Monday, 17 June 2013
It takes place for one week only every two years.
For opera and leider aficianados only, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear and see some of the very greatest voices in the world.
It has been running for 30 years and I have never missed a year.
It is of course, Cardiff Singer of the World. On BBC4 this week from 7.30 on.
If you are not an opera or leider fan this is not for you, but if you are, please do not miss it.
I seldom wax enthusiastic about anything these days. This magnificent programme is the exception.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 8:36:00 pm
Saturday, 15 June 2013
Trying to carry on a 'normal' way of life can be pretty difficult with black clouds hovering just out of sight and creeping daily nearer.
Luckily for me I now know the signs and do everything I can to evade the clutches of the 'enemy'.
This for me, includes taking a heftier than usual dose of St John's Wort in order to just skate on the surface rather than drown.
There is I know a huge raft of prescribed chemical medication out there for those with similar problems. Many people find they work for them, and I'm very glad to hear that that is the case, but for me, tablets of anti-depressive drugs, no matter how effective, carry with them the not-so-well documented side effects.
In addition there is the danger of addiction.
For me the ideal treatment for any illness, of body or mind, is one manufactured from natural sources, plants and seeds and oils, rather than the much stronger synthetics manufactured by the pharmaceutical giants.
Sometimes, I know the reasons why the clouds are gathering, sometimes not, but there is a whole series of avoidance tactics I can employ and if they don't work, I then double my daily dose of St. John's Wort.
There is a problem with all such 'natural' remedies, namely the interference of the EU with almost all the currently available supplements.
I have signed a petition in the probably vain hope of restricting their level of control, but other then that there is nothing to be done but to wait and see how much havoc they will wreak.
Meanwhile the fight goes on to side-step this latest black cloud.
Wish me luck.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 1:33:00 pm
Saturday, 8 June 2013
Maybe it's just natural contrariness, a determination not to be influenced, or simply weariness with the whole process, but ad's fail to suck me in.
Television advertising as I've said often, unless it has a quirky, or cute appeal, Meerkats, cats with thumbs, the very strange Pilgrim cheese ad, or something similar, make no impression on me and I never know what the product is that is being pushed.
Telephone cold calling rouses me to fury rather than enthusiasm and my only response is at best, indifference, at worst, rudeness.
Paper through the door is, as far as I am concerned, simply a stage on the journey to the recycling bin.
Last evening, it must have been fairly late, since I was out at choir practice and it awaited me on my return, a huge wad of leaflets had been shoved through the letter-box.
For once, since I was sitting with cuppa, I decided to look at them before binning the lot.
I was invited to sell my house - yes certainly, why hadn't I thought of that.
I was invited to a local hair salon to have my hair coloured, highlighted and or cut, does no-one in the world still not realise that my last visit to a hairdresser was in 1975 - I cut my hair with nail-scissors, have never had it coloured nor wished to and don't care what the fashion is.
The least inviting ad of all was to take tea - lovely expression that - at a local would be posh hotel for the princely sum of thirty pounds.
I don't do posh and if I did, it would be the real thing, not an urban fake.
To top it all, for the past ten days or so I have been bombarded with phone calls from people wanting to buy the camper-van I have advertised for sale.
I don't own a camper or any other type of van. Do not drive, have no vehicle and never advertise anything for sale.
To make it more irritating the people calling are all from the Birmingham area and when I ask where they got my number, find they are calling a different number completely, but it is apparently being transferred, either electronically or via Mars to my number.
To date I have had nine calls and am rapidly running out of patience.
I would love to live in a world where there was no advertising, but don't fancy the move (in my camper-van) to another planet.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 5:03:00 pm
Friday, 7 June 2013
What I am tentatively delighted about is the fact that I managed to drag this up from my 'pictures' gallery.
I am under no illusions that I have finally got it right. This success is pure chance and might well not work a second time, but it has for now.
