Peter has asked me, several times and a little anxiously, over the last few days, if I was up for going out on my birthday. YES. I MEAN, I DON’T KNOW IF I’M UP OR NOT BUT I’M GOING.*** NEVER MIND THE FOOD, I WANT MY CHAMPAGNE.
The food was good too.†
That’s our tablecloth because I thought I wouldn’t shoot off my flash in the face of the lively and interesting family party at the next table and waited till I got home where the crashed-out hellmob don’t care. But I recognise our table on my birthday because of the flowers waiting for us. Peter goes in to the florist’s next door and says ‘pink’. Since we go to this restaurant every year the florist is probably learning to recognise him.
Although, speaking of going to the same restaurant, regular blog readers will probably recognise the mirror frame in the ladies’. [Oops. I’ve edited it out. Next year.] But they have installed an OBNOXIOUS NEW LIGHTING FIXTURE that is unromantic in the extreme and that my peculiar posture is trying to disguise.
She’s sixty-two today, you know. She might want a lot of Vaseline on the lens.
And my favourite present. Remember I went to a Spectacular Yarn Fair last March with Nina, who felt she wanted to start knitting again? SHE MADE ME A RUFFLY SCARF. She is golden.
. . . Although Peter is giving me a sat nav finally if I can frelling figure out which one to order. I thought I had it all sorted—this is what I belong to WHICH? for, you go to their site, you are driven mad by the pop ups and the repeated demands to log in which you have already done, you read the reviews and you make an informed choice—and then I promptly fell, as into a large vat of ill-set custard, into a lot of customer reviews saying NO NO NOT THAT ONE. Whimper. Maybe I could just have Natty Bumppo on retainer.
Oh, and if you suspect you are seeing a knitting bag in the upper left hand corner of the photo, you are. It says: come to the Dark Side, we have yarn. I think Fiona may have given it to me. It contains the famous 12 mm needle project that I am advised I need a very large crochet hook or possibly a telephone pole with a hole punched in one end to weave in the ends with.
Notice knitting needles sticking out of fancy leather going-out-to-dinner bag.†† Ahem. I’m so used to carrying vast swathes of my life around in my ordinary daily knapsack–which as a result weighs a TON AND THREE QUARTERS and people not eternally preoccupied with the terror of being caught somewhere without enough to read/do tend to make remarks–that when I have to wedge myself for a few hours into a Fancy Going Out to Dinner Bag there are AWFUL DECISIONS TO BE MADE. In fact I don’t usually take my knitting to restaurants because (a) the light isn’t good enough and (b) I’LL PROBABY SPILL SOMETHING ON IT but the iPad goes as standard and it happens that most of what I’m presently reading is on e- and therefore I had space ordinarily taken up by hard copy AND THE KNITTING WON. Furthermore I now have this deeply cool little (pink) narrow-beam light that Peter gave me for reading the prayer service in the frelling dark at the monks’, which would work just as well clipped to a napkin in a restaurant as to my collar in an abbey.
And now maybe I’ll knit a few rows and go to bed. If the bed starts whirling when I turn the light off I will turn the light back on and knit a few more rows. Garter stitch is great when you’ve had too much champagne.†††
* * *
* I saw Alfrick last night and told him it was my birthday today. So I got a happy-birthday email from him saying, Glad to see you last night while you were young. —There’s nothing like^ a monk for that unique and astonishing degree of professional kindness and sympathy and profound insight into the human condition. I’ve noticed it often with Alfrick. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH.
** With apologies for another KESless Saturday. Friday night Street Pastors was . . . stressful. You know if Hampshire is going to become the latest seething hotbed of excitable youth and popular with the feuding lout faction I’m frelling going to retire. I didn’t sign on for all this commotion. I signed on to stroll around passing out hot drinks to the homeless and flipflops to the overly high-heeled. I can deal with a certain amount of off-the-wallness, both drug- and alcohol-related and/or the results of social-services failures. I didn’t sign on to get involved in the stuff that the cops are for. That’s what the cops are for. Also, of course, I’m still barely frelling walking post-stomach-flu, and this has a certain dispiriting effect. But yesterday was mostly another lost day, although talking to Alfrick was good in spite of his sense of humour.
