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July 1, 2010 / castingpods99

Casting Pods Show 4 Paris: Anticipation Arrival and Rehearsal

Show #4 – Paris: Anticipation Arrival and Rehearsal Click the title to listen while you read.

64:18 mins – uploaded 29/07/07

Fourth show of Casting Pods, featuring the anticipation and arrival in Paris, and the first rehearsals of the choir in Notre Dame. I am very proud of my son for singing his best and we’ve had a fab time in Paris doing touristy things and indulging in a mission to get an English copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the first day of publication.

Keywords: Paris, travel, family, tourist, Notre Dame, singing, choir, holiday, Harry Potter, music

Time Stamp Hello and welcome to the fourth instalment of Casting Pods. I’m Josie Henley-Einion and I’m your host.
0:07-0:13 [Music – Fastbeat]

This show and the next few shows are based around our trip to Paris. I’ve just got back and I’ve got quite a lot, several hours worth of recording which I’m going to edit and transfer into possibly three shows. The first show, this one, is focusing on the anticipation and arrival in Paris and the first rehearsals of the choir, um, as they begin their choir tour. And the second show will be focusing on some of the performances and us just being around in Paris. And the third show will be Eurodisney, of course, because you can’t go to Paris without going to Eurodisney, and coming home. And I am very glad to be home but it was a lovely, lovely time and I’d like to share it with all my friends. So this is the podcasting equivalent of showing the holiday snaps. And I hope you enjoy it.

1:17 J: Here I am at the choristers’ cricket match, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Because I have no idea about cricket at all, I can’t tell who’s winning. The fathers are batting and the choristers are bowling. If I look at the scoreboard, it says seventy-something runs, seventy-two, four wickets and fifteen over, oh no, sixteen over. I’m still none the wiser. Here we go, another bowl, and another bat. Oh, that’s gone far, is that what they call a six? I don’t know, it could be. It’s gone out of the circle. And they’re throwing it back in now, there they go, choristers throwing it back in. All very interesting of course, this, um, great British institution of cricket. I’m absolutely mystified. At least when it comes to football I can tell if the ball is near the goal then that must mean that…

C: Go to seventy-two!

J: That must mean that, you know, they’ve nearly got a goal, and all that business.

[cathedral bells, traffic noise]

J: Hello. Mummy wanted me to come and talk to you because she said you looked bored. Are you bored? Yeah? Don’t you want to play? You’re not really doing much, are you?

B: I really like batting and…

J: I know, but, um, the fathers are batting first and then the boys are batting after. So, they’re nearly finished. Can you see the scores from here? Look, they’ve got a hundred and…

B: Hundred and three.

J: Three runs, over nineteen. Do you know what that means? Because I don’t actually know what that means.

B: No.

J: You don’t know what that means either? Well, what’s going to happen is that when the… ooh, that was good wasn’t it?

C: Get it!

J: You should get it! Get it, get it! Go on!

C: Catch it!

J: Throw it! Who are you going to throw it to? Throw it to them. Good boy. There you go, see you are useful. Come on, come back. Love, I know it’s boring. When I used to play rounders I used to get really bored doing the fielding. But it’ll be fun when you do the batting, won’t it?

B: Batting is my favourite thing, I’m a really good batter.

J: Well, I’m glad you are. Anyway, I’ll see you in a bit, okay? Good boy. It was a good throw. It was, you don’t need to look at me like that! Aaah.

4:20 J: Right, straps. Is that tight enough.

B: Yeah.

C: Get your helmet on, run!

J: Right, I’m doing the bottom one. Now, right, is that tight enough or is that too tight?

B: Yeah, it’s fine.

J: Okay, right, where’s the other one? Come back.

C: Bat well, we need eleven!

B: We need eleven to win.

J: Right, that’s the top one, is this tight enough?

B: Yep.

J: Right, how does that feel?

B: Yep, fine.

J: Is that good? Right, let me see you, what do you look like with that one? Oh my god! Haha, ah can you walk? Get a bat and start getting used to it. How does it feel? Get used to it, does it feel strange? You’ve got to be able to bat, try batting now. How does that feel?

B: Fine.

C: Come on boys, we’ve got to win!

J: Go on! Go on my boy! Go on, run! Run! Aha, oh no, oh no! He hit it and he ran! Oh god, this is so tense! Run, run! Hurray! Wooo. I don’t actually understand what just happened, do you know what just happened?

C1: Yeah, they just, I think they were about to throw…

C2: They won.

J: They won? They won? Does that mean that they’ve won the whole thing or just that they’ve got a run?

L: They’ve won the whole thing.

J: Oh, they’ve won! Woo!

A: Jo.

J: The choristers have won against the fathers, is that it?

A: Yeah.

J: So they’re just going to carry on playing now to see how much they’ve won by. So, does that mean that our, our son got the winning shot?

A: Yeah, love.

J: Haha, look at him running! Hooray! Do you see him running? He runs like he’s on the moon. Because he’s got those things on he runs like this. Ah, that’s excellent.

7:08 B: Mika.

J: Come on then, let’s get to the car.

B: Each, twelve and a half metres is one feet. Each one thousand kilometres is one millimetre.

J: Mika, back in the car, come on. Mika, you should be in the car, come on, in the car.

B: Is one millimetre.

[traffic noise]

J: Well, you’ve got to be at the practice at two-fifteen, and that’s where we’re going now. And then the concert is tonight, so I’ll pick you up after practice, bring you home, and have tea. Mika’s all excited because she’s coming for a walk. And we’ll go to that bit, you know…

M: Wow-wow.

J: Yes Mika.

7:59 J: Do you want to play a word game?

B: I’m thinking, I’m thinking… and it’s the what am I game.

J: It’s the what am I game. Is it an animal?

B: Yes.

J: Is it a mammal?

B: No.

J: Is it a, hm, fish? Is it a bird? Was that a yes?

B: No.

J: Is it an insect?

B: No.

J: Is it a sort of… is it, is it a big animal?

B: Yeah.

J: Yes? Is it bigger than a human? Hang on, I can’t hear you, is that yes?

B: Yes.

J: Is it, erm, is it bigger than an elephant?

B: Probably.

J: Probably? Hot now.

