Folded book, shown at a Ten Plus exhibition at Ordsall Hall
The wanderer returns: Mum’s knitted doll has arrived back in Burnley after its trip up the mountains of Peru. And it still has its sausages, its lemon meringue pie and the carrots in its apron! The group’s fundraising trip has made over £100,000 for a Multiple Sclerosis charity.
Flying visit: Ellie popped home on Saturday, to pick up some clothes for a fancy dress party the fencing club are having tomorrow (Monday). She also needed a jacket converting to a tailcoat. (What fun! : )). Rosie and I sketched out some ideas. Then I made and sewed on the required extensions, using some of the black fabric I sometimes use as a background when photographing work. Dave took her back today, and at the time of writing, is taking a well deserved snooze before returning home. Bless that man.
Birds: Greenfinches, great tits, goldfinches, sparrows, doves and pigeons and a robin. The robin has been taking some food from the feeders too, I wonder if their may be fewer insects about? I must fill up the feeders before it gets dark; they are all empty again now. We’ve been using ‘Won’t grow’ seed recently, as we were getting a mound of mouldy seedlings growing under the trees. The birds love the new mix.
detail of one of a series of paintings done a few years back
Stomachs: Rosie has just made a cake… a chocolate cake. Smells good, hold on a while I make a cuppa…….Mmm the cake tastes great too!.
Pepper-grinders: first a knock-knock joke:
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Winn Heed-Up. Winn Heed-Up Who?… (Think A.A. Milne)
And did you hear about… the potter who lost her job? She got fired!
…the postman who got given the sack?
…the magician who got given her cards?
…and the… well, you get the idea!
Wings But no Beak…
Box Room Latest: Dave’s Midi-thingy is up and running, after some firmware-upgrades, some software-downloads and (yes, you guessed it…) a plug-in or two. As Dave tries out this and that, it sounds like I’m in one of those musical installations, where you walk around a gallery and set off a rainbow of sounds. ‘Tis grand!
On the Acoustic Front: Rosie and I had a bit of a shock this afternoon. We were playin’ a few tunes, and in the midst of Jack’s Maggot we heard an Eeeeeeeeoooughowphhh! We looked at each other, mouths open wide. What on earth…? It sounded uncannily like a human and not one in good health either! Then Rosie laughed, her concertina was making the noise! It has been a bit wheezy recently, despite her attempts to fix it, but this was something else! Eventually, with some fiddling and fettling, Rosie got it to behave itself again.
Ellie: Doin’ fine, the girl is. Still got that blinkin’ ’flu hanging on though. Get well soon, sweet!
Fingers: Lots of crocheted kilt-pin brooches. It took me a while to find a way to present them. I tried punching holes in card and pinning them through, but the card puckered and looked unsightly. After a bit of trial and error with different fabrics etc, I used some French knitting ‘cord’ sections stuck to pieces of card and attached the pins to that. Looks ok.
Feet: In a determined effort to get better, I’ve been on lots of gentle walks. Trying to get out in the fresh air and enjoy this warm, dry October. The trees are so beautiful. Dave brought us back a lovely Mountain Ash twig with golden leaves from his journey home from work.
Birds: The juvenile goldfinches have their full adult plumage now. They look spankin’. Crows have chased off the sparrow hawk twice. They harass it on the wing and then go into an RAF-type ‘We are escorting you out our air-space’ routine. They’re very efficient.
Dave saw a kingfisher on his journey to work. It’s beautiful and flies far too fast for him to get a photo, though one day…?.
Wings but no beak: We’ve had a red admiral butterfly visiting the garden this week. It seems to be feeding from sap(?) on the trunk of the crab-apple tree (that’s on the pavement, outside the garden). Then it flippety-flaps around our shrubs, sometimes resting on the windowsill to soak up the sun. Beautiful.
Butter’s Spelling Book: Gender of Nouns: Masculine: gaffer, Feminine: gammer.
I’ve never heard of gammer. Had a look in the O.E.D. …”gammer n. Brit.archaic an old woman, esp. as a rustic name. (probably contraction eg GODMOTHER: cf. GAFFER” . Must say, sounds more like a contraction of ‘Grandma’ to me, perhaps it’s my Mancunian accent.
