. . . the scheduled programme continuing our discussion of life, art, performance and Good Enough* . . .
. . . to moan.
I’ve only—pretty much just this minute—got the copyedited SHADOWS back to my editor’s assistant’s (virtual) desk. It’s in the contract that your copyeditor will be from another planet and imperfectly drilled in earth mores.** This one was, in fact, better behaved than most. I thought I was getting off easily*** until . . .
Part of the problem is that trying to produce anything but the plainest of plain text on a computer makes my brain flurg into bread pudding. I can’t deal with electronic notes in the margins.† So my editor’s ever-patient assistant printed out a hard copy and sent me that. †† It took me a while to realise that those little faded grey streaky things are actually what significant house-style††† changes look like when electronic marginalia is forced onto paper.
My style is not house style. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH. . . .
I took Wolfgang in for his yearly legal-requirement MOT test on Monday.
He failed. He’s seventeen years old, it takes a little while for the parts to come in. I got him back today‡ . . . just in time to howl out to Ditherington this evening to return my sheet music from the concert I didn’t sing in with the Muddles, which if the librarian doesn’t return all of he can’t check out the music for the next concert . . . which, yes, I am going to try to sing in.
All of this would pass as fairly standard Life Stuff. However. Remember The Wall?
Somewhat against my better judgement—but it’s always easy to be wise in hindsight—I was talked into agreeing to the fellow who started work on Monday. He’s built dozens of brick-and-flint walls. Hundreds. Millions. He knows EVERYTHING about building brick-and-flint walls.
He poured in a lot of concrete on Monday and covered it up to set or jell or coagulate or whatever cement does. He was going to start again on Wednesday. I heard a lot of talking going on Wednesday morning, but then hellcritters and I set out on our double commute to get all of us down to the mews without benefit of Wolfgang.
That evening my neighbour rang me to say THE WALL BUILDER HAD QUIT. HE’D DONE ONE DAY AND HE’D QUIT.‡‡
My neighbour now wants to go with some other frelling friend of a friend of a colleague’s cousin’s small-appliance repairperson’s mongoose. I want to hire someone we know something about. She and I had nearly half an hour on the phone tonight, talking at total cross purposes, because she wants her way and I want mine. She’s already booked this joker to come talk to us tomorrow. He’s very nice! she said to me. You’ll like him! Whether I like him or not is beside the point.
I am very tired. . . . ‡‡‡
* * *
* I meant ‘good enough’ as a positive thing. I apply it positively. I make myself crazy—you may have noticed—I wind myself up, I force myself to fail by setting the bar too high.^ Good enough means I can achieve something and recognise it as achievement and not some flavour of failure. I personally feel it gives me room to have both good and bad days: on the good days it’s a springboard and on the bad days it’s a support.
My affection for this approach may partly be my age again. I remember when the concept of good enough hit the media and the self-help racks. I was raised to believe that anything less than A-plus, 100%, a gold medal and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star^^ was not good enough and that sackcloth and ashes and a life of social exile and sixth-rate chocolate were the only alternative. Good enough was not only a HUGE relief but it also meant you could try stuff without ruining your reputation (if any).
And possibly your grade-point average, depending on the school. This is one of the things that even at the age of seventeen or twenty and going or going back to college, and I was not a subtle thinker at seventeen or twenty, made me kind of nuts. Here you are attending full-time an Institution of Higher Learning and . . . you only dare take stuff you’re reasonably sure you can get good marks in, because education isn’t really the goal here, having a good-looking transcript is. This was in one of the eras when a liberal-arts degree was about as useful as a rubber pogo stick^^^ so you didn’t want to smash the poor flimsy thing up any further by taking risky classes. I’m not sure what quantum physics looked like in the early 1970s but I totally wouldn’t have dared. I did however weaken my poor sad BA by taking music, which I did not get wonderful grades in. Fortunately I subsequently found a way to escape my doom of sackcloth and ashes and the sixth-rate chocolate. . . . Social exile? Eh.
But Good Enough came along before I had permanently crippled myself by the weight of the chip on my shoulder.
^ Yo, I’m a Shetland pony, not an Irish hunter.
^^ If they can give stars for walking on the moon, I’m not too fussed about how they define ‘entertainment industry’.
^^^ Although I’m not sure even a proper steel and titanium pogo stick can be classified as useful
** It’s either that or the questions that have no connection with reality as you understand it are some kind of plant, seeking to discover if you have dangerous hidden personality traits that might lead you to go suddenly mad with a banana frappe at a crowded shopping mall.
