Radio 3 was running Verdi’s RIGOLETTO, one of my favourite old war horses*, tonight, from the New York Metropolitan, and not only that, but one of my FAVOURITEST singers, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, was in the title role. Be still my heart.**
AND WE HAD TO GO TO THE SECOND SESSION OF FRELLING*** ALPHA.†
We heard like the last five minutes of the opera, which is certainly a good five minutes for listening to the bloke singing Rigoletto . . . but it misses out the previous three hours.†† AAAAAAUGH. And the Met broadcasts are never available for replay . . .
. . . and then there was an announcement that Rigoletto WOULD BE AVAILABLE for seven days on the Radio 3 iplayer. Suddenly the world is a brighter place.
EXCEPT THAT IT’S NOT AVAILABLE. Usually stuff goes up within a couple of hours after it’s gone out over the air. Not tonight. You go and click on it and it says ‘try again later.’ AAAAAAAUGH. Tenterhooks. Tenterhooks. Will I be able to hear my favourite contemporary baritone††† sing one of my favourite baritone roles? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile . . . another voice lesson when I had a voice to play with today. I’m trying to enjoy this phase for as long as possible because I can feel myself starting to make up a fresh new list of things I can’t do and must therefore become totally frustrated and hopeless about.‡ Also known as moving the goalposts. That I have any voice is still a frelling miracle.‡‡ And it means I get to sing really cool stuff! We were looking at new pieces for me to have a bash at over the Christmas hols—another Dring from the Five Betjeman Songs cycle that my beloved Hotel Proprietress comes from, and the Schubert song that he then went on to write the famous Trout Quintet from—but the song came first. I have one more lesson before Christmas, next Monday, when Nadia will attempt to drag me through the German so I can play with it over the holidays without breaking anything.
* * *
* There’s an ancient author-answering-questions-about-her-life-outside-of-writing^ piece on my web site about opera, in which I mention that the somewhat less famous trio after the famous quartet, when Gilda bangs on the bad guys’ door, knowing that this is going to get her killed, and the storm is breaking up the action from the orchestra, is one of my favourite bits in all opera. Verdi is The Man as far as I’m concerned because of the way he could write music that is the absolute aural definition of the emotion he’s describing. Wagner, blah blah blah, Puccini, blah blah blah, anybody else you want to mention, blah blah blah. Nope. Verdi—for me.^^
^ Ie LONG BEFORE THE BLOG.
^^ Now I’m trying to decide what to say about Mozart, who is the pinnacle of a different mountain. No, no, it’s too late at night, it’s been a long day, I can’t tackle it. I’ll say this though: Verdi is deepest darkest red, and Mozart is clear pure green.
** Granted this was on radio, but that Hvorostovsky is cute is secondary to the fact that he can sing. Also this was the Las Vegas brat-pack production and I think it would probably annoy me.^
^ This is one of those ‘do squirrels eat all the birdseed out of the bird feeders/ do menopausal women crave chocolate /is McKinley still pissed off about that stupid FAUST production she saw a couple of years ago when Faust commits suicide at the end’ questions.
*** Look at the psalms. People have been cranky about God and the validity of religious commitment and expression for thousands of years.
† If I were getting along with Nicky Gumbel’s anecdotal style better I might be less . . . um . . . cranky.^ I don’t think I’m a natural member of his target audience—whatever his target audience is.^^ Maybe my ignorance of most of the basic tenets of Christianity^^^ is the problem . . . except I thought the point of Alpha is that it’s for people who feel they don’t know enough. Although I suppose not knowing enough is a variable concept.
It may be a long ten weeks. Although we now have a break till after Christmas . . . additionally useful for those of us with composure to regain. I like our group#: unfortunately we talk less than Gumbel does.
^ The set up seems to be that you watch a video presentation by some Alpha admin person and then your own live group discusses it. I think Gumbel began the whole show, but he’s not the only presenter. St Margaret’s is running an Alpha with live streaming from London and Gumbel is taking only one or two of the series, but we’re watching recordings on TV in a private sitting-room and they’re all Gumbel.
^^ But it requires knowledge of national sporting figures and recent TV programmes. FAIL.
^^^ I’ve got it that Jesus Christ is the human incarnation of God. After that it starts getting blurry.
