Set off this morning for a pre-booked trip to Bristol, to visit Hugh, Isobel and family, and Richard Stedman, and see if there are any leads for any of my shows.

Got a Cross Crountry train from Leeds. These trains used to be run by virgin. Now they run to time and do not smell.

It was a good trip. I got talking to Sunderland fans going to Birmingham City, and one called Steve, who has red hair, bought Red Head books off me, and trusted me to post them, as I had none with me.

Hugh met me at Temple Meads station, put my rucksack in his bike pannier, and we went for a pint at a pub called the Ostrich. Walked up lots of slopes. Had a coffee and walked to his house. It was really nice to see his family again after 6 or more years.

In the evening we went to an opera: Rigaletto by Verdi. This is the only opera I had seen (though I have also sung in one). It was decades ago and it left a very nasty memory. Tonight, at the Tobacco Factory, in the round, in a small space, it worked very well. I really enjoyed it. Not enough to make me go to more operas, but more than enough to fog the bad memory.

I met lots of Hugh’s friends, all nice, including one called Ann-Marie, who I had met long ago. She runs a poetry group, but not on as big a scale as I thought.

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