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Rainbow's End

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Eileen Ramsay's
Rainbow's End

Rainbow's End
Eileen's latest book...
Rainbow's End


RNA award winner Eileen Ramsay delivers a passionate new novel, set in the tumultuous world of classical music.

Juliet Crawford is a brilliant and beautiful young orchestra conductor, living in Edinburgh, and dreaming of success.

When she is offered the chance of a lifetime to get ahead with her career, with the incredible possibility of permanently leading a prestigious American orchestra, she decides nothing will stand in her way.

But it is there that she meets the handsome young Czech conductor Karel Haken.

As the attraction between them builds to a crescendo, she knows their ambitions will always push them apart.

Does she dare to love him despite everything?


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EXTRACT FROM
Rainbow's End

Hodder & Stoughton General; ISBN: 034083515X

Rainbow's End1

Juliet hurried up the steps from the Métro and blinked for a moment in the bright spring sunshine.  April in Paris - was it as beautiful as the song said? Deliberately, savouring the moment and aware of her rising excitement, she stood looking across the Place de L’Opéra towards the Boulevard des Capucines but she could wait no longer.  She turned, and there it was before her in all its magnificence, dominating effortlessly everything around it, the Garnier opera house.
            The sun lit up the extravagant gilded façade of arches, winged horses, friezes and columns that held up the verdigris dome, and it shone alike on the solitary red, white and blue flag flapping listlessly on a tall slim pole just across the street on the left of the building, and on the traffic – cars, buses, motor cycles, and bicycles - that seemed to Juliet’s astonished eyes to hurl themselves with no apparent plan, but a great deal of noise and occasionally eye-watering fumes, around the great island on which the enormous building had been erected.  She wanted to pinch herself to verify that she, Juliet Crawford, graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, was actually standing there, and that, once she had ventured out into that rather unnerving sea of traffic and had then found a path through the hordes of people of all ages who were sitting on the steps talking, laughing or just looking at the living painting that was Paris, in a few minutes she would be inside.  She wanted merely to soak in her first sights of this hallowed building – was there a music lover in the world who did not know of its wonders? – but there was not time.  The first meeting was at eleven; she had only a few minutes to find the correct entrance.
Juliet waited, watched and strode out; one sustained note on a car horn, one motorcyclist who stopped centimetres from her best thigh length boots and then revved annoyingly while he waited for her to cross. Clutching her music case with familiar ease, she picked her way through a good-natured group of French students.  It could not be her clothes – for she wore the knee-length frilly gypsy skirt, the tiny T-shirt and the short leather jacket so beloved of many young women internationally – that made her instantly recognizable as British.  It must have been the large well-shaped blue-green eyes and the shoulder length mane of reddish brown hair that immediately proclaimed her nationality, since the ones who spoke to her, inviting her caressingly to sit with them in the sun, spoke in English
            She smiled, said no thank you, Non, merci, very politely in her best French – conjured up from hideous memories of St. Ninian’s School for Girls - and walked on past the tall iron lamp standards holding aloft not only a circle of white globes but a lyre, symbol of Apollo, God of Music, hurried on past colossal marbles of naked ladies, through the first unguarded wrought iron gate. A guard stopped her at the second entrance.  Juliet smiled, crossed her fingers in the forlorn hope that he spoke English, and said clearly,  ‘Good morning.  My name is Juliet Crawford and I am one of the competitors in the Prix d’Argent conducting competition.’
He looked at her uncomprehendingly, said something she did not understand, and moved as if to close the gate.  Over his head Juliet caught her first heart-stopping glimpse of the foyer which, even in the dim interior lighting. was dominated by a staircase, the Grand Escalier.  It was everything and more that the guidebooks said and she looked forward to seeing it properly, to being part of it, to standing quietly listening as music poured out from the auditorium, to running up and down its magnificence with loving familiarity, recognising and perhaps pointing out the chandeliers which would light the steps of beautifully gowned women while it caused their gems to sparkle as they progressed upwards to the world-renowned Grand Foyer. Desperately she parroted her carefully worked out and learned French sentence of explanation.  He was singularly unimpressed and told her slowly and painstakingly that she was not allowed to enter here but must go outside and round the building to the library door.  His whole demeanour told her exactly what he thought of foreign students who had not had the good sense to learn French.
Some day, she told herself as she hurried round the monumental building, some day I will be welcomed - as a conductor - through that door.
 
