The picture above was originally supposed to be a video, taken on the Sunday morning of my Bank Holiday weekend away singing The Messiah with the BYMT Adult Choir. Sadly, the file was too large.


Nothing happens in the video, by the way, except that the Rhine flows by incredibly fast on its way from Switzerland to the North Sea at Rotterdam. As life flows: inexorably. The people of Neuwied had been wonderfully generous and arranged a full programme of excursions and meals out but I preferred just to take time out and compose myself before the evening’s performance.


I sat on some steps somewhere on the Dykewalk in the sunshine eating an ice cream. Taking time out to think. It’s rare we have that opportunity, caught up as we are in our own never-ending currents and eddies intertwining with those of our family and friends. When we go on holiday we can spend time getting to know each other again, away from the daily grind of work and school. But when we go away alone, we can find ourselves again.


So this was me: away from the washing; the ironing; the Archers Omnibus Tweetalong; the exam revision; the worries about my mother and her dementia; the arrangements for the wedding later in the year. No need to walk the dog or cook or ferry anyone around to rehearsal. This was time to enjoy my singing passion and to sit and drink beer and laugh and chat and get to know people I hardly knew before. It was a time to remember who I am when I’m not worrying about anyone or anything else. It was fun.


I returned from Germany, refreshed and in high spirits. The timeout did me a world of good.