# One of the other women tonight was talking about Julian of Norwich, who is on my reading list but I haven’t got there yet. I’m about to move her up near the front of the queue.
†† I heard about ten minutes of the early sashaying around in the duke’s court—missed O Questo O Quella^ of course—while I was bringing my geraniums in. I was a few minutes late to Alpha because I shot back to the cottage first to get the PLANTS IN because the temperature, having been a really pleasant sunny mild-for-December day, was busy plunging, and while the local weather said no, no, no, no, definitely no frost tonight, I know what happened last time. Tonight, of course, there will be no frost. Because I got my tender stuff indoors. Unless of course in the dark I missed something. In which case there will be a frost, and whatever it is it will be dead by morning.
Being able to foretell the future isn’t all it’s chalked up to be.
^ The first fabulous old war horse aria in this fabulous old war horse opera.
††† Unless you want to count Placido Domingo. No, Placido Domingo goes in the Can Do Anything category. He and Daniel Barenboim. Oh well, probably neither of them can write fantasy with strong female characters.^ But probably neither of them has ever tried.
^ And critters. And Cinnamon Rolls as Big as Your Head.
‡ There are drawbacks to singing more advanced stuff: the more you get the more you know you haven’t got. To some extent this is just the amateur experience, but there are better amateurs and . . . less good amateurs. I am listening to my gorgeous operas and favourite singers with a whole extra layer of awareness and appreciation the last couple of months or so since I made my surprising little burst of progress in my own practise. But this inevitably includes a greater, more detailed and exact awareness and appreciation of how much I don’t sound like Joyce Di Donato. I want worse than ever to go sit in^ on some top-flight singer’s master class because I’ll get so much more out of it . . . but I may also crawl home after and burn all my music.
^ NOT perform, please note. I doubt I’ll ever reach that standard.
‡‡ Yaay Nadia, miracle-worker.
CHRISTMAS! YAAAAAAH! CHRISTMAS! No, wait, I’m a Christian now, I have to go all holy and worshipful and transcendent and whatever. THIS IS HARD WHEN THE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS HAVE BEEN UP FOR WEEKS AND EVERY SHOP WINDOW IS TELLING YOU HERE IS WHERE YOU WILL FIND THE PERFECT PRESENTS FOR THE SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY-SIX PEOPLE ON YOUR CHRISTMAS LIST* AND FURTHERMORE HERE’S A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR YOU AS WELL.**
I’ve had a hard weekend*** of alternately clicking on yet another web site and weeping in a desperate and abandoned manner. But I now have several half-reasonable presents for my hideous and abominable husband.† After twenty-two years I still haven’t adjusted to being married to someone who not only is FRELLING IMPOSSIBLE to buy gifts for—and he’s getting worse as he gets older—BUT WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS TEN FRIGGLEWHACKING DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. This really should not be allowed. If you’re going to be hard to buy stuff for, have the decency to be born in the summer. Give your nearest and dearest a dingdoramping break.
Now the presents had just better frelling arrive and none of this Out of Stock nonsense. Or I’ll revert to the desperate and abandoned weeping.
* * *
* Note: they’re lying.
** A nice little snort of pure white powder. Finest customer service. It may kill you when your heart explodes but you’ll die really happy. And you won’t have to wrap any Christmas presents.
*** And that was after being out with the Street Pastors on Friday, including staying out extra-late looking for a missing person. Who was found, but by that time we were all thrumming with adrenaline. I got to bed finally after dawn . . . and you know how late dawn is at this latitude in December.
My heated waistcoat did its weird trick of being brilliant for two hours on one-third power and then signing off. I added the heated socks this unpleasantly gelid duty watch and spent the first half hour thinking these blasted things are useless, they’re not giving off any heat at all . . . till it occurred to me that my feet weren’t cold. The socks produce no discernable heat but apparently they wrap your lower extremities in an intangible cold-resistant force field. Hey. Whatever works.
. . . Although that was with me upright and moving.^ I wore them again to Saturday evening contemplation at the monks’ AND JUST ABOUT DIED OF THE COLD. It’s been inconveniently cold a lot of this week^^ and while yesterday and today have been warmer this amelioration had not found its way into the monks’ chapel by last night and you could see your breath. I swear my hair had turned to icicles by the time I limped back to Wolfgang and turned the heater on. Next week I may bring two blankets.
