watervole: (Default)
This is Nonesuch Morris, whom I've only just come across. They're a mixed team from Bristol and do traditional Cotswold morris that is truly excellent.

Just look at the precision of the teamwork and the leaps and the crisp hanky work.

Poor hanky work can look terrible, which is why Border morris sides shy away from hanky dances, but when they're done to this standard, they can look fantastic.



 

I'm just about to email them and ask if they'd like to come to Wimborne Minster Folk Festival next year.  I'm dance director of the festival and I'd love it if they could come.

One of the reasons I'm posting so little here is that festival work is taking up a lot of my time at the moment.  The festival isn't until next June, but this is the time when lot of dance teams make their decisions about where they are performing next summer.  Thus, a heavy correspondence load.




watervole: (Default)
On my birthday, my family and I started playing around with my longswords.  I set my husband and daughter a challenge to see how many locks they could find using six swords.  In the process, they invented one new one and created an improved version of one that I've seen in a book.  Here's some of what we came up with. 


This is the Mohr lock - I learnt it from an American Rapper dancer









Black Joker lock (or you can call it a farm gate if you prefer.) This is a more rigid version of a known lock.

I found a good way of making it quickly, too.










Lindsey's lock. She found this one that I hadn't seen before.







Richard's Yacht lock.  This may actually be one that nobody else had before.

If you want to play yourselves, just cut out some strips of cardboard from a cereal packet or similar, and interweave them.

You'll probably manage to fins the six pointed start before long, but there are others, as well, that I've not shown here...





watervole: (Default)
 I don't read a lot of fanfic, mainly because there is so much poor stuff and I'm too lazy to sift through it all to find the good ones, but I do tend to follow up recs by friends here and to try stuff written by friends.

I've just been reading Elisi's novel 'Dating the Cleverest Boy in the World'  

An excellent read, a Dr Who novel, but relying almost entirely on well written original characters, who interact occasionally with the Master, Lucy Saxon, tenth Doctor and Jack Harkness.

It's a novel that looks at relationships between mortals and immortals, between human and non-human and asks what it's ethical to reveal/conceal.

The basic premise is an AU where the Master and Lucy Saxon had a son.  The boy grows up with both the Doctor and the Master as major influences in his life, trying to balance their conflicting ethics and their expectations of him. 

When he finally enters a romantic relationship with a human woman, he gets caught in the trap of how much to tell her about himself.

It's a novel that avoids quick, easy answers, and one that allows the characters to grow and develop in a believable manner. 

This is a gen novel.  Characters have sex (both gay and straight), but there are no explicit scenes. 

When it comes to sex, this is the way I prefer it.

(In days gone by, I sometimes skipped plot to get to the sex. Now, I skip sex to get to the plot.  There are more original plots than there are original sex scenes. )

The breakdown between chapters is well-balanced. Each is a distinct scene, but contributes to the overall storyline.  Made it very easy to read one or two chapters a day.

Definitely recommended.


watervole: (Morris naked)
 
There are those who think Cotswold morris is a bit dull and sedate and that Border morris is far more interesting.

And then there are those who have seen Cotswold morris teams like Berkshire Bedlams!

Just watch. Four dances, all totally different in style.  Look at the way they bounce off the audience!

Great dancing, great entertainment.


watervole: (Default)
 After a break, caused by problems in the way Duolingo interacts with Chrome on my elderly computer, I'm back learning German again.

It's complicated and difficult enough to help me focus on something other than trying to sell my mother-in-law's house and other things with high stress factors.

However, sometimes German can be illogical enough to make even me tear my hair out.

'Ihr' is the most crazy word I've yet come across.  What kind of language has the SAME word for 'she', 'your', and 'theirs' ?

When you're already juggling three genders and four cases, and the fact that a simple word like 'the' can be spelt in half a dozen ways depending on which combination you have, 'ihr' is pretty much the last straw.

Mind you, there are compensations.  Some German words are glorious and just make me laugh out loud.  One of my favourites is 'Krankenhaus' - 'hospital', or 'Schnurrbart' - 'mustache'.

I find transliteration often helps me remember a word - I look up part words in dictionaries. eg. 'Schnurrbart' is nothing to do with snoring in spite of the sound, it means 'string beard', which makes sense.


'Schwiegermutter' is the German for mother-in-law.  It transliterates as 'silent mother'.  Sort of an unseen family member, but one who is still part of the family.  All in-laws are schwieger something.

Although I'm still using Duolingo, I'm branching out into a number of other German-teaching sites.  They all have different pros and cons.  Few of them are good at teaching grammar - I think they're afraid of scaring people away.  I'm using a book from the library as my main grammar guide.

