Aperitivo and The Opera Of It All...

I have these incredibly talented friends ... Peter Furlong, the fabulous tenor and Julie Wyma, a truly talented soprano.

Back in July when I was in Genova, and referring to the post that follows this one, Simon began posting dreadful photographs of me on Facebook.  His Facebook comments section came to life.

It turned out Julie and Peter were reading it all in Berlin and voila, before Simon and I had moved on from our third aperitivo bar, the song of it all was there on the internet.

I love them.  They make me laugh.  They did another short opera about my new office chair ... over here.

The lovely Veronica features in it, warning Simon of witches and calling him mean.

Di's Plush New Office Chair ... the song

It's been busy lately.  Really busy.  But I guess that's nothing new however, on the list of things that make me smile, this song arrived on Saturday night.  Peter and Julie are back in Berlin but they read of my plush new office chair over on Facebook.  Hilarity followed, as they penned and then sang me a song.

Then yesterday was a beautiful blue-sky Sunday so Gert and I got up early and wandered off to Waterloo.  There's an antiques/flea market over there.  300 stalls.  Europe.  It's delicious.  A 5 euro leather coin purse was found.  The gorgeous Wendy was there too and, somehow, we bumped into each other in the crowds.

We came home via the most glorious bakery ... I exaggerate not.  Located not too far from Waterloo,  the La ferme du Hameau du Roy makes the most stunning baked goods I've tasted in a long time.  Gert took the photograph at the end of this post, using his iPhone.  We sat on the bench outside, with our food, enjoying the idyllic scene laid out in front of us.

It's been like that, the sublime mixed with the mess of everyday life.

It's life. 

Life as a Cascade ...

Last Thursday Peter and Julie arrived. 

Actually, I should write ... the fantastically talented Tenor, Mr Peter Furlong, and the exquisitely talented  Julie Wyma, Soprano, arrived last Thursday.

They were here for a private performance.  Hosted by lovely friends, Ruth and Marc, all reports tell me that it was very very well-received.

But back to the beginning of this cascade, this avalanche of people and events ... on Saturday, the incorrigible Baritone and Pianist, Chas Elliot arrived to stay too.  Meanwhile, Gert's parents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and there I was, on Saturday night, abandoning our guests to eat my first-ever Thai meal, at the Sombat Restaurant here in Antwerp.

Without exaggerating (I may say that often in this post), I can tell you that it was the most exquisite meal ...

Sunday.  I wandered off to Brussels to capture a First Communion celebration for Irish/English friends. It was just lovely.  The people were some the of nicest people you could hope to spend time with and the weather was perfect.

Sunday evening, a small nap on the train home before meeting up with Gert and heading over to Marc and Ruth's house for dinner ... where we caught up with the 3 opera stars, who had managed to impress their Antwerp audience.  We were all exhausted but very happy.

And suddenly, NYC was in the building.  Stefano and Shannon would surely have loved it.  'Dawg' and 'cawfee', and other 'w' words, flew round the table.  And then came the stories.  No one can tell stories like those three.  It was hilarious.

All of this AND Marc was sharing his quietly spectacular supply of red wine from Puerta Del Sol.  Las Ocho 2009, from Bodegas Chozas Carrascal would have to be the most divine red wine I have tasted ...  Ever.  It was that good.   I'm not exaggerating.  Not at all. 

Actually, when a wine is really good there is no hangover and it's true, on Monday we were all fine.  Exhausted because we had pushed ourselves as artists but no hangover. 

Monday.  We talked but lacked the will to attempt much.  Chas managed to leave after expressing a desire to stay but I'm sure he'll be back.  Peter and Julie had a round of meetings with various people in the afternoon and then we had the good fortune to end our day at Puerta del Sol

Well yes, that is the wine shop I love best in the world.  They import Spanish wine to Belgium but only after rigorously checking the quality.  Guy, Frank, and Jules really love Spanish wine, and Spain too.  It shows in the quality of what they sell.  (No, they really don't pay me to  write things like this.)

Today it's sunshine and laundry for me, and quite some work to catch up on...still.  I've sent Julie and Peter out to the park to relax before they return to their Berlin world tomorrow.  I think we're just all really pleased with how this week has unfolded.  The ongoing nature of good people, fine wine, and experiences that were kind of divine.

They will be back.  And maybe I can organise my next party around them and their remarkable voices. 

Meet Peter ...



Tony Madigan ... a remarkable man.

I met Tony at Kathleen and Manuel’s wedding in Madrid.

He was the pipe-smoking guy talking with the fabulous Peter after the wedding ceremony.  My camera wanted to capture him.

It turns out, he is Kathleen’s rather superb voice teacher.  He plays guitar like an angel ... I suspect there is more but I’ll find out and get back to you.

Anyway, meet Tony Madigan ...