Monday, 19 July 2010

Here is the news at hand and some miscellaneous observations about this and that

While the vicissitudes of the new computer have occupied my waking, non-sleeping and dreaming hours for the last week, other things have been happening.

Firstly, the news of the rats. After seeing a rat run down the hall, I know not to where, it seemed that laying bait out every night might have resulted in the rats inviting all their friends and family to come and join the feast, and so I stopped putting out the bait. Since then there has been no evidence of rat visitations. Possibly they all dropped dead round about the same time. I feel bitter about having to get Dr P's chair re-upholstered, but it must be done, if only to obliterate the memory of their depredations.

Choir took up much time last week, as there were dress rehearsals Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, followed by the concert on Sunday afternoon. We were singing Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony, which is a setting of a poem by Walt Whitman, which seemed to me a rather pretentious, overblown  and far from deathless work which failed to inspire any desire to read more of his work. However, despite being really quite difficult, the music is beautiful, interesting and generally very singable. The high notes all felt good to sing, and, as a soprano, I find high notes are most enjoyable and thrilling to sing, so long as they are written within the nature and reach of the voice, and do not necessitate screeching. Vaughan Williams gets brownie points from me for that quality in his music. Beethoven's Choral Symphony is far more difficult to sing, and an absolute cow to rehearse. The performance itself is ok because the movement is not very long, and so the voice can last. (I hasten to add that the voices of younger sopranos have not yet been worn out by too much wear and tear, but I am getting on in years a bit.)

Our performance on Sunday went very well, apart from some wobbly bits near the end, and I cannot work out quite why that happened. Too late now to worry.

Australia is to have a federal election on 21 August. It is an early election, as it need not have been called until about March next year. I am barracking for Julia Gillard, our new Prime Minister, but fear a very negative campaign, and that it will be a tight and close contest. Thanks to legislation passed by the Howard government, the rolls close very shortly after the writs are issued, ie tonight, and thus many of voting age, especially the young, who had not got around to enrolling, will not be able to vote. Enrolment and voting are compulsory in Australia, and a good thing too. There was legislation passed by the House of Representative in June to extend the period before the rolls must close, but it was still before the Senate. Now that the the House of Representatives has been dissolved and the election called, the existing legislation applies.

It is lovely having the Internet connection restored, and now I will be able to start learning some of the features of the new computer. The old one now will not start up, or stay up: it freezes. Is it not weird that there should be this coincidence of starting and stopping? Now I have to call a repair person to come and fix it all. Although I did back it up relatively recently, it does not include everything. The keyboard is really very small and I keep hitting the wrong keys and getting lost in the text. One must resign oneself. My typoing, (actually I intended to type typing, but the typo evidently jumped straight out of my independent, rebellious and unreliable subconscious) which was never any good, now takes considerably longer, what with all the corrections needed. While I know I can spell perfectly well, my fingers have minds of their own, and my eyes have a tendency not to pick up on typing mistakes. There are loose connections all over the body, these days, it seems.

Dr P had an appointment today with a clinic designed to improve body strength in the elderly. He was very negative about it, and is not prepared to make any effort. Far better for him to cause other people to age prematurely, it seems, and as the person most likely to be affected and afflicted, I feel cross with him, and inclined to mimic the behaviour of my old computer, and freeze and go on strike too. But it has prompted me to consider getting onto a body-strengthening programme myself, which would be a GOOD THING.


Pam said...

Sounds a good idea. Might need self-discipline...

molly said...

So glad the rats have gone---hopefully to their eternal reward in rat heaven, or maybe even to the warm place as punishment for what they put you through!
We can have a great natter about grumpy old men if and when we ever meet!

Meggie said...

I hope those dratted rats have gone for good.
I am so lucky to have a friend who is brilliant with computers, and she recently replaced my fried motherboard, which was, luckily, still under warranty.
I have enjoyed catching up with your posts, though I see you have been having your trials too.

Laura Jane said...

My sympathies on the trials of new computerdom. I think getting a modem was a good plan, and Thank God for Useful Sons and timely visits.

I agree with you that Vaughn Williams is a total delight to sing. In fact, I would almost rather sing VW than any other composer. His 'In Windsor Forest' is sublime. and his Christmas stuff (it was a long time ago, the names may not be correct).

Nice to catch up with your news.