The title reflects mixed metaphors covering the very odd weather and the ups, downs and vicissitudes of life! April has just passed and like many other weather records in recent times has exceeded all records by being the wettest since records began. Despite that, the annual rainfall overall has only been about 60% of the average, and so most areas are still technically in a state of drought. Matt in the Daily Telegraph, as usual, expressed the absurdity of the contrast in his pithy cartoon showing his usual lugubrious husband sitting in his armchair with a newspaper headlined ‘Drought’ while his wife looks out of the window at the rain and observes ‘The water butt has just floated away!’. This is almost what happened to us in 2007 except it was our wheelie bin, which was never seen again… The wet weather has edged over into May, although we are having intermittent dry spells and some sunshine between showers, and Scotland had 20°C temperatures yesterday. Driving back from Bicester through the rolling Cotswolds approaching Charlton Kings and Cheltenham, there was a dramatic view to either side of the A40, as mixed with bursts of sunshine across the bright yellow rape fields and rolling meadows down to the swollen streams in the shallow valleys, grey cloud, like smoke, drifted across the higher pastures with larger grey columns in the background. Although cloudy the rain has held off since, thus giving us the opportunity to install our Alice Elgar Blue Plaque beside Hanover House’sfront door, which had arrived in the morning (the plaque, not the front door).
The economic gloom continues however, matching the rainclouds, but despite rapidly rising prices, particularly in petrol, postage and laundry, business has perked up a bit, the air temperatures are warmer, there have been a few bits of good news on the family front and we walked over to the Town Hall last night, in the dry, and attended a superb concert by the Philharmonia Orchestra, one of the world’s leading orchestras, with a dynamic French conductor, Phillipe Jordan, who inspired the orchestra in its renderings of Beethoven’s LeonoreOverture and 5th Symphony, and the very striking Liszt Piano Concerto No 2, soloist – the fantastic Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski. Phillipe Jordan, at only 37, is Musical Director of the Opera National de Paris and will become Chief Conductor of the world renowned Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Wiener Symphoniker) in 2014, presumably conducting the famous New Year Concerts in Vienna broadcast on television annually.