Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Canterbury Tales - part the third

Now for the highlights.

Singing services at Canterbury Cathedral was a very interesting experience. It was fairly nervewracking at times, especially as I didn't know most of the music, and hadn't had much rehearsal with the group. The Cathedral is HUGE, but we sang mostly in the Quire (or Choir as we would have it over here) which is a much smaller part of the place and basically walled off from most of the rest of the church, so it wasn't too intimidating. It was basically fun. Especially as the other tenor I was next to, Dan, was very good and a fun guy to sing with.

We had Wednesday off so I walked all over Canterbury proper and saw all of the good touristy bits. It was lovely. However - I am sure that you don't really care, do you? Neither do you care about Penshurst Place, which we went to on Thursday. That was a cool old manor house... nice gardens, etc... if someone puts up any good pictures later, perhaps I'll post some here. But probably not.

Then there was Stella. The lovely barmaid at the hotel. I left a big chunk of my heart back in Canterbury, I tell ya...

We'll leave it at that.

... but the fun part was Saturday...

Liam and Fionn - two young lads on the trip, who will be heading off to other parts of Europe for six weeks - and I decided that it was time for a pub crawl. I really have no idea how many places we stopped in but we had at least one ale in each - including the Bishop's Finger (my favorite). We met (and almost fought) some lovely people, discussed politics with young hooligans talked American football with old geezers, and generally made good young American asses of ourselves. THEN I made the mistake of having a gin and tonic upon returning to the hotel... because I couldn't neglect Stella, of course...

So I was sick ALL morning.

And I was supposed to sing solemn service at the Cathedral.

And I was constantly throwing up everything god gave me.

... not fun.

I finally got it under control - got a little food in my stomach (a tiny bit - and it stayed down, thank God) and got over to the church on time. I was a bit wobbly for the rehearsal but was basically fine for the service. Not top form, mind you... but servicable.

Unfortunately we had to stand for most of it, and we were singing fairly complicated stuff. This was hell.

And THEN we had one hour off and had to come right back and sing another evensong service (in front of the Japanese ambassador (!) and a representative of the German Ambassador). I was feeling a bit better... but, man...

Needless to say I took a nap after that.

Had a nice dinner with Martha, Dodge, Clive and Ann (my four favorite people from the trip) and then had a very fun evening chatting and hanging out with the more social types of the choir in the lounge (and bugging Stella... *sigh*).

Then we packed up and came home. And stood in about twenty different lines (in both airports) and had to take off all of our clothes (damn near) , but weren't delayed that much, actually. It was anoying as hell... but could have been a lot worse. I am grateful we missed the worst part of all of that crap...

So I'll finish there. It was a good trip. Lovely people, good music, good drinking, lovely women. All paid for by other people. Can't complain.

I took no pictures, but others took many and they will supposedly post them on a communal website. If any good ones appear I'll probably put them in here somewhere.


Mike said...

This was far and away the best of the three entries. But, in typical Wiggins fashion, all of the good (Stella) details have been intentionally omitted.

Did you read a lot of newspapers or something while you were over there? Your writing sounds much more British than it usually does. Maybe that's just how I'm reading it.

wiggins said...

I probably did allow some of my Britishisms to flower a bit in those posts. Sorry about that. What's funny is that this trip basically completely cured me of whatever anglophilia I had in me. I don't hate the country or anything, and I really enjoyed the trip, but I have no great desire to go back, and I really have no desire to learn more about the history, etc.

I have strengthened my affinity for Italy and desire to know more about that lovely land, though...