The world is a tough place with no obvious sense of fair play. Should you doubt it, examples from my newspaper today are; secret drone strikes in Yemen, an estimated 7.8 million people in the UK struggling to keep up with their housing costs, institutional bullying in the military, an accomplished mountaineer struck dead by lightning whilst climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, an innocent young Briton killed by crossfire during a new years eve party on a beach in Thailand, the death of a 23-year old medical student viciously gang-raped in India, vulnerable old people not being cared for in care homes, a couple on holiday seriously injured – the young woman’s legs have been amputated – by a car driving the wrong way down a one-way street……..and so on.

Not funny – and that’s just a sample of unfortunate happenings from one ‘ordinary’ day.

I, of course, can do nothing about any of this except to empathise and be thankful that so far my luck (if this is what it is) has held out. However, something I can do – and this will sound heartless – is enjoy myself without guilt. This past week has been a superb example.

Firstly, I took four grandsons to see Scrooge at The London Palladium – an admirable demonstration of how to change someone’s behaviour for the better (that’s Scrooge’s behaviour, not my grandsons!). Secondly, I took our granddaughter to see Sleeping Beauty at Sadler’s Wells. Wonderful, she was on the edge of her seat the whole way through. Thirdly, I went to Wigmore Hall and listened to Carolyn Sampson, my favourite soprano, accompanied by Matthew Wadsworth on a theorbo (my spell check urges me to change this to thermo!).

My wife and I have been fans of Carolyn Sampson for about ten years now. She sings the sort of things we particularly enjoy, Baroque music, typically, but not exclusively, J S Bach, Monteverdi, Purcell and Handel. Her voice has a radiant, pure quality and she manages to look good when she sings. She can even sing and smile all at the same time! This is rare. Singing does strange things to people’s faces. Invariably they become distorted. Sometimes this is mesmerising (the German tenor Matthias Goerne comes to mind) but usually it is seriously off-putting. I’m a visual person so looking while listening has the potential to enhance the whole experience; hence preferring live performances rather than listening to CDs. Last night at Wigmore, Carolyn Sampson looked and sounded superb. A winning combination.

Matthew Wadsworth is a blind English lutenist (my spell check wants to change this into lateness!). His playing is masterly and soothing. Usually I don’t enjoy solo instruments (the piano is an exception) but Matthew, led onto the stage with a hand on Carolyn’s shoulder, won me over. His theorbo playing was gentle and calm and, when he took centre stage and played a couple of solos between songs, Carolyn sat watching and smiling – something Matthew might have felt but, sadly, could not, like the rest of us, see.

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