Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Hello again

Hello again, everyone!

Where were we? I was in Germany, and very wet, I believe. I expect that you will not be surprised to hear that I am no longer wet. Are you surprised to hear that I am no longer in Germany? Whether you are or not is immaterial, I suppose. The fact is, I have been here for about two months now, and have actual productive employment. My job no longer makes me want to find any excuse to avoid going, even though I have to wake up before 7am (which is an actual real time, it would appear) in order to ensure that I can both have dry deodorant before I get dressed and get to work on time. Both of these things happen most days.

Generally, when one has been through an interesting experience, such as my great moving to Germany escapade, one will summarise some things about it. Normally, they will use actual sentences, quite unlike the sentence I just failed to write in a convincing manner. I will attempt to write something vaguely summary-like and interesting. I do not promise that paragraphs will not contain much repetition of interesting words. It is late, and my brain broke about the time I went on anti-depressant drugs. (Don't worry - it's just the memory and a certain amount of the cognition that went. I know absolutely nothing about the subject, and am therefore confident that they will return when the drugs are stopped.)

The big reasons for my Germany trip were to learn German and to get some organ building work experience in a country that wasn't the UK. Under the circumstances, I was looking to get work experience in Germany. I failed on both counts. My German has improved to such an extent that I can have a very slow and stilted conversation with a friendly German who really, really wants me to know what they are saying, and is prepared to use very simple language and slow speech. I demonstrated this three times on my last day! (And the day after that I arrived in Paris and had what I remember as a fairly effortless conversation in French - it's good to know that one of my foreign languages improved. Although, having said that, on my penultimate day in Germany I did have a date in French. It lasted for hours. I think that my French improved a lot.)

The work experience thing failed. I was getting somewhere about two weeks before I left (friend of a friend of a friend), but then time ran out and it wasn't worth pursuing.

Another thing that failed was my looking after of the vegetable garden. The guy who owned the flat was not impressed. I had thought that I had left it in a more-or-less OK state (freshly mown! Weeded in parts! No apples on the grass!), but I was wrong. I will not take on a vegetable garden on my own again in a hurry. No siree.

I did learn how to spin and weave, though. I made three scarves which could be worn, one of which was good and all of which were pretty. OK, so it took about 40 hours of spinning to produce the yarn for the good scarf, and I cheated and used entirely bought yarn for the other two, but it's not as though I was short of time.

Another thing I did was reflect. And find myself ready to start to work and interact with people again.

And I didn't gain weight, overall. Which is more than can be said for the last two months.

I also realised that I enjoy the company of family members a lot. This made moving back to my parents' house seem like a very inviting prospect. That was excellent, because it's great! I am especially enjoying time off being a proper adult who has to cook for herself. One day I shall return to that role, and I shall enjoy it; being able to ignore it completely at the moment should have a decidedly restorative effect. I love running away from things!

It was hard spending so much time away from having conversation with people. On my return, though, it was very strange. There's this thing about people in England: they speak English. If you want to ask them a question, you just ask it in English and they understand, then answer you in English. You don't have to translate your question into German, or even French. Nor the answer. They only rarely use vocabulary with which I am not familiar (the local vernacular can be interesting). It is so liberating! Shopping briefly became an adventure!

So, the job. Pretty much what I wanted, really. Organ building. Not making new organs, so there is no requirement to make 61 pipes which are beautiful and identical except that each one is ever so slightly smaller than the last one in nearly every way, and is possibly also a little less eary. Of course, I still have to clean the little darlings, and make them beautiful again, but that's actually quite fun. Not that making pipes would not be fun (she says, seeing her future career running away without so much as a backwards glance), but a whole week of doing nothing but making pipes would not please me in the slightest.

One of the excellent things about this job is the variety. I won't go so far as to say that there are never two days the same, because that would be untrue. There are an awful lot of organs which need to be tuned, and that involves sitting more-or-less stationary and moving my fingers, hands and arms a little, but mostly keeping them still. That gets samey. I enjoy it a lot, though. (I think that this is evidence that I am a little wrong in the head, but I am sure that it would not take much digging to find evidence which is significantly more compelling than this.) Cleaning pipes can last for days, too. That is only dull if a) you are entirely sane; b) the pipes have been washed already, but poorly, and the job is therefore being repeated or c) you know it will last for three days. So far, only the middle condition has been fulfilled in my case (and that only rarely), so I am enjoying that, too.

