finally, or initially, Rise.

Let me see…

I’ve just been drinking tea in the Dining Room. Hot water was coming, arrived and is now gone. Before that we had the Dress Rehearsal. It was a dress rehearsal, what can I say? Interesting to see how the set list works out. Before that we ran through sticky points, and before the brief hiatus before that Mikael, Sylvain and I completed the kitchen. Why do I always seem to be taking the set up bits and pieces from the table no matter what job I’m doing?

Before that we ate dinner, and before that we cooked it – bean soup – and before that I checked my email and got the mail I was looking for and before that there was another small group rehearsal – they’ve all sort of run together. And before that another one. And before that, tea. And before that another full group rehearsal, where the Personal Creatures tracks were sorted out electrically, and before that lunch (with a Personal Creatures performance at the beginning); and before that lots of small group rehearsals – Personal Creatures, Children’s Dance … um … other stuff. Important enough stuff that I swap Lunch preparation for Dinner preparation to go to them.

Before that, at some point, Tai Chi, definitely. And breakfast, definitely, and a shower, without doubt, and the Sitting and finally, or initially, Rise.

heaters and tables

Rise at 7:00, still cold. It must be me. Sitting at 7:30 in the cold bit of the ballroom, because the gear is in the warm bit. Then back to the room for a shower before breakfast, and then breakfast.

Tai Chi at 9:45 – good start to the day, and the new House Manager, Atillio, has already got the HM compulsions of heaters and tables.

Morning rehearsal – not feeling as groovy as yesterday, perhaps. Man – I’m out of synch with Evil. Then personal practice. With the heater on, as it is, the back bedroom is uncomfortably warm. With the door open, as it has been, the front room is life-threateningly cold.

In the afternoon, small group rehearsals – Intergalactic, Taxman and Because Circulation (for me – other people have many other things to do). Then tea and another rehearsal and more practising.

Martin comes round to the room to compare technology. I’m so distracted that I forget to do the set-up and Leo has to remind me, then I set up in a hurry (what I forget is spoons for the salad). Then there’s dinner (during which I take too much salad, using my dessert spoon); and then I sweep up and then there’s the evening rehearsal, going through the rest of the set list, and now I’m hanging out in the dining room writing my diary before the battery runs down, which it’s now about to do.

why do the Italians look so Italian?

I awoke at 7:00, showered and went down to breakfast, where Haruko, my fellow strandee, was already sitting. I got a cup of coffee and a croissant. We agree to meet again at 9:30 and give Udine another chance.

Worth it, really. Lots of rennaissance statuary and fine things. I continue with my question: why do the Italians look so Italian? Amazing.

We pass a poster for the League (though I foolishly don’t check which show it’s advertising); promising a mixture of Tango, Bach and flamenco, and featuring a Vinka shot from the Angel Bustello show. Also a shop-window full of Maisy books that I worked on.

Back to the station where the Italian railways continue to play games with us: the next train is an hour and a half later, at 12:00, which is then delayed for five minutes, ten minutes and finally an astonishing forty minutes. We wait in various places before S?r Fritz appears. He is to take the bus, which he says he prefers.

The train appears and we roll off to Carnia, arriving forty-five minutes later.

I call for a taxi from the list of numbers on the wall. I ask for the taxi in Italian I’ve recently picked up from H then the chap on the other end of the line asks me a question in Italian, so I say "No Italiano", he says "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?", I say "Ein Bischen. English?" hopefully, and he goes to get a woman who speaks English. She takes my order and says thirty minutes.

Fifteen minutes later, Christian arrives. Thirty minutes after that, he calls the taxi company (as they’re more likely to speak German than English) and has a conversation (In English) that suggests the taxi will arrive thirty minutes later.

Some time later, the taxi does, indeed, arrive.

I think I’ve seen altogether too much of the inside of Carnia railway station.

Eventually the taxi deposits us at the facility.

I do various things, such as drink coffee and collect my email, hang out and see if I have any kind of hands there. There’s a meeting to sort out where we are, and I unexpectedly volunteer to assist with Dinner preparation. This is spicy pasta by Roberto with a Salad by Haruko.

Dinner is seven minutes late, but this is altogether in keeping with the tone of the day, and not unconnected to water that refuses to boil. I know that one. I promise to tell Roberto about my experience in Mendoza. Anyway, it’s delicious, and exactly what was needed.

After Dinner, there’s a League rehearsal, at first acoustic, then electric. We do a number of numbers, among them Evil, which I keep dropping. The electric vibe is a blast. I’d love to hear this band.

I’m psyched, you know.

Now it’s 00:06, and I’m sitting in the Dining room wondering whether to post this now. I think now, but it’s possible. Bed, I think, in my new, warm, bedroom.