^ Llewellyn is on Maxine’s team# and he is also skinny and long-legged—and a lot taller than I am—and we bonded over the fact that we’re both fast walkers and we hate the Street Pastor stroll. But you have to stroll: it’s how you have time to look around and see stuff: our remit includes looking out for bottles, which are harder to spot than people, and which we empty down gratings [the bottles that is] and put tidily in rubbish bins.##
# Those of you who are having trouble following the playlist . . . you are not alone. But this Friday was my first turn at swapping with Maxine, so it was her team. My schedule will not usually be this chaotic: henceforward I should be going out once a month, either the second, or occasionally the first, Friday.~
~ Although they are looking for extra bodies for a team on New Year’s Eve. It would make a change from ringing bells, not that I’m tired of ringing bells. But I was assuming the Street Pastors would be looking for people with some experience—and I like ringing bells. But I saw Jonas at church tonight+ and he said he was on New Year’s Eve duty and they were still short-handed, and he laughed when I said they’d be looking for experience. Just tell Llewellyn you’re available, okay? he said. Um. Well, I can tear open a packet of hot chocolate and pour hot water over it and stir as well as the next person wearing a Street Pastors hat.++
+ Where I was also asked if I could come early to the carol service and pass around the mulled wine? I think this is known as the thin edge of the wedge. I said yes.
++ Note that we carry both hot chocolate and soup, and requests run about nine to one in favour of hot chocolate. I suppose if you’re homeless and can perhaps be assumed not in the best of moods as a result, your first thought, when some bozo with a knapsack% and a reflective logo ambles up to you and says hello, is probably not for nutrition but a hit of something fun. That would be the hot chocolate. You can usually get a Twix or a lollipop or—at the moment—a candy cane to go with it. A balanced and healthful repast.
% Our second bloke went home at the break, which left all us retirement-age girls looking at each other shiftily about carrying the second knapsack after the break. I lost. But I felt better about my aching shoulders when even Llewellyn admitted he was glad to be getting rid of his by the end of the evening. It makes you extra enthusiastic about offering stuff to the people on the street however: HERE. LET ME GIVE YOU SOMETHING. THEN MY KNAPSACK WILL WEIGH LESS.
^^ Which includes the night that the local weather report said, oh, there may be a light frost in outlying districts, but there will certainly be no frost in the TOWNS! WRONG. I got home that night to a hard frost and a lot of half-dead tender geraniums—which are usually tougher than are given credit for—AND I WAS CROSS. I’ve certainly lost a couple for good, but I think most of them will come through although they are not going to be things of beauty till we start getting heat and sunlight again, which means I will have to keep them in a sort of compound out back for the rest of the winter where they can’t offend the neighbours—but the hellterror can’t dismantle them.# ARRRGH. If the winter turns severe and I have to keep them seriously indoors . . . I may have to move out and sleep in Peter’s spare room. There isn’t space for plants, the overflow from Third House and three hellcritters and a hellgoddess in what was a small cottage when I had a Third House and only two hellhounds. Feh.
# She likes smelly plants too.^ And a lot of my geraniums are the scented-leaf variety.
^ It should be nice to have things in common with other members of your household. But . . .
† Who reads the blog. Yes.
I am glad I’m not doing this EVERY Friday. Although there’s something to be said for getting your first few nights on the street over with in relatively quick succession so you can batter your way through the Very Early Utterly Clueless stage a little faster. I will still be mostly clueless by the end of tonight, my third official night, but I won’t be UTTERLY clueless. Er. I hope. So maybe by next month, when the schedule should settle down into something more nearly resembling one night a month which is what the official commitment is supposed to be, I can maybe not spend the day before duty night hyperventilating and feeling too overwrought to eat. You’re going to be on your feet for most of six hours, you ridiculous woman. You need calories. Feh. I like eating. But not when my jaws are clamped together in anxiety. Tension level is re-ratcheted up for tonight when I meet my alternate team for the first time—Maxine’s team—this being one of the months when her free weekends don’t fit with the Street Pastors’ rota.