B: No.

J: No?

B: That’s not what it is.

9:04 J: Good girl, Mika.

M: Woo-woo.

J: Where is that siren coming from? Is it ahead or behind?

M: Woo-woo.

J: Oh, there we go. [siren passes]

B: Wait a minute, our car…

M: Woof woof!

J: Oh Mika, what a noise you make!

M: Woof woof!

J: Yes Mika, I know you’re excited because we’re going on our lovely walk.

B: Mummy Josie, come on, carry on guessing.

J: I can’t think, love, I really can’t think. Um, sometimes she calls you one of these, and it’s a mythical creature? Can’t think of a mythical creature that you get called. Look, stupid, stupid person, I’m trying to overtake you! Bloody hell, bloody idiots.

10:27 J: What’s your really good one?

B: Guess.

J: Is it an animal?

B: Yes.

J: Is it a mammal?

B: No.

J: Is it a reptile?

B: No.

J: Is it a plant, uh, plant. Is it a plant-eating animal?

B: Haha, no.

J: Is it a meat-eating animal?

B: Er, yeah, could be.

J: Could be plant or meat eating? Is it a, so it’s not a mammal or a reptile, is it an insect?

B: No.

J: Is it a bird?

B: No.

J: Ah, when will this traffic stop?

B: It’s mythical.

J: It’s mythical again?

B: Yeah.

J: Right.

11:07 J: Right, we’re here. We… wait. Wait a sec, wait a sec, ah! Mika!

B: There’s a monster.

[barking dog]

J: Ah, Mika, there’s a friend for you.

B: Are we early or late?

J: We’re, I think we’re about on time. Are we going this way? Look there are other choristers down there, I can see them.

B: Yeah. Can I have my kiss now?

J: Oh, okay. Bye-bye, kissy-kissy.

B: Bye.

J: Bye. Mika’s going to try and run after you! Mika don’t pull me down the steps! Oh, you annoying dog.

11:44 J: Here we are now, behind the cathedral, on the way to The Taff Trail, which is a walk that goes along the river Taff, would you believe, which is why it’s called The Taff Trail. And this is one of Mika’s favourite places to have a walk. Mika, Mika, come on! Mika likes to run in the trees here, and then when we get over to The Taff Trail she likes to go in the, going in the water. Mika! Come on! Something I really do enjoy about chorister practice: I drop him off, and take Mika for a walk. And it’s hard to believe that I’m in the middle of a city here. There’s trees all around me, I can feel the crunch under my feet of the path, and Mika runs around like a mountain goat up the side there. Go on, up you go. Good girl. There’s lots of nice little nooks and crannies for her to sniff around in. And once we get up to The Taff Trail, it’s like a canal towpath. People cycle there and jog. Lots of people walk their dogs. There’s this little path that leads from the back of the cathedral, from the graveyard up to The Taff Trail.
13:10 So we’re just getting up to the river now, I can start to hear it. Come on Meeks! So here’s the river, you can hear that rushing. Mika can’t get into the water just here so she’s very frustrated. She runs up and down, but it’s all, er, it’s all fenced off, of course. But if we carry on walking further down, there is a bit where she can go where people go to fish. She can get into the river there. Go on! Go on, love. Go on, love. Come on, come on baby.
13:55 So, yeah, as I was saying, it’s one of the things that I like the best about bringing the boy over for his choir practice on the weekend. Being able to take the dog out for a proper walk. I don’t get much of a chance during the week. I take her for a walk first thing in the morning but it’s just very local. Here she is. This bit of the river here, it’s shallow enough and it’s not very fast, fast flowing and she likes to have a drink and have a bit of a lie down. Yes, good girl. Well it is quite fast flowing, it’s been raining a lot lately. But still okay for Mika.
14:40 I did have, oh you, you might call it a weekend off. Was it last weekend or the weekend before? Whenever it was that I went to stay with Caroline and Sarah was there as well and we had the weekend together. But the thing is that I had work to do in the morning on the Saturday before I left. I came back as early as I could on the Sunday, and there’s stuff to do, you know, housework, stuff to get ready for work the next day and all of that business. And it just seems like it’s endless, you know? I take a weekend away – come on Meeks, this way! – I go away somewhere, I have a fabulous time, but then when I come back and then I go back to work on the Monday and it feels like I haven’t actually had any time off, to rest, you know. And when did I last have time off to rest?
15:29 I mean, we’re going on holiday now, we’re going to Paris this week coming. Yeah, we’re going to Paris, we’re going to have a lovely time, but it’s still… it’s kind of work, you know? Still feels like it’s work. And I’m going to have… of course I’m going to be writing, I’m going to be doing stuff. I’m going to be probably recording for the podcast, and all of that. But I, I’m going to… I suppose that’s not really work-work. But this does feel like work. I do put a lot into it. It’s a commitment, it’s a way of getting me, my writing noticed. It’s another outlet for expression. And if I am going to make a career as a writer I need to do stuff like that.
16:20 I’ll miss Mika. Good girl! Yes. She’s going to kennels, she’ll have a fabulous time. It’s one of the things that I feel about, when I take Mika for a walk, good girl, when I take Mika for a walk it is an obligation, it is a responsibility, I’ve got that little window of freedom where it’s just me doing my thing. I’m in the graveyard now, behind the cathedral, I’ve gone round in a full circle. And Mika’s still trotting off ahead. I think if I took her on a five mile walk she’d still be running on ahead, she wouldn’t come back.
17:08 There’s some lovely gravestones in here, there’s a celtic cross here, it’s fabulous. And, er, some of the gravestones are really old and they’re kind of sunk to the side and they’re at different angles. And it almost looks like a, a film set, you know, that’s been deliberately set up like this, but it is actually a real place. It’s incredible, really overgrown and there’s the huge yew trees and, er, again, it’s hard to believe that I’m in the middle of a city. Mika, come on! Come on, this way. Here she comes… and there she goes. // //
17:58 I wouldn’t want to come down here in the dark, put it that way, huh, it’s too spooky. It’s quite spooky in the bright sunlight. [background noise] What is going on over there? I think maybe it’s the boat race or something. Come on, we’re going this way! And we’re back. This is the, er, this is the building where the boys rehearse. Mika, get out of there. I can hear them. Sometimes after I’ve given Mika a walk I come back up here, stand here and listen for a bit. [singing] Mika! I’ve got to put her on the lead now because when I walk up there we’re back in the city again. And there’s cars and buses and… come on! Come here. There you, there you go, good girl. Get back in, there you go, have a drink. Here, have a drink. Drink of water, come on. Good girl.
19:11 J: Are you excited?

