... the last time you heard from me was yonks ago. Between then and now Things Have Been Happening.
Oh yes. Things.
But before I bore you with exactly what Things, we'll take a commercial break.
Abbaye de Villelongue, Longuedoc, France
Come and visit the beautifully kept ruins of the Abbaye of Villelongue. Resting at the foot of the Montagne Noir (Black Mountain) in the Languedoc Roussillon region of Southern France, this ancient abbey of Villelongue is one of the few cistercian abbeys left in Europe.
You may even happen across a concert of English Baroque music in the beautifully restored Refectory...
And welcome back...
Things indeed. Things like moving to Holland. Such a little statement for such a huge undertaking. Details of finding said flat, deposit, removals (movers, for you non-UK'ers) firm and pick-up and delivery by said firm shall be spared, worry not, but I shall divulge some more pleasant happenings which include covering up the repulsive peach and red earth walls in the living room with a nice clean white and cheery sunshine yellow (although I have to admit that separated as they are in the hall and the bedroom, they aren't horrific at all), purchasing my very own fridge-freezer (and discovering a plethora of fabby second-hand shops into the bargain) and the compulsory visit to IKEA for things I didn't really need, but had to have, anyway.
I shall only add that I don't intend to stray from this new flat for a Very Long Time. (It's very nice, though, so I don't think I'll mind too much...)
Things. Yes, Other Things like singing in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with The Orchestra of the 18th Century. Rameau, no less. With a live radio broadcast thrown into the mix! Oh. And if that wasn't nerve-racking enough, I was covering one of 2 roles of one singer who developed some mystery throat infection one day before the concert. But, OH, how enjoyable! I mean - Rameau, Concertgebouw, Orchestra of the C18th? And all over my birthday week. SWEET! (Apart from Ill Singer, but one mustn't look a silver lining in the... erm, stitching...)
Things like travelling back off to France for concerts with Le Petit Ensemble in the Abbaye de Villelongue, and with Ensemble Jacques Moderne in the Loire region. (I find it moderately amusing that I decide to relocate back to Holland, only to get asked for a Summer's-worth of music in France - the exact inverse happened when I moved from Holland to France in 2003!)
But that's all we have time (and patience) for this post... Do join us again for the second and last episode of Now, Where Was I: Dutch Things
:: cue cheesy music and cut to commercial ::
Hidden Chateaux of the Loire
The Chateau de la Chatonnierre lies near Azay-Le-Rideau in the Loire Valley. Nestled in twelve gardens dedicated to Science, Intelligence, Elegance and Silence, amongst others, this Renaissance chateau also plays host to a Summer music festival, where you may find an international cast of singers and musicians.
Within a stone's throw of this garden delight, you will find the grand manor house of Les Douves, which was built on the remains of the Chateau of Onzain. Surrounded by its own moat and gardens, the house, which is privately owned, is home to exhibitions and small music festivals the year 'round.
This post was brought to you by The God Thor, his Thunder Bolts and Lighting Sticks, Lack of Sleep, and Much Coffee