Monday, 31 August 2009

But I forgot...

... to mention the most exciting thing about my training run last night. I saw an owl and a bat along the way! Also a police dog being trained.

Sunday, 30 August 2009


It's only 3 weeks now until the 16K run from Amsterdam to Zaandam, and I must admit that I'm feeling a little dubious whether I'm going to make it. After a month with no running, thanks to travelling and general exhaustion, I've managed to get going again, but my pace has pretty much ground to a halt.

Despite legs which felt like lead from the very first step this evening, though, I did manage to go out for an 11K run - auspicious for two reasons - the first, this is the longest distance I have ever run (by 1 km!) . Ever, in my whole life, that is. The second, is that thanks to the embarrassingly low speed I managed to sustain, it took me the grand total of 1h 30 mins. Which is a full 25 minutes longer than I have ever run before. Unfortunately, if I don't manage to speed up at least a little bit before the Damloop, they will pull me off the course before I ever manage to complete the 16km.


Almost a year to the day since I moved into the house, and I finally got round to putting up some shelves in the attic this weekend. The biggest challenge was getting the shelves home from the Gamma - not to be recommended without a car, on a hot sunny afternoon. For the rest, the job went smoothly, apart from some difficulties with a small bulge in the wall, right where I wanted to screw in the bottom of one of the rails. After a couple calls to Dad for reassurance, it all worked out in the end.

Choral Evensong - 30th August 2009

Back with many of my ECS friends today, this time supplying an extra voice for Choral Evensong at the Anglican church in Haarlem. It was also a second chance for me to sing the alto solo in the Daniel Purcell Mag & Nunc, which I'm glad to say went better than my previous attempt at York.

  • Introit: Alleluia, Boyce
  • Reponses: Tomkins
  • Psalm: 15
  • Canticles: Daniel Purcell in E minor
  • Anthem: Ave Maria, Parsons

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Playing with Lightroom

I've had a little fun playing with the adjustments brush in Lightroom (when I should have been writing an essay about aphasias, but never mind).

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Choral Evensong - 23rd August 2009 - Bavokerk

Together with members of the Anglican Singers, we sang evensong today at the Bavokerk in Haarlem. I've only sung there once before, in June 2007, on the day I arrived back home from a visit to Canada and the USA, and the jetlag meant that I didn't really take much in.

This time I was equipped with camera and tripod, and managed to find a bit of time between the rehearsal and the service to take some photos of the church.

  • Introit: Give almes of thy goods, Tye
  • Responses: Rose
  • Psalms: 114 & 115
  • Canticles: Noble in B minor
  • Anthem: And I saw a new heaven, Bainton
  • Anthem: Litany to the Holy Spirit, Hurford

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Choral Evensong - 22nd August 2009

Less than a week back from York, and I have yet another busy weekend singing. Today was our first service of the new season at the Nicolaaskerk, and tomorrow I'm singing again with the ECS in the Bavokerk in Haarlem.

  • Introit: O for a closer walk with God, Stanford
  • Responses: Oxley
  • Office Hymn: Lucis Creator
  • Psalm: 27
  • Canticles: Wood in Eb, number 2
  • Anthem: Evening Hymn, Balfour Gardiner

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Vegetable Madness

During my week in York, my vegetables have been growing wild. I came back to find that the rucola and the courgettes were practically taking over the garden. The fennel is growing onwards and upwards (I should really admit defeat and pull it up now) and the new beans I planted are taking off.

Even the corn looks like it's progressing, despite the fact that checking in my vegetable growing bible (Carol Klein's Grow your own veg), I discovered that really corn should be planted in a square of at least 4 x 4 plants (not the paltry two survivors that I have) if they are going to successfully fruit. Ah, well, we'll see.

Reading on, I have also discovered how to sex the courgette flowers. Not a subject I had previously given much though, but it turns out to be ridiculously easy - flowers with a courgette on the end are female (photo on left), the others are male (photo on right).

Finally, because I know Arie has been waiting for it all week, here is my first ever carrot! Perhaps I could have left it in the ground a little longer, but despite (or perhaps because of) it's small size, it was very tasty indeed! I think I'll wait a little while longer before I pull up the other two.