B: No-oh-oh-oh.

J: No? Not excited? Are you nervous?

B: No-oh-oh-oh. Ye-eh-eh-es.

J: Are you?

B: Well I’m doing a top B flat, what do you expect?

J: I don’t know what a top B flat is, love.

B: The highest B flat you can get, you can get in the whole song.

J: So you’re doing that as a solo, or you just mean…?

B: No.

J: You’ve got to do that in the group.

B: Got to do it in the group.

J: Okay. Can you sing it now, so that I can hear what it is?

B: Erm, no not really.

J: No? Okay.

B: And anyway, you’ll hear it, you’ll hear it, it’s the highest note of the last piece.

J: The last piece, okay.

19:52 J: Shut the curtains.

B: I was just looking…

J: Time for bed. And you’re getting up at what time in the morning?

B: Five PM.

J: Five AM. It’s repetitive.

B: Oh.

J: Stop fluffing. Oh, that’s horrible.

B: It’s so smelly.

J: Oh that’s so horrible, why did you…? Listen…

B: A quadruple fart.

J: Yeah. Okay, and what time are we getting up in the morning?

B: Nine PM.

J: Five o’clock in the morning.

B: No, nine o’clock in the afternoon.

J: Five o’clock in the morning. So you are going to have to go to sleep now. Don’t drink all that water, you won’t have any left. Right, okay, kiss!

B: Did you come back in because it wasn’t recording?

J: Night-night.

20:45 J: Hello. Hello, it’s five o’clock. Are you awake? Talk to me. We’re going to Paris today. Wakey-wakey. You’re so funny. Did you not go to sleep for ages last night? I’m going to put the light on, are you ready? Are you ready for the light?

B: Oh.

J: Oooh. Shall I tickle you awake?

B: No. No!

J: Your eyes are all bloodshot.

B: What time?

J: When did you go to sleep? I put you to bed early, did you lie awake for ages?

B: I don’t know.

J: Do you want to go to Paris? Do you want to see Mummy? Do you want to get on the bus?

B: No, I want to bite your finger! Stooooooop!

J: Then get up, then! If you get up I’ll stop tickling you. Come on then, up you get and get dressed.

B: I need a pee!

J: Well have a pee then. Come on! I need you to clean your teeth so I can pack the toothbrush.

B: No-oh-oh. No-oh-oh.

J: Get up! Come on, come and clean your teeth. Oh, have a big stretch.

22:29 [harmonica music]

J: There you go. So we’re on the coach. We’re waiting at the services. It’s raining. We’ve got Harry Potter, we’re watching The Goblet of Fire. We’ve got a two-hour drive and then we’ll get there before… and Mummy’s just rung. So you talked to Mummy. What did she say?

B: She said, ‘How are you? Are you okay?’ Like she always does.

J: Did she? Like she always does.

B: What if somebody wasn’t going to Britain and they took the Eurostar? And they were in France and they wasn’t going to Britain, but they took the Eurostar?

J: Then they’d end up in Britain and they’d say, ‘Oh dear, wrong way, must go back.’

B: They said, ‘I want to go on the Eurostar.’

J: Oh, they wouldn’t, they might not. They might say, ‘Merde, le wrong way.’ Hey, so where are we? Do you remember, where are we?

B: Of course. We’re on…

J: We’re on the bus.

B: We’re on the bus.

J: In…

B: In… near Folkstone.

J: Near Folkstone, at the place where the…

B: Eurostar leaves! Yeah.

J: Yes. And what are we going to do? We’re going to go on…

B: The Eurostar to France. And then we’re going to go to Paris and then I’m going to go to bed and say, ‘Night-night Mummy Josie.’ We’ll be saying, ‘Hello fishes!’

J: We were saying that we’re on the bus…

B: Yes.

J: And then the bus is in the train, and the train is in the tunnel, and the tunnel is in…

B: The tunnel is in the water.

J: And so the water is on top of the tunnel, which is on…

B: Which is on top of the train, which is on top of the bus, which is on top of us, which is on top of the wheels.

J: The water is on top of us.

B: Uh-oh.

J: Uh-oh.

B: No, the bus is on top of us.

25:14 [harmonica music]

J: So now we’re in Folkstone.

B: Near Folkstone.

J: Waiting for the train through the chunnel. And it’s three minutes to twelve. And we’re just sitting on the coach. And I wonder how long it’s going to be before someone tells you to put that harmonica away. How long is it going to be before I regret bringing it?

26:45 [harmonica music]

J: So that was interesting, we’ve just been through passport control, and they didn’t bother looking at our passports.

D: On the way home.

B: Why?

J: On the way home they’ll look at our passports. Not many illegal immigrants would bother to go this direction, most people want to go into Britain.

B: From England to France?

J: From France to England. Most people would want to go from England, from France to England. To England. They go through Europe, they get to France and then they come, they get to England. They come from Eastern Europe and from places like Africa and the Middle East to get into England. So most people who want to get into a country wouldn’t be going from England into France. So they don’t bother checking our passports on the way out, but when we’re coming back in they will. They’ll make us all get off the coach and have a look at our passports to make sure that we’re actually British people. Departure at twelve-fifteen, and the next departure at twelve-forty-one. We’re going on the twelve-forty-one.

B: Eurotunnel.

J: Eurotunnel.

B: Euro stupid.

J: Ha. And they’re saying that we’re not allowed to take photos when we’re in there with a flash.

B: So basically it’ll be completely dark in here.

J: No, it won’t be dark. They, there’s no electric on the bus, there’s no power on the bus, but you can get out of the bus and go into the carriage. It’s really weird, I haven’t… it must be a big, big empty carriage. So we’ll just be standing around out there.

B: For twenty minutes. I’d rather just sit on top of the bus.

