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.]