watervole: (Default)
 I recently read Will Hobson's translation of the Three Musketeers and found it a much better translation than the previous version I'd read.

The problem is that he doesn't seem to have translated any of the later books.

Does anyone know of a good modern translation of the later books? (you can get all six D'Artangan books for about £3 on Kindle, but  the translation is clunky to say the least and doesn't tempt me to buy it even at that price)
watervole: (Default)
 Good longsword session last night in spite of my voice being crap.

My possible new dancer did show up and she enjoyed herself.

Even better, her daughter did too.  Not dancing, but sitting down reading the library books. Her daughter has Down's Syndrome, but she was in her element sitting in the children's corner with all the picture books.

In spite of the usual problems of being a small group (the odds of being below critical numbers are high, as it only needs a few people to fall ill...) we managed to work on the new four man dance I'm writing - now called 'Yorkshire Pudding' -and progress further  on Lingdale - a traditional 6 man dance.

It's starting to come together, but once people master the basic moves it becomes important to work on the timing and that's where we still need to improve.

Not sure if any of you will be at Redemption this weekend, but if you are, come and join in the longsword workshop!
watervole: (Default)
 Two asthma attacks in a couple of weeks and the medication is sending my voice into the pits. Which is unfortunate as I'm teaching longsword tonight and doing  a couple of dance workshops at Redemption this weekend.

Still, dance teaching is one of the few things I'm willing to do even when my voice is shot to pieces.  Though it would be easier if I could persuade someone else to call the count when people are learning figures.

It's all about getting the feet to fit the music.  There's 16 beats in a lot of the tunes and each person's moves have to fit in with that pattern.

Left, right, left, right, hop on right, left foot over sword, hop on left, right.  

That's one person going over the sword in their left hand, starting outside the circle and stepping into it (lifting their own sword over their head and turning clockwise as they go).

That's 6 steps in total, so 6 dancers will do it exactly in 3 passes through the music. (three verses of Bobby Shafto in this case)

It's also a lot of calling, as they have problems getting the steps right on new moves unless I call them.

But, there's an outside chance we might have a new dancer tonight, so no way am I going to cancel!
watervole: (Default)
 So tired today. Asthma.  We had a bout of fog a week or two ago and that trapped all the polution and set off a bad attack and I'm still not fully over it.

Seems to be a lethal combination of diesel fumes and wood-burning stoves that's causing the UK to breach clean air legislation with appalling frequency.

Funny thing really - I used to think wood-burning stoves were a great idea.  That was before  I discovered how lethal the fumes are from the best-designed stoves, let alone the worst ones.  Wood fires are nasty things and bonfires that have random stuff tipped on them are worst of all.

I was out walking a couple of days ago and was reacting to a bonfire long before I actually saw it.

Let wood rot down in your garden if you can. Be nice to beetles. Only burn it if you've no other option.  Your lungs will thank you.
watervole: (Default)
Thanks to Ranunculus for telling me about this.

(apologies for the random font and size changes.  It happens when I cut and paste bits and I can't work out how to make it all the same)

Carbon farming looks like a really interesting set of techniques.

in a nutshell - Carbon Farming involves implementing practices that are known to improve the rate at which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and converted to plant material and/or soil organic matter.

One of the basic techniques is to spread compost on low-fertility rangeland. the compost encourages grass growth, the grass increases the amount of organic matter in the soil, which takes carbon from the atmosphere and adds it to the soil.
With more organic matter, the moisture holding capacity of the soil increases, and this encourages more plants to grows, etc.

There are lots more techniques - 'no dig' is very important as ploughing causes a lot of carbon to be lost from the soil. Seed drills are part of the solution.  Other things include techniques to reduce erosion, so planting wind breaks, encouraging vegetation on river banks, wetland restoration, etc.  

If you live in the USA
 and want to donate to the Carbon Project (which is actively researching these techniques), then donations are (currently) exempt from Federal tax.  (In other word, if you want to help some genuine science which has the potential to lock up carbon and improve soil quality at the same time, do it quickly before the president decides to try and stop it)

I just tried to send them some money, but I'm having problems with Avast Passwords and I'm not recovered well enough from the asthama to have the mental energy to struggle finding my Paypal password.  (I can remember my Avast master password, but  Avast is causing other screw ups...)

