Saturday, February 16, 2013

30/11/68 Oil heaters, actors & fog


Dear Mum, how are you two?  [The letter was addressed to Mrs P Crowl and Fred – the cat, in other words] I got a book the other day called Mozart’s Letters: actually it was only a selection of them, but it’s nice to see that even he wasn’t all that original a letter-writer.  Like me, when he had something to say, he’d go on for quite a time, but otherwise he’s likely to make some excuse about not having enough paper, or no news – he’s always telling his family to send some news! – and what a load of old rubbish he writes at times: especially to his sister or cousin.  Suddenly in the middle of a paragraph he goes quite crazy and writes absolute nonsense!


About your Parkinson and Frodsham, I’m afraid I can’t find anything about them anywhere.  Change Alley appears not to exist – I wonder if it was bombed out of existence in the war? – because there’s no reference to it in the A to Z of London, and the name of the firm doesn’t appear in the telephone book, as far as I can see.  I even looked up chronometer makers in the local library’s trade dictionary, but there was only one entry, and that was in st Albans.  Don’t give up hope, however, I’ll ask our receptionist about it when he comes back to work on Monday (he’s had a bad throat) because he’s a mine of information, and may know something about the street at least.  [I don’t remember what this was all about, but certainly Parkinson and Frodsham were chronometer makers going back into the 19th century at least.  I didn’t realise that Change Alley was short for Exchange Alley, which would have helped me. P & F had offices there, it seems.]


On Thursday morning, Kingsley suddenly vanished out of the house before I was even finished breakfast, and not obviously going to school, and I discovered the next morning what he’d been up to  - not having come home till fairly late on Thursday night.  (Got over the cold by the way – stayed home again on Tuesday – just couldn’t face trying to do work, and felt much better for it – got up at midday, and eventually got dressed, and sort of recuperated.)  Back to his lordship – he’d gone and bought an oil heater, saying that he can’t stand trying to sit round the fire any longer – truth to tell I find it just as cool!  I was prepared – in my usual irate fashion – to go crook at him, because he told me it cost £8!!, but he said since it was his idea, he was paying for it.  I can’t see that it’s a great advantage – as it smells oily of course, and trying to dry anything in front of it is a very slow process – you can put a minimal amount of stuff on top of it, but that’s all.  And I’m afraid, as I realise I’ve already said, that it’s no warmer.  I said I’d pay him something for it, but I don’t feel like dragging four quid out of the bank just like that.  Admittedly it’s surely quicker than trying to light the fire, and then waiting around for that to heat up, but at least that was already installed, and all we had to do was buy some coal every so often.  I don’t know what to think, and can’t say anything much as usual, without putting my foot in it.  I don’t know, perhaps I’m an unsatisfactory person to live with.  (I’m sure you’ll disagree, so there’s not much point saying it to you!) [maybe she wouldn’t have done] but I find it hard to say that something isn’t quite to my liking, without feeling sure beforehand that I’ll put my foot in it and cause some sort of upset.  While Kingsley has got a sense of humour (and while mine is rather malicious, I suppose) he is very serious about domestic matters, so to speak, and obviously gets that impression that I’m the type who merely muddles along while he knows how to do most things.  It’s true up to a certain point because he has a real nose for bargains and things, and I invariably wind up getting things for twice the price I need have, and because even though I do muddle along, I get there eventually, even if my discovery of how to do something is the way people have been doing it for a thousand years!  Still, I suppose to a certain degree I’ve got some imagination on my side, (it’ll probably turn up that’s really got a lot of that too!) and maybe that will compensate.  I’m afraid this is a gripe letter, so ignore everything up till now!

Paul Schofield


It was good to get back to work on Wednesday, even though I worked too hard when I did get there, because several people inquired how I was and where I’d been, etc, and I felt at home again.  On Thursday, Kevin and I went to see  A Hotel in Amsterdam, the latest John Osborne play – he wrote Look Back in Anger some years ago.  It’s not really a very good play but it has Paul Schofield in the lead, and this makes up for its defects.  He makes even the most uninteresting line worth hearing, merely by the modulation of his voice most of the time, and I would like now to see him in a really good part.  Alec Guinness is in a play revival here at the moment, and I’d very much like to see him, too.  [Don’t think I managed this.]


