Saturday, 8 November 2008

5 November 2008 Wednesday – Calendar

Finally a brief gap in the rain and I drive over to the Intermarche. As I will need to come again on Saturday to top up supplies for S’s visit, I decide to try out the rich variety of tinned meals on offer.
At the checkout I let a man with one small item go ahead of me. Mistake as he pays using his bank card, which for some reason takes ages. The young lady at the till is remarkably chatty and says that it is raining. Not yet, I reply.
In the background I am aware of a young baby screaming. Il chante, she says smiling.
If that is what she thinks singing is, I’m glad she is not in the choir.
I load up my car. I have bought a huge container of screen wash, a window scraper for ice, and I am now road legal with a small emergency bulb and fuse kit to keep in the car. I already have the compulsory fluorescent jacket and emergency triangle in the boot.
The rain starts to spatter the windshield and as I approach the main roundabout yet another car decides that there is time to pull out onto the roundabout in front of me…
I pours with rain for the rest of the day and all night too.
The holiday makers downstairs, leave at some point and the house is still.
Writing / posting the blog for the 2nd of November as I digress into reminiscence and hyperlinks.
Nearly time to leave for choir and I hear someone in the hallway. My door is knocked and there and when I open the door, I see a man and a woman both dressed in uniform.
They are firemen, i.e. Sapeurs Pompiers from Foix. It is calendar time. I ask how much is the calendar. That is up to you they say, whatever you want.
F*** ! This is much earlier than I had anticipated. I knew that the various services would be knocking at my door to “give” me a calendar in exchange for money, but I thought it would be in December.
I had not asked anyone what sort of amount was considered usual. Not too much, but not too little. Would they consult their payment record as my house was burning down and say, we have time for another coffee before we slide down our pole?
It can be cash or a cheque they say helpfully (hopefully?).
I hand over some cash and receive my calendar, a small folded sheet calendar with the names of a saint, or National holiday against each day of the year and a receipt like a raffle ticket which announces that I am a supporter of the fire service and the amount I have given them.
They wish me good celebrations or some such and leave.
I look at the calendar and there are lots of group photos of the Foix firemen and women in various combinations (not the underwear). I can recognise my two visitors. There is also a lot of local business advertising too.
It is still raining so I put on my big walking boots, fleece and raincoat, grab my choir bag and head off into the night. Their will not be many there tonight I think.
Wrong! There is almost a full compliment. Claude, the choir webmaster who had emailed me countless times regarding the photos I took on the choir outing is there. I hand over a disk with the photos on and he is happy. Michel, who also took some photos, forgot to bring his disc. I am a saint.
Callesthenics and voice warm-up over, we sing a bit of the messe, then the men head for a rehearsal room in the music school. i.e a small classroom.
I brought my torch with me and I train it on the door in a dark corridor, while Olivier tries keys from a bug bunch in the lock. Door opens. No lights work. We look at the fuse box in the room, the light switches are tried by many in case those before had not quite got the knack of flicking on a switch.
In the corridor outside, we look at another fuse box very high up on a wall. This is poked with a long pole, again with no resulting light.
We troop back to the main classroom. I am first in. The women at the back of the room, seated in front of me whisper to me. I have no idea what they are saying but I whisper back “Pas de lumiere” no light.
The message reaches the other side of the room within 2 seconds. How did they do that?
The rest of the men arrive. What were they doing?
The choir director engages in a brief discussion and leads us back the way we have come. He is clutching a tuning fork. I keep out of his way, just in case.
We go outside, enter another building, pass the wash hand basins in the corridor, then climb the 3 flights of wooden stairs again.
The basses sit on the lower steps, the tenors sit above them on the steps. I and three others have no steps left to sit on, so we stand on the top landing above everyone.
Then with the aid of the tuning fork, we rehearse for three quarters of an hour, before rejoining the ladies for a 4 part run through.
I wonder how many of the choir have listened to their homework disc.
Daveed’s 2 boxes of cakes / biscuits are at the back of the room for those who have placed orders. He is not at the choir practice.
Announcement time and there is debate about the extra practice next Monday. Lots of people cannot make it. I think it will now be on the 17th instead??? Hopefully the web site will be amended or an email will be sent out. There is also something about a trip to Strasbourg and outings to other places roundabout there. It will involve giving 2 concerts I think. I have no idea when this is planned for. Email? Website?
I splosh home in the drizzle, wheel out the bin for collection. My tenants appear to be lazy arsed gits. Then back upstairs and into the flat.
The rain increases its tempo on the roof. It is like living in a tent, but without the drips (hopefully) or the shadow puppets on the outside.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to send me your comments or suggestions