China 2018: Day 14 Thursday 2nd August

A difficult day with a happy ending.

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It’s hard to see a great man in tears – broken, even – but it appears that the Xiamen waitress who had seemed so taken with Mr Brookman was not, as we had assumed, attracted by his rugged good looks, charm and status (page-turning is a revered art in China and, when seen in the hands of a master… but there was no consoling him).

Ms Federici received a message from said admirer, and, reading between the lines, we now think that life expectancy was the biggest draw: she is reckoning she won’t have to wait long for the mansion in leafy Surrey.

Mr Brookman’s confident strut turned immediately to a resigned, lethargic shuffle and we took it on ourselves to cheer him up, mindful of Trinity’s charitable status and commitment to education and the elderly. Even Mr Swinson promised to temper his (often unreasonable, we think) demands.

After yesterday’s tourist exertions, we were given the morning to relax in the hotel. While we enjoyed a techfest, the staff took it in turns to have a walk around the local area. Mr Swinson, of course, ran athletically and made us so proud to have him as our choirmaster.

It appears that there were shops and businesses for all tastes but we are only allowed to show three of the four chosen photos. The fourth had to be censored due to adult sensibilities. It’s a shame because we played a good tour game of matching the member of staff to the photo; but you really need the final photo for it to work.

This evening’s concert was in the stunning Poly Theatre. Mr Swinson was eager to address some lazy singing habits and worked us hard in the afternoon. Lazy singing habits. Charming. He’s not been the same since he was given that VIP dressing room.

During the break in the rehearsal, though, we were able to wander around and enjoy the very attractive area around the concert hall.

The Hall is so lovely to sing in and we had a wonderful audience. We had worked hard on our spoken Chinese as well and they were most encouraging of our efforts.

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Best of all, though, we had some special guests attending: Mr Mark Bishop was our Headmaster until two years ago and Mr Joe McKee had been his deputy until four years ago. They both now work in Shanghai and it was a great thrill that they both came to hear us. They were also able to give the day its happy ending because they reminded Mr Brookman of the glory years when the three of them were Trinity’s finest musketeers.

Messrs Bishop and McKee came back to our hotel to wish us well and catch up with the staff. Mr McKee has been in China for a while. He left in a large, chauffeur driven car with blacked out windows. Mr Bishop has only just arrived and wasn’t so lucky.

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