Three hectic days later Juliet was standing off stage with the nine other semi-finalists, eight men and one woman, waiting for the judges to finish their deliberations and announce the names of the three finalists.  The long corridor was dim even though the lamps that were attached to the walls at intervals were lit and cast the shadows of the contestants onto the cold marble mosaics beneath their feet. They had been warned to keep quiet and as still as possible but every now and again someone moved and his shoes beat a little tattoo, and drew an agitated ‘chut’ from Madame de Champs who stood, like Matron at a preparatory school, waiting for permission to enter. Juliet was physically exhausted.  The preliminary stages in this most prestigious competition had been arduous, the strain of trying to conduct unknown musicians in an unfamiliar hall unrelenting.  But the stakes were high. The finalists would see their names, their plaudits, fly around the world, and the winner would immediately become assistant conductor of one of France’s most famous orchestras for an entire year.  Not only that, he, or she, would take home a cheque for twenty thousand euros – a great start to what could become an international career.
Juliet swallowed and tried to disengage herself from the air of tension and the drama unfolding in the magnificent red and gold auditorium by looking down the line of her seemingly patient fellow competitors.  She almost smiled. Each and every one wore black trousers and a white shirt, some tucked in, some not, almost a uniform. Bryony Wells, the American entrant, still managed to stand out:  she had tied her luxuriant black hair back with a scarlet ribbon – there was nothing in the rule book about acceptable ways to deal with long hair; perhaps the organisers had not yet come to terms with the fact that every year more and more women were climbing the barricades of that most male bastion, conducting.
Juliet, much taller and very slim, was more interested in the result of the competition than in her appearance.   First and foremost she was a musician.  She took a deep breath as she felt the adrenalin, which had kept her buoyant throughout the long evening, draining away.  Her stomach was churning, and the palms of her tightly clenched hands were wet.  She prayed that what she was feeling was not evident on her face.  She wanted no one to know just how much this competition meant to her.  Silly, actually.  They all knew; was it not vitally important to all of them?   She had to win and this time she felt that she had a chance.  Juliet had never believed in self-delusion but she knew that, for her, everything had gone well. The orchestra had responded and played exactly as she had dreamed they would. The performance had been as perfect as it could possibly be.  It would be fine.  She must try to relax. She turned to Claude Morrisett, a French contestant who stood beside her nervously chewing his thumb nail. Claude was short and stocky and he had run his hand through his thick dark hair so often that it stood out wildly around his head. ‘You were good, Claude.’
He tried to smile.  ‘This is the dreadful time, Juliet.  Twice before I have reached the final.  Is it, how you English say, the third time for luck?’
 Could she say, I hope so, Claude.  She wanted to reassure him but even more she wanted to win. She took refuge in the banal, ‘May the best man win,’ and he did laugh a little.
‘Or woman?  You, I think, are this time my rival.’  He gestured to the end of the corridor.  ‘Just listen to them go on and on.  This is, for us, so vital, but for them, just another evening.’
She smiled at him.  ‘If it helps, Claude, I think you’re the one I have to beat.’
He looked at her seriously.  ‘D’accord. Someone wins and the others lose.  It is not easy. Look now at that one.  She has… something … and some talent; but you…’
They looked along the line of young hopefuls towards the vibrant and attractive Bryony who was chatting casually with her neighbours.  How could she possibly be casual?   Was it all an act and merely the way she coped with fear?
Juliet looked down at her clothes; Bryony might not be quite so elegant but she did exude sexuality.  Was that a winning combination: undoubted talent, flashing dark eyes, and sex appeal?  I have talent, she thought. The performance was good.  A door opened behind them and someone hurried out and along the corridor, high-heeled shoes announcing their departure, and once more there was a loud ‘chut,’ from Madame. Juliet sighed, trying to keep her thoughts positive.  She felt as if they had been standing for hours but it could only have been ten or fifteen minutes, just long enough for the competition’s sponsor to tell the invited audience about his company and how pleased it was to be securing the future of orchestras all over the world by financing this competition to find the best of the world’s young conductors.
            She tuned in for a moment but he was still talking about his company’s future plans.  Did he not care that ten young people from all over the world were standing in the dimly lit wings, each of them hoping, praying, to hear his or her name called, waiting to walk confidently across the stage to a burst of enthusiastic applause?
