Francis's Christmas Newsletter 2010

 

 
Welcome to Francisís fourth electronic Christmas Newsletter. As usual, I donít buy cards, but make a charity donation. Some of my friends and relations (mainly those who are still off line) will get paper copies of this.

This has been a good year for myself and my family, with my two driving interests in music and go still flourishing. The only sad news is that Amy Roads has passed through the great catflap in the sky.

As I write this, I have just sung in my first full concert for 18 months. Last June I sang in a performance of Verdi's Requiem, soon after which I developed the throat infection which knocked out much of my singing voice. Four GPs, three ENT specialists, two speech therapists and a practice nurse later my voice is now if anything rather stronger than it was before, though I am having to build up stamina carefully. The speech therapy was more helpful than anything. And I have passed from requiem to requiem; the recent concert was Cherubini's, in C minor.

But having no voice didn't stop me conducting, with a portable amplifier attached to my waist while my voice was still weak. The London Gallery Quire goes from strength to strength. A highlight of this year was our stall at the Early Music Exhibition at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. We ran it on behalf of the West Gallery Music Association, on whose committee I serve. However, the donkey work and general design was the responsibility of our Quire Administrator, Stella Hardy. We had plenty of visitors, and many leaflets disappeared; we shall see how many new members we acquire.

Another highlight was the wedding of one of our members at Great St Mary's Church, Cambridge in August; despite being well out of our area and the height of the holiday season we mustered enough members to give a good performance to hundreds of people new to West Gallery music.

As usual, I have been globetrotting to play go. In July I travelled to Tampere, Finland for a fortnight to attend the European Go Congress. Tampere is a pleasant city, situated as it is on an isthmus between two lakes, with plenty of attractive lakeside walks. The congress itself was well organised by the Finns. As usual I was expected to lead the song night, when as well as many English go songs we had contributions in Finnish, French, German, and, as you can see, Japanese.

A friend drew my attention to a tournament organised in early November in Korea for amateur players over 50 years of age. I qualified for this rather easily, so I decided to have a go. I spent a week and a half in Japan first, in order to overcome jetlag and to visit friends and a relative. A full account of my trip may be found here.

But much as I love travelling abroad to play go, my favourite go tournament remains that held every two years in Port Erin, Isle of Man. The accompanying picture will give you an idea why. Judith came across, and we spent a long weekend together after the tournament was finished.

Judith herself has been as busy as ever. She has visited France no fewer than five times this year, in connection with her work to support the French Society of Friends (Quakers). She has also travelled to Cologne University, to pursue her Birmingham University research degree there. It seems that overseas universities can take as much interest in the details of late 17th Century English as do our native ones, though Judith's Quaker slant appears to be unique.

Under instruction from my son Sam I have redesigned my Roding Music website; have a look. Sam himself is doing great things with his play-by-mail games business in Cardiff, which seems to be attracting much investment, and has a double-figure employee roll.

Next year: more music research, and more resolve in my rearguard action to prevent the decline in my go playing rating.

Amy Roads (d. November 2010)
Amy Roads (d. 16/11/10)
 
The Early Music Exhibition
The Early Music Exhibition
 
Tampere song party
Tampere song party
 
Pagoda at Nara
Pagoda at Nara
 
Sunset at Port Erin
Sunset at Port Erin

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