*** You come too, like the poem says. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173534
† And seems to be staying where I put it, which is an important point.^
^ Champagne is of course noted for its stomach-soothing effects.+
+ What I want to know is if I start drinking only about eight hours after I got up in the cough-cough morning does that make me a LUSH? Except this early (cough-cough) in the day approach to sin and heinousness does give you extra time at the other end to take your hellmob out for supernumerary hurtles to wear sin, heinousness and 12% alcohol off again.#
# ::pours a second pot of peppermint tea into the internal cauldron::
†† Some clever helpful person is going to say ‘circulars’. I HATE CIRCULAR NEEDLES.
††† Non, je regrette rien.
I ate an apple this morning. In fact I ate two.* And I am still alive. ::Beams:: Of course everything was downhill from there but the apples were fabulous . . .
I was thinking . . . it’s not all stomach flu, or the Samaritans, that my blogging has dropped so precipitously. Some of it is what I had been saying for six and a half years or whatever it was by then, that if I stopped doing it every day I would stop doing it. Although some of it certainly is the added time-and-energy demand of the Samaritans.**
But some of it is just the way my life is going. At the moment there’s a lot less good public blog material than there was a couple of years ago. I don’t want to wrestle with my involuntary two-year-old faith in public: God is love and the world is a mess, whatever. Why does accepting God as love immediately throw THE WORLD IS A MESS into unbearably sharp relief? Discuss. No, don’t. And theology scares the living doodah out of me. WHAT? I was comforted recently by reading or hearing some frelling scholar saying that in the Middle Ages no one would have bothered debating the existence of God, and if you’d tried they’d look at you in bewilderment: theirs was a practical faith and they just got on with it. And when it’s all too much, which it usually is, I just get on with it too, here in the twenty-first century, although that plan is not without its drawbacks. I went round to the estate agent’s today, the fellow who is (we hope) selling the mews for us, because he has a long list of councils, bodies, boards and free lance gardeners, haulers-away and electricians, whom he’s going to sic onto me, and those of you who know me know I do not do mornings, which councils, bodies, boards etc, are often regrettably fond of, and I wanted to emphasise that my passing references to being a late riser were particularly apropos these next two mornings because I had a late duty with the Sams followed by an all-nighter with the Street Pastors. I knew he had already categorised me as peculiar*** but I could now see him staring at me as if I had six heads.
And then . . . well, for example, I have a recently-disabled friend whom I spend the evening with about once a week, to give both her and her regular carers a break. I could make a very funny story of our experience this week when the latest piece of shiny! New! Expensive! NHS kit got jammed in the frelling doorway because it was TOO WIDE TO FIT THROUGH. The little squeezy lever didn’t squeeze it far enough.† My friend lives in an ordinary, non-adapted house with, you know, ordinary sized doors. Doesn’t the NHS, like, I mean, how obvious . . . um, measure the average apertures their home-care assistance machinery is going to have to NEGOTIATE WITH?? We went through some of this after Peter’s stroke too, but . . . GAH. But while I’m the one that gouged some paint off the doorframe, the choice being gouge the sodding frame or call an ambulance and she voted for architectural damage, it’s still essentially not my story to tell.
I’ve told you before about the Samaritans’ pathological confidentiality, so there it’s like, telephone? There are telephones in the Sams’ front office? REALLY? ::Drums fingers and looks clueless:: And I could have got a lot of stories, not very many of them funny although all of them redolent of human nature, out of the Street Pastors’ David Lynch Halloween.†† Or out of most SP shifts. But while I know there are a lot of properly published and money-for-their-authors-earning memoirs out there about social-service work both professional and charitable most of my SP duties don’t feel like my stories to tell either.
Eh well. I’m going to have to work on learning to recommend books or something. I’ve got a pile of ‘must put these on the blog’ books about hip high at this point, leaning against the grandmother clock in the sitting room at the cottage. I should also answer more forum comments.
Maybe I should just concentrate on KES.
* * *
* But not six. But they were big ones.