Think about the theatre, about the privilege of actually being here in this glorious building …  It was impossible to think about anything but the results.
The voice had changed.  ‘Et maintenant, and now it is time for us to congratulate our finalists,’ and at last they were walking out onto the brightly lit stage, bare now, except for the five judges - four men in dinner jackets and a woman whose mother had never said, “Look at yourself in the mirror before you leave the house, and take something off,” - and the sponsor, the rather elderly frail Vicomte de St-Nectaire.  The judges, their job done moved to the side, and the Vicomte, in a strong voice that was at odds with his seeming fragility, began to talk again. 
Juliet found it difficult to see anything until her eyes adjusted.   She looked up and any feeling of insignificance she had felt outside was magnified by this spectacular auditorium, with its fluting gold columns and superbly carved arches that together held up the sublime cupola on which the artist, Marc Chagall, had painted his homage to fourteen great composers.  Juliet looked out over the auditorium but, even if she had been able to distinguish individual faces, there was no one there whom she would recognise.  Tomorrow, tomorrow for the final, her parents would come, her father fussing about having to find a replacement but deep down - surely - he would be pleased.
She crossed her fingers.  I have to place, I have to.  This is the most important moment of my life.  I win here and a contract is in my hands; I lose and… to lose did not bear thinking about.
The atmosphere was electric; the tension felt by every one of the ten semi-finalists was almost palpable, and the hyper imaginative among them could almost smell fear; it seemed as if even the audience held its collective breath. The Vicomte bowed, everyone clapped.  What had he been saying?  Juliet had little idea but at that moment the chairman of the judging panel, Madam Genevieve Michau, stepped forward to announce the shortlist, the three finalists.  For a moment there was silence as everyone both on the stage and in the stalls focused on her glittering figure.  She spoke in French much too quickly for Juliet to understand but the names - she could understand the names.
‘Bryony Wells.’
The contestants on either side kissed the American while Juliet tried to remain calm, clap dutifully and sincerely. Well done, Bryony.  Mean it, Juliet. There are two more chances.
‘Claude Morrisett.’
A huge cheer from the home crowd and Juliet turned to Claude, took his hand and shook it enthusiastically.  ‘Well done, Claude, well done.’
He hugged her and then kissed her, French fashion, three times.  ‘You next, Juliet.  It has to be your name next.’
Was the interval even longer between the second announcement and the third?  To Juliet’s frayed nerves it seemed so.  She found that she was holding her breath; there should not be the slightest sound that might prevent her hearing her name.
‘Jaime Jimenez.’
Tears that she fought welled up in Juliet’s eyes. It was impossible; it could not be correct.  Disappointment lodged in her throat and threatened to choke her.  She wanted to call out, ‘Wait, there has been some terrible mistake.’  But she could not do that.  The thin skin of civilised behaviour that is all that lies between our untamed four-footed brothers and us kicked in and she held her tongue, literally.  She bit down. It was unjust, wrong; there had to be a mistake.  This was not ego, arrogance.  She knew she had been the best.  She was quite certain of it and yet she had not even been short-listed.  But education, breeding, good manners, call it what you will, some code of behaviour was demanded and she could hear her voice congratulating, commiserating.  There was a smile pasted across her face.  The critics would write once again about her exemplary behaviour.  Just as well that they could not see behind the mask.
Less than an hour ago this hall had echoed with the sounds of beautiful music, piping flutes, the exquisite drawn-out note from a masterfully played violin. Now it was full of laughter, happy noisy multilingual chattering voices.  People were kissing, hugging, congratulating … sympathising.
Claude looked confused as they walked backstage, along the same marble corridor with its illuminated alcoves to a reception room - almost as opulent with its huge gold-framed mirrors and period furniture and exquisite perfect wooden floor - where everyone mingled, winners and losers, judges and sponsors. ‘I really thought you would beat me this time, Juliet.  The orchestra seemed to respond to you more than to the rest of us.’  He shrugged, raised shoulders, a small moue of distaste, embarrassed, honest enough to know that all was not well.  ‘Who knows what they look for, mon amie?’
            She took pity on him.  He was her friend and should be allowed to enjoy his time of triumph.  ‘Who knows, my friend?  Claude, you won and I am pleased for you.’  And that much was true, for Claude was decent, talented and hard working.  It was so much worse to lose to the arrogant, preening Jaime Jimenez.
