They weren’t where they should be. I looked in the car. Not there. I’d driven to the church, about 4 miles away, this morning, but cycled the 2 miles to the afternoon appointment. I searched everywhere I’d been. No luck. I was running out of time. Finally, as a last resort, I fished out a key from the Sage’s last car, which had been passed on to him by Dilly when she got another one, and tried that. It worked. I drove to the donor place, left the car unlocked (I was sure the battery in the keypad must be flat) and they cheerily accepted me as the last appointment of the day. I drank another pint of water (having fainted once, I’m not ready to again) and duly did my civic duty.
The Sage was cooking dinner when I arrived home.
We both searched for the key. No joy. Finally, I thought that the only place left to look was in the pocket of my jacket; I’d put it on to go to Yagnub in the afternoon but taken it off when I’d been too warm. Indeed, there it was. I had evidently picked it up automatically, even though I was using a bike not a car. Fool. However, at least I now have a spare key. I shall get new batteries for both, tomorrow. I learn lessons. I’m a slow learner, but I try not to repeat too many of my mistakes.