We reagglomerate

I woke up at 5:30 again. This has been happening a lot recently, for some reason.

Up at 6:30, shower, tai chi, Sitting, breakfast (I allow myself extra toast); then completing the packing and the House. At 9:37 we encircle in the hall and after a faxing problem depart for the bus stop around the corner. At 9:50 the bus arrives. Old people question us good-naturedly. At 10:05 we arrive at the Bahnhof and stroll to the ZOB, where we wait for the coach to Hamburg Airport. I inspect a (perhaps over-) stylised graffito of a bunny. The world is my art gallery.

10:30: the bus departs. I read for a while, then sleep. I must find a way to stop my mouth falling open when I snooze. It might provoke trouble makers.

11:30-ish: arrive at Airport. Find the check-in desk, then split up, albeit to more or less the same place. I have a cappuchino, then changing caf?s, a cheaper cappuchino.

12:30-ish. We reagglomerate at the check-in desk. I get to see an X-ray of my bag. It’s embarrassingly untidy in X-ray. At least I have proof that I remembered my cables.

13:00: Deagglomerate again. I wander off with Ignacio, Dani and Mikael, up into the gods of the airport. Ignacio and I find beverages.

13:40: meet up at the passport control and pass, briefly, through into the fabled and magical duty-free land. Gate, bus, plane.

14:30: plane takes off. I read for a while and then sleep. The alps look good from the air. This might be guessed, but is worth saying.

15:40: we land at Venice. Bus, baggage control. match bags to tickets.

After this we hang around the caf? until about 18:30, eating sandwiches and drinking coffee. Al and Haruko arrive, and eventually a bus driver and Alain P, though not Alain’s Ovation.

19:10-ish. Bus departs. Too dark to read, and I don’t really want to sleep or I’ll be up all night. The driver detours to pick up his son.

21:something: Arrive at Cesclans. Go to chalet. Pablo is waiting. I make the bed and then go to the dining room. There is soup and panetonne. Look for Ballroom. Too cold and dark to search. Return to room. Make notes. Go to bed at about 23:00.

packing escapades

So, yes, up at 6:30, then shower, then Tai Chi, then Sit, then breakfast and guitar practice in the Ballroom. So far so good. After this, a quick chat to Mika and Dani, then out to the Post Office, picking up some last supplies for me on the way back, as well as some eggs and bread for the house.

A bit more work, then Lunch. Tortillas a la Mika, made with the eggs I brought. So, good job I got them, I thought, or lunch would be fried onion and potato. As it is it’s delicious, with enough for thirds.

Throughout the day there are packing escapades, as I try to fit everything into my small suitcase, then the rucksack, then the big bag and finally (at 11:00) back into the small suitcase again. If fits this time. I suspect that space isn’t as absolute as some people would have us believe. There is still the hand-luggage to finalise and the room to be swept. I’m in better shape than when we went to Pl?n, anyway.

Tea and after tea (some time after tea, actually) House Work. I vacuum all over the place.

This is the worst time with packing. I haven’t yet forgotten the important thing I’m going to have forgotten, and there’s still a chance not to forget it. I had a checklist and everything, but obviously that all went a bit strange with the moving from case to case. It’s all in there now, packed superdense, so by morning we may have an event horizon on our hands.

And after DInner, our last circle with the current incumbent – circulations in Any-note, C major and E Harm Min. Slightly different configuration. Good stuff.

Afterwards, discover that it does all fit in the small case after all if I leave something bulky and not altogether essential out, as is often the way. Perhaps I should winnow the electronics. Oh, well. I’ll do that and go to bed. Venice, eh? Exciting.

(Similar to Kiel in a lot of ways – they’re both cold at the moment; they have the canals, we have the fjord; they have the Carnival with its masks, we have the Kielerwoche, with its drunkenness and excess of meat products. Like peas in a pod, Venice and Kiel).

the popularity of ginger nuts

6:30 still seems to be a sensible time to get up, but for some reason 7:45 seems to be an improbable time to still be awake.

After AAD, I clean my shelf in the bathroom and pack my bag. Very small bag, probably quite a tight fit.

Then much Guildhalling, including a rush after lunch (our time) to get a cover rough to George before the end of lunch (their time). Very interesting book – full of useful snippets to run alongside the things I’m learning here. Four hundred pages of it, though, which is quite a quantity of text to corral.

For some reason the biscuits-on-a-plate bit of tea was left to the last moment, so they weren’t properly arranged. But biscuits are their own reward. I’m surprised but not ungratified by the popularity of ginger nuts.

