Kathryn Harries - Soprano

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Horrible Hayfever

Well, the forecasters have been dead right just for once; it was boiling hot even at 9am this morning and the day turned into an absolute scorcher. Rosie, Gordon and I breakfasted by the fish pond and huddled away from the glare of the sun under the umbrella. The quality of the light was more like Australia than England today; it had a brazen glare that seemed out of place in these greenly soft English hills.
Rosie went off to rehearse with Angela so she and Gordon could spend some of the day sight-seeing before the concert and I took Robert and his very expensive cello back to Gatwick. I drove extremely sedately and gave him no cause for concern at all. He’d heard tales of my arrival at Gatwick on Thursday from Jim and Linda; I was driving my parents’ Primera, which is a great car, but not when cornering at speed. I took the corner into arrivals at the North Terminal somewhat faster than ideal for this particular car and apparently, as I hurtled round the bend at a precipitous angle Jim said to Linda – ‘that’ll be Kathryn.’ And he was right. The car is a bit like a recalcitrant boat to drive – but it does hold rather more people than my MX 5; that came back from the repairers on Thursday looking as good as new after I rear ended someone at a roundabout down in Devon before the walk started. It was very buckled indeed and a very depressing sight. Anyway, Jim and Linda are using it for the weekend and I’m sticking to the Boat.
I rehearsed my solos with Angela before having a bite to eat at the farm and my voice was really rather good. By the time I came back to rehearse the ensembles with Linda, Donald Maxwell and Adrian Thompson, however, it was a different story and I could feel the hayfever taking hold.
I went home, had a rest, got my stuff together and was back at the farm by 6pm. I could feel my throat shutting down and did a long, gentle warm up to try to shift the muck off my vocal cords. With very little success, I have to say.
The concert went fantastically well; we had a full house and Linda, Jim, Angela, Rosie and Adrian were on spectacularly good form. I fought my way through my songs and arias and apparently sounded fine. I didn’t feel fine though; the effort and anxiety that result from trying to sing with hayfever of this magnitude make performing seem like one long, middle-aged hot flush of gigantic proportions! HORRIBLE.
Ann produced another delicious supper for us as our fabulous audience wended their way down the dark Surrey lanes to their homes.
Around midnight, the party broke up and Rosie and Gordon followed me back to my cottage and bed. Goodness knows what my poor old voice will be like tomorrow. I wonder if my hayfever will magically disappear when I stop singing.
It’d be sod’s law.

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.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dreary, eh?

You’ll be relieved to hear that for the next four days entries will be brief. Not without incident I’ll be bound, but there’s only so much one can say about housework or shopping.
I paid off my mortgage in Guildford this morning and bizarrely felt nothing at all. No jubilation or relief raised my blood pressure one jot and I went to Sainsbury’s feeling just the same as usual. Dreary, eh?
I was probably just tired and preoccupied and perhaps the riotous delirium at being mortgage free will hit me over the weekend.
I caught up with the diary – tough luck, everyone – and had a visit from my wonderfully cheerful, capable, and very close friend Carol Challis. Carol and I plotted my route on a map of Britain she’d bought and which she will display at Coverwood over the weekend. She’ll have a bucket handy for donations and I’m hoping she’ll make as much money as five years ago.
Then I went off in my parents’ car to Gatwick to pick up Linda Ormiston and James Nicol who are singing at the concerts. They were on excellent form and survived my slightly rusty driving with all their body parts and humour intact.
I left them in Woking, where they are staying with friends, collected my one and only pupil, Naomi Hyamson from Woking station and she and I spent a very useful two hours in the Barn at Coverwood going through the programme she’s giving at the Goethe Institute at 4.15pm on June 21st.
I threw supper together before taking her back to Woking and finally settled down to eat in front of the box at 9.30pm.
Apologies to all those who’ve left messages on my answer machine; I’ll do them in the morning as I’m very shortly off to bed. Night, night.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Homeward bound