** And there’s still that homeopathy course to wedge in somewhere.^ Blasted Darkness managed to put his back/neck/shoulders out again. Arnica didn’t work, but rhus tox did. I should do some reading up on frelling stomach flu to have a short list of plausible suspects if the subject comes up again WHICH IT’S NOT GOING TO OF COURSE.
^ I keep averting my attention from Japanese language lessons. Sigh.
*** I have no idea why! None whatsoever!
† Like trying to thread super-chunky-monster yarn into an ordinary tapestry needle. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Fluffy 12-mm size yarn won’t even fit through the big diamond-shaped wire opening of a needle threader, you know? Now what? Weave in the ends with my fingers? Cut off the carefully preserved long frelling yarn tails and sew the ends in place?
†† Did I even tell you that the two people who had had possibly the worst Halloween night of anyone on the planet actually tracking Saturday night’s Street Pastors team down to thank them/us/SPs? That was pretty frelling nice.
The charity gang that were taking away all our surplus furniture finally came today. Either they’re a very popular charity or their lorries break down a lot.* Or both, I suppose. But the situation was made unnecessarily exciting by my penchant for living on cul de sacs. I’d asked the lorry guys to ring me fifteen minutes before they arrived to give me time to get down to the mews and let them in. They rang. Fifteen minutes, they said. I stuffed the hellhounds in their harnesses, shoved the hellterror’s breakfast, ready made against this moment, into her crate and her after it, not that the shoving of a hellterror toward foooooood is required, and the hellhounds and I bolted up to Third House to fetch Wolfgang . . . and found the end of the cul de sac comprehensively full of large flatbed lorry delivering pallet after pallet after pallet of . . . I don’t know, buildery stuff, with reference to the fact that the row of Tiny But Desirable Cottages that abut the churchyard seem to be in a state of permanent renovation. The one on the end had barely swept up its last skip’s worth of brick and cement dust when one of the ones in the middle ripped out all its insides and started over. Arrrgh.
So I spun round the footpath corner toward my driveway and AAAAAAAUGH. I rushed up to the bloke overseeing the latest pallet swaying earthwards on its giant hoist and said in a frantic voice, I HAVE TO GET MY CAR OUT!!!! And he looked at me and said, We’ll move, ma’am—perhaps there are advantages to being a little old lady: blokes don’t like to see us cry—and they did. Mind you, getting something that carries 1,000,000,000 pallets and a giant hoist doesn’t move very fast, and I was a few minutes late . . . but so was the charity lorry. And we were all somewhat bemused by the labyrinth of scaffolding we had to make our way through because they’re painting the Big Pink Blot again**.
While the two guys from the charity were wrestling furniture that must come out since it certainly went in I prepared to load up Wolfgang, around the hellhounds, for a quick sprint to the dump, since empty houses extrude junk and a corner you perfectly well know was empty the last time you had a sweep (so to speak) through has six boxes and a broken lamp in it this time. The charity guys eventually solved their problems of practical geometry and went their way two double beds and some miscellaneous doodads the better and the hellhounds and I went ours to the dump . . . where the way was BLOCKED by an even MORE gigantic lorry with an even MORE gigantic hoist, lifting in one of those massive small-country-sized skips that town dumps use. ARRRRRRRRRGH. I hadn’t packed Wolfgang at all carefully—for one thing I’m a little cross about the empty-house-extrusion thing—and I didn’t think it was going to matter for long that when I opened the passenger door there would be an avalanche . . . or that the hellterror’s travelling crate is full of superfluous kitchen gear for the dump shop.
So in this cranky and unalleviated state we went back to the cottage long enough to . . . NO WE DIDN’T. BECAUSE THERE WAS ANOTHER FRELLING LORRY UNLOADING MORE BUILDERY STUFF FOR ANOTHER RENOVATION PROJECT THAT IS GOING ON FOREVER ON THE COTTAGE CUL DE SAC AND SAID LORRY AND ITS LOAD WERE ENTIRELY BLOCKING THE WAY.