Would this chap be a gaffer? (From my sketchbook, (with PS charcoal filter) , a shopper drawn at Stockport market).
J for Joy…
Detail of ‘Urban Space’ mini book, 2004. Photo by Rosie Bryce 2007
(Feline) friends old and new: at the animal sanctuary. Felt well enough to go yesterday and it was just great to see the cats again. It was a cold but beautiful morning, there were tendrils of mist rising from the canal and long pleats of sunlight cut through the haze.
Bobbin about: I’ve often wondered about ‘Tim Bobbin’. There’s a pub named after him near my Mum’s in Burnley and I only just noticed that there’s a Weatherspoon’s cafe/bar in Urmston called after him too. I’d heard he was a Lancashire dialect writer and that John Collier was his birth name. So I was very pleased to find an old pamphlet in Stretford library about him, (Tim Bobbin Lives! The Life and Times of a Lancashire Legend, by Jean and Peter Bond, P.J. Books (Milnrow), 1986). I learned he was born in 1708 in Urmston, (Fancy that!) but he lived most of his life in the small village of Milnrow. He was a ‘larger than life’ character, a satirist, painter, engraver, school teacher and a champion of the Lancashire folk and their dialect. He described it as ‘the speech of our ancestors’. Eee, what a gems can be found on the shelves of our libraries.
Birds: Greenfinches, goldfinches, great tits, a robin, sparrows and of course the doves and woodpigeons have all been seen this week. I had a special treat… a jay flittered to the ground briefly, just a few feet away from me near the railway embankment, when I was walking into U. We both stopped briefly and looked at each other. I couldn’t help saying out loud ‘Oh Wow! You’re beautiful!’ before it flew back to the trees. Our Ellie: Busy as ever with her Frenching, fencing and fettling (in her role as armourer). Though she couldn’t make the last away match, as she had to go to a meeting, there are more matches in the offing and so she’ll have her hands full, getting all the club equipment in tip-top order.
Bass Marimbula: Hey! Hold on to your hats… thanks to Dave, we have a new tune ‘Dannish (sic) Waltz’ to practise. It’s a pretty tune. And Jack’s Maggot and Argieres are coming along nicely : )
A Drink and a Think: We went to the Cafe Muse this evening for a Cafe Scientifique event… a talk from Paul Fitzgerald about…. well, many things really… free thinking, how scientists communicate their theories, persuasion disguised as information, our emotional attachment to beliefs and ideas, and ways to challenge statements made by, for example, proponents of conspiracy theories. It got the old synapses firing… and will for a few days to come, I think. For info about other events: http://email@example.com
Stomachs: I’ve been making more soup…trying to fortify us against the seasonal bugs. I roasted a butternut squash before adding it to a pot of soup, (it’s easier on the wrists, as the squash is so hard to chop up raw and roasting seems to intensify the flavour). Anyway, I put the cooled baking tray, on which the two halves of the squash had cooked, on top of the washing up bowl to soak. When I returned to wash it, some beautiful bubbles had formed:
Walking back: from Rosie’s hospital orthodontist appointment on Wednesday; bought a duck and some mohair! In Barnardos’, we bought some more bits of mohair yarn, in luscious autumnal colours. And (was it pot luck?…) we found a blue and white pot duck (groan) for £1.25 that goes very well with Loretta’s present, the tea pot. And we found some one penny treasures: The ever patient Rosie helped me sort through a box of buttons in the ‘All Aboard’ charity shop. We knelt on the floor like two toddlers engrossed in a game. It was such fun and we bought ten wonderful buttons that will look great on the crocheted brooches I’m making.
From Butter’s spelling book: “Irregular plurals: sow…swine; cow… kine”. Yes, as in the folk song, ‘Gan to the kine with me my love…’ So much nicer than ‘cows’. Butter’s is such a great little book for dipping into.
