Sunday, May 06, 2007
Back to the Sun
So you think it’s an easy life? Arriving back, it takes us a whole ten minutes to get acclimatised: enter, open shutters, put table, chairs and parasol on balcony, unpack, wire up laptop, take bottle from ’fridge, grab binoculars, sit on terrace and study the boats. It’s sunny now but it has been very wet here and the lemon trees are grateful: being in pots they’re very dependent on kind persons giving them a drink. (Like their owners.) Not sure how this works but they’re currently carrying the puny remnants of last year’s miserable crop, plus lots of blossom promising a good harvest this winter. Frustrating thing is that whichever window we look out of – left, right or in front – are huge lemon trees, groaning with crops that will never get harvested, but are tantalisingly just out of reach. So we have to buy lemons at the shop. I thought I’d tell you all this ‘cause I’d hate you to get the impression that it’s all cakes and ale around here.
And that’s not all: I’ve managed to forget the USB device that controls the wireless mouse and keyboard, so have to use the fiddly laptop I/O facilities. Yes, I know I can pop down to the shop and buy another keyboard – but it will be a French AZERTY keyboard, with three functions to every key and all the keys the wrong place. So there’s my excuse for a brief blog and low productivity.
Ségo and Sarko There’s only one topic of conversation here. Everyone asks ‘Who do you think will win?’ It’s the Deuxième Tour of the présidentielle today – the Second Round of the Presidential Election - with the socialist Ségolène Royal (Ségo - see post Nov 17) in a run-off against Nicolas Sarkozy (Sarko) the conservative – and favourite. Actually they’re both ‘neos’ now because this is the round in which they try to grab the votes that were wasted in the first round in this eccentric electoral system. So Ségo set out to get Bayrou’s (centre-left) voters and Sarko went after Le Pen’s (almost as far right as an American Democrat) voters. So in the past week the whole thing has moved right and it’s all anti-immigration, anti-Europe and anti-union; and the Messiah is – and this’ll kill ya – Margaret Thatcher!
Not a word is being said about what will happen to the incumbent, Chirac. Will he lose his Presidential immunity and be indicted for the alleged skull-duggery when he was Mayor of Paris? No one‘s talking, but I think he’s made a deal somewhere.
Canary Island Discs No. 5 I’m heading west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on my way home from work. I’m slightly earlier than usual because it’s the day of the Katherine D. Markley school concert. KDM was similar to most American elementary schools – the kids learned about Davy Crockett, Paul Revere and all fifty state birds. But there was one big difference: Mr Miller. Mr Miller was an enthusiast - he taught music and led the school orchestra and the school military and dance bands, and as his name might imply, he was a Glenn Miller fan.
Unlike my kids, my own musical ineptitude was that of a tone-deaf mule. I preferred drums because the harmonics were unchallenging, you could make sticks out of meat skewers and drum on Mum’s sewing machine. (Never got along with the cymbals though.) I got the level of coaching that I deserved, and could only ever play one tune: Over the Rainbow - probably the result of a long-forgotten passion for Judy Garland or because I loved that octave leap at the beginning.
On this occasion Mr M announced that my daughter, who played in the orchestra, would be playing a flute solo as a surprise for her Dad. It was a surprise all right. I still have that huge disc the size of a flying saucer on which my daughter plays Over the Rainbow, but, this being a digital world, it’s unlikely that a desert island will have a diamond stylus. So for my Canary Island Disc No 5 I’ll have to settle for Judy’s version.
Disc 1. Amhrán na bhFiann, the Irish national anthem, (to remind me of my mother, whose birthday is today).
Disc 2. Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring.
Disc 3. Zoltán Kodály’s Háry János Suite.
Disc 4 Michel Petrucciani, Caravan.
Disc 5 Judy Garland, Over the Rainbow
This keyboard’s driving me mad – that’s all folks. Except to say, for those who care, that unless they are beaten by Chelsea by more than 10 goals next week, that EVERTON are in the UEFA Cup. Watching the level of French opposition tonight - Marseille - they should do well.