Patrick Was So Welcoming

A nice long letter from Nigel Soper, an artist who lives in London, in which he mentions wind chimes and a jazz pianist. I replied that I thought it grand that the chimes would play some Thelonious Monk in the whimsical way the winds work. Now there will be additional meaning when I next hear one of his recordings.

Thank you so much for sending me this terribly sad news. In fact you had sent it to my wife Paula last week and before that she had a note from the Deia music festival organisers too so your diligence should be commended for making sure the people who need to know do so.

I must confess we didn’t know Patrick very well but spent a wonderful fortnight at his home staying in two of the three cottages in that most beautiful setting. It was one of the happiest experiences we’ve ever had. The sense of peace and tranquility was exactly what we needed and Patrick was so welcoming in his special warm and gentle, almost shy way, made us feel at home and as though we’d know him for years.

He was generous enough to invite us to dine with him on one occasion for a paella feast before we left to return to England. Perhaps he did that with lots of his guests, but he made us feel special and we shared a great passion for music, my tastes are extremely wide and your father corresponded briefly with me after our return and I sent him a copy of a brilliant book about “The New Shostakovitch” written by my dear friend, the late Ian MacDonald who had tragically taken his own life a few years after he had completed this brilliant and critically acclaimed book. I sent the book to Patrick via a friend of his living in England who’s name I’ve forgotten. I never heard if it reached him safely.

The loss of such a warm and wise father must be very tough for you all, please allow me to express my deepest sympathies and offer my condolences for your loss. From looking at your terribly helpful memorial website, I understand that he was in great pain in the last weeks of his life and I suppose his release from suffering of that sort will be some sort of comfort to you and close friends and members of the family. I shall certainly think of him when next attending a live music performance. I am only sorry we never managed to return for a second visit. It had been much discussed on more than one occasion but somehow it never happened. The last two years have been all consuming downsizing and moving house but we were planning to return next year oddly enough.

One of my enduring memories of our visit was the sound of the wind chime which he said had been given to him by his children. It produced a lovely sound and deeper than usual range of notes and one day while we were there my ears pricked up as the gentle breeze played the introductory bars of Thelonious Monk’s great classic tune “Round about Midnight” out of the randomness of possible ways it could play as if it came from the life beyond. Monk was my lifelong hero and inspiration and it resonated deeply with me at the time sitting there in the natural tranquility of that valley. So special – a sort of earthly paradise. Long may it remain unspoiled.

With best wishes

Nigel Soper

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