J: You can’t sit on top of the bus.

B: What?

J: They might have benches, they might have benches or seats, I don’t know. Or you might have to stand.

B: They definitely will have benches.

J: We’ll see, won’t we? We’ll see what it’s like when we get on the train.

B: There’ll be a lot of noise, when we get on there.

J: That one’s empty, isn’t it?

B: Yeah, but look.

J: So what, what does it look like? It’s bigger than a car carrier, isn’t it? It looks a bit… there’s a yellow one. Oh no, that’s a lorry. Each of those lorries has got its own separate little compartment. Isn’t that funny? So those are the freight lorries, and we’re going to have to go into something like that, but it’s enclosed. And then we’ll be able to get out of the bus and walk down the side. Oh that’s going to be, this is going to be so strange. What do you think?

B: Mmm.

J: Would you like to go on a lorry like that? No. This side is the train like we’re going on, can you see?

B: No.

J: The tiny little window. Can you see it?

B: Oh, oh, yeah. I see it.

J: That looks strange. Oh look, the cars are driving up, there’s one here. There’s one stopped here, can you see? See there, that train, there are cars coming out of it!

B: Oh yeah!

J: Wow, aha, that is so strange.

B: I know. It’s twelve twenty-one.

J: Yeah, twelve twenty-two. Right, we’re going now.

B: Well that says twelve twenty-one.

J: We’re going, we’re going. We’re going down the hill! Are we going to go?

B: That must be, that one’s either a minute slow or that one’s either a minute fast.

J: Yeah. We’re going down towards the train now.

B: This is strange.

J: Ah look, I can see the carriage. Ha, this is so weird! Look, carriage open.

B: Is this the one we’re going into?

J: See the open carriage. I don’t know, maybe it is.

B: Probably is.

J: We’re moving.

B: Woo-oo.

J: Woo, we’re going into the carriage. Ah no. Oh my god! Oh, it’s a good job I’m not claustrophobic. Oh no! Look how close we are to the edges. We’re driving into the train.

R: What a weird thing.

J: It’s strange isn’t it? Look it’s all square.

R: Why are we driving into a train?

J: Ha ha.

B: Because we’re going to go underwater so we can get to Paris.

J: That’s how we go. We have to go on the train because we’re not allowed to drive. We have to turn all the electric off. Because it’s safer that way.

R: What about the Nintendo?

J: I don’t know about your Nintendo. You might be able to play. We’re going all the way to the end of the carriage.

B: There are actually quite a lot of other carriages, because look – another carriage.

J: Yeah.

B: Although they are really big carriages.

J: They’re linked… So we can look out the windows. Are we allowed to look out the windows? Wow, this is cool, isn’t it?

B: There aren’t a lot of things in this carriage.

J: So there’s the toilet if you need one.

B: I think this is the front carriage. The driver’s in this carriage.

J: No, this is the carriage where you’re allowed to go.

R: Smell it!

J: Oh, I don’t want to smell it, thanks. Look, there are little seats. There you go, you can look out the window. I’m going back out here. And I’ve got your magazine.

B: Alright!

31:27 J: Ah, we’re moving, we’re moving. What can you see? There you go, there’s the track.

B: Train track.

J: Can you see the tunnel up ahead or not?

B: No. No, no, no, no. No train track.

J: No, just train track. So, we’re looking out the window and all we can see so far is just an ordinary train track the same as any other train track.

B: But we’re going to be able to see the tunnel soon.

J: Except we’re in a different kind of train, aren’t we?

B: Yeah, because there’s a big bus right there and it’s going to run us over if it hasn’t got the handbrake on.

J: It’s not going to run us over, it’s got the handbrake on, love. And there’s a big fence there to stop people coming down onto the track.

B: Well, it’s a very nice day, apart from the sky.

J: Apart from that it’s been raining all the way here, it’s finally stopped raining. Oh, we’re going in the tunnel, we’re in the tunnel.

B: We’re in the tunnel!

J: We’re in the tunnel!

B: It’s all dark, we can’t see anything.

J: No, we can’t see anything now at all! Oh, that’s exciting, isn’t it? So we’ve got twenty minutes of sitting, standing here in the dark. So we could play a word game.

32:23 J: So now, we’re in France. That was quick, wasn’t it?

B: Never been in France before.

J: That was very quick. I’m still eating my dinner.

B: So am I.

J: Oh, dear me!

B: What?

J: Well, that was quick, wasn’t it? We’re in France!

B: Are we?

J: Yeah. Another six hours till we get to Paris. So it’s ten past two by French time, so it only took us…

B: It’s really ten past one in British…

J: It’s really ten past one by our time. How long did it take us to get over there, then?

B: Twenty minutes.

J: Twenty minutes. Isn’t that amazing?

B: What?

J: Twenty minutes to get from one country to another.

B: Well it can take one second to get from Wales to England.

J: Yeah, it can, you’re right! Ha ha.

33:07 B: [singing] Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet? There yet, there yet, there yet? Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet? There yet, there yet?

J: No.

B: Yes.

J: No.

B: I wish we were.

J: Keep singing.

B: Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet? There yet, there yet? Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet? There yet, there yet?

J: Are we there yet?

B: No. Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet? There yet, there yet? Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet? There yet, there yet?

33:46 J: So this is our first footstep on French soil!

B: Yeah.

R: On French soil! I’m on French soil!

J: This is le shop. Four Euro.

B: [singing] Todious, are we there yet? Are we there yet? Boodli-boodli-beedli-bardli-beedli-boodli-baddli-bee…

A: Serexi te setodious, are we there yet, are we there yet?

F: Are we there-ere ere yet? Are we there yet? Shaddap!

J: Hee hee!

34:24 J: It’s ten to ten on Saturday morning. We’ve had breakfast in the hotel. We arrived last night and Alys was already here and she’d got the room key and she’d got stuff sorted. The boys have gone into their own rooms, and that was very strange. First ever time that I’ve been on holiday without having to share a room with my boy. So I actually slept last night, pushed the twin beds together so me and Alys could sleep in the same bed, and she’s got a box of red wine in the room, so I had a couple of glasses of that. And I think I slept twice as much last night as I’ve slept any night this week. Ah, so it was very good and I feel much better.

