Richard’s Blog June 2013

After an amazing Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of May, with some warm sunshine and meals in the garden, the weather seemed to forget what it was supposed to do and a planned trip to Holland for 10-12 May looked like it might be a wash out. In fact, it all turned out rather well, and on the morning of Friday 10th May, with my old friend Nigel Mainard, we set off for the Euroshuttle and a boys weekend, to look at old cars. The first scheduled stop was to be in Belgium, and although the sat-nav took us to the precise address late on the Friday afternoon, we could see no sign of anything looking like a car dealership. Feeling in need of refreshment we continued to Ghent and a very comfortable hotel from which we ambled into town along a pleasant riverbank, soon to find some excellent Belgian beer, closely followed by steak frites in my case, and asparagus frites for Nigel.

On Saturday morning we decided to forego the rather expensive sounding hotel breakfast and set off in search of a Belgian greasy spoon. The only place we could find was near the railway station where we were advised to purchase our eats from the next-door mini-Carrefour while madam made us some coffee. The coffee was served with a little pot of honey, laced with advocaat, suitably warming for the rather chilly morning, especially as it was by then raining. After several warming coffees, we set off for our main goal, the dealership of Joop Stolze, just outside Rotterdam. Once again, the sat-nav took us to the precise location but once again, no sign of a car dealership. Luckily, a neighbouring 21st century motor dealer put us straight and a few minutes later, having negotiated a narrow single-track (just) roadway between bulb-growing greenhouses, we found Joop’s place, the like of which neither of us had ever seen before. Mr Stolze has over 500 classic cars parked nose-to-tail in greenhouses and he kindly let us explore his collection, although even finding space to walk between them was a challenge as we’d been exhorted not to touch them. As we wandered to and fro in amazement, the sun began to shine and, being in a greenhouse, the temperature rose. After about three hours our appetite for rusty metal was suitably sated and, proffering our thanks and expressions of astonishment, we withdrew and embarked on the short journey to our Rotterdam hotel. Why not take a look at Joop’s collection:

Having checked in, we headed for a quick walk around Rotterdam, to get our bearings and a late lunch. That evening we enjoyed an excellent meal at a Chinese restaurant and after a comfortable night at the hotel we set off on Sunday morning for the drive back to Calais and time to do some wine shopping at Carrefour before catching the Euroshuttle. Imagine our shock and horror to discover that the supermarkets are not open on Sundays in Calais, other than in December. We were both kicking ourselves that we hadn’t taken the opportunity to shop in Holland when, thanks to Nigel’s trusty sat-nav we were directed to a British owned wine supermarket in Calais which was open, well-stocked and not full of shoppers. Mission accomplished, we headed for the shuttle and an easy journey home.

The following week, I headed for Cambridge and the ACE foundation with another good friend, Paul Harris, to explore possibilities of collaborative working to provide professional development courses for teachers. Negotiations are well underway and we should soon be able to announce our plans for autumn 2013 and Spring 2014.

Friday 17 May had been pencilled in my diary as a launch date for the new Certificate for Music Educators (CME) but a couple of days before I had heard that this event was no longer going ahead. It seemed slightly synchronistic therefore that on that very day, I met with colleagues at Trinity College London (the exam board) who were looking for someone to assist their music team for a few weeks, in Francesca Christmas’s absence. I was delighted to accept, and began work in earnest on 22 May. It’s curious to be back in the world of early morning starts and the London commute, but it’s a huge pleasure to be working with their team, especially their Head of Teacher Development, Chris Walters, formerly editor of Music Teacher magazine, who is looking after the development of the CME.

Meanwhile, on Saturday 18 May, an outing in Priscilla to a local village fete where Priscilla’s previous owner, Priscilla, was to be found. It was a jolly occasion with maypole dancing and the like, but the most popular spot was definitely the tea tent where we could shelter from the chilly winds and overcast sky.

So, here we are in the middle of June. It’s still not much warmer, although there are some signs of improvement in the weather although I don’t feel that I’m missing much on the sunshine front by being back in a London office where I’m thoroughly enjoying my work for Trinity College, especially because of the support and commitment they’re giving to professional development for teachers. It’s time to book Priscilla in for her MOT and finalise plans for the Cambridge courses the Taster is already booked in, and will take place at ACE on 21st November 2013. 

Richard Crozier

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