One of the less excellent things about this job is the cold. I am investing in more warm things. I have some sheepskin fingerless gloves, which feel as though they are hugging my hands. I love them. Any week now, the thermal underwear comes out. The overalls I was given are holding that at bay nicely, though, as is the very thick fleece, the Puffa gilet and the scarf. I'm not thin at the best of times, but I imagine that I look somewhat Michelin-Man-like when I am tuning.

I think that I will probably not talk about the job very much now, though. It's never a good policy to blog about work, and it is possible that I have said too much already.

I also got myself another organist job. I think that, this time, the situation was not desperate (normally, when people offer me a job as an organist, they are), and it was more a case of both knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. Having a very flexible approach to when I work probably helped, too. And this job is for one Sunday per month! It hasn't exactly started yet, but it sort of has; I played on Sunday because the service was on the piano and Dave the Organist (for it is his church) hates pianos. At the risk of receiving an angry look, I shall venture to say that pianos are not wild about him. Reducing antipathy, getting some practice in on an easy instrument and earning some money are all excellent motivators, so I was glad to volunteer for this particular service.

The service mostly went well. I don't think that I played badly at all, and my wrong note percentage was way below 1. I also had an 80% success rate for playing the hymn I had agreed to play. That's not bad for a first time, is it? Anyway, the offending 20% of hymns was only out by 1 (258, instead of 259). And the congregation didn't seem to know the one I was supposed to play. And I admitted my mistake only a few moments after I was supposed to have started to play, but had instead looked in horror at the hymn book and the lack of a match between the hymn I had practised and the hymn which was in front of me, and the unlikeliness that I would be able to sight-read something so modern at such short notice. Fortunately, the theme was about the same, and the people leading the service very graciously allowed me to play the hymn that I had prepared. I then played through the whole thing reasonably well (just in case nobody knew it), which made a change as I usually go to pieces when I completely fail to play a single note of what I should be playing (i.e. the correct hymn). Thank goodness it was an easy one!

In future, however, I shall most certainly not be agreeing which hymns I will play on a Friday night. That is a night for family fun, and not for doing things which involve cognition. I was warned about the likelihood of the exact mistake I ended up making, in a particularly explicit way (that's the wrong hymn - she wants 259), but convinced myself that I had made a typo and that I knew what I was doing. I had not, and I did not. Lesson learned, I hope!

It's not all organs, though. I have taken up Pilates again. I like it. It helps me to lift heavy trays of pipes like a man. Grr. Hear me roar, and all that. And climbing is happening, too. Sometimes. I have been lent a spinning wheel, and have bought a digital radio (Tesco - working really well so far and helping me to get to sleep at night, and to wake up in the morning. Currently it is about fourth on the list of my best friends. I suppose this means that I should give it a name, but I apparently don't treat all of my close friends with that much respect).

Mother let me put up a net of white lights on the wall above my bed, and Father helped me to achieve the drilling of holes. I love it - I can turn the light off without leaving my bed. I have given up on my old mobile phone (it was convinced I had plugged in headphones, and so would not speak to me without a loudspeaker) and now have a "new" one (from HWSNBN, via Anne), which has really horrid text settings. If I sent text messages, I would probably have gone mad by now.

This is turning into a list. I so wanted it to be a pretty little narrative. Ah well - that's a whole load of narration out of the way. It has just occurred to me, though, that if I am not talking about either of my jobs (the real one, or the one which happens once a month), my love-life (or complete lack thereof), and I am not really seeing any of my friends, this blog will continue to be very dull. It's not even as though I am going to make any soap in the near future, as I made about 12kg of the stuff before I left England for France. I have about 11 1/2kg left (I gave quite a bit away). (I know - I'm exaggerating. I have under 11kg left.)

Ah well. We shall see. And it's not as though anyone reads this, anyway, so nobody will be disappointed.

Let's summarise now, and get a cup of tea before listening to Radio 7 and going to sleep:

Life is good. I like it.

1 comment:

Elizabeth McClung said...

It sounds great - the job sounds good as does the playing job, though being off by one page is the sort of 'nightmare' scenerio, I would have checked to see if I still had on my clothes. Rock climbing sounds fun, indeed your life sounds fun. Thanks for sharing it.