Monday, 11 February 2008

A really great weekend!

Well it started well, since Jenny was home from Denmark when I got home from work, but then it always did bode well. This weekend we sang 3 services in Worcester Cathedral, which really is a wonderful place. We had a car-full on the way over, taking Jane and Julia, and it looked a little touch-and-go when we got to the M6 because the signs said long delays between junctions 1 and 2. Fortunately there was time for Jenny to check the map and direct me off at junction 1, through Rugby to the A45, which was slightly snarled up with traffic but not too bad.

A bonus was that quite unexpectedly, we drove past the end of the road where my maternal grandparents used to live when they were alive. That stirred up a load of memories, you can imagine.

The plan had always been to find somewhere nice to stop for lunch, but Jenny pointed out that we were now going to go quite close to Kenilworth, so we took a small diversion and dropped into Simply Simpsons, where we'd had Jenny's 60th birthday meal last November after the Coventry Cathedral evensong. We just had a starter and a glass of wine, since there wasn't much time and in any case we would be eating a big meal in the evening, and it was just perfect.

We arrived in Worcester at 14.30, in plenty of time to check in to the Diglis House Hotel and walk to the Cathedral for the 15:00 start to rehearsal, though parking was 'interesting' since half the hotel car park was inaccessible as they're building a function suite. They're also refurbishing the bedrooms in the annexe where a number of us had our roooms, and not before time, is all I say. Our room was really nice, but had a rather shabby, run-down air, which is not what you expect for the price we paid.

Evensong went well (Barnard responses, Sumsion Mag & Nunc in A, Greene 'Lord, let me know mine end' which is just the most beautiful anthem I know!) and in the evening one of the choristors, who has family in Worcester, had organised a meal for all of us in The Old Rectifying House, which was excellent, and a lot of fun. Sadly, I had rather too much red wine, and was unable to perform as well as hoped on the Sunday morning. Oops!

Sunday we awoke to the sound of swans taking off from the river, with much splashing and whistling of wings, spoiled at 07:50 by a pile driver starting up somewhere in the distance. When I got up to make the tea shortly after that, I closed the window, which helped a bit. The view out over the river was worth getting up for. Frost on the fields, a thin mist, pale pale blue sky and low winter sun. Fabulous. I still went straight back to bed, mind you!

We sang the Eucharist at 10.30 and I got away with it because there were enough others to cover for me, but I really didn't earn my place in the choir that time. What a prat! (Loosemore Litany, Jackson Sanctus & Benedictus, Self 'Let all mortal flesh keep silent'). It all seemed to go OK, and after a coffee in the chapter house we wandered along the river front to get lunch at The Quay. We had cassoulet, which I liked, but which impressed Jenny less. The place was packed, including 5 other singers, and when we emerged, another 5 sitting outside drinking coffee in the sun!

With an hour or so to kill, we wandered around the town for a bit, somewhat astonished at the sheer number of restaurants. Seems to be almost every other shop is an eatery!

This little lane seems to be mostly ancient, timbered buildings, and for once a pretty street had no cars on it at all, which made a very pleasant change. Sadly, I couldn't quite avoid including the top of the multi-storey car park in the distance, but it's not obvious that's what it is.

By the time we got to Evensong at 16:00 I was feeling OK, if exhausted (too much booze == poor quality sleep) so performed adequately. (Clucas responses, Prince (our conductor) Mag & Nunc, Howells 'Oh pray for the peace of Jerusalem'). Followed by a quick exit in the hope of getting back to Royston reasonably quickly.

Missing a critical turn meant we had to feel our way to the M5, but we knew we were pointing roughly in the right direction as the sun was behind us, and Jenny was well able to find us the Worcester North junction, after which the map was not necessary. Many oohs and ahhs as we watched the sun go down, the sky a blazing pink. I did look where we were going occasionally, but mostly I was watching the mirrors!

Jane confirmed that her insurance covered her to drive my car, which was a blessed relief, as I really felt quite tired, so I drove roughly half-way home and she took over and finished the job for me. Perfect teamwork! I did get the impression that like Richard, she found having all those horses available under the loud pedal quite appealing!

Home by 19:30 meant time to put the dinner on and have a quick bath. We did loin of pork with prunes, from the Busy Cooks Book, which we've had since the beginning of time. The pic is from the cookbook, as I forgot to photograph it at the time. This is the perfect sort of dish for that occasion - assemble and stick in the oven, go for your bath, emerge, steaming, to cook the rice and serve!


A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

What a great and busy time you all had - a wonderful weekend. It's amazing how much singing (and eating) you managed to fit in. The pork dish looks yummy, again, you really do eat well don't you?
Lovely pictures too - it was almost like being there. That's what I call an on-line diary! Margot x

Jennyta said...

Ah, yes. I understand your comment on my blog now - you actually managed to get a decent meal on your day out!

Jane.Dudman said...

Love the pictures, Rob. And yes, I really enjoyed driving the car! It was wonderful music and we were made very welcome. Wonderful cathedral.

Rob Clack said...

Years ago, when lacking something positive to do, I used to sit about watching TV. Somehow, and I suspect this is Jenny's influence, things have changed. These days we record most things we might watch that are transmitted before 10pm and watch them some other time.

Now it's a question of fitting stuff in, of pushing things down the priority list to make space for other things.

So, for instance, in a week or two's time, we'll be doing a silversmithing course of a weekend, to try to get back up to speed on that. (We've been silversmithing for 20-odd years, but have lost the momentum over the past 5 years.)

Then, the challenge will be to find the time to keep it up to speed. What gets done less often, in order to make the time for that?

What moved up was carving, but I'm very reluctant to do (even) less of that. Maybe blogging should take the hit....

Jennyta said...

Don't let blogging take the hit, Rob. I've only just found your blog. Try less sleep instead!

Rob Clack said...

Had a very nice email from a man called Matt who runs The Old Rectifying House, thanking me for putting the link into my posting. So some of you followed the link and he noticed you doing so! Back-patting all round, I think!

Pondside said...

What gorgeous photos - more places to add to the 'some day' list of places to visit. Your dinner looks quite Danish - I do a pork loin stuffed with apples and prunes. Yummy.