The boys are in their rehearsal. We all had breakfast together and then they got taken off to their rehearsal. Funnily enough, even though I put all of my son’s clothes all neatly out in his room, he came down this morning wearing jeans and a pyjama top because he said he could find a tee, any teeshirts. So I went back up to his room and found all the teeshirts exactly where I’d put them, and took a teeshirt and took it down and gave it to him, took his pyjama top off him. And he phoned me up this morning to say, “Can you open my Bionicles?” Because we’d bought him a new pack of Bionicles and he couldn’t open it. So he phoned up at seven o’clock this morning to say, “Come down to my room to open my Bionicles.” That’s how much he relies on us. But he’s only eight and this is his first experience of being away from us and it’s going to be good for him and it’s going to be good for us.

So I’ve had a bath, I’m dressed, I feel human again. I’m going to go downstairs and pick him up after his rehearsal. And he’s going to go to Notre Dame this afternoon to do a dress rehearsal in Notre Dame. The service itself is tomorrow, so we’re all going to go to Notre Dame and have a look around.

36:16 J: We’re going on the metro. Alys is getting tickets. How do you get tickets?

A: Carnet du ten? Yeah?

J: What do you do?

M: Al?

A: Carnet du ten?

M: What does that mean?

A: It means you get ten tickets. And they last for five days.

J: Ah so you just get all your tickets for the week?

A: Yeah.

J: Oh that’s cool.

M: And is it the same for adults and…?

J: I don’t understand this thing about tickets, what about you?

C: No.

J: I thought you could just pay!

36:41 J: Right, we’re going underground now, this is underground. Is this exciting or what?

B: No.

J: Aren’t you excited?

B: No.

J: I’m excited.

B: I’m not.

J: It’s different.

A: We’re going on number three.

J: Number three. What does, what does all that say?

A: How many do you want, do you want ten or twenty, guys?

C: Ten or twenty.

G: Er, get twenty, get twenty.

A: Do you want a receipt?

M: What are we doing? We’re buying tickets for the metro.

J: I don’t understand this at all! Ha ha, and it’s all in French!

A: You need to put your PIN in.

G: Do you speak French?

J: Alys speaks French, she’s fabulous. She’s been here all week as well and she’s been speaking French all week. Are we going through there? We’ve got to go through the turnstiles? Come on then. Are you coming with us? What do you have to do, which way round do you put it? Which way round do you put your ticket, Al? Black? You put your, you put yours in. You go through now. Pull your ticket out.

A: Push.

J: Oh my god! Oh my god, the door’s closed, help! I got stuck! I just got stuck under the thing. Oh no. Right, now where are we now, we’re going down…?

A: This way. Let’s wait for the others.

B: We’re in the metro station.

J: We’re going downstairs. What’s this station called? Gali something.

A: This is called Gal, Gallienne.

J: Gallienne, Gallienne. And where are we going? We’ve got Porte de Bagnolet, Gambetta, Pere Lachaise…

B: No, we’re going to Pont de Level.

J: Saint Maur, where are we going? Which, which stop are we going to?

A: Arts et Metiers.

J: Et Letiers? I can’t see where that is on the list!

A: I’ve got the map.

J: You’ve got the map. So that’s the train, that’s our train?

B: Can I play with these on the train?

J: Yeah, you can play with that on the train.

A: Vite!

J: Vite! Allons y, vite, vite! That means quick. I’m French now!

B: No you’re not!

J: I am. Because I’m travelling on le metro.

B: You’re English.

J: I’m Ingerlish.

B: Yeah. You’re Ingerlish.

J: Allons y! Ha ha. Right, okay, here we are.

A: If you guys are going to the Louvre you’re going to have to change a couple of times.

J: Every time you say you’re going to the Louvre, I think you say you’re going to the loo. Doesn’t that sound funny, ‘Oh, when we go to the loo.’ Ha ha. So which station, which station are we going to? Oh that’s it, Opera.

A: We’re not going to go to Opera because it’s too far away.

J: We’re not? Where are we going then?

A: Arts et Metiers.

J: Arts, oh that’s Ar… There’s little flashy lights!

C: Yeah.

J: So you know which station you’re at because they light up.

A: The doors are flashing, stay with Erin.

J: I’ll stay here. Look, when we can see it. Look, it’s flashing there with Galliene. And then when we go to the next one it’ll flash there, and then there and then there like that. That’ll be really cool, won’t it? See it’s just like the London Tube isn’t it? Except different names.

B: And a different kind of train.

J: Different, slightly different train. I like the lights, I wish they had that in London, that’s really cool. Do you like the lights? See that they light up when you’re at the station, so that you know where you, you know where you are. Very useful. We’ve arrived, the next stop.

B: Le Opera.

J: Le Opera.

B: I can sing like an Opera.

J: Yeah.

B: I sang in an Opera.

J: Go on then, sing like an Opera.

B: Eerrr, ah-ah-ah.

J: Yeah. Ha ha.

40:18 J: Please! What does sortie mean, is that out?

G: Yeah, it means out.

J: Oh that’s good. No? Sortie. Well it must mean something.

A: It means exit.

J: It does mean exit. I thought exit was a French word, is it not a French word? Is it Latin.

E: Yes.

J: Ah, that’s it. That must be it, then. Oh they just, they want to get to the…

A: See you later.

J: Bye-bye. Bye-bye. Au revoir.

B: Au revoir, A bientot.

J: Oh now we’re here, we’re going up! We’re in Paris, we’re in Paris!

B: Where are we going?

J: What’s that? We’re at, we’re by the Commerz bank. Oh wow, what’s that?

A: That is the Opera building, look at that!

J: Oh wow, look at that!

A: Come along, we’ll go and look.

J: Gold statues.

B: Is it real gold?

J: Yeah. Gold statues. Right we’ve got to cross the road.

B: Wow-ow-ow.

A: Look at the green man, look at it!

B: It says choreography, choreography.

J: Choreography, that’s dancing isn’t it?

A: Yeah.

B: What does choreography mean?

J: Dancing.

B: Does it?

J: Right, here we are. Which way to Harry Potter then? Can we go and look at the opera house?

A: Yeah.

