The tale of a door and a paddling pool

When Nick told him “Your mum’s upstairs, doing acid”, Kieran was a little surprised; but that’s what life here has driven me to! OK, not that sort of acid. The grout for the tiles is cement based, so it leaves a whitish bloom on the tiles, which has to be cleaned off with acid. It’s a tedious, time consuming task because each tile must be cleaned individually, without getting acid on the surrounding grout, then they have to be rinsed several times with clean water. Boring, but the result is worth it.

We bought a new-to-us door for what will be the main entrance to the new house quite a while ago; a lovely, old, solid oak, double door with opening windows behind a metal grill.  Kieran offering to come over to help for a couple of days  seemed a good chance to get it fitted. It was planned to be done in one weekend, but they didn’t exactly get straight to work on the door, preferring to move all the kitchen units into the living space first, then potter with other jobs, before they finally got started at 4pm.

They cut a new hole the right size for the door, propping up the wall above till they got the wooden lintel into position. I had finally got Nick to agree to having a well for the doormat; so they cut away part of the cement floor, leaving Nick to concrete the external edge before the following weekend, when Kieran would be back. Finally, they closed the hole with an old garage door.

The next weekend, they fitted the frame and the doors. we were delighted, it looked perfect, almost as if it had always been there. But the following day it started to rain, lashing rain, straight onto the door. The windows, it seems, don’t seal well and the rain poured in and down the doors. Where the panelling on the outside doesn’t reach the edges is another weak point and the water poured in there too, leaving the bottom of the frame soaked and the doormat well like a miniature swimming pool within a few hours. We moved the camper as close as we could to the door, but it offered little protection; all we could do was sit it out, mopping up at regular intervals, and wait till the rain stopped. This morning was dry, so Nick was able to cut the old garage door to fit the hole; we’ll have to seal the windows shut when they’re dry, which should stop the majority of the water coming in, but I think we’ll have to get planning permission and build a porch to protect the door in the longer term as the door faces west, the direction of the prevailing wind.

Nick et Kieran ont passé deux weekends en remplacer notre porte d’entrée, derrière la maison. C’était super, jusqu’à il a plu; les fenêtres de la porte ne sont pas étanches et la pluie a coulé dedans. Nick a coupé une ancienne porte de garage et l’a mis en place dehors de la nouvelle porte jusqu’à les fenêtres seront sec et on pourra boucher autour des fenêtres.

Moi, je nettoie le carrelage à l’étage avec de l’acide pour enlever les traces de ciment qui restent après avoir fait les joints.

Don’t give up the day job!

Last year, when Nellie and I sang to open the music festival at Lannux, someone asked if we’d be interested in doing another event; we said we’d love to, but the weeks passed with no word and we soon forgot all about it. Then he got in touch; would we be able to do an hour for the opening of a new art exhibition in February?

We started rehearsing and learning new songs; Nellie decided that as we were billed as doing mostly Irish stuff, we really ought to sing Danny Boy. Hmmmm….. not my favourite, this rather hackneyed, often very badly sung, but yes, best known of Irish songs. I’d have to do something a bit special with the harmony. So I set to work, but never having had a music lesson, and being barely able to read music, (I have a child’s keyboard with sticky labels on the keys to tell me which note is which) the writing is always a long process. I had an idea, though, a rather complicated idea, and 2 months later it was written and we learnt it.

The art gallery is in the corridors of a local secondary school and changes 3 or 4 times a year; there’s a musical evening each time a new artist exhibits their work and it has to be individuals or very small groups playing as the concerts are held in the corridors, amongst the art works, so there’s not a lot of space.

We chose a list of songs, timed them and researched their origins for the copyright/royalties people. Nick took some photos and Nellie wrote a piece about us for the posters. It was all winding up and we were getting extremely nervous, though we knew that most of the audience would be made up of friends.

The big night arrived; they’d put out 64 chairs and had a few spares, but they were soon taken as people poured in. Most of the band came along to support us and soon they had to raid classrooms for enough chairs to seat everyone. Even when we’d got started, nerves got the better of my voice on a few occasions, but overall it went very well, including our first public rendition of Danny Boy. There’s even talk of us being asked to do something else in Nogaro in the spring.

A couple of people recorded us on their phones, so not brilliant quality, but if you’d like to listen, the links are below to Danny Boy and All Around My Hat. Please excuse the bum chord in Danny Boy!

L’année dernière, quand Nellie et moi avons chanté à ouvrir le festival de musique à Lannux, quelqu’un a demandé si nous serions intéressés à faire un autre événement; nous avons dit que nous aimerions, mais les semaines sont passées sans un mot et nous avons vite oublié tout ça. Puis il est entré en contact; pourrions-nous faire une heure pour l’ouverture d’une nouvelle exposition d’art en février?
Nous avons commencé à répéter et d’apprendre de nouvelles chansons; Nellie a décidé que, etant un duo Irlandais, nous devrions vraiment chanter Danny Boy. Hmmm ….. pas mon préféré, ceci plutôt banale, souvent très mal chanté, mais oui, la plus connue des chansons irlandaises. Je dois faire quelque chose d’un peu spécial avec l’harmonie. Alors je me mis au travail, mais ne jamais avoir eu une leçon de musique, et d’être à peine capable de lire la musique, (j’ai un clavier d’un enfant avec des étiquettes autocollantes sur les touches de me dire quelle note est qui) l’écriture est toujours un long processus. Je avais une idée, cependant, une idée assez compliqué, et 2 mois plus tard, je l’avais écrit et nous l’avons appris.
La galerie d’art est dans les couloirs d’une école secondaire locale et change 3 ou 4 fois par an; il y a une soirée musicale à chaque fois une nouvelle artiste expose leur travail et il doit être des individus ou de petits groupes jouant parce que les concerts ont lieu dans les couloirs, parmi les œuvres d’art, donc il n’y a pas beaucoup d’espace.
Nous avons choisi une liste de chansons, les chronométré et  avons fait des recherches sur leurs origines pour SACEM. Nick a pris quelques photos de nous et Nellie a écrit une pièce sur nous pour les affiches. Tout allait bien et nous devenons extrêmement nerveuses, même si nous savions que la plupart de spectateurs serait des amis.
Le grand soir est arrivé; ils avaient mis 64 chaises et avait quelques pièces de rechange. La plupart de la bande est venu pour nous soutenir et bientôt ils ont dû piller salles de classe pour trouver assez de chaises pour tout le monde. Même lorsque nous  avons commencé, les nerfs ont fait des ravages de ma voix à quelques reprises, mais dans l’ensemble il est allé très bien, y compris notre première interprétation publique de Danny Boy et on parle de nous demander de faire quelque chose d’autre à Nogaro, en printemps.
Quelques personnes nous ont enregistré sur leurs téléphones, donc pas qualité brillante, mais si vous voulez écouter, dessus il y a Danny boy et All Around My Hat. Excusez-moi le mauvaise accord pendant Danny Boy!