I forgot how the pressure keeps building as it gets closer to leaving for a trip. We’ve had a lot of stuff to do before we set off for Austria tomorrow, which we interrupted on Tuesday for a trip to Toulouse. For my birthday I wanted to go spend a night in a French city that I hadn’t been to yet. I mean, it would be difficult to top the surprise trip to Venice that Eric gave me last year. Toulouse, three hours south, was just right. We found a nice hotel at a (sort of) bargain price through the internet, not realizing til after we’d booked that they’d had incredibly high winds and bad weather, with roof tiles flying all over the place and trees down. Sort of like we had here only much worse. But when we got there the sun was out and it was looking beautiful with all the pink stone buildings and used clothing stores everywhere. Finally! Now we know where to go for not too overpriced vintage clothes.
The ambulance (which you can read a full description of in Eric’s diary – he is such a funny writer) was in the shop to get some repairs before the trip. Meanwhile our little Ford has been having problems with us leaving several quarts of various fluids (not ours, just the car’s) on the lovely streets of Toulouse. So we couldn’t drive the car and had a long walk to the next village over late Friday afternoon to pick up the ambulance. The garagiste had it running with the battery charging, which should have tipped us off that something wasn’t right. We drove on to the supermarket and when we came out with the groceries it wouldn’t start.
As you know, we’re the only people around with no mobile phone, so we hiked on into the village to try to find a phone to call the garage. The battery was dead and wouldn’t be started with a jump, so we left the van in the supermarket parking lot overnight. Meanwhile back at home, just as we finished cooking dinner the gas bottle ran out. So, no car and no van to go replace the gas bottle. Our friend Nick and Eric spent all day yesterday trying to replace the battery in the van while I tried to brush up on some of the songs we hadn’t done in rehearsal. By the time we got to our local gig last night the last thing I wanted to do was perform. The skirt I’d been so pleased with a week ago seemed better suited for a lady lawyer, which I still like to believe could be something to fall back on if this music thing doesn’t work out. But fifty keeps hitting me, this week, because all those little possibilities like that feel a lot more implausible than they did a few days ago. Silly, I know – it wasn’t too likely a week or two ago that I would be getting a law degree any time soon but now here I’ve got the skirt and I’m having to face facts.
That’s how I was feeling in the bar (the kind I’m used to, with alcohol) last night. Like, this is as good as it’s going to get. Playing for a few people, setting off to play for hopefully some more people who might show up. But a funny thing happened as we started playing – I remembered how much I love it. I don’t want to practice law and I don’t think it really matters so much what I wear on stage (although I still draw the line at sports sandals and polo shirts). Thinking about doing some undignified activity at a certain age and actually doing it are two very different things.
As I’m writing this it’s getting cold in the house. It looks like the oil tank’s almost empty. The heating in the ambulance works magnificently. So it’s a good thing to be going on tour, again.