Monday morning. Seagulls careening over the car park, their cries piercing the otherwise quiet morning songs of birds.
We are staying at the White Hart Hotel, near the corner of South Street and Western Way in the heart of Exeter. The magnificent cathedral is just a short walk away.
Today’s weather forecast: temperatures in the low 60s, and a chance of rain. This will be the daily report this week!
Dinner last evening of salmon, carrots, green beans, new potatoes, and a not-so-good dessert of St. Clement’s Bell (what should have been a flourless citrus cake) was, well, institutional. But the convivial crowd made up for the uninspired food. The group was all together, fueled by libations, tired but happy.
We begin this morning with breakfast in the dining room, then a walk up the hill to Exeter Cathedral. Our day will be filled with a tour of the town and of the cathedral, two rehearsals at the cathedral, and late this afternoon our first evensong.
I’m told that I will be the Precentor during evensong services this week. And I’m delighted that the choir is singing my setting of the Preces & Responses.
Of course we have this hellaciously long list of psalms to sing while we are in the UK. Unlike the USA lectionary, British cathedrals read the entire Book of Psalms once a month, split up between Morning Prayer and Evensong. Since we are here for two weeks, we sing a huge number of psalms. A couple of days include a break in the cycle so that we can celebrate certain feast days. And Norwich next week includes more than a few hymns.
So our work is beginning. This is why we traveled to England.
I’m delighted to be here.