If anyone would like a list of the sites I've found so far, just ask.

BTW, if you're not a native English speaker (and I know at least two of you aren't) do feel free to point out the most crazy things in the English language!

Heinlein

Sep. 28th, 2017 09:52 am
watervole: (Finsh that story)

I've been re-reading some of my Heinlein collection recently.

I still think "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is one of the best SF novels ever written. I've worn out two paperbacks and now own it in e-book format.

Farah Mendlesohn has completed her book about Heinlein and his work and I'm expecting it to be an interesting and thought-provoking read. She's an expert on the subject and the author of several well-regarded literary works on SF and fantasy.

It ended up being too long (500 pages) for most academic publisers, so she's crowdfunding it. I've just pre-ordered my copy.
watervole: (Default)
 We were dancing at Swanage Folk Festival this weekend and I had the usual use of our team first aid kit, a child with a scratched finger needing a plaster (it's hardly ever team members needing it).

However, not long after, a dancer twisted a foot mid-dance. He swapped out and tossed his stick to me and we finished the dance without missing a step. After the dance was over, I got out the emergency ice pack and a crepe bandage and applied both. By the afternoon (with the bandage re-applied) he was well enough to walk the procession, but sensible enough not to try stepping.


There are days when I'm very glad that I carry that kit around wherever we go.

(The item that I deliberately included in the kit, but hope never to have to use, is an eye pad. One has to be realistic about the risk of stick injuries when it comes to Border morris.)

Apart from having the right kit to treat the injury, the other big plus for me was that the dancer in question knew I could instantly replace him and we swapped without affecting the dance at all.  I
 work hard to learn every position in every dance (which is not to say that I never make mistakes) and it means that I can fill in almost  anywhere.  Some dancers only ever learn a single position.  They'll dance second in line on the left in dance A and in position 3 in dance B and so on.

I tend to visualise dances from an overhead viewpoint, so I see the overall pattern and that means I remember "First corners cross" rather than "I swap places with Henry". I've also been dancing for most of my life, so half the patterns are second nature anyway.
watervole: (Default)
 Yesterday at Swanage Folk Festival I was lucky enough to see one of the best dancing horses of all.  The Minehead Hobby Horse is one of a very rare breed (there's another one at Padstow, but that's about it).

It's a wild and energetic animal and it led the Swanage procession and I suspect the young man inside was totally exhausted by the end.  (I gather he had rope burns from all that energetic swinging)

Here's some footage of it from another occasion.  It's the Sailor's Horse from Minehead -which may help to explain why it looks as much like a boat as a horse, but it definitely has a tail!


watervole: (Default)
  Folk traditions throw up some wonderful animals on occasion. There are traditional hobby horses - not the children's toy, but proper hobby horses, like Dobbin below.  they sometimes join in morris dances 






and a jig dancing horse from the Outside Capering Crew


and if you like that one, then you need the sequel...


I'll maybe cover hooden horses another day

watervole: (Default)
 Stolen shamelessly from SallyMn

If you don't read her journal, you should.  A source of endless delight.

I can't seem to embed this one, so you'll just have to follow the link to hear John Hurt reciting Jabberwocky.

watervole: (Default)
 So many great suggestions!

Some favourites:

Desire is the root of all suffering, Roots on the other hand...  (A very strong contender)

Plant happiness   (Love it, but too short for the space)

Wander, ponder and weed - (has a certain charm)

Garden as though you will live forever - I like this one as well.

Still trying to choose between those four...

watervole: (knitting)
 I'm nearing the end of a piece of cross-stitch that I've been working on for about a decade.  It isn't that big a project, but I had detours into knitting another other embroideries.  This used to be my 'travel' embroidery, in a case ready to go and easy to take anywhere knowing that I had all the necessary bits to do it.

It had a border of poppies and cornflowers and space for my own text in the middle.

But I can't decide what words to put in the centre.  It can't be too lengthy, a dozen words at most, and fewer might be better.

I'm hunting for something that says we don't need loads of possessions to be happy; that a garden is a great source of contentment; that life is to be enjoyed while you have it and maybe something ecological as well.

Now, clearly one can't manage all of that....


Random ideas have included:


Gardeners live longer

To be content is the key to happiness

We only have one world, treat it gently


Toss ideas at me.  Anything that sounds good.


watervole: (Default)
 I only used to eat runner beans when cooked, but many years ago now, I observed my mother-in-law's tortoise eating raw runner beans with great enthusiasm.   So I tried one and found that I liked it.

Oswin does too.  Really likes them.  Can eat several in a day.

