Anyway, let's back up to catch up a bit...this helps me not forget what happened myself you see... :)
Back to the morning of July 3rd...Melanie & I decided since breakfast would probably be crowded right before our walking tour was scheduled, we ate before getting ready, so glasses & tied-back hair for both of us. ;) Then it was off on the walking tour of York...we got the younger tour guide John, who was very funny and loud enough to hear, which was excellent for my taping...he had some hilarious stories worth saving! Weather was sunny, mixed with showers out of the blue that stopped as suddenly as they began - typical British summer weather of course! ;)
After the walking tour, Melanie left to have lunch with two of her local friends, while Ryan, Jack, Johnathon, Robin & I looked for a vegetarian place in our guide that ended up not existing...so we ended up at Oscar's Cafe - obviously touristy since they advertised "french fries" with their sandwiches - when who walks in but Melanie & her friends...hehe...no room at our table though...Johnathon, Robin & I split a pitcher of Pimm's punch, a traditional summer garden party drink...in Nick's words, most memories of Pimm's punch is of getting sunburnt and plastered at garden parties, since the alcohol sneaks up on you...but don't worry, we didn't have that much... :)
After lunch, Robin went back to the hotel for a nap since she was still fighting her cold, while Ryan, Jack, Johnathon & I went to tour the York Minster crypts that we missed the day before...that went until 3pm, where you found me at the internet cafe for my last update, so now we're caught up... :)
Our concert at St Denys in York went very well, with a bit larger audience, but still sparsely attended...the warmest & kindest people though! One of the elderly men narrated the entire church for me, including the 12th century stained glass windows, and he even unlocked the safe to show me the silver communion plate...he was so proud showing everything off! When I said I was running out of tape and would have to stop, he even pulled the bells to ring them for me...hehe!
Melanie's friends had come to the concert and really enjoyed it, but they went to dinner by themselves...Ben wanted a break from the gigantic mass of people descending on restaurants, so he, Jenie & I wandered around York ourselves until we found something that looked good...we ended up at a Thai restaurant, where I had pad thai, but no Thai iced tea that is so common back in the States...we had told the large group we would try to meet them at the bar on Gillygate they planned on going to after dinner, so on our way we walked by York Minster all lit up at night and took copious photos and video like the AV geeks we are... ;) When we reached Gillygate, there was a bar at the address, but not the bar they expected, and it was closed anyway, so we just went back to the hotel at 12:40am and went to bed...Melanie had just gotten in herself, which was good because we were only given one room key at that hotel...
Sunday morning was July 4th, but since our luggage needed to be on the bus before 8am, on the road at 9am, most of us had forgotten until Nick came on the bus microphone & wished us "Happy 4th of July!" We stopped for "elevenses" at Bakewell, of Bakewell Tart fame, a well-known dessert. Of course, we all had Bakewell Tart (called Bakewell Pudding in its hometown though - pudding is a generic term for any dessert) and tea, except Melanie was good & didn't even try a bite...it had been nice when we arrived in Bakewell, but by the time we got back on the bus it was already drizzling...again TYPICAL... ;)
We had received special permission to sing inside Chatsworth House, the Duchess of Devonshire's grand estate (the Duke has just passed away about 6 weeks ago, otherwise we were originally supposed to meet both of them)...it was featured as Darcy's house in the most recent film of Pride and Prejudice, so you might recognize it...We sang There Will Be Rest in honor of the late Duke inside the chapel, which was beautiful, then we sang the Vasiliuskiate (sp?) Agnus Dei on the grand staircase. Since we wore our Choral Project polo shirts, in our wanderings looking at the house people kept noticing our shirts, realizing who we were, and complimenting us...nice to hear... :) The house and gardens are beautiful, and we had sun peeking out from the big fluffy clouds, with only a couple drizzles...it reminded me a lot of Blenheim Palace actually...
You think that was a busy day already? Heh! We still had a concert to perform AND get to Lincoln before we could sleep! ;) Our concert was in Baslow, a small village near Chatsworth, so thankfully we got there a bit early. The parish had provided a very tasty buffet for us, with elderflower cordial to drink and a wonderful peach & raspberry tart with custard for dessert...with tea of course. I ate quickly enough to take photos of the absolutely beauitful gravestones in the yard before we rehearsed...and the vicarage calico cat Millie was very friendly and photogenic...yes, we have a LOT of cat people in this choir!
The concert was at 7pm, and it was a tiny church, but it was packed! Nick knew at least 50 tickets had been sold, since this was a charity concert fundraiser for Village AiD, a charity for helping underprivileged areas become self-sufficient. We felt bad for the people in the front row since they were so close to us we thought it would be too loud for them, but they all said it was wonderful!
As of 9:30pm we were on the bus for Lincoln, about an houf & a half away. Melanie had finally text-messaged Andy in Didcot, so he called back just as the bus decided to be patriotic and belt out the Star Spangled Banner, so I couldn't hear him at all...but Andy said, "ah, it sounds quite good"... ;) He still hadn't even looked at our itinerary I'd sent him, but he decided he would come to the concert on Wednesday night at Leamington Spa, near Kenilworth and Stratford. Since the phone kept cutting off, we still have yet to discuss if we'll do dinner in Oxford on Sunday, but I did tell him to extend the invitation to Marcus, even though I understand if Marcus doesn't want to come...
So, we reached the hotel around 10:30pm, checked in, then a bunch of us went to the hotel bar...I chatted with Nick, Maly, Allen, with sometimes Kevin, Anna & Melanie, until 1:30, an hour after the bar closed and the bartender left...at 12:30 Nick said, "I am a bit tired, but I'm enjoying chatting with you all, so how about another round?" :) Good thing we were the only ones in the bar, because Maly, (the Episcopal priest in our group!) found innuendo in everything, leading to Nick's "fine organ" story about meeting the Queen Mum...needless to say, the story had us laughing hysterically, but I won't repeat it in its entirety here... ;) I finally got to bed around 2:45am...whew!
This morning in Lincoln at the Marriot now, Melanie suggested the same plan of breakfast before getting ready, so we were the only ones there...nice when I'm in my glasses... ;) Then it was off on the bus to meet our guides for the walking tour of Lincoln, which just ended with us continuing down the High Street until finding this internet cafe...Melanie is off on the train this evening to meet another friend of hers, so I'll meet up with some others in the group & find something to do...very odd to have a completely free day, but very nice to be able to rest...
Tomorrow is our concert in Lincoln Cathedral at 1pm, so wish us luck!
Until next time...