Given the chance, I like to go out for a nice breakfast.  Fortunately, around Corsham, there are lots of good quality farm shops which will serve a full English breakfast in quite pleasant surroundings.  Whilst I am without doubt a carnivore, one of the most important components of a good breakfast is a poached egg. I should confess from the start that despite much practice, I still somewhat lack the ability to produce a good quality poached egg.   However, this doesn’t stop me from challenging the chefs of the local farm shops, and other such establishments, to see how capable they are at cooking the perfect egg!

One of the best local poached eggs I’ve had was probably at the Neston Farm Shop a few weeks ago!  It’s also quite a civilised venue for breakfast as it’s not too far from home and has nice views out across the fields where you can see tomorrow’s breakfast currently grazing!  Ok, so that’s now lost the vegetarian readership along with the animal rights campaigners. But I did warn you I was a carnivore!

The thing about poached eggs is that to a trained chef, they’re probably not that difficult to cook well. But they are slightly more complicated than, let’s say, a fried egg! Even I can crack an egg onto a hot surface and wait a few minutes until it resembles something that you might want to eat.  But a poached egg is like venturing to the dark side!  So to my mind, if you go out for a cooked breakfast at an establishment prepared to charge you for providing a poached egg, it is not unreasonable to expect it to be good and for the chef to know how to cook it.

According to my website, I claim to be a Music Producer & Choirmaster, these being 2 roles for which I get paid to undertake. As a result of this, I try to always do my best to ensure I am doing a good job.  It’s true I am quite demanding of my choirs. Where a lot of ‘choirmasters’ would be quite happy for the average community choir to sing a tune to a backing track, I expect most of my untrained and un-auditioned singers to sing in 3 or 4 part harmony note perfect.  Not only that, they need to pay attention to dynamics, phrasing and the quality of sound they produce.

Similarly, when I am recording choirs, whether that’s a primary school choir or a Professional Chamber Choir, I aspire to the highest possible standards.  When my business partner and I set up 4 Part Music over 10 years ago, we were adamant that we would always use the best quality equipment and strive to create the best choir recordings we possibly could.  Whether we achieve this is down to our customers to evaluate, but we certainly do our best!

So, in the same way that I expect a restaurant advertising poached eggs on the menu to be able to cook me a poached egg to perfection, I assume that my clients have the same high expectations of me.    Over the past week or so, I have worked with a number of third parties and in each case I have only ever asked them to do what they purport to be good at!  It never ceases to amaze me how many businesses today struggle to do the one thing they were set up for! I don’t know whether I’m just too much of a perfectionist, but it does worry me just how much standards appear to be slipping nowadays.  Thank goodness for the poached egg!


Jules Addison is Musical Director for The BlueBellesThe Pewsey BellesCirencester Male Voice Choir, The GWH Trust Choir and Transeamus Chamber Choir

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