Monday, 24 December 2007

And A Very Happy...

I'd wish my faithful readership a happy Christmas if I had one, but seeing as I don't I'll dedicate it to my good friend, Pos Terity. It's too late to be witty, coherent or imaginative so I'll just post a few thoughts in the existing mould. Most of my brain went to bed quite a long time ago and I think I'll follow it in just a few lines' time.

One Christmas I'd like to have a real few days off without having to worry about what's starting up on December 27th and trying to organise what's currently on the plate around it. It'd be nice for Mrs. F and the Fingernails, too. The idea of taking a car (which we don't have) up to a weekend retreat with comfy sofas and a log fire (which we don't have, either) is too good to write off completely so there is a point to the current schedule and its inanities. Nice bits of this Christmas period have been making mince pies and finding imaginative ways of cooking vegetables so that Fingernail 2 eats them without me having forcibly to stuff them down her throat and holding her mouth shut. Little victories which make you not dread mealtimes.

It's no good, I'm falling asleep on the screen.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Mulled wine and mince pies

So my singers came up trumps! They sang really well and everyone was delighted with the evening. Just a shame we got lost on the way to the reception, severely curtailing the time we could spend around the mulled wine stall and mince pie stand. Fingernail 1 was fading fast so we headed home. We're going to put something on at Easter then do the carol thing again next year. It's a real joy and they're a great bunch. If anyone ever reads this blog, you're heartily welcome; that is, if you can ever work out where it is we're doing it.

The latest production is going fine and quite a few people are requesting private sessions with me, so that helps the Christmas shopping bill. I can't believe we're starting the next production before the New Year (someone's a bit nervous about not having enough time, the usual problem), so the pressure is on us to be ready. Grief, as if there wasn't enough to worry about at the moment without losing a week at this juncture.

All those amusing little anecdotes one acquires over the course of the day seem to disappear into thin air by the time I get around to writing these posts. Oh well, can't argue with a tired brain, I suppose. Better get to bed and start collecting more things to forget tomorrow.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Future Times

The future's brighter than it was a few weeks ago. Work offers from summer 2008 are trickling in and this should make life easier whilst talking to the new boss next week. He's the one who'll decide whether or not I'll be offered a new contract come 2009 so evidence of employment elsewhere will ensure I'm not in that awful position of hoping to God that they won't dump me in the landfill. I've just decided you should never lose confidence or ambition, no matter how many mouths you have to feed; it'll only gnaw away at your credibility and no-one wants to hang on to someone who doesn't want to hang on to himself.

Our entire lives are determined by either activity or reactivity; the former is good, the latter bad. Yet it seems that many wait for the phone to ring rather than picking up the receiver. Are strikes active or reactive? Faced with a monotonous routine the temptation to just do nothing and wait for the monthly pay cheque must be very powerful. Our current political climate requires us to work more if we want to surround ourselves with all the nonsense that contemporary society deems necessary: mobile phones ("Hi, it's me. I'm ringing the bell now. Yes, that's me. Could you let me in?" How did we ever survive without them?), another, 'better', car; a more powerful computer (even though we never used more than 1% of the capacity of the previous one), ever more clothes (for God's sake) etc etc etc. The list is endless. Still, generating more money to provide a buffer zone in case of emergency is not a bad thing, though that's rarely a problem for many in a country where lifelong employment is demanded of right. I can understand it up to a point: the State is omnipresent in France, especially around pay day, so it's understandable that the populace should expect reciprocal favours. Still, I think there's a balance to be struck, one which would benefit everybody and not just there where it hurts.

Any striving out to improve one's lot entails an increase in self-confidence and activation of previously under-used areas of the brain. Even if nothing comes of the venture(s) we will have learned something. This increased awareness manifests itself in your everyday life: in your relationships, at work, in casual encounters. It's impossible to quantify but could make the difference between being one of those people one likes to be around as opposed to one who inspires indifference or even hostility. We've all had instinctive reactions to new acquaintances and, in turn, people have had them towards us. It's about survival; those people who are not required to fight for their survival will, more often as not, neglect to nurture themselves in this way. Anyone who has had dealings with any kind of bureaucrat will understand what I'm trying to say. There are delightful exceptions, but that's what they remain. Exceptions.

On a more prosaic note, we're having a new window fitted this morning. I don't honestly see how that could be of interest to anyone, it's not even interesting to me. Still, it could knock a couple of euros off the annual heating bill. And next year's tax bill.