The lovely kind helpful Perpetua of "Perpetually in Transit" has promised to try to help me in a day or two, and I'm pretty sure her method will be the correct one, and I shall happily adopt it (if I can), but, in the interim my tired brain has found a temporary solution. So, all is good once more.
Choir practice this evening was a good one and even bone weary though I be, I had to try just one more time to get control of my errant lap-top.
It is, as I have said before, possessed of a malign spirit, which thwarts my every attempt to 'educate' myself in the alien world of technology.
This time I won.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:32:00 pm
Thursday, 6 June 2013
Every time I try to access one of my pictures to adorn my blog the computer refuses to recognize
I used to be able to simply type in pictures and would get the entire collection to choose from.
Now it is offering me a selection of previously used ancient unwanted pictures and I cannot view the ones I want to select.
Half the fun of posting a blog is choosing a suitable picture to illustrate it, so I am forced to concede defeat.
Every skill I half pick up lets me down at some stage and my total lack of good sound training becomes more apparent every day.
I'm sorry to have to admit defeat but this I'm afraid is the end of the road.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 2:20:00 pm
Monday, 27 May 2013
For once, a couple of bright sunny (if not overly warm) days, this weekend has seemed endless to me.
Sang (choir requested), at a wedding on Saturday afternoon, so that was part of Saturday taken care of.
Sunday morning Trinity Sunday, (visiting clergy of course), so that was part of Sunday taken care of.
Some household chores, some paper-work, some (not much) gardening, and still more than half of Monday to go.
Most of my neighbours are away, or sunbathing out of the wind in the unusual gift of a third sunny day, and me, I'm bored.
I know I could probably tidy my scruffy self up and get a bus, (if there are any), into town and shop. No thanks.
I could get properly scarecrow-clad and have a serious go at the garden - thinks - no thanks.
I could go and watch another load of sport-laden TV NO NO thanks. (though I will watch the cricket for an hour this evening).
When and why did my world shrink?
How did I let myself get so totally alone?
What am I to do about it?
Not unhappy. Not really lonely. Not even very concerned.
Time never used to go so very slowly, was never this elastic when I had too little of it, but now it is endless.
There is real time. There is British Summer Time, and there is Ray Time.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 3:54:00 pm
Thursday, 23 May 2013
This morning was the final appointment in my dental nightmare saga, so was greatly looking forward to an enjoyable time (not).
In the event, it was not quite as bad as I'd expected, though the injection in my cheek and gum was nasty.
The dentist is a thoroughly nice fellow, patient and with a sense of humour so the crown in place I got out of the 'chair' and thought. "thank heaven", no more until my next check-up.
To my surprise I found I had no more to pay, just as well since the previous visit had virtually bankrupted me, and the receptionist said, "you ought to sit for a minute, you look a bit pale, just rest a bit before you leave".
"I'm fine", I replied and headed for the bus-stop into town.
There were a couple of things I needed to buy, so after a fifteen minute wait for the bus, in a force ten gale, I did my shopping and waited for the bus home.
Ten minutes later as the bus hove into view the woman standing next to me said, "not before time, you look a bit pale love".
"I'm fine", just a tad quietly, I said.
It had begun to rain when I got off the bus so upped my speed despite slightly leaden legs and got into the house just before a torrential hail-storm.
Sat and had a cup of tea, then thought I'd have a lie down for a while.
No sooner had I begun to drift off to sleep than the phone rang.
Staggering half-dazed into the office next door picked up the phone and was greeted by, "How are you today"?.
Somehow I refrained from telling him and said no, I did not want to answer a few questions with the chance of winning £250 pounds. "Even though I'm not selling anything" he said.
I am not interested and don't want to answer a lot of questions was my reply.
I'm afraid I put the phone down on him as he continued to try to persuade me.
Now I am not just swollen faced, very tired (and apparently pale), but also thoroughly fed up and seriously contemplating disconnecting the phone.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 3:32:00 pm