Macmillan's diary entry for July 24 2007 reads as follows:
My family and I are on holiday in Italy. I'm spending my time relaxing but also doing a bit of composing. The family doesn't seem to mind, or perhaps they know better than to try and change me. But I've decided to take a break from The Passion, and instead have brought a few smaller works that have been building up subconsciously for some time. Hopefully I'll just step straight back into The Passion when I get home.
Now here's the thing. We were on holiday in Italy at exactly the same time last year. And for a couple of the days we were there, the man on the sunbed behind me was shuffling some pages of manuscript paper and scribbling furiously. Aha, I thought, a composer at work. It's the kind of thing you remember, when everybody else is engrossed in the latest Dan Brown or lost in their personal iPod world. And come to think of it, he did look a bit like the photo of James Macmillan in the Guardian.
So, James, if you read this and it was you, in Costa Merlata, Puglia, last summer: I was the one who kept walking nonchalantly by and trying to take a peek at what you were writing, and it was our children who kept jumping in the pool and disturbing your musical reverie. Oh, and while I'm at it, do you still describe yourself as Catholic Marxist? Just asking.