Today, she was eating a slice of cake.  Grandad came in with fresh supply of runner beans from the allotment and gave her half of a runner bean.

She took it with great delight, ate it at once, and only then went back to the cake.

I love a three year old who appreciates allotment veg!
watervole: (Default)
 There's a word for everything these days.   Zuigerphobia is fear of vacuum cleaners.

Oswin has been staying with us while her mum is in hospital.  She's fine with that. She's used to staying with us and knows that Mummy and Mamma haven't abandoned her.

What sent her into mega distress was the vacuum cleaner. 

I think it's the high-pitched sound. She's always been scared of them.  Even in another room it distresses her.  She was actually afraid to go shopping (to get away from it) because it might start again as soon as she left.

Richard has instructions to phone me just before he gets back, so that the vacuum cleaner will definitely not be there when she returns.

It's a tough world when you're only three.


PS.   She's been 'helping' pick fruit and veg on the allotment - and proving in the process that young children absolutely love raw runner beans and mangetout and redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries, etc. as long as they're introduced to them early enough.  She isn't too keen on radishes yet, but we're working on that by serving milder ones in small slices.
watervole: (Default)
This is a copy of a letter I just sent to a local church.

 

It was a very enjoyable fete and thank you for asking Anonymous Morris to perform.
 
Only one very small fly in the ointment and you may think it an odd one for me to complain about, given that I did well out of it.
 
Yesterday, I paid £2 for  a book,  'The Redstart' by John Buxton, from the Collins New Naturalist Series.
 
It's worth £50 - I just look looked it up online.
 
I got a bargain, but what I find frustrating is that before I bought it, I alerted the people on the stand to the presence of several valuable bird books (and also a couple of valuable war time magazines).
 
They said they liked people to be able to get a bargain.
 
Well, they guy who bought the two New Naturalist books that I didn't (and who had already picked out the early edition Giles' annuals) certainly got a bargain.
 
I'd rather the church got the money for valuable items.   I hate seeing valuable donations wasted.  It's almost an insult to the donor.  (That's a reaction from many years of working in charity shops - if you get a good price for valuable donations and the donor knows it, they're more likely to give you their good stuff.)
 
If Anonymous Morris come again next year and you have someone willing to make the effort to sell books online (or even just price them higher, or take them to a specialist book seller), then I'm happy to give the stock a quick glance over early in the day and tell you which books are likely to be worth more than £5.
 
I've had a lot of experience selling secondhand books and I can pick out potentially valuable books very rapidly. 
watervole: (Default)
 
The engine (currently partly dismantled and lacking a boiler) is a Maid of Kent locomotive, bought in memory of a beloved Kentish grandmother on one side of the family and a family history of making and running model steam engines on the other side.
The Maid of Dorset should be self-evident. (the great-grandaughter of the people above and my granddaughter)

I'm looking forward to the day when the loco is up and running, but new boiler needs to be arranged first and that takes time.
 


watervole: (Default)
 That was one hell of an episode.   Emotionally draining.

watervole: (Default)
I like to carry my reading glasses in a small pouch on a cord over my shoulder.  Reduces the rate at which I lose them...

The old embroidered pouch is totally worn out, so I'm aiming to tablet weave a new one.

 This post is partly making notes for myself so that I don't forget what I'm doing...

On the last tablet weaving project I did using cotton yarn, four cards worth of yarn led to 1cm width in the final result.

Therefore, I need 28 cards to make a glasses pouch 7 cm wide.

The case needs a length of 15.5cm  x 2 (front and back), so 31cm, plus about 34cm wastage at the ends (turning space for the cards, shed for the shuttle, knotting onto holder, twist space, etc.)

That means I need 65cm for each warp thread and a total of 28 x 4 = 112 warp threads.

I'm going to attempt a pattern style called 'Egyptian diamonds', which is a two colour pattern plus a warp-twined border.  So, that will be 4 cards (with 4 warp threads each) for the warp twined border (black), leaving 96 cards of pattern. Half of 96 is 48, so in total, I'll need 48 magenta and 48 + 16 = 54 black.

I'm not sure if anyone other than La Avispa will follow all that, but see my earlier posts on tablet weaving if you want to know how to do it.

The aim, is to make a diamond pattern, but with rounded corners rather than sharp angles.