*** Aside from an extreme case of Not Able to Focus on These Words any more
† My editor handles this just fine, and she’s nearly as old as I am. I tell myself she does a lot more of it than I do. She’s, you know, an editor.
†† I think I told you about the FedEx man not delivering it when there was no one home despite the fact that it said PAPER and MANUSCRIPT and ZERO VALUE and PLEASE LEAVE and NO SIGNATURE REQUIRED all over it.
††† Ie Chicago Manual of Style or whatever. Grammar and punctuation and all are somewhat mutable and publishing houses usually have a standard way of doing things, although the choices Teacosy Press makes may be somewhat different from those of Zombie Revolution Books. Aside from their contrasting approaches to acquisition.
‡ I am VERY GRATEFUL to the weather gods for giving us two non-sequential good days for walking. Hellhounds and I enjoyed the walk back from and out to Warm Upford very much. Something went right.^
^ But the question is, will there be four of us shepherding Wolfgang to and from his MOT next February? SHE’S BEEN HERE FOUR MONTHS. DON’T YOU THINK WE COULD ALL START TO GET ALONG?
‡‡ He’s decided he can’t do it for what he claimed on his estimate. Is this spectacular incompetence or a spectacularly crude attempt to jack the price up?
‡‡‡ And I haven’t even told you how copying seven pages of Zerlina’s Vedrai, carino^ took ten minutes because every page jammed. Some of them several times. Feeding pages in one at a time didn’t work. Fanning them between each page didn’t work. A whole new trayful didn’t work. I. HATE. MY. PRINTER.
^ If I like it, or anyway Nadia likes me singing it, I’ll buy the book. I worry about copyright even when the bloke’s been dead hundreds of years.
† Next time I start really moaning about being tired, remind me to CHECK MY PROTEIN LEVELS. How long have I had ME? I’ve always needed a higher-than-the-holier-than-dietary-thou-pundits-permit percentage of protein and especially of meat and especially of red meat–you don’t like it? Take it up with my metabolism–and for the last dozen-plus years it’s been both higher and more critical, because of the frelling ME. And you would think I’d learn. But I don’t. Maybe I should put it up on a wall somewhere: next time I’m unreasonably tired for more than twenty-four hours have a steak. Or a platter of chicken livers. Or both.
††When I told this story to Southdowner she said, YAAAAY! Welcome to the ranks of the Multi Dog Walkers!
††† And, speaking of peculiar encounters, a group of teenage boys threw a few snowballs at us. It wasn’t frightening but it was PECULIAR. WHAT, YOU GUYS?
. . . Or nearly all juggle around a little.
I’ve been saying for most of the last five and a quarter years that I must cut back on the amount of time I spend on the blog but . . . this time I mean it. I have to mean it.
I have needed to cut back because I live over the time-line of 24-hour-day plausibility because I’m like that* and ‘time’ is a ridiculous human construct anyway. I’m not going to let some frelling mechanical instrument that goes tick tock** tell me what I can and can’t do. But . . .
The avalanche began when PEG II crashed and burned nearly a year and a half ago. And SHADOWS, bless its pointed little head, rolled in to give me something to DO and also something to tell my agent, my editor, and get PAID FOR when I also told them the bad news about having to put off PEG II till I could face the fact that frelling PEGASUS is a trilogy and PEG II is not the end. Originally SHADOWS was going to be short and . . . er . . . well, I get interested in the story I’m telling, you know? And I start thinking, oh, hey, well, if that, then that, and pretty soon . . . this is nothing on George R R Martin or Robin Hobbs, but SHADOWS weighs in at about 105,000 words which to a slow writer like me is plenty.
And then, last winter, there was that tiny fracas at my bell tower, which resulted in my quitting the tower that is a minute’s pedestrian sprint down the street from the cottage and joining one that is a half-hour-plus commute in Wolfgang . . . and half-hour-plus does not include lurid adventures in quest of parking, or pelting across town (and back) from wherever I finally manage to leave Wolfgang. And around the same time that I switched towers my one evening a week handbell group underwent meiosis and became two groups and two evenings. I said at the time I wasn’t going to be able to do two evenings a week regularly. But week by week I’m not very good at saying no.
Last summer I found myself agreeing to a bull terrier puppy.