            As if thinking of him had conjured him up, the South American was before her.  She could smell his hair oil before she saw him and managed to step back in time to avoid an over-exuberant and totally meaningless hug.
            ‘Bad luck, Juliet.  They say in your country third time lucky: not so in your case.  Such ill fortune.  Maybe you should face the facts.’  He gripped her by the upper arms and looked solemnly into her face – a kind friend saying something unpalatable that had to be said – his over-white teeth grinning at her. ‘Women can’t conduct; they just don’t have the charisma, the ability, the moral or the physical power to make the orchestra do what they want.  You are tall but beside me, see how slight.’
            She struggled to control herself.  She would not disgrace herself by rising to his bait and she would not dwell on the fact that he was interested enough in her progress to know how many competitions she had entered: this was indeed her third competition. Juliet felt threatened by the illusion of power that his strutting posture and height awarded him and stepped back a little further. ‘Luck doesn’t come into it, Jaime,’ was what she chose to say.
‘Now, now, querida mia, not the old chestnut about the odds being stacked.  All women say when they lose, “Oh, it’s a man thing; they try to keep us out.” Ever think maybe you’re not good enough?’
Juliet tried not to grit her teeth. ‘Never occurred to me for a moment, Jaime.  And besides Bryony is a woman.’
He smiled and it was a most unpleasant smile.  ‘La Wells has, what shall we say, a very powerful friend?  But she won’t win: even he isn’t that mighty.’   There was a note of doubt in that last piece of bravado. Whatever he wanted to believe it was well known that powerful friends helped at the start of a career.
Juliet would not listen to such nastiness, even though she did not particularly like Bryony Wells. She began to move away from him and then turned as another thought struck her.  ‘By the way, querido mio,’ she added with heavy sarcasm, ‘Even without Bryony and her ‘powerful friend’, Claude is light years ahead of either of you. I look forward to congratulating him when he wins tomorrow night.’
For a moment she felt better as she saw her blow hit home and then the adrenalin stopped flowing and the shock waves of soul-destroying disappointment threatened to swamp her.  Oh, God, I have to get out of here so that I can cry. But there were others to talk to, other contestants, the judges, the sponsors.  There was wine to be drunk and food to be eaten, although the wine tasted like vinegar and the artfully constructed hors d’oeuvres like cardboard. She looked for Bryony Wells, the only other woman in the competition.
Remember your manners, Juliet.  Grin and bear it.  Trot out all the old clichés which are sometimes the only things to say that help. She shrugged, looked around for Bryony again but could not see the American anywhere.
‘Miss Crawford?’  It was the most senior of the judging panel, the distinguished Czech conductor, Alexander Stoltze.
She looked up into sympathetic, understanding, and very friendly eyes. And her heart skipped a beat.  ‘Maestro.’
‘If it helps, Miss Crawford, I really felt that you should be in the short list.  You were a revelation to me.’
Her depression lifted.  Alexander Stoltze, the great Alexander Stoltze, had admired her conducting.  ‘How kind, Maestro.  Coming from you, I can’t tell you…’
‘Then don’t try.  Your turn will come.  When things go wrong, and they do and will in this claustrophobic world of ours, remind yourself that Stoltze thinks you remind him of Haken.’
She could scarcely speak, thrilled and yet humbled by the magnitude of the compliment.  Karel Haken, another Czech, was the protégé of Alexander Stoltze.  He had won this self same competition at the unheard of age of nineteen and now, eleven years later, was sought after by orchestras around the world. Juliet herself had followed the career of the young Maestro, collected his recordings, read news items about him and reviews of his performances. To hear such praise was almost better than winning.  She prayed she would not burst into emotional tears. ‘Thank you, Maestro.  I am honoured.’
He took her hand and raised it to his lips in an old-fashioned Eastern European way as he looked straight into her eyes.  ‘We will meet again, Miss Crawford, and next time, maybe, the cards will not be stacked.’  He squeezed her hand as he bowed , then walked off to join a colleague who was gesticulating wildly in another corner of the room and Juliet stood looking after him.  Were he not so famous she might have been forgiven for thinking that he had been flirting with her.
‘Get a grip, Juliet.  He knows he’s attractive; he probably squeezes every hand he kisses. “The cards stacked.”  Was not that almost what the oily Jimenez had said?  How odd. Coincidence?’
