About Me

Llantwit Major, Wales, United Kingdom
I am mother, librarian, avid reader, sf fan, writer (unpubished), singer(amateur), animal lover, needlewoman.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Paint pod

A paint pod is a thing Dulux have invented which attaches a tube from the paint to a roller, with a little pump so the paint goes straight into the roller, and it is both much more even, and saves all that bending and stretching.  It is also much neater, as I usually put nearly as much paint on myself as the walls when using a roller but didn't splash at all using the pod thing.  It is only for emulsion, and you have to use a relatively narrow range of Dulux paints, but it was good.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lord, I've been busy

I haven't posted recently because either nothing has been happening or too much has been happening.

Last week was concerts week.

Wednesday we went to what the BBC National Orchestra of Wales call a Composer Portrait.  They focus on contemporary composers, and this one was for Dutch composers.  They had 3 pieces played, one of which was dull, the second I enjoyed and the third one split the Noyes/McNabb vote.  The composer had the percussion players breaking birch twigs (to evoke saunas because the composer was actually Swedish although lives in Holland) which would have been ok in small doses but went on too long.  Brian however really liked it, so we agreed to differ on that one.

Thursday we went to Swansea to hear a new opera by a composer called Nicola le Fanu.  It started well because we met a couple of friends who we haven't seen for a while, then another couple of friends arrived too, so we had a really nice chat before the concert started.    The first piece was an trio which was ok, not exciting or particularly original but ok.  Then came the second piece.  It didn't start well when the violinist was staring up to heaven when she played, but when the percussion player started growling .... oh dear.  During the 1960's there were lots of these sort of things because people were just trying anything to see what happened.  Had it been the 1960's it would still have been awful, but it would have been less out of place.  We could not fathom why it was performed, because it was absolute crap. Out of date absolute crap.  The opera wasn't up to much either, not as dire as the previous piece, but the libretto was poor and the music dull. 

Friday we went to the Welsh National Orchestra and Chorus in St Davids Hall.  The new conductor has started doing concerts with the WNO orchestra, and we went to one earlier in the year which was really good and he is doing some really  interesting programming.    Friday's concert was stunning.  The theme was Vienna, and started with Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, went on to a short piece by Schoenberg (forgotten the title) about the death of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto, and finished with Brahm's German Requiem. 


It was absolutely fantastic.  It occurred to me that you don't get a professional choir of 40 people, usually choral pieces like the Brahms are sung by amateur choirs, even if they are very good amateur choirs (like all the BBC ones or the Halle), so to have a professional choir, used to singing together under far more demanding circumstances (no score, raked stage, costumes etc) was a treat.  And they were brilliant.  I had shivers during the performance.  Wonderful.

Over the weekend we came down to earth with a big bump and have been painting the tv room and downstairs loo, including all the woodwork, all weekend.  I am now really tired.  We used a paint pod for the walls which was really good, very non messy.  This is the first time I have used a roller and not ended up with almost as much on me as got onto the walls. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

All work .....

I haven't been posting because not much has been happening really.

Brian update his website and lost it in transit, so we ended up having teccy conversations over the phone while we tried to sort it out.  Solving computer problems on the phone is much harder than when you have the thing in front of you.  I have a greater appreciation of the people on helplines now than I did before.  We did get it sorted and it is now up again.

Brian has new windows in the cottage now, so I am glad I missed that as it created the usual chaos that building work involves. 

We went out to dinner with friends last Monday and because I had a 3 course meal put in front of me I ate far more than I am used to eating at the moment, and ended up feeling both uncomfortable and guilty.  The on the Wednesday I was hosting our book/dinner club so another 3 course meal, though as I was cooking 2 courses I could control what and how much I ate so didn't feel so bloated afterwards.  Needless to say I didn't lose any weight last week. 

I have started pruning the things in the garden and hope that I correctly pruned the raspberry canes.  I did what the book said but it looked a bit severe.  fingers crossed because I liked having my own raspberries.  Other things I am fairly confident I have pruned correctly, though the lilac bush which has become very overgrown but never had any flowers seems to have heard me say it was going and has now - in October - thrown out a couple of feeble flowers.  It is still going though.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Opera plots

We went to see Katya Kabanova by Janacek last night by the Welsh National Opera. 

You could not fault the orchestra or the singers who were all fabulous, the new conductor of the WNO Lothar Koenig is really, really good and has given the orchestra a new lease of life I think.  The music is complex and emotional, the singing - especially Amanda Roocroft who played Katya - excellent.


It is such a silly plot, even by opera standards.  The poor heroine is going mad, but really, she goes off to see the lover and spends all her time telling him she is sinning and is going to die.  If that didn't put the man off I can't think what would.  There was a discrepancy between the lack of credibility in the plot which strove for reality and missed, and the power of the music which was trying to carry the plot along with it.

Some of the reason for the credulity gap was - surprise surprise - down to the director, who for some reason had set it all in a fairly grim 50's place, although anything Russian in the 50's would not have had everyone going to church all the time, or had the whole set up of inherited wealth being so crucial to the plot.  She also ignored completely one of the 'characters' in the plot which is the River Volga, which people referred to seing while looking at an institutional green wall in a cafe. 

Had the director picked up more on the actual themes in the opera - unhappy marriage, childhood, the river, - and done something with them instead of imposing her own obsession with 50's Poland (she has used it a few times before apparently) then I think the whole thing would have gelled much better.

Even so, it was really good, and I did enjoy it.

I am also going to see Figaro, La Boheme and Tristan this season.  The first 2 I have seen before, but Tristan is my first Wagner.  I will take sandwiches.

We have also gone mad and booked concerts up to next June as both the BBC and WNO are doing ones we want to see this year, having had a few years when we have looked at the programmes and thought - nah.  Gergiev is coming in April doing Mahler Symphony no 8 which B has never seen live and is apparently stunning, so we are off to that.  Plus lots of other things.  Luckily if you buy enough tickets for the BBC concerts you get to pay over 4 months. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Joining the gym

Well, I have joined the gym - though I think I am having denial type thoughts as so far I have spelled that as gum and gem (hmm) .

Having been trailing in the rear while going up hills  in Malvern I have decided that I really need to get a bit fitter.  The wii fit is fun, but not enough work really.  As a member of the Council I get a reduced rate if I use the gym between 7 and 10 am, so I have managed twice this week.

Lets see if I can keep it up