There's also a partner project called Fibreshed that aims to produce carbon neutral yarn.

Fascinating stuff all round and a rare glimmer of hope on the environmental front.


Feb. 1st, 2017 02:09 pm
watervole: (Default)
 I'm a serial committee offender.  I'm not quite sure how or why, but I keep ending up organising stuff.  (I have to be careful that I don't over do it, as my health is a bit dodgy and that can result in letting people down if you aren't sensible)

Here's a flavour of them:

Anonymous Morris - I'm bagman -that means I'm the event organiser.  Today, I've arranged for one of our annual paid performances - we perform morris and organise maypole on Poole Quay as part of one of Poole Tourism's events on the Quay.  It's a venue we very much enjoy dancing at.   Poole Tourism sponsored us when the side first started, so we always like to support their events.
I've arranged for us to dance with Dorset Buttons (another local morris team) on a Wednesday evening during the summer at a local pub.
And I've contacted Brownsea Island where we have a tradition of dancing one Sunday in the summer. (I've just got a reply saying that my contact no longer works for the National Trust, so I'll have to follow up, find out who his replacement is and talk to them instead.)

Corfe Mullen Allotment Association -I'm secretary. Our allotments have planning permission for houses and we're in a  complicated situation where we don't know for certain when the building will start.  Possibly this September, but the builders haven't made a decision yet.  They have promised that our new allotment site will be ready before we have to leave the current one, but we're not sure how far we can trust this.
Members are understandably reluctant to start planing when they don't know if they will see the harvest.
Today, wrote agenda for committee meeting on Friday.

Wimborne Minster Folk Festival - I'm dance director.  All this last month, I've been following up on invitations to dance groups.  We've had a good response, I'm expecting around 50 traditional dance groups this year. Mostly morris, but also some rapper/longsword/French/Slovakian/Polish/Bulgarian/Appalachian (most of those are UK based) to vary the mix.  My current task, today, is trying to find transport for a set of dance boards that we've been offered (and that we need).  Soon, we'll start on the mammoth task of programming.

Southern Star Longsword - I'm pretty much the entire committee here.  We're a small group and only one other person has offered to help so far.  Today's jobs: add this weeks subs to the accounts.  Write up notes for a new four-man dance we're choreographing.  Continue research into Lingdale - the traditional six-man dance that is our main learning project.

I have back up on two of those jobs. My husband, Richard is also on the Folk Festival and Allotment committees and could pick up a fair bit of the work if I fall ill (that's important as folk festivals really cannot afford to lose key committee members - they're large budget events run by volunteers and that means it can be hard to replace people at short notice)

Anonymous would survive without me - which is good, as I couldn't' have said that a few years ago.  I used to be bagman and and publicity treasurer and band leader, but as the side has grown, I've been able to pass on these jobs to competent people.

Southern Star couldn't survive without me - not yet.  I'm the only one who can teach the dances.  I've been teaching longsword for several years now and I can visualise figures and timings in my head. None of the others can do that yet.

So, now you know what I spend most of my spare time doing when I'm not learning German, knitting, playing with Oswin, board gaming, Role Playing, gardening, walking, etc.


Jan. 25th, 2017 02:15 pm
watervole: (Default)
 I'm having my first bad asthma attack for over six months.

I've been increasing my exercise and that's been helping, but the fog for the last few days has been really bad.

The fog traps all the air pollution and I'm very wheezy.

I've had to take a course of steroids and that means in turn that I can't sleep (awake at 3am last night trying to decipher knitting patterns)

My daughter's affected too.  Her asthma isn't too bad, but the trapped air pollution has triggered hers as well.

I'm just glad I don't live in London - According to City Hall, almost 10,000 Londoners die every year because of polluted air and the capital does not meet the legal requirements for pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide.


Jan. 16th, 2017 01:59 pm
watervole: (Default)
I'm having fun with Duolingo.

Odd really. I hated learning German at school and wasn't much good at it - though I did pass my O-level.

