There has been much talk recently of the drought conditions prevailing in this country which have recalled the severe drought of 1976. My memory is not always very good, but I can remember much about that year. My contract in Flensburg, Germany came to an end: it had been a wonderful, but gruelling apprenticeship and I felt I could at last call myself a musician. But I had become rather more concerned with furthering my studies in composition, and travelling south from Schleswig-Holstein, my aim was to attend the summer course in Darmstadt. Beforehand, I stayed in Stuttgart for a few weeks, where I worked on a Mass for choir and orchestra (now destroyed): I remember working in the university library. It was hot in Stuttgart, but I guess that was nothing too unusual at that time of the year. At Darmstadt I was able to compare such personalities as Ligeti and Ferneyhough. I worked on 'Epitaph' in collaboration with Jukka Tiensuu and our piece was chosen for the Schlusskonzert; the musicians were fantastic and it was all rather inspirational. Ligeti recommended I study with John Lambert in London. So I returned home to find I had been awarded a post-graduate grant, went to the RCM where I got in to study with my namesake (even though it was months past the deadline for entry), and to get the grant I had also to enrol at King's College.
And yes, it was boiling: not only had it not rained for months, London had been sweltering for weeks in temperatures over 30 degrees. Finally, I remember I had made so much money in Germany (at least compared to starting incomes at home) that, before the summer was completely out, I was able to buy a little run-down cottage outside Buckingham - from whence, on a Honda 90, I commuted to Kensington.