Hi all, this is the last evening in Liverpool before the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra board the coach for Spain tomorrow at Philharmonic Hall. The weather has been glorious here today and I couldn’t help but notice rain clouds over Northern Spain. I’m sure that they will have blown away by the time we arrive tomorrow! Actually, only a few members of the RLPO live close to Philharmonic Hall, myself included amongst this number. There are not that many who live in Liverpool itself, at all. Many members live on the Wirral, Warrington, Manchester, Wales, Southport and even further. Many of our extras come from Manchester, London and abroad. Therefore it may seem strange to ‘interested’ readers to learn that the whole orchestra doesn’t always travel together en masse. Flights are going from Liverpool, Manchester and London. Some will have travelled out independently to grab a couple of days extra or will be staying on late for extra holiday, but that’s the way it is. Some of our extra brass players in Parsifal are from Spanish orchestras anyway. We’re hoping these local guys will be showing us the local Spanish delights after rehearsals and concerts, as well as discussing and comparing how things are done differently in our two small worlds.
I’ve had a very busy day today. A couple of rushed business meetings. Making sure that all my clothes for the tour are washed, ironed and packed. Have I got enough socks? Where’s my passport? Where did I put all those Euros I need to take? I must make sure I pack all the correct trumpets. It’s too late once the plane is boarded. I’ve cleaned all my trumpets out in the bath and I have remembered to pack all the concert music I have taken home to practice.
I have bought nine days of dog food for Scooby and dropped them off at the ‘Dog Whisperer’s’ house. The Dog Whisperer is really my old pal from the pub, Ritchie Guiness. Ritchie always has Scooby when the RLPO go away. In my absence, he is often to be seen being dragged around Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter in the Superman position by Scooby. Scooby is an energetic dog, even by English Springer Spaniel standards. The dog is about eight and a half years old now and has recently developed a taste for singing along whilst I practice the trumpet. My neighbours never complain about the trumpet but Scooby’s crooning has been mentioned!
Probably the biggest job of the day has been to give my Urban Farm a serious harvesting. Pick all sweetpeas that are even winking out of their buds. Any bean four inches or more long to be picked, blanched and frozen. A good weeding to be done. All containers to be fed and detailed instructions left for watering. Ripening raspberries to be picked. Salad leaves to be severely picked to prevent bolting. Pumpkins to be tied up. In fact, everything to be tied up and tidied up. Tomatoes to be picked as soon as a bit of orange is showing and placed inside on the windowsill. All flowers to be cut and deadheaded. Courgettes cut small. What a rush!
After a lengthy conversation with Dylan the architect about some work he is undertaking for me; then some detailed discussion with a really close friend I haven’t spoken to for a long time [about us meeting up with a very close relative]it was half past seven this evening before I managed to even get some trumpet practice started. If this style of writing sounds completely disorganised, frantic and breathless then that reflects how my last ‘relaxing’ day has been. Well known artist Bryn Gerrard arrived to store many of the tools of his trade at mine prior to moving house this week and lend me a decent camera for the tour.
More trumpet practice until 9:30pm or so trying to perfect a couple of bits in Parsifal I am not happy with. Never mind, there are still five days to get that right in the hotel room in Spain. A quick meeting with my old friend, Raymond Shiel to say bye for the week and show him the blog. My goodness – then a desperate call to the Belvedere at 10:30pm to tell them to let me in for a last drink of the evening to say goodbye to everyone, tell them to follow the blog and relax. That pint of water [yes, seriously!!!] was the finest tasting drink I have ever had in a pub! Of course a drink for Scooby too. Chatting away at the bar to Renaissance men, Billy Duffy, Peter Kane and Peter ‘Wildman’ Inglis, I learnt that the Basque people are without question the oldest civilisation in Europe. Apparently they have lived in the region of Spain the RLPO will visit for 5000 years. I am told that their DNA is so old scientists cannot work out where this ancient civilisation comes from or from whom they descend. I also received some good advice on cracking restaurants etc to visit in San Sebastian and Santander from my good friend Chris Collinge, whose partner is a Northern Spanish girl. Oh yes, I found time to go for a run this morning and a cycle ride this evening; got to get that dog running alongside and tired out before I go away.
Okay, just about ready for Spain now. I can relax and enjoy this tour. I don’t mind leaving my ‘garret’ in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter for nine days – all my gas appliances were condemned last Tuesday. I have had no cooker, no fire and no boiler since then. Cold baths are not my idea of fun, at least I am in and out of them very quickly. Hopefully they will be fixed on my return. Looking forward to all that luxury hotel stuff!!!
Ah, ‘Sailing By’ has just started on BBC Radio Four. Something reassuring about that tune, especially when I am leaving the country. Now for a cold bath and then a good sleep. Night all.
I would just like to mention a very sad event. Tomorrow is the funeral of Tom McCormick. Tom was the father of RLPO Music Librarian Tony McCormick. My thoughts and best wishes will be with Tony, Pip and all their family tomorrow. R.I.P. Tom.
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