Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia and suggests that her recent holiday may have taken her well away from home.
We went well away from home today (though not so far as Venetia) and had to get up very early for us at quarter past five to be ready to catch the bus with the rest of the choir from Carlisle to Manchester at 7a.m. Although all the organisation went very smoothly, the length of the bus trips down and back (five hours between them) and the number of choirs competing made for a good deal of sitting and standing around. We got home at 10 o’clock.
The event took place in the Royal Northern College of Music.
It has an unassuming front door but the concert hall inside where we sang was very modern and had good acoustics.
The singing went as well as we could expect and I enjoyed it much more than I expected. A picture of four of the tenor section shows that we were in good heart before the competition.
After we had sung our pieces, there was time either to listen to other choirs or to stretch the legs and see a bit of Manchester. I much prefer singing in choirs to listening to them so as the sun was shining, I chose the walking option.
I didn’t have a lot of time but there was plenty to see.
The middle of Manchester is split by motorways, railways and canals and these leave some gloomy looking areas.
A sign suggested a route to a canal basin which I thought would be interesting but when I reached the canal, I turned the wrong way and walked away from the basin. The canal looked little used but the dirty water provided some beautiful reflections.
Sometimes with geese….
…and sometimes without.
There were moments when it looked as though the canal might come to an end but a series of gloomy low bridges and short reaches among high buildings…
…brought me out to a more fashionable stretch, guarded by another goose
I left the canal and another ill judged choice of direction took me past some interesting sculptures…
…and a decorative university doorway neatly spilt down the middle by the afternoon sun…
There were fine buildings both old and new to be seen as I wound my way back through the streets…
…and finally got back to the music college in time to hear three choirs, two fellow competitors and last year’s winners, who gave a guest performance while the judges deliberated.
The judges declared that the general standard of the competing choirs was the best that they had ever had in the competition over the years and this was very encouraging although it didn’t entirely make up for the fact that we didn’t figure in the prize list.
Apart from a nervous moment on the way home when the bus driver stopped the vehicle on the motorway and got out and examined unspecified things, the journey home went well and the part of the choir that was in our bus was in good enough spirits to sing for the entire journey home.
We have another competition coming up later in the year but it is only half as far away which will be good as both Mrs Tootlepedal and I have reached the age when spending 17 hours travelling, sitting and standing about for 15 minutes of singing may seem like quite a high price to pay for having fun.
I managed to find a flying bird whihc was a pleasant surprise. I think that it must be one of those hefty Manchester chaffinches which they have down there.
I am ready for bed.