We all slept like proverbial logs and after a quick shake of the tootsies on the foot massager, my lower back gave up the unequal struggle and stopped aching. We had breakfast, and I gathered together all the things I was taking home to Surrey this evening. The Coverwood Concerts will be happening this weekend and I always planned to break off from walking today, do the concerts at home in Surrey, and then resume walking on Monday 12th.
I did the same thing when I walked from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 2001 and the wonderful Coverwood audiences donated nearly £2,000 to Speakability. They’re a fabulous crowd and all my artists love appearing in the Barn; we get the sort of reception when we start the concert that most performers would be thrilled to receive at the end of a concert. This is the 16th year and during the winter, Ann and Nigel Metson and their son Tim, who own Coverwood (and with whom I’m in partnership for the concerts), are going to pool our ideas and revamp the Festival; we’ll keep some of the elements the same and introduce some brand new ideas as well. Perhaps a jazz evening or an audience with a celebrity – we’ll see. Old and new side by side – it works really well – which is just as well at my advanced age…
I said last night to Lorna that she should have a lie in and meet us in Barnsley around lunchtime; she looked dreadfully tired again and a morning off seemed a good idea. Nevertheless, she rushed out of the flat when she saw us driving away and handed me a couple of bottles of water to see me through to midday or thereabouts.
We made excellent time to Royston and parked the Volvo in Cross Lane. As my former married name was Lane, I found it very funny and, sadly, rather appropriate these days. I saw another road name a few days ago which at first I thought said ‘unfit’ lane, but then it disappointingly turned out to be the much more prosaic ‘Linfit Lane.’ I still laughed out loud, however, which is slightly worrying given that I was walking by myself at the time. Neee, naw, neee, naw… (pathetic attempt at siren noise).
We rejoined the TPT and walked mile after easy mile along well-marked footpaths that were sometimes narrow, sometimes wide, sometimes rural and sometimes unattractively suburban. But it was bliss being away from the roar and fumes of traffic. The din as you walk beside major roads is deafening and tiring, and the guff you inhale must be horribly bad for your health.
The hawthorn bushes were magnificent; heavily laden with white, pink and red blossom. During these last three weeks of walking, the May blossom has been so astoundingly luxuriant that sometimes the fields and hedgerows looked as if there had been a great snowfall. The grass was vivid emerald green wherever we looked; today the weather was intensely hot and muggy and the sky was a picture; mostly duck egg blue and with impressive white clouds that were artfully dotted about as if by design.
We left the trail at Stairfoot and, courtesy of Carolyn, each had a very large, cold Diet coke at a Little Chef cafe. She was the only one with any money on her and she now reckons that Julia and I have taken a leaf out of the Queen’s book and are travelling cash-free.
We arranged to meet Lorna at Wombwell and rejoined the trail in the searing blaze of the midday sun. Oh God it was hot. Blisteringly, enervatingly boiling with absolutely nowhere to hide. I had several phone calls that took my mind of the temperature and we finally reached Wombwell looking like a bunch of sweaty refugees.
Lorna was close by and we decamped to a nearby pub that turned out to be a complete gem. The Thawley Arms is a large, well-designed and homely pub which advertises its excellent food on a board outside. Now, how many times have we all seen signs like this and been bitterly disappointed? Well, go to the Thawley Arms and be amazed! They had on offer today any one of their magnificent burgers plus chips and salad and a pint of either alcohol or soft drink for the unbelievable price of £4.99. Yes, £4.99. And it was delicious; freshly cooked, charmingly and efficiently served by Leanne who was a great advert for Northern lasses, as well as being depressingly young and slim. Oh where, oh where did our youth and slim figures go, we all ask? If you happen to find them, drop me a line and I’ll come and get them.
We spent an hour in the pub enjoying this lovely lunch to which Lorna very kindly treated us. I can state categorically that no weight was lost today – at all.
After using the facilities – no surprise there, then – Julia and I set off through town leaving Lorna to take Carolyn back to Royston to collect the Volvo. Funnily enough, Carolyn showed no signs of distress at having to take a few miles off walking in the increasingly unpleasant high temperature…
We strode womanfully through Wombwell, on into Brampton and finally across country towards Rawmarsh. We were sweating buckets – not remotely lady-like, but a fact – and the sun was more of an enemy than a friend. Never happy, I hear you cry; she complains about the rain and now she’s complaining about the heat. Abso-blooming-lutely right. But walking a long way in boiling hot sunshine is really unpleasant, even when wearing a hat. And of course, we were wearing shorts. Not necessarily a pretty sight but jolly practical. We made a few people laugh as we marched past, so without even trying we managed to give strangers something to smile at.
Carolyn and Lorna were waiting for us at a pub and because there was still time to add a few miles to my day’s total, I asked the girls if they’d mind my walking a fast two or three miles before we set off for home.
Bless them, they agreed and bidding farewell to Lorna till Monday, I shot off down the hill as fast as I could.
I added nearly three miles by the time they caught up with me and my total for the day was 16.2 miles. Not a huge amount but respectable considering we’d had a long lunch stop and the heat was terribly energy draining.
We drove down the M1 in air-conditioned luxury; it still seemed an awfully long way in the car and astonishing to me that I was even contemplating it on foot. Which is really weird when I know perfectly well from experience that I can do it quite easily.
We reached Ripley village after a speedy, trouble-free three hour journey; I’d asked Will to come and collect me to save the girls an extra 40 minutes driving and he duly turned up and gathered up his grubby old mother and her ragbags of belongings.
Home felt very strange indeed; more peculiar than the times I’ve come home from working abroad, for example. Goodness knows why but after a shower, a prize-winning supper cooked by Will and Sharon and a veg in front of the TV, I had acclimatised enough to wend my way wearily up the wooden stairs to my very own bed. Heaven.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pressing on

