Saturday 7 November

The first weekend of the second lockdown. It was a wonderfully warm and sunny day so we decided to visit the National Trust property of Standen. The overhead signs on the motorway said, essential travel only, but judging by the amount of travel, it was hard to believe it was all “essential”, unless going to Standen counts as such. I am quite relieved that the interpretation seems more liberal this time around. There were plenty of visitors at Standen, the cafe was operating a very efficient take away service, and in addition, many families, like us, had brought a picnic. The house was not open, but the grounds are extensive, and we walked around the Hollybush Wood for the first time.

The autumn colours are not as much in evidence as one might expect: it has not been cold enough. But it is still very pretty.

I am cross because today I received a penalty notice from Ealing for driving in a bus lane. £130 no less. I have looked at the photo and know where it happened: it is at a point where the right lane changes from straight ahead to right only, and in order to go ahead, you have to move left. I am inordinately careful about traffic lights, yellow boxes, bus lanes and the like, so I think I must have moved fractionally too soon. It looks as though only 2 cars can be at the lights before moving forwards. Anyway, I have found a new route to Ealing, and will never go that way again. Sounds a bit what Midlanders would term “mardy”, sulky or petulant about something over which you have no control: perhaps it is.

My CD is from another harp player, Catrin Finch, who I have also met. She is a very successful Welsh harpist and composer. From 2000 to 2004 she was the Prince of Wales’ official harpist. I bet you did not know that such a role existed. She has also worked with African players, especially kora players, which is how I think I came to meet her, as through the Gold Lyre project, we met African lyre and kora musicians. She plays very diverse music, not only traditional Welsh tunes. Very agreeable listening.

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