The grapes are also progressing nicely, by the way.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Choral Evensong - 16th August 2009, York Minster

Always with choir trips, it's time for the last evensong before you know it. As ever, the crowds were busy photographing us the whole way through the rehearsal, and Martin even had the dubious honour of having his photo taken with a group of Japanese tourists. About 10 times.

After the service we packed everything and thought about going home. Which is to say, most of us reconvened in the pub for a well earned drink. I decided to delay my travel home, and stayed on for dinner, before finally catching a train at 9pm.

  • Responses: Rose
  • Psalm: 100
  • Canticles: Brewer in D
  • Anthem: Let saints on earth, Caesar.

Choral Mattins - 16th August 2009, York Minster

After the Eucharist we had just about enough time to have a cup of coffee in the Chapter House with the members of the congregation before putting our surplices back on, adding our hoods, which we'd left in the North Aisle earlier, and processing into the quire for Mattins.

Before lunch, we took the traditional choir photo on the steps of the Minster. Not an easy task, given the number of tourists who wanted to either be in the picture, or photograph us also.

  • Responses: Rose
  • Venite
  • Psalm: 106 v.1-10
  • Canticles: Stanford in Bb
  • Anthem: Hear my Prayer, Batten

Choral Eucharist - 16th August 2009, York Minster

Before you know it, it's Sunday and the week is almost over. With 3 services, Sundays in cathedrals are always exhausting, particularly as the only good advice to follow in the Eucharist is "expect the unexpected", what with fancy processions and the like. The music, thankfully, was familiar, and the service went well, despite some inventive routes taken as we recessed.

  • Mass: The prince of peace, Lloyd Webber
  • Motet: I give to you a new commandment, Nardone

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Choral Evensong - 15th August 2009 - York Minster

The penultimate day of any choir trip can be considered as the day before the madness begins. Sunday is always a busy day, with two or three services, not to mention the fact that you have to pack up and leave.

At today's service I had my own loyal fan club present - Mum and Auntie Jane, who took the opportunity to explore the Treasurer's House during the day, whilst Dad and Uncle Tim took themselves off to look at trains (off course!).

After the service, the Dean hosted a drink in the Chapter House for us, as a thank you for singing during the last week. We were very pleased to be encouraged to come to the Minster and sing again in the future. Always a good sign! We also had the opportunity to listen to a little (very little, as we were leaving) bit of an organ recital by Dr. Francis Jackson, yet another well known York ex-chorister & organist, who is now in his nineties (and looking pretty sprightly when we saw him coming to rehearse the other day).

Responses: Grayston Ives
Psalm: 132
Canticles: Daniel Purcell in E minor
Anthem: Ave Maria, Parsons

Oh yes, and I sang one of the solo parts in the Danny Purcell. I made a bit of a crap job of it though, thanks to nerves and a bunch of frogs having a party in my throat (this last I blame on the copious quantities of incense which were being wafted around).

Friday, 14 August 2009

Choral Evensong - 14th August 2009 - York Minster

Finally the day we'd all been dreading- the day we sang the Mendelssohn canticles, a mammoth effort, with the Magnificat alone lasting approximately 10 minutes. What more can I saw? After a heavy day rehearsing, we got there in the end.

During the lunch break we were given a tour of the Minster, focusing on the architectural styles (early English, decorated and perpendicular) and events in the Minster's history (primarily fires). The story of Jonathan Martin, who, not content with writing nasty letters to the organ (really truly, he called it a foul beast, or some such), set fire to the place in 1829, was particularly interesting.

In the evening we had a choir dinner at the Italian restaurant Ask, which is situated in a very impressive, large hall, perfect for a group of our size.

  • Responses: Tomkins
  • Psalm:73
  • Canticles: Mendelssohn
  • Anthem: Save us O Lord, Bairstow

Sir Edward Bairstow, by the way, is another famous face to be found in the camera cantorum. He succeeded our friend, T. Tertius Noble as organist there in 1913 and remained until his death.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Day Off - Holy Trinity Church

The church dates from the 13th century, although the box pews were added in the Victorian era.