During the night I was aware of bits of me hurting that have never hurt before. I got up and took some Nurofen at 5am and it helped enough to let me go back to sleep till 8.30am. Then I got up and did some gentle stretches to warm up the tired muscles. The foot massager that Angie and Sue lent me really eased the complaining ligaments and tendons, and gradually the chorus of groans from my body died down to a tolerable murmur.
Lorna and I left the flats at 10am and arrived, nearly half an hour later, at the Grand, which is about half a mile away. The one way system in Leeds is a total nightmare; if the aim of the planners is to keep cars out of the city centre, they’re going about it the wrong way. So many people get lost in the inner city loop and one way streets that it takes several circuits of the city to either get out of Leeds or reach your destination. A strange way of dealing with the problem of pollution; a local said to me it was all ‘arse about face.’ So there you have it.
Lorna took a photo of me outside the Grand Theatre, which is the home of Opera North and which is in the midst of a huge refurbishment. It promises to be spectacularly good and will make an excellent home for a truly excellent company.
Then I set off out of Leeds; back the way I’d come to begin with and then I started my doomed search for the A61. It’s so much harder on foot to find a direct way out of a city because all signs seem to be road signs.
I started with a flourish and then mistakenly followed road signs which, after a long, hot slog beside a dual carriageway, brought me to – the M1. Whoops!
So I made for Middleton, had superb directions from a lady pharmacist and found my way back on to the A639 which would eventually connect with the A61 rather than the motorway.
I was a bit dim to be honest, but after the strenuous day yesterday my brain was as foggy as my feet were tired. The weather was hot and getting hotter by the minute and I felt as if I’d be walking in circles indefinitely if I didn’t hurry up and get a grip. Of Lorna there was no sign; she was lost in the one way system again, poor thing.
My two great friends, Carolyn and Julia, whom I’d last seen at Buckingham Palace on Day 1, were joining me for two days walking; and by a series of phone calls, they tracked me down at a gigantic roundabout just as the A61 reappeared. Of Lorna there was still no sign and I began to wonder if I’d ever see her again…
Carolyn began to walk with me while Julia drove quickly ahead to do a recce. In no time at all, Julia phoned with a complete description of the route to Wakefield including footways, pavements, difficult crossings and pubs! Yes, pubs. These girls certainly have their priorities firmly in place.
So, while Julia carried on scouting the road ahead, Carolyn and I walked the route she described and had a good old chinwag. Carolyn was a branch manager for Barclays Bank until the end of last October; she decided that her health and sanity were worth preserving and since she retired she has got her life just the way she wants it. She’s started a gardening business; ‘Carrie on Gardening’ which is a huge success and she plays as much golf as she wants at Effingham Golf Club where she is secretary to the Captain. Being super efficient and capable like Julia, who has also recently retired from her job (something demanding to do with computers), Carolyn has such a busy life she doesn’t know how she ever managed to go to work.
Lorna eventually passed us about forty minutes after the girls found me and when we met briefly for water supplies, we all agreed to meet for lunch at the Rose and Crown which was another two miles further on.
The girls treated us to lunch, which was very much worth the wait. Newly baked baguettes with delicious fillings and perfectly judged side salads were just the job, and sitting in the cool of the pub was a huge relief after the relentless heat outside.
The young lady behind the bar let us leave Julia’s car in the pub car park for a couple of hours and after use of the facilities, we three set off again towards Wakefield.
After several miles, Lorna picked up Carolyn so she could retrieve their car and Julia and I negotiated our way through and out of Wakefield. It was not what you might call ‘fun’ but we did have the pleasure of walking over a medieval bridge beside an ancient chapel, which overlooked a really lovely stretch of river. What a contrast to the busy roads and grimy buildings that looked as uncomfortable as us in the sweltering heat.
We toiled out of the city and as the need for facilities was yet again upon us, we cheekily nipped into a pub and used the Ladies before cheekily nipping out again. We gathered a few stares and glares, but tough. If pressed, I’d have bought some crisps but fortunately, I wasn’t – pressed, that is.
We passed the very Volvo garage from which Julia’s car had originated – even though she lives in Surrey near me; and Carolyn, who was, like Lorna, scouting ahead, spotted a Guy Salmon dealership. I phoned Lorna and suggested she might like to pop in and see if we could have a picture taken with the Opera Walk Jag on their forecourt; this she duly did and the charming manager not only had the picture taken by his equally charming assistant, but he also promised to e-mail it to Guy Salmon of Thames Ditton. Brilliant.
Carolyn parked the Volvo once more and we three set off on the B road that Lorna had scouted earlier. Unfortunately, it turned out to be rather fast and dangerous with longish gaps in the pavements which rapidly became suicidal to walk along.
A quick consultation with the map and we realised that the Trans Pennine Trail was accessible a short way further on. So, with Carolyn back in the Volvo and heading for Royston, Julia and I ended the day’s walking with an hour and a half’s rambling through lovely wooded countryside. The path was shaded, level and clearly marked; just the job after a long, hot day. The last half mile stretched, as country miles do, into at least double the figure written on the finger posts; but it was so peaceful and pleasant and the temperature had subsided into gently warm rather than ferociously baking, that neither of us minded the extra distance.
Carolyn was waiting for us at the end of the trail in Royston – clever girl – and of Lorna there was no sign. When I phoned, she reported that she was in the Co-op car park some two miles away; so Carolyn, Julia and I sank gratefully into the air-conditioned comfort of the Volvo and drove to the middle of town to locate Lorna and the Jag.
I collected some bits and pieces from the support vehicle and told Lorna she could go back to Leeds; we three did some food shopping at the Co-op and then followed her sedately, retracing our journey and measuring the mileage on the trip. I walked 18 miles today and the girls did a little less.
As they’d been unable to find accommodation for the night whilst we’d been walking, I suggested they stay at my flat and we’d do something clever with cushions to make an extra bed. A bit Blue Peterish really, but it worked. Lorna kindly brought more cushions from her flat and joined us for a glass of bubbly before she retired for the evening. I treated Carolyn and Julia to a really great meal at a pucker Italian restaurant on Leeds Bridge and then it was home to bed and into the arms of blessed Morpheus yet again!

