Busy Busy Busy – Part II

Well, last time we got as far as Saturday evening and now onto Sunday! I have been waking up early lately (this morning it was not even 6am yet, which I was very unimpressed by) and on Sunday, despite my best intentions, I found myself getting out of bed and going for a run. I still can’t quite understand how it is that I can decide not to go running and still find myself running ten minutes later. Anyway.

The senior ordinand at my college chapel was ordained as deacon on Sunday at a huge cathedral about an hour’s drive away. A group of us piled onto a small coach and went along to the service to support him. It was impressively full – there were eleven people being ordained, and it appeared that each of them had brought their entire congregation with them. We had to sit to one side at the back of the cathedral and watch the proceedings on a television screen, á la Royal Wedding. I was entertained by a small baby who was evidently sitting just in front of the camera, and who kept turning round and beaming at someone just off screen. After the service, we piled back onto the coach and went to the parish church our newly-deaconed friend has been assigned to, and ate a huge quantity of absolutely amazing food. I have never been to such a delicious buffet. Unfortunately we had to leave early to get back in time for various other things, but we were there long enough to wish him all the best and to be reassured that his new church is absolutely ideal for him.

The coach back took an unusually scenic route, which meant we arrived back more than half an hour later than expected. I flew across town on my bike to a church I hadn’t been to for over a year, in order to attend another friend’s baptism. Although I never attended this church for services (I went to a Bible study class with the same friend in my first year), it was very similar to the one I started out in, and I enjoyed singing all the familiar worship songs and seeing people I hadn’t spoken to for a long time. It was also lovely to be present at my friend’s baptism, as she has been a huge support to me since we met and came to my confirmation service last term. She has also just graduated, and will be leaving for the big wide world in a matter of days, after getting married on Saturday (yet another ceremony to add to my list this week!).

Sadly I once again had to fly off on my bike, to get back to my own chapel for a choir rehearsal, but not before I had caught up with yet another friend I hadn’t seen in many moons. It was clearly the day for reunions and church services.

The choir rehearsal was in preparation for the recording of a CD of music by Alan Bullard, some of which was composed especially for us. We rehearsed until late in the evening, and then decamped to a nearby pub for the traditional post-rehearsal socialising. Because it’s outside term time, almost everyone has been allocated a room in the first-year accommodation block or one of the college houses, which is rather nice because it means we’re all together (not so nice for the tiny handful of non-choristers also assigned to the same block, I fear). What with this week of rehearsals here and then two weeks on tour in America, I think we’re all going to know each other even better than we already do by the start of next term.

Monday morning was a slow start, as we were free until 3pm. I wandered around doing a few chores, including informing the college library that I hadn’t actually graduated, and therefore please don’t recall all the books I’ve taken out for summer reading. A group of us met up and meandered into town, where I bought an overpriced slice of fudge and a ridiculous quantity of food. The rest of the day was frittered pleasantly, before another six hours of rehearsals.

On Tuesday the recording began. In total, we sang for nine hours with breaks for meals dotted about. The producer was an incredibly sharp but extremely pleasant man with an uncanny knack for noticing the tiniest of mistakes – and for flowery compliments when we finally recorded a perfect take. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the process as much as I did, but even after nine hours and a state of total exhaustion I was still having fun.

Wednesday was also a day of recording, but we finished by 3.30pm to great jubiliation. There was half an hour of amusement as we put back all the various parts of the chapel which had been removed to improve the acoustics – the altar cloth, the flowers, the communion railings and most laboriously, the carpet. I have some excellent photos of a group of PhD candidates employing a somewhat unorthodox method of reattaching the carpet to its runners.

Once we had finished, I zipped off to take part in a Q&A session at my college’s open day. Then I hurried off again to my second-to-last tutoring lesson, which for once ended on time as my student and his mum were off to see a production of Hamlet in another college’s gardens. When I got home I rather underestimated the amount of time it would take to make a curry, so twenty past eight saw me abandoning a half-cooked pan of curried vegetables in favour of a punting expedition and compline service (complete with cake, port, and much hilarity).

After such a whirlwind of activity, it would be nice to say that I am spending today relaxing and reading. However, I am nothing if not completely barking mad, so in about an hour I will be back at college helping at the university-wide open day and possibly ironing the choir’s surplices in quiet moments, as I have been assigned the tour seamstress in charge of keeping us neat and clean. Then unsurprisingly there is another choir rehearsal, this time for a commemorative dinner to which we are all invited in return for singing evensong beforehand. There’s no rest for choristers this summer.

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