I’m a bit sick of Christmas carols. Tonight was the second of our two carol services at the cathedral. On Sunday afternoon we had a couple of hundred people at our Five Lessons and Carols, and tonight we had a full house of about 500 folk for the diocesan Nine Lessons and Carols. This comes on top of the sell-out Christmas concert last Wednesday night.
It’s great to sing for such large congregations, particularly in comparison with some mid-week Evensongs where we only get a handful or people. But with so many people in the congregation, the music does get very loud.
In some of the congregational carols this evening, our organist was joined by two trumpets and a set of timps, which on top of all the singers, was a deafening sound.
Today it was the five lessons and carols at the cathedral. And tomorrow it’s the nine lessons and carols.
I’m beginning to lose track of the different Christmas services and concerts. And I’ve certainly lost track of what day of the week it is. It doesn’t help (of course) that I’m off work at the moment, and thus have no point of reference for the week. Last Wednesday felt like a Saturday, Thursday felt like a Friday, and Saturday felt like a Sunday. So it’s no wonder that I’m confused.
Anyway, the Christmas music is in full flow at the moment. It feels like we’ve done an awful lot of singing in the last couple of weeks, but also have a lot more still to come. At the moment I still do have one evening free (Friday) between now and Christmas Day, and plan to guard it jealously – just so that I can have a whole day without having to sing any carols.
Today was an interesting one, full of music.
At lunchtime a group of us met up at the Old Jameson Distillery and sang some Christmas carols in the entrance hall, to entertain all the visitors. And in return, the generous management of the distillery gave us some free food and drinks.
And then at Evensong later that afternoon, we had the TV cameras in from RTÉ. Our Director and Assistant Director of Music were interviewed for the telly about their preparations for Christmas, and apparently they also wanted to film the choir singing as well – so we ended up having this camera crew wandering up and down the south transept during the service, which was a little bit distracting.
Joy of joys! I now have broadband, and can waste time at a much faster speed than before.
For the last six or seven months I’ve been making do with different wireless internet connections – all of which have been pretty flaky. With slow download speeds and dropped connections, its kind-of criminal that they sell these wireless services as ‘broadband’. They’re maybe okay for the very occasional web user – someone who checks their email a couple of times a week – but not for me.
Back in Edinburgh I used to have broadband internet over cable (Telewest), and had very few problems with them. In fact, over the 5 years I was a subscriber, I think I only ever had to call the tech support line about three times. And so I decided to go for the same thing here – or more specifically, I am now connected up to UPC Ireland – Broadband Express, giving me a 3 megabit connection.
The farce continues with the NTL DVR installation. Following two failed installs on Monday and Tuesday this week, I was assured on Tuesday afternoon that a DVR would definitely be installed "first thing tomorrow morning" (Wednesday).
Well it's now Wednesday afternoon, and guess what? Yup, you got it. Nobody came, and the number of failed appointments reaches three (or four, if you also count the missed Broadband install on Saturday).
So I called NTL (I know the number from memory now), and they told me that no appointment was made for this morning, and that my DVR was booked in for Friday afternoon – which was news to me – but not much of a surprise. After all, almost nothing that NTL tells me ever seems to match reality. I've had several promises made to me over the last week, and not one of them has been kept. And at the moment, I have very little faith that anyone will arrive on Friday either.
What I should do, of course, is cancel my service with NTL. They've messed me around more than any sane person could stand. But I don't want to go elsewhere. I just want NTL to install the services I asked for.