I'm going to try threading the tablets a different way this time.  I'll take photos for La Avispa.  If it works, it may save her some effort on future projects.
watervole: (Default)
 My Czech friend, VJezkova on LJ , introduced me to the Czech technique of decorating eggs with wax embossing.  Wonderfully simple: you don't need much beyond a packet of wax crayons, a pencil, a pin and a way to melt wax.  The designs are very pretty, but all the YouTube videos are in Czech!
I looked for a book to tell me a bit more about the technique and this was the only one.  (All the other books on egg decorating are about Russian pyanski techniques)
 
This book fitted the bill nicely.  It showed me lot of useful patterns, explained that beeswax was better than wax crayons if I wanted to do wax-resist patterns (beeswax melts more easily, so is easier to remove) and had useful suggestions on how to hang eggs, etc.
 
For my next egg, I'm going to try some paraffin wax to dilute and shade the colours from the wax crayons.
 
I wasn't terribly interested in the sections on how to use decorated eggs in floral arrangements or wreaths (hence only four stars), but the book was well worth the money and I happily recommend it to anyone who would like to try a different egg decorating technique.
 
Even my three-year old granddaughter was able to make a rough pattern on her egg (obviously, you need to supervise children carefully near whatever you are using to melt your wax)

(I got my copy for just a few pounds, but Amazon algorithms are currently hitting silly prices, so if you fancy getting a copy, just wait until the price settles down again)

watervole: (Default)
 I tend to post something on this subject every couple of years, simply so that if the question ever arises, my wishes are on record and can be shown to be consistently held over time.

If I am ever in a situation where I am suffering a  terminal illness, then please respect my request if I ask to be allowed to die.  I am well aware that if I am ever in a situation where I'm in bed for more than a couple of days, my neck/back/shoulder pain will kick in and my quality of life will be greatly reduced with no hope of improvement.

If I enter a terminal coma, please switch off the machines and allow someone else to have the hospital bed!  (Or simply give me a lethal injection to speed up the process)

If I ever suffer from dementia and reach a point where I can no longer recognise my family, then please help me by finding a way to end my life.  I would not wish to continue living under such circumstances.

I wish to continue living as long as I enjoy life.  If my quality of life has gone, do not waste time/money/emotional energy trying to prolong the process.
watervole: (Default)
 Watched a programme on Japan today and googled Hokusai afterwards.

Remember all those tentacle sex fan porn stories?  (Harry Potter fandom in particular has it's share)

Nothing new!

Hokusai's print "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife' is below the cut....  (If I've worked out correctly how to do a cut.  It's been a long time since I used one)

Read more... )
watervole: (Default)
 So many things I was going to post about: the folk festival I've been working on for the last year, the norovirus that meant I missed half of it, the children I've been teaching longsword to who did brilliantly at the festival, the sheer joy of watching Dame's Rocket morris and Northgate Rapper at close quarters, the fact that we have a bidding war on my mother in law's house after a year of trying to get any decent offer at all, but the thing that has actually got  me to keyboard is hedgehogs.

Up late last night due to the heat and sitting on the back doorstep to cool down.

Strange snuffling noise in garden and the mint swaying back and forth.

Sat down with Richard and sure enough, a hedgehog eventually emerged, then another and eventually there were three adult hedgehogs.

One was doing his/her own thing, but the other two were spending ages going round in circles under the mint and one of them was snuffling all the time.  I guessed (correctly) that this must have something to do with sex.   There's a nice little summery of hedgehog life here.

I put out a bowl of water while we were watching them and it wasn't long before one came over for a good drink.  S/he had no hesitation about coming within a few feet of us.  I put out a bit of cat food as well, but that was sniffed at and ignored.  (It was gone in the morning, but that could easily have been a cat)

We work with out neighbours on two sides to maintain holes in the fence where hedgehogs can come and go.

We have a lot of low growing plants which provide good cover.

We have a pond with soil sloping into the water on one side (so that even if an animal falls in, they can still get out).

We never use slug pellets (and have very little slug damage).

We add a lot of garden compost to the soil (which means lots of soil organisms for hedgehogs to eat.)

We have a compost heap which they'll hopefully use to hibernate.

Last year we had baby hedgehogs in the garden.  I wonder if the ones we saw today are those babies coming back?
watervole: (Default)
 Favourite Oswin (age 3) moment this week.

Picking up a book of wild flowers and sitting down to read it (she loves flowers of every kind), we heard her 'reading' aloud:
"Once upon a time, there was a bluebell..."
watervole: (Default)
Do you speak to the dead?
Have conversations in your head?
Tell them things you've done today?
Wish they hadn't gone away?

Do you say: "Hi Roz" when you handle a sea shell that reminds you of her?
Do you say: "Something a bit special," when buying a plant that Molly would have loved?

Do you remember them, not in big ways, but in little ones. Shared memories, little habits, things you wear?