She could bear no more.  She needed to return to her hotel to ring her parents and her friends.  Once more she would have to tell her parents that she had failed.  She could not bear to talk to them while she was upset for that would distress them more than the fact that she had not succeeded.  Although neither was really musical they had tried to be supportive as she had studied and even now that she had finished postgraduate training and should reasonably have been expected to be earning money they were still sending small monthly cheques to keep her solvent.
She said her goodbyes, collected her coat, and slipped out.  She would walk; the evening air would clear her head, and the beauty of April in Paris would soothe her wounded spirit.  It did not.  The skyline was as dramatic as it had been that morning when she had walked along her heart full of hope, in love with Paris, in love with music and in love with life.  She continued on down the Avenue de l’Opéra to the Palais Royal and the Louvre and carried on towards the river. The buildings on the banks of the Seine were just as magnificent, the trees along the wide boulevards were still springing into vibrant young life, the lights that illuminated historic buildings or played with ripples on the river were just as bright, but they failed to reach her, to cheer her.
‘Face it, Juliet, face it.  Maybe it is time to quit, to say it’s not going to work.  It’s high time you were supporting yourself instead of having to rely on an allowance from your parents.’
She did earn some money by giving piano lessons or accompanying singers.  Sometimes she played with her dearest friend, Hermione, who was a violinist and, like Juliet, going the rounds of the competitions circuit, but she was not earning a living wage.   Her troubled thoughts accompanying her rapid footsteps, Juliet hurried along the pavements of a city built for love and did not even notice the appreciative glances she received.  It was cool enough for her to wear her coat but she had not buttoned it and it blew behind her as she walked, revealing her slim body in her well fitting trousers.  For the final she had considered wearing an evening gown, but it would stay in its wrapping.
‘It should be raining,’ she said aloud and then hoped that the two young men leaning over the parapet on the bank did not understand English. Ashamed of her rather selfish outburst Juliet smiled an apology, J’aime Paris, and hurried on and, just as she reached her hotel, her mobile phone began to ring.  She sat down on a bench, just outside in a courtyard full of sweetly scented potted plants, to answer it.
It was her agent, Aldo Navarini, who was exuberant and, as always, upbeat and supportive.   ‘I wish I could be with you. The results are already on the Net and the adjudicators’ remarks are fab, Juliet; they can do you nothing but good.  Reading them I find it hard to see why you weren’t short-listed.’
She told him what Alexander Stoltze had said and he yelled yippee so loudly into her ear that she felt she could have heard him without the telephone line.
‘Fandabidozee.  With Stoltze in your corner you’re sorted, lassie.  He is one powerful man.  Pity he couldn’t swing the rest of the panel though.  You’d think if he was as influential as they say he is...  Never mind that for the moment: we’ll have lunch as soon as you get home and you can go over the whole thing with me and we’ll try to see where you went wrong. There has to be something basic that we’re missing.’
‘Aldo, basically I think they don’t want women.  If the American wins all Hell will break loose but Morrisett is good, almost as good as I thought I was.’  She sobbed.  She could sob with Aldo.
‘You’re sending me negative vibes, Juliet. Not allowed. We’ll crack it.  You’re the best - even Stoltze said so - and with him in your corner there is only one way to go.’
She prayed he was right.  A sponsor, even though she wanted to do it by herself, could make all the difference.  Stoltze had watched her conduct, had heard the result she had achieved with the orchestra and had said that he liked what he saw and heard; but still she had not placed and he was the senior judge.  How did it work?    Next time.  Next time she would win.  For now she would go back to Edinburgh and she would work and improve and next time she would win.
She rang her parents who wanted her to return home immediately and were displeased that she was going first to Edinburgh.
‘We really need to talk sensibly about your future, Juliet,’ said her father, using his calm-doctor-in-the-consulting-room voice. She could picture him, like her, tall and slim, his brown hair greying with age.  ‘Of course we’re sorry that you’re upset; we thought you would at least place.  After all, at College you won everything. So what’s different now?’
‘I don’t know, Dad.’
‘That wasn’t really a question, dear, but remember we’re here for you.  Now, if you have to go to the flat with your friends, fine, but then, as soon as possible, come home.’
‘I have to plan a strategy with Aldo, Dad.  He is one of the best agents in the business and I’m lucky to have him.’
‘He hasn’t done much for you so far.’
How often did she have to explain that every orchestra in the world already had a conductor, and that it could take years to achieve anything worthwhile?
‘Dad, tell Mum that as soon as I’ve had my meeting with Aldo I’ll come home and we’ll talk.’
 