What you say about not believing I’m here most of the time doesn’t apply except on two occasions. (I don’t know why it doesn’t apply, but my mind seems to have accept it all.) These are, invariably when I come out of an underground gents (!) or even sometimes the Tube (don’t ask me why!) I have the funny feeling I’m going to come out in a different place, not necessarily home; and the other occasions are when I see actors on stage that I’ve seen in films – I just don’t believe somehow that they’re actually down there on the platform.  Otherwise, I feel quite at home here most of the time, because the run of the mill person around is exactly the same to look at, except out here in the East, where the majority of men have a very close-cropped hairstyle and a definitive way of dressing – mainly with jeans, and where the women come in two kinds: heavily made-up young ones, with very little beauty about them, or old ones (older) who have gone to seed, so to speak.  This is only the East End lot, the average proper Londoner, rich or poor, is generally a different animal.  [Oh the wondrous generalisations of youth!  Not sure that they improve with age.]


Tonight Mike and Hazel and I are making a short trip out of London, down south to Epsom – near Ascot, so they say, to see a production of The Turn of the Screw, the Britten opera based on the Henry James story. Invited Kingsley, but he wants to go and see Figaro at the Wells instead, even though this other is finishing tonight.  You might be interested to know I went to confession this morning, and the priest talked about practicing tolerance, and in your last letter you talked about it, and my one New Year resolution at the beginning of this year was on the same subject – so, if I don’t get to achieve anything at this rate, there must be something wrong.  I’ll have to start another letter if only to tell you a joke I heard in the play


Part II


There must be some other things to tell you anyway!  This joke was in the Osborne play: a girl went to a very strict convent to become a nun, and one of the vows they had to make was not to speak more than two words every three years. (!)  At the end of the first 3 years the young nun went to the Mother Superior who said, Well now, Sister, you may say your two words, and after a great effort the nun said, ‘Bad food.’  Three more years passed and the time came again. Well now, Sister, you may say your two words: and the young nun said, after a very great effort: ‘Uncomfortable beds.’ Three more years went by, and once again, the young nun came before the Superior.  The Superior repeated her usual speech but this time the young nun didn’t say anything for a very long time, and then finally came out, very quietly with, ‘I want to go home.’ The Mother Superior replied, ‘And a good thing too – you’ve done nothing but complain since you came here.’  And after that great effort, and considerable waste, I’ll leave the rest of this until tomorrow, in case The Turn of the Screw  is very interesting. 


[Handwritten] Michael sez thank you for looking after his Mum – re the address, I knew you’d commented it on but didn’t bother to look back and see if you’d actually told me the street!  Kevin’s ex fiancée is AGAIN ENGAGED – which seemed to relieve Kevin on any responsibility for the break-up!! I’ve now received your latest letter re Mike’s Mum and I’ll pass it on.


[Typed] What a terrible day it is here!  The fog is the thickest I’ve yet seen here, and everyone gets on the bus coughing and spluttering.  Plus the fact that the tops of the buses are generally full of smoke and if you’re not coughing for a start you soon start!  Fancy asking me if I wanted any more fudge and biscuits!  I’d thought I’d already hinted on this subject as it was – remember I asked if I should send the tin back to you.  I think the reason why it was so difficult to open was simply the fact that it had been stuck down for so long. Perhaps I should send the tin back to you with some books I don’t require any longer – although that might make a rather heavy parcel.  Kingsley had suggested ringing you up at Christmas by getting you to go up to his place, but then as it turned out his family had made some other arrangements, and this is no longer possible.  [Not sure why my mother needed to go to someone else’s place for a phone call, since we had a phone at home.] You’re probably happier anyway, not having to troop up there at that time, but he then said perhaps he could give me a couple of quid for Christmas as compensating!  The boy’s crazy – if I did ring I’d be paying for it.  However, if you don’t mind, I don’t think I will ring – I can’t see that I can say much in two or three minutes and neither could you, and we’d probably both wind up more miserable than we started!  So I thought I’d write you a long letter instead.  Do you mind?  It’s less the expense, than the fact as I’ve said, that we’d probably both be more upset about it than anything.  We’ll see.  And I’ll let you know if anything does come up. [International phone calls were very expensive in those days- I don’t think I actually rang her until around 1970!]


