lunedì 16 luglio 2018

Practice Time

The Testore Trio has a practice tomorrow. We've done away with the black shirt photos because people said they made us look like facists.

Guitarist Wade was more worried that the shirt wasn't up to his high dress standard.
I can't show his photo here because people might think that he's shopping for shirts at Italian op shops - he likes a close fitting shirt.

So we'll be going for a more 'mixed up' and a less 'uniform' approach on our next gig.

The four suggested uniforms below have all been dropped from contention as well.

 I guess we'll just concentrate on the music.

domenica 15 luglio 2018

Everybody has buggered off.

TSB is in Scotland, The Curmudgeon is in Aussie and Robert has deleted all his posts (again).

Don't worry, Richard's Bass Bag* is always here for you.


* the original bass bagging site

giovedì 12 luglio 2018


I watched a film in Italian last night, I've watched quite a few lately.

Action movies are the easiest to understand because there's less dialogue and a lot of action. Last night I watched Unknown.

senza identità


I listen to Radio 24 a lot in my car. Radio is hard to understand, but you do pick up tell tale words like Trump, Europa and calcio (soccer).
I try to talk as much Italian as I can as I go through my daily life.
I say spingere as I push a door open, andiamo when I'm heading off somewhere with someone, mi ne frega if I really don't care about something and grazie mille as a sign of thanks. I also say pronto when I answer the telephone.

Learning a language is a big job and you have to make it part of your daily life. It is easier to speak another language when you are relaxed (try speaking another language after two glasses of Chardonnay), this is why children seem to do so well with languages - they don't care about mistakes and when they don't know a word they just make one up.

Okay, I know you probably didn't watch the entire trailer for Unknown but watch it now and see how much you can understand.

I'm off to do some practice.

mercoledì 11 luglio 2018

My dad could beat your dad in a fight.

Have you ever noticed that, when The Curmudgeon whinges and moans, he sounds like a school boy? Sometimes he even claims that words are spelt incorrectly.

"Our house is bigger 
than your house."
Have you noticed that all those people at The Curmudgeon Ink never all post at once?
If you want exaggeration, The Curmudgeon Ink is a series of posts you should check out.

"We had a huge storm last night and this outside
chair was blown over!"
What gets me is that Robert works hard to support this old age pensioner by paying taxes and all he seems to do is play tennis, fall down banks at golf clubs (probably pissed) and post pathetic little blog posts.


I guess what really gets to me is that, while he's doing all this, I'm busy practising my instruments, writing quality posts, drinking Chardonnay and taking pictures of my two German bows.

Aren't they cute!

I guess that what I'm trying to say is that The Curmudgeon needs one thing in his life...


Substance is why the posts that come out of Richard's Bass Bag* are so enjoyed by people of all ages, beliefs and sizes.

Okay, I'm off to do more amazing things - like practise my violin and make dinner for Shelley - lucky woman!

See you later when I'm not so busy.

* the original bass bagging site

lunedì 9 luglio 2018

No post this morning.

Sorry, there will be no post this morning because Richard (of RBB) has to take his wife's car to the garage - it's due for a warrant check.

Not the actual car but same model and colour.

For your entertainment, here are a set of cars that look nothing like Shelley's car.

sabato 7 luglio 2018

It's a sign from...

A little joke to start with.

Two words for joke in Italian are scherzo and divertimento - Robert will recognise these from music.
Today I chatted to Antonio about road rules and road signs. The talk was 95% in Italian so I hope I got it right.
Italians give way to the right and also have stop and give way signs. The stop sign actually says stop, probably because fermata is too long. On roundabouts you give way to people already on the roundabout.

Okay, this first sign pretty obvious. No explanation
 really needed and the pictures help.

The above sign is telling you that parking is free but there is a disco orario in your car that you must set up to show the time you arrived. Dalle means from and alle means to. This picture doesn't show the whole sign because it should also say something like 1 ora (one hour). There is also a big white 'P' on the top of the sign.

