The rain draws my attention to a hole in my shoe. Only one of them, mind. The left sole is intact where the right has worn through. I find this hard to explain. Do I walk unevenly? Do I create greater friction against the ground with my right? I haven't hopped anywhere since I was about eleven, so it can't be that. Walking across Germany in 2007 in the footsteps of JS Bach, my right lower leg swelled up impressively while the left remained slender but this was easily explained by the fact that the left was assisted by a walking stick held in my right hand which effectively halved the effort, while the right was left, if you see what I mean, to carry me forward without assistance. Driving might have some impact as my right foot is in constant contact with the accelerator, while the left connects only intermittently with either clutch or brake. It is possible that, during lute-playing, the right endures more weight than the left, which rests on a rubber-topped footstool.
The singing cellist and I have rehearsed very thoroughly the lute songs for Monday's Shakespeare Birthday celebration in Southwark Cathedral with Arthur Smith. She is still in the hospital, but the psycho-therapists have agreed to let her out on the grounds that the inevitable applause and congratulations can only be good for one whose illness promotes gloomy self-loathing. The show describes Shakespeare's influence on Dickens. She is to sing songs which Dickens arranged for a family performance of a spoof Othello, featuring his Dad as the Duke of Venice or The Great Unpaid, as even then his uselessness with money was a family joke. Then there's a Dowland number which obsessed the members of the Shakespeare Society including Dickens as to its authorship, other Dowland numbers because this is the 400th anniversary of his Fourth Book of Ayres and, to finish, the pre-Victorian hit Home Sweet Home which Dickens' sister sang in 1831 when she was one of the first students at the Royal Academy of Music. Arthur has received the script and writes with a kiss that he will be there and prepared .... a bit. He was never anything but.