Megs Jenkins, in Green for Danger, 1946, 

We went to The Turn of the Screw on Sat.  I had to pick Hazel up from the Opera Centre, and as a result James Robertson, who was also going, gave us a lift to Waterloo Station.  We could have gone the whole way with him, but we had to pick Mike up there.  As it happened, Mike went another way, but I was glad we caught the train really, as Mr Robertson is rather hard going conversation-wise.  When we got to Epsom we were given the most elliptical set of directions and went the wrong way first.  How badly Londoners know their own area!  It was ages before we found someone who directed us correctly.  The show turned out to be an amateur one, and though the singing and playing was fairly good, and the words were excellent, the production was appalling.  Anyway, I enjoyed it to a certain point.  Then the three of us went back to Mike’s flat, and just as we were about to leave, Lindsay arrived in a bit of a flap saying that he had some people coming up.  All he meant was that we should tidy up, but we thought he wanted us to leave.  He didn’t, but we did!  Megs Jenkins, one of my favourite, smaller part players in films came up – she seems to be an especial friend of Lindsay’s.  So it was quite a thrill sort of being on the same floor as her!  I left to get a last bus, but apparently missed it, then discovered as I was about to walk home again that I’d left my keys at my own flat, and as I didn’t really want to wake everyone up at that time of night, went back to Mike and took up his offer of a spare bed!  [Handwritten again; possibly because the shift key seemed to be playing up.]  Then left at about nine next morning, not feeling very bright as I didn’t sleep too well due to the central heating and the electric blanket and the heavy quilt.  I’d intended to go to Petticoat Lane that morning but decided not in case Kingsley had wondered where I’d got to – he hadn’t of course! 


Went to Albert Hall (first had tea in Kensington High St) with Kevin but we were both so tired that we nearly went to sleep in the first half seemed to go terribly slowly!  [But what did we go to hear?]

Yesterday was technically a day off (Monday) but I went in anyway and spent so much longer at (the Opera Centre) that I didn’t have time to get home again.  Played the first of the songs I’d written for Kurt, but I’m a bit unsure of what he thought of it!  I’ve made some alterations to it anyway now.  Then we went to the pub next door and he shouted me a drink, and told me most of his life story – interesting but reasonably incredible!  Then Mike shouted me to a Royal Shakespeare play The Latent Heterosexual (what a title!) which was exceptionally well produced and acted (Roy Dotrice of Misleading Caseshe’s only in his forties – was superb in the lead) and nowhere near as bad as the title might imply!

Lots of Love, Mike

Saturday, February 09, 2013

25.11.68: Cold in the nose and a great concert

Monday the 25th [Nov 1968]  

Dear old Mum, I’m typing this in the kitchen after having got up at 2.00 [pm] to have some breakfast...!  the thing is I’ve decided to have the day off, because last Thursday I found I had a very sore throat – everyone at the school has something like that, and on Friday it was making me feel so rotten I took the opportunity to come home early, having nothing special to do, and went to bed very early that night.  I was due to go out to the Crowls on Saturday morning, and when I woke up, though I was still fairly croaky, I felt a lot better.  But I think the combination of their very hot house (and the cold outside) forced it up into my head – the cold that is – and so when I got back here last night I was very sniffly, etc.  I had intended going in today, because this morning, for a start, we were going to a rehearsal of Manon Lescaut by Puccini at Covent Garden, but when I found that the first thing my idiot nose decided to do was bleed like mad, I gave up and went back to bed.  And there I’ve been until now.  Actually this is the first trouble I’ve had since I’ve been here, and it’s a wonder it hasn’t happened sooner, because, as I say there have been colds floating around the Centre for weeks.  [I was always prone to bleeding noses – so this wasn’t unusual.]

