Monday, December 20, 2010

Plumb wrong

Over the last couple of months we have had quite a lot of rain - I'm not complaining, it's great to have it and our reserves are now much higher than they've been for years.

However, one thing I've been meaning to do for ages is to get the gutterings cleared out. As a result, when it rains most of the water spills over instead of draining away, and the other night it spilled over down an interior wall. Luckily the wall it spilled down was in the shower recess so there was no real damage done.

This was the spur for me to call the plumbers to clear out the gutters. I thought while they were at it I could get them to replace the washer in the mixer tap for the shower which has had a slow drip for a while. This would be a simple job, I thought.

Alas, no. It turns out that with the type of mixer I have it's not simple to replace the washer. After some time spent searching the plumber came back with a part that did fit, but there was a small leak remaining, though from a different part of the tap. His advice is to buy a whole new mixer set and get it installed - initially he thought this would necessitate removing tiles, though after some thought he suggested doing it by going in from the other side, removing weatherboards.

So that's what I'll do in the new year.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

More on Cuénod

The Guardian has run a more extensive obituary of Hugues Cuénod, written by Alan Blyth, who died in 2007. It's common practice for newspapers to have obituaries prepared and it's good to see that The Guardian are not wasting the immense talents of Blyth. Also nice to see the addendum by John Amis, who some may remember from the BBC radio show, My Music.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Vale Hugues Cuénod

The extraordinary Swiss tenor, Hugues Cuénod, has died this week at the age of 108. One of the seemingly endless list of musicians who studied with Naida Boulanger, he also sang regularly at Glyndebourne. He sang in the premiere production of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress in Venice and made his debut at the Met in his 80s - as the old emperor in Puccini's Turandot.

His recordings of the French chanson repertoire are few, but essential listening for anyone interested in song.

Here he is in Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann, at the age of 69:

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Slowing down

Well, all my singing gigs are over for the year - after the Bach B minor mass I sang at St John's Southgate (on the Sunday) and then the following Saturday I sang in the annual Messiah at St Peter's Eastern Hill. All concerts went very well and I was (am) very happy with my performances in each.

I've been doing a bit more reception work at 3MBS (and have committed to Tuesday afternoon for the next few weeks) - though I was disappointed to hear yesterday that the woman I have been working with on the online listings page will be leaving the station in January.

I have been having fun lately cooking up various Indian dishes, mostly feeding P&B - always appreciative dinner guests. I resurrected my old copy of The Bengal Lancers cookbook, a recipe book from a restaurant that used to exist in Chicago, and have also bought another book to work from. Most recipes have turned out well, though I do find that it's better to err on the side of more when it comes to spice mixes; this could be a function of my taste buds being less sensitive, but the others haven't complained yet. One slightly less successful outcome was last night's attempt at parathas - they were OK, but not quite what I was hoping for. I'll try again next week.