Francis's Christmas Newsletter 2021

 

Wassail to all

Welcome to Francisís fifteenth electronic Christmas Newsletter. As usual, I donít buy cards, but make a charity donation.

 
Scamblesby
Scamblesby

Flower at Gunby Hall
Flower at Gunby Hall

Turbine sluice gate
Turbine sluice gate

Bridge at Argenteuil
Bridge at Argenteuil

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf

Publicity picture
Publicity picture

New Church Melody
New Church Melody


Not so many pictures this year, as for obvious reasons we haven't been out and about much. Judith and I did manage a week's holiday at Scamblesby in Lincolnshire. Our visit included the attractive old towns of Louth, Horncastle and Caistor. Gunby Hall, an NT property, was rather disappointing, as we could see only the ground floor, and it was about what you'd expect in an old mansion. The best part was the garden where there were some striking flowers.

I went on my own to Barford in Warwickshire for a few days, to visit friends, who generate electricity from a turbine in the River Avon and sell it to the National Grid. And Judith spent a weekend in Oxford, for a course refreshing her French. She had hoped to visit Quaker friends in France this year, but ...

We have kept ourselves sane at home by doing 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles. Whenever we need a break from what we are doing (usually staring at the screen) we go to our front room and put in a few pieces. It is a good shared interest, and teaches us much about the techniques of various artists. Our ninth jigsaw, Monet's The Railway Bridge at Argenteuil was by far the most challenging yet. All that sky and steam took twice as long as the rest put together. Next on the list is Botticelli's La Primavera.

Judith and I have taken possession of an electric car, of which we are proud. The ride is far smoother and quieter than in a petrol driven one. It is rather larger than we are used to, and that much more difficult to park. And getting the charging point installed was a nightmare; don't whatever you do have it done by PodPoint. But we are pleased not to be spewing out noxious gases any more.

Last year I finished my edition entitled The Parish Church Music of John Bishop, but only now that restrictions have eased have I gone ahead and had it printed. My publisher, New Generation Publishing, asked for a publicity photograph for their website. If you want a copy, they do print on demand. It'll cost you £8.

This year, I have spent many months on an even more ambitious project; a complete edition of the music of William Knapp. In Knapp's three publications between 1738 and 1751 there are no fewer than 91 pieces, mostly anthems and metrical psalm tunes, with some hymns, carols and canons. Knapp was without doubt the most popular of the earlier West Gallery composers, but so far no one has attempted a complete modern edition.

Another project this year has been getting my Roding Music website professionally redesigned. Please have a look, if you are interested in music.

London Gallery Quire has been able to restart in-person rehearsals. By the time you receive this we shall have given our Christmas concert at the German chapel of St. George, in Aldgate. We are somewhat reduced in numbers, as a few of our members still feel too Covid-cautious to attend. But we have enough to go ahead. My personal feeling about Covid is that as I am triple-jabbed, my chances of getting it are low, and even if I do it shouldn't be too bad. I have a life to lead, and I will not cower.

As for go playing, I have had regular games with local go friends, and now Wanstead Go Club has been able to restart. We are supposed to wear masks in the public areas of Wanstead House, but, as with buses and the Underground, not much seems to happen if you don't. I have taken part in one tournament, and I hope to attend the London Open in late December, at the newly opened London Go Centre. Omicron permitting.

Son Sam and daughter-in-law El have moved yet again, to Corsham, near Chippenham. Sam has a new job with a firm based in Dundee, but he works almost entirely on line for more money than I have ever earned, doing digital marketing, (if you know what that is). They were caught up in the nonsense which meant that if you had your first two jabs in Wales, as they did, you counted as "overseas", and couldn't get boosted in England. So much for all the "hurry up and get boosted" hype.

Health and happiness to all!

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