Saturday, April 19, 2008

What's happening

Didn't go to rehearsal - and typically I found out that we'd tackled the hardest bit of the African Sanctus. Sigh.

So I got up early yesterday and trundled into Sheffield for the final rehearsal of Gloria before the concert at 1pm - and ended up late due to stupid public transport.

Still wasn't feeling well, but on the plus side my nerves about the solo evaporated, and I killed off the last of them with two cups of chamomile tea at lunchtime, so by the time the concert started I was completely calm.

And the solo went fine, I didn't mess it up. I've done it better, especially as I had a very dry mouth, but it was okay. Harriet seemed pleased, and everyone was complimentary - mostly about the power I somehow have. I'd be happy to sing solo again.

Today I woke with a sore throat, cough, and blocked nose, and the dodgy stomach's still here, and I genenrally feel very tired and drained. So I cried off singing at AltoSarah's wedding, which I feel horribly guilty about as she's my friend, and just helped Michael finish off the second veg bed. Topsoil dug in, compost added, string dividing the plot into 1' squares stapled. Also onions and garlic planted. I meant to sort out some kind of support for the peas and put them in because they are practically exploding out of their pots right now, but it's too cold and I'm tired.

The robin has been a constant companion out there, getting quite bold and feeding just a few feet away from us. There's actually two males visiting, whenever they see each other they get quite aggressive and chase each other - luckily one of them always gives up and flies away, so it doesn't escalate into a full-on fight.

I've been watching our resident blackbird (yes I can recognise him) flying into the beech hedge which separates the orchard from the main garden with a great beakfuls of worms for maybe a week now, and yesterday I decided to see if I could find the nest. And I found it - because the hedge doesn't have new leaves on it yet (only the old dead ones from last year) it's really obvious when you know where to look. Such a neat little thing, made with twigs and bits of plastic(!) lined with mud and grass. As we worked today I kept hearing chicks getting fed, and actually saw them a couple of times by sneaking up. There's two of them, cute little brown feathery things, and they probably won't be much longer before they fledge. First baby birds this year!

Saw the first swallows and house martins of the year on Tuesday too, swooping over Linacre Reservoir. We're definitely well into spring - if only the sun would come out, because it's really cold at the moment.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Not feeling well

Dilemma time.

I have an upset stomach - nothing explosive or anything, just achy and bloated and slightly nauseous with accompanying "runny bottom". Nice. Consequently, I don't feel so great.

If I want to be on time for rehearsal tonight, I need to head out in 25 minutes or so.

I really want to go to rehearsal, last week was awesome and I don't want to miss anything.

On the other hand, I'd actually quite like to go to bed. Especially as I don't want to be ill for the concert tomorrow.

I hate decisions like this. And I'm not in a fit state to make sensible choices.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My official debut...

... is on Friday 18th April, 1.15pm, at Sheffield Cathedral. Come see me if you're somewhere near!

I worked with Harriet on my solo tonight after rehearsal, and it now sounds a lot better. Once I relax and remember to breathe I actually sound okay, because suddenly this rich, deep voice which is not at all like my normal "choir" voice comes out. It's sort of cool. Now all I need to do is stop being so damned scared about it, really.

Weird that I can get up on a stage and sing in front of hundreds of people in my "pop/karaoke" voice without a trace of nerves, but as soon as I have to sing something a bit out of my comfort zone, I actually physically shake. Bah. And nervous does NOT do good things for my voice, or anyone's voice.

Kay, that "pretending to be an opera singer" thing does kind of help.

Annoyingly, practically everyone I know won't be able to be there. My parents are in the Canaries, my grandparents can't/won't drive to Sheffield, and Michael might not be able to get the afternoon off work. No-one cares, sob. Gits, having better things to do!!

I have to say, the Gloria's sounding pretty damn good - I rather like Vivaldi. And Harriet's doing a cracking job of persuading us to actually think about what we're doing so we become more musical and expressive, rather than just singing everything accurately as written. That's the difference between a good choir and a great one I think - being technically perfect isn't enough - and it's great that Harriet believes in our ability to take our performances to the next level.

