Thursday 29th August
An enjoyable annual event, which I have had the honour to organise for the last ten years, is the Diocesan Organ Advisers' Conference, at which around 30 Anglican Diocesan Organ Advisers from all over the country (plus colleagues from other denominations) assemble for three days for a varied programme of talks, instruction, organ visits, and general discussion. This week, for the first time since the conference was founded some 60 years ago, we have been based in the Diocese of Leicester, at tranquil Launde Abbey. The conference was centred on the work of local organ-builders Stephen Taylor and Joshua Porritt, several of whose organs were examined and discussed. The photograph is of Taylor's last remaining untouched organ, at St Peter's church, Highfields.
Wednesday 14th August
Anne and I have just returned from five nights in Riga, Latvia, a city beautifully restored since Latvia regained independence from Russia in 1991. It was a pleasure to be playing five organ solos in two concerts given by the excellent choir of St Peter's church, Nottingham, under the genial guidance of Dr Peter Siepmann. The most memorable moments were on Sunday in Riga Dom, playing its monster 124-stop Walcker, complete with original 1880s console. A real challenge, but so worthwhile as the organ sounds utterly wonderful. Definitely one to remember.
Tuesday 6th August
The Arts Society, Trent Valley branch, visited beautiful Sledmere House in the East Riding of Yorkshire today. The house boasts a large Binns, Fitton & Haley (rebuilt and enlarged by Principal Pipe Organs) in the attic, speaking down boldly into the entrance hall and played by a three-manual stop-key console. I had great fun entertaining our friends in the group, whose monthly lectures Anne and I attend with enormous pleasure.