Enjoying an Indian summer

This year, we were lucky to enjoy an Indian Summer in Brittany, with an amazing autumn offering us what we think was the best weather of the year.

In fact, it was so great that I went for a swim in the sea more times in September than the rest of the year put together, and I even swam in the pool as late as October 20th.

It’s a real shame that people are so restricted by school holidays, as September frequently offers some of the best weather, and more often than not there is hardly anyone around. The only people you come across are pensioners or families with children too young to go to school. The general atmosphere is quite different from the one encountered at the height of summer. It tends to be relaxed, polite, and altogether very pleasant.

Simon Pocock

Simon Pocock

Playing with a different band

As well as going swimming frequently in September, I also decided to join another band: the Perros-Guirec harmony. This is a band that plays at a good level, and as I already have a bunch of mates from the jazz fanfare who play with them, I have found that fitting in is no problem at all.

The size of the band varies between 30 and 40 players. The only down side is that this coming autumn they will be performing a series of 6 Verdi concerts and will be accompanied by a “chorale” (a choir: I have to be honest, classical music is not my favorite type of music), but it’s a good discipline to read music correctly.

Normally, they tend to perform at half classic and half big band/swing concerts, which is much more interesting and attractive for me.

The odd coincidence when I joined up was that there were already two other players from the Lannion band there, like myself, and I found out that they are also demoralised by the standard of music there, which is why they both decided to jump ship.

An Indian Summer in Brittany 1

It seems the band’s new director will be Véronique’s copain (or boyfriend). This chap also conducts the Orchestre Symphonique du Tregor, which is a symphony orchestra composed of about thirty amateur musicians and open to all levels (Tregor is one of the 9 provinces of Brittany). This man must like a challenge but bearing in mind his experience, I really look forward to playing with the band and hope that it helps me reach a higher level.

An expensive car repair

On another, completely different, front, my plastic car has just come back from the garage after its accident (which was not our fault). The “expert” put the damage estimate at around 3000 euros and only valued the car at 2500 euros, which is absolute rubbish, as you can’t buy a replacement for that amount, so we decided to have it repaired at the local “Caisse22″ garage.

Caisse 22 is a local car scrapyard with a garage attached, so he used second-hand plastic bits to fix our car. He repaired it for 2100 euros, and put it through the controle technique for the equivalent of an MOT, but then Mr ”expert” said the car needed extras (a list as long as the arm with among others brand new tyres, brakes, etc.) which came to another 1200 euros. The problem is we have to pay all of this before the insurance will agree to pay the first bill. What a crazy system! But then, we have chosen to live in France, so I guess we have to live by the rules, same as everyone else, whether we like it or not.

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