"Rosalie would have loved that dress," I think, though it's more than a decade since my sister died. Her children are separate people to me now.  Loved for their own sake's rather than for her.  They don't remember, apart from tiny fragments - they were too young when she died.  Aunty Gillian holds memories for them: photographs, stories, a mother who loved them.

Oswin, Molly's great-granddaugher, won't remember her either, though she toddled through Molly's home and paddled in the stream in her garden. 

Yet, sometimes, she asks me "Whose was that?" and I know I must have told that this flower and that came from Molly's garden.

She plays with the miniature tortoises that Molly collected, and if, one should get lost or broken, I shall regard it as a small price if these things come to be loved by another generation.

Time flows in one direction only, but sometimes, we can dam a corner of the stream and preserve a little memory here and there.
watervole: (Default)
 British Columbia is a rare example of a region with a carbon tax.

They make it popular by sharing out the revenue from the tax as a  reduction in other taxes.

It appears to be working.  CO2 emissions have fallen, both directly and relative to the rest of Canada.

Their economy is also doing fine relative to the rest of Canada, in fact, slightly ahead.

The only fact I can't find data on is whether they are shifting pollution elsewhere (by importing stuff that involves producing a lot of CO2 rather than making it at home).  

Sadly, it excludes aviation.

BAsically, I think it's an idea definitely worth trying elsewhere.  A group of Republican senators tried, but I don't think they've had any success.  However, I do find it reassuring that there are Republicans who are concerned about climate change.

Climate change should not be a party issue - it affects everyone.

Gardening

May. 23rd, 2017 11:43 am
watervole: (Default)
 I glanced out of my front window just now and a passer by pointed to my rockery (which is currently a mass of flowers) and gave me a double thumbs up.

That was a really nice moment.
watervole: (Default)
 An old favourite Tom Lehrer song, with two video versions for you.  Blake's 7 and Dr Who (Missy)



Blakes 7 by Mary van Deusen



watervole: (Default)
 WE don't really have any idea of how Summerian was pronounced or sung, but I love the sound of this recreation.


watervole: (Default)
 Forget Brexit and the current economy.  Look further ahead.  

The planet is currently projected to be 3-4 degrees warmer by the end of the century.  Some recently estimates put it as high as 7C over pre-industrial levels by then (new positive feedback loops)

I've just been comparing manifestos.

(Don't take my word for it, look here - https://www.carbonbrief.org/election-2017-what-minfestos-say-energy-climate-change )

In essence, the Conservatives want to get every last bit of oil out of the North sea, frack for shale gas, expand airports (while claiming to lead the world in fighting climate change...)  Note that our emissions have only fallen in recent years because we effectively export our carbon emissions by importing carbon-intensive products. When imports are added in, our emissions are still rising.  They won't allow any onshore wind power, apart from on Scottish islands.  No mention of carbon capture and storage.

Labour - ban fracking, want to have a lot more renewables, mention CCS, want to work onzsero-carbon heating for houses, but they still want to use North Sea oil and expand airports.

Lib Dems - want Cabinet position for Sustainability and have specific legislation intentions for green stuff.  Would reduce energy bills by improving insulation rather than capping prices. No fracking, restore subsidies for renewables.  Support CCS and want zero-carbon new homes.  Help establish new industries in areas where oil is a major employer.  Will not increase net number of runways in UK (I sense some weasel wording there)

Greens - what you'd expect.   But most of us won't have a Green candidate with a decent chance.

Basically, if you want your children and grandchildren to have a world that is not  headed like an express train for environmental collapse, your best bet is to vote Lib Dem.  If you don't have a decent Lib Dem candidate, vote Labour.

We live in one of the richest countries in the world.  If we don't make serious attempts to slash carbon emissions, then how can we ask anyone else to?

There are some Conservative policies I support, but I have a granddaughter.  She will live in the world that we are a creating.  It's going to be hot - our only hope is to try and keep it to just 2C rise -1.5C is already a lost cause.




busy...

May. 20th, 2017 08:39 am
watervole: (Default)
 Sorry to be so quite.  I'm not really sure where the time is going, but I rarely have time to read or knit these last few weeks, let alone write.

We're looking after Oswin a lot this week, but that will reset to normal soon.  Lot of time on work for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival.  Sorting out insurance, accommodation for children's dance teams, checking health and safety stuff, chasing up teams who haven't told me how many performer's wristbands they need, already starting to look at a few early things for the festival after this one.

Lots of morris stuff. Just sorting out bookings, making tatter jackets, teaching kids, dancing, practicing music.

Dancing in Winchester today.  Oswin's coming too.

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