*                                                *                                         *
 
Once back in Edinburgh Juliet arranged to meet Aldo Navarini for lunch at one of his favourite restaurants, Bouzy Rouge, on Alva Street.  The décor, wood tables, bright tiles, modern art on the walls, cheered Juliet as Paris, latterly, had failed to do.  Before ordering a meal they sat with some fresh warm French bread and a glass of wine and poured over the adjudications, not only her own but the others.  Aldo finished reading and leaned back in his chair and, as always, Juliet found herself praying that the frame would take the strain.  Her agent was a big man in so many ways and she worried, not only that he would disgrace himself by breaking a restaurant chair but that his overburdened heart would cease to function.   She had warned him several times but he laughed, talked about bones and genes.
‘We’re all big, Juliet.  My grandmother - dear God, she was one formidable woman.  Six feet in her stocking soles.’  He tore off a piece of bread.  ‘What a smell, freshly baked bread; nothing like it.’ He popped the bread in his mouth, straightened up and looked at her closely.  ‘For the life of me I can’t figure out where you went wrong, lassie.  Tell me again what you were wearing.’
‘Brown trousers and a pink T-shirt for the initial heat and black trousers and a really beautiful white silk shirt for the semis; almost everyone else was wearing exactly the same – white  shirts usually for the men.’
He frowned.  ‘You should have worn a dress or a skirt, short; you have great legs.’
Juliet threw her napkin down on the table in exasperation.  ‘I’ve told you a hundred times that I will not go that route.  I have to succeed on merit.  Besides we were almost told to stick to trousers and shirts for the heats – androgyny or anonymity perhaps.’
Aldo smiled, his heavy-browed Italian face crinkling with amusement. ‘Of course you’ll be recognised - very soon - as a rising star but do you really have to look like one of the lads?  You have to make your sex, your femininity, a selling point.’
Juliet’s anger spilled over. ‘What, great legs and - would you believe - she can read music too. You have got to be joking.’  And then she took pity on him for he worked so hard; and so far, since she had been spectacularly unsuccessful since graduation, he was earning nothing from her, and still he believed.  ‘Besides, Aldo, well-cut trousers are very sexy.’
He laughed, relieved that she was over the worst of her anger.  ‘Now we have to look at some of the other competitions.   There are several, but which ones for you?’  He took some papers from his bulging briefcase. How about the Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition?  You win if you can pronounce it.  Sorry, rotten sense of humour.’  He skimmed the page.  ‘No use.  Every four years.  You should have done it last year. Astrakhan Masterclass.  Russia in October.  Fancy it?  We could find out more.  I have the websites. Colin Metters Masterclass in Leipzig first week in November: you could do them both: Russia and Germany always look good on the résumé.’  He skimmed another page.   ‘Then you could try Chile or Argentina or even Australia or, closer to your home in Bonny Dundee, how about Orkney?’
The waiter returned with their order, saddle of venison with blueberry coulis for Aldo and a lighter selection, pan-fried chicken with foie gras and orange sauce for Juliet.
Although the smells wafting up to her were making Juliet’s mouth water, she took the papers from Aldo and, while the wine waiter poured more wine, read.  ‘St Magnus Festival.  Orkney Conducting Course.  This isn’t until June next year.  And I want competitions, Aldo, and auditions.  Most of these are courses.   I need to earn some money.  It’s humiliating to have to depend on my parents.  It’s almost impossible to get a paying job when I have to drop out every few months.’
‘I know and I have a few feelers out; let’s see if we can get you an assistant’s post somewhere, but, in the meantime, let’s look at courses and competitions. And there’s always teaching.’
She ignored that.  She was meant to conduct, and although taking a master class in Poland or Chile or Australia could improve her skills, it all depended on who was leading the course.  She had skimmed Aldo’s lists and had heard of very few of the teachers.  Not, she tried to be fair, that that necessarily meant anything.  Even if they were not world-famous conducting names like Abbado, or Mutti, Ashkenazy or Barenboim, or any one of a dozen others, they could easily be highly gifted and successful teachers.  She would look at the websites, gather information, and make decisions.  In the meantime she would have to search for a job, just as soon as this delicious meal was over, and she would have to visit her parents.
On her way back to the flat she dropped in at an employment office and signed on as a client.  Her confidence was so battered by the defeat in Paris that she was prepared to take almost any job that would earn her some money.  Even in the Job Centre she was made to feel totally useless since it appeared that she had absolutely no marketable skills.  She was a musician though, spoke reasonable German, and she could drive.
‘This wee job might have been made for you,’ said the manager.  ‘The Edinburgh International Festival needs people for all manner of jobs, picking up actors or artists of one kind or another from the airport, transporting the odd tuba, you name it, general dogsbody.  I think you’re a shoo-in.’
‘Fine,’ said Juliet.  ‘I’ll apply.’  She surreptitiously crossed her fingers and thought but did not say that she hoped some orchestra would rescue her long before then.

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