Sunday, 31 August 2008

Three months is a long time to go without submitting a post on a blog, but I've decided to space my thoughts out rather than post daily with such observations as "I've noticed I've peed on my shoe". The fact that I just have is neither here nor there.

We all spent ten weeks in Germany and Austria, me working at an international music festival most of the time and the four of us hiving off down to Austria from time to time to stay with friends who own a luxury hotel in the Alps. I gave a recital there with a baritone from the Vienna State Opera and, in a flash, a new concert series was born: future editions will feature high-quality singers from the festival with an evening in July and one in August. Dates will depend on our availability. Come along!

The cleanliness and ease of life in those two countries hits you when you return to urban France. We live in a beautiful city, but how difficult can it be to just keep it a little cleaner? Evidently impossible. Our bin has been stolen, meaning the other residents merely pile up their rubbish bags by the front door and hope the dustman - sorry, 'refuse officer' - will take them. Mrs. Fingers has to go to the police tomorrow morning to ask for another one. No doubt she'll have to spend about an hour with a highly motivated guardian of the peace to get through the associated paperwork, a wonderful use of police time.,

Without wanting to go into all the reasons why basic, day-to-day existence is more manageable in German-speaking countries I have to say that one's mindset over there, having realised one is not going to receive a single bill or a single call from marketing companies during the entire stay, is totally different. Add the fact that we were living one minute from both the forest and my workplace and had a wonderfully large garden and you'll understand the peace which descends on you as soon as you set foot in the place. If we were there permanently, life would be different (I spent 11 years in Germany yet still never considered it home) but for an extended summer stay it's absolutely divine. It's not high on many people's list of preferred holiday destinations, but more fool them: you come back relaxed, rested and at peace with more than just your own existence.

A couple of days after hitting the mediterranean tarmac I was off to play a private concert at the house of some wealthy retired Brits and immediately rediscovered the peace and tranquility we'd got so used to in Bavaria. It really is possible, here; you just have to move out of town and pitch your tent next to a field of sunflowers or some such. It would be lovely to be able to do that, but commuting six days a week would take the gloss off the view, providing it was ever light enough to see it at the end of a working day. Wouldn't see the Fingernails as much, either, and that pretty much swings it.

Night all. Back to work.