In my rant about the whole car fiasco yesterday, I neglected to post some of the highlights from my week away.
First: Seeing all the guys on the course again, and having the time to catch up each others' news and lives a bit. Very nice, I hope we stay in touch. Well, at least the guys in my group, who are all completely great.
And yes, they have the address of my blog so I daren't be rude about them.
Other stuff: The drumming thing. I mentioned this in brief, but it deserves a bit more explanation. On the course programme for Thursday evening it said ominously "Drumming with Umbanda". I googled Umbanda. I found their website. I looked at what I found in blank dismay.
You can do the same... http://www.umbanda.co.uk/
I have never considered myself the kind of person who does percussion for fun. Or for anything, really. The last time I used any kind of formal percussion instrument was at primary school, where I think I was an unskilled and unenthusiastic triangle player.
I play guitar, I make jokes about drummers.
Q: What do you call a guy who hangs out with a group of musicians?
A: A drummer.
And being British and therefore hugely repressed, I was dreading the whole thing.
However. Come the evening in question, we had successfully completed a huge complicated team exercise which had left everyone in a pretty good mood, and there was the promise of free booze and a barbecue after the drumming, so things were looking up.
It was being held in The Fernery (and isn't that a great name?) so we trooped in there, spotted the booze and all latched on like drowning men onto a barrel. Amazingly, after a few glasses of wine, the vast assortment of drums, shaky things, clangy things, whacky things and scrapy things all looked less daunting.
It was hilarious. Being a bit pissed helped, obviously, but the guys running the session were brilliant, and everyone joined in.
And as a footnote to that, while we were all sitting having our barbecue afterwards, we could hear another group doing their drumming session. They sounded shit. We mocked them at length amongst ourselves, even finding out from our course tutor who they were. Turned out they were a group of Germans from some Big German Company.
A little later, a couple of chaps wandered into our field of vision, both looking in some indefinable way, well, German. One of our group (a sweet, mild-mannered lady) bellowed at them:
"Hey! Are you from Big German Company?"
They stopped, looking rather startled and replied politely "Why yes, we are."
"You're CRAP!" she shouted.
There may have been a degree of pointing as well.
The rest of us dissolved in laughter, whilst trying to explain to the bemused polite German chaps that she was referring to their drumming efforts, not to the whole German nation. Well, we assume that's what she meant.