A Highland move and a new business!

Today was the first time in my life that I've watched a red squirrel from my own kitchen window - our house in Dulnain Bridge has a beautiful backdrop of pines, and from the dining table we're fortunate enough to have a prime view of whatever Caledonian forest dwellers stray to the edge of the wood.

Our Highland relocation was complete by the late afternoon of Friday 8th July. The movers left us a little weary, surrounded by boxes, but thrilled at having finally made a long-held dream reality! Since then our days have mixed contending with the usual post-move tedium of broadband contracts, final utilities bills and mail redirections, with establishing our new business Cairngorms Music. While this brings together "under one roof" all of the activities that occupy us as musicians - including, of course, directing and performing engagements which see us work away from home - one of the most pressing jobs of the last couple of weeks has been organising the layout of our teaching space at home. The music room is now sorted though - the piano in place, the scores and sheet music shelved - and we're looking forward to hosting the first few Cairngorms Music pupils.

Outside teaching, I've enjoyed the first sunday services as Organist and Choirmaster at Old High kirk in Inverness. The church stands above the River Ness on a magnificent site where it is thought St. Columba preached in the 6th Century, while parts of the building itself date back to the 1300s. Old High is blessed with a rather special "Father" Henry Willis organ - built in 1895, and restored in 2010 by Nicholson & Co - which is becoming renowned as an instrument of rare sensitivity and authenticity. It has so far been an honour to play here, and to begin life in the congregation of Old High.

On Monday I'm off to the Black Isle for three weeks' work with Cromarty Youth Opera - this has been a real musical high-point of my summers over the past few years, and I'm so looking forward to starting rehearsals for Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. As repetiteur, I'm responsible for acting as the orchestra in early rehearsals, helping the chorus and soloists to work through their parts, and folloiwng the conductor whatever happens! In performances, I'll be playing harpsichord continuo alongside a cello bass line and the rest of the string players. Performances are 10th, 11th, 12th August in Cromarty West Church at 7pm . Come along if you can!

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