Had been inscribed in our diaries for months, - and what it represented had indeed been part of our family consciousness for years. You see, the music department at my children's school always ends the summer term with a week's residential course, culminating in the Leavers' Concert -and as all 3 GoodinParts offspring play and sing almost as naturally as breathing, by about y9 first Hattie Gandhi and then Hugger Steward had begun to think about the day when they would be the leavers...
2 years ago, HG sang Gershwin's "Summertime" - imagine the irony had that been part of this year's programme -but now, it was HS's turn.
The journey to Burford was definitely interesting. Heavy flooding to negotiate by the Dowdeswell reservoir, and a disturbing number of abandoned vehicles all along the A40 (including a couple of Discoveries, and a Mercedes estate, both of which I'd assumed to be pretty well unstoppable). As we drove into the fast-moving, muddy waters I did seriously question my common-sense, - but how often does your child leave school? I had to get there.
You'll have guessed by now that the "in a field" part of the equation had been washed away in the floods, officially "the worst for 40 years", cutting off several villages. I suppose if you have to be rained off, there's something to be said for high drama attached. As we approached school, we could see the mini festival stage, which had so delighted the boys, standing folornly at the far side of a bleakly drenched playing field. But the music department, working in conjunction with the parents' association, was nothing if not resourceful. HS had spent all afternoon running around fixing the sound system. The pig roast was still running under cover, and pimms and strawberries tried to persuade us that this really was the balmy summer evening of our plans. OK so the RAF Falcons and the Grand Firework Finale both went the way of all flesh, but nonetheless, the festival format seemed to work, with people coming and going all evening, dipping in and out of a programme that included everything and more: primary school gamelan group the insistent beat of the RockSchool,a quick return visit to Les Miserables, massed choirs, jazz band, symphony orchestra - and of course, the Y13 solos.
County flute choir and alot of intense work before his Grade VIII mean that HS is really rather good now, and Gluck's "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" was the sort of archive moment a mum needs as her children leave school. Yes I did cry, but only for a minute or two, I promise.
I wonder if the Dufflepud has planned his programme yet.3 years to go. It must have stopped raining by then.