This is a sign telling you to put money in the meter - the two crossed hammers are telling you that these pay times are in place Monday to Saturday - the times when most people work. If the times also apply to Sunday, there will be a cross to the right of the hammers. Nei limiti tracciati means within the limits set.

In caso di neve means in case of snow. The rest of the sign is pretty easy to work out.

Okay, back to violin practice. I plan to visit the Roma jazz jam tomorrow.

venerdì 6 luglio 2018

Friday and the last day of term.

I'm at NLHS today but at least it's the last day of term.
That means no more early phone calls for two weeks.

What relief teachers used in the 1990s.
There might be a morning tea too.
Those little hot pies (savouries) are always welcome on a cold day.
Some of the students will be extra silly today, but there you go.

I might go to the jazz jam on Sunday, if I get enough practice in.

Violin will be my weapon of choice.

I spent a bit of time yesterday (I was at RGC) checking out on line how to use the navigation thing in a Peugeot 208. When we arrive in Milano in late settembre I will need to be able to set this up fast. For some reason they only put a tiny amount of petrol in these leased cars and your first job is to find petrol quickly. It's like a game.

"I need gas."
So, there I will be at Malpensa airport (Milano), fortunately having spent a night in a hotel, getting into a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side, with the challenge of finding a petrol station quickly.
Ah well, I like a challenge.

I think I'll leave you there for this morning. I want to do a bit of violin practice before going to school, or I might do some double bass practice. I'll go to the bathroom first.


mercoledì 4 luglio 2018

Science reliever at work.

This year I've got a lot of work relieving in science classrooms.

It's a subject that I don't know a lot about, in the 1970s I was employed as a science teacher when there was a huge shortage of teachers in this field. I think I was pretty hopeless and there are a few stories I could tell.

I've learnt quite a bit over the last term.
I was talking to a young lady today about the set work and I asked her what Isaac Newton's name was used to name (the word for measuring force).
She replied, "Newtown."

Newtown, a suburb of Wellington.
I thought that was a very inventive answer. She'd probably make a good musician.
Good on her.

martedì 3 luglio 2018

Shelley's Wall.

Okay, to cut a long story short, yesterday I discovered that someone had been in our backyard moving our outside gear around in a bizarre way.
"Who could have done this and why?" I thought.
I informed neighbours and tried to ring the police.
I wrote a post about it and even practised self defence with a broomstick - I think I was getting quite good, I can see why Jack Reacher chooses a pool cue as one of his favourite weapons.

When Shelley returned from work I told her.
She explained that it was her!
She'd had some women for lunch on the weekend and one had brought a little dog so they built a barricade to keep it in the back yard.

Mystery solved.

domenica 1 luglio 2018

A busy night for the two Roberts.

I know, from all their comments on my last post, that Saturday was a busy stay at home night for the two Roberts.

Robert of the north
Robert of the south
I guess I have to say good on Robert of the south for at least trying to read my post in Italian without resorting to Google Translate, even though he was way off beam with his translation.
After a bit of foul language Robert of the north hit back with a traditional Robert poem.
No real surprises there.

* * *

I bought a new phone yesterday. I need more storage when I travel to Italy.

The bloke in the shop transferred all the apps from my old phone and I headed home.
Simple? No.
When I got home all the regular places - Google, Word, etc - were after passwords.
There was a time when I used just one password but now every password has its own requirements. One capital letter, at least one number, the name of a song, your mother's best friend, and so on.
I've got it working now but I'm still having trouble finding a document I stored in tools on my old phone. I know it's there but it is stored in a different place. I was hoping this phone (J5) would be the same as my old phone (J1), only with more storage.
It is similar but there are a lot of differences.

* * *

Practice Report:

Shelley had a big pile of women for lunch yesterday and I had my new phone to work out so I only did 10 minutes of violin. Sorry everyone.

Photo taken with the J5.
Well, that's it for this morning. The two Roberts are probably still sleeping after their busy evening.
I'm off work tomorrow (yes!) but unfortunately I have a problem with the Batmobile - when something goes wrong it's always very very expensive so I'm not looking forward to the result.

sabato 30 giugno 2018

Sabato mattina al Bass Bag di Riccardo.*

Riccardo (del BB di R): Ciao tutto. Oggi abbiamo con noi Bin Hire, un vecchio amico.

