Rosemary and I have passed any number of memorable (and – mostly – happy) days as participants in Kentwell Hall’s Tudor Re-creations. But one day, in particular, stands out.

The year – on this occasion – was 1600: a gift to gentry, like me, who enjoy performing music.

Because in that particular year one is spoiled for choice.

And we were blessed with a unique opportunity.

One of our number had managed to secure a superb, leather-bound facsimile of John Dowland’s ‘Second Book of Songs’. Published in 1600. And therefore – as far as we were concerned – hot off the press.

It was a very chunky publication indeed. In fact, opened up, it pretty much covered a small table top. Because it had been printed with exactly that purpose in mind.

On one page was the melody, and the words to go with it. On the opposite page, neatly arranged around three sides, was the music for the other three parts.

So the singers could simply stand around the table and read their parts from the page in front of them. Genius.

Not to say that performing the songs wasn’t challenging. (It absolutely was.) But that didn’t matter. After all, in our scenario we’d never seen the music before.

But for me this was a particularly important day. Because – despite the fact that I’d been taking part in Kentwell events for many years – this would be my father’s first visit.

We worked our way through the book, abandoning some songs as too challenging (without more rehearsal) or too complicated (especially when it was tricky to work out how the words fitted the music). Until we found one that was an absolute joy to perform. And worked on it until we got it exactly right.

At which point I glanced up. To see my father sitting just a few feet away, eyes closed in rapt attention.

A perfect moment.

I had already warned my father that during event my job was to stay in role. Meaning I couldn’t appear to recognise him – but I could certainly talk to him.

And despite his poor vision – by then macular degeneration had reduced it to about 30 per cent – he’d been having a thoroughly enjoyable time. He’d particularly appreciated the efforts of the barber-surgeon, who’d done a great job of (to all appearances) pulling a young boy’s tooth.

That day is a memory I treasure. The day, I think, when my father truly understood and appreciated the activity that had thrown me together with Rosemary. To our benefit – and, as I have come to realise, that of hundreds of young schoolchildren. Who understood, after just one visit to Kentwell, what history is all about.