Glorious London and a birthday to remember
I’ve been in London for most of this week, roasting in the heat of the sun. I can’t complain though because I love the sunshine. It is a pleasure to walk to work early through Lincoln’s Inn Fields, taking in the fresh morning air before it becomes too hot. I turn left, walk down Chancery Lane, cross High Holborn, grab a coffee… and before I know it I’m at my desk!
Fortunately the London office is air-conditioned, and it also has a great terrace where I like to step outside and catch the early morning breeze. There is a lovely view of Gray’s Inn Gardens and I smile when remember that as a student I joined Gray’s Inn, while toying with the idea of becoming a barrister. The Fulwood Place office is very modern and couldn’t be more different from the firm’s offices in Hale and in Harrogate, the latter of which is located in the town’s old courthouse. But I like the differences: whenever I go to any of them, it’s like a new beginning and really perks me up.
Last night, there was the most unexpected treat in store. For a birthday surprise for my husband, our son Ben had arranged seats for us in the box nearest to the stage at the Royal Festival Hall for a very special concert. Ben knows that his dad loves Vladimir Ashkenazy, and discovered that the great pianist and conductor was in town for a one-night concert.
We all have happy memories of the time when we travelled on the same flight as the pianist, and I remember my husband wondering whether or not he should ask for an autograph for Ben. Unable to contain himself, he went over. Vladimir Ashkenazy’s response? “Delighted but in which language?” He was very pleasant and I noticed that he wanted no fuss at all when he arrived at Heathrow, even though his world-class status could have sped him through the formalities in an instant.
Yesterday evening’s concert was suitably international, both in performance and audience. Hosted by our very own fantastic Philharmonic Orchestra, 23-year-old blind Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy, played in the first half. The music, composed by Sergey Prokofiev, was a powerful and dramatic piece. A triumph with the audience, the pianist received a well-deserved standing ovation. He returned to the stage for an encore to play a complex piece he had composed himself.
This morning, I read some more about the amazingly talented Nobuyuki Tsujii. Born blind, the musician believes that “there are no barriers in the field of music”. He enjoys rock star status in Japan, and plays in concerts all over the world. The great Vladimir Ashkenazy clearly loved conducting him.
It was a brilliant concert in a world-class venue. A lady sitting near us had come from Switzerland to attend and another gentleman all the way from Sierra Leone. Everyone was marvelling at the array of talent on show. The second half was Babi Yar by Dmitry Shostakovich: Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poetry set to music, with the words sung in Russian.
I was left amazed by the musicians I had seen and heard on stage. Their talent, their love of music and their ability to communicate with the audience was stunning. A young man whose life could have been so very different has had his gift of music harnessed and lives life to the fullest. Nobuyuki Tsujii is an inspiration to us all.
I would also like to say a huge thank you to another modest young man we know very well, who is currently away working in Hamburg. Thank you Ben – you made our night perfect.
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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