Update from 'oop North' (1)

an email to selected friends om 16th January 2020

To all folk who are desperate for an update... Well, even if you are not, you get it anyway.

For a reminder, unless it's the first time you hear it, I have not moved yet. I am in a SpareRoom(.co.uk) for a minimum of 3 months, but I was anticipating to know within 3-4 months whether I am staying with my new employer. And then I will be looking properly for a flat.

So far the promises people with experience of these areas have made came very much true: people talk here! And you are not taken for suspicious immediately. My impression of the folk I am working with isreall good, and I can see myself hanging around her for some time. Upon enquiry there are staff that have been with the company for 15 and more years. Says a lot about the management style, climate and interaction between the people. Even though my job title is Accounts Receivable Administrator, my tasks - once properly setup and trained - are focused on Credit Control for the German based franchise of Premier Inn (including Business Accounts).

I arrived on Sunday, 5th January 2020, but was only just as much able to move into my room, before starting my job on Monday morning. The week went by reasonably OK. The scheme on which I will be working has its teething issues, i.e. not set up properly yet, but gives me an opportunity to shape the process - I wish. Working hours are 9-5.30, Monday to Thursday, and 9-5 on Friday with 1 hour lunch. I anticipate that my times change to start and finish an hour earlier, once I am set on my country-specific duties.

Last Saturday, I allowed myself a lay-in, followed by the search of an A-2-Z streetmap to get the bearings around the area. Doing this on foot gives a slightly different perspective of distance and shops in the area.

Sunday morning, I thought it started at 11am, so I was 10 mins late... the Catholic church "Our Lady of Perpetual Succour" has a full smells and bells service with a Latin Gloria for introitus, quite a lot of Latin responses with a throng of about twelve servers (red cassocks, white cotter). Although it didn't look it in the pews in the front, but there were at least 80odd people going for communion. Quite conservative the outro accompanied the priest to the manger at the back, where he left a prayer and some smoke. However, with singing they need some support. Apparently there are two choirs, so I check out one on Weds eve.

In the afternoon I went for a cycle ride to Wombourne. Just got it in my head, because that's where the nearest CTC member group is located acc to the CTC website. Obviously, by the time I arrived there at 1.30pm, there were no cyclists to be seen. After a ride round the quite picturesque town centre, I walked into the first pub. Judging by the types of cars around, it must be the locals'. And, as expected, I found folk playing darts and watching football. The problem was just that they didn't serve food; a proper pub that just sells beer & cider, and soft drinks for the kids, not even a cup of tea. The pub restaurant just next door was fully booked, so I went to the "Waggon and Horses", as recommended. "It's only 9 minutes down the road." I found it interesting the distance stated in time sounds so much longer, than if she only had said it was 1.5 miles (read from the maps app on my mobile). Quite nice food at Southend prices.

Then I made the wrong decision for the way back - with an OS-map at hand, I would not have taken this direction. Rather than going back up the dual-carriage way of the A449, I went for the much quieter looking road towards Sedgeley - rising 500 foot over 2 miles (which I found out only afters from my course recording app), then down over 1/2 mile ... the latter quite enjoyable. And yes, after that it was a bit - considerably - less traffic into Wolverhampton up to the Ring Road. There I even found a rare feature called a cyclepath for parts of retracing my way home. A bit of this was along the Birmingham Canal. But generally there are really few cycling facilities in this neck of the woods. It also looks most likely that I will be riding much of my own, unless I find some enthusiasts on two wheels.

Then on Monday I went to join the City of Wolverhampton Choir (fka Wolverhampton Civic Choir). I got lost on the way a couple of times - by car, as the main roads did not indicate the turns as set out on the map. However, I think I will recall the landmarks once I am going there on the bike. The conductor is professional soprano, called Naomi Berry. She was surprised that I got the reference to the choir from a member of our Southend Bach Choir. Unfortunately, the size is a very delicate just about 20 members, so the concerts aren't quite as large as in their previous years (which were similar to the SBC, see their website www.cityofwolverhamptonchoir.org.uk). So no audition, and just jumping in. I had a word - daringly, as I just joind the group - with the conductor on Beethoven. She proposed a rather lighter programme for the size of the choir nearer the time, i.e. November or December.

Guess what? I met a woman in the choir from down south. No, I mean really down south, sort of ... practically my area of origin - about 40km / 25miles north of my home village, Ingolstadt to be precise. Yes, talking German and dialect - really nice!

So, the local church choir formation consists of a massive 9 enthusiastic folk (in total - aged 60plus) to sing some of the interludes during the service - rehearsing for Candlemass next. Two members don't come out in the evening, as it's too dark - so there's another rehearsal in the afternoon, but at alternate weeks. Yes, very effective - not. I hadn't heard most of the hymns, but they weren't too taxing. Some is Taize stuff, which I also had not heard ye before.

Other than that, I will have to get another spare time activity, such as probably learning another language to keep me busy/my brain active.

Right then, that's from me for now.

I hope you are all well.

Take care, until I see you again at some point; or until the next update.


P.s.: I haven't emailed just everyone, but I trust/hope that some news of an 'exiled' face might just spread through word of mouth...

Eine Sache ist nur verloren, wenn man sie aufgibt. (Freiherr von Stein)


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