About two weeks ago, I started playing around with German on Duolino and more of my school German seems to have lasted than I thought.

I'm actually finding it relaxing re-learning and learning new German.

I just successfully translated "The man eats the cheese" to  Der Mann isst den Käse and I feel really good about that.

 got both genders correct. Man and cheese are both masculine. I got the nominative and accusative case correct, so in spite of both being masculine, the man is 'der' and the cheese  is 'den'.  And I did it from memory!

I'm finding tricks for remembering gender that I never had at school and am thus actually managing to get most genders correct (so far).  eg.  For 'cheese' I think of men with smelly feet to remember that 'Käse' is masculine.

This is me, getting de-stressed by learning German genders and irregular verbs!

The world is a very strange place...
watervole: (Default)
 About five years ago, I started knitting  a pair of Norwegian socks.  The pattern comes from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush and should look like this

I got about half way down one leg and then I stopped. I cannot now tell you why I stopped, because I can't remember.  Life throws you wibblies and sometimes you abandon projects when a wibbly hits.

A few months ago, I was feeling organised and I picked them up again.  In the intervening time, I'd worked out how to do two colour knitting with the technique of knitting English with one hand and Continental with the other.  It makes the knitting much faster as you don't have to keep swapping from one ball of wool to the other.  I also (thanks to Youtube) found a better way of catching in the strands of yarn (of the colour you aren't using) that float across the back of the knitting.

I did a tension square and was all ready to get going again.

Then disaster struck!

I  found a inch wide hold in the part sock I'd already knitted, and lots of breaks in some of the balls I was about to use. Moth!  How much yarn had I lost, could I salvage anything, should I abandon the project alltogether?

It took a couple of weeks research, increasing puzzlement because of the total lack of visible larvae, droppings, etc, before I noticed some short, pale hairs on the yarn and my brain finally flipped back five years and I remembered.

It wasn't moth. It was Molly's greyhound!

Probably because the balls smelled of sheep, the dog had taken to grabbing them and running off with them.  I hadn't realised at the time how much damage had been done, but greyhounds have big, sharp teeth.  (Maybe that was why I'd abandoned the socks?)

I've now rewound the worst affected balls and removed all bits less than 2 ft long - I'm sure Molly would have been pleased that I managed to work out how to use the swift and ball winder that I picked out from her collection after she died.

However, I've lost quite a bit of yarn in the process.  Whether I have enough to complete the socks is a tricky question.  I've weighed all the bits, and the stuff I've completed so far, and I still don't know....  It's an imported yarn and it's going to be very tricky to replace (although it is still produced in Norway).  The places I can find selling it are in the states and the  price for a single ball to the UK is crazy.  

I'm thus going a bit by guesswork (because I can't yet predict the weight of the part of the sock that I haven't done).  I'm aiming to reduce the length slightly, and do the back of the heel and maybe the toes in the remainder of the ball from the contrast colour at the top, but I really don't know if I'm going to make it or not....

Cross your fingers for me, and if you have any Heilo Dalegarn yarn in black or grey, just give me a wave!


Jan. 4th, 2017 08:03 pm
watervole: (Default)
 I've been  playing around with Duolingo  this week to refresh my O-level German.

I'm quite enjoying it, and it is a good way of learning, but I take serious exception to its claim that I'm now 11% fluent in German.   

I've only covered 54 words with it and the coverage of plurals and cases only relates to a small subset of those words.

Have other people used it much?

Does it actually take you to a level where you get genuine language skills, or is it really just a game that teaches you a good set of stock phrases (which are admittedly useful).
watervole: (Default)
News has many impacts, but very few things cause us to take action, and when we do act it is usually in very easy ways.

We're all familiar with the responses that can be heaped upon people in arenas like Facebook when a racist or homophobic remark can result in a comment going viral and hundreds or thousands of people sending hate-filled responses to the original poster.

It's easy.  It allows the commenter to feel they've done something, but it costs them nothing beyond a few seconds of typing.

