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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

January 9, 2011

Getting there

evelyn @ 5:16 pm

It’s snowing again. Yes, I know I’m getting boring on this subject, but it started me thinking of the importance of transport to the organist, at least in rural areas like mine where the towns – and therefore churches – are widely scattered.

Last year I remember grimly driving up the M9 through a heavy snowfall to a C of S deputising stint in the Stirling area. When I got past Falkirk, however, it turned out that the weather was highly localised; there was no snow at all and Stirling, when I arrived, was positively basking in the sun. The congregation there were quite amazed at my Arctic experience and the remains of snow on my car. Nevertheless, I have since carried out my resolve, made during that journey, never to take on organ commitments outside the local area except in high summer.

But transport has other aspects. Parking, for instance. If you get blocked in at a wedding you have to hang around through all the photographs until the guests decide to start wending their way to the reception. If the reception is within walking distance, you have an even bigger problem! So positioning oneself on arrival for a quick getaway is of the first importance.

And what about when your car is in for a service? Funerals rather than weddings are usually the problem here, although I did once get marooned at a distant wedding venue when I was car-less due to an unexpected repair job. The bride had said, ‘No problem. Someone will pick you up and take you back’. They picked me up all right, but completely forgot about taking me back. Moral: use taxis.

My local undertaker is very good about giving me lifts when the car is out of action. Whoever is free in the office will come and get me. Occasionally a glossy limousine with uniformed chauffeur is the only thing available; I always enjoy it when that happens.

But perhaps the oddest car-related happening came in a phone call which I made recently to my insurance company. Although the call was unrelated to my organ-playing work, their computer kept throwing up a query about my occupation. I was told this would have to be referred to the underwriters before they could take things any further. I couldn’t understand it. I had told them ‘funeral organist’ years ago, and they had accepted it. Why query it now?

It turned out that it was due to this grouping of occupations which insurance companies go in for. It seems that some groups are considered more risky than others. I had always assumed I was in a funeral-undertaker-type group, and indeed at one time I may have been. Now, however, my occupation was classed as ‘entertainment’, and the query was about the number and type of gigs I played!

We managed to sort it out without the premium being affected. Must get ready now for my gig down at the parlour …

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