This autumn I took possession of said bull terrier puppy***. I also started voice lessons again when Nadia came back from maternity leave.† And because this was not enough I rejoined the Muddlehamptons. Well, my goal always has been to sing in a choir, and I’d been putting off figuring out what to do instead of the Muddles, and here I am, Muddling again, and rather mysteriously coping with the twelve-hour practises, the freezing cold church and the No Loo. One more thing I think I haven’t told you is that while the first shock of hearing myself recorded was just how DIABOLICALLY AWFUL I was . . . the second shock was that there is actually more voice there to do something with than I had any awareness of. I knew I had become louder, but . . . well. That noise I’m now making almost is a singing voice, if I could get it under some kind of control.
And, this autumn, I found God, or he/she/it/they found me. God takes a lot of time. There’s all that praying business, and (ugh) facing yourself, and, since I’ve popped out in the Christian spectrum, there’s the Bible to read, and the 1,000,000,000,000 commentaries on the Bible, and the gazillion and twenty-six books about trying to live as a Christian, and there’s the note-taking you’ll inevitably do, and the conversations (both live and by email) with friends who have been doing this longer than you have, and the lists of more books to read and (not least) the sitting staring into infinite space and thinking ‘eep’ and . . .
And there’s going to church. St Radegund is right around the corner of course, and I do go there occasionally, but it’s not a church I’m much drawn to. Nooooo, I have to be drawn to monks, who are another half-hour-plus commute†††, and Aloysius’ church is only a minute or two nearer, and then there’s the abbey–I mean Forza, not the monks–which is miles in the opposite direction. I bought a bit of flex that is supposed to make Pooka read aloud to me when plugged into Wolfgang’s speakers for all this car time, supposing I figure out how to use it . . . but it’s still time.
And neither last nor least . . . there are hundreds of uncompleted auction orders waiting my attention. AAAAAAAAAUGH.‡ Those nights I can’t sleep? One of the things that keeps me awake is the knowledge of all those piles of books and order slips next door in my office. I really did get started on them when I sent the more-or-less finished SHADOWS in—bleh, whenever it was, whenever I announced it here—but I almost immediately had to go back to work on the things both Merrilee and my editor brought up. None of this has been major, but it all . . . takes time. And I’ve got to have these LAST editorial/authorial twiddles in by the tenth of this month, and then there will be copyediting, and . . .
And my poor neglected garden. . . .
I’m not closing the blog down. And I will still write long rambling days-in-the-life posts. But not as many of them, not as often.
And I’ll tell you more about my ideas for the Future of the Blog . . . tomorrow.
* * *
* I sometimes feel, especially when it’s being inconvenient, like a PUPPY WHO FEELS NEGLECTED BECAUSE IT’S BEEN AT LEAST FIFTEEN MINUTES SINCE ANYONE EITHER FED HER OR PLAYED WITH HER, that the ME is Just One More Thing on the frelling list. Except those times when I think it’s probably saving my life. No, you can’t do that too, it says. Sit down. Have a little rest. Do it now.
** Well, I still have frelling mechanical instruments that go tick tock.
*** To the continuing consternation of hellhounds. We’ve had her THREE MONTHS, you guys! Get used to it! Said hellterror puppy, just by the way, is up to needing almost half an hour of hurtling a day . . . and there is as yet no indication of a likelihood of survival of any attempt at triune hurtling.
†† I’ve now knitted two, count ’em, two, baby bibs and furthermore have given them to people with babies. As opposed to burying them in the bottom of some stash bag or other, as happened to all those Secret Projects last year. I don’t guarantee that either recipient has used them, or anyway has used them more than once when they unravelled instantly on contact with an actual baby, but Raphael did send me an awfully cute photo of his baby wearing hers and it does seem to be functioning. Nadia received the second one, right before our Christmas break, not because I meant to give it to her then but because I kept forgetting to give it to her at all.
††† Although I have yet to have a parking problem, if this wet weather continues I will need a ferry.
‡ Both Blogmom and I get queries about what’s happened to the money. The money is still sitting there in its account. It will eventually go to one of the bell funds run by the national bell-ringers’ council, but I am NOT DOING ANYTHING WITH IT till I’ve actually fulfilled my obligations.
Note that this entire post can be defined as Too Much Information. Those of you of a delicate disposition should look away now.
