Monday, July 07, 2008

Music, noodles and other things

We came down to Stoford near Salisbury on Friday after work. We’ve stayed here before, in The Swan by the River Wylye, only last time it was warm and sunny and this time it is chilly and wet. We’ve come down primarily for a concert in the Cathedral on Saturday night.

However, can’t hang about in the hotel all day on Saturday, waiting for a concert in the evening. So after a magnificent eggs benedict (The Builder had a full breakfast, but I really, really can’t eat a full breakfast followed by a proper, full lunch, not any more), we trundled off to collect The Builder’s mother ready for a day out. We stopped en route in Waitrose, where I caused consternation to a youthful boy by asking where the powdered milk was. It seems he had no idea that there was such a beast!

Peter (The Builder’s brother, not my uncle) dropped by to say hello while we were there. Odd that for all those years, even after he moved into The Orchards, we never clapped eyes on him and now he seems quite keen to see us. Anyway, after admiring Gwen’s garden and Peter’s garden and Peter’s tomatoes (about three weeks advanced on ours) we bounced Gwen into the car and off we took, across country, to Whiteley, where Jeanette, Matthew, Rebecca and Evie were expecting us for a Sunday lunch on a Saturday. I don’t think Evie (now 10 months old) was all that delighted by the notion. She was VERY grumpy when we arrived. Though she perked up a bit when she realised that the crab we had brought for her ran about and made lots of noise when you pressed the starfish on its back. I would feel slightly wickedly guilty about bringing her a noisy toy - except that Jeanette and Matthew have bought her something which makes even MORE noise. We had a lovely lunch and then sat about in the upstairs lounge room for a wee while before taking Gwen back to Nunton. It was a good afternoon. Everyone seemed fit and happy and cheery.

We took ourselves off, in the drizzle, to Salisbury Cathedral, for a concert of Vaughan Williams music as part of the 750th birthday celebrations. The musicians were at the very back of the cathedral; the audience, which was seated back as far as the central altar, was facing the back, obviously. And I think virtually all the seats were taken. In the first half they played Pilgrim’s Journey, based on a Pilgrim’s Progress, which was new to me. Then they played the Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis (which was pretty much the reason we had come down - I love the Fantasia) and the Serenade to music. And then To an unknown region, which is a setting of a Walt Whitman poem and which was also new to me. It was performed by the Salisbury Music Society with soloists based locally (and connected with the cathedral, I think). We really enjoyed it. The only odd thing was the acoustics, which were curiously flat for a cathedral. Normally the acoustics in a cathedral spear the sound through you; on this occasion the sound abruptly disappeared, if you see what I mean. I wondered if it was because we were at the back and the sound is supposed to be generated at the front. But Lindsey tells me that she has been to a concert at the back of Notre Dame and the acoustics were magnificent. Oh well. But it was a shame that such lovely music had a strangely flat tenor to it.

But it was still worth coming to. Beautiful music in a beautiful building. Lovely.

Tell you what, though - if RVW had been born thirty or forty years later, he’d have made a dam fine composer of film music. What he could have done with the theme music to Star wars!

We had been pondering what to do about dinner. We couldn’t eat before the concert - our roast chicken wouldn’t have had time to wear off. Most of the pubs stop serving around 9 or 9:30. Most of the restaurants likewise. Fish and chips after the music it might have to be. But while we were checking out the fish and chip options before the concert, we chanced across a Wagamama (a Japanese style noodle bar). I like Japanese style noodle dishes. I wonder what time it closes. Ooooo - not until 11. Japanese noodles after the concert it is, then. So an evening of firsts for The Builder. His first classical music concert and his first visit to Wagamama.

So. All in all, a good Saturday for us.

Stella, Tony and Lindsey, alas, hadn’t had anything like such a good Saturday, over in and around Melbourne.

Stella woke up at around 2:30 on Saturday morning with chest pains. She woke Tony. He (at least, I assume it was he) called the ambulance. A MICA rocked in and carted Stella away to the Frankston Hospital Emergency Department. Tony rang Lindsey. At 5:00 Lindsey left Ballarat and also rocked off to the Frankston Hospital Emergency Department. Tony went back to Mount Martha to sort things out there. Stella stayed in the Emergency Department. Eventually she was taken to the Carbrini hospital in Malvern (That’s Malvern, Melbourne, not Malvern Worcestershire, which is in any case properly known as Great Malvern), with, I believe, Lindsey and Tony following. Eventually, everything was sorted out. Stella is resting in Cabrini and awaiting tests this coming week. Tony went back to Mount Martha armed with fish and chips. Lindsey went back to East Melbourne.

Nothing like as fun and exciting as roast chicken, baby-tormenting, Rebecca-tickling, Vaughan Williams and Japanese noodles.

Haven’t heard anything this morning about Stella’s health. Or anybody else’s, come to that. I assumed things remain as they were yesterday.

Had a full English breakfast this morning. Not expecting to be required to eat a two course, roast Sunday lunch today :-)
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