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Claudio Monteverdi

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


Cup of tea and bourbon biscuit.jpg

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.