It was an unusual transition on Monday - or was it Sunday? Time blurs when on the road. A frantic last weekend in Germany, with a concert in calm Rheda-Wiedenbrueck on Friday evening. Fast forward to early morning for quick escape via the Autobahn 2 hours up the road to Hildesheim to return hire car, check in Gasthof and be in time for Martin to play the concert in The Mariendom on Saturday morning. The almost guaranteed traffic jam never eventuated so everything went disappointingly smoothly (worst times make best stories later).
Although Martin had set up registrations on the Seifert organ in the Dom three days earlier, he was only able to walk in and start playing his concert with no warm up or chance to check that they had held - so a little stress on the old nervous system there. But again, all went well on this state-of-the-art instrument, and it sealed the organ's position as being one of the best to play that we know in Germany. Thanks, Hildesheim. We'll forgive you the cool temperatures. I still can't wait to return to Germany, in Schopfheim on July 26...
I am beginning to wonder if Interpol have been alerted about the 2 mad visitors who keep fleeing hotels far too early with bulging bags - in hands and under eyes - heading for train stations. It's us, chaps, so don't fret. This time it was to catch the train on Sunday morning to Frankfurt airport, fly to Manchester, hire a car, drive to Kendal in the lake District. Holidays! All 3 days! And the best weather that the UK has ever had to offer, in a sublime part of the country with a close friend. Scores 120% on my happiness chart.
But first the airport brouhaha. Security is one thing but chaos and treating travellers like so many headless chickens or bales of hay is another. Anyone who has flown will know this of course, and Frankfurt has never been an easy place to leave from, but Sunday was worse than usual. Chaos, lack of signage, clear instructions, and duplication of queues for queues for queues. Strange and extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable. Can it really not be better organised?
But we got there. And unlike unfortunate refugees and asylum seekers elsewhere, we had a place to go to, and were by contrast treated with kid gloves by comparison. Something to remember.
And now, our 4-week UK tour begins, after having been revived by the charms of Lake Windermere, Chapel Stile and Wray Castle. Have a look at Martin's concert schedule for June/July and come and join us; if nothing else we can always chat afterwards over a beer in the local pub. Ah, England!
Meanwhile here are some fond memories of beloved Germany:
* Ar'reet? : my translation of a northern greeting. Love it.
The Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields is now half-way through its 23rd season. Don't be deceived - it is not all organs. So far, we have enjoyed an early music chamber group presenting Abendmusik, a harpist, operatic highlights, a wind ensemble, harpsichord, and yet to come includes a Chinese music programme).
The festival has a complex history but essentially it is a brainchild of the irrepressible Sergio de Pieri, who has nurtured it and supports it actively, along with the hoards of willing helpers. Sergio even cooks the post-concert suppers for performers and friends. It really is unique and exceedingly popular, as audiences for the 10-day event flock from all over (performers coming from Italy and New Zealand as well as Australia) to go to any of the events at locations in Ballarat or towns nearby - with 3 concerts a day, it is a music-lover's paradise.
And George the cricket? He's just popped out to lunch on a fly or whatever he fancies, I suppose. As far as the notorious Australian wildlife goes, he is the most ferocious I have met yet this time, but I suspect he is lonely. I must warn him not to go near the pigeons stuck in the wall/ceiling cavity above our room. At least, I hope they are pigeons.
More on the organs themselves to come, but first I must try to finish writing my talk for tomorrow's presentation. In 33 degree heat today, a snooze will probably intervene.
Jenny Setchell is an author and photographer who enjoys the quirky bits of life as well as music