Monday, June 05, 2006

A very cross bunny indeed

I rose at 6.30am, stripped my bed, had some breakfast, carried all my bags outside ready for the off and waited for Lorna. And waited and waited…
She showed up at 8.15am, and I made it very plain I was seriously pissed off by her lateness. We then had to empty the Jag and repack it before driving nearly an hour back to Dunford Bridge.
I was a very cross bunny indeed.
I was expected in Leeds at 5.30pm and had a minimum of 24 miles to cover which was why I had to start on time. In addition, thanks to her faulty scouting on Friday, I was three to four miles short of where I should have started. So, I was furious if truth be told. I hate being late and I hate it even more when I’m late because of someone else’s inefficiency.
I left Dunford Bridge at 9.25am and headed steeply uphill in less than my best temper. My mobile suddenly trilled and when I answered it, I was instantly cheered to hear Toria’s voice all the way from Sydney. That brightened my day immediately and we had a very brief but enjoyable chat.
I marched at a very good pace to Holmfirth; talk about uphill and down dale. My legs seem to be getting stronger and stronger as the miles mount up and it now takes a monumentally steep hill to disturb my breathing.
As I gathered pace on the long hill down into the little town made famous by ‘Last of the Summer Wine,’ I felt ominous stirrings in my tummy which made me want to increase my speed while simultaneously needing to cross my legs.
By the time I reached the bottom of the hill, I thought my luck had run out and I was going to disgrace myself in public. But, fate stepped in – thank God; I asked a young woman waiting with her small son outside the entrance to a pub if there were any ladies facilities close by. She said she thought that the lady owner of the pub, who was about to open the door, would allow me to use the pub loo. Thank goodness, she did and I was spared a ghastly accident.
This long distance walking lark is marvellous for the bladder and bowels; if any of you suffer from constipation, just try drinking a few litres of water and walking a dozen or more miles each day. It works wonders.
I left Holmfirth on the Barnsley road and made for New Mills. I asked directions at a corner shop – which was just an excuse to buy a bar of chocolate. And then I walked on minor roads through lovely country for several miles. Lorna eventually caught up with me at Kirkburton after getting somewhat lost, and with new supplies of water I pressed on without stopping for a break.
Because of the late start, I was obliged to walk without stopping for the entire 28 miles it took me to reach the Grand Theatre in Leeds. I shot through Dewsbury and reached the outskirts of Leeds at around 4pm. But there were still 7 miles to do and I really didn’t want to be late for the people who were so kindly going to meet me outside the Grand.
So, I upped the pace, though my feet, legs and lower back were beginning to hurt and raced towards Leeds as fast as I could.
Poor old feet! Slap, smash, thump on concrete and tarmac hour after hour and the weather was hot and humid. I drank gallons of water which Lorna supplied every so often and people stared as I raced past them with grim determination written all over my sweaty, grimy face.
First Lorna and then Susie from Opera North guided me in to central Leeds on the mobile and I felt like a pilot being talked down onto a runway.
On and on and on; hotter and hotter; faster and faster; running across huge junctions and dodging and weaving between startled pedestrians.
Finally, I was walking up Briggate and then –when I thought I’d never make it – there was the Grand and the sweet people who’d waited outside to meet me. I arrived at 5.50pm and looked a complete and utter fright.
Kisses all round and Richard Mantle, the boss of Opera North, handed me a bottle of champagne. How thoughtful and I very much appreciated their effort and kindness.
We chatted for a short while and I met, amongst others, Susie who’d guided me in and Emma Hall who has been doing wonders organising the concert at Harewood House on June 13th.
Then Lorna and I were taken to the flats that Opera North have generously given us until after the Harewood House concert and we unpacked our things and retired to our separate new homes.
As we finished unpacking, I spotted something jammed under the front of the roof rack; when I looked, I discovered my blue baseball cap with my digital camera inside it. I’d been wondering where they’d got to and to my horror and disbelief, realised that they’d been jammed under the metal strut since Friday evening when Lorna dropped me off at Fawlty Towers. How in God’s name they stayed on the top of the car for the entire weekend as the car went up hill and down dale and was parked in a variety of public car parks I shall never know. Blinking amazing.
Having wrestled all my baggage into the very nice one bedroom flat, I unpacked and bathed my poor tired old body; for dinner, I had the tiny salad I should have had at lunchtime plus a couple of stiff whiskies and then went to bed. I hadn’t the energy to go out to do any food shopping. Everything ached and it was heavenly just to lie down. I don’t know how people run marathons; Tracy Connell, the daughter of one of my dearest friends, Vivien Bishop, ran the London marathon in 3 hours and 14 minutes. I just don’t know how she managed it and my admiration for her achievement was multiplied ad infinitum after today’s 28 miles.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Small, but enthusiastic

