After a nice breakfast in Zaragoza at 8.00am I got everything packed etc for the coaches, which were due to leave for Madrid Airport at 10.00am. I had to make certain of getting up in time because the last time we played in Zaragoza I over slept and missed the coach to Barcelona Airport. Expensive! The orchestra lorry had set off at  3.00am already. The RLPO were to get two days off work now, not including today, while the lorry returned with all our instruments and clothing.

All aboard the coach, for the first leg of the journey home.

Vasily Petrenko had set off at 6.30am to Barcelona to catch a flight from there to Vienna. He is conducting a programme of Brahms, Richard Strauss and Prokofiev with the Wiener Symphoniker to celebrate Austrian National Day.

What’s that strange blue stuff in the sky?

So, off we set, and guess what? It stopped raining. Hooray!

2nd violin Kate Cropper having a rest

Many players tried to get a little sleep on the five hour bus journey to Madrid. Others just listened to music, read or just chatted.

The scenery along the way was nice enough, but it is still a long way to travel, from Zaragoza to Madrid.

A one hour lunch break at a motorway service station had been arranged about two thirds into the journey. The weather was lovely now. Many players enjoyed the sun outside once they had eaten.

The food on offer here wasn’t too bad. A choice of pasta, paella, meatballs or fish and chips!

Motorway service station paella.

El Cid’s Tart?!

We resumed the journey for the last hour to Madrid airport in much the same vein as earlier.On arrival at Madrid airport for the check in we were informed that due to a French airport workers strike, our flight had not left Liverpool John Lennon Airport and there would be a two and a half hour delay as the flight schedules had to be rearranged. The RLPS Chief Executive, Michael Eakin, told us he had just received a text from Vasily Petrenko saying he was still delayed at Barcelona at 4.55pm!

My new nephew Ethan!

This rather put my plans into disarray as I had arranged to meet my son at 7pm and my brother, who was in Liverpool working with the John Wilson Orchestra at Philharmonic Hall, that night. This was the first opportunity to meet up with my brother since his wife gave birth to my new nephew very recently. Bobby and his wife are both percussionists and had called the baby after Ethan The Ezralite, who was apparently a cymbal player at the court of King David. I had also arranged to meet the fabulous trumpet section of the John Wilson Orchestra too! There is very little to do in airports when delays happen, except hang around and spend money. Still, these things happen and there is nothing to be done about it.

I’m not sure about the appropriate choice of name for this food outlet in the airport! It did seem to some up the mood for many delayed due to the strike, though…

Eventually we got on the plane and set off for Liverpool. I was able to collect the dog and be at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall by the end of the concert to meet my brother, especially as the John Wilson gig didn’t finish until way after 10.00pm.

My brother Bobby and myself, a short while ago…

Well what a great tour everyone. The concerts went went, the food was delicious too. Two days off now and then the RLPO will be rehearsing for the Saturday evening showing of the old black and white version of Ben Hur at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. Carl Davis has composed the soundtrack and will be conducting. We have also recorded the music. I hope you have enjoyed the events as they occurred on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s Spain Tour 2012. I’m going to try to get back on the diet…

The fabulous John Wilson Orchestra Trumpet Section. L – R: Andy Gathercole, Mike Lovett, Russell Bennett and Jim Lynch. What an amazing line up!

 Bye for now







Liverpool Philharmonic Blog

About brendanball

Professional Trumpeter: Soloist, Orchestra Player, Chamber Music, Contemporary Music & Education.
This entry was posted in About Brendan Ball, The Tour Blogs & Brendan's Solo Blogs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Pingback: 6. RLPO SPAIN TOUR 2012 – ZARAGOZA | Brendan Ball's Blog

  2. Ruth Shrubsole says:

    Thanks Brendan for keeping us posted. As usual you did a great job with some super pictures. Congratulations to everyone on yet another successful tour – how lucky we are in Liverpool to have such a wonderful Orchestra and Conductor.

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