Ah well. Time for bed.

Another only vaguely veg-plot-related post

Garden news - second bed is dug and now needs the frame putting together and the topsoil and compost putting in, and stuff planting. The first seedlings are up in the first bed, little salad leaves. All the indoor stuff is doing well, and the peas are desperate to be planted outside with some support! I can't believe how fast they grow.

I've spotted two bumble bee nests in the garden, and we have a pair of robins making a nest in one of the small conifers - strangely the same one as last year, but on the other side. Different robins though I think. They've been taking advantage of the worms uncovered by the digging, and are getting quite bold. In other bird news, we were thrilled to see a pair of bullfinches in the orchard yesterday, such gorgeous birds which aren't seen all that often as they're pretty shy. I'll post a pic once they're uploaded. The garden's full of birds now, with about 20 different species regularly visiting and singing away like mad. I'm spending a fortune on sunflower hearts, but it's worth it.

Pictures soon, I promise!

Sorry Sayre, been far too busy to tidy my closet/wardrobe this last week - but as I don't have a linen/laundry cupboard maybe I can try to do it this week some time? Told you I'd end up doing this - in my defence I did have a wedding to sing at on Saturday which I had to rehearse for!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Not a proper veg post update really

Because there's not so much to tell.

Work's begun on the second bed, well we've marked it out and started removing the grass. All the topsoil has now been shifted. No seeds coming up outside yet, which isn't a surprise as the weather's been, shall we say, less that consistent (sun, rain, hail and even snow). In April! Only other news is I bought and planted a morello cherry tree in the orchard.

In completely unrelated news, remember how I didn't audition? Well I still haven't, as Harriet didn't contact me. And to be honest, I'd forgotten about it, until I found an email in my spam folder (stupid Yahoo mail) from Harriet from weeks ago saying she'd like me to sing one of the alto solos from Vivaldi Gloria. The one I like best, Domine Deus, Agnus Dei. Yay!

Well I say yay... I'm obviously nervous about it, especially as it'll be my first ever classical solo and I'm not exactly trained. I've made myself feel worse by listening to several recordings of it, all with altos who have very different voices to me.

Take vibrato, for example. (For you non-musicky types, vibrato is that sort of up-and-down wobble most singers do towards the end of a note.) I do have vibrato, but it's quite subtle and natural, fine for choral stuff, but sounds rather pathetic when compared with the solo recordings. Saying that though, I personally don't like that whole overdone vibrato thing - I prefer to hear the actual note rather than it being obscured by ornamentation, but I'm in the minority there I think.

Anyway, I'm gonna need a fair bit of practice to sound right. Thankfully the piece is quite simple and I already sort of know it so I can concentrate on getting the vocal quality sorted.

Here's a vid of the piece.

I'm sure we'll take it faster than this.

Now I'm off to shower. Rehearsal again tonight, first time in weeks.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Veg plot - day 11

Nothing much today really. I know, I lied, and didn't post anything yesterday. Mostly because I forgot about taking pics until it was too dark.

I meant to move soil today, but Emma came round and didn't fancy anything heavy - she's stressed about work stuff and not sleeping well - so we just put in some lettuce seeds and transplanted some sweet peas instead.

So here's what's happening inside, and in the greenhouse.





Carrots (sown maybe a month ago).

Dwarf French beans, which have shot up really fast.


Lettuce, also from a month ago. It'll grow much quicker now it's warmer.


Peas - also grow very fast.

Peppers and chillies.



Squash. There's 28 of these, in 6 varieties. I was hoping that maybe 2 of each would survive, but all except two are still with us (the two never germinated). Looks like some might be given away...

Tomatillos - the second attempt. Fungus killed the last lot.

Tomatoes, which just came through the other day.


So there you are, some green stuff for a change!

I'm hoping to be able to harvest the first crop (mixed lettuce/salad leaves) in 3-4 weeks. Won't that be fun?