Saturday, 3 September 2011

Some more months happened to me, too

Hello, all!

Life is continuing, as is its wont. Since I last posted here many happenings and developments have occurred. Hopefully, much learning has taken place; I think I find out about that when I end up in similar situations in the future and either use a better tactic, or fail miserably and simply use whatever tactic failed to work last time. I suspect the latter, but always hope for the former.

So, what's been going on? Well, I have used my drill. Once. I did make it so that the second battery fits into the carry-case (I used the perhaps overly-sophisticated technique of cutting a hole in the box where the drill bits probably wanted to sit. Except that the drill bits live in a container which would require more impressively major surgery to insert into the case, so I decided not to do that at all), so the drill hasn't been entirely idle. Sort of. Actually, I can't justify that statement. It has been idle. Had I bought one, currently one would be able to accuse me of wasting my money. I did take it to Greenbelt with me, but they had much better drills so I left it in the car.

Other than that, I have started to play for services (actual, full services, with voluntaries and everything!), probably more or less one Sunday out of four. The first service was, on an absolute scale of things, not really all that good. Fortunately, it was more or less good enough, and it fulfilled its main (for me) purpose of getting the first service on this monster of an organ without any pistons to aid with registration aids, out of the way. It seems slightly strange that I should be nervous about playing for exactly the same congregation as that which met downstairs over winter, but I have been told that it is stupid to berate oneself for what one feels, and should instead concentrate on reacting appropriately to that feeling; I didn't berate myself for feeling (actually rather) nervous, but instead concentrated on not playing too many wrong notes. The failing, ultimately, didn't matter.

The second service was better because it wasn't the first service. Unfortunately, I had neglected to realise that this service was a Communion service. This means that I was supposed to have prepared a quiet piece of music to play while Communion was taking place. My lack of preparation could have been a problem. Fortunately, I was able to dig out that Bach piece I learned really well that one time, and practise it in the choir vestry (on the table - no keyboard there). I went over the sections I was getting wrong a few extra times, and when I came to play it, it was nearly note-perfect. Result!

The third service was better still, because I remembered that it was a Communion service, and prepared something to play. Unfortunately I have now used up my repertoire, and will have to learn some new pieces. Additionally, it has become apparent that I need to get myself another teacher. Action must be taken; this organ isn't going to learn how to play itself.

(Oh, but it did get fixed. Not properly, or anything, but all of the stops currently turn on or off on demand, and we may even have every note on the pedals working (after a fashion) by next May; possibly even sooner. It is ever so exciting!)

I have been having a good time at work. The warm weather and new t-shirts we have have helped a lot, but the fact that it is the sort of work that I enjoy helps more. Holidays are still a treat, but are now far less of a necessity.

Additionally, I have been working on a list of favourite things. My current favourite thing in the world is an accessible toilet in a church (i.e. available and unlocked). My second-favourite thing is a heated church. This is second-favourite because it is only particularly helpful for about half of the year, and I can do things to make myself warmer without too much hassle. I can't do things to make myself warm enough, apparently, but warmer is a good start. After these, I suspect I like my pillow the most, very closely followed by my duvet, then my bed. Also, tea. After that, it becomes harder to prioritise. I like an awful lot of things, you see.

So, holidays. I went to Slovakia for a week and lost 2lbs. Most successful holiday ever. We looked at a lot of interesting views, and I took lots of photos on my new phone. This phone probably comes high up on my list of favourites, as it can put me to sleep, wake me up, keep me entertained via mp3s, take photos, make phone calls and send text messages. It has a touch screen, but I don't hold that against it. If it lasts for five years, I will consider it to have been an excellent investment! (How long do touch screens last, by the way? Probably not that long. Meh.)

My second holiday this year was Greenbelt. I volunteered for the site vibing team, which meant that we were putting up exciting decorations around the site before the festival started, then taking them down afterwards. It is, without a doubt, the best job: first there's the fun of making, assembling and putting things up; then there's the fun of having the entire festival free. After that, everything needs to be taken down again, but that wasn't too much of a problem. Apparently I was often good to work with, but that sometimes I should be less of a perfectionist in favour of getting the job done more quickly. The important thing is that I should be able to go back next year and do it all again. Next year, I shall be more trusting, and listen to other people's ideas more. If I do that, people will be less annoyed with me, so when I make my (obviously totally necessary) requests, people will be less inclined to throw sharp objects at my head (didn't happen, but I reckon this was down to good self-control), and more inclined to hold the ladder while I do it myself. Because it's always best to do these things yourself; other people won't quite do them perfectly! ;-)

Of course, membership of the vibing team had other advantages: my parking space was ridiculously close to the main entrance, and my tent was particularly close to where all of the action was happening, without being too close to the toilets. (Oh, the toilets: how I wish I could unsee them, and unsmell them. Mostly, they were excellent, but they had their moments of horror and gagging. One of them had a cute spider in it, though.)

I had decided to take a four-man tent with me, along with a foam mattress; I figured that I should spend my nine nights there in comfort. My tent hadn't been used for rather a lot of years, and whoever used it last didn't dry it out properly before it went away, so I had a fairly horrible scrubbing session the afternoon before I went away. Then I painted the mouldy bits with silk paint, to draw the eye from the nasty mouldy spots. Also, I sprayed the thing with Febreeze. It worked. What's more, the tent didn't leak at all, which surprised and pleased me immensely. As a reward, I shall not throw it away just yet; instead, I shall have a repairing session with some glue and some flexible waterproof stuff, so that the groundsheet within the sleeping compartment does not have any holes in it at all. The fake Duck tape I used didn't stick properly to the corners, so it has been removed.

I also made an actual new friend; one who lives locally. This means that I can pretend to have a social life from time to time, which will be a novelty.


Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Elizabeth McClung said...

Greenbelt job sounds fun. It was the event I always wanted to attend but never got around to - now a bit far away. But I am glad it is as fun as ever, I wonder how the Goth Church is doing there?

Double #1 for an accessible toilet in a church. And for few steps, as I know an organist with a cane who has to try and go from organ to piano and back up a series of stairs, at speed, between songs. It seemed a bit much!

The Storyteller said...

very interesting

Abi said...

Greenbelt was great fun! I plan to return next year and do it all again. Alas, I didn't make it to Goth Eucharist; I went to the pub for a drink beforehand, and ended up talking to someone for hours in my tent, with port and unexpected cheese. (It had to be my tent, because that's where the cheese was.)

The accessible toilets are useful, but not good enough. More must be done! Toilet roll holders throughout would be a good start...

Actually, today I was tuning an organ which felt as though it had stairs everywhere, especially with a ladder next to the bench, for access to the inside of the organ. It was very tiring! (OK, it was ever so slightly tiring. But it felt more tiring because I was being pathetic.)