Gainsborough

With a bike, in the church

I was brought up not to wear a hat in church, so wheeling a bicycle across the beautifully tiled floor of All Saints Gainsborough felt like a step too far.

But it’s part of the show – the audience have to see how we got here.

All Saints is a lovely Regency building, light and welcoming inside.  It shouldn’t be, because it stands right next to Gainsborough Old Hall, which I think is Tudor, and looks as though it housed Royalty often.  So there must have been an old church here once.

I rode 55 miles this morning, and the concert’s at 3.00, so I’ve left no time to find out more about the Old Hall, though.

And I had to bypass something else along the way, too.  Drax power station, which seems to have a different number of cooling towers from every angle, dominates the flat country for half an hour.  Then I remembered that – decades ago – a favourite uncle had moved to the nearby village of Haxey, with some favourite cousins, in order to work there.  So I should stop by and see the house they once lived in, and the garden we sometimes played in.

But it was too long ago to remember properly, and I couldn’t find it.  I didn’t have time, and I had to abandon the search.

All Saints was a beautiful place to play.  The curved wall at the East end made a perfect amplifying amphitheatre, and Libre’s voice filled the big space.  And Gainsborough supplied an audience that laughed and cried in all the right places.  A recently arrived refugee from Ukraine thanked me profusely and tearfully for the Meditation by Frank Bridge, and the accompanying poem, dedicated to Ukraine.

The day ended with a completely unexpected treat.  Some old friends, not seen for many years, had connections in the town (the story was complicated).  They’d made a trek from the Welsh Bordrs to spend a few days here, carefully timing their visit to coincide with mine.

So then I didn’t have to ask the audience if anyone could give me a bed for the night, because the old friends sorted that.

But then of course I was late to bed, and I need an early start again in the morning…

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