. . . The jaws-clamped-together thing was especially awkward today when I FINALLY got to Oisin’s for a slash and bang at singing with accompaniment for the first frelling time in several frelling months. I wouldn’t ordinarily have sought a Street Pastors duty night for this extremely threatening additional activity, but first Oisin was on holiday for several weeks—the nerve of the man—and then our diaries have been bad-tempered with each other since he’s been home again and I was anxious (there I go being anxious again) to get Oisin back in the system especially now that I have a little more voice to play with and WOULD LIKE TO MAKE ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO GET USED TO THE IDEA—INDEED THE PRACTISE—OF AN ACCOMPANIST.
And then I managed to forget to make copies of the moderately death-defying new stuff I wanted to sing. So he had the music on the piano and I sang ee—oo—aaah over his shoulder because I can’t read the lyrics from several feet away, although at least, squinting, I had some idea when the accompaniment went up or down and where my entries might be. Ugh. Need to work on those entries. . . .
But it wasn’t a disaster. I don’t think. Maybe I was just preoccupied by the evening to come.
And now I have to hurtle hellcritters and feed them what they will consider disgracefully early and then GO OFF AND LEAVE THEM FOR HOURS AND HOURS. I’m not sure they’re too with ideas of Christianity and social responsibility when there might have been a sofa instead. What about responsibility to hellcritters?
My feet are already cold. . . .
* * *
While the Bechdel Test is useful in the aggregate (and I liked Bechdel’s Fun Home, which had the honor of being challenged not at the high school level but in two different COLLEGES), I do not like to see it institutionalized. I know Sweden means well, but the ultimate effect of content ratings is often that writers/directors end up artificially altering the story in order to get a more inclusive rating. If this were applied the same way MPAA ratings are here, I guarantee we’d start seeing movies where two women talk to each other for 10 seconds just to pass the test.
And as you mentioned, the setting of whatever story is being told does not always lend itself to multiple female characters. The one that’s coming immediately to mind is 12 Angry Men. And hooboy, that film prof is right about The Help. I should say no more…
ETA: Oh yeah. Parents and other adults who are disturbed by certain things in books frequently ask why they can’t have an age rating system like movies. Well, that’s why. Even though ratings are applied to finished products, it would lead to (some) authors and publishers self-censoring before the fact. Never mind the question of who would actually apply the ratings!
All of this is true. But humans remain the list-making and test-creating animal and as long as they’re going to make lists and apply tests I want to see something like this one—even if it institutionalises something that is much better uninstitutionalised, and yes, I’m a Bechdel fan too—out there making people think about what gets left out of the standard tests. Like women. The film industry is still overwhelmingly male and male-oriented. Anything that shakes that cage is worth considering. I’m not sure but what forcing directors to insert a wholly superfluous ten seconds of two women talking to each other is better than the fact that at the moment they don’t feel they need women characters who, you know, just talk to each other because that’s what people, including women, do.
* * *
Arrgh. I’m late. Story of my life. . . .
I was running late this morning. Well. So surprising. Not. And I came blasting into the courtyard at the mews about mid-afternoon, didn’t quite spurt gravel into West Sussex as I spun Wolfgang into his corner, flung open the door and . . . almost stepped in a Gigantic Pile of Dog Crap.
I attained orbit a whole lot faster than those slow rockety things from Cape Canaveral ever did. ARRRRRRRGH.
Among other things I get so frelling tired of feeling that I’m permanently bent over in a posture of abject apology for having dogs at all.* And I believe there aren’t any full-time dogs at the mews/Big Pink Blot—which is run as a kind of Grangerford/Shepherdson cooperative—I think dogs may not be allowed in the articles of whatsit. But there’s at least one other regular canine visitor . . . whom I’ve yet to see on a lead . . .
And of course everyone around here gives me the hairy eyeball, because our multi-legged (and hairy) comings and goings are extremely conspicuous. I PICK UP AFTER MY HELLCRITTERS. AND THEY’RE NEVER, EVER OFF LEAD EXCEPT UNDER MY [EXTREMELY HAIRY] EYEBALL IMMEDIATELY OUTSIDE THE FRONT DOOR FOR A PEE BEFORE THEY GET BACK IN THE CAR.
