"One thing that is always surprising to me is how beautifully the softest sounds carry." @houghhough talks preparat… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Tuesday 29 January, Budapest 10am. Feeling very lucky that I had not gotten up at 5am to travel back with the Orchestra, though feeling a little bit anxious about carrying a 2mx1mx1m 45kg double bass in its case back to London. All on my own.
The 7am Orchestra plane only had room for 2 double basses, so I had agreed to take our double bass player Cecelia Bruggemeyer’s instrument back to London on the next flight. The Orchestra had a big end of tour concert with Sir Simon Rattle at the Royal Festival Hall that day, and it made sense to ensure Cecelia got back early to have ample time to rest before the long day ahead.
First job – getting into the large taxi from the hotel with the bass, my luggage and avoiding the snow. A very helpful taxi driver and Emma from our tours company Askonas Holt to hand. But what happened when it was just me? I was soon to find this out as we arrived at the airport, and I had the fun task of wheeling in my suitcase as well as the bass. I soon discovered that my case on wheels had the wrong type of wheeling action for this – how on earth did people cope when everyone had those ‘Maria from the Sound of Music’ suitcase trunks? The next job of checking in was all done rather smoothly – apart from the irritated travellers behind me who probably wished they had joined another queue as they waited for me to check in. From then till I got on the plane was utter bliss. ..plenty of time to walk around a very quiet airport on my own, have a squizz of perfume and a cup of tea. (I’m usually the last to check in behind the Orchestra, so airport wandering time is kept to a minimum.)
All was going rather well until we got on the plane and had a two hour delay before take-off. Rehearsals were starting at 5pm. I was increasingly worried this was proving to be a bit of a challenge…
We eventually landed at 3.30pm and I patiently waited for the Bass to pop out of the outsized luggage hole in Arrivals. Looking relieved that it had made it back in one piece and then subsequently grimacing like a fool to all the bewildered and nosey onlookers as I wiggled the bass, me, my case and my handbag through to Arrivals, I now had the challenge of getting to the Royal Festival Hall in time. By now it was 4pm! I owe a huge thank you to my cab driver who took on the challenge of getting to the hall whilst maintaining the safety of the cab, me and the bass all at one time. Thankfully, London had spared us ridiculous travel that afternoon and we pulled into the loading bay at 4.55pm to greet a patiently waiting Cecelia. My shoulders breathed a sigh of relief.
New found respect for double bass players around the world – but why couldn’t they all play the piccolo?
Left – The double bass & my case prior to checking in
Top Right – In a cab in Budapest
Bottom Right – at outsized luggage collection London Heathrow