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 roundly 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 would ever 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
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
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
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 events.
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.