People are slime. Make a note.**
On the other hand I had a rush of blood to the head and had a look at bobs and singles for St Clements minor and Colin and Niall and I had an Amusing Time this evening trying to ring touches of something besides plain bob minor. Of course Colin had to louse this up by splicing in plain courses of plain bob when I’m trying to grapple with the essential horror of ringing any bobs and singles on handbells. I don’t need any additional abominations of random courses, however plain, of some other frelling method. I am meanwhile welded to the St Clements trebles*** till further notice.
Yes. One might ask “Where is Kes going to sleep? Not even Cademon can guard against such antics as these!”
SLEEP? You think anyone is thinking of SLEEP in current circumstances?†
And WHERE is she? Is this really taking place in a house she rents? In the same world as the motel and the truck? Really?
Oh, now, let’s not get all literal here. Is Sunnydale any less Sunnydale just because the hellmouth happens to yawn evilly on a corner near you?
I also wouldn’t count on Merry being . . . normal.
There’s a corpse on the floor and a man speaking High Forsoothly, but I, like Kes, am most immediately concerned about bloodstains on her books.
Yep. Under stress we revert to type. Me too.
Oh wait, why didn’t we see Sid next to the body? Did she move out of the way in time? Last thing from last week was Sid biting the shadowy attacker’s arm, and now our shadowy attacker is bleeding all over the floor, dead.
No, no, no, no. Not to worry. This is a McKinley story, right? Can you possibly imagine that I would let anything dreadful happen to Sid? If I would defy the Story Council to give Kes a dressing-gown if she wasn’t wearing a nightgown, do you really think I’d let them do anything nasty to Sid?
Although this is another example of the weirdness of tiny-chunk serials. You’ll see Sid again this Saturday. I couldn’t get her and the books into last Saturday’s.
Watermelon Shoulders really isn’t terribly good at explaining, is he?
Well, High Forsoothly is very bad for the mental processes. Think of all the drivel Gandalf could spout when he reverted to Ancient Mage mode.
Dear me… poor Kes. If she knows how much blood is in the human body, she’s doubtless well aware of what it means when your sword has a name.
Yep. After all she writes that stuff.
And what a place to stop! “We have need of thee”!? … Can’t wait for Saturday!
Kes, on the other hand, would be very grateful to hide under the bed. If she had a bed to hide under.
Diane in MN
doing a serial in tiny chunks like this
No problem with tiny chunks. Big problem with tiny MEMORY!
Yes. Now try and imagine what it’s like being the author with a tiny memory. No—wait—no—wasn’t it urglfwiddy in ep 4012? Didn’t the attack mushrooms eat Gelasio’s new inamorata? Was Serena’s to-die-for crumble pear, plum, peach or rambutan?
There will probably be quite a lot of tidying-up to be done for the hard-copy version . . .
This is, of course, not the author’s fault. But I am quite looking forward to some future date when Kes will be available in one BIG chunk
. . . toward that BIG chunk we are ALL looking forward to.††
I’ll also just add here that while forum members don’t rank in the millions or anything, if I posted a birthday KES for every forum member who had a birthday . . . I WOULD BE VERY BUSY WRITING KES.
Helpful comment: No matter how many millions of readers you get, you’d still only have 365 KES episodes to write.
Oh, another frelling literalist. In the first place there are weird odds and statistics about people’s birthdays: http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-22978,00.html
Never mind the logic of how you get there, twenty-three people doesn’t seem anything like enough to produce two with the same birthday. These odds however were made vivid to me in junior-high chemistry [sic] and there weren’t even quite twenty-three of us in that class—but another girl and I had the same birthday. So what’s the other end of that—how many forum members would we need to produce birthdays EVERY DAY of the year? And if there are more than one birthday person on a given day, will one episode satisfy them? Or if person x got an episode this year, would person y—with the same birthday—expect their episode that day the next year?
I prefer to reject the whole birthday-ep notion unilaterally. It’s so much easier. For me.
1. I am going to start calling someone, anyone, really, “Watermelon Shoulders”, cause it cracks me up.
Assuming that you will apply this to someone whose physique includes large powerful shoulders I hope you will tactfully ascertain in advance if the cognomen will be appreciated in a positive manner.