Jack’s maggot: I’m getting there, that first line is still difficult, but with practice…?! Dave’s kindly written out the Argières tune for me (in a form I can read) and I’m really enjoying being able to join in with that one. It’s such a great tune. If you want to see a picture of a marimbula, try the following link, which shows one with seven notes: http://www.cloudninemusical.com/MarimbulaPic.html We have the 9 note one.Birds: Saw two needle-beaked wrens stitch their way in, out, around and through the bedraggled bindweed on the bowling green’s fence . With our old binoculars, I could see the thin line of barring on the lead edge of their wings. It was such a pleasure to see these two little birds go about their daily foraging.
Spiers and Bowden: Dave, Rosie, Frank and Joyce went to see them at Bury Met. Apparently they were great, as usual. Visit their site for more info http://www.spiersandboden.com
Dave’s Midi life crisis: Dave has been trying to rebuild his composing/recording equipment. Much muttering came from the box room earlier in the week as his Midi (musical instrument digital interface…so I’m told) failed to do what it should do. Anyway, just like Shane, (Audie Murphy- remember?) it came good in the end and the whole shenanigan is up and running and Dave is smiling again!
Detail of digi collage ‘Jigsaw’, 2007
Fingers: a bit slow, but I’m still working on the brooches, trying out some ideas.
Bass Marimbula: had a good play with Rosie, yesterday. Still need to work on the first line of ‘Jack’s Maggot’ and I want to work on memorising the notes for some of the ones I’m more at ease with. I looked up ‘maggot’… it crops up in a few tune titles. It refers not to the ‘soft-bodied larvae of the blow-fly’ but to its archaic meaning of ‘whimsey’ or ‘fancy’. Strange how those words are soft in sound, whereas ‘maggot’ … well let’s say it has character!Have got a bit rusty on the Hugh-Tracy-kalimba exercises, so must get back to practising more frequently. Rosie is working out an animé tune for me to play on the kalimba. From what I’ve heard so far, it will be just right for it.
Cirque du Soleil: not everyone’s ‘tasse de thé’…but I did enjoy it. It seems they have departed from their usual format and created a multi-media show, mixing live action, music and video. It was very similar in style to the Montreal based theatre company 4D Art’s interpretation of ‘The Tempest’ that Dave and I saw at the Lowry last year. http://www.4dart.comSome folks walked out of the arena, clearly disappointed not to be seeing the usual kind of C-du-S show. I liked their use of scale… human, larger than human (those on veeeery tall stilts) and then video-‘giants’ seemingly walking through the action on stage and onto the two gigantic side screens. They used gossamer thin fabric to project onto both the front and the back of the stage.There was a wonderful singer from Senegal. his voice was as warm as his smile.
Street-combing: went for a gentle stroll this afternoon. The pavements were painted with the autumn palette of reds and golds. Eee it was grand. I brought a few leaves home.
Birds: we were graced by a flock of long-tailed tits yesterday. They flowed in against the white sky like animated notes of music. After a brief but thorough investigation of each bush, hedge and sapling, they assembled in the large plane tree on the green before taking off for pastures new. Blue tits have visited early in the morning too.
Oh! The young goldfinches now have a black line round the back of their necks… (have they washed?) and some have a smudge of (robin-like) orange-red above their beaks. Our armourer in Aber: Ellie has a good deal of kit to check before Wednesday, when the university fencing team goes off to Plymouth for a match. Wishing you well with the testing and fettling Ellie and ‘bon chance’ with your fencing!Aside from fencing, Ellie was really pleased to discover that her new French lecturer (a native speaker), not only had Dorothy L Sayers novels on his bookshelf, but he also likes folk music, has heard of Bellowhead and knows of someone, other than Ellie, who plays the domra. A kindred spirit!
Trick ‘n TreatA digi drawing from a modern Jack tale. 2007
Magic Moments: Ellie came home for the weekend and she and Rosie have been teaching themselves coin tricks, (that’s coin not con!) They’ve had been inspired by our Uncle Don, (a wonderful magician) and the Neil Gaiman novel, (which Ellie has recently read); ‘American Gods’.
They are getting quite adept. You can’t turn your head around here, without someone draws a penny piece from your ear-hole! Rosie has a change-giving trick…it involved giving her a £1 coin, she held it in her right hand and seemingly pushed it through her left hand which was outstretched. Drum roll…Ta Daaah! The £1 coin disappeared and two 2p coins fell to the table….