So. We were going to try again to get three of us down to Georgiana and Saxon’s glamorous open-plan flat on the water. It had to be today because today was the day the dog minder could hurtle the hellhounds while Peter and I took the hellterror with us. Peter was really looking forward to the hucklebutting, and promised faithfully to guard the Christmas tree while riot and anarchy were occurring.
The day did not get off to an auspicious start. I slept through my alarm again.* Naturally. There was an email from Peter that he was coming into town anyway, and would walk up the rest of the way to the cottage. Great. That would save five minutes going to fetch him.
Except he didn’t appear. Graaak. Arrrgh. Bleh. I started to worry. I harnessed up the hellhounds—having been waiting to give them their mini-hurtle to let Peter in first—and decided we would go in pursuit . . . and found him sitting on the greenhouse stairs, reading his paper. WHAT? I said. I may have, ahem, shouted.
The car’s not there, he said. I thought you’d taken the hellhounds somewhere for a country hurtle and I was getting worried you weren’t back yet.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE CAR’S NOT THERE? I said, or maybe shouted. Hellhounds and I hurtled up the hill and . . . there was Wolfgang. The frelling cul de sac is deceptive. It looks straight. It isn’t, as many people who have tried to back out of it (which, unless you have a driveway to call your own is your only choice, having made the serious vehicular error of turning into it the first place) have learnt to the cost of their wing mirrors, paintwork and fenders. And the final two parking spaces, the further one mine, do kind of hide. I’VE LIVED HERE EIGHT YEARS, I said to my husband. YOU SHOULD KNOW BY NOW TO WALK FARTHER UP THE HILL TO CHECK ON WOLFGANG.
Yes, I should, said Peter humbly (possibly seeing blood and spousal abuse in my eye). I’m so sorry.
ARRRRRRGH, I said, and flew off with hellhounds.
So, you know, we were already a good half hour late. And I still had to give the hellterror her mini-hurtle so she would have a crap before we left.
Those of you who have been watching the hellterror’s alimentary antics will know where this is going.
She didn’t crap. She wouldn’t crap, and nothing was going to make her. By this time we were about forty five minutes late and I uttered a final, heartfelt ARRRRRRGH, stuffed her into her travelling crate and we left.
Here’s the good news: we got there. The first half hour is pretty much B and substandard rural A roads. The second half hour is Spaghetti Junction South and a nightmare every bit as compelling as the ones I’m having when I fail to wake up when my alarm goes off.
The other good news is that it stopped raining**. Which is a very good thing since the hellterror and I were out in the weather for about two hours. Didn’t I say something prophetic, the last time this journey was contemplated, about how the hellterror and I might never get indoors because I would spend the whole visit walking her around WAITING FOR HER TO EXCRETE?
Yes. Well. At least it was a nice day. I topped up really well on my vitamin D levels. And the predicted wind died away to gentle airs, and it wasn’t that cold, although frustrated fury does help keep you warm. And the hellterror hucklebutted fabulously outdoors on the patch of grass I had randomly chosen, doing backflips when she forgot where the end of her extending lead was. And she paid close attention to every single person who walked past—I had no idea that Georgiana and Saxon’s development has so frelling many people in it—became engrossed in the passage of buses, was disapproving of the rattly, popping starting of motorcycles, and yearned after other dogs going for walks. In between times she ate leaves, repeatedly attacked the laurel hedge, wrapped her lead around the sentinel tree, and tried to get me to PLAY WITH HER.
What she did not do is crap. She peed about forty-seven times, including two or three where she was CLEARLY FINALLY FRELLING about to CRAP and then at the final moment—nope—nope—can’t possibly—I only crap at home (sometimes). —Which was the other aspect of this dreadful epic: imagine living with a dog WHO WILL ONLY CRAP AT HOME.***
AARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHH. She nearly came back tonight as a hearthrug.†
I didn’t dare bring her indoors. I do not want to establish her pleasant habit of crapping in her crate, which is friendly and safe and familiar and she can just flip the blanket over any unpleasantness which will be dealt with later by her indentured servant, and the flat is on the top floor,†† there’s a long hall to the lift/elevator, several doors to negotiate, the lift doesn’t move very quickly . . . and the entrance to the flat is another long frelling hallway. Poor Georgiana came down three times to check on us, and on the third time††† we went for a little walk while Peter had a nap.
The hellterror really enjoyed her walk. By this time she frelling well ought to have been falling down with exhaustion‡ but noooooooooooo not the hellterror. Then we came back and stood around the tree some more while the hellterror cavorted. ARRRRRRRRGH. Well, I said finally, a little wildly, I suppose we might as well go home.