(I often wonder if this is why some right-wing religious groups target gay men.  It requires no sacrifice on their part, but makes them feel they are exerting effort to fulfill god's wishes.  Other Biblical requirements are much harder to meet.  Not killing, not stealing, giving lots of money to the poor, get progressively harder.)

It's like that with environmental issues.  The Daily Mail can heap praise upon itself for the success of a campaign to put a charge on one-use carrier bags.  It's easy.  The worst thing it can do to us is to make us pay 5p for a carrier bag, or to bring our own bag to the shop.  It's an easy feel good factor to own a re-usable shopping bag.  

Most people will move up to sorting and putting out their recyclable rubbish. It's easy, and there's an awareness that it helps keep council tax down (because of landfill charges).

After that, sadly, we're mostly driven by the desire to look good.  It's no coincidence that most people installed double glazing long before they added decent loft insulation (even though loft insulation is far, far, more cost-effective).  Loft insulation is invisible and double glazing makes our houses look good.  We tell ourselves we're installing it for environmental reasons, but if it didn't come with good looking PVC frames, it wouldn't have caught on nearly as well.

Climate change is something we want the government to act upon.  They should definitely do something.  Though we're not always too sure about what.  We want green electricity, and it sounds great, but we also don't want anything that will lower our standard of living.

and thereby lies the crunch.  We ignore (not even deliberately, but by glossing over or turning the page) things that are stressful or that demand big changes from us.

If everyone on the planet lived as we do in the UK, we would need three planets to support everyone.  In other words, we're using resources three times faster than is sustainable.

And here's the even harder part.  Although we have known this for decades, and awareness of environmental issues is rising, our environmental footprint over that period has risen rather than fallen.

In short, we're destroying the natural environment (and the life support system for our children and grandchildren) because we're unwilling to sacrifice lifestyle elements that are often luxuries rather than essentials.

It's a New Year.  

What are you prepared to give up that will actually make a difference?


watervole: (Default)
Are modern politics caused by modern media?

We live in a world of instant media. Instead of reading a daily paper, we are now surrounded by more information than we can ever absorb.  I think this forces a lot of shallow study instead of study in depth.
Short pitches like: "Keep out the Immigrants" are easier to peruse than long economic articles about how immigrants pay your pension. 

too much data means confirmation bias gets worse as we skim articles looking for the bits that agree with what we believe and never consciously notice the rest.
watervole: (Default)
 Editing is hard work and time-consuming, but I'm realising that I miss it.

Working at retyping and tidying up Roy Dommett's longsword notes is surprisingly relaxing, in spite of the amount of concentration required.

Actually, maybe the concentration is why I find it relaxing...

Anyone got work that they need editing?  Doesn't necessarily have to be paid.

(One book I edited in the past was a biography of Margot Fonteyn and it was good to see the author, Ken Ludden, being interviewed as part of a recent programme on Margot by Darcy Bussell.  I like to think that his book helped to make people more aware of his relationship with Margot.)
watervole: (Default)
 I've been very busy the last few weeks sorting out dance notation for Southern Star Longsword.

We're learning a dance originating from the village of Lingdale in Yorkshire and I'm gradually, with help from other longsword dancers, finding more records of early performances of the dances.  It's an interesting and time-consuming project understanding what all the different writers were referring to. Some like Roy Dommett were so detailed that you have to work out what they meant by:

Over Neighbour's Sword
Each man takes 8 steps, 4 bars. The man in front lowers his sword almost to ground level.


l r/l r/hr l/hl r//


Left foot over first. Half turn to face back, completed as left foot goes over, completing turn that man raises his own sword and ½ turn anti-clockwise under it to face back, hop over, getting straight by raising neighbour's sword, which helps next man to turn ready to go over. 

Whereas others are very brief and just say 

OVER YOUR NEIGHBOURS SWORD: Right arm overhead first, then turn to left from inside outwards: left hop/ right hop.

Those two are actually the same figure...

All in all, I prefer the first version, but I freely admit that it took me a couple of days to fully understand his notation system.  Once I know the figure, the second is sufficient, but if you don't know it, then the detail really helps.

