Monday, October 23, 2006

Fun things

Well it's now a rather long time since I reported any 'news' in my blog, as various of you have been pointing out, so I thought I'd better update you on both halves of my life in the last two or three weeks…firstly, the social side:
Life in 'colocation' continues to go very well indeed, we've now de-cluttered several of the bits of furniture that were clogging our corridors up, built a big double bed in the living room and decorated the sofas with african throws in a blue theme, plus we bought a coconut plant from ikea so it now appears much more settled and homely. We've also cleaned the windows in the kitchen and our bedrooms, so life is much more sparkly and doesn't always look like it's raining! A definite improvement. My curtains are still not quite up (though I have shutters too so it doesn't really matter) as the hook fell off the wall. Oops. But I do have speakers for my laptop, so the film-watching and music potential of my computer has improved manyfold. Washing up is getting a little rarer, not least because I appear to be the only person who ever clears the rack of clean things, but that is only to be expected. Visitor frequency has gone down so the living room has been more available for film watching and game playing and (I'm there at the moment) working, which has been nice and sociable. Meanwhile everyone is settling into their particular weekly routine, full of work, sport and the odd spot of music practice. And at least three parties, in Max's case.
My hunt for a choir finally resolved itself 'lors de' my audition for the Choeur d'Oratorio de Lyon on october 11th. I arrived somewhat out of breath as the place where it was was at the other end of a VERY long road from the metro station I had gone to, and so I had been somewhat in a rush. As a result I didn't sing incredibly well during my two pieces, but I polished my halo by sight reading a piece of ?Debussy?, at any rate something complex and french, in french, in a manner which I thought passable but the choir director, after saying that I'd pronounced all my 'u' too openly, promptly told me it had been superb and that she would therefore have me in her choir. Slightly apprehensive therefore about the level of sight reading I would encounter, I stayed for the rehearsal. It's a 40-50 strong choir, to all intents and purposes the partner choir of the Orchestre National de Lyon, so well-publicised and reasonably well-known. They can't all sight-read perfectly by any means but most of them can sight-read (which is something), and they all have nice, trained, voices. Plus there are some students there (the average age is probably not much above 35), and I went out for a drink with them after rehearsals last wednesday and they seem lovely. More friends! The choir rehearses most wednesdays, some weekends, and gives about a concert a month, and there are about 4 concert programmes during the year: the first includes fauré requiem (what a surprise), the second will be mahler 3rd symphony (girls only), then later in the year there's a beethoven mass, a programme of spanish polyphony, and the last of the year poulenc stabat mater. Some things I've done before but most that I haven't so I think it will be fun. Also, I went on a 'velo'v' (a city bike) for the first time to get to my rehearsal on Saturday, and although it was a little scary I managed to stay on the right side of the road and use the right brakes, and not get lost!
On Wednesdays I've taken on a babysitting job, playing with a little, very bubbly three year-old called Camille. She is not bothered at all that I talk to her in English sometimes, and not at all phased by me being there despite not being used to babysitters, and apparently usually she will have a nap (otherwise four hours can be quite tiring!). She is also mad about Mary Poppins. Hopefully I will get a photo of her with her favourite toy 'caillou' and her big long-haired cat "Aristote" soon.
Last week I had my 'stage d'accueil' at school which was a pointless waste of time in all ways but one, which was that I did at least get to meet the other english assistants, among them a lovely girl called Claire who is as mad as I am and who has done the Oxbridge yo-yo thing the other way round to me (born in oxford, lived in cambridge, now at Oxford). Bizarre eh. Anyway so Claire, Hattie and I have been discovering Lyon a bit together since and it has been lots of fun. On Friday we three plus max, gareth, olivier, lesley, jean-matthieu, chiara (an italian assistant from perugia), rebecca and victoria went to see Snow Patrol and a couple of bizarre French bands (one good, one definitely less so) play at a place called "le Transbordeur", which has a lot in common with the Junction. €15 and a lot of fun, although it was chucking it down with rain so going and coming home were less pleasant.
Actually, I'm telling all this in the wrong order but never mind. One monday a couple of weeks back was the Old Lyon Pub Crawl. 7 pubs and at the end if your team had all been to all 7 you got a t-shirt. Lots of students, good fun had by all.
Went to see "Le parfum" at the cinema, a veeeeery strange film. Thinking of going to see 'The Queen' sometime soon…the english teachers at school were raving about how good it was today. Anyone agree?
A couple of weekends ago Max, Antonia and I went to the "Ile Barbe" a tiny island in the middle of the Saône, not a lot to see but quite cute all the same and a good place to go to have a barbecue/play cards on the 'beach'.
Saturday before last I went to coffee at one of the english teachers' houses, met her family and her dog "rugby". She has two daughters around my age–one wasn't there, but Eve seemed very nice and hopefully I will get to know them a bit better. Marie-Claude's husband was telling me all about 'Belle du Seigneur' by Cohen which is a huuuuge novel (1968) which I am now dying to read (but first, my year abroad project…).
Tomorrow I have one more lesson before half term, and we are going out to dinner with all the language teachers and all the assistants at my school, which will be lovely. On thursday I have my second singing lesson with Veronique (had my trial lesson and it went very well so I am now subscribed for a year of such…) , then I am going to the musée gallo-romain because it's free on thursdays, then I'm going to the Opera (Lohengrin) with Rebecca, and…on friday…I'm going to Bologna, then to Rome for the weekend!
Hope that is enough to be going on with…will update again soon-and more pics of Lyon coming up!

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