Just getting on with it in Budapest

I started today feeling really quite flat. I’d had a good night’s sleep – a lack of sleep wasn’t the problem. In fact I slept really rather well.

I woke up of my own accord at 8am, switched on the kettle and made myself a cup of tea with coffee creamer. Europeans – or rather, hotel chains – seem unable to contemplate that some of us need milk in our tea. We’re prepared to compromise on UHT, of course. And we’ll forgive you if you bring us a pot of hot water and a tea bag on a saucer if we order a cup of tea. But just because its possible to make tea with coffee creamer doesn’t mean your guests should be forced to. Really. Come along now.

It wasn’t the lack of real milk that was the problem. Not really. It was Twitter and my reaction to it this morning. This always happens. I start scrolling through the posts of the people I follow – a lot of classical music related individuals – and end up thinking ‘I really should be doing more than I am at the moment. Nice as a trip to a foreign country to hear classical music is, I really ought to be doing more of what they’re doing.’ I’m comparing myself with others when I think that kind of stuff. And comparing yourself with others really does you no good whatsoever. I tell that to plenty of other people. I have no idea why I don’t remember it myself.

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Mirrors, running and posters in Budapest

First full day in Budapest and I feel like I’ve been here for ages. I think I might possibly be going a little stir crazy, I don’t know. Send help.

I’ve done more exercise here in 24 hours than I’d ever do in London. That’s partly to do with not realising Budapest has a metro system and because I’m a twat.

I’ve walked a total of 4 miles and, I think, actually run one or one and a half. Considering how daunting I thought running would be, it was relatively straightforward to get underway. I enjoyed the process too. It felt like a tangible achievement. I just wish I’d had the presence of mind to have done some stretching before I set out this morning. My groin has been agony all day. Rookie error, no doubt.

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Amadinda Ensemble, Kelemen Quartet and UMZE Chamber Ensemble celebrate Steve Reich’s 80th Birthday in Budapest

The most musically satisfying of the composer’s larger ensemble works, City Life also happened to turn out to be the performance highlight of the evening. The Kelemen Quartet accompanied by UMZE Chamber Ensemble played with heart and grit in equal measure, taking us through a range of aural cityscapes, some grim, others terrifying. In the fifth movement – Heartbeats – the distinction between live music and recorded ambience was indecipherable creating what at times appeared like a nightmare vision of urban life.

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