J: Can I take a picture of it? Oh I tell you what, I could do so much shopping here!

41:35 A: [something in French, asking for directions] Eh, so that’s the Cappucine and that’s the Lou, right… we go that way then.

J: Come on, we go that way. Oh look! Get a teeshirt. When we come back, can we get a teeshirt?

A: Er, c’est combienne?

M: [something French]

J: That’s lovely, look at that!

M: Small, medium, extra small, large, extra large.

J: There’s the Mona Lisa on it, and the Eiffel Tower. Hee-hee.

A: What do you reckon?

J: Just small. Not extra small. Just small, because then it’s tight then. How big is that? Ah that’s fine, that’s fine. Are you buy, are you buying me a teeshirt? Thank-you! You want one with Paris on?

A: Two.

B: I would, I would like…

J: Which one do you want, look there’s a Paris there, that red one?

B: Oh not.

J: That one?

B: No.

A: There you go, this one?

B: Yeah, that one.

A: That one as well, then.

J: Yeah, I got a teeshirt of Paris, you got a teeshirt of Paris! Shall we wear them tomorrow? Yeah?

B: Yeah, yeah.

J: Merci bien, merci merci.

B: Au revoir.

J: Au revoir. Come on. Mummy can speak to everybody in French and me and you will just stay there, stand there and go, ‘Alors, alors, merci, merci tres bien.’ And little things like that and Mummy can do all the proper speaking.

B: And then au revoir!

J: And then au revoir at the end, yeah.

43:01 A: You can see a big old tower down there. Different, it’s erm…

J: What is that tower?

A: I have no idea.

J: Well that’s not the Eiffel Tower, is it?

A: No, the Eiffel Tower is sort of over…

J: So is it WH Smith that we’re going? And what’s this road, Rue de la Pain?

A: Rue de la Paix.

J: Rue de la Paix.

B: Rue de la Pai-X

J: Rue de la Pai-X. Yeah, well except they don’t pronounce their x-es. Does that mean, um, ‘peace’, paix?

A: Fait de shopping?

J: Ha ha, nous avons what?

A: No, it’s down there.

J: Nous avons fait du shopping?

A: Fait du shopping, oh yeah!

J: I just got a Paris teeshirt because I’m such a tourist.

A: Achete a bien.

J: Je pepe achete a…?

A: I can’t ask to buy anything in Cartier.

J: Cartier, oh no! Le shopping fenetre in Cartier.

43:49 J: Alys! Alys, le Alys! Oh okay, got to give some money to a beggar with a dog now. Give some money. I don’t know how much anything is. Oh, hello, hello. Yes! I know, but I can’t walk past an old lady with a dog and not give her some money!

M: Yeah, you…

J: Can we go up there and read what it says, because what is it? Where, it’s got all…

A: You can’t love. That’s a road.

J: It’s got all carvings on it. It looks like pictures of people on horses.

A: Hang on.

J: So this is a road?

A: La Colon.

J: La Colon?

A: Yeah, the column.

J: So why isn’t the road Tarmaced then? It doesn’t look like a road. It looks just the same as the path. How can you tell the difference between the road and the path?

A: Nobbies.

J: There’s no kerb or anything.

B: Nobbies.

J: Just those bollards? I like the buildings.

A: They’re all carved, look at the windows.

J: I like all the balconies with the goldie bits on. What do you think, do you like the goldie bits?

B: Yeah.

J: I’m getting a bit disturbed by the road looking exactly the same as the footpath, Al. It’s a bit frightening. I thought this was a pedestrianized zone because it’s all paved like that… So where are we now? Oh, concorde!

B: Can I have…?

J: I need a drink.

A: We’re going to get it!

J: We’re going to get, when we get down to the place where Harry Potter is, we’ll buy some drinks and stuff. What would you like?

B: Er, bottle of water and something…

J: Oh you do want some food now, I thought you would, once you’d had a walk.

B: I just said a glass of water.

J: Look at the French flags. Look at the number plates. The number plates are all different.

45:33 J: So this is Rue Saint Honore, and there’s a Godiva’s chocolate shop! Ah, look at that, that looks good! Look at that, how about one of them? Oh what is it? Some kind of chocolate milkshake with ice cream on top.

A: Look at the path, love.

J: Oh wow, the path has got things carved into it. There’s a lion. Is that a hotel entrance or something?

A: Yeah.

J: This is getting more and more posh. Je suis en Paris.

A: Does it feel all Paris-ish?

J: Yeah, it does feel like Paris now, when you’re walking past and you’ve got like shops with handbags in and the hotels with a lion carved into the pavement.

B: It feels like the ancient land of…

J: The ancient land?

B: The ancient land, yeah.

A: Shop vendome?

J: Shop what?

A: Shop vendome.

J: Shop vendome. What’s vendome?

A: Gift shop.

J: Okay. Ah look! Le Chat Noir. This is a really famous picture of a famous bar called The Black Cat, look. And you’ve got it on socks, look a pair of socks with the black cat on. Can I have a pair of socks with the cat noir, ha?

B: Maybe not…

J: Tournet du Chat Noir socks.

46:44 J: Wow, look at it! Everything’s so ornate. You going to get that Eiffel Tower? I like this, look, Notre Dame, that’s six Euros. Every shop will sell a model of the Eiffel Tower, love. Look at that! Eiffel Tower cow! That’s really bizarre.

B: There was a sun in the, in the other shop.

J: Yeah?

A: Right, we’re going straight to the bookshop now.

J: Book shop here we come! Le shop de livre. Le shop de Harry Potter.

A: Librarie

J: What?

A: It’s called Librarie.

J: Librarie? Librarie.

A: Are you happy with that?

B: Yeah.

J: You’ve got an Eiffel Tower now.

B: Yeah.

J: We are in le Rue Cambon? And this is WH Smiths.

A: It is, oh my god!

J: And we’re waiting to cross the road. So that we can go in and get le libre de ‘Arry Potter. And I’m walking through the door of WH Smith.

B: Look!

J: Yeah, Harry Potter costumes. Ha ha.

A: I’m getting it. So excited. Thank you so much!

W: You’re welcome.

A: Ha ha ha!

J: And now, I won’t see her now for the rest of today.

