Wednesday 18 November

I remember, when I used to holiday in Goa, India, being amused by the locals who in the morning would seen dressed in coats, scarfs and woolen hats. Clearly they were feeling the cold when we tourists were in beach attire! Now I understand what they felt. The temperatures during the day now are in the 80sF but in the morning the temps are closer to 60F and in the evening 70F. I have clearly become accustomed to the Florida weather and now feel the cold at 70F! So today for the first time I went to my local bar, O’Briens Irish Bar, wrapped in my cashmere coat. The only other time I have worn it in USA has been when I have joined composer colleagues in St Louis, Missouri in what is a very cold January/February. Of course I also have worn it when I travel to UK! Friends who found my attire amusing at first became a little jealous when the sun set.

The political temperature has mellowed somewhat. POTUS Donald Trump will offer no indication that he is beaten. He even sacked someone who dared to speak the truth that the election was not rigged. On the other side the Hoe Biden is seemingly impeded by potus Donald Trump’s refusal to begin the transition process despite the failure of his legal cases and clear indications that recounts will not introduce significant change to the election result. On the good side the acrimony between friends who happen to be on different sides of the political spectrum is waning and the streets are no longer populated with Republican protesters in denial.

Every day we awake to better news about the vaccine but this is accompanied by the news that potus Donald Trump has still not acceded and opened the dialogue which will enable his successor to be briefed on national security and covid-19 plans.

I see that UK is in total lock-down. I wish they would contemplate something like that here. Cases are rising exponentially across USA and in Florida today several mayors requested that the Governor De Santis take stronger action across the State which remains the 3rd in the awful league of coronavirus cases. I doubt he will break ranks while potus Donald Trump is around!

People are steadily returning to church at St Lawrence and weekly collections are somewhat depressed at 25k. In California I hear that the churches are enduring much more severe restrictions and many are asking their Pastors to resist the restrictions.

At St Lawrence we continue with cantors and me providing the music and this is being well-received. I am continuing to compose a fresh lyric setting of the psalm for each week and this creative surge is good for me. This weekend I will be one of nine diocesan musicians who will together play the inaugural recital of a newly extended and rebuilt organ in the neighboring parish of Christ the King. The local Spirit FM radio station will record it for later transmission. The organ building work is not complete yet but there is so much that is and it is a wonderful amalgam of pipes and digital sounds. It is a rare occasion when organists get to hear each other play so this recital will be that rare occasion. I will be playing Louis Vierne’s Carillon de Westminster and they have done me the honour of placing me last in the programme! I can remember playing this piece at St George’s College, Weybridge when I was a late teenager. I then also played it in Paris in my 20s but only revisited again last year for a recital on the new organ at Jesuit High School Tampa. I thank God for muscle memory! The rigorous teaching of Stephen Hicks demanded that I used the same fingering all the time and I am so grateful for that.

For the last 2 weeks I have hosted a fellow drinking friend until his new rental property becomes available at the start of January. He is so quiet that it has been an easy task.

Not so quiet have been recent evenings. Last Saturday a young guy appeared in the park just over my backyard fence. The area with all the children’s play equipment is well lit so this guy must have felt it was a bit like Broadway. So from 10pm until after midnight he was singing at the top of his voice and dancing songs from the shows. Eventually I managed to get to sleep. When he started up again at 6am I had had enough and called the Police. He was moved on but not arrested for the disturbance. Police are understandably reluctant to put folk in cells in this time of Covid. he wa back the following evening but was more subdued in volume!

The leaves are still falling on my pool but each day to a lesser extent, thankfully. I will deal with that tomorrow or Friday which have become my weekend. I will then work Saturday and Sunday and then be off for 5 days with Thanksgiving on the Thursday. I’m going to spend that day with friends from the bar whose company I enjoyed so much at the same event last year. I have been advised not to bring my posh plates or my margarita machine. It seems that Thanksgiving dinners are not as formal as some of our celebrations in UK.

I will enjoy the rest!


2 thoughts on “Wednesday 18 November

  1. Hi Phil,
    Always good to read your blog. Unfortunately, the UK is not in total lockdown. I think it would be better if it was for a short time. Schools and Universities are open, as are ‘essential’ shops and places of work where it is not possible to work from home. So it seems there is far more activity than when in April when it was a true total lockdown. Although for the most part people are following the rules, people are fatigued and confused. However, the vaccine will take some time to filter through when it is out there properly and so I fear we are going to be in this place for sometime to come. In the meantime I am becoming very acquainted with the virtual world and getting to know quite a few people that I might never have met. Keep well and safe, Lots of love.


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