Because I'm finding Dommett's notes so useful, I'm retyping them. They were written around 1970 and have circulated in ever fainter photocopies since that time.  It's a fairly major job as there's about fifty pages of dance history and notations, but I'm making progress.  We started with an OCR file, but some of it came out looking like this:


-L,-~ 1/M t.,§v~¢1 ‘-vi-o r-f\~\~7

Ll P 4;“ K-»G\j~4- c£-~=c

32 .

2° ;*


so I'm using the OCR where I can read it, and just doing the rest from scratch.

It's actually quite relaxing, as long as I don't over do it and trigger the RSI.

watervole: (Default)
 Having just watched 'Rogue One', which I thought was great, I was greatly struck by one coincidence, which I wondered if it was intentional.

This is Saw Gerrara, maimed, aging rebel, has become more fanatic than the rest of the rebellion, trusts no one (with one exception) even when they have come to offer help..

Image result for Saw Gerrera

Remind you of anyone? 

Image result for blake gauda prime

I kept seeing Gareth's face jumping off the screen at me.

It may be pure coincidence, but  I wonder....


Dec. 6th, 2016 06:00 pm
watervole: (Judith)
I can post again.

Turns out that I'd got logged out at some point, and while struggling to log in again, it used my Facebook id to log in and I thought that was really me (same photo, etc.) as opposed to Watervole me.

I've probably missed a lot of friend-locked posts in the last couple of weeks.
watervole: (Default)
I open my friends page on Liverjournal to find the first five entries are reposts of boring tweets!
My page layout seems to have changed in the last couple of weeks to one I don't like at all.  Is there any way to get back, or is all LJ universally the same now?
It appears that I can't even post this message without linking my facebook account to LJ.  (Ah, it tells me that 'watervole' already exists on LJ, well, yes, that's me. But it still won't allow me to post to my own journal...)
and it only seems to want to post to a community.  I try post post and it tells me I am not a valid community, but it shows no way for me to post to my own journal (this is coming via crosspost from Dreamwidth)
What the Dickens is happening?
I usually post via crosspost from Dreamwidth, so I've no idea how long LJ has changed its posting system.
Maybe this post will appear - I've no idea...

It seems to have linked my Facebook account to LJ, as when I posted a comment in Vera's journal just now, it showed my real name rather than 'watervole'. I have mixed feelings about this.  I don't mind my name being known, it's always been there on my profile page, but I would rather have clearer options.

But basically, how the devil do I make a post on Livejournal?
watervole: (Default)
 Arctic sea is melting at a rate never seen before.  That's  having all kinds of knock-on effects, including the release of methane from the sea floor (a worse gas than CO2 for climate change)

It's a vicious circle.   The methane released by the warmer temperatures helps warm the atmosphere further.  And that isn't the only knock on effect...

And at the same time, the UK government are trying to make us believe that adding a third runway at Heathrow will not prevent us from meeting our promises on Climate Change - a claim that is pretty impossible to believe.

Air travel is one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions that we have any personal control over.  We have to eat. We have to get to work.  We really don't want to freeze in the winter. But we don't have to go on foreign holidays.  

Try any carbon footprint calculator of your choice - they will all tell you the same thing.  Giving up air travel will make a big difference, bigger than any other lifestyle change you can make.

If you have a beloved child, nephew, neice or grandchild, this may be the single best gift you can ever give them.  Try and give them a world that still resembles the one you love now, before we pass the point of no return.

For the sake of my children and everyone's children, I gave up air travel in 2002.

For my granddaughter, and everyone else's grandchildren, I intend to keep that pledge for the rest of my life.