Some days you should just stay in bed with a few good books and some knitting.***
* * *
* This may be part of their training programme. They offer apprenticeships to street people to learn money-earning skills. I think mechanics is one of the choices. So maybe the trainers sneak into the lorry-fleet garage in dark of night and yank a few wires and drill a few holes and put antifreeze in the petrol tanks to make sure their course will be popular.
** Since it was a four-hour slot I would not have made her wait that long if they’d come at the end instead of the beginning. But the domestic fauna are not having a good time right now because Pav is in bloody [sic] season so she’s locked up more than usual and the hellhounds . . . have stopped eating again.^ She’s in her second week which is usually when the hellhounds start moaning. I had PLANNED that when the moaning became tedious^^ I’d stash hellhounds in the sitting room or the attic at Third House and leave her to emit hormonal fug in her crate in the dining room, and probably leave her there overnight since they’re all in the kitchen at the cottage.^^^ But we are also having the absolute worst season for fleas I’ve seen in a quarter century so while I’m frantically trying to get it under control there’s not as much wandering about the house(s) as normal as a kind of despairing attempt at damage control. I won’t use the standard chemicals, they’re frelling poisonous, they make some dogs sick—ask me how I know this—and they don’t even always frelling work. If I’m going to fail to eradicate fleas I’d rather do it without toxic side-effects. Meanwhile the list of ‘natural’ flea extermination methods, thanks to in depth on line research, gets longer and longer and longer and longer and more and more time-consuming and expensive# . . . and we still have fleas. So the ways in which the indoor wildlife and their hellgoddess are currently not having a good time are many-splendored. Remind me why I have dogs?##
^ Fifty percent is a good average. I try not to complain if they eat one and a half of their three meals. I start losing the will to live (again) when they stop altogether.
^^ This takes about seven minutes.
^^^ If the hellhounds’ sexual appetite rates with their interest level in food this probably explains why I’m getting away with having three entire creatures of two genders in a relatively small space at all.+ But simply putting them in separate rooms stops the moaning++ and while I’m very grateful I’m also surprised since, you know, dogs have a tediously discerning sense of smell and can nail the precise location of that dead hedgehog/rat/squirrel while you’re only just registering ‘ew—dead thing somewhere in the vicinity.’ I’d’ve thought hormonal fug would be fairly penetrating, if you’ll forgive the term.
+ Although Pav is not noticeably more besotted with the hellhounds than she ever is—which is extremely, just by the way—and her interest in FOOOOOOOOD is in no doubt whatsoever.
# The only thing that slows them down from chewing holes in themselves is a neem-oil based salve that costs £20 for a tiny little pot.
## And the NOISE the hellterror makes while she is Slurping Her Inflamed Parts is enough to . . . enough to . . . ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH.
** What’s it going to be this go? Maroon? Mint green? Why don’t they just leave it pink? I think the co-op admin doesn’t have enough to do with its time or its AGMs.
*** KNITTING. ARRRRRRGH. No, I’ll tell you about it some other post. . . . ^
^ But Fiona and I did have a lovely yarn adventure yesterday. And I haven’t told her this yet but if you count the yarn I bought last night off the internet I did spend more money than she did. The thing is, there’s this line . . . never mind which line . . . that I’m quite fond of for reasons of EXTREME AND LURID COLOUR, and this shop had a lot of it, so I fondled a great deal of it and bought some, but was Juiced Up with Desire for More by this tactile experience+ and, while we were sitting around knitting over supper, my mind would keep reverting to the knowledge that several of the more intense colourways were on sale on one of my deplorably regular yarn sites . . . colourways that were in fact not available in the shop we’d been to. I hope you can follow my thought (?) processes here. BECAUSE I had SUPPORTED MY LYS++ I therefore deserved to buy some of what they hadn’t had that was on sale. You get that, right? Yes.
+ LIKE I NEED MORE YARN. LIKE I FRELLING NEED MORE YARN.
++ Local Yarn Shop/Store, for those of you unafflicated by the knitting mania
Fiona and I had a Yarn Adventure today. And about time too: we haven’t seen each other since November. Life: what a ratbag.
