Next to Her Majesty
I had to get up early after the Jubilee Madeira. Rutherfords Punting had heard about my river adventure, and wanted to offer me a photoshoot on quieter water.
That meant being punt and performance ready, on the other side of town, at 8.30. It was worth it, though. The river was empty at that time, and as I was playing The Swan we punted past seven little cygnets, six of them swimming, and one of them peeping out from under the parental wing.
Alison – niece who I see far too rarely – and Paul were waiting for me afterwards. Coffee and cake in one of Cambridge’s best, and that comprehensive exchange of family news that goes with such meetings.
The sun was shining in Cambridge (doesn’t it always?) and the tourists were coming out. Sitting on the wall opposite the locust clock (which I think is ugly, but is important for reasons I can’t remember) a Japanese lady insisted I play Amazing Grace for her to sing to. Her husband was instructed to record it so that she could send it to her singing teacher, along with a photograph of her almost sitting on my lap.
I biked the 20 or so miles to Buntingford, through pretty villages with thatched roofs, and flint churches. I found myself, for the third time, on a section of Ermine Street. It runs straight through Buntingford, a beautiful small town with a real library and a High Street of ancient pubs. My brother Colin lives here, and he has arranged a concert at the little church down the road.
Westmill Church is one of those archetypally pretty churches, with a lovely acoustic. I like the arrangement of notices on the ancient door. There’s Her Majesty – of course – and next to her one Kenneth Wilson, with his bike and his cello. That’s the second time I’ve been placed next to the Queen – though the first time is part of a different story.
The loveliest of audiences too, and lots of interest afterwards in the loaded bike propped up against a pew.