Showing posts from October, 2018

A concert of Fauré in Arcachon

Saturday began with the excitement of a visit from two of our old neighbours in Pessac, Monique and Yvette. We ate on the terrace until it was time for me to scuttle off and meet some fellow choristers to zoom down to Arcachon where our choir, Arpège, was giving a concert of Fauré in the basilica. The weather is currently beautiful and warm and we made good time, found the church easily and parked without problems. Rehearsal went OK, the light-setter-uppers did their work and we were dismissed for picnic time. I went and ate my sandwich on the jetty watching the sun set. Came the hour to change into our song rags - black suit (in my case chinos and jacket) with white shirt and red tie. We had one changing room. Ladies used the small toilet. The high voices began with the Messe basse, sang with our charming soprano soloist, followed by a couple of motets for sopranos and altos. Then we other men entered and we sang the Cantique de Jean Racine.  Fauré set this for a competition w


Yesterday we gathered at the amphitheatre of the Musée d'Aquitaine for a Brexit Reachout Meeting organised by and in the presence of the UK Ambassador to France, Lord Ed Llewellyn. He outlined the current state of Brexit negotiations, observing and reiterating that at this time last year everyone predicted that we could never agree the amount of the divorce settlement, and then we did. He wanted to reassure everyone that a deal is possible. He repeated the current advice of the British Embassy to apply for a Carte de Séjour. When told that the Prefecture of the Gironde was reluctant to issue them to European citizens, and that in some other centres the situation is even worse, he promised to address this with the Prefet that very afternoon. We also heard that the Prefecture of the Gironde has been instructed to issue Cartes de Séjour to qualifying people who ask for them. In the event of a no-deal Brexit there is, of course, no deal. The French Government is preparing legisla

On the beauties of the French language

elféksa She only does that = That's all she does. (Elle ne fait que ça)

I know I should be better-armed than this but

every now and again something happens that just shakes you. The allegation that a squad of 15 hitmen led by a doctor with a bone-saw should dismember while living a political dissident is just so horrific. I mean, 15 people? Why 15 people? And a doctor with a bone-saw dismembering a living man while playing music through headphones and advising his team to do the same? Surely, I thought, no doctor would? No doctor could? But doctors are no better and no worse than any of us, and have no better record. I so hope that this story is not true, but sadly it could be.

Bordeaux in the autumn

is very capricious. Friday we had temperatures of 29°C. Saturday we had brisk easterly winds. Sunday started fine and pleasant. Then in the afternoon, just as we left the house to go to church, the heavens opened. We were swiftly drenched. Utterly drenched. Catrin's umbrella was no use whatsoever as we had that horizontal rain again. So much rain fell that the drainage on the roads couldn't disperse it all, so when we left church later we were repeatedly soaked by passing traffic launching sheets of muddy water at us. As soon as we got in we peeled off our wet layers and were thankful for a nice, dry, warm flat. Numbers were down morning and evening. Some are away, some ill, one poor chap couldn't find anywhere to park his car!

Inauguration of La Tram Douce

A couple of weeks ago I was cycling back from near the Marché des Capucins. It's not very far, but the direct route takes you down Cours de la Marne, the main road to the central railway station. It's a narrow road with lots of bus routes and desperately needs resurfacing. Not ideal cycling territory. So I decided to take parallel roads. Oh the fun I had! In the course of about 1/2 mile I got lost at least four times, occasionally having no clue whatsoever where I was. The problem is that Bordeaux is not built on anything resembling a grid. Not at all! If anything it is like a spider's web built by a deranged and intoxicated beast. Odd angles. Weird curves. Tangents and forks. We have it all... Anyway, the Marie has come to my rescue! On Saturday we participated in the inauguration of La Tram Douce ("the soft weft"?) The idea is to provide a clearly marked route down the higgledy-piggledy side roads along a 2km route from la Place Sainte-Eulalie to the Place

Well it has been a very busy week here in Bordeaux

In terms of weather, we have avoided all extremes, though we have had our usual localised thounderstorms with heavy downpours. There's standing water in the building sites around the flat, but nothing unusual. In the work there's been various extra things going on, including a meeting of the CNEF33, the new reborn, reformed grouping of evangelical churches in the Gironde. It's great to get folk together and to try and coordinate initiatives and to respect each others situations. It's not without challenge, but we have some good folk involved. We also had a couple of meetings of our steering group and started working on our transition to a different structure. Adding temporarily to the load is this transition period where I am singing in two choirs. The first is Arianna, which is now entering the final throes of rehearsals for the BIG PROJECT, the Mass for Rossini, composed by a committee of Italian Romantic Composers. It's pretty much as you'd expect and sel

Some British choral music - C H Parry "I was glad"


The joys and the irritations

They've tarmacadamed the pavement opposite our flats, and we are filled with joy. Up till now the pavement was composed of nasty black stones of varying sizes that were frequently flattened but continuously stirred up so they attacked the sole of your foot through your shoes, or even from inside your shoes. But now we have smooth, black, shiny tarmac. What joy! It may go a little way to solving one of our other little annoyances. Some women decided to work the street our flat is on. Let the reader understand. They are on the day shift, so they stand or sit in the blazing sun waiting for a car to stop. A while ago one lady took to yelling at passing men. "Ça va?" If they responded in any way she'd yell, "On y va?" One day she came up as I was waiting for the no. 11 bus. "Ça va?" "Bonjour. Ça va très bien, merci" "On y va?" "Où? On y va où?" "Sex!" "Ah non, et merci de ne plus crier dans la rue

Couple updates

I'm really getting the hang of this transatlantic idiom now. We've had a visit from Matt and Suzy from Deeside, so I've been less present on the inter web lately. But meanwhile a few things have happened: 1) we've sent off our requests for an interview for a 10-year carte de séjour (right to remain). I hope I've done it correctly. I gave someone the wrong email address for something important yesterday because of rushing and not focusing on what I was doing... 2) It's become suddenly autumnal. Chilly in the mornings and not always that warm in the afternoons, either. 3) Catrin has her ticket now for South Africa? She's flying Iberian with a change of plane in Madrid, leaving mid January and returning mid May. 4) Catrin has been charged with finding an electric piano for the French project - something easy to carry either in a car or on the tram. There's a very basic 5-octave Yamaha that may do the trick. 5) We've greened up our flat wit