Nov. 10th, 2016 10:28 am
watervole: (Default)
 I'm looking for a room share for Redemption. Anyone interested?
watervole: (Default)
 Here's my Pratchett filk - the tune is "Bread and Fishes"
As I walked through the corridors, sleepless at night,
I saw in the bar a familiar sight.
A man in a hat, I had thought he was dead,
A teller of stories who smiled as he said:
Oh, the turtle's still moving, she swims through the sky,
With her cargo of elephants riding so high,
The Discworld's still turning, the sun still goes round,
And all of my people are safe on the ground.
I sat down beside him, he showed me a chair,
We nibbled on peanuts someone had left there,
He told me of wizards and witches and kings,
And of the Patrician who knows everything.
Oh, the turtle's still moving, she swims through the sky,
With her cargo of elephants riding so high,
The Discworld's still turning, the sun still goes round,
And all of my people are safe on the ground.
I sat there and listened until daylight came,
I know that I never will see him again,
But stories keep living as long as they're read,
'Twas the teller of stories who smiled as he said:
Oh, the turtle's still moving, she swims through the sky,
With her cargo of elephants riding so high,
The Discworld's still turning, the sun still goes round,
And all of my people are safe on the ground.
watervole: (Default)
 Had a great weekend gaming with a group of friends from all over the place. Old PBM friends (Delenda est Carthago), Redemption and Discworld friends, Morris dancers, local gamers, nephews, etc.

I also got to chat about yarn with tictactoepony

We have a (inherited) gadget that looks like this:


I figured it had something to do with yarn winding, but when I tried to wind yarn on it, it made a ball that was too tight to slide off the cylinder (the wooden cylinder is concave),  the cylinder is also hollow, with a interior profile a bit like and ice cream cone.

One of our party suggested it was a winder for lace bobbins, and there are certainly pictures on the web of gadgets like this labelled as bobbin winders.  (and there is something that might be a lace pattern in the drawer at the bottom) Frustratingly, there are no pictures or videos of them actually being used to wind lace bobbins... (the bobbin would presumably fit inside the cylinder).  I'm not entirely convinced by this, as I can't help feeling that the bobbin wouldn't be gripped very well.

then I found this video, which simply makes things more complicated:

If you have an idea of what my winder is actually meant to do and how it works, please tell me! 


Oct. 17th, 2016 10:00 pm
watervole: (Default)
 There's nothing like dancing for the soul.

 I can be all stressed and twitchy, and after two hours longsword practice I'm at peace with the entire world.

Southern Star are only just large enough to survive as a side, but I think we're going to make it.  We're a mixed ability bunch to say the least, but the dances are starting to flow.  We're moving with the music now and that's making a big difference.

The timing in longsword has to be a bit intuitive -in morris, if you make a mistake, you just nip back into the correct position. That's not possible in longsword, you have to find ways for the group to get back in sync with the music.  After a while, you realise that at least some of the moves in traditional longsword dances are designed to give a bit of catch up time.  Moves that can be a bit variable in length are often followed by  simple circle moves that can soak up time until a new phrase of  the music begins.
watervole: (Default)
 Bobby Shafto is one of those songs that most of my generation know, without even knowing where they learnt it.

It normally has three verses, although the nursery rhyme videos for kids all seem to leave out the one about her having  a baby.

However, the
Wikipedia entry says that it was supposedly written about a girl who died for love when he came back and married someone else, and none of the versions of the song I can find include that part.  So, I've written an extra verse.

Bobby Shafto's gone to sea,
Silver buckles at his knee;
He'll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shafto!
Bobby Shafto's bright and fair,
Combing out his yellow hair;
He's my ain for evermore,
Bonny Bobby Shafto!
Bobby Shafto's getting a bairn,
For to dangle on his arm;
In his arm and on his knee,
Bonny Bobby Shafto!


Bobby Shafto's home from sea,

Wed a maid, forgotten me,
Will he love me if I die?
Bonny Bobby Shafto!
watervole: (Default)
 I'm definitely on too many committees.

I've just done the AGM minutes and updated the constitution for Anonymous Morris (but still have all sorts of stuff relating to bookings for next year and updating dance notation on the web site to do)

I have to hold a mini AGM for Southern Star Longsword tonight to see if we have enough people to form a committee. Don't need that many posts, but I'd like it if someone competent offered to do publicity as that's a major job for a small, new, dance group.  I'm doing all the jobs for Southern  Star at present, but sometimes that's what you have to do to get something off the ground.

I'm working on a new constitution for the local Allotment Society -which is a devil of a job.  The Chair doesn't really believe in Constitutions and proposed we adopt one out of an old Allotment book she had, as it was short.  The fact that it set a minimum committee number of three more than we currently have, that it assumed a totally different relationship between the landlord and the Allotment Society than is actually the case and several other  things that simply didn't fit our circumstances was clearly irrelevant. I don't think she'd bothered to read it.

