Sunday, 26 February 2017

out and about

I have been out enough that the cats look reproachful when I come in.  Last night soon after getting back from the lecture on Meconopsis I was off out again to a quiz night, organised by a friend to raise funds for her village hall.  Village halls do sometimes seem to take on a life of their own, existing to host events to raise the money needed to run the hall.  Though this one does hold external events as well.

Our table managed to turn in a solidly middling performance, so we did not win but neither did we disgrace ourselves.  We did very badly on the sports round and not much better on the TV soaps, which was not surprising given that nobody around the table followed either.  I was disappointed that we did so badly on the UK geography round, but they were hard questions.  Would you know which was Britain's second largest cathedral?  Or in which port Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Charles Dickens were born?  I didn't, and I have read a biography of Brunel.  I can't have been paying attention.  But I did know that Pilsner was brewed in Czechoslovakia and make a correct guess that the Midlands town where Marston's was originally brewed was Burton-upon-Trent, based on the fact that I knew that something had been brewed there on account of Burton-upon-Trent's highly suitable water supply, and as nobody else around the table had any better idea then it might have been Marston's.  And I managed to dredge from the depths of my memory the name of the firm that Reginald Perrin worked for.  Sunshine Desserts.  Eleven minutes late, staff difficulties.

The cats were rather hurt when I got home at quarter to eleven and I had to sit up with them for a while.  Then this afternoon I abandoned them again for a music society concert.  I was slightly later than I meant to be getting there because as I got into the car I realised that the chickens were looking at me so had to go and check what it was that they wanted.  They had run out of food and since I couldn't drive off and leave them hungry until after chicken bedtime I had to unlock the front door again and sort out some food for them.  When I arrived at the church it was already quite full, but fortuitously there was a seat vacant next to my former colleague from the plant centre in a spot that gave a proper sight line to the stage, not hidden behind a pillar which is is the risk if you arrive late.

We had a string quartet and they played Shostakovich, Borodin, Beethoven, and two pieces by still living composers who I had never heard of, and one of which I spelled wrong on the website until the chairman pointed it out.  The third movement from Borodin's string quartet no. 2 is one of those bits of music that make you go Oh, this, when you hear it, because it is so familiar.  How it came to be so much more familiar than the other three movements of the same quartet I can't work out. Somebody told me it was used in Kismet, but I haven't seen Kismet so that can't be it.  The Borodin was immensely pretty, and there is nothing wrong with music being attractive sometimes, but it was the Shostakovich that made my skin prickle.  Beethoven was muscular and admirable.

The modern piece by the Irish composer was recognisably Irish and quite interesting, with fragments of My Lagan Love underneath the Radiophonic Workshop effects, or so it seemed to me. Whether it was more interesting than a straight set of Irish airs played by Martin Hayes is a moot point.  The modern piece by a Norwegian composer did not sound Scandinavian at all to me, more like Bloch, but maybe he wasn't aiming to sound Norwegian.

By the time I got home the Systems Administrator had returned from a racing mini-tour taking in Exeter and Chepstow, having had a very nice time but having caught a cold, possibly from getting rained on at Chepstow.  The SA had fed the cats, which was just as well as half way to the concert I remembered I'd forgotten to give them an advance on their tea to tide them over.  Apparently they were pleased to see the SA, a fresh face after two and half days of nobody but me.

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