Day Off - York Minster

Despite being our day off, I was back at the Minster this morning, albeit later than normal, to take some photographs. More will follow later on my website.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Choral Evensong - 12th August 2009, York Minster

We had a hard day rehearsing today, with a focus on the music for Friday and Saturday, as well as today. I think everyone is looking forward to the day off tomorrow. After today's service we are halfway through the week, in terms of singing days, but have still only sung 3 out of 8 services. The busiest days are yet to come.

Today's canticles were by T. Tertius Noble (the first "t" stands rather prosaically for Thomas), previously an organist at the Minster. The clock in the camera cantorum was donated by his son, in his memory.

  • Responses: Tomkins
  • Psalms: 66, 67
  • Canticles: Noble in B minor
  • Anthem: And I saw a new heaven, Bainton

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Choral Evensong - 11th August 2009, York Minster

The camera cantorum, where we are practicing is adorned with numerous photographs and portraits of distinguished York personae, most of whose names are familiar, and some of whose music we have sung in the past, or will be singing this week.

3 (of 4) generations of Camidges, all organists at the Minster. Matthew, the one on the right, wrote some psalm chants that are still used today.

Yet again, we had a good congregation, even larger than yesterday's.
  • Responses: Grayston Ives
  • Psalms: 59, 60, 61
  • Canticles: Sumsion in A
  • Anthem: The Lord hath been mindful, S S Wesley

Monday, 10 August 2009

Choral Evensong - 10th August 2009, York Minster

Monday morning visits to Manchester Airport are more or less business as usual in my life, but this morning's was a bit different. Instead of heading off to Terminal 3 to take a Fokker 50 over to Rotterdam, Dad dropped me at the station to catch a train up to York for a week's singing at York Minster with the ECS.

This is my fourth ECS cathedral visit, and having vowed each year that I would work for an RSCM medal before the next trip, finally I've managed to achieve it. The six of us that took the exams in June wore our medals on a cathedral trip for the first time today.

Generally, congregations at a weekday evensong, even in the big cathedrals, can be quite small (think less than 10). Whilst I expected York to be an exception to this rule, I was amazed when we entered the quire to realize that there were upwards of 100 people listening to us. As if the large numbers weren't enough to give us nerves, the fact that Andrew Carter, the composer of this evening's anthem had made a special effort to come and listen to us, certainly did the trick.

* Responses: Nardone
* Psalms: 54, 55
* Canticles: Wood in E flat (number 1)
* Anthem: God is Love, Carter

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Choral Evensong - 9th August 2009

For the first year since 1996 when I joined the choir in Bowdon, I'm not going on choir camp with them.  Tomorrow, they head off down to Wells for the week, and I will be heading east to York, where I'm going to be singing with the ECS.  I did, however, join them for evensong tonight.

  • Introit: Jubilate, Britten
  • Responses: Sanders
  • Psalms: 53 (Walmisley) and 54 (Martin)
  • Canticles: Ireland in F
  • Anthem: Morley
As a memory exercise, I tried to recall the trips I have been on with the choir.  I think it is as follows: Norwich (1997), Wells (1998), Ely (1999), Windsor (2000), Beverley (2001), Beverley (2002), Bath Abbey (2003), Lincoln (2004), Salisbury (2005), Wells (2006), Durham (2007), Winchester (2008).

Saturday, 8 August 2009

SD226 Day School

Since I was in the UK this weekend, I took the chance to go to Leeds to attend a day school for my ongoing Open University course in Biological Psychology.  Having given most of my attention to the Human Biology course over the last few months, the day school was a great opportunity to refocus on this course, and receive some tuition that didn't come out of the text books.  I attended two tutorials, one on experimental design, particularly relating to the End of Course Assessment (ECA) and the other on schizophrenia.  Both were informative and well presented.  It was also great to meet some other people on the course (predominantly women, and most studying psychology).

Afterwards, Mum and Dad picked me up (they'd taken the opportunity to visit a stately home in the area) and we went to the Middleton heritage railway.  We arrived just in time to catch the last train ride of the day.  We finished the day off with a birthday meal for Mum, at Swadesh, a fairly new (well, to me, anyway) Indian restaurant in Bowdon.