Admittedly there is usually a high gremlin count when Fiona and I get together but today they weren’t half trying. We were going to set off at two, which in our case usually means before 2:30, well, maybe, if we’re lucky. Fiona usually texts me as she leaves the house*.
No text. Well, whatever, and we got on with hurtling and then with feeding me**.
Still no text. Prepare to feed critters, since I was going to put it down as I left. Sometimes this intrigues hellhounds sufficiently to stimulate them to eat.
Still no text.
Dither. Feed critters.***
Okay, now I’m worried. I have checked Pooka several times. Nothing.
I’ve hung the laundry and washed all the lunch dishes† which is of course nicer to come home to but WHERE IS FIONA?
Pooka barks, and I make a slightly dish-soapy dive for her. I have the feeling my texts aren’t getting through, says Fiona’s voice. I HAVEN’T HEARD ANYTHING FROM YOU SINCE LAST NIGHT TILL THIS PHONE CALL.
Well, I’ll be there in three minutes, she said. And as she rang off, Pooka chirruped and SEVEN MESSAGES POPPED THROUGH. ARRRRRRRRRRRRGH.
The day improved from there however. Our chosen yarn shop was having a MOVING TO NEW PREMISES sale and . . .
I’ve been wanting FEARLESS KNITTING for yonks but, you know, it persists in being full price. The dark auburn yarn is Debbie Bliss Winter Garden which I have also wanted for yonks but it’s too frelling expensive, and the green and gold down front is Louisa Harding Grace Hand Beaded which etc. And the other stuff is just . . . um . . . shiny? And when a pattern book only costs £2 you only need to like one pattern in it. . . .
* * *
* This text will read ‘I’m running a little late because . . .’ Mind you, if she’s not running late, I’m in deep trouble.^ Today’s non-arriving text however informed me that her car had broken down and she was negotiating to borrow her parents’.
^ The hellhounds would like this. It might mean I didn’t have time to FEED them before I left. The hellterror, of course, would chew her way through the front door and come after me if I tried any such thing but I wouldn’t DARE. Also feeding the hellterror is easy. Open nearest tin, throw contents in general hellterror direction, add a handful of kibble if you’re feeling persnickety, and don’t stand too close or she’ll eat the toes off your shoes. The hellhounds . . . it starts with cutting up the chicken scraps SMALL ENOUGH that Chaos, in particular, who has prehensile lips, can’t just hoover up the chicken, and you need to stir the kibble in really well because any that has not been touched by the magic chicken-stock wand will be instantly rejected as dry and tasteless and beneath delicate hellhound dignity.
Unfortunately for them, however, I had allowed time for the careful creation of appropriate hellhound comestibles. It didn’t work though. They still didn’t eat it.+ That look in Chaos’ eyes says: if you didn’t mix it in so well I’d’ve at least eaten the chicken.
+ Do I have to bother to tell you that the hellterror ate hers? No? I didn’t think so.
** Moans of protest from the hellterror who is, furthermore, sitting on my feet, just to make sure I haven’t forgotten her. YOU JUST ATE BREAKFAST TWO HOURS AGO. YOU ARE NOT STARVING. Also, sitting on my feet is counterproductive. You are heavy. You are obviously getting plenty to eat.^
^ I was out hurtling hellhounds recently.+ People frequently stop us to be goopy over them. Mostly their admirers stick to telling me how beautiful they are, but occasionally someone wants to find it funny that we’re all skinny and leggy. Hellhounds are also now quite grey in the face so we’re all skinny, leggy and old. But some dork came up to us the other day and was in grave danger of rupturing himself over the sheer hilarity of owners who look like their dogs.++ I stared him in the eye. I have a bull terrier at home, I said. I did not mention the ‘mini’ part. He stopped laughing and edged away prudently.
+ In my life I can always say I was out hurtling hellhounds recently. And hellterror.