So Georgiana went off to collect Peter and the frelling crate and the frelling hellterror spare kit and the frelling hellterror lunch—puppies should not miss meals, but I was NOT going to put more in the front end when nothing was coming out the back end—and I stood there between the tree and the hedge and looked at the hellterror, and the hellterror looked at me. And the hellterror ambled off in an idle sort of way and . . . had a crap.
So we raced indoors and BOTH HAD LUNCH and I got to sit down. The hellterror—even the tireless hellterror—wasn’t really up for hucklebutting around the flat, but with only a token howl of outrage permitted herself to be locked up in her crate. And all these shenanigans meant that we had to negotiate Spaghetti Junction South in the dark . . . but we’re HOME.
And when upon arrival I let the hellterror out of her travelling crate for a pee . . . she rushed over to HER SPOT and had THE MOST ENORMOUS CRAP I HAVE EVER SEEN.
* * *
* All my life I’ve had my most lurid—and they can be very lurid indeed—dreams just before I wake up for the final time in the morning. This is all explained by human sleep patterns blah blah blah but I have perhaps an extreme case. I usually hear my alarm, I just don’t always recognise it as a clarion adjuration to GET OUT OF BED. At the time it seems to be something to do with the assembled forces of the Evil Magician Alliance or the mating cry of a lovesick banshee or similar. The fact that the hellterror has now learnt the sound—and the meaning—of my kitchen-timer alarm and usually joins in the fun should assist, but it doesn’t. It just means the Alliance is even more diabolical than I realised, or the banshee brought a friend.^
^ Or possibly the banshee’s love-object is protesting.
** Although it’s supposed to start again any minute. Hellhounds and I were positively sportive last night at mmmph o’clock, unexpectedly cantering around town on our last hurtle with actual stars overhead. It had started raining again by the time I put the hellterror out for a last pee and it was grizzly later this morning when I was making tea and unsticking my eyelids.
*** Also . . . what is wrong with my critter karma that all my critters have Digestive/Eliminatory Issues? It’s a very good thing I like staying at home.
† Southdowner suggested steering wheel cover. She’s not really big enough yet to make a satisfactory hearthrug.
†† Fourth floor in American, third in Britspeak.
††† I left the hellish hellterror with Georgiana long enough that I could go indoors and have a pee. Now the hellterror loves everyone and generally speaking ignores me like an old tatty rejected toy if there’s anyone NEW AND INTERESTING around, but Georgiana said she had a wobble when I stalked away leaving her with AN ALMOST UNKNOWN PERSONAGE OF DUBIOUS MOTIVES, and made little pathetic noises. This is the first known occurrence of the hellterror making little pathetic noises about anything except the speed at which her next meal is coming.
‡ As well as full of well-compressed faecal matter to the neck
I stopped singing with the Muddlehampton Choir months ago. I have stamina problems at the best of times because of the ME, and the combination of their marathon two and a half hour rehearsals with the LACK OF A LOO so this postmenopausal woman can’t afford to sip water during practice eventually meant that while I never formally declared I was giving it up, I . . . stopped going. I can’t remember how much of this I’ve told the blog. I’d come home not merely exhausted but hoarse, wheezing, coughing and cracking. Nadia said that I had to drink water, and that I should experiment with when I could start drinking water and still make it home afterward. Ahem. These experiments were not a resounding [you should forgive the term] success. Ahem.
I was still dithering and not admitting that I’d quit when I met up with the Muddles’ membership secretary on the street in New Arcadia last summer who asked me hopefully if I was coming back some time. I moaned about the ME, the lack of a loo* . . . and also about the wheezing, coughing and cracking. She frowned thoughtfully and said that she’d wondered herself about the actual air in that church: it’s an old church, and could easily have weird motes and lung-inimical molecules floating around in it.
Well, for whatever assortment of reasons, good, bad and, er, muddled, I’ve slid out of the Muddles. I think about them from time to time. I’ve had a fairly cursory look around for other local non-audition choirs with shorter rehearsal times and on-site loos in newer, cleaner buildings, but I pretty much already know what’s available from the trolling I did when I joined the Muddles. The question of the choir I don’t belong to however has become rather embarrassing again with starting up voice lessons with Nadia: yes, I take voice lessons for fun, because I enjoy it, but my excuse, such as it is, is that I want to sing in a choir. I want to sing in a choir to a standard that will make them reasonably glad to have me there—hence voice lessons. Taking solo voice lessons however you are inevitably singing solo pieces, and Nadia has this entertaining habit of saying ‘Now, if you were singing this to an audience, you would want to . . .’ We both know it’s not going to happen. And I’m not sure but what singing is another one of those things—for me, that is, solitary crank that I (mostly) am—which I’m supposed to do with other people, like bell-ringing, and finding a church community to belong to**.
