Showing posts from September, 2020

Meeting the anaesthetist

 I got my pool car at about 10 and headed off for my 11am appointment with the anaesthetist. Traffic was fluid. I found a parking space quite easily and headed into the building. At reception I realised I couldn't find my way to the "Anaesthesia consultations" so I asked at the information desk. "You come here first", so I took a number and waited. A few minutes later I had shown my carte de séjour, my health card, my health insurance card and my appointment sheet and been given my sheet of sticky labels and directed to the department.  There's another reception, so there I handed over the latest version of every health related document I possess - blood tests, etc. - and was told to wait.  There were about four people waiting already and two doctors. I saw a kindly looking man whose badge said "Anésthetiste Réanimateur". After examining all my documents and pronouncing them satisfactory, he listened to my breathing, checked the back of my hand for

Gaze and commit to memory - the drones are coming

A notice taped to the door of our block of flats warns us that photographic drones will be flying over the area Monday to Wednesday to take detailed photos that will allow the surveyors to plan the landscaping of the Jardins de l'Ars. Woohoo!

Choirs and covid-19

Whoever thought that choral singing would be a dangerous sport?  Well it is now, thanks to the new coronavirus.  "How so?" I hear you cry.  The problem is that singers do various unhelpful things: 1) they breathe in deeply, thus taking in more air and, possibly, more droplets which could be carrying viruses. By this means they invite an infection and a bigger initial dose of the virus. 2) they breathe out deeply and project their breath, especially when they sing loudly, thus expelling droplet-laden breath into the air and, potentially, sharing their viruses generously with all in the room. 3) they insist on doing these activities in synchronised groups, thus providing an excellent substrate for the virus to propagate. Yesterday, incidentally, I met with a colleague here who recovered from his covid infection just a couple of weeks ago. He's in his thirties and contracted the virus playing volleyball. Enough said for his state of fitness. Nevertheless he was very unwell,

Some important information


Slowing the circulation of the virus

 On Monday the Prefect of Nouvelle Aquitaine spoke to introduce further measures to slow the epidemic in the Gironde. There was nothing that stopped the church meeting, especially in our new configuration os small groups at the church and in two homes. However, our friends who planned to marry at the beginning of October with over 100 guests have had to cancel their wedding reception and plan quickly something much smaller in the satellite town of Libourne. They have reacted with admirable flexibility and resolve. Now the Health Minister is speaking. His tone is so good. It is hard to get tested just now because the government promised a free test for anyone who wanted one. This has led, understandably, to bottlenecks in the laboratories. So after thanking French people for their patience and their understanding, he has introduced a system of priority testing for people who show symptoms or who havebeen alerted that they have been in contact with the virus. Other people who just want t

Does my mouth look big in this?


Things have been relatively quiet in Bordeaux

 Just the usual combats : Vampire flies : attacking my arms and feet. I got some cream from the chemist to help with the inflammation following their attacks. Covid-19 : two men in the French church have become ill following a volleyball match with their club. Both are youngish, fit and well, but the virus is vicious. We have implemented our multi-site micro-church plan, dividing up into three groups. Two will meet in homes and cosist of up to 10 people. The third will meet in the church room and can accommodate up to 30. For this we have to pre-record our sermon and generally organise the whole thing well in advance. I gabble even more when preaching to my smartphone. Oh well. Meanwhile the town hall has announced that there will be no more Christmas Tree in Bordeaux. This is what we must expect when the Narnian Party has taken over the town hall, I suppose. I am hoping for free turkish delight for every household, but I fear I may hope in vain.

The train wreck - I mean the audition

The saga of trying to find a practicable choir continues, this time with me seeing a notice that a chamber choir needs men. The choir rehearses not so far from where we live: about 20 mins by bike, 30 by bus and tram or 45 mins' walk. I replied to the notice and got a respone from someone I know from another choir urging me to contact the musical director. I did so and he phoned straight away to arrange to come and do an audition. Then begins the mental wrangling. What could I sing? I decided on a rather awkward but beautiful piece of Poulenc but each time I worked it through (without accompaniment - I'm not good enough on piano) I messed up a tricky chromatic section in the middle. I decided to go with something else. Anyway, as I was still warming up he phoned to say he'd arrived. Oh help! What a disaster! We did some vocalises to establish my range. We did the bass line of "The silver swan", which we'd sung at the gîte. He brought out a Fauré test vocalise

They're all after my blood

 So now I have a bruise from my blood test and several lumps, bumps and scabs from the attentions of the mosquitos that have decided to add their plague to the season's pestilence. I must dramatically increase my garlic intake.

Back to school today

 Our flat overlooks a primary school and today it's back to school day. I first noticed a tall guy walking with a small boy beneath our window, chatting as they loped and trotted along. They crossed the future gardens to get the the school. Halfway across the man slipped a mask onto his face. We're outside the area where you have to wear a mask in the street in Bordeaux. It stretches from the station, about 8 minutes walk away, to just before where the church meets, but doesn't include our immediate area! You're also exempted if you're running or riding a bike. You do, however, have to have a mask on in the immediate vicinity of the school gates. Meanwhile small groups of parents and children appeared at the far end of the car park and followed the same route. A little procession left the flats further down, each mother masked, the children scuttling cheerfully. A flotilla of bikes came round the corner and crossed the future gardens, adult and child gliding along,