++ I wondered what his frelling problem is. I have no idea, of course, but he was a big flashy maybe forty-ish dork, and looked a bit like someone who was maybe rolling into midlife crisis and in a mood to be snarky about some post-menopausal hag who is refusing to stay home with her TV and her memories but is out cluttering up the pavement wearing jeans, All Stars and long hair, and walking her dogs like she thinks she still has a purpose in life. I don’t like big flashy forty-ish dorks who think looming over me and being scornful is a fun thing to do.#
# Speaking of testosterone poisoning, yesterday I was creeping up the hill to the mews in Wolfgang, which little journey is another of those absolutes in my life, going at 30 mph which happens to be the speed limit. And I was passed by five motorcycles. FIVE. Streaking past, whing whing whing whing whing. What the what the what the I can’t even. And there is all this bushwa about how cars are supposed to be careful of motorcycles. I don’t know if this is nationwide or just around here, but there are posters all over the landscape saying THINK BIKE. How about if BIKERS think at all? I’ve been a motorcyclist, as long-term readers of this blog know, and it is absolutely true that people driving cars can be amazingly stupid and dangerous about bikers and this is a large part of the reason I stopped driving a bike while I still had all my body parts intact . . . but the frelling majority of the motorcycle accidents around here are caused by male bikers being assholes: yesterday at least I was only going 30. Being passed by some dinglenut on a 60 mph road that is only just two lanes wide with hedgerows on either side . . . going around a curve? Yes. I have.
*** Ecstasy of the Hellterror.
† Except, of course, hellhound bowls, since they haven’t eaten anything.
I was supposed to be going to a concert tonight. Well, I was supposed to be going to a concert tomorrow night, only I kept forgetting, because Saturday night is Monk Night* and that there might be something else going on doesn’t register unless you nag me relentlessly**. So by the time I remembered—chiefly because I was going to be seeing the friend who was singing in it and wanted me to come—it had sold out. Never mind, she said, come to the dress rehearsal. Which I would probably have enjoyed more anyway because it’s more of the nuts and bolts of putting on a performance***.
It has not been a brilliant day. I went with Peter when he saw his GP this morning, and the frelling doctor was forty five minutes late without explanation or apology.† Sound of Robin scraping herself off the walls since Peter likes his doctor and I don’t want to disturb this desirable situation by, for example, putting said doctor through the clinic paper shredder.†† Then Peter and I had our usual Friday foray to the farmers’ market, to which I bring the hellhounds so they were okay, but I got back to the cottage finally and very late to an EXTREMELY CRANKY HELLTERROR who had to be soothed by . . . well, give her a dog biscuit and she’s your slave for life, or at least till the next dog biscuit, but I figured I owed her a good walk.†††
Meanwhile I’d had a text from Niall reminding me that the much-neglected-by-me Friday handbells were occurring tonight at 5:30 as usual . . . I’d already texted him back that I was coming, after which I was going to have to rip off to the concert. Good thing I don’t write the blog every night any more, I thought, harnessing up hellhounds for their pre-handbell sprint.
. . . And Darkness has the geysers again. WAAAAAAAAAAAH. ‡
So I stayed home.
And I thought, oh well, I might as well write a blog post. Sigh.
* * *
* Which is a ratbag on your social life, if any. But the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament—which I think I’ve told you before?, is that you stare at the wafers they’re going to use at Mass on Sunday morning, which are suspended in some manner within this golden starburst thing I’m told is called a monstrance^ —is kind of booked to happen Saturday night. Clearly weeks need an eighth day, so you can get your serious acting-out post-work-week over with, or possibly just go to a concert, on that day^^ between Friday and Saturday and be sufficiently clean, upright and awake^^^ for wafer-contemplation on Saturday night.
^ Which I feel is an unfortunate derivation. Like calling angels vampires because one of the origins+ of ‘vampire’ may refer to spirits of the air. And why is a rosary either a rose garden or a loop of prayer beads? I know—garland. But confusing.
+ disputed, but I think they’re all disputed
^^ Which I feel should be called Loki-day or Misrule-day except the world would probably end. So maybe we could call it Dead Sheep day or Dwarf Conifer day.
