London!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon snoozing on the train down to London Euston.  I had a background gig in the Royal Courts of Justice with the lovely, talented, Esther Swift.  We form half of the harp quartet Clouds, I’m sure I’ll be writing lots more about us in the upcoming months but only two of us were available on this occasion so we were the Clouds duo.

Before smartphones, I have no idea how I found my way around London.  I love going to visit and see the sights – I always have to visit the Natural History Museum, that’s the geeky part of me – but I had no idea where to find the Royal Courts of Justice.  Google maps, what a life saver.  Also being able to google ‘nearest tube to courts of justice’ proved very handy.  All of which resulted in me arriving one and a half hours earlier than I needed to.  Luckily there was a nice looking cafe right opposite so I sat in the window and took some photos:

This was after the first attempt, a car drove past me at the wrong moment and it just looks like a nice photo of London cab:

Anyway, Esther arrives and we decide to make our way into the building, past the security checks and then we had to wait for the harps to be delivered.

A note here, thank you so much to Holywell Music for allowing us to hire a couple of lovely harps for the evening.  I’ve driven to gigs in London before with my harp – so not worth it – I had a run in with a traffic warden who made me cry (I was in a designated loading bay!)  And just finding parking that’s accessible with harp is so difficult.  London-based harpists… I salute you!

So hiring harps meant we could get the train down – very cheap – and I could have a drink after the gig!  Amazing!

We were provided with exceptional canapés, which looked so good I had to take a picture:

I’d like to add that that’s apple juice, not whisky.

We were playing on a balcony overlooking the Great Hall, the view was fantastic:

The whole hall was packed for the event, luckily we were mic’d up so apparently we could actually be heard.  It really did look fantastic.  I gave my card and demo CD to a man who organises weddings in Rhodes… what an amazing gig that would be!

Finding a stair-free way to get the harps onto the balcony was interesting, everyone was telling us different things and I don’t think anybody really knew if there was a way.  But we found one, unfortunately we found it after taking a harp up a lot of stairs, only to have to bring it back down – it would be comical if it wasn’t so annoying!

A big thank you as well to Ben Lloyd-Evans at Sternberg Clarke for sorting it all out for us.  We had a great time!

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