4 Jan 2011

Hestia and ...the carol concert that never was

Oh how I practised and practised for the Carol Concert! And  Long-Suffering Frank provided me with a repetoire of Christmas tunes that would have made the sainted Val Doonican weep with desire.

In the end I opted for some old favourites:

Away in a Manger (or Away in a Mangy Bed as it's known in our house)
O Come All Ye Faithful
White Christmas
Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I painstakingly typed out all the lyrics into a blog post and saved it, in preparation for Hestia's Carol Concert.

The musical recording software was downloaded as a freebie from the intertubes....all I had to do was get the music from the keyboard onto a FLOPPY disc.

Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to find a floppy disc these days?!

I rummaged through some plastic bags bulging with assorted cables and connectors that had lain undisturbed in a drawer since The Amstrad was born and lo! a floppy disc was procured.

The keyboard instruction book was unearthed and I patiently read through how to copy a tune.  Sonshine watched with silent interest. It seemed simple enough; you basically pressed this button and that button and played your tune and voila! you had a recorded tune. 

It took 4 hours of playing, sulking, swearing and finally a LARGE gin and tonic to get the tunes 4 tunes recorded on to the keyboard. Bleary-eyed and feeling distinctly NOT in the Christmas spirit, I  decided to leave the loading on to floppy until the following day.

I switched off the machine and wafted through to the lounge to flick through the 'Christmas viewing' in a depressed manner.  Wasn't the Christmas telly crap though?

The following day I quickly copied the tunes to the floppy disc....and then realised that a MAC has not got the gubbins to handle a floppy.  This meant that I had to go upstairs to my dinosaur pc and download the software for a second time to enable the Musical Event of the Year to proceed apace.

Nothing is too much trouble for the reader of Hestia's blog.

I snapped the floppy into the dusty drive and loaded up the first tune.  I couldn't believe my luck when the little icon appeared in the blog and I excitedly saved and Viewed Blog to see how it was going to perform. Sonshine again stood mesmerised behind me, snapping together bits of Lego and unsnapping them with what I later realised was nervous tension.

'Has it all worked then, mum? he asked, his childish brow creased in concern.

I smiled and clicked triumphantly on the link.  The opening bars of Away in a Mangy Bed filled the air and then....stopped.....and some 'music' that can only be described as Single Finger Plinky Plonking sprang forth from the pc's speakers like Philip Glass on speed.

Sonshine began to slink out of the room, one sweating atom at a time as I frantically rewound, replayed and stared in wild-eyed puzzlement at the noise filling the room.

The bedroom office floor creaked guiltily and I turned to see my son trying to tip-toe away.

'Do you know anything about this?' I asked rubbing my forehead (in manner of tired teacher at end of v long school day).

'Noooooo.' He shook his head in the negatory manner and then quickly changed it to 'Yes,' accompanied by vigorous nodding. ''Yes, it was me.  And I've done it on all of them.  By mistake.' By now the snapping and unsnapping of the Lego had built up to express train levels as he contemplated being on the receiving end of his mother's fury yet again.

Well, what with driving up to collect Tertarus from the airport the previous day in the snow and having to invoke the assistance of every God I'd ever heard off for a safe return through the blizzard, I just didn't have the energy to be cross with him at all.

I half-heartedly tried the other tracks and, sure enough, all four tracks started beautifully and then degenerated into white noise as my dear son discovered that you can double record onto the tracks. And erase.  But nowhere did the book explain to him How To Erase The Right Bit Of Noise.

He was visibly upset, so I gave him a hug and told him that it didn't matter.  'You can do it again though, can't you?' he asked hopefully.  But the musical highlight to the end of Hestia's Blogging Season had met a grisly - and entirely typical - end and I didn't have the heart to go through all the recording again - I'm not the bloody Beatles.

So, dear reader, the carol concert failed to materialise, but you were in my heart all the same.  I hope that YOU had a super Christmas and suitably drink-fuelled New Year.  May your resolutions still be resolute in the face of left-over mince pies and may 2011 be a wonderful time for us all.

God bless us, every one!

PS - Waldo Pancake winner will be organised next week - my contact at the company has been away on holiday. Lucky blighter.


  1. Sad it all went wrong - those were amazing lengths to go to and I think redoing it would be a step too far.

    So glad to have you back! Hope you had a good time while you were gone and happy new year!

  2. Dear Ali, thank God you're back! I've missed your posts.

    I'll imagine the carol concert in my head. I'm also imagining your face when you heard what was recorded! Priceless!

    Wishing you a wonderful 2011 and please come to London as soon as you can for some fun and some quails eggs of course. Love C xx

  3. Yes, and just where HAVE you been, he asks knowing full well what the answer is. Reading my daily blogs just isn't the same without Hestia:)

  4. I am echoing everyone else, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? No matter, your back now. Happy New Year to you Ali, I hope you have a great one.

  5. What a shame all that effort for nothing.I was looking forward to the carol concert,but then the anticipation is often better than the actual event..
    Missed yours posts!
    happy New Year!x

  6. Cant believe you went to so much trouble for us - I disappeared from the blogasphere for a while too - just too much going on in my real life although I had tons in my head to get into a post but it never materialized. Hope you have a fab 2011 x

  7. I've missed you too....VERY much!
    Did you get my email? Can't even remember what it was about now - probably long out of date... :)

  8. *shaking with laughter* - oh my god, how have you instilled such a sense of honesty into Sonshine?? mine would never 'fess up to doing something like that, and I'd be left feeling just a tad technophobic about it going wrong...

    what a pity though, after all that practise and research - it would have been the mutha of all posts.

    you really are very good at forgiving Sonshine (as with the hamster-wooden-spoon-meatball incident) - I salute your patience!

    ps has Sonshine got a secret blog of his own, about all these little episodes he gets away with???

  9. Trashsparkle - believe me his honesty has all but buried me alive this holiday season, possibly more of which later. Depends on how much of my sex life you can stand reading about lol!

    Exmoorjane - found e-mail in spam and replied. Further reply on its way directly.

    MrsP - I have the same problem - lots of stuff happens when it's not the right blogging time and then I forget. There was a memorable bit in a freezing outside toilet reading The Memorial Mason's Newsletter that I thought should be immortalised on the web. But maybe not lol!

    NS - I'll get my technology sorted out and we can massacre some other tunes that Frank has given me ;-)

    Dash - It's soooo sweet that I have been missed! I have been collecting Tertarus from the airport, hosting for my family, The Accounts for my friend and lastly, trying to get my act together. Managed it all except getting my act together :-)

    Legend - you smooth talker!

    Christina - been trying hard to log in and keep abreast of your blog, but you're soooo prolific, I failed miserably. Am catching up now!

    Siobhan - I agree - I would either have been screaming drunk by the end of a second attempt or just screaming. Or both ;-)

  10. oh my........the horror of it, and yet so funny.....I shall sing along with you in my heart....happy new year!!

  11. Happy New Year, love! Sorry for your X-mas tune horror.

    Love you.


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