Thursday, 29 December 2016
I have blogged on this subject many times without ever being convinced by the comments of others, "pure coincidence", or "just bad timing" they say.
For some reason my household goods have ganged up on me again and are out to spoil my brief break from work.
A short while before Christmas my pull-cord bathroom light failed to work, so, thinking the bulb had gone I dragged the ten-ton step ladder upstairs and removed the bulb replacing it with a new one.
The bulb would not 'take' or 'attach' properly to the fitting so with the help of my cleaning lady I got hold of a good local electrician who came round had a look and told me the fitting was broken and needed replacing. This he did, fitted the old bulb which was perfectly OK and he also tightened a link in the pull cord.
Wonderful I thought, so quick, so efficient and cheap too. Glad it was done before Christmas.
On Christmas Eve my watch stopped. Too late to get a battery, so no watch over Christmas. A nuisance but not essential.
Later on Christmas Eve my ancient electric kettle started to leak. Oh well, I thought, I have a replacement bought a while ago in the kitchen cupboard, when I have time I'll throw out the leaking one and start using the new one.
After the Christmas morning service (and about 3 hours sleep) I got out the new kettle, put some water in it intending to boil and throw away the first lot of water.
Putting the kettle on its base I plugged it in and went to switch it on. No switch!
For some reason when I had bought it 18 months ago I had simply thrown the box away and put the kettle into a cupboard thinking it would be handy to keep it in the kitchen for when the other one finally packed up.
How I had failed to notice it had no switch I don't know, but one thing was certain, no store was going to replace a kettle bought 18 months ago, or believe that I had not broken off the switch.
Yesterday I bought another kettle, this time I asked them to open the box and check nothing was missing before I would pay for it.
Now I have two kettles to throw away.
What next I wonder?
I am resolutely 'not noticing' that the water in the taps is running hot and I haven't put the water heater on..
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:17:00 am
Thursday, 22 December 2016
An old well-established favourite of most choirs it has become (inevitably) known by most choristers as "Highly flavoured gravy".
For anyone left on the planet who doesn't 'get' it, this is a paraphrase of "Highly favoured lady" etc.
Equally awful is the schoolboy/girl version of "A Gaelic Blessing", known as "Garlic Dressing".
The list is long and tedious, the sense of humour involved pretty primary-school basic but, every now and then someone in a choir somewhere comes up with a new one which is gleefully seized upon and added to the repertoire.
We have, as I mentioned in an earlier post, been singing "The Jesus Child" by John Rutter and have had great difficulty fitting the words in to the music at the speed expected of us.
One line refers to "The kings from the Orient bringing gifts of Gold Myrh and Frankincense " This was causing one of my colleagues real problems and at the run-through before the service she suddenly blurted out "Mould fur and mankincense". Total collapse of whole choir.
Only those who have sung in a church choir will even begin to understand the amount of giggles this sort of puerile humour can evoke. I can only think that long exposure to juvenile humour weakens the brain.
Roll on Midnight Mess.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 5:22:00 pm
Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Listening to the night noises and trying to identify them filled a lot of the time, until about a half hour ago when a scrabbling sound got me out of bed and opening the window.
In the front garden about 10 feet from my nose was a huge fox with a really big bushy tale.
He (or she) looked up at me and trotted off up toward the railway, in no hurry and not one jot bothered by my intrusion into his busy foraging.
What he could find to eat is a mystery - one I'd rather not investigate too closely - but he was clearly quite at home.
The very faded picture at the top is of the fox I saw a couple of years ago near my back door eating what I had thrown out for the birds.
Tonight's visitor was very much larger and I suppose I was lucky to see it, but it made me wonder just how many other creatures wander freely up and down our urban roads at night.
Oh well, time to get up (6.15).
Posted by Ray Barnes at 6:11:00 am
Thursday, 8 December 2016
The Stainer piece is very singable and we did well
The second one was John Rutter's "The Jesus Child"
This is more difficult to get right with unusual rhythms and difficulty (for some of us) managing to fit the words in.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 10:42:00 pm
Saturday, 3 December 2016
On Friday I returned to choir practice after my 'bad cold' break thinking all would be well (vocally that is)
About half way through the rehearsal a bout of coughing put an end to my efforts and I simply listened to the alto part for the remainder of the time.
Sometimes people think I'm being a bit precious about avoiding those with coughs and colds, particularly during Lent and Advent. But, anyone who knows just how much extra singing there is at these two periods in the church calendar will understand what I mean.
From tomorrow we have two services every Sunday and a huge number of extra ones right up until Christmas Day, (the last one).
Much as I love both of these seasons the music is often strange to us, usually a lot more difficult than usual and with far less rehearsal time.
The service tomorrow evening is the Mayor's Carol Service and will have a huge attendance of local dignitaries as well as our own congregation, so we will need to be at our very best,
As the Advent season goes on so the amount of music grows until Christmas Day sees a pale-faced baggy-eyed choir, hopefully still singing like angels.
Or did I dream that?
Posted by Ray Barnes at 8:45:00 pm