I woke up with the birds. Bugger. But that was fine because I had to go with Jane to Manchester airport at 8.30am as she was off to Helsinki for a week’s conference.
She drove the Golf there and I drove it back to Rainow; not exactly the same route but it got me home, via Tesco where I bought some thank you cards and a bottle of Veuve Cliquot for Jane as a birthday/thank you present. I wrote my thank you letters as soon as I got into the kitchen; I’ve been walking such long days that I’d been rather remiss in thanking all the lovely people who have put me up over the last fortnight.
Having learned just how long it took my printer to print yesterday, I then set to and typed up the new programme, spoke nicely to the printer, pressed the right buttons and said a quick prayer. I dropped it last night after the concert and it had every reason never to work again. By some miracle, it consented to work but, boy, it’s slow. I read a substantial number of chapters of the book I’m reading while it huffed and puffed its way through sheet after sheet of programmes.
Then, Jill and Pam arrived to spirit me away to Buxton. I treated them to lunch in a pub and then we went to the Pavilion Gardens, looked at the fantastic collection of vintage cars on display, had an ice cream before going back to Fawlty Towers.
I had a half hour snooze and then we went to St John the Baptist for the concert rehearsal. Except we couldn’t get in. It was locked. Shut fast and Tony Kraus, his fiancée Libby, Jill, Pam, Graeme, Val and I hung about for half an hour until a dear lady called Esther arrived to let us in.
It’s a gorgeous church with a lovely acoustic. We had a good rehearsal and the concert was a triumph artistically. Sadly, it wasn’t exactly a triumph as far as ticket sales were concerned. In spite of Esther’s and Lorna’s efforts the day before, we had an audience of forty or so people. They were, however, wonderfully enthusiastic and full of apologies that so few people had attended.
Not to worry. When I was still a student at the Royal Academy of Music, I did a recital in a church in North London which was attended by no fewer than 9 people. We took a vote, I sang a reduced programme and then we all went to the pub. With that as a benchmark, 40 plus people was absolutely fine!
As I left the church, I reminded Lorna that I needed to start walking no later than 8.30am the next day and should therefore need collecting by half past seven at the very latest.
A couple of friends very kindly took me back to Rainow where I packed all my bags for the early start next morning before going gratefully to bed.