THANK YOU FOR THE SECOND JERSEY!  The green one with Oddfellows!  [ I presume this meant the lollies known as Oddfellows, but I could be wrong!]  It’s even warmer than the brown if that’s possible, and fits very well.  You really are a trick, you know; it must have cost you more since I decided to go away than it was costing you to have me at home.  And, by the way, if I haven’t already said anything about the postal notes, for heaven’s sake, don’t worry about not sending them; it’s not a strict necessity, you know!  I like very much getting them, of course, but it would also be nice if you would look after yourself as well as your looking me, you know.  And thanks for the Peanuts – we get all the top papers at the Centre each day, but of course they’re too tops to have anything as interesting as Peanuts in them!  Harking back to the money bit, I was working it out the other day, and it appears that I’m living on an average of about £8 – 10 or less a week, if my cheque book is anything to go by, and also remembering that I’ve been on international (Crowl) assistance during the period I worked on.  If I deduct my rent from that it becomes six pounds, which is less than a pound a day, and rather surprises me now that I come to look at it.  Perhaps it’s right, however! 

What is the story about poor wee Francisco now?  Will you be getting a new address or something, do you know?  At least he has relatives, I suppose that’s something for the poor wee chap.  [This was a South Korean orphan that I supported, in South Korea.]

I noticed an article on the O’Flahertys in one of the Tablets – did you see it?  They’ve got seven children of their own!  [I don’t know who these were – though I had relatives by this name, none of them had seven children.]

[The next section of the letter can't be posted here.]

What’s wrong with John Stokes’ nose?  Nice to see Des Ryan again, eh? [A cousin, and an uncle.]

Since I last wrote, the crisis between Kingsley and self is over – at least, he didn’t know anything about it really – and the crisis-maker, yours truly, seems to have calmed down, and life goes on its way! 

By the way the fogs here are no longer the impenetrable ones they used to get, because so much of London is in the smokeless zone, but it was just driving in one that I found so bad.  London is in a state of haze most of the time anyway, and even on the brightest days you can’t see more than a mile or two from a tall building.  Funny thing with the Crowls, particularly Reg, they almost get a little upset it seems if I don’t go and see them – I’ve only been going on alternate weekends lately, because it’s just as tiring to go up there as to stay home and go out with Kevin or Mike.  I don’t really think they’re offended or anything – don’t know what it is really.  Perhaps it’s almost like having part of his brother at home, or something?  [My father, in other words.]

Peter Rowlands who lost his bubby – he’s not been married long either, and he’s in his 40s too – must have been rather hard on them.  [Peter was someone I'd known from the Dunedin music scene.]

David Gorringe, Kurt, and I went to a concert version of a new Malcolm Williamson opera on Monday last – he played the accompaniment himself, alternating with unbelievable rapidity between a piano and harpsichord, and percussion, or sometimes playing both instruments at once!  There were only four singers, and they all took several parts.  Though the story was pretty obscure, the music was surprisingly easy listening, and very enjoyable.  Hazel was there turning pages for him and handing him instruments to bash!  [This may have been The Growing Castle which is dated 1968. I can’t find anything about Williamson’s version of it, except that it was based on a play by Strindberg, was in two acts and lasted about an hour and a half. ]

On Tuesday David and I went to La Boheme – a terrible performance.  On Thursday, we both turned up again at a Festival Hall concert, and sat in seats two rows from the front!  They played a terribly exciting King Lear Overture by Berlioz, the Schuman Piano Concerto, and the Bruckner 3rd Symphony.  This last was tremendous, uplifting, like Wagner without actually ringing you out at the same time!  We were so close we could see the loose hair on the lead violinist’s bow, the price tags on one of the other violinist’s socks, another old fellow only pretending to play through the Berlioz – they took him off limping after it – and we could also hear both the leader and the pianist breathing Very Heavily throughout!  Fascinating.  [Handwritten] Better go back to bed I think.  Listen don’t worry about flying over to nurse me.  I think I’ll survive.  Love, Mike.  [I remember the loose hair on the leader’s bow: it spent the entire overture trying to catch up and never quite made it.]