Well, there’s a lot of other stuff going on*** and I will worry about the choir thing later. Meanwhile I am still on the Muddlehampton mailing list. The beginning of this week there was an all-points email bulletin from our fearless leader, saying that the Muddles were going to be singing the Cantique de Jean Racine for the funeral of a retired Muddle member this coming Monday, at 12:30 in the afternoon, that he was short available singers, and any of us deactivateds who might be able to do it he would be very grateful.
I almost didn’t answer. Third-rate sopranos are two-a-penny and my acquaintance with the Cantique is not close. When he said anybody he didn’t mean me. But I know from bell-ringing what a ratbag trying to scrape together enough bodies for an in-office-hours event is . . . so I did write back, adding that if he wanted me to sing I would need to come to practise. He answered by return electron saying that he was, in fact, a tiny bit short of sopranos, and they’d be glad to see me on Thursday.
I had way too good a time, singing with the Muddles last night.† We practised the Cantique first, so us fillers-in could leave afterward. I was sitting next to Cindy, fearless-leader Gordon’s wife, and as we all put the Cantique down, I said to her, so, what else are you singing? And she said, oh, stay a little longer, and sing with us. So I did. Arrrgh. A bang-up arrangement of When the Saints Go Marching in and Bruckner’s Locus Iste which is one of my favourite things ever and it was like foie gras and champagne on a platter and I’m all AAAAAUGH. The rehearsals are still too long, the church is freezing cold and full of Malign Spores, and there is NO LOO.
I did leave at the tea break, but first I went (muttering, as above) up to Gordon to ask about Monday, and the soprano section. I was still clutching my borrowed copy of the Cantique, because I was going to go home and cram. Gordon had been doing head-counts at the beginning of practise, and I’d had an uneasy feeling that the sopranos for Monday were, indeed just a tiny bit short. Just. A tiny.
I said to Gordon: There are three of us, right?
He looked at me with the expression of the outflanked general about to earn a posthumous Victoria Cross, and nodded. But I’m going to call in some favours, he added, bracingly.
Three. Sopranos. Including me. One of them is a perfectly adequate amateur choir soprano. One of them is a very nice woman who makes virtually no noise audible to the human ear. I used to sit next to her. There is the occasional distant hum from her general direction, but that might also be the ancient church wiring.
How do I get myself into these things?
* * *
* It confounds me that the average age of a Muddle is probably the high side of fifty . . . so here are all these menopausal and postmenopausal women and I’m the only one who has trouble keeping her legs crossed for two and a half hours?
** Probably not including monks.
*** Gemma, Niall and I were handbelling tonight, and Gemma was talking about the quarter peal she and I had rung at the abbey last Sunday. I said that I’d thought it was a bit naughty of them to pitch both of us in together: yes I’ve rung several quarters of bob minor, but none recently, and I’m a terrible abbey ringer, and the likelihood of my being able to hold my line against someone bumbling through their first quarter^ is not good. Someone ringing their first quarter should have a good STABLE band around them. Okay, I worry too much, and we got the quarter, which is all that matters. And then Gemma, who unlike me picks up methods easily, said cheerfully that she thought that they’d put us in together because they were anxious to bring us on toward strengthening the abbey band. EEEEEEEEEP. I think she said this to be encouraging, but it makes me want to run away to sea.
Also, supposing you read the footnotes where they appear in the text, keep reading. I am running away to sea twice.
^ Remember that Gemma has been successfully shoved into all kinds of fancy methods I haven’t a prayer of ringing, but at the expense of some of the basics. Like bob minor. This does mean she’s likelier than a beginner to bumble successfully through a method she’s had insufficient practise on, but it still seems to me a little unfair.
† Their new musical director, whom I had not met before, gives us warm-ups, which Ravenel never did: he expected us to arrive ready to go. This new chap, furthermore, gives us warm-ups I have written down in my notebook from lessons with Nadia. So he is clearly a Person Who Knows.