Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weekend and choir in Liverpool Cathedral

It seems this is my 200th blog entry here!  So this is a post about a weekend at home in Liverpool, and I promise I will return to Port Eliot Festival again soon...  It will be good to re-visit some of the best weather we saw this summer as well as returning in memory to a magical place.

Our friend David came to stay last Friday with his partner Nell and her mum Jenny.  Nell had organised a weekend singing workshop at various venues round Liverpool, the workshop was led by Stephen Taberner.  Saturday morning David was able to visit the Cast Iron Church of St Michaels in the Hamlet once he'd helped deliver Nell and Jenny to the morning's workshop (In the Crypt of the Catholic Cathedral), then it was off to Elmswood so he could help John record some of his songs.

Come evening saw a wonderful sundog, so knew that we were in for dirty weather...  Well, I do watch the weather forecast too!

Sundog 002

On Sunday David and John went to visit the Unitarian Church on Ullet Road.  Both Churches were open as part of the Liverpool Heritage Open Days, which this year are extended from a weekend to a month as part of the Liverpool Biennial.  Then back to Elmswood again to finish recording, and so David could bring his equipment back here ready for the journey home to Cambridge.

I would have loved to join John and David on their visit to the Unitarian Church, as when I first became ill with ME the Liverpool Central Group of the ME Association used to meet in the Library there. A delightful pensioner called Alf (I'm sure he was in his 90s) used to open up the room for us, build a coal fire if it was cold, and brew us some tea. But we'd been invited to attend the final session of the workshops, where the choir would perform in the Anglican Cathedral, so I knew that I could only do one or t'other.

We arrived at the Cathedral towards the end of Evensong, which was running a little later than usual as it had been an investiture service.  I was in the wheelchair, so was very glad there was a lift up into the Cathedral! It was nice to sit and take a look at the Cathedral during the end of the service, it must be around 30 years since I was in it last!  I was surprised that the stone it is built of is less dark and forbidding than I remembered it as being.

Liverpool Cathedral 002

There was some debate as to whether the choir would sing facing towards the back of the Cathedral (which would have been a nightmare for me as there was a flight of steps down towards the window you can see in the video below) or facing towards the main body of the cathedral.  Fortunately for me the latter was decided on.  While this was going on I was trundling around, and a lady looked at me and said "I have serious coat envy"!  I thanked her, and she went on to tell me "I like all your yellow"!  Hat, scarf, handbag and shoes...  Well, I couldn't resist the chance of getting dressed up a bit!  LOL!

Despite going prepared with my camera which shoots in HD and also has image stabilisation I only have two fragments of the choir singing to share with you.  Battery ran out.  And then back up battery ran out.  When I come to think of it, it was probably before Port Eliot Fest that I last charged the batteries!  So not surprising, but because they last so long I never remember to charge up before an Event.  (slaps wrist)  Will try to in future. I'm particularly sad I only have a short time of the very beautiful Georgian love song that is in the second half of Part One.

Two day old choir singing in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral - Part One

 Two day old choir singing in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral - Part Two

After the concert was over I thought I recognised a face in the audience, somebody whose blog I followed while she was training to be a Curate (she is now a Vicar).  So when I had the chance I trundled my wheelchair over and asked if possibly she might be Elaine L?  And she was!  So not only did I have some gorgeous singing to listen to, I met another Internet Friend in Real Life!  Such a lovely surprise.

Tuesday John and I were sitting side by side at our computers when the front door bell rang. John answered it, and came back in bearing a lovely flower arrangement!  Roses, carnations, stock, some kind of arum, and other flowers I don't know names of, so pretty and very sweet scented.  A card with it showed that it came from Jenny as a thank you for the weekend.

Flowers and sky 005

Thank you so much Jenny!  It was lovely to meet you, and as I type these words the sweet scent of your gift of flowers is filling the living room.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Port Eliot Festival 2012, Friday 20 July, Part 3

To continue the story...

Offspringette, Becky and Knit Angel

Offspringette, Becky and Knit Angel at the end of Friday's sessions in DoveGreyReader's Tent

I got yarn bombed by the Knit Angel, a decoration to my hat.  Sadly we didn't get a photo showing it.  But The Kayaker did, and it's here.

Once things began to be packed up for overnight at DGR's tent we did the zig zaggy trundle with the wheelchair back down the path to down by the river, and then along to the foodie places in front of The House.  We chose wood smoked pizzas, and very delicious they were!  While I slurped on some G&T from my pre-prepared "water bottle" John enjoyed a pint of St Austell Tribute from the nearby beer tent.  Then around 8pm we trundled back along by the river to the Caught By The River Tent for the Stealing Sheep gig.

Stealing Sheep setting up

Stealing Sheep setting up

John managed to push me fairly well to the front in the wheelchair, after all I wasn't in anyone else's visual way!  He squatted down beside me so he wasn't either.  So I had a great view, and was able to video several full songs by resting my elbows on the arms of the wheelchair.

Stealing Sheep - Gold

What can I say about Stealing Sheep that hasn't been said already in loads of reviews of their first album 'Into the Diamond Sun'?  Well one thing that I can say is that they are a fantastic live band.  Their sound doesn't rely on a lot of techy studio stuff that can't sound anything like the sound of the real band.  They sound like themselves.

Stealing Sheep - Circles

Emily, guitar player, shared with us all that it was her birthday, and invited the audience to go to the Rough Trade tent to share Champagne with her and the band. Which we did, when does a Liverpudlian refuse Champagne?  Bought the new 7" single Genevieve, and the band signed it for us.  Since then we have purchased the new album, the sparkly vinyl version, which is very sparkly and very pretty and the music's just great too!

I asked Emily about the band's name - why Stealing Sheep?  She told us that initially the name almost put her off joining the band!  But the name is to do with stealing ideas, you can read more about it here.  She also said she thought of it as linked to falling asleep (counting sheep) and hence to the unconscious.

Caught by the River and obelisk

The lighted obelisk that you see behind and above the stripy Caught By The River tent is a landmark we trundled by each day on the way to the Walled Garden where DGR's tent was.  We didn't get a daytime photo of it, but John took a photo of the plaque placed in front if it later.

Port Eliot part 2 and journey home 046

For the gift of Port Eliot
to his son at an early age 
this finial, once part of
Westminster Abbey,
is erected in gratitude to
1914 - 1988

Back to our tent after a wonderful musical interlude.  Put on multi-layers of clothes to sit outside for a while as it was a bit chilly!  But oh how bright the stars were in a clear cloudless sky!  When it got so cold that we could see our breath we headed for bed, me with my trusty hot water bottle.  I'll leave the last word on this magical day to John:

And after midnight a miasma crept out of the Matmos and enveloped the City of SoGo.