Travel time and time travel

This morning feels about a million years away! Really, I only had two main events today, but the day felt much longer.

I started with a Gregorian Chant workshop put on by RSCM EEL. I wouldn’t ordinarily have gone to something like that with such short notice — I got an e-mail about it on Thursday — but it was led by Nick Gale, director of music at St George’s RC Cathedral, and it was close to home at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Wanstead. Our first chant of the day was not Gregorian but Ambrosian chant, a setting of the Gloria. It dates from around 400 CE, and it was interesting to see how the later additions to the text of the gloria were clearly of a different musical pattern than the earlier text. There was also quite a lot of actual Gregorian chant, including some things that might be useful for Advent.

I enjoyed the workshop immensely. After that I was off to a Harvest Supper at St Mary’s Addington, where I was to play the serpent and the piano as part of the entertainments. The journey was quite horrific; I was kindly offered a lift by another workshop participant who lives near Addington, and as it had only taken him about 45 minutes to get to Wanstead in the morning I accepted. Unfortunately the southbound Blackwall Tunnel was closed and we spent about two hours on Blackwall Tunnel Approach. I couldn’t even get out and take public transport until after we’d cleared the start of the tunnel.

I got there in the end, though, and the entertainments hadn’t yet started. Phew! My piano playing was accompanying two friends singing “Misalliance” by Flanders and Swann. I was still a bit rattled after the journey and my hands were shaking badly, so I didn’t play as well as I might have, but we got through okay and the audience loved their singing — and acting! Later on was the serpent number. The choir had rehearsed “O God, my heart is fixed, ’tis bent”, a metrical setting of Psalm 57 vv7-11 from the London Gallery Quire book Your Voices Raise, but we hadn’t had a chance to play it together at all; it went well. The tune is “Lynn” by Uriah Davenport (1690-1784) and the words are from the New Version of Tate and Brady (1696). I had left my notes for the brief chat about the serpent and about West Gallery music at home, so forgot large parts of them; hopefully I didn’t baffle people too much. I closed that set with a brief rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon” for reasons which I won’t go into here. I have found that, anachronistic as it might seem, some of the jazz standards work remarkably well on the serpent. Possibly it’s because I’m so accustomed to playing vocal basslines.

Then it was just the long journey home again… given the earlier transport problems, I accepted with some trepidation a lift as far as East Croydon station from a choir member, and though there were indeed some roadworks and a detour it was smooth driving all the way there. Then came the train, and the tube, and the rail replacement bus, and the walk home.

Dates for music I have sung/played today:
~400BC
18th century
20th century

Types of transport I have used today:
walking
Tube
private cars (not mine — I don’t drive!)
bus route 15
Docklands Light Railway (a sort of train)
London Overground (another sort of train)
Croydon Tramlink
British Rail
TfL rail replacement bus.

Clearly what I need is one of these:

No wonder the day felt long. It’s far past my bedtime now, though; I’ve got to get up in the morning to play the organ at church.

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