W: Oh, okay.

J: Come on then.

A: Oh my god! Oh my god!

B: This is…

J: Come on then, come on, come on move, move!

A: Oh my god.

J: Right, we have to find somewhere to sit down, now do we?

A: Oh my…

J: Okay.

B: I want a poster.

J: No, I think she’s just going to stand there and read it, she’s not even got out of the shop yet.

A: Oh.

J: Right Al, you’ve got to, you’ve got to look when you’re crossing the road. Do we need to find somewhere to sit down now? Get something for you to eat, and we’ll sit down…

B: …wanting the Eiffel Tower.

J: The Eiffel Tower! He wanted to go round the corner and see the Eiffel Tower. Okay so we’ve done the most important thing, that is getting Harry Potter. Now let’s go and see the Eiffel Tower.

B: Not as important.

J: Not quite as important as Harry Potter, but important nevertheless when you’re in Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. Okay, well we’re walking down, what road is it?

A: Oh this is Rue de Revoli.

J: Rue de Revoli? We’ve got the Tuileries here on our left…

A: Ahead of us is the Plas de la Concorde.

J: Plas de la Concorde.

A: And the Plas de la Concorde is very famous, it’s where they killed, where they chopped all the heads off with the guillotine.

J: Oh is it?

A: Yeah.

J: Well it looks big anyway, it looks impressive. It looks like something I’d want to see…

A: There it is!

J: There’s the Eiffel Tower! Hooray!

B: Hooray!

J: We can see it.

A: That obelisk is where they killed all the people, the French aristocrats in the French Revolution.

J: At the revolution, they chopped off their heads on the guillotine. Can you stay there and I’ll get a photo?

49:18 J: What’s your initial reaction?

A: Oh my god!

J: What’s, what’s happening in Harry Potter?

A: Stop taping me.

J: I want to know what’s happening in Harry Potter!

A: It’s terrifying!

J: Okay.

49:33 J: Okay. Well, la lemonade de toujours. What’s that? Everyday?

A: Limonade de toujours, everyday, yeah.

J: Toujours. And it’s called, what’s the name of the lemonade? Pschitt!

B: But you don’t pronounce the P.

J: But you don’t pronounce the P, but I’m going to pronounce the P! Let me have a taste of your Pschitt then. Mm, that’s lovely Pschitt. Come on, drink your shit. Are you going to share your shit with me?

A: Are you going to drink all your shit yourself?

B: Stop!

J: Is it tasty shit?

A: You’ve just put in your mouth!

50:27 J: You like that shit.

B: That’s it I’m not having it. Can you just stop saying that?

J: Can we what?

B: Can just say lemonade?

J: Can we call it lemonade?

A&J: Okay.

A: We’ll stop for a bit.

J: Okay, I’ll stop calling it shit, then.

B: You repeat that word again, if I hear it one more time, you, I’ll punch you.

J: You’ll punch me? Oh, I see.

A: I’m gonna pay.

J: Look, it’s the name of the lemonade, it says it on the bottle!

A: Watch the bag, yeah. Jo, watch the bag.

50:53 J: Yeah, I will.

B: I don’t care, you can call it lemonade.

J: I’m not allowed to say shit?

B: Oh-aow!

J: I’m not allowed to say you’re drinking shit? Is it tasty shit?

B: Mmm, stop it!

J: Okay.

51:10 J: We’re waiting for the bus now, the boys are going to get changed and we’re waiting for the bus and we’re going to go to Notre Dame for a rehearsal. We’ve been into Paris, we’ve seen the Eiffel Tower from a distance, we’ve walked up and down some famous Paris roads and we went to the Paris WH Smith’s to buy Harry Potter. And there are at least four people here all reading their copies of Harry Potter. And I’m reading, but I’m not reading Harry Potter. I am reading Salt and Honey by Candi Miller, and it’s fabulous and I’m really enjoying it. But I’m getting distracted because every five minutes Alys is going, “No! No! You can’t do that! No! No, no!”

A: Stop taking the Michael!

J: Something really bad’s happening in my book.

A: I don’t care, it’s not my fault.

J: So, and because she’s such a quick reader, she’s about two chapters ahead of everybody else. So everybody else is getting really fed up of her as well. And it’s really funny. Anyway, so I’m just reading my book while I’m waiting.

52:23 J: Is that Notre Dame?

A: It is, yeah.

J: We’re just driving past Notre Dame.

A: Oh my god!

J: That’s amazing, look at that big window!

A: Oh my god!

J: That’s amazing. The boys are gonna be singing in that…

A: Holy shit.

J: …in that cathedral. Oh no.

A: Oh my god! He’s gonna be so intimidated, love, we’ve really got to build him up.

J: He’s, he’s gonna be fabulous.

A: Got to give him good vibes.

J: We should be so proud that he’s gonna be singing in there.

A: Christ alive.

J: Look at it, that’s incredible. Going over the Seine now. So we’re going over the Pont Neuf, bridge was built in 1537.

52:56 [singing]

J: So we’re all, we’re all having a procession now, are we?

A: Processing to Notre Dame.

J: We are processing to Notre Dame. So what building is that?

A: It’s the Hotel de Ville.

J: Well that’s the Hotel de Ville.

A: No that’s the hotel of the Hotel de Ville.

J: Ha!

A: The Hotel de Ville is the town hall.

J: Oh I see. So the Hotel de Ville isn’t a hotel?

A: Except there is a hotel Hotel de Ville.

J: Except there’s a hotel next to it, well that must be really confusing!

A: Stay with the group please!

53:28 J: And there’s a fountain here. Ah, this is fabulous, I’m so happy to be here! Now we’re walking back over the Seine, is this the Pont Neuf again? So this is a not so famous bridge, that wasn’t built a few hundred years ago.

A: No.

J: Okay, I’ve lost the boys. I’ve got to run now to keep up. Ah, and there’s buskers and this is all fabulous. Ah, there we are. Oh it’s even bigger up close than it was from the bus! How huge is that?

B: Huger than you.

J: Huger than me, I think it is. Might be a little bit smaller than your head.

B: Maybe it’s a bit thinner than you.

J: Ah, get off!

A: In line now.

