Day 97

Midsummer.

I’m awake early, but there’s little respite from the aches even though this should be a good day.  The PET scan radioactive chemicals seem to have topped up the toxins and I feel pretty rubbish.

However, it’s Summer Solstice – midsummer day and Dave and I head over to Kestle Barton on the Lizard to see the inaugural performance of ‘Troheaul’ for two marching brass bands.  The performance is the work of artist Abigail Reynolds and composer Gareth Churcher, the musical director of the local St Keverne Brass Band.

‘Troheaul’ is Cornish for ‘Sunturn: such as the Druids made and the inhabitants of the western isles still make.’ (Borlase 1769)

Abigail has introduced the concept of two marching bands playing different tunes moving past each other in time, space and musical phase, and Gareth has composed a beautiful piece of music for the St Keverne band.

It’s a spotless summers day, the sun hot and high.  The audience maybe 200 people and lots of children gather around a central lawn in the gardens of Kestle outside the gallery where the band timpani player and conductor start things off.  Then two streams of brass players emerge from further back behind the crowd playing their pieces and entwining us in sound, movement and energy. They circle round us playing a haunting melody and then as the music progresses through its four movements they lead us pied-piper style out into the incredible wild flower meadow beyond the garden where the two marching bands loop round us in a large figure of eight, physically and musically meeting, crossing, passing and turning back from each other.  It’s a wonderful performance, magical and uplifting.

Later the performance is repeated but with the band united and static – it’s still a compelling piece of music.  By then I’m sheltering in the shade of a hedge, eating a quinoa salad and eyeing up with some envy the pints of bitter and delicious smelling pasties that are provided for lunch!  No, I’m happy with my salad.  There’ll be beer and pasties another time…

Driving home I’m exhausted and almost fall asleep at the wheel.  It’s been good to get out but socialising is hard for me and tiring.  I enjoyed it of course – familiar faces from near and far, some who know of my illness others who don’t and it’s difficult to answer casual questions of what are you up to or how’s it going.  Back home I conk out for an hour and sleep.

Then we head down to Battery Rocks and Dave does a long swim and I paddle and try a few strokes but can’t catch my breath to do more than splash about.  I’m a long way from body surfing the waves of Pedny which has been my constant summer joy since being here, feeling naked and strong in the water.  Well, that’s the level of health I aim to get back to.

It’s Graham’s midsummer ‘Steam Punk’ and Pondlife reunion gig party tonight but I’m not able to make it.  I’m very sad about this – I’ve loved these parties over the years and the bus has been one of the fixtures or props for the last few, either as a Police Black Maria for the Crime & Punishment party or a first aid cafe ambulance for Doctors & Patients.

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And then the 07/07/007 James Bond party when G and I made a Gyrocopter out of junk…

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“Will it really fly?”

“Sure.  Just take these little pills…”