Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Airport Lounge and memories

I'm on the sofa as I type!

I am sitting in the new No1 Airport Lounge at Gatwick Airport. I apologise for the lack of posts, but I have been visiting family for a few days, and the time simply flew by!

Now, of course, the snow has moved in again to Inverness and thus Paradise, so my plane is stuck at the airport in Inverness whilst the runway is de-iced, and my 7.20pm plane will not be leaving much before 9pm. Hence I treated myself to a couple of hours in one of the lounges. A decadance I realise, but so much more civilised than the open concourse.

When I commuted each week from Inverness to Gatwick, to work at the RAM in London, I purchased a marvelous plastic card called 'Priority Pass', which, for an annual cost of about £100 (a few years ago remember!) I had access to most lounges all over the world.

120 minutes of peace, excellent coffee, a superfluity of pretty sandwiches, tremendous yet unlikely layered cakes in more hues than Jospeh's amazing dreamcoat, and lots of booze - which sadly I did not drink, so it is a bit of a waste on that front! This is a new lounge since I was regularly commuting, and, I might add, very much more up market, the staff make one feel as if one is in First Class, as opposed to Cattle Class, and they are so attentive it is almost unnerving!

It takes me back 5 years in a nano second, all the endless weekly travelling, the waiting in Departures, the 'whoosh' of the taking off of the plane, and the many, smooth, and the few hairy Highland weather landings in Inverness ! Carrying elephantine bags and briefcases of repertoire, and a small zipped envelope of underwear and clothes (fear not, I was perfectly clean, I kept some smart work clothes in the South!), and working out my next weeks' timetable before I landed, so I was already prepared for the following week! Talk about wishing one's life away!

I so enjoyed my time at the RAM, the students were on the whole so enthusiastic, diligent and talented. My colleagues were interesting, highly stimulating conversationally, so broadly talented, it was always a joy and a privilege to be counted among them.

The travelling did for me, however, and in the end I knew that I could no longer face the gruelling weekly timetable, and teach at home. My Paradise pupils were growing in number, and in talent and dedication, and I had to make a choice. My fatigue was growing, and in some ways I felt schizophrenic, in that I lived two lives, and although the lives consisted of the same work, I felt pulled apart - or perhaps pinned on a almost painless, but gently expanding 'rack' ! I was coming apart at the musical seams, and letting go of it was an immense relief. I had given 18 years of my life to the JRAM, and the time had come for me to retire, and new blood to give it a go!

With four of my old pupils now making up the JRAM Voice Department, I felt at peace that the legacy and standard would be safe in their hands, and the top notch name of the JRAM singing faculty would fly the flag long into the future.

Over to you all, with all my love!

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