It takes it out of you, all this fun

Well this week has been a week of two parts.

Firstly, administration.

We have two things on the go: our application to Acts29 and our application for French nationality.

OK, Acts29. At the weekend, faced with something like 7 hours of video to watch and comment on in paragraphs of 250 - 500 words, I hit the wall. It then transpired that I didn't need to do that part (yay!) so I got back to the rest of the process, having moved from discouraged to merely daunted. People prayed. By Wednesday morning I'd finished my part and by Wednesday afternoon Pat had finished hers.

Now, Frenchiness. There is a very handy government website that tells you what forms you need and what supporting documents. So I have a checklist. Some of the documents will be hard to track down, like my parents' birth certificates. I think I know where my father was born, but opinions vary as to my mother's place of birth. Anyway, my sister has found a certificate, so that's OK. Some of the documents are inscrutable to me - like something I need to get from the tax office. Some are straightforward. Then there's the issue of official translations. According to the website our birth certificates, our parents' birth certificates and our marriage certificate all have to be translated into French (Nom du père, Nom de la mère, Lieu de naissance) by an official translator at exorbitant cost. That's seven documents, meaning hundreds of euros cost. However, we are reliably informed by our friend Vicky that since the law of 2012 it is illegal to demand official translations from one official language of the European Union into another. Obviously we care about this quite a lot.

Then, culture.

While in town the other evening we stumbled across an old friend, the splendidly named François-Marie Moreau and his group Monk, playing in a café. We went to hear, along with old friend Sally. To me the café is the archetypal French café, le Café Brun, and it was full of people. For a while we stood, but then three seats became free right in front of the band. Of course, this was a temptation too strong to resist for F-M, and so it was that the Café Brun was treated to me warbling forth "I'm a legal alien, I'm a Welshman in Bordeaux..." Monk do a kind of jazz-funk-pop thing, with Sting and Stevie Wonder featuring strongly and saxophone and accordina solos. It was the first time for me to see an accordina, and I fell in love at first sight. However they cost muchos euros, so forget it!

Then yesterday evening to the Grand Theatre for a quick aperitif concert given by the choir of the opera. The aperitif was 10€ a head at 6pm, and the concert also 10€ at 7. Well we can get a snack free at home, so we just went to the concert, and they did a variety of pops and standards from opera and operetta: Carmen, Faust, Cavalleria Rusticana, Nabucodonosor etc... I had never warmed to the conductor - his twitter account is @maestrosalvator - but he was very warm and friendly and good fun, and he seems to want to open up the opera beyond the traditional rich bourgeois regular customers. For example, students and people under 26 could get into last night's concert for 1€. "That's not bad!" he said, in his really not very good French. He is latin-american.

Then quickly on the tram to get back to Pessac for a quickie concert given by Catrin's university group at the cinema as part of the annual festival of film about history. A guy was talking about songs and his contribution as a poet, I think, though we came in just at the end of his part, and then the group would perform five different songs. Catrin was due to sing a song about the fate of a refugee in Paris along with another girl, but the other girl pulled out because of a serious attack of a cold, so her place was taken by Catrin's faithful friend, Bérénice. The songs were hurriedly prepared and there were occasional ragged moments, but the effect was good.

That's it for Patricia, but on Friday I have another shot of culture with a lunchtime concert by one of the opera's baritones, Florian Sempey.

Then it's back to normal! Youtube at home and Spotify in the tram!


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