Tuesday 31 March

Every time I visit St Petersburg the engineering feat that is the 8 mile road across the ocean never ceases to amaze me. Today for the first time I would be visiting the cathedral to join fellow music directors in the diocesan choir for the Chrism Mass. I got there early enough to have a look around the cathedral. It only re-opened last year after a major re-ordering. Unfortunately although the sound system is now great for the spoken word the same cannot be said for music. The choir, organ and other instruments operate from the rear of the nave in a purpose built space which is slightly elevated above ground. The people are gathered in four quadrants around the altar.

There was a brief rehearsal/warm-up led by other music directors and then Chris Berk, the Cathedral MD appeared and took over. He informed us that some of the brass were caught in traffic as the skyline bridge had been close due to a ‘jumper’. I later asked him if he knew for sure that it was not the bishop! The music was largely choral but there was enough for the assembly also. The bishop was on good form and gave a wonderful talk about the characteristics of oil.

After the Mass which lasted 2 hours we were invited to lunch and the opportunity to chat with colleagues.

A few days ago my washing machine had sprung a leak. I had bought a drain pipe but it was not the right size so I returned it and did a bit more food shopping at Aldi. I will be getting up early tomorrow in order to prepare the end of term school Mass. Then I shall be free until the evening when we have the last full choir rehearsal before the major events of Holy Week.

I’ve just watched another of those ghastly Schwarzeneger films and am not fit for bed!

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