The last eight months have been musically and motoringly busy against a backdrop of disappointing summer weather. Although the Spring weather, during my regular trip to Frankfurt in April, looked like we were in for a good summer, it seems to have been downhill since then, until this month. It was good to see the usual crowd of musical contacts at Frankfurt and some enjoyable parcels of work have sprung from there, although I don’t think I shall make a visit to the Musik Messe in 2016, given that the fair is about to change from a trade one with a single day’s public access, to a fully public show, which will change the atmosphere and purpose completely. 

The Plus5s Morgan band has had some fun gigs in Suffolk, Harrogate, and Brands Hatch with a musical trip to France lined up for summer ’16, as well as an appearance at the International Morgan Sports Car Club annual event which, in 2016, is to be held at Horwood House in Buckinghamshire. Playing keyboard is suitably undemanding and whilst the right notes do matter, it does feel like there’s a little more room to manoeuvre than in some musical contexts. Other musical highlights in recent months, where the notes really did matter and I simply had the pleasure of listening to them rather than trying to contribute, have included evensongs at Wells cathedral and King’s College Cambridge, Sibelius and Rachmaninov symphonies at the Proms and the Mozart Serenade for 13 wind instruments at Hartwell House. It was lovely to hear the Mozart played live and with a contra bassoon rather than a double bass adding to the delicious texture.

It was great to be able to use the car for work this year which included a trip to Wells in Somerset for Trinity College on what was I believe the hottest day of the year, another to the Royal Agricultural University at Cirencester for work with Artis and several to Wootton near Woodstock in Oxfordshire to work with a colleague from the Musicians’ Union. It’s even more fun to use the car for leisure trips and and an early October jaunt to the New Forest coincided with a fabulous spell of warm sunny weather, so hood down throughout was the order of the day. The south coast tour included Beaulieu, Hythe and it’s famous pier, New Milton, Sandbanks and both Winchester and Salisbury cathedrals, one on the way there and one on the return journey. With the car’s MOT safely passed, it’s time for some serious cleaning and polishing and the need to resist the temptation to trade in again for an even more powerful version of the marque. A little restraint is called for, especially as I’ve already booked tickets for the Classic Car Show at the NEC in November and a little more work is needed if a car change is to be funded.

Meanwhile, on the work front, there’s the book for adult music learners to complete and some on-going CME work for the Musicians’ Union. I’ve recently spent a day at an International School in Switzerland, working with their team of instrumental teachers there. It was a pleasure to explore some ideas about group teaching with an enthusiastic group of colleagues in a country where efficiency seems to be the norm. More work like that would be an absolute delight.

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