A chance to hear Ben's bands at school took up most of my final full day in Florida. I have spoken before of my admiration for the American music education system, and I say it again. Ben's teacher, Mr Leahy, does a fantastic job. These kids have a great experience, and some of them end up playing the best part of two hours a day at school. That's a great start for them.
The picture is the jazz band, and Ben is on the far left, on guitar. I think it fair to say that the Advanced Wind Band is Mr Leahy's pride & joy, but he does a great job with this band too. With the Advanced band, the 12 & 13 year olds are playing music way beyond their years, and doing an amazing job. With this band, they get to try new rhythms & even to extemporise. Wow. That's something I never got the chance to do at my school!
Then a smooth flight back to England (I slept most of the way), a brief visit with Mum after Dad picked me up at the airport, and on Friday morning Matt & I came back home.
Honestly - I had been so relaxed on holiday I wasn't sure I wanted to come back! But as I crossed the bridge into Pontypridd, I had that indefinable shiver up my spine, that sense of homecoming, that surprising delight in being where I am supposed to be. I was glad to be here. And I was glad to be glad! Returning home after a wonderful trip away is also one of life's great joys.
Even if the garden has become a forest in my absence! This is after a duel between lawnmower & field had taken place... Not to mention climbing up the church clocktower to put it right by the half hour it had gained in the last two weeks...