London and back

So I made it to London and back and… I’m very glad I went.  At first I had had reservations: being single at a wedding is not much fun and that’s before I factor in the potential risks of airports, railway stations and being shot through the air in a metal tube.  However, it was lovely.  It was really nice to see my family again and I was very pleased to watch my brother marry the woman he loves and meet some of her family.  So lovely in fact that I have changed my mind about going to the “proper wedding” in Cyprus in July.  Now it is only a matter of finding a flight and transport from the airport.

I wasn’t in London for very long but managed to stock up on Mr. Kipling cakes (Bakewell Tarts and Fondant Fancies – or French Fancies as they are now called) with a view to holding a tea party for some friends in Bonn, two magazines; “Country Living” and “BBC Music” – the latter of which has a feature on Shakespeare in Song which is basically what the Bonn English Singers are currently rehearsing for their concert on 29th May and 2nd June (I’ll post a flyer once I have one, for those interested).  I was also able to catch up with my friend Steph who was my director on two out of the three plays I produced while in London.  It turned into a bit of a confessional session but that’s OK.  If you pick your confessor wisely, you don’t have to kill them afterwards.

So, I made it home.  As on the way out I landed very late but, unlike the UK, there isn’t the same worry that the trains would have stopped running (they hadn’t, I wasn’t that late) or that the hotel reception had closed (it hadn’t).  I got home around midnight and was relieved to see that my plants were still alive.  I took some time to water them before I went to bed.


2016-04-11 10.57.59

Peas, April 2016


On Monday morning I put the peas out on the roof as it was nice and sunny.  According to the copy of Country Living magazine I was reading this morning, this is called “hardening off” – I’m just instinctively good, aren’t I.  😉  I have three “spare” pea plants which I’ve now promised to a friend.  There should be some tomato plants to give away too, but they need to be a little bigger before I can start offering them about.  I was afraid that one of the pea plants had been snapped by the wind but it’s only bending a little.  It needs a bit more earth as they’re all still too small to be tied to the support (once I’ve made it) so, off to OBI again today!

So, everything was going quite well until I got home from the VHS last night and came face to face with my downstairs neighbour.  As we had seemed to come to some sort of agreement over the bins and household cleaning (i.e. I think she now recognises that I, at least, do my part), she started complaining about the street door banging, pointing out where she sleeps (on the other side of the wall from the door) and that the other downstairs neighbour sleeps by the back door (which I use to get my bike).  So one has a certain sense of being ganged up against not unmixed by the bewilderment as to why it has taken then eight months to be bothered especially as, since January, there is only one day when I have to leave the house before 8am, the other four days start around lunchtime.  Still, I could stop letting the doors swing shut behind me as I drag the bike up one flight of stairs, through the hall and down the others.  It did upset me though and made me wonder if I shouldn’t keep looking for a new place to live.  I have another two years before I can apply for a mortgage (cheaper, I think, than renting) but in this house I  always seem to be in the wrong.

Anyway, I’ve got better things to think about.  I started my German course last week which was really good.  The teacher was very nice and very funny and did not translate anything into English – something I find very unhelpful.  So that was a relief.  On Thursday I decided to take the plunge and enter myself for the ABRSM Grade 4 theory exam.  I have always wanted to get Grade 5 and entered for it last year but a friend said “You do know that’s basically the GCSE, don’t you?”  Um, no, I hadn’t.  At the time my music theory was at Grade 1 level, despite Grade 4 piano and Grade 5 singing, and I’d given myself three months to get to Grade 5.  I withdrew that application.  However, in January I did enter for Grade 3.  I was very careful about who I told at the choir.  “Proper” musicians would have laughed (it doesn’t take much to remember what put me off music at school – snobbery); most people don’t do the exams at the lower grades but just go in at Grade 5.  Indeed when I went to Frankfurt for the exam in March I was, at 37, 20 years older than the seven other people in the room all of whom were doing Grade 5.  On the plus side, I got to leave earlier, not that I ever need the full time anyway – either I know it or I don’t.  It’s an expensive exam even before train and hotels have been added to the mix so, as I had been getting as much as 86% (merit) in the practice test papers, I decided that if I had a bad day and failed it, I wouldn’t retake.  The ABRSM website says that it takes up to three months for theory results to come through but I got mine on Friday, the day after I had entered for Grade 4, and: I didn’t get a merit…




… I got a distinction.




About afewwordsinpencil

An English writer of novels and theatrical pieces. My first novel, "And I Shall Be Healed" (Quickbeam Press) follows the experiences of a young army chaplain on the Western Front 1916-7. This and some theatre writings are available on the usual websites.
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