(Now, the more observant among you will have noticed that another 96p magically disappeared too! Rosie explained- she didn’t have two 50ps to give in change, but did I like the trick anyway? I ask you… ).
Body: Have had the dreaded lurgy…joint pains, sore throat, fever and now a cough. Dave is still coughing too, from his cold. : (
Fingers: Crocheted pin-brooches. I know it sounds odd, but I’m making a few for the November Art and Craft Fair in Horwich. I’ve used hand-dyed cotton for one batch and I’m working on some in hand-dyed silk. I’ll get a photo done to show you what I mean, next post.
Birds: Fed them first thing this morning. There was a greenfinch, the omnipresent woodpigeon and a few goldfinches, when I looked later.There are still a good number of the young goldfinches in their juvenile beige and brown. They have the yellow and black wing feathers, but plain heads and bodies. Mind you, it’s probably as well. I’d prefer my children to have extra time to develop strength and agility in flight before Mother Nature painted a big red target on their faces, wouldn’t you?
We do have the occasional visit from a sparrow hawk, it’s persistent too. It flies into the bushes to chase the small birds out from their hiding place.
Pepper-grinders: Some book titles for you…
‘Chemical Bonds’ by Molly Cool
‘A Miscellany’ by Alistair Trivia
‘The Wool Shop’ by Anita Scarfe
Our Aberystwyth Armourer: Ellie has fixed the swords! Ee lass! I knew thee could do’t!
And she’s earned a fencing certificate and is very excited because… she’s been asked to be reserve for the Ladies’ First team! YAY. Well done Ellie!
A treat: Dave’s taking us to see Cirque du Soleil tonight… (if well enough!) And no, there are no animals in it, in case you were wondering, except the walking, talking, hominid kind of course.
Bye for now,
Love julie x
Corporal Klinger wearing Rosie’s cut-out blouse pattern pieces and my (unfinished and rather unusual) crochet spiral necklace- I’m still working on it
I met Elvis at the vets… I did! He was a feline though, it did sound funny when they called his name to go in.
Pepper-grinders* (in the style of ‘I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue’, Radio 4): Late arrivals to the Pharmacists’ Ball, ‘Will you welcome, please…
Mr and Mrs Cham-Spowders and their daughter Beatrice, (known to her friends as ‘Bee’ Cham-Spowders).
Mr and Mrs Spowder and their daughter Fay.
Mr and Mrs Dough and their daughter Aisha.
*See previous entry for explanation.
A Good Time (A.A. Milne capitalisation) was had by all, at the Ten Plus Textiles AGM. Poor Joyce was unwell and couldn’t attend, but she valiantly struggled with the email ‘attached file’ facility and got her report etc to the meeting. We had a wonderful shared buffet afterwards and got asked to please be quieter, as we were disturbing the yoga class! Tee hee! We’ve been offered another room for future meetings… at the far end of the building!
Marimbula: Oh dear… I really must get some practice in, (blushes with shame!) I enjoy it so much too!
Glad to have got done: Sorted out my Ten Plus folder. Yay! I can find things, (for now).
Ellie’s hat, crochet and trinkets, 2007. Photo by Rosie Bryce 2007.
Some enchanted evening: Dave kindly organised a theatre trip to celebrate his Mum’s 78th birthday. Five of us went to see South Pacific at the Opera House. I’ve been irking poor Rosie this morning at the animal sanctuary, singing ‘Happy, happy, happy, happy talk…’. (The cats seemed to like it though!J) Glad you enjoyed your birthday, Joyce!
Mum’s knitted doll is in Peru, where it is the mascot for a fundraising team. They are climbing the Peruvian peaks in aid of multiple sclerosis. She adapted a Jean Greenhowe pattern, by knitting a string of sausages and a butcher’s apron (amongst other things), to reflect her butcher’s shop at the top of the hill. Let’s hope they do well and keep safe on their journey.
High necklines: Rosie and I went to the Museum of Fashion and Costume in Platt Fields. We spent a very pleasant hour looking at and sketching the clothes, shoes, hats and trimmings of the Edwardian period. Rosie and her mates are in for a challenge, designing and making the costumes for the college production!
