St. Patrick’s day

I’d only met two English people during my first 9 months in Dax, one at the patchwork club, the other at the painting club, so when one of them asked if I’d be interested in joining an English book club, I jumped at the chance. My French is good, but the possibility of speaking English one afternoon a month, of being able to understand easily everything that’s said and to express myself properly was just too good to miss.

The book club is just one branch of a bigger, “international ladies’ club”; there are lots of activities, though, to be honest, lunches, aperitifs, trips to markets and cooking demos don’t interest me in the least, so for the most part, I’ll just go to the book club.

At my first meeting, I and two other “newbies” had to introduce ourselves and talk a little about our interests. A few days later an Irish woman, Sheila, invited me to her house for afternoon tea, along with a few other women. Sheila, it seems, was fascinated by the idea that I play in a band and as the afternoon wore on, even more interested in my having been part of an Irish band. She was going to host an event for St Patrick’s day and please would I bring my guitar?

She gave me the number of someone she felt sure would be happy to sing the melody to my arrangement of Danny Boy, so I contacted Glenda, who turned out to be an opera singer. Glenda said she’d love to sing and please would I send her the sheet music……. ah, well….. I had to admit that this was my own arrangement and that, never having had a music lesson, it was written a little unconventionally – the blobs were her line, the crosses mine. She took this in her stride and we met for a few rehearsals, of Danny Boy and several other songs, before the event last Wednesday.

It all went well, in spite of my ridiculously nervous state. I do wish I could conquer my nerves; I sing and play far better at home, when nobody’s there to listen, but in front of others my hands shake and won’t hit the strings properly and my voice wobbles. However, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves; we all wore something green, people brought food, so there was a wonderful spread and Sheila demonstrated how to make real Irish coffee.

At the end of the afternoon I came home and started packing for my trip to Italy the following day.