just coming to my senses here after the festive period which followed the busiest December I have ever experienced with concerts and commitments in Norwich going on until the 23rd December and then a mad dash back to Bristol and on to my Mum's on the Christmas Eve.
My gratitude to you for the intelligent and kind way we negotiated our relationship and ultimately friendship over the years is undimmed! you are a great leader of the group with the finely tuned social antena and intelligence t match that such a group needs at the helm.
In fact my Christmas Day verged on disastrous as having promised to deliver a lengthy and complex list of festive ingredients at my mother's on Christmas Eve prior to welcoming the family on Christmas day I woke on the next morning in Salisbury to realise to my horror that I had left all the potatoes, parsnips and carrots in my cupboard at home in Bristol.
I immediately dashed out cursing into the street and initially thought of knocking on random Sarumite's doors and begging them for the season of goodwill to stretch to an individual potato or carrot. In the end having recovered my sang froid and located the world's most expensive mini bijoux carrots in an M and S service station I went into the local Old Mill hotel and literally begged them to liberate a few of the still missing vital victuals.(i.e. potatoes and carrots) .....and finally an hour later (and a fat tip lighter) on returning to the house with a bag of the missing items I have to say I felt like the hunter returning home with the deer slung over my shoulder.
On reflection I realise I had worked every day in December from our Sunday extra rehearsal in Hinchley Wood on the 2nd through to the 2 Norwich concerts on the 23rd without a day off and my usual planning and preparation for Xmas all simply went out of the window in the struggle to the finish line.
All this is by way of excuse for delaying communicating with you all my profound thanks both to you Liz, the committee and the choir in general for the incredibly generous way you treated my departure and farewell do back just a couple of weeks ago.
i know that so many of you were involved in the farewell party in East Molesey that i can't really name you all but Liz, Debs, Linda, Emily, Graham and Nicky, Linda, Jackie, Julie, Brian and Julian and so on you know who your are : thank you so much all of you for going the extra mile to make it such a memorable occasion.
In fact there were several moments of profound comedy genius, from the extraordinary hosting Julian to certain moments with certain inflatable horses, telephone boxes milkmen and dustmen that we can collectively now never unsee or unhear!
And of course I'll probably never get over your singing of my personal Parting Glass (till I have had a few more glasses!)....... in a funny way i felt we were all channeling the old music Hall traditions one more time and I truly can't imagine any other choral group with your level of humour, abandon, acting skills and timing combined that all led to the ability to create genuine hilarity and poignancy right on cue!
Your individual gifts and the gift card i received then were also just so generous and kind: the card, filled with the warmest and kindest thoughts, still makes me chuckle as i look at it beaming down at me from my bookshelf.
Your wishes for my future and your appreciation of the wonderful musical times we spent together over the past five years bring tears are truly touching.
So as we know......Goodbye's are hard things to do...... particularity when I think of the depth of friendships I have made at EV over the past 5 years.
Even now writing this I get a lump in my throat as I remember both the stirring musical times we have had over the years and during this December in particular and the enormous kindness shown to me consistently over time by so many people. You are all a very fine bunch indeed !!
You sang like angels throughout December both in a tricky acoustic in Hampton Court and so wonderfully in the final concert in East Molesey's lovely church.
Your singing as a group is now so rhythmic, well-blended and in tune now that I feel genuinely proud of you all and what we have achieved together over the past few years and of the collective musical intelligence of you as a group.
I am also so content that you had the good sense to appoint Emily as your new leader as she is so self-evidently enormously talented, humorous inspiring and experienced ....I am sure that by continuing to show her the wlcome you always showed me that she will take good care of you all on and spur you on to new and even greater musical heights!
The Boar's Head flash mob we managed to pull off without getting executed in the Hampton Court Stairwell after our second performance there will utterly stay with me forever so lush it sounded and so beautifully tuned and executed was it!
So....back here in the fresh (slightly harsh?) light of early 2019 I can only sit here and marvel at how my life was enormously enriched by having all of you in it.
It truly will be hard for me to work out anything I can possibly do on Thursdays now that can give me half the pleasure of laughing and learning with you all over the years we spent together. I also in absentia want to thank again dear Julia Cripps who was instrumental in getting me started at EV, who helped me so much to understand the workings of things and who became such a good friend....I miss her so much as i know many of you do too.
So thank you EV for your spirit, kindness and generosity, your musicality and your warmth: you are an absolute collective gem of singers that I genuinely hope to stay in touch with as time goes on.
Thank you once more for the right royal send off I had from you all.
much love to you Liz and to all of you ,
Your Auld Acquaintance will ne'er be forgot!