Friday, July 28, 2006

A Change of Course

The usual end-of-term rush has now happened - school concerts, open evening, leavers' disco, final assemblies all went off well, and I attended two retirement parties, one for a colleague who was leaving her headship in Welwyn Garden City for complete retirement, and another that the band played for, who was leaving her school after 34 years as a teacher! More of retirement later...

Redbornstoke had a pleasant lunchtime session at the Globe, Linslade, together with Towersey Morris, though the weather was very hot. That finished in time for me to get back to Hitchin for Rhythms of the World, the free world-music festival that happens in Hitchin every year. I'd seen quite a lot on Saturday, before leaving for the gig in Letchworth (retirement party - see above), but Sunday had the best act I've ever witnessed at this event - a Korean Drumming group called Dulsori. For an hour they entranced the audience with their skill, passion and sheer enjoyment of what they were doing. Being right in front of the stage probably helped in terms of atmosphere!!

With those sounds ringing in my ears, I headed to St. Albans for a support gig with Life and Times. The main act was Tom Oakes a marvellous flute-player who I met at New Roots earlier this year. He played a solo set, then a lovely extended set with Gillian Tolfrey of Witches of Elswick. Watch out for him - he's very good.

Redbornstoke's annual Toddington Tour was a great success, with guests Windsor Morris, Letchworth Morris Men, Grand Union Rapper, Offley Morris Men, and a representation from Whitchurch Morris Men. The seven pubs were danced as always, and the session was very convivial in the Sow & Pigs at the end. We sang The Toddington Tour by Graeme Meek, and Redbornstoke danced The Motley Cap, our dance in honour of absent friends, in memory of Roger, the late and legendary landlord of the pub.

Then on Friday 22nd July, I finally retired from teaching! A lovely assembly, orchestrated by my boss, John and his wife, Alison, celebrated not just my contribution to the school, but also Jane's, who was also retiring after 32 years of teaching (the same time as me). We had a party at my house in the evening, to which almost all the staff came, and it really felt like a milestone!

On Monday Graeme and I set up the new PA, the backcloth, the projector, and started rehearsing for the school show that will be my new project (no, not a retirement, more a change of direction!). The show is called Hats Off to History and will be available from September. Read more about it HERE.

The band played for a wedding at Eversholt on Saturday - very hot again, so not a lot of dancing, but a good practice of the tunes in our repertoire!

Finally, a lovely day on Wednesday, when we went to London with Gill's mum, visited the Handel House in Brook Street (a very good visit, with extremely informative volunteers), and a Prom at the Royal Albert Hall (Webern, Shostakovich and Brahms). We met Jenny and James for the Prom, which made it a very special and memorable occasion, celebrating our wedding anniversary (32 years) the next day.

So, a very busy, exciting, exhausting couple of weeks, and a lot to look forward to. Off on Holiday now, so will post on return.


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