17.11.68: Hijinks at the Opera Centre & the difficulties of flatting

There's been a bit of a gap in uploading further letters to this blog because I was sent a dozen old letters I'd written to a friend recently, and I've been typing those up.  They cover a wider period from a few years before I went to England to sometime into the early 70s. 
There are two letters here, since the second runs on from the first, and they were sent together.

Dear Mum, how’s things with you two? Before I go any further, and before I forget, Kevin is no longer engaged – as far as I know, his fiancée broke it off, with some reasons about not leaving her mother, etc.  I rather suspect it’s for the best, for a number of reasons, and he doesn’t seem too greatly concerned about it. 

Mrs Tither, [Mike’s mother in Dunedin] incidentally, is in hospital as I write this – don’t know how long she’ll be there, but she had some rather unpleasant operation, and I’m sure Mike would be very pleased if you could see her some time – even after she comes out, perhaps.  She’s in Batchelor Ward at the mo’.  Do you know where they live in Mornington?  It’s that street (steep) beside the Post Office. [Brunel St.]  I said I’d mention it to you, to Mike, and he seemed a bit happier about it.

Another bit of news.  At the Opera Centre, as I think I’ve told you, we’re doing, for our end of term productions: Albert Herring, with a second year cast, and as a double bill, Dido and Aeneas, which Alistair and Henry are to play the harpsichord continuo in, and Angelique, which has piano part in the orchestra.  Because the other two were to do the harpsichord part, I rather suspected that I might be doing the piano part but since nothing had been said, I took it I wasn’t.  However, as I was leaving one night, James Robertson comes up to me and says, Michael, I want you to do the piano part in Angelique, so that was that.  I’ve now seen the part, and it has some very nasty spots in it, but I think I’ll manage to play it.  Angelique is one of the worst vocal scores any of us has seen – it’s been reduced for a pianist with three hands and six fingers on each of those!  I’m not alone in thinking this, which is something.  However so that is that, and I’m quite happy to be doing something in the show.  The two reps on Albert Herring won’t be doing anything at all apparently.  Gosh, how time flies – a week seems to go by in no time, and there seems in fact no time to do all the work necessary.  Oh, well.  

We’ve had Michael Moores at our repetiteur sessions for the last fortnight – we have 2 a week, and he’s the most down to earth of the four men we’ve had. [I don’t remember Moores, but he had a distinguished career – see below*]Robertson was first of course and if one ignores his slightly overbearing and trying to be one of the young crowd manner, he’s not a bad old soul.  But few – in fact, I don’t think any of the students really like him, and he’s inclined to come into a session where someone else is working and brusquely interrupt, and embarrass everyone. The second rep-man was Myer Fredman, who had been working in Canada and also at Glyndebourne over the last couple of years, and who has also done a good deal of film music arranging – not composing.  (So has Michael Moores.)  They both seem to take something not necessarily very inspired and by dint of arrangement and orchestration turn it into something worthwhile.  Fredman was on Lawrence of Arabia, and Exodus (and reckoned the composer was hopeless, with no idea of orchestration!) As a teacher he wasn’t bad, although we spent many hours discussing the characters and the way they behaved, and the way they’re generally presented, which is a different thing! 

Peter Gellhorn
The next fellow was Peter Gellhorn – a German living in England, doing occasional conducting, and mainly in charge of the BBC Chorus, I think. He was fantastic in that if he wished to compare something in Fidelio (which we were doing) with something else that someone else had written, or Beethoven if it comes to that – he’d just sit down and play it, not really by memory, nor even by ear – he seemed to have it all in his head as a matter of course.  Fredman, who was one of his pupils (Moores worked under Robertson once too!) had told us that Gellhorn had been brought up in the old school of music where unless you could play a piece of music while reading the newspaper there was something wrong with you – and you were also expected to be able to transpose it as well (the music, not the newspaper!).  Moores, who did Boheme with us, was a nice casual musician, with a genuine love of music – all music.  And he was fascinated by the sort of background detail to the opera.  From the start he brought along the book that Boheme is based on, and read bits of it, and on the last day we did no music, but merely listened to him discussing the letters, and collaborations that went on between Puccini and his librettists, and how the story had changed by the time had passed form book to straight play version and ultimately to opera.  Very interesting, and very easy to talk to. 

