Sunday, 8th May, 2022

[Day 783]

Today being Sunday, I got up early and strolled down to pick up my copy of the ‘Sunday Times‘. On my walk down, I entertain myself to listening to some classical music tracks on my trusty old iPhone, retained just for this purpose. The first track which played was Handel’s ‘Zadoc the Priest‘ composed for the coronation of George II and played at every coronation ever since. The interesting thing about this piece is that there a long introduction of what might be termed ‘tum-ti-tum’ music played on the strings which occasionally swells and diminishes in volume without seemingly going away. One can imagine the rows packed into Westminster Abbey with the crowd waiting patiently in their crinolines (or whatever else was fashionable in 1727). Eventually, the choir breaks in, declaiming in full voice with the start of the anthem singing ‘Zadoc the Priest..” One can only imagine the impact that must have been made on the congregation when it was heard for the very first time and it still thrills. Another track was the ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks‘ and I discerned it was excellent marching music as I could time my steps to the on beats – it would have to be a quick march, I imagine. Another concert favourite was ‘Jerusalem’ which must be, by now, practically England’s (if not the UK’s) second national anthem. I have always found it interesting that the Blake poem decrying the ‘dark Satanic Mills’ of the early periods of industrialisation evokes sympathetic responses from both the political left as well as the political right. I cannot think of any other tract or poetic work of a similar ilk. The final piece that caught my attention was the ‘Halleluja‘ chorus from Handel’s ‘Messiah‘ and this also evokes a memory of the Huddersfield Choral Society singing in Huddersfield Town Hall, which itself contains a Concert Hall seating some 1200 people. I believe that it is still the case that in various towns and cities across the land, if you have a reasonable single voice you can turn up to perform a rendition just needing a score in your hand and allocation to sopranos, altos, tenors or bases. I have never done this but I reckon it would be quite an inspiring experience to do it.

Meg and I made our way to the park after watching the ‘Sunday Morning‘ (politics) programme and there we coincided, as we thought that we might, with our University of Birmingham friend. He had been busy yesterday in a community workshop repairing whatever came before him – generally radios with corroded contacts and the like. Then we bumped some other mutual acquaintances who we have not seen for a week or so but they had been away on a trip to Yorkshire. Then we made our way home for a nice Sunday lunch of chicken which was one of these supermarket offerings complete in its tray and roasting bag which just has to be popped into the oven for an hour and a half before its final finishing off with the roasting bag removed. After lunch and a brief rest reading the Sunday Times, I resumed my task in weeding the patio outside our kitchen window. These tasks always seem to take longer than you think if you do it relatively conscientiously and I had set myself the goal of doing one more ‘line’ of slabs makng only two more yet to be done. I set myself the goal of trying to get today’s quota done in ¾ hour because we had decided to watch a repeat episode of Morse on ITV3. This episode we thought we had not seen before but half way though we realise how the plot unfolded to its denouement but it was enjoyable all the same. When this episode of Morse was over, we wanted to watch Andrew Neil whose politics show, including interview, is starting a run on Channel 4. This first programme was pretty good, I thought and Andrew Neil was just about getting the better of William Rees-Mogg when the interview was made to give way to a set of adverts half through the programme. To my mind, the program seemed slightly too short at 30 minutes and I felt it could easily have been extended to 40-45 minutes. Anyway I shall watch the next one next Sunday as I think that Andrew Neil takes no prisoners and will ‘go after’ an interviewee if he feels it to be necessary.

There is an interesting ‘afterthought’ that has been occurring to some political analysts after the elections last Thursday. The popular view was that Labour had done OK but had not any dramatic further advances apart from capturing key seats in London. The Tories, for their part, felt it could have been worse and they can probably rise out any short tern unpopularity. But another view which is circulating is that voters in the South were determined to punish Johnson not just by not voting Tory but actively voting Liberal Democrat to actually punish the Tory party. If this view persists, then in the next general election, it may well be that the Tories will lose power, ceding to a minority Labour government tacitly supported by the Lib Dems.