Letter 10

Hi everyone! I had a great time in Milan – I love Italy, I think it’s such a fantastic country, the food, the architecture, the history but above all the people. I have never met an unfriendly Italian. It was a very early start for the plane; I was staying in London with Clare Kenny who plays bass with me and is an old friend. We had to leave at 5am, which is often the time Clare’s going to bed! Not so bad for me as I get up very early every day – the dogs make sure I do; they seem to have an inner clock which is impossible to ignore – it’s also the only type of clock that jumps on the bed and licks your face. Anyway, back to Italy – my friend Susie from Sussex came with me too which was great as I miss her very much and haven’t seen her for a long while. The first day was taken up doing press stuff until the evening when Susie and I went to a lovely dinner with Giovanni and Ella who were looking after us in Milan. I think I love food too much! I shall have to run more.

Next day was taken up rehearsing with a string quartet from Italy which was good fun – it’s always amusing for me to be able to use all the musical terms I was taught as a child and be understood by italians, which is not really remarkable as most musical direction in classical music is in Italian. The gig was great fun although the lighting was a little disappointing – very bright white and flat, so it was not creating any ambience; this was because of the tv I think. However, the audience was great. I sang the last verse of Timeless in Italian – I’d practised very hard to try to get it right, I don’t know what it is about singing in foreign languages, but I just love it. Afterwards it was lovely to meet some of the great people who have emailed me in the past – it’s always good to put faces to the names. I was especially touched to get a beautiful poem from someone about Siamant’o.

Back in England and the weather has been pretty gloomy for weeks now, and I’ve been trying to put the garden in some sort of semblance of order for the winter. Yesterday I was out with the horses and there is another shire now – he’s called Pip – to add to Tom and Anstey. He is huge. Nineteen hands for those in the know! They are gentle horse mountains, but I would be happier if I had steel toe-caps as their feet are the size of dinner plates, and they can be a bit casual where they put them. Autumn can be exhilarating with strong winds and animals up to weird things. We have large flocks of starlings which wheel about sometimes low overhead late in the day. There are so many of them that they can seem to mirror a shoal of fish of biblical proportions; there must be thousands of individual birds in one flock.

I’m working on some songs for a concert I’m doing with Loreena McKennitt next month – it will be lovely to see her and Brian Hughes again as it’s been a long time. It’s in Brussels so hopefully I will be able to practise my French which I have been learning every morning…

Caroline x

– Caroline Lavelle

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