4th January 1982. Mrs M doing one of the many things which she does superbly. In this particular case, singing with her usual, thrilling and powerful alto voice. Me, just happy to be there.
We had enjoyed our time in Jerusalem where the ‘Scottish Chorus’ had performed ‘Belshazzer’s Feast’ twice and ‘Israel in Egypt’, once in concert and once in a recorded studio version.. I had had a major ‘Wheeeeee’ time and she had worked her socks off.
Whatever, they told us that it was wind down time (apart from one more chore) and that we could spend the rest of our stay in Israel just chilling. So, they took us to Jaffa and Jericho, drove us past the road to Jordan, pointed out where the Dead Sea Scrolls had been found, dunked us in the afore-mentioned Dead Sea, gave us half a day at Masada and then delivered us to a hotel in Eilat for our last night.
Up until then, I had roomed with my close personal friend, Mrs M, but the sleeping arrangements in Eilat were slightly different. Sexual segregation and three bodies to a room. Fine for the girls, most of whom, I am sure, chatted the night away until Morpheus claimed them. I was sharing with two tenors and I felt like a right spoilsport. Ended up getting up up and going for a swim in the hotel pool at about 5.30 am just to leave them alone together since that was clearly what they wanted.
And so to the last day. Out from Eilat into the Sinai Peninsula. Belonged to Egypt, occupied by Israel since the Six Day War and about to be handed back under the Camp David agreement. So, what are you going to do if you are the Israeli Broadcasting Service? Obviously really, and I personally would not fault them. You spend the major part of your entire budget for the year, recording a performance of that completely non-controversial work. ‘Israel in Egypt’ in some part of the said Sinai Peninsula.
So, I spent the day with my hanger-on chums, snorkelling in the Red Sea whilst watching Mrs M. and the rest of them standing on a rock and miming their way through ‘I in E.’
Went on forever and things eventually got tense as we had to get back to Tel Aviv for the flight back to Caledonia (stern and wild). In the end, they barrelled us there at break neck speed , drove us onto the runway without even the semblance of a pretext of a security check and we walked straight from the buses to the plane.