London last Wednesday was shimmering with sunshine. Great little mini-heatwave brought the blossom, bodies and birds out into the park. Green Park was in the F70s, with people flinging themselves down on the grass to catch the sun. I walked from St Pancras to Covent Garden, and as soon as you duck south of the Euston Road, trees and little glimpses of garden, old grave yards now turned into play area accost you everywhere. In Maida Vale on Thursday, the hedges of ceonothus (Californian Lilac) were blue, and buzzing with bees. Truly a gorgeous time of year when the weather behaves like this.
The sortee into Hampshire was equally lovely. At the end of a balmy day we went down to a pub on the Kennet and Avon Canal for an outdoor supper, and walked along the tow-path. Penny has a wonderful pot of parsley which has survived the winter undeterred, and has been eating spinach for the last month. They are a good four weeks ahead of us.
I came home Thursday evening and spent Friday and Saturday morning with my mother, before going to Derby by train to rehearse Belshazzar’s Feast. The train was absolutely heaving with people, – not only our choir, but also a large group of families heading to watch Derby football club play at home. The ticket collector could not squeeze past to collect any money, so we all had to trail long distances to the front office at Derby station to pay in order to leave the station!
Sunday as well consisted of two rehearsals and two different choir events. The first was at our Sheep service where two children bring lambs to be blessed and we pray for the shepherds and sheep, local industry and local government. All very apt for Chatsworth where we have thousands of sheep and lambs everywhere. The service was recorded as part of a long term BBC project about the Chatsworth estate. They were filming Ian, the farm manager, and as he came to Church for the sheep service they followed him there. I can’t see that more than a few seconds will make it onto the screen, but it was good fun. The Church was full.
In the evening I went back to Taddington, taking my mother for the outing, to sing with my old friends up there in the Taddington Singers. Lovely pieces all combined together in a carol type service for Passion Sunday. When I finally made it home I fell into bed, as we’d had a lunch party as well at home, with John and Liz Bather, and Rupert and Liz Turner. The second couple came a bit late and dashed back as they are in the middle of lambing, and literally had been helping their texel ewes deliver large single lambs minutes before setting out. Twin lambs, being smaller, are often much easier to birth. Ian the farmer told me the film makers had caught him calving one of his Limousin cows early on Sunday, with a fine bull calf. “I’m going to call him Garnett” he said. I told David to go up to the farm asap to meeet his baby namesake.
The post was going to be about progress on the allotment and garden, but called to supper now, so more later on all of that!