Last week I told you all about the wonderful festival on Sark, but didn’t tell you about the saga of getting the cast, crew and audience home. As Sark is an Island the only access is by boat and so the first challenge we faced was simply leaving.

We were told that the seas were getting rougher and that by Monday all crossings would be cancelled. So Sunday afternoon an extra earlier ferry had been put on and we left the idyllic haven of Sark. After all the warnings the crossing from Sark to Guernsey was fine but when we arrived at the Ferry terminal for our crossing to Poole we were surprised to be met with delays and further warnings of crazy weather ahead.

In the meantime the other singers and our repetiteur, who’d left hours ahead to fly home from Guernsey, were also stranded. Tired performers started ringing telling us of the problems they were facing. Whether it was a broken down plane or high winds most of Opera Sark sat waiting across the island of Guernsey wondering how they’d be getting home.

Almost two hours after our original departure I started boarding our ferry. I’m generally a very good sailor but before I’d even got on board, I felt unwell. I think it was general tiredness however with each announcement bearing bad news I was beginning to really dread the next few hours. Messages across Facebook & Twitter kept updating us on the progress of the others while we sailed out of the harbour with heavy rain and very bumpy seas.

Within minutes though I had found a seat and fallen fast asleep.  In fact I slept most of the way to Poole. When we started disembarking lots of passengers were commenting on how rough and ghastly the crossing had been.  I had been completely and very happily unaware of the whole nightmare.

By now it was Monday morning and I was very happy to read that almost everyone was home. All except for our tenor Christopher Diffey who still hadn’t landed at Gatwick. He had been given a £5 voucher to spend on anything …. except alcohol. As he said the only thing he needed after 12 hours of waiting was alcohol … or to be transported back to Sark but there was no Tardis available either.

With plenty of messages from Sark this week expressing so much appreciation, it was perhaps worth the nightmare of stormy seas. My favourite though was from the headteacher on Sark who asked in  assembly ‘What did we learn last Friday?’ Child in Year 1 replied – ‘The soprano is the highest voice but the baritone is the best’. My work is done!

It’s been a busy week but Tuesday was a very special day. My very dear friend Lorraine King asked  if I would like to lead an afternoon of singing for the Alzheimer’s society near Ammanford. The answer was a big fat yes and what a fabulous afternoon I had singing and laughing with some wonderful people. Diolch.

This article was originally published in the Carmarthen Journal in Mark’s weekly column for the paper.

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