Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Great weekend; shame about the singing!

Each year around this time we sing Eucharist and Evensong in Binham Priory, on the north Norfolk coast. It was an important monastory up until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, when it was largely destroyed. In the 19th century the existing church was restored, but a lot of the work seems to have been very shoddily done. Still, it's a lovely place to sing, with a very forgiving accoustic.

Jenny and I rent a holiday flat in Sherringham and Lorna and Richard stay with us.

On Saturday afternoon, it being warm and gorgeous, we walked in Sherringham Park where we noticed, that despite the summery feel, the season was actually rather behind where it normally is.
Some camelias, normally long gone, were still out and the rhododendrons for which we went there, were barely starting. Managed a few photos, even so.

The bluebell is a proper English bluebell, and I put the photo here because there's a big fuss going on in the UK right now.

For the past 100 or so years, we've been importing Spanish bluebells and planting them with gay abandon. Sadly, they hybridise with the natives, producing a paler, taller flower without the characteristic droop of the English one, and they seem to be taking over. It's too late, of course, but I thought you might like to see the genuine article before they disappear entirely.

On Saturday evening we usually eat at the excellent No 10 restaurant close by, and on this occasion we were joined by our friends and fellow choristors, Jane, Theresa and Ian, forming a jolly crowd, verging on raucous by the end of the evening.

Sunday morning we sang a mass by Sindl which we've not done before, and inevitably, being somewhat under-rehearsed, some of it went wrong. Fortunately it wasn't too obvious to the audience congregation, so that was OK. The conductor did glare at the tenors, who were the main culprits. The communion motet was the lovely (is there any other sort?) Oh Lord, give thy holy spirit, by Tallis.

In Evensong we did more Tallis as an introit, If ye love me, then Ayleward responses, Weelkes Mag & Nunc and Veni Creator Spiritus by Victoria. The latter is also new, and sadly, the tenors were again unable to get it right. More glares. It'll be OK next time.

Another high point for me was on the drive over from Sherringham to Binham, spotting a marsh harrier over the marshes (where else?) near Cley Next the Sea. A first for me, though sadly only for a couple of seconds as I was driving at the time. You'll spot that I stole this picture from the internet.


DJ Kirkby said...

I had no idea that native Bluebells were supposed to droop and feel somewhat cheated that I have been admiring mostly Spanish imports for the past 15 years.

Motheratlarge said...

Is nothing sacred? Shame about the bluebells. I wouldn't even have known about Spanish interlopers, had you not told us.

headless chicken said...

I too have been in blissful ignorance of the Spanish bluebells. As you may or may not know I am not at all religious but I do find listening to singing in churces,monastries etc. quite moving. There is something very emotional about it for me which isn't the actual words being sung but the overall sound, I think.
Maybe it is just groups of people singing together that moves me. I cry when I hear little kids singing carols and stuff like that!

Rob Clack said...

Glad I'm not the only one moved to tears by singing, HC. In some well-known hymns, if the women get a descant in the last verse, the tears just flow within a couple of lines. Same with lots and lots of other stuff. A close friend runs a very good children's choir here, and it's a struggle not to end up weeping into my hanky whenever I hear them perform.

Rob Clack said...

And what happened to your blog, HC? You went quiet for a while, then I got really busy and didn't visit nearly as many blogs as I should have, now it's gone. What gives?