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Monday, 16 November 2015

Music Festival

For music-lovers last weekend in Jaca was rather exciting. We had Pyrenaeum, the first Contemporary Music Festival, with master-classes given by the internationally renowned composer and conductor Javier Busto.
Singers and conductors from various choirs (at least three nationalities) practised three songs under the meticulous directions of the genial composer in three sessions beginning at ten in the morning in the little church presided by the Benidictine nuns.
It was both a challenge and a pleasure to work with dedicated and focussed people in such and intensive way. 

Very expressive and communicative

The whole group
In the evening we sang our three rehearsed songs in the cathedral, after which we were presented with attendance diplomas. The icing on the cake was the performance of Aqua Lauda, conducted by Javier Busto. They were so goood that some experienced choir singers felt like giving up!

Aqua Lauda, conducted by Javier Busto, singing Ave Maria, the conductor's own work and God be in my Head by David Basden.

I've just checked "genial" in the dictionary- friendly and cheerful, nothing to do with "genius", but you can use both genial and genius for Javier Busto.


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Not quite autumn

Update: Two weeks later. The autumn colours are now truly spectacular.

This is the last of the photos from 10th October.

Actually it is autumn but the trees haven't changed colour yet. We went for a walk in the ski resort of Candanchu yesterday, just as far as the beechwood. There were a few yellow or red patches, but not many.


beech trees

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A few things in England

I've just come back from a week in England. I didn't do much or go to many places; the weather was mostly terrible, but here are a couple of things.
From Zaragoza airport, this is where I could fly to with Ryanair. I paid very little for my flights, which I booked three months in advance, and I didn't pay the €50 extra for a checked-in suitcase. However, in Zaragoza airport I checked in my small cabin baggage suitcase; they said yes, they actually preferred people to do that, and it was free. No problem. However, in Stansted they told me that I couldn't do it, they had changed and I had to take it on board with me or pay to check it in. Do they do it just to annoy passengers?

That was Saturday. Arriving at Stansted I had to go and pick up my rented Fiat 500 and drive to Ringmer. Lots of traffic. 
The next morning I went to the morning service in the parish church. It just happened to be the day they blessed the new statue in the doorway. 

An atypical Mary with little boy Jesus.

The vicar sprinkled the statue with water 

and the lady in the wheelchair got wet too!

Lewes. In a moment when it wasn't raining on Monday the Harvey's dray came out from the brewery. Very picturesque!

This photo is a packet of pork in Tesco supermarket. Spoilt pig must have been fed only the very best food!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Bits and pieces

At the end of August we had to drive to Barcelona airport. Our coffee break was in Barbastro, where I saw this building with great window boxes.
Good, isn't it? We visited the cathedral there and were surprised by its very impressive Gothic interior.
This isn't my photo.
Then yesterday we went on a little trip to Oloron Sainte-Marie. It took about  minutes to get there; it's not the distance so much as the French roads. It's 30 minutes on decent Spanish roads to the tunnel, 8kms of tunnel and the rest in wiggly narrow roads down the steep, narrow Aspe valley to Oloron.
A short walk took us to the Sainte Marie quarter; to the old cathedral with its Romanesque portal and Gothic interior.

And a few more jupiter trees in Oloron.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Another cave

Last week at the end of August I went to another cave, this time near Jaca, in Villanúa. The cave is much smaller than the French system of Bettharam, but it's really rather impressive. I went with the choir as part of the celebration of Witches' week:
güixa is witch in Aragonese dialect and it's what they call the cave there. I didn't take photos, but others did, so I've copied them from Facebook.

We did two mini-concerts to small audiences: the second one there were fewer listeners than singers, unless you count the bats and one mouse!

The path to get to the entrance is rough, but once you get into the cave there's a clear, well-lit pathway, and there are some impressive rock-formations as well as an important colony of bats.