I really don't know where to begin to describe the anger/frustration/despair that we are feeling here at the moment.
Robin has finally arrived home from Mombasa but British Airways have managed to lose not only his suitcase but also his irreplaceable Miguel Rodriguez Churchdoor guitar. (For non-guitarists Miguel Rodriguez guitars are highly prized, soaring in value, and, along with the instruments of Fleta, Hauser and Friederich the favourite choice of many eminent guitar players. Yesterday's 'phone calls expressing worries about the safety of the guitar in transit are proving rather prophetic.
To add to the misery his other concert guitar, another Miguel Rodriguez, was still at Paul Fischer's workshop having been re-fretted and having the neck repolished.
You can well imagine Robin's feelings having made three flights, spending numerous tedious hours waiting in a sweltering Nairobi Airport, very little sleep and then, for a finale, a 2 mile run down the labyrinthine corridors of Heathrow airport at 6am to make his connecting flight to Manchester (having been seriously delayed by the endless security checks).
After all that the last thing he needed to see at Manchester airport was an empty carousel.
The relevant paperwork was submitted and a very subdued Robin arrived home.
He only stayed long enough for a cup of coffee before driving back down south to Oxfordshire to collect his other guitar. There's no way he could be without one.
I spent the day 'on hold' whilst trying to find out if they had any idea where this guitar was. They didn't.
Since the terrorist alerts this has been our nightmare situation. Some airlines have relaxed the rules about taking musical instruments on board, but not all. So when travelling on a number of different airlines it becomes impossible.
I'm afraid to say that Robin has now had to make a tough decision. If the airline won't let him take his guitar on board, then he won't be getting on either, and somewhere an audience will be very disappointed.
As writing I have finally managed to get through to BA and both suitcase and guitar have been found!!!
One, (they don't know which) has arrived in Manchester, and the other is due shortly.
Until they arrive at our home I don't think either of us will relax.
Robin is still driving home from Chipping Norton but is hugely relieved. (We both had a fear that it had been stolen at Nairobi airport and would never be seen again.)
I'll keep you informed...
Miguel Rodriguez and suitcase have been reunited with their rightful owner. One very relieved Robin Hill. The Churchdoor has been unpacked, inspected, and is currently being played. A little cold but I'm sure Robin will soon sort that out.
Many thanks for the comments and 'phone calls of support we have had.
I'm off to open a bottle of wine.
'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman