Geoffrey Poskett, Choirmaster of St Birinus Middle School and Nigel-Milford
Haven, Junior Master, had thoroughly enjoyed the Summer Music Workshop
and its final concert in Bath. They launched themselves into the next section
of their holidays, humming Monterverdi.
It was true that they had shared a score in the concert, a fact not
unobserved by the keen-eyed Drusilla Fotheringay. Her vision was more
acute than her discernment, however. She had left the concert with
a misapprehension, after the interval, which, incidentally, has been
thought by some to be the highlight of such entertainments.
Her interpretation of social relationships had been skewed by her minute
observation of the close interaction of the two singers. In fact, their
perceived intimacy had been owing to Geoffrey’s pencil having been blunt
and therefore his having to borrow Nigel’s obsessively sharpened HB, to
reduce a semibreve by one beat, as firmly instructed.
Nigel had forgotten his score in his haste to get a position on the front row of
the male participants, where there was some jockeying between the tenors
and countertenors as to precedence.
Divas are found in both sexes, he reflected.
And so the two teachers had shared and halved their logistical problems.
Geoffrey’s heart had skipped a beat when he had spotted that very nice
Housemistress from St Vitus’ School for the Academically Gifted Girl in the
audience. He had been so discomfited that he had whispered an enquiry to
Nigel and had been glared at by the conductor, who, by-the-by, was NOT
John Eliot Gardiner, nor was meant to be.
Geoffrey then forgot to reduce the semibreve, earning himself a raised
eyebrow which was the equivalent of a bad order mark.
What was she doing in Bath?
He was surprised to see Nigel delivering some glasses of over-priced
rose to the Housemistress and her friends at the intermission.
No, surely not!
There was that old duffer, Augustus Snodbury, the Senior Master. He was the
bane of Geoffrey’s life, as he was prone to correct the spelling on the
Choirmaster’s End of Term reports, quibbling over the orthographical
differences between practice as a noun and practise as a verb.
Snodbury had also made it his peculiar habit to snaffle the last Bourbon biscuit
in the staffroom, when he ought to have known that Geoffrey was especially
fond of them and looked forward to a couple with his coffee at break.
The weird thing was that the Housemistress seemed to share the same jawline
as the reprehensible old…Geoffrey restrained himself at this point. He would
ask Nigel about her later on in the pub. (They were permitted to have some
post-concert refreshments in the local hostelry, as they had had to deny
themselves the fruit of the vine for the sake of musical accuracy.) But they
were expected to be tucked up in their bunks by eleven thirty, as if they were
still at school- which, in a way, they were.
Being institutionalised, they hardly noticed the restriction to their civil liberties.
So, no rioting in the town square for them.
Yes, I seem to have blown it, Nigel said to himself as he drove down to
Cornwall to check on his peevish mother.
Drusilla hadn’t waited for the second half of the programme. Mind you, she may
very well have left something in the oven.. And so he ruminated over the
Maybe he could earn some Brownie points as he had rescued Snod’s rather
flattened Panama hat, which he had left behind at the ill-fated concert. He
would return it with a flourish. If its true owner didn’t mind, the abandoned
headgear might come in useful to screen Nigel’s only just noticed balding area
from the intense rays of the Cornish sun.
He hoped his mother would enjoy The St Endellion Festival. He hoped to meet
up with Geoffrey there in a few days’ time.