Thursday, 11 September 2008

1 Sept 2008 Monday - Choir Practice

Up early to visit the local food and DIY store. I have loyalty cards now for 3 stores in addition to my Casino card, and I must be accumulating points or cents, but I have no idea how many. We stock up with enough food to last most of the week, so that we will probably only need to replenish the bread supply.
I work out that it is just possible to articulate my new ladder if I insert a stick under each lever and then with a free leg, nudge the ladder to get the movement started.
I spend the rest of the morning giving the out of reach bits their first coat of white paint.
The Renault garage rings at 4:30pm to inform Monsieur Toookwell that his carte gris is ready for collection. I will collect it tomorrow. I have a plumber coming at 6pm.
Two plumbers, both father and son, turn up at ten past five. Is it okay that they are early? The previously promised piece of concrete does not materialise. We discuss the various projects again and I add a few more sockets for the living room and small bedroom and some electrical flex for the cooker.
The work will now take about 2 weeks and will start on the 15th Sept. although they may come earlier to drill the holes in the walls to enable hot and cold water to be piped from the bathroom to the new kitchen. I have been painting. I should stop painting until they have drilled the holes as there will be a lot of dust from the drilling.
I sign both devis (quotes) and write a cheque for 30 percent of the total cost, The bathroom floor will be tiled and will cost extra, but they need to find out the cost of the tiles. They may drop in with a tile sample some time. I think I am getting beige with a hint of pink. This will go nicely with the blue wall tiles and the green, blotchy wall. I will be painting the wall white.

I picked up a notice about a local department choir starting up again tonight at 8.45pm. I toddle along and enter the sweltering rehearsal room, where about 50 people are assembled. A man with a beard at the door welcomes me and chats to me. He is the captain, or some such. He introduces me to the choirmaster. This is really a rehearsal for the 2 imminent concerts and they will be going over their repertoire. Rehearsal for the new pieces starts on the 17th Sept.
There is another “new” man who has come along as well as about 4 or 5 new women.
I say that I will sit at the back by the door for a few minutes and listen, then go and return on the 17th.
The throng take their seats. I become aware that one at a time people are standing up, saying their name, then giving their singing / choral resume. Then the choir applauds.
I am hidden at the back and if I keep very still and quiet….
But no, there is another new one by the door. Heads swivel and I climb up onto the seat staging so that I can be seen. I deliver the goods in my version of French. I have no recollection if I got applause or not.
I now have to go and sit with the men in the choir. There seems to be a row of approx 10 basses at the very back, and I seem to be sat with 2 tenors, behind half of the ladies.
First we have to slap our faces and cheeks a bit, we stretch up to the sky, we try to touch our toes. We rotate our necks. We breathe in or something with out hands on our stomachs. The leader of the choir speaks very softly and it is hard to hear him, let alone translate into English.
Then the vocal exercises which are not the same as when I was in a choir at school. Different progressions of notes and different vocal sounds.
Finally we sing. They all have binders full of sheet music. Over the course of the next 2 hours we stumble through most of 3 pieces. The choir will be performing in Town in the Mayor’s courtyard next week. They have 2 extra practices before then. They will need it peut-etre? M who is sitting next to me and has shared his music, tells me that after the concert, they are all invited to a big meal by the Mayor. “You eat well in a choir” he tells me.Finally it ends. I tell Michel that I will return on the 17th. I think I was perhaps expected to come to the extra practices but I will wait. It is still very hot and I am knackered. It is 10:45pm. Before I leave, I have to take a pink coated triangle from a proffered dish. Perhaps it is a throat sweet or a breath freshener? Nope it is like a big chocolate Smartie. I must make sure to remember to go and see them perform in town later this week.

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