J: In line! In line. We’re gonna, we’re gonna be here while you go in, okay? We’re gonna wait.

A: We’re going to come with you till you’re inside.

J: We’re gonna come with you and then watch you go in and then you’re gonna go off and rehearse, okay? Look at that on the doorways, they’ve got statues of saints. Look at it, oh wow! Oh there’s all these people up there as well, there’s people at the top as well. Oh wow, that’s incredible. Are they going to go to a different entrance? Can we come through this entrance as well, otherwise we’ll be waiting an hour! Can you imagine if I got to the back of that queue, they’d have finished their rehearsal by the time I got in.

A: Yes.

J: Are they dragons, those gargoyles.

A: Some of them are.

J: They’re just, sort of, coming right out like that with long necks. Have you seen them, they’re like dragons? Look, they, ah there’s some gargoyles up there, if that gargoyle spat now it would land on me. Look at that one. Hello gargoyles.

B: Oh.

J: You’re gonna be singing in there.

B: It’s smaller than the school chapel.

J: Are you telling yourself that so you’re not so intimidated about singing?

B: Yeah.

J: Yeah. Okay, well when you’re up there, if you do get worried close your eyes and then you can just pretend that you’re in the normal cathedral, okay? But you’re fabulous.

B: Is it a Minster or a cathedral?

J: It’s a cathedral which is, the Notre Dame is the biggest cathedral in Northern Europe.

A: Go on then, off you go!

J: Bye bye, have fun!

55:43 J: So we’re actually going in the back entrance of the cathedral, then! This is fabulous, look, oh look at that! Look, if you just look up there you can see all of the gargoyles. Oh my word. Ah, oh, they’re incredible, these, these gargoyles are they…? I’ve never seen anything like that!

B: I thought gargoyles had to…

J: Yeah, some of them are a bit eroded, but most of them… that one looks like a cat. And all these saints, all these people! Do you think each of the…? Oh, we’ve got to be quiet now. Is there a service going on?

56:22 J: Walking up the steps now! And we’re going in the tradesman’s entrance, and I’m inside Notre Dame! There’s stained glass even in this bit, it’s just a tiny little bit. Oh this is incredible.

A: God, love.

J: Are these the lockers for the priests? Okay, here we are in Notre Dame. Everything is really ornate. They’ve gone into the choir there. They’ve gone into this big cagey thing and we’re not allowed in there. But that’s alright, we can see them.

A: I hope he’s okay.

J: Oh, I’m sure he is.

A: He’s stood there and he’s like gobsmacked.

J: Ah, this is amaze, this is incredible. Everything is so ornate. Are they going to start singing now, do you think?

A: Oh, sooner or later he has to have them start singing.

J: Well, they look as if they’re ready to sing, they’ve got their music out.

A: They’re standing.

57:15-58:22 [singing Ave Maria]

J: Oh, it’s incredible. Here’s a hanky. Are you proud, are you proud to be here? It’s incredible, isn’t it? Are you proud of your brother? Yeah. Oh it’s amazing, yeah. So we’re… it’s amazing, we’re standing here and there’s all these tourists who are stopping to listen. It’s just incred- oh I’m so proud. Are you, do you need a tissue?

A: In a minute.

J: Have you been on tour with them before?

P: Yeah, Prague.

J: To Prague? Oh wow. Yeah. Oh, it’s just, nothing beats this.

P: You don’t get these opportunities, once in a lifetime.

A: Oh you’re going to make me worse!

J: Tell me, tell me.

A: It’s just the most incredible sound. Amongst all these visitors walking around, and all this background noise.

J: Yeah, literally thousands of people.

P: You know, somebody said to me once, that it was… when the boys sing, it’s, it’s prayer.

A: Yeah, just that sound.

J: And people, there was, they were all talking and they kind of hushed when the boys start singing, they’re stopping and looking. Oh, it’s incredible.

60:12-60:37 [singing Alleluia]

J: That’s my son in there, that’s my son. And, and our children are in there.

V: You must be very proud of them.

J: Yes we are, we’re very proud.

P: They’re singing mass tomorrow.

J: This is a rehearsal. Shall we go?

A: Yeah, let’s go for a walk.

J: Do you need your hanky, do you need the hanky?

61:15 I’m going to end the show on this note, as it’s over an hour already. Apologies for the length but I really wanted to impress on you the sheer scale of the twelve hour bus journey from Cardiff to Paris. You thought I was going to say the sheer scale of Notre Dame, didn’t you? Well that was pretty impressive as well. The highlight of my holiday was this first rehearsal where it was brought home to me just what an undertaking it would be for my son to sing in Notre Dame. Up to this point it hadn’t seemed real. Any parent knows what it’s like to watch their child in a school concert or play, just magnify that feeling a thousand times if you can and that’s what this was like. I was getting emotional just now while editing this show.

As you can tell from the rest of the show, we had some great times in Paris apart from the singing. The Pschitt lemonade was a memorable moment. Next show will focus on some of our touristy times around Paris and the concert at the Madeleine.

Just before I leave today, I should mention what’s been going on in my writing. I’m about a week behind with the editing, so stuff is still happening to me while I’m editing the stuff that happened last week. While I was in Paris I was unable to get online for ages, so I couldn’t check on the progress of my writing on the website. The morning that I left, I got up at 4.30 am so I could check the site and found that my book Leif the Runtling was at number three in the chart. This is very exciting as for those that don’t know, the top five books every month get onto the Bestsellers’ List, get a professional review and are put forward for the competition at the end of the year. In June my short story Resurrection got to number three and I had a review from Michael Legat, who is a famous editor and agent and all round publishing big name, with a message from the YWO people to say that it may be considered for an anthology in 2008.

When I got home I found that Leif was at number one and that Clean Water, my other submitted novel was at number five! With only a couple of days left till the end of the month I’m on tenterhooks just now, just trying to find ways of distracting myself. If they hold their places then I may be getting two reviews. I’ve heard that novels who win professional reviews on YWO attract the interest of agents and editors so I’m crossing my fingers, toes and everything else crossable to see what happens.

I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to this show and I promise next one will not be quite so long. And thanks for listening.

63:42-64:18 [Music – Wake Up Beat]

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