Christian, Mariana and Mika have been out and arrive back when there’s half a chocolate-sandwich biscuit and a wafer tube with nutella-esque filling left.

Then there’s a circle with Sylvain. Beatles akimbo, as it were.

Back to the Guildhalling – I package up the corrections to send back to my sister, but on arriving at the post office (17:50-ish) I find that it’s early closing on wednesdays. I haven’t experienced early closing since the mid-seventies. Oh, well, tomorrow, then.

Back again, more work. Quiet time, Dinner. I appear to be losing my ability to use the English language. I hate it when that happens.

After Dinner I retire to the Ballroom where I do lots of primaries and calisthenics and repertoire and, after a break, my own stuff and see what interesting stuff I’m handed. Some nice chords, a bit wistful, perhaps, but nice all the same. I have a bit too much wistful, that’s the problem.

I complete the coffee station , then come to write this. Soon: proneness.

slowly incrementally upwards

Up at 6:30,with a lot of tension in the back of my neck. After my shower, I make notes, then Tai Chi, then the Sitting. Hernan’s in for breakfast. It seems the world’s about to get too interesting again. No, scratch that, eventful. Tyranny is eventful, but dull.

After breakfast I practise in the Ballroom, then read for fifteen minutes with a cup of coffee (I’m waited on, quite extraordinary); and then get down to the Guildhalling. As of now (23:17) all the sheets of paper are transferred from the "to do" pile to the "done" pile. That doesn’t mean it’s all done and dusted, but soon. Hopefully.

Anyway, the corrections take me up to Lunch, along with another Maisy tweak. Oh, and I attempt to put order into my space. And then there’s lunch, after which I practise some more, then there’s a circle. I appear to be having a slowly incrementally upwards relationship with these tunes.

After this, back to the Guildhalling, interrupted by Tea, then ten minutes remedial coding, then more Guildhalling, then Dinner, then I wash up, then… you can guess, can’t you. And now the face-up pile is face down, and I’m one step closer to a state-of-having-done-it, and my mind is burbling and good night.

Somewhere in there I got a feedback buster from Juan in London – thanks Juan! It has the back buster in large letters. So I got me a loan of a back buster.

a lesson in despair

Day off.

So, up very late, then some coffee and setting to the Guildhall corrections. This is a very big pile of corrections and flicking through them looking at the red marks is a lesson in despair.

At 15:00 I go out to the Sophienhof, where I buy some things I’ll probably need in the next few weeks, and on the way back I stop at Bambule for a late lunch. I return to the House, have a nap then, after another Maisy correctionette, get on with the corrections. This takes me up to about 11:00, when I stop.

And now I’ll go to bed.

And the guitar didn’t explode, which is a plus.

Up at 6:30, I turn the oven, then shower, then prepare breakfast, sit and complete the breakfast preparation. This includes bread. I think I may have cracked the "How do you make a loaf of bread without a crust thick enough to withstand a nuclear blast?" conundrum.

Breakfast is eaten.

After this I lie down. I’m feeling quite wrecked.

Gettng up again, I some practice, before Ignatio comes in to ask what time he’s to prepare lunch (A. Whenever he wishes to, really. I’m not a terribly dictatorial Kitchen Co-ordinator) and what do I think of his truss rod adjustment (A. I like it. I like it so much that I decide to effect one of my own, which I do, as soon as I’ve briefed Ignatio on lunch, which briefing effectively runs to "You can make whatever you like, within reason, and if possibly use these left-overs." I’m not a terribly dictatorial kitchen co-ordinator.)

After the adjustment. Mmm. Great improvement. And the guitar didn’t explode, which is a plus. I do some more serious practising until lunch.

Lunch involves mashed potato and cheese. Perfect winter comfort food.

After lunch a lot more practising. And then tea. And then circulations, and then it’s time to brief Mikael on dinner, which is, if anything, more laid back than the lunch briefing. I take washing out of the washing machine and hang it on the drier.

Dinner turns out to be pasta with creamy mushroom sauce. After dinner I wash up, and then it’s an evening off. I spend the evening off working on mix CDs, one of music I listened to while I was at school, the other that which I listened to at college. A lot of it’s held up rather well, considering the prevailing fashion in music production was that it should all sound rather clanky.

not only bad form but self-referential

I realise I’ve responisibilities to write more than this, but I’m tired and about to go to bed. Actually, all day I was tired and irritated, and later on irritated at myself for being irritated, which is not only bad form but self-referential. Tomorrow I stop being kitchen coordinator again, which will be a relief, and then there’ll be a day off. Or a rebellion. One or the other, either way a change of pace.

Still, I got to go to the nice supermarket. Pity everything’s too expensive to buy. I’d have thought they’d be better at supermarkets in Germany.