Arden Grant, our New Zealander handyman, has been here of late, most recently fixing kerb stones against the front lawn, and - as in my photograph - repinning the Rambling Rector to the side wall: it collapsed a while ago, and has grown too top heavy just to tie back to the original wires. (That's the trouble with Rambling Rector: I must be less kind when pruning this Autumn.) To illustrate the breadth of Arden's talents, he's also - last week - made over Leo's old room, replacing the basin in a new position, fitting a shelf alongside it and blanking off one of the lights above, taken away the built-in cupboard, inserted a new skirting board, repapered the wall behind where the cupboard was and painted the room's walls and ceilings - oh, and fitted a new piece of carpet to match the existing. A man for all seasons. And it's been hot, working inside: this last part of May has seen us basking in something of a heatwave, but it is all about to change - just in time for the Jubilee weekend of course.
I can't remember what the weather was like at this time 50 years ago, but I do recall the première of Britten's War Requiem taking place on my birthday in the new Coventry Cathedral. I was working as a guide at Charlecote Park: the Curator, Dick Routh, had a ticket. And last night it was performed there again, by the same orchestra, the CBSO, under its brilliant conductor Andris Nelsons. I Listened Again, and was bowled over.