2. I am not sure whether to be glad or upset that I will never have strange apparitions in my house as I have not one, but two techies.
I’d go for grateful. Kes is not going to be having a good time for a while.
3. I am saying this quietly as to not get hurt, while I love Kes, I just recently reread Pegasus and the ending is a killer and I would really love to read Pegasus II. So please, Robin, please, keep writing both!
Hey. I want to keep eating. I have a desire so overwhelming to read PEG II—and PEG III—in their perfect, finished entirety that your mere readerly longing is comparatively speaking a rose petal drifting in the bottomless ravine.
* * *
* Let alone three dogs, which anyone but Southdowner might find excessive.
** Pav took against someone for the first time in weeks the other day. This jerk has three or four working-hunter type dogs, spaniels.^ Because he is a working-hunter type bloke he is clearly superior to the rest of us with our wispy pet dogs, and while his dogs do obey him, they are always off lead and he clearly doesn’t feel any great need to curtail their fun in terrorising the riff-raff. His big male thug doesn’t like my hellhounds, and they return the sentiment.
I saw this delightful crew coming toward us and I picked Pav up. I don’t need the hassle and she doesn’t need to be intimidated by testosterone-poisoned idiots. The human jerk sauntered up to me and said, in as sneering a tone as humanly possible, Are we frightened? I said in as neutral a tone as possible, There are rather a lot of you.
I think it was probably because he stank of ciggies, and Pav is passionately anti-smoking^^, but it may have been that I didn’t sound as neutral as I wanted to. But she went ballistic, which Jerkface, fortunately, found amusing. He sauntered off . . . and I staggered, with my ballistic bullie, to the nearest bench^^^, where we sat for a long time before she finally morphed back into my Pav and we could continue our hurtle. Meanwhile we’d lost the last of the daylight. I think Parliament might pass a law ordering more daylight in December. Christmas is fine# but I want daylight.
^ In his case this is definitely too many.
^^ Passionately enough I wonder if something happened with a cigarette-stinking human when I wasn’t around.
^^^ This only works if your exploding critter weighs under thirty-five pounds. I’m glad I don’t have to try and Hold a . . . Great Dane, say.
# Sort of. Christmas, for this still-new Christian, starts the countdown to Easter again. I know I got through Easter last year—and I know about the resurrection, thank you—but it still scares the frzzlmp out of me.
*** In the first big fat tier of ordinary methods, the treble only goes straight out to the back and straight down to the front again with none of the jiggy bits that make inside ringing so . . . entertaining. So if you’re ringing the one-two on handbells, the amount of mayhem that bobs and singles can cause is limited because only the two is affected; the one just keeps on truckin’. It’s still bad enough that the two goes doolally, because that changes the relationship between your two bells.
† Granted that the author/recorder’s difficulties with the whole concept of sleep may be muddying the ground here. OH LOOK. AN INARGUABLE REASON NOT TO BE ABLE TO SLEEP. MODIFIED RAPTURE.
†† Well, I hope many of us are looking forward to. Please.^
^ See: keep eating.
YAAAAAAAH. I got to bed at . . . a little short of 7 am Friday night/Saturday morning.* The rest of the weekend is a bit of a blur. I’ve kind of lost track of when daylight happens, it is so easy to mislay this time of year.** Meanwhile I’ve been playing phone tag with my removal man about getting the big stuff from Third House that Atlas and I can’t shift in his trailer up to the storage warehouse place; I missed Mr Removal Man on Friday and assumed that was it till Monday, but I got a phone message from him today that I picked up on my way out the door to go to church, arrrgh arrrgh arrrgh arrrgh arrrgh . . . phoned him as requested when I got home again*** AND HE WANTS TO COME TOMORROW AFTERNOON. I HAVE A FRELLING VOICE LESSON MONDAY AFTERNOON. EXCEPT TOMORROW I’M HAVING IT EARLY. VERY EARLY.† AND THEN I HAVE TO COME HOME AND DEAL WITH REMOVAL MEN?††
I need to sing††† and then go to bed. Fast.
