Kathryn Harries - Soprano

Friday, June 09, 2006

Coverwood begins

It’s a boiling hot, sunny day and the forecast for the weekend is astonishingly good. I had my hair cut and coloured by Mike King, my wonderful hairdresser in Ashford, Middlesex. He’s such a lovely man and he, his wife Julie and their three boys, Thomas, Matthew and Samuel are my ideal of the perfect family.
I discovered this morning that I’d left one concert shoe in Leeds; very Cinderella, don’t you know. So I’ll have to wear my black stilettos this weekend and try not to get stuck in the grass at the farm.
On the way home along the M25 I saw ahead of me slow traffic turning into static traffic, so left the motorway one junction early at Woking. Thank God I did because I might well have ended up as one of the poor devils who were stuck on the M 25 for seven hours on the hottest day of the year so far. Junctions 8 to 10 were closed because of a lorry fire and the repercussions were shocking. Gridlock everywhere and water had to be dropped from helicopters onto the motorway to prevent hundreds of motorists expiring in their vehicles.
A similar thing happened on Friday July 21st last year when I picked up Linda and Angela from Heathrow for a weekend of charity concerts. The same junctions were closed because of a lorry fire and chaos reigned for hours in the south-east. It was a miracle that the concert happened at all and if the girls had taken the airport bus as originally planned, they certainly wouldn’t have been there. I’d have had to do my Les Dawson impersonation yet again. Lucky audience that our plans changed.
I picked up Linda as I was driving through Woking and brought her home to my cottage to pick up my car which she’ll be using over the weekend. There is bugger all by way of public transport round here and if you don’t have a car, you have to set aside what seems like days to get to neighbouring villages or Guildford.
We rehearsed in the afternoon minus Garry Magee who was caught in said terrible traffic. He eventually made it to Coverwood and during the evening members of the audience staggered into the Barn in dribs and drabs, all with dreadful tales of ghastly car journeys from all over the country.
The concert itself was a great success and everyone performed superbly. James Nicol and Linda Ormiston were their usual brilliant selves; whatever they do, serious or comedic, it is always spot on. Audiences adore them both. Angela Livingstone was our truly wonderful accompanist – she makes my old piano sound like an orchestra. Garry sang like a star as ever and his worshipping fans were in seventh heaven. The treat and surprise of the evening was our guest instrumentalist, Robert Irvine, who flew down today from Scotland with his £400,000 cello. His playing was phenomenal; and his dry and witty introductions for the audience won him a legion of new fans.
As Carol Challis said; Robert certainly has the ‘wow’ factor!
Ann Metson gave us a lovely supper after the concert and I went home around midnight. My hayfever had been bloody awful but I managed to sing ok. It’s just horrid hard work trying to manoeuvre around your voice because of a stupid allergy. It’s very hard work and takes the joy out of singing. It’s a bit like trying to play football with a broken leg – or indeed, a broken metatarsal…
Rosie Elliot, tomorrow’s flautist had arrived with her husband Gordon Muir earlier in the evening and after brief hellos, we said goodnight.
As usual, I fell into bed with relief and went straight to sleep. Yawn.

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