So yes, I'm back, and it's a year since I upped sticks and headed over here. It feels so much less "abroad" than it did then. The language, whilst still refusing to roll over like a friendly labrador, is much less daunting now. I have friends here, a life (even if it feels slightly on hold because of the holidays). I'm still working on putting my voice back to rights, and going in every day to the theatre to practise. Even when, as yesterday, the heavens opened unexpectedly halfway there, and I had to stalk (inasmuch as a totally drowned rat can aspire to stalking) past the highly-amused porters, snarling "Don't say a bloody thing!!" Because I have to retrain the musculature involved, I am aiming to end up better, technically speaking, than I was before. I am inspired in this by my father. Refusing to give in to the relentlessly horrific nausea and other side effects of chemotherapy, he has firstly shamed me by continuing to get his money's worth at the gym every other day, and secondly has booked weekly golf lessons with the pro, so as to keep his hand in despite changed physical circumstances. He came back one day wryly surprised; his experience of the lessons had been one mainly of frustration; the pro, on the other hand, had grinned widely and said "Guy, you know what? Without the strength to belt the bloody ball to kingdom come, you're actually for the first time playing GOLF! Did you realise you've just hit it much further than you ever have when healthy?" Balance, that is - so I'm aiming to set up the muscles perfectly for each note in my range, so that I can forget all the technical stuff and move on... (note to self: must remember this and forbear from kicking the wall when the Zen stuff is not working!).
I do apologise to anyone who has been keeping up with this blog for the unexpected summer hiatus. I was wondering whether not having a decent singing voice meant on a deeper level that I didn't feel I had the right to have a "voice" - but I suspect it was more the lack of easy internet access and frankly being downright lazy!
Whilst waiting for the voice to get its act in gear and for friends to return from their various holiday destinations, I have embarked upon a project to crochet my sister's unborn child a toy animal. The seed for this was seeing gorgeously tasteful rabbits and teddies and suchlike in Liberty's, when in London and searching for the perfect little something for a wonderful Japanese friend, whom I had the immense privilege of meeting again whilst she was over in England for a rare visit. The rabbits were going for FORTY QUID each!! Bloody hell, thought I, and there was me counting on a baby being far more interested in crinkly wrapping paper than what's inside (have saved a lot on auntly presents in this manner) until it's at least three. Undeterred, I bought a couple of balls of machine-washable ultra-soft merino wool in the very best colours, darling (mushroom and cream, all the posh baby toys are in this colourway, perhaps it doesn't show up the sick as much, who knows?) and started to crochet. No idea what I thought it was going to be, just started at the nose end and let things happen. Well it turns out not to be a rabbit and definitely not a teddy. I hoped it might be a sort of lizard so I could do my frilly crochet stuff (I'm good at frills). Nope. At one point I contemplated it rather mournfully, thinking, damn, this is probably half of an amazingly disreputable and obese ferret, when I accidentally tipped it over and it became a thoughtful and curious (although afflicted rather with contrapposto - must investigate powers of spiral symmetry within crocheted baby toys) penguin. Currently working out small fat tails, wings, and where the hell does one buy squeaks?