I'm also doing masses of stuff for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival...

I'm feeling tired and short of free time and I really want to sit down for several days and do nothing but knitting.
watervole: (Default)
 Oswin has recently been enjoying Richard reading Dr Seuss books like 'One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish' to her.  While the illustrations are amusing, it's probably the rhyme and rhythm of the words that are a big part of the appeal.

So, today, I tried 'The Jumblies' on her.  (the last time I tried, she was still too young and wasn't interested, but now she's nearly 2 1/2)

Big success.

Read it half a dozen times throughout the day and followed that up with a couple of readings of 'The Owl and the Pussycat'.

Only a few pictures for each poem.  Definitely the words that she loved. Big smile at the end each time and requests for another reading.

Edward Lear's poems appear to be working for yet another generation of children.  Oswin has no idea what all the made-up words mean, but it doesn't seem to bother her any more than it did my generation.  Personally, I think a runcible spoon is a spoon with holes in it (the kind you use for draining things).  It fits Lear's cheerful illogic.

 Far and few, far and few,
            Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
            And they went to sea in a Sieve.

I think the time may have come to get Kipling off my bookshelf.  Oh yes, my best beloved.  I'm itching to read her the 'The Elephant's Child' and the other Just So stories. My father read them to me, and I read them to my children.  They were written to be read aloud, the words roll along.  "What does the crocodile have for dinner?"
"Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out."

Go and read it again, you know you want to!  And if you've never read it, find a child and read it to them immediately.
watervole: (Default)
 This is Oswin directing a digger near her house.  (having parents who regularly do convention tech means that she already has the high vis jacket)

watervole: (Default)
 Southern Star were practicing this evening when we found a group of local teenagers having a fag break from the rain under the porch of the library.

So, as one does, we invited them in to watch us practice our dance.

When they were impressed by that, I gave three of them swords (the 4th one decided just to watch) and proceeded (as one does) to teach them the dance. They picked up really quickly and greatly enjoyed it.  I think there's a fighting chance we might see one of two of them again. I hope so. They were a nice group of kids and have real potential as dancers.

I was amused near the end when one of them commented how much energy I had. I'm three times her age and this was a dance done at a brisk walk.   It really is nothing on the energy front.

Last week, I was on the canals, running between locks in a flight, winding stiff paddle gear and pushing open heavy lock gates. Now, that requires energy!  (and I'm aware that I can't run long distances without slowing down for a break now and then.)

Take up morris dancing and  retain the illusion of staying young and fit...


Sep. 10th, 2016 04:46 pm
watervole: (Default)
 I'm having general fun with longsword related stuff.

I did four informal longsword workshops at Discworld and people really enjoyed them.

I'm getting a lot better at teaching the dances now. Once upon a time, I would probably have gone into great detail, telling people where they had to move, and the steps they should take, and which way they should turn at the end of the move. In a typical longsword dance, there are 6 people and each of them will be taking different actions.
Now, my typical approach is to give everybody a sword, get them to stand in a straight line behind me, say: "Follow me and do what I do."
This usually gets everyone through the first four moves of the dance without any difficulty at all. The more complicated moves, such as a double under, can often be tackled by saying: "You two make an arch; Julie and I will go under it. When you get to the other side, turn round and come back again. Steve follow Julie, Jennifer follow me."
This works 9 times out of 10. People instinctively turn in the correct direction, even when they've never done a sword dance in their lives. Sometimes, giving too much detail can actually confuse people.
The detailed instructions for double under come to several paragraphs and can be surprisingly difficult to understand.
Longsword, possibly more than any other kind of dance, is easiest to learn by actually doing it. And it's more fun that way.
watervole: (Default)
 Bill, send me your email address.  I can't contact you via Dreamwidth as you haven't confirmed your address with them.

we're doing another Games Weekend.

Contact Judith dot Proctor at Gmail.com


watervole: (Default)
Judith Proctor


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