Monday, July 16, 2012

Swim for life!

A Proustain moment has been reached in my swimming.

Today, Sunday, I swam for the whole of my allotted time using a vigorous overarm movement and was not totally exhausted at the end of it.  When was the last time that I did that?  Remembrance of times past indeed!

I put part of this new/old approach to exercise down to my new sandals.  My old ones have been worn down to the soles so that it is now like walking on marble, a hard joint-jolting experience.  The cheap shop in Castelldefels provided nothing of any use for a replacement, so we went to El Corte Ingles for a more expensive solution.

The ones I ended up with are indeed reassuringly expensive and are the next best thing to a gadget I could find.  These are Skechers “Shape-ups” which are designed with a sole which deliberately unbalances you forcing you, in theory, to adopt the correct heel-to-toe approach to walking. 

There are all sorts of other claims for these sandals all of which have the all-important word “may” inserted carefully before any assertion of positive results!  But they do feel better and, after an extended walk yesterday evening to see the fireworks I have to say that my knees do not feel as if the regulation amount of powdered glass has been forced into the joints this morning!  You never know, it “may” be that they do exactly what they tentatively claim on the box!

Needless to say I did not take what I consider to be an adequate photograph yesterday and will have to see what one part of my Retirement Lucky Bag can offer to help my technique when it arrives!

So far three weeks of the summer holiday have gone and I have completed precisely one of the summer tasks that I set myself.  At this rate I will be well into next year before they are all complete.  Just as well that I do not have to go back to school in September!  Always a reassuring thought!

As part of the celebrations of the “Festes del Mar” in Castelldefels, Toni’s Mum and I went to a concert in the Església del Carme, Can Bou this evening.  We cut it very fine and arrived late but luckily Spanish tardiness worked in our favour and we were just in time for the start.

The church is a modern affair with three spike protuberances poking out of the roof.  The interior space is in the form of a truncated triangle with the statue of the Virgin occupying the cut off bit.

This particular Mary is voluminously dressed and is sitting on a golden chair and looking a bit like Catherine the Great sitting on one of her “special” thrones and adopting a haughty look to cover what is going on down below!  Her face betrays not a hint of the Semitic and I have to say that if the Mother of Christ looked anything like the self satisfied over dressed WASP bourgeois in that church she must have created a great deal of gossip in a few BC Israel well before Joseph was tempted “privilly to put her away.”

Anyway, idols apart, the space was not very welcoming and the acoustic was unsympathetic to put it mildly.

The first part of the concert was taken by the Agrupament Musical Sant Josep Obrer de Sant Boi and the programme comprised a variety of pieces arranged for wind band.  The playing was enthusiastic rather than subtle and was certainly not helped by the acoustic.  It was like listening to the music through industrial cavity insulation.  But enjoyable nevertheless.

The second part of the concert was taken by the Assocìació Musical de Castelldefels and was of altogether a higher quality.  For the first time in my life I heard the Intermezzo from the second L’Arlésienne Suite scored for wind band and accordion!  A remarkably effective sound was produced and the enthusiasm of the home audience for the piece was markedly louder than for the Sant Boi opposition!

The concert ended with the combination of forces and the playing of Sardanas – the music for the national dance of Catalonia.  The evening ended with a spirited rendition of the “Himne de Castelldefels” – something I did not know existed.  Toni’s mum was not pleased as Terrassa does not have a hymn of its own.  Hah!

This is the final verse of this incomparable song:

Castelldefels, el meu poble,
On tothom conviu en pau.
La gent som diversa,
Some germans a l’Univers
Castelldefels, terra meva,
Sempre vas dins del meu cor.
De Catalunya som
I del poble de la flor del margalló

I am not going to translate it.

We both felt that Toni had missed out in not attending such a jolly gathering and hearing such an enthusiastic affirmation of the reasons for living where we do!

Today, Monday, is the Santa of Carmen so we have just returned from Our restaurant after eating a mariscada giving us sufficient energy to try and get to the orchestral concert this evening played by the world famous Southampton University Student Symphony Orchestra.  If it is half as good as the rollicking concert we went to on Sunday evening it will be well worth the effort of attending!

I wait to be wowed!
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