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Saturday 10th October
What a total delight it was to be performing again today - and with my good friend and esteemed colleague, baritone Stephen Cooper. St Peter's Church, Nottingham, with its enterprising Director of Music, Dr Peter Siepmann, has relaunched its popular Saturday morning concerts - socially distanced and sans coffee. Accompanied at the piano by yours truly, Stephen sang groups of delightful songs by Arthur Somervell and Eric Thiman, bookended by 'Fine knacks for ladies' and Finzi's roistering 'Rollicum rorum'. So good to be back in the saddle.
Tuesday 22nd September
It has been refreshing to be out and about somewhat more this month, on organ consulting business. One such trip was my monthly visit to the Nicholson organ workshops near Malvern, to inspect progress on the large new organ they are making for the enlarged chapel of Radley College. I found several ranks of the Great Diapason chorus on James Atherton's voicing machine and very splendid they sound! Can't wait to hear the next batch of voiced pipes next month.
Sunday 30th August
Organ consulting has carried on over the past few months, though without being able to visit churches or organ-builders. Now that both are accessible again it's very good to be out more. One exciting recent visit was to Nicholsons to view progress with the new organ for Radley College. Here's a photograph of the Pedal 32ft Subbass and 16ft Open Wood pipes in their workshop, along with a stack of poplar for the building frame.
Sunday 9th August
Back on the bench yesterday - the first time in public since March 14th! I enjoyed giving a thirty-minute recital on the Binns / Willis in the magnificent All Saints' Church, Loughborough, before Compline. A good attendance - indeed their pre-booked quota of spaced-out seats was fully booked. All went well - though I had to remove the Covid-19 mask to play, as I kept steaming up!
Friday 10th July
My Meccano excavator - a lock-down task - is now complete! Its vintage 20-volt Meccano motor plus the gears, drums, cables and pulleys enable the jib and bucket to be raised and lowered independently and at varying speeds. The controls are behind the yellow sliding door on the cab side. There are a mixture of colours because my old red and green Meccano had to be topped up with some modern yellow and metal-coloured pieces, but it all adds to the charm. I had to alter the Meccano instructions somewhat, changing the position of the motor to counterbalance the weight of the jib; it all now balances perfectly. It's been great fun and occasionally challenging: can't bear to think of taking it apart, so I'll find somewhere for it to stand for a few months. Might play with it, too!
Tuesday 2nd June
It's hard to come up with a third Meccano image without giving the game away as to which model I'm constructing. If you think you now know - and you must be specific about model and number - do let me know and a prize will be yours! As well as occasional days working on the model I've been writing articles for Choir & Organ, Organists' Review and Organ Building, copying old New College organ recital tapes on to CDs for the friends who played them (back in the 1970s), scanning colour slides from past decades, re-learning the Elgar Organ Sonata and many of the Bach 'Eighteen', and going for long walks. A pleasant and productive way to fill one's time!