Bin Hire: Grazie mille e ciao di tutti.
Riccardo (del BB di R): Benvenuto Bin. Come stai?
Bin Hire: Sto bene,  è sabato!
Riccardo (del BB di R): Un altre mattina freddo in Nuova Lazio.
Bin Hire: Sì, è molto freddo ancora! Oggi ho intenzione fare pratica il mio contrabbasso. Ho un piccolo concerto domani.

Riccardo (del BB di R): Dove?
Bin Hire: Al ristortante Italiano.
Riccardo (del BB di R): Suona la musica Italiana sul contrabbasso? Sola? O con una gruppa?
Bin Hire: Con un duo in realtà. Ho un amico e lui suona la tromba.
Riccardo (del BB di R): La tromba? Con soltanto un basso? Strano!
Bin Hire: No, alla gente piace la tromba. Ha un suono maestoso, ed è facile da ascoltare.
Riccardo (del BB di R): Mio Dio! Mentre queste persone mangiano?
Bin Hire:  Sì.
Riccardo (del BB di R): Tra il dire e il fare c'è di mezzo il mare!
Bin Hire: La tromba è buon. Meglio di un violino.
Riccardo (del BB di R): No, no, no! Il violino è lo strumento della musica  Italiano! La tromba è troppo forte per un restorante.
Bin Hire: Non è vero!
Riccardo (del BB di R): Sì, è vero.
Bin Hire: No.
Riccardo (del BB di R): Sì, è vero.
Bin Hire: Non è vero!
Riccardo (del BB di R): Beh,  è il tempo finire. Ciao di tutti.
[Riccardo (del BB di R)  lasca la stanza]
[Bin Hire lasca la stanza]
[Il pubblico lasca la stanza]

Una tromba di plactica.

* il bass bag luogo originale

venerdì 29 giugno 2018

It's still cold out there.*

It's just coming up to 6am and I'm sitting at the computer with all heating on full.
I've just read that TSB has arrived safely in Scotland but is a bit tired.
Robert's blog is currently off the air and will shortly return with a different name like...
  • The Holy Spirit tells it as it is, or
  • Wise men of the 19th century, or
  • Heaven, found in space.
I upset him because he left a comment on my blog that I thought was inappropriate and I removed it.
He was attacking an old Dean Martin song I'd put up and was drawing sinister things from it. Hell (a warm place that seems quite attractive on a cold morning like this - keeping in mind that it gets a lot colder in Canada), my dad used to sing that song when I was a kid.
Maybe it's not good to spend too much time guessing about God and looking for evil in too many things. 
My mum used to like to finish an argument with, "But you've got to believe in something."
Well, maybe we could just believe in seeing the good in people.
I'm at NLHS today so maybe my little phiosophy will be put to the test.

Toronto, it can get as cold as -40 degreed C here!
Okay, time for a change of topic after one more picture of Toronto.

Toronto in winter. Try beating that Nuova Lazio!

Yesterday I bought a book in a secondhand bookshop.

Poetry of the Twentieth Century
Signore Spagnoletti jumped the gun a bit because the book was put together in 1951, though it did go to a third edition in 1954.

This copy belonged to I. G. Brownlie.

He valued the book enough to
stamp his name inside.
Probably, after I. G. Brownlie died, there was a clean up and a lot of his books were sold (cheaply) to bookshops. In Canada books like this would probably be stowed in walls to give houses extra warmth.

There's a poem about May (Primavera in Italia) written by Francesco Gaeta.


Sotto il pensoso, nuvoloso maggio,
un violino,  giù  in istrada, geme.
Oh se in quest'ora priva di coraggio
                            fossimo insieme!

Per le velate case e la collina,
tenera snoda una campana il canto.
Saprò se in questa povera mattina,
                         amore, hai pianto.

