The Choir landed back in Blighty on Monday after two long and hot services in St James' Cathedral, Toronto. The Cathedral is not large, and with a slight acoustic and no air conditioning it was a tiring last day of the tour; the Dean, Vicar and Associate Organist made us all feel very welcome indeed, and provided a good lunch between services. Mr DofM performed a recital of Buxtehude, Franck and Judith Weir before Evensong, and the choir concluded the day with C. H. H. H. H. Parry's "I was glad". Our first true casualty of the tour came during the morning Eucharist when Mrs DofM was rushed to St Michael's Hospital with breathing difficulties. DofM is remaining in Toronto with Mrs D until she is better again and they plan to return together on QM2 early in September.
The previous day was spent on a Coach Tour of Toronto - sadly the second Coach driver was from a different City and could only offer the sketchiest of commentaries. Those on the first Coach were treated to a great guided tour (!) taking us up to Grace Church-on-the-Hill whose choir came and sang at All Saints, Northampton, last Summer. The peak of the day was 96 members ascending up the CN Tower (the world's largest free-standind structure until 2007 when it was trumped by Burj Dubai (under construction) which will be 272ft taller) where many witnessed the spectacle of a glass floor looking straight down nearly 1500ft to the ground below. The afternoon was spent shopping and packing before a final splendid Dinner at the New College Residency.
Many thanks go to all who made the Tour work "on the ground", it is too exhaustive to mention everybody (you know who you are) but Group Leaders (noting Mr Bell's gift for finding food for nearly one hundred should be in the Guiness Book of World Records and Ferny whose first group leadership at only 19 years of age was a tremendous success), Mr Palmer, Mr Dickson, Mrs Masnica who sells tapes like a whirlwind, and particularly Mr Pinel who conducted the Girls' Choir so well and coped with the alternative arrangements in Albany/Rochester and Mr Turner who looked after the Choir so well when Mr Dunleavy was caught up in Mrs Dunleavy's hospitalisation, and who kept the British end in view bringing in CAD$100 along the way (cf: "I feel the winds of God today").
UPDATE : Mrs DofM was released from ITU last night and moved into a "Set Up" ward (like HDU in the UK) where she has stabilised and the Doctors are hoping to release her in 4-7 days.
FURTHER UPDATE : Please can DofM ask that parents bundle up photos of the tour that they are happy for him to distribute and use for publicity on CDs to be given to him upon his return, rather than e-mail photos as his Inbox has already exceeded its limits twice in the last 24 hours! With thanks.