* * *
* It was a slightly odd night out on the street.^ I would have put it down to the fact that it was only my second official night and I still don’t have a clue, but several of the others on the team, including Fearless Leader, mentioned it, that there was a restless unease in the (cold) air that was unusual. I was home by four a.m. but the adrenaline aftermath was bad; the only two at all really tricky incidents were near the end of our watch, and I was actually engaged in one of them—yeeeeeeeep—and came out of it having done the right thing but jangling. And . . . it’s going to take me a while to get used to seeing real live very drunk and/or drugged up people doing the kinds of things real live very drunk and/or drugged up people do, both the hostile and the happy, and also the mere absolutely absolutely legless. It happens on TV. It doesn’t happen, you know, here. Oh yes it does.
^ Although my HEATED WAISTCOAT worked brilliantly, I only turned it on after the break. Ah yes, the break, during which the weather apparently yanks the rug out from under the temperature which, obviously, plunges dramatically, like a keystone kop engaging with a banana skin. So when you come outside again, full of hot tea and a warm glow of self-satisfaction+, it’s like walking into the Yukon in January. I noticed this last time. I think we must snap a trip wire or something and the ice gods all leap to their feet and shout NOW!, and then bang their icicles of office together in solidarity before dashing out to do their worst.
Anyway. I didn’t turn my waistcoat on till after the break when I figured I’d need it worse and it did brilliantly. Except that it was so brilliant that I had it turned up only a third of the way . . . and it was dead in three hours. It’s supposed to last up to six hours depending on how high you set it, and it only lasted for three at one third power?? I may ask the seller a polite question.
I have a set of neoprene toe-socks—they only cover the front half of your foot, which is clever, because your feet don’t sweat that way—that were sent to me by a very nice person++ and I decided to use them Friday night. Another couple of degrees in the wrong direction and I’m changing over to the heated socks, but they worked a treat this time—while I was moving, tramping those mean streets and trying to look like I had the faintest idea what I was doing.+++ What’s interesting is that they don’t work a FILBERT sitting still in the monks’ chapel.++++ Next Saturday night prayer with the monks: heated socks.
+ I’m doing WHAT? And it’s WHAT time of night/morning?
++ You Know Who You Are
+++ Although I’ve now heard my more experienced colleagues answer that—er—diabolical question, Street Pastors? What are you?, often enough that I’m beginning to stop hyperventilating about what I’ll say# the first time someone asks me this in a way I can’t hastily pass on to one of said more experienced colleagues. One of our first training lectures had us trying to come up with an answer and . . . none of us covered ourselves with glory.
I haven’t entirely stopped hyperventilating. But I’m hyperventilating less. But there is also the first time I’m going to have to PRAY ALOUD to worry about. Noooooooooooooo. Usually you can give prayer requests to the Prayer Pastors back at base, it’s what they’re for. But occasionally someone you’ve been talking to asks you to pray for/with them, right there. Right now. Eeeeeep. I’m still in the early hyperventilating stage about praying out loud. I tell myself that I don’t radiate the kind of centredness and authority that would inspire anyone to ask me to pray over them. Reasons Not to Acquire Authority. I wouldn’t mind a little centredness though.
++++ The monks’ chapel is sooooooo cooooooold. By the time I’ve sat there an hour, muffled up in my heavy winter kit and a blanket, in contemplation,# when the abbot finally does his rapping thing and we’re all supposed to climb to our feet . . . I can’t. Although trying to find my way out of my excellent, steadfast blanket does not assist this awkward process.
# Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, I’m so cold, Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, I’m so cold. . . .
** Three weeks till the shortest day and then we start climbing back OUT of this pit.
*** And note that Peter is away till tomorrow afternoon so I’m having to do things like steam my own broccoli and cut up my own carrots.^
^ And Pav’s. Very fond of a nice carrot, is Pav.
† Way too frelling early. Just by the way. For someone who doesn’t expect to speak in complete sentences till after noon. Let alone frelling Italian complete sentences. The things one does just because one’s voice teacher is now a slave to the school schedule.
†† Hellcritters aren’t going to like it either. Hellhounds, who are in the 90 mile an hour couch potato category after all, are somewhat placated by Rides in the Car with the Hellgoddess but Pav eventually gets bored with yet another kong and wants to climb the walls and practise her trapeze artist routines for a while.
††† I’ve been having a fabulous time with the [Song of the] Nightclub Proprietress this week. Who is at least in English. For better or worse.