Saturday, February 24, 2007

30 years, not 130 ...

This poster was done for yesterday's party. John at the back, me at the front.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A big milestone

Yesterday the builders came to replace my back doors. They were damaged by the hacking they received when the last burglar jemmied them to gain entrance. The guys arrived early yesterday so I went up to Smith St for breakfast and the paper at Gypsy Bar leaving them to the job.

Then for lunch I went up to Northcote to catch up with DC whom I hadn't seen for a very long time. It was great to see him again and we spent a couple of hours having lunch, interrupted by much chatting. He and CN seem really well (CN turned up later in the day). We won't leave it quite so long before next time.

Then it was back home before heading off for German class - the guys were just finishing up and the doors, having had a final coat of stain, look very nice. Had a quick Indian meal with D&A before D and I headed off to class.

Today was quite a big day at work. We had a party this afternoon to celebrate the fact that JL and I have worked there for 30 years... yes, 30. It was a lovely do; we had invited around 70 people, and although not all we invited could make it there were plenty we hadn't asked who filled up the numbers.

We were both given a fairly substantial swag of merchandise including a bag (of course), a T-shirt and an umbrella - let's see how quickly I can lose it.

It's been an interesting 30 years. I doubt I would have stayed so long if I hadn't been enjoying myself; I've worked with a great lot of people. The work has changed so much in 30 years the job is unrecognisable compared with the one I started in; the technological changes have been extraordinary, both in the production side of things and the archiving systems.

And while I certainly won't be there for another 10 years (perhaps 5), I can't say I regret any of the past 30 years.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Jim and Natalie in China

I've added a link over on the right to a blog by JimW who has gone to Shanghai to study Chinese language. His girlfriend Nat has also gone and is hoping to teach English while there.

Another week gone

Back to German class last week. I'm a bit rusty but managed to keep my head above water. There are a number of new faces in class and some old favourites, including Dennis. We ate with Anthony before class as this year it's from 7:15-9:15.

On Friday Bach was back on the menu. We had our first rehearsal of cantata BWV 78, Jesu, der du meine Seele at St John's. It's not nearly as high for the tenors as some we've sung, but to compensate there are lots of trills.

GL: Tenors, I'd like to hear a nice strong trill there.
F: I can't trill.
GL: Then perhaps some strong vibrato.
F: I can't do that either.

I suppose we could split the trill between us, like hocket.

Saturday saw us at the Farmers' Market where I bought some rhubarb. The woman who sells it is a bit bossy about how it should be cooked, although following her directions certainly does produce tasty results.

BN came around late afternoon and we sat and talked and watched DVDs, and ate and drank; a very enjoyable evening. I made a rather nice roast lamb salad and some potato salad. We finished with the rhubarb.

At Mum's on Sunday I learnt that her fellow unit-dwellers are bickering about a patch of unnaturally green lawn which has been driven over (by persons unknown, though most likely my brother in his 4x4). If it had been left to die like everyone else's lawn the tyre marks would never have been noticed.

In the evening I went with B&P to LE's for a not-surprisingly delicious meal. We started with a tasty cold green pea and mint soup and moved on to a beef salad. The meal finished with a tasty dessert with nectarines and berries topped with persian fairy-floss. Yum. I left a bit early as I was feeling a bit coldy.

On Tuesday night I went to P&B's for dinner. Their new fridge looks splendid even if it has meant moving the clock. Dinner was splendid (as usual): roast pork, crackling, asparagus and roast potato and pumpkin. All topped off with B's blackberry and strawberry ice-cream. I staggered home, very happy.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A farewell to James

Yesterday was shopping as normal though I declined lunch with B&P and MC. Instead I raced into town to find a going-away present for JimW. I finally decided on a leather-bound journal for him to write about his trip to China.

Last night was a farewell party for him, thrown at DC's place in Northcote. I was the only grown-up(?) there for much of the time although A&RG dropped in for a while. I had missed D&P as they had called in earlier - they had three parties to do. JimW's friends are good value and I stayed for a couple of hours chatting to KatW and others. JimW is planning to blog during his time in Shanghai and when he starts I will put a link over on the right.

I cycled home in time for most of Midsomer murders - twee, I know, but fun.

Spem and Spem again

Thursday afternoon's rehearsal went well, although Peter Philips didn't arrive until well after 5pm. He seemed pleased with our efforts; our Friday call was put back to 5pm when we had a chance to run through our own pieces before joining with the Tallis Scholars to run through Spem. After the run through we adjourned to Southbank for some dinner.

At 7.30pm we were on. The acoustic was much more helpful than I was expecting and thankfully the lights were so bright we couldn't really see the audience. Our set went off really well: Bruckner, Durufle and Finzi.

Then in came the Tallis Scholars and in no time we were off. It started well but a third of the way into Spem things started to go awry. It was mostly people getting out of time, which was hardly surprising considering Philips' ambiguous beat. At the time it felt like ages; I wasn't singing during most of the worst but at one stage expected PP to stop and start again. Miraculously it all started to fit together again and we all finished together (always a plus).

At the end of the concert we got another try at Spem and this time it went off remarkably well. Perhaps everyone was just concentrating that little bit more. Whatever the reason it was a really satisfying performance and I'm very proud to have been part of it (even if I didn't get my name in the program).

Friday, February 02, 2007

Hitting the big time

The Tallis Scholars are in town and as they are planning to sing Tallis' Spem in alium have recruited extra people to fill up the numbers. Nominally the extras are from the Trinity College choir, but inevitably there have been more needed; a number of Gombert-ites were asked. Early this week I had a call from ST asking if I was available - I of course replied yes, so Tuesday evening saw us all (well, nearly all of us) rehearsing in Trinity chapel.

Then yesterday we had a call from 3-6pm. I took a day off work which was probably the easiest way to do it. We did some good work and around 5pm Peter Philips turned up and took us through the Tallis. Initially I found his beat rather hard to interpret but by the end of the rehearsal I think I got the hang of it. He seemed pleased with the sound we produced and our grasp of the work.

The crunch comes tonight: the concert starts at 7.30. We sing a short bracket (Bruckner, Durufle, Finzi) then are joined by the TS for Spem. After that the main attraction sing their party pieces and the night finishes with another performance of Spem.

For those interested the whole lot's being broadcast live on ABC Classic FM. Wish me luck!