On Friday in place of our usual lecture, we had an Audition Forum, which meant that half a dozen singers had to pretend they were auditioning – in front of the rest of the school.  The trouble was, as far as the reps were concerned, we had to play the stuff they sang from sight, and the five of us arrived with sort of shaky looks.  As it turned out I got a piece that nobody knew, so in actual fact it didn’t matter that I botched up a bit of it.  But it was all rather nervewracking all the same.  The last two singers were Alan Opie, and Jane Plant.  Alan, of course, is one of the best singers in the place, and when he came on looking all dishevelled, and puffing and panting, and then made a horrible botch of his song, we were convinced there was something wrong.  Actually at the start it appears he was to be sending it up so that we could really criticise, but John Kentish, the sort of student manager, [Director of Studies, in fact] sounded too gruff to be joking and some of us were a bit puzzled. Anyway he was supposed to be clowning so that we could (the singers rather) see what not to do at an audition.  Jane came on next, and she’s always appeared to me to be someone who’s not particularly interested.  She’s second year. But she gave an Academy Award-winning comedy performance as the sort of housewife with her eye on the bright lights type.  She wore a flowing black and white coat, had two or three bags, had a silver type of frontal-tiara on her head, had jangling bracelets on her arms, and was in flat shoes.  First she took off her coat with a great flourish while John Kentish quite seriously announced that she had offered to do either the First Act of Tristan and Isolde! or some other piece I didn’t know.  She did the latter, starting by going over to the piano and requesting in a stage whisper that Anthony play her a C when the time required it.

Part II

Then she sort of composed herself in front of the piano, then just as he was about to start, stopped him, and pouncing on her bag, set about finding her high heels.  After producing a couple of egg boxes and other sundries, she took her shoes off and flung them under the piano, and then put on the others.  Oh yes, somewhere along the line she set about powdering her nose, too.  She started the song eventually, and sang it all to John Kentish, who was sitting to one side in the front.  Then every now and then, she’d remember the audience, and sing to us all.  At one marvellous moment in the music, she sang four heavily accented notes, and accompanied each with a shake of her arms, causing all the bells to ring.  Mad, and, mad.  Still it took away the sour taste of the rest of the programme. 

Michael took us to a preview film showing at one of the little theatres (holding about 60) in Wardour St, on Thursday, and though it was directed by the same man [Norman Jewison] that made In the Heat of the Night, and though it was very well made, its content was such that I wouldst advise anyone to see it.  [I assume this was The Thomas Crown Affair.]  (Sorry the typing is so appalling tonight – though I’ve got a fire on here, it’s just a bit chilly and my fingers aren’t quite with it).  After this we went up to his flat and had tea: Kevin was there and also Pam, the ex-flatmate of a girl Kevin used to know over here. 

On Friday night, Hazel, from the school, and I went to see the Hitchcock, Strangers on a Train at the NFT.  The last quarter of an hour is still marvellous but it seemed a little less interesting than previously.  After this we went into the Festival Hall Coffee Bar next door  and talked so long that the people who had been going into the beginning of a concert when we arrived were leaving when we did!  We just talked about the various people at the Centre – not so much in a malicious way or anything, as just sort of discussing them – and it’s quite an interesting topic!  We also talked about ourselves, too, in the process.

Last night Mike was going to shout me to Canterbury Tales as sort of a repayment for the Operas he’s seen free with me.  And Kathy was supposed to come too, but since she has her brother’s bad habits, she was so late arriving at the restaurant where he was to meet her that he couldn’t get seats, so we went to see a revival of Ring Round the Moon, by the same company that had revived The Importance.  John Standing was in it, again, playing two identical brothers, and Flora Robson, Isabel Jeans, and Bill Fraser (of Bootsie and Snudge on TV some years ago) were also there.  It’s all a mad romantic comedy, which just about describes it, and of course there’s a lot of fun with the fact of one actor trying to be in two places at once.  On one occasion, Hugo points out that his brother is coming, goes and hides behind a bush – his brother walks in (must have been a double) at the back – passes the bush, and Frederick walks out, while we can still see feet of his ‘brother’ behind the bushes.  Then they reversed this process later.  Very clever.  There’s a marvellous line at the end.  Everyone is on stage except Hugo, and they all look off to see Hugo come in.  Someone says, Oh, he won’t come in, and Frederick, who is already on stage, says, practically to the audience, I knew he wouldn’t.  [In spite of my enthusiasm for this show here, I don’t remember it at all. I never went to see Canterbury Tales; it was described as very bawdy, and wasn’t to my taste at all.]

