My favourite year was when Georges Prêtre conducted, but perhaps I’m biased! One of my friends is his nephew, so I hear news about him. Jean-Noêl was a gendarme, but on retirement became George’s chauffeur on the concert circuit. They have a great time staying mostly in chateaux. Georges himself owns one on the south coast of France. Jean-Noêl always calls me 'Princess' which must surprise the postman as I live in Marshfield Park, not a palace!
One of the delights of the New Year concert is the magnificent hall, and glorious floral displays. When the orchestra played “The Dragonfly Polka” the camera zoomed in onto a brilliant glass dragonfly posed on a flower! The Austrian name for a dragonfly “libelle” is almost like the French “libellule”, although in France they are often referred to as “demoiselles” which means “young ladies”, perhaps because they are so dainty.
Once a year, when we lived in the Vendée region, dragon flies flew in from the sea passing our terrasse, always in pairs like a well ordered regiment. The ballet dancers this year were fantastic, their costumes were the work of a British designer Emma Wright. As is the fashion nowadays their skirts dipped at the back, so very elegant! How lovely it must be to have music as your career, I think it is the best medicine, and certainly a gift from God.
Many of you will remember Joan Dodd, a lovely lady who lives with her family in Twickenham now, and is always grateful for their loving care. She did so much for the church when she lived in the Willows. She enjoys reading Frenchay Community News and she sent this message in her recent letter, ”May we all feel our guardian angels as we go into 2016”. I second that wish!
My thoughts for you all, ”laughter is the shortest distance between two people” - so keep laughing please!