It’s 5.07am and I’m halfway to Heathrow – not the ideal start to a day, you might say, but I’m actually kind of enjoying it.
We had the world’s most enormous six-hour pork roast last night for dinner, so I’m not starving, and I’ll have plenty of time at the airport for a decent breakfast. Maybe it’s age (I am, after all, hurtling towards thirty at alarming speed), but I’m starting to really understand how nice it is to be early for flights. As in, early enough to sit down and have a meal without harassing the restaurant staff for the bill as soon as I order my food because I know I’ll have to sprint for the gate. It’s nice to be able to walk, not run.
So I got the 4.30 coach to Heathrow this morning, not the 5.00, because check-in closes at 6.30. And subsequently saw the most beautiful nearly-full moon hanging low on the horizon in the dark, a golden, milk-and-honey colour that I’ve never seen before. It had a few wisps of clouds around it and was downright magical. Looking it up (all right, I actually have an app), I found that it wasn’t a full moon quite yet – that’s happening on Friday, which also happens to be Good Friday.
It wrenches me that I’ll be travelling and doing concerts during the Great Triduum, my favourite part of the church year – I’ll miss all of its intensity, and the rhythm of being on retreat (the last few years have been the same as this one, but I have good memories of previous Triduums). But at least we’ll be able to go to mass on Easter Day, and we’ve been invited to another (more grown-up) couple’s house afterwards for lunch, which is exciting. It’s wonderful to be taken into the bosom of a family like that when you’re slightly new at doing holidays as a married couple.
Today’s thrilling pre-dawn bus journey marks my official return to a tour that I had partially absented myself from due to loss of voice. I went in two days ago, having missed an afternoon session the previous day because I was hoarse from over-singing and lack of sleep and a minor throat infection, to record the Qui Sedes from the B Minor Mass, and it went well, but I knew there wasn’t much left even though things had improved. So yesterday was spent mostly in silence again, and I did freelance research all day.
Another lesson I’m in the process of learning: not doing too much when you’re being paid by the hour. I did manage to take a lunch break, but it’s amazing how unpaid projects fall limply by the wayside when you’re being paid to do something else. So today’s thoughts are primarily about work-life balance, or maybe work-work balance. I’m nearly finished with my next book review, which will be up soon over at Quadrapheme. I’ve brought my laptop on tour (if 28 or so hours can be called “tour” – we’re back tomorrow at lunchtime), so that, at least, gives me a little freedom to get things done.
In more exciting news, the invader cat who appeared about two weeks ago and ate all of Irene Adler’s food as fast as I could replace it has officially moved in, being evidently very hungry, and very much a stray. She’s ginger and white, and in the words of the fine novelist Harriet Smart, “an attitudinous creature”. Here are some pictures:
Mr C thinks she looks like a ginger hare because of the large back haunches. I’m accepting naming suggestions (Celia Fiennes, so far, is the best – look her up). Let me know in the comments.
We’ve posted alerts on lost-animal sites, and I very much hope someone is reunited with her soon. Irene Adler, having unsuccessfully attempted to repel the interloper, has resigned herself to cohabitation, and they’re tiptoeing around each other cautiously, both eating normally (but at different times), which is a relief.
Apologies for typos and rambling – it’s very early in the morning. I will see you on the other side of this tour. Until then, dear Reader, I’m going to try and get some sleep on this bus.