Okay here's a few translated words that might help you get the idea:
sotto - under
pensoso - thoughtful
nuvoloso - cloudy
giù - down
istrada - street
geme - moans
ora - hour
corrigio - courage
fossimo insieme - we were together
velate - veiled
case - houses
collina - hill
tenera - tender
snoda - winds
campana - bell
canto - I sing
saprò - I will know
povera mattina - poor morning
amore - love
hai pianto - you cried

There you go, the poem should make sense now.

* but I bet it's colder in Canada in winter

giovedì 28 giugno 2018

Baby It's Cold Outside.


Okay, okay, as The Curmudgeon likes to tell us, it gets colder in Canada and other places.
It was however pretty cold in Nuova Lazio when I got up this morning.
Worrying about it being colder in Canada is like watching a really talented seven year old kid playing the violin on Youtube - it doesn't mean that an old guy playing the violin in Nuova Lazio has no place. It's also a bit like watching a couple of school teams play rugby and saying, "The All Blacks could beat them." Anyone at that game who heard your comment would not give a fuck.
I hope I cleaned up that silly comparison nonsense for The Curmudgeon.

"No, you're just being
Scatological was TC's favourite word for a while - just like this was his favourite picture.

The scatological wind up north was responsible.
No work today. I planned that. Thursday is a very, very long day at NLHS so I designated it a music day. Though I will be back there tomorrow. I'm working on the music for Anything Goes (DB) as well as my Testore Trio charts (Vln). At the moment though I'm just trying to get warm. The heat pump is on in our living room but I'm downstairs on the computer writing this.
We call it downstairs and that is technically correct.

Or are these really 'steps'?
We only have a little house and stairs does imply a staircase and maybe a bit of grandeur. Have a think because I don't want to give the wrong impression.

I'll leave you there for today.

mercoledì 27 giugno 2018

Not much time for a post this morning...

...because I'm working at NLHS.
Fun, but it is a short day today.
Our heat pump stopped working last night - all the lights went off and it seemed dead - but it's working again this morning.
I think it might be a smart heat pump.

Come to think of it, it
looks more like a little
man than a heat pump.
I made the heat pump some breakfast this morning, sort of to say thanks for working again.
It's probably not wise to get heat pump into the habit of expecting rewards.
I got a bit of a shock when the heat pump said, "Do you have any tomato sauce?"
I don't think that heat pumps are supposed to talk.
Anyway we didn't have any tomato sauce so I found some tomato relish.
Heat pump seemed happy with that.
I wonder if heat pump will need to use our toilet sometime in the future.
Maybe I should leave him turned on today - we don't want any accidents.
It's quite a responsibility having a heat pump.

martedì 26 giugno 2018

The fastest buses in the West.*

For some reason Inferiore Hutto has a new bus company (Metlink), evidently they undercut the guys who had the contract. Evidently they're helping to make ends meet by paying their drivers less - but my information is just hearsay, so don't quote me. 
The night before change over the bus we were hoping to take into Inferiore Hutto didn't come. I rang the company and the guy informed me that quite a few drivers hadn't turned up for work on the final night because they were pissed off.

The new Metlink buses look like this.
My intention is not to write about what drivers are paid, but how they drive.
They speed.
I've seen quite a few of them.
Last Saturday we took a bus to Inferiore Hutto to watch the All Blacks thrash France (after a fairly hard first half). The driver was like a racing driver, except that he didn't know how to drive so that passengers had a happy and safe drive. He took all the corners at what felt like a high speed and we were all thrown around.

He seemed to think that he was driving one of these.

We live in the age of Health and Safety.

  • Children's playgrounds are padded.
  • Houses are built inside scaffolding frames.
  • It's much harder for paedofiles to get into teaching.
  • Ladder use is regulated.
  • The Curmudgeon is not allowed on his roof.
  • Workmen must wear hard hats and reflective gear.
  • The Curmudgeon isn't allowed anywhere near power tools.
etc, etc, etc.

So, why aren't bus drivers taught to drive safely? Why aren't there speed monitors (devices) on buses? Why are there no seat belts?

* and the north, south and east