My journey to Leicestershire hadn’t been the best and I was really pleased to get to the village of Barkby. I hadn’t really been in any traffic jams, but it was really slow going all the way. Luckily I had set off ridiculously early and I arrived with 2 hours to spare. It was now 5:30pm and I was due to start playing the piano at 7:30pm. Barkby is quite a nice place, but it isn’t very big and I’d been there a couple of times in the past. With this in mind I decided to go the nearby Queniborough and kill some time there.
At 7:10pm I arrived at Barkby Hall having had a walk around Queniborough. I was greeted with a welcoming smile by John Pochin – the owner of this magnificent residence. On my last visit I had been hired to play the piano for John Pochin’s son’s 18th birthday celebration. On this, my third visit, I had been asked to provide piano music for his 21st birthday. I didn’t need my digital piano or any other equipment as they have a lovely Steinway piano which they had just had tuned.
My first visit to Barkby was in 2011 when Simon the birthday boy was only 15. He was responsible for searching the internet and finding my website. Having listened to quite a number of the tracks, he then recommended me to his father who took his advice and booked me. On this first visit I was amazed when I found that Simon didn’t seem to like modern music very much and that he was an avid collector of 78 records. Even at the tender age of 15 he had quite a remarkable knowledge of music from the 20s, 30, and 40s. It was so nice to be playing here again and to share Simon’s love of the old jazz standards. It was also nice to be given a free rein over the music I was playing and to be able to wallow in the music I really love.
The guests started arriving at around 7:30pm and I started playing some gentle music before the room filled up. Quite a few of them recognised me from previous visits and some of them came over to the piano to speak to me. The room filled up quickly and I started to play to play music of a much livelier nature which seemed to fit the mood. The evening went well and I just engrossed myself in the music I was playing. Time seemed to fly and it didn’t seem long before guests were slowly starting to leave. It was 11:30pm already and Jayne Pochin (Simon’s) mother said that I could finish as the 20 or so people remaining were actually staying the night.
Simon seemed to have a great birthday and I do hope that they book me again on another occasion. After I’d finished I drove into the night in the direction of Oxfordshire ready for the next day’s wedding.