Thanks for keeping me posted on all the relatives and things; it doesn’t, to me, lose any interest by being further away than usual.  And thanks for the Peanuts – I find they remain readable, long after you’ve first seen the joke.  And for the Tablets – I sort of pick them up when I have only a few minutes to fill in, and they’re very interesting.  I see Father Gaffey saying that having a sense of humour should be one of the virtues!

Kingsley is at present away playing the organ for a church in the next parish – they’re going to pay him too. I don’t really know that it’s worthwhile being tied down to a job of any sort – I told you he was working three hours or less a night, didn’t I? – because so many things of worth come up, all the time, and they’re bound to come on the night that you’re working, I think I’m not really worried about my finances although I’m still being pretty careful, but I’m sure the good Lord has a special accounting-minded angel looking after it all.  Kingsley is a bit of a [...], really; at the weekend, I don’t get a chance to say what I’d like to eat for our main meal – he just goes ahead and cooks it, and though I’m grateful to have someone doing the work (I don’t even bother to help since he’s obviously much happier doing it on his own) it would be nice to be able to say, well, let’s experiment a bit this weekend, and have such and such – which possibly in the long run would cost us less.  We have sort of ‘good wholesome meals’, and once again I’m grateful, but though some of my experiments were a bit weird, they were always edible, and made quite a change.  He’s not a very imaginative lad I don’t think, and obviously feels he should stick to what he knows.  He even refuses to have a drop of curry in his spaghetti, now.  and he has stocked up the cupboards with tins of spaghetti and baked beans, because they’re cheap, and large large tins of coffee and marmalade, which consequently wreck my budget, which is organised to a certain point.  The tins of food are fine, of course, for snacks (ie evening meals) at night, but one gets very tired of the same thing each night.  And today we had dehydrated peas with our meal, which were absolutely awful, and yet they’re cheap.  I don’t know.  He has got much more talent for getting things cheaper than me, although again, I didn’t think I was doing that badly before, and yet he doesn’t really see further than his nose about the subject.  I haven’t caused an upset about it, but I have sort of quietly mentioned in passing that he wouldn’t have the same thing every night at home, etc.  I don’t know [handwritten] the trouble is he has so much more time to do the shopping than I have  - and perhaps I shouldn’t complain about it because he is sort of constantly getting a cup of coffee or supper or the aforementioned big meals.  Guess, a bit of time will sort it all out.  Perhaps I’ll be able to clear the air without a blow-up.  I’ve finished the chocolate chippies and fudge – shall I send back the tin FOR A REFILL? – only joking.  Lots of love.

PS He even puts my hottie [hot water bottle] in my bed for me – I’m more pampered than when I was at home!!  AAAGH – perhaps it’s good training in tolerance.  [We don’t know what Kingsley thought about me, of course! And I guess some of this is just typical adjustment to living with a different person and his different approach to domesticity. Sorry, Kingsley! I was no doubt also a bit of a pain to live with...]

*After a distinguished career in England, for Sadler’s Wells Opera, the British Broadcasting Corporation, films and records – a career which has taken him to many other countries, including Turkey and Japan, Michael Moores was invited, in 1976, to become Director of the Opera Workshop for the California State University at Los Angeles.  Mr Moores also makes regular visits to New Zealand, where he presents, conducts and performs piano solos with the New Zealand Symphony in his own television series.  Michael Moores came to Houston in 1979, where he is currently Associate Professor on the faculty of the University of Houston School of Music.  In addition he has conducted for Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Symphony Orchestra and will conduct in the Pop Series this season.