^^^ I will not say no one has ever fallen asleep during the Exposition. Unless you fall off your chair+ it’s not a big deal in the congregation—all one or two or three of us—because we’re sitting in the dark till the service begins. The black-garbed chappies up on the dais . . . yeah. They’re kinda visible if they start to nod.++ But the Benedictine order is heavily into physical, three-dimensional this-world work, and my monks have probably been rescuing kittens from the tops of two-hundred-foot leylandii cypresses and doing the steel-driving man thing alongside soulless steam drills+++ all day and are tired.
+ NO. I HAVEN’T. THANKS FOR ASKING.
++ Alfrick never falls asleep. He’s my hero.
+++ And winning, of course. Our railroads need a few miracles.
** And even then nothing is guaranteed except that I’ll probably bite your head off.
*** I’m singing again at St Margaret’s on Sunday—AAAAAAAUGH—the nice young man who is leading this week dutifully sent the playlist last night with the video links—AAAAAAAAUGH. I’d far rather be learning The sun whose rays are all ablaze^ or I Want to Be a Prima Donna^^
^ The Mikado. You’d’ve remembered in a minute.
^^ On the spectacular perversity of bodies: my singing practise at home is pretty . . . erratic, both because I’m an erratic kind of person (!) but also because I have an erratic kind of voice, which I gather is pretty standard, it’s just if you’re good and/or professional you learn workarounds. I will warm up a bit, sing a folk song, warm up a bit more, sing another folk song, lie on the floor and do a few breathing exercises, sing another folk song or an old gospel thumper, sing something I’m actually working on to bring to Nadia . . . do a few more warm ups. What I sing and how I sing it is entirely based on the noise I’m making: on a good-noise day I’ll do a lot more than on a bad-and-I-can’t-seem-to-make-it-better-noise day. Most days are in between: if I keep doing warm-ups and vowelly exercises and approaching the intractable from different angles I will at least improve. Probably. I also try not to get too hung up on what specific notes I’m singing—this is on Nadia’s advice—find a range my voice is happy in and sing there.
But by the end of a good practise I’m singing a high B as part of an exercise pattern without any particular effort—my much-desired-for-silly-reasons high C is clearly there I just haven’t quite had the courage to have a stab at it—somebody tell me why, as soon as I’m trying to sing a song, I can’t even hit a frelling G reliably. Because my blasted throat closes up and goes no no no no no! Eeep eeep eeep eeep eeeep!+ I tried to be clever about this the other day, and snaked out a few bars of Prima Donna where you’ve got a G-to-G octave leap, because octave leaps are a gift they’re so nice and obvious, and I use them in exercises all the time. But my voice wasn’t having any of it. I know what you’re trying to do, it said, and went squeaky. ARRRRRRRGH.
Tonight’s concert included a professional soloist singing something that I—theoretically—sing, and I might have found this educational. I might also have come home and burnt my music books, so maybe it’s just as well I didn’t go.
+ What’s even more irritating is when I’m sharp rather than flat. Usually it’s flat—which is losing your nerve at a big fence so your horse raps it with his knees and brings a pole down. Sharp is jumping eight feet over a three-foot fence. But if I give up and sing along with the piano . . . okay, the note’s true enough but it’s got a frelling edge on it you could slice bread with. ARRRRRRRRGH.
† I GOT A LOT OF KNITTING DONE. It’s been a good week for knitting. I got a lot of knitting done at St Margaret’s AGM equivalent earlier in the week too. Gah. Groups of PEOPLE. DISCUSSING things. Nooooooooo. I’m a Street Pastor! I’m going to be a Samaritan! My social conscience is FULLY BOOKED UP! I don’t have to do church-AGM-related things too!
†† No jury would convict me. My barrister or whoever would be sure to load the jury with people who have WASTED HOURS OF THEIR LIVES IN DOCTORS’ WAITING ROOMS.
††† She’s crated if she’s left alone, so if she’s been locked up longer than she thinks she should be she tends to emerge like the Blue Angels/Red Arrows at an air show. WHEEEEEEEEEEEE.
‡ What frelling happens in March? We’ve had a really bad March, that is, the hellhounds have, and I have because I’m responsible. The hellterror, I am delighted to say, seems to be maintaining intestinal integrity this year. I thought we were coming through it. . . . But it all went horribly wrong in March last year . . . what happens in March?