Sunday Music

Finally autumn arrived in full. Today I woke up to the rushing sound of a heavy downpour. Last week the temperature fell to 2° C, there were two or three chilly mornings. No freezing yet.
This was the first regular working week, routine establishes itself, es schuggelt sich ein. My co-driver is, well, un-thrilling & un-upsetting. The kids are generally carefree, we had our share of excitement at the beginning.
The vehicle passed the TÜV test (Ger., Eng. ; I think that’s MOT (Eng.) in the UK) with flying colours, what simply means that the technical “stuff” is tested & cleared.
So things are calm & quiet at work, which is nothing to sneeze at.
Today’s Sunday Music is a Tarantella per Violino e Pianoforte (1929) composed by Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) (Ger., Eng.), here in a version from 1931 for Violoncello e Pianoforte by Luigi SILVA (1903-1961). I hope you like the music.
May the coming week be carefree and easy for all of us.

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Sunday Music

Heavy clouds hang over Franconia, now & then they deliver cold rain. Yesterday I watched those nice people who collect the grapes for my wine doing their job in the vinyard across from my living room. They were drenched with cold water at least twice, but never gave up : Great folks ! Carry on !
I slept well the second night in a row, ten hours last night, from Frayday to Saturday a bit more than eleven. Maybe the change of weather (and a little work related stress) cause this. And the early rise also plays a role, I just have to get used to the new (old) rhythm again. Time to meander into the kitchen. I had provided all things needed for a potato salad yesterday evening, so it’s just peel, cut, and mix. Of curse the product needs to sit for a while, the single ingredients need to find together – in German this is called “durchziehen lassen”. I can not think of a proper translation to English, but I am sure that something alike exists in English cuisine too – would you, venerated reader, help me with the translation, please ?
Without further delay we’ll start Floatin‘ with Mr BARNES & the Jazz Renaissance Quartet (George BARNES (amplified guitar), Hank D’AMICO (clarinet), Billy BAUER (un-amplified guitar), Jack LESBERG (Bass), and Cliff LEEMAN (drums)), a title from their 1961 lp Movin’ Easy. I hope you enjoy the music. May the coming week bring nice surprises for all of us !

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Oh Yeah, Work Started

Back we are, driving through the Franconian wilderness. I got a new vehicle, a new route, a new co-driver, all “brand” new, with little chips around the edges.
I took over a vehicle that needed a bit of cleaning and disinfecting. The former driver (a stand in, as I was told) did not take too much care on things. I noticed that the tank was half full – or half empty, what ever you may prefer – but at the filling station only ten litres went in. The fuel gauge was stuck – nothing dramatic, but not nice. A trip to the trader’s garage. Also the ad-blue reservoir was nearly empty and had to be refilled.
On the first day I realised that a part of the restraining devices was not working properly, what meant a trip to our own garage. This is not a “not nice” “thing”, but dangerous neglect of duty.
I had tried to reach the parents of my kids before starting, but out of five, I just spoke to two. One family did not react to my calls and messages (they simply thought it not to be necessary), while two families were totally out of reach, because the phone numbers I was given, were simply not working / outdated. I was a bit miffed.
On the Frayday before work would start seriously, I drove the whole tour alone, just to make sure where to go, turn around the white wale, look for places to maneuvre etc. I have to cover mostly one small rural town. On Tuesday the following week, the first real workday, the lovely Franconian town’s administration had installed at least three new constructing sites. So it was improvising from the start. It is not a large town, and I visited it ages ago, but the traffic guidance is, let’s call it peculiar.
I had asked my new co-driver whether she was briefed on the different devices for securing wheel chairs etc., and she happily said “yes”, she could show me how it was done. Sadly she did not know how to use necessary belts (“We never used this.”), and she had absolutely no idea about medications. Now she knows about both.
On Thursday afternoon it was initially a nice drive, the kids (those who can speak and interact) were having fun, when the lovely black girl in the wheelchair all of a sudden started to make some unwanted noises. I only saw her in the mirror, and had no place to stop. I wanted to get out the first child (for reasons I do not want to explain). When we stopped at her place I took care of wheel chair girl, and realised that she had an asthmatic attack. I opened her jacket and found that she had been fixated in her wheel chair so strongly that I could not stick a finger under these goddam belts. In fact I could barely stretch these damn things to open them. I threw the crap off while the co-driver searched through the child’s school bag for medication. She found a haler, and some other stuff. I was unsure, and in the end decided that we could make it home, when I saw her breathing steadily. She took a position where she could straighten her trachea, was not turning blue or something like that. To this minute I could still rip my arse off : I should have given her the haler without further thinking – it would have made it a lot easier for her. Next time I know better.
At this moment, when I saw I could go on and would not need an emergency doctor or other help, I realised the noise around me : The fourteen year old girl was whining loudly, the eleven year old boy was yelling about death, and the mother of the first kid was standing in the slide-door weeping. Goodness, at least my co-driver was silent. I politely told them to be quiet (“Ruhe jezz !”) and then rammed the vehicle through the commuter traffic to reach her place. At least she was breathing freely by then.
Next morning we finally met the girl’s father who showed (& explained) us the different medications, and some tricks with the wheelchair – we could have had this earlier if I had reached him (or someone else from the family) by phone.
I never have started a new tour so unprofessionally.
Frayday morning I went to my dispatcher to tell him about the whole thing. The list I was given, with names, contact data, and a column containing additional info about the kids was crap (for wheelchair girl nothing was noted down !) Other information was not accurate, contact persons had moved, family names were wrong. And it can not be that a co-driver happily explains that she knows how to handle things, when basic practices are not explained / shown to her. (What means that in the two months before the holidays, when she had started (in June) and worked with a part of “my” kids, they drove around without basic restraining devices – that’s a no go !) I was angry & serious, and I know that he understood.
He said that they had to hire a lot of new people in short time, and that proper procedures were neglected. He knows that he can’t let things slide. I doubt that there will be a mandatory information event about proper restraining etc. and / or medication. I would be happy if these topics would at least be addressed at the next works meeting (“Betriebsversammlung”), because everybody must take part in such an assembly, no excuses.
I had more action in those first four days than on other tours in a whole school year.
Now I have to look for Sunday Music.

Sunday Music

I am tired, a bit melancholic. No special reason, just autumn, harvest …
Without further ado comes a Sunday Music : Toon FRET (about) on flute & Veronika ILTCHENKO (about) (piano) play a piece by Philippe GAUBERT (1879-1941) (Ger., Eng.), Deux Esquisses: II. Orientale. (Here another version, by Susan MILAN and Ian BROWN, just to compare.)
I hope you like the music. May the coming week be a bearable, perhaps even “happy” one.

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