Corporal Klinger is wearing just a string of safety pins, today. He had a lovely silky dress on a few days ago, though Rosie is about to start on a high-necked lacy blouse, so he’ll not be so bare for long. (By the way, Corporal Klinger, (remember M*A*S*H?), is the name of out tailor’s dummy!!)
Armourer at work: Ellie has already got two swords to mend for her fencing club. I think this new responsibility is going to keep her busy!
Pepper-grinding: Some evenings, after tea, we sit round the table and compete for an award for the joke that provokes the loudest groans. The pepper-mill is passed to the winner of each round. Anyway, thought you might like to hear a pepper-grinder from Rosie….
“Don’t tell me any more jokes about eyes… they just get cornea and cornea!” Watch this space for more. Have you got any pepper-grinders to share? Post it in a comment, below.
Bally-like-her: Dave is back at Balalaika rehearsals. They are working towards their ROOF* concert in early December. Over the summer, Dave has been working on another lovely arrangement for the group, of ‘Shalom’. The orchestra has already used two of his arrangements, ‘Celtic Suite’ and ‘Horses’ Brawl’ (based on a Breton folk tune).
*ROOF is a charity which supports orphanages in St Petersburg and the orchestra helps raise funds for them.
Art and Craft Fair: Frank has joined the Bolton Arts Community in Horwich. He has photographs in an exhibition there at the moment. The fair is on during the first weekend in November. Frank has booked a table and he’s kindly offered to let me put some things on it. I was thinking of art-journals and cards… not sure yet.
Fingers ’n Hands: not much doing in the ‘digit-al’ department this weekend, so far. But must get cracking… Ten Plus have another exhibition coming up in Nantwich, so I’d like to start planning work for that. The Towneley Hall show is on until 20 October 2007.
Remember when… The movement of goods, now called ‘Logistics’ or ‘Logistical Solutions’, was plain and simple ‘haulage’?
A digi-collage I did, way back. ‘Blue Scissors’ .
Listened to: one of Krulwich’s
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14654608 amusing podcasts today, about experiments to discover what makes a yawn so infectious.(Dave gets a bit irritated about this kind of research…thinks it’s a waste of money. don’t get him started on those biscuit dunking equations some scientists once came up with! Bless him.) . Well, they eventually got onto the question of whether yawns can cross the species barrier. Ellie and Rosie have long since discovered they can get our cat Zeldie to yawn. The record so far is seven times in about twenty minutes. Mind you, she is a groggy moggy, (except at 3 a.m. that is, when she wakes us up to play with her!).Birds: Feeling guilty because I meant to feed them tonight. They were on the last dregs today. Still getting lots (‘a charm’, I believe) of goldfinches. Some are still developing their adult plumage.There are twelve ringed doves too, they try their best to feed from the seed holders, but they haven’t got the circus skills of their cousins the wood pigeons. .
Fingers: Been adding beads to the crochet spiral. More to do on it, but it’s developing ok. Rosie reminded me how to do mermaids’ pearls (a decorative braiding) , so I’m doing that with the ‘tails’ from the crochet. Will post a picture of it sometime.
Stomachs: Made celariac and carrot soup. We had a very pale dinner afterwards, pots, cauliflower and cheesy-veggie sausage. It was on white plates too…had trouble finding the food , never mind eating it!
Not a Ten Plus Wednesday…
Detail of ‘Snippets’, me fabric book on display at Towneley Hall in the Ten Plus Textiles exhibition. Photo by Rosie Bryce. 2007
Doings: Been to Dunham (agaaaain-two days running!) this time with Celia and Loretta. Had a good walk round the park, saw rutting deer (is this becoming a recurring theme?); a caterpillar, tufted ducks, plain ordinary ducks, coots (their feet are sooo weird!); a rabbit (v. large); squirrels; a dragonfly; moorhens and the group of fluffy moorhen chicks. Really great to spend time with L and C again.
A surprise: Last Saturday, Rosie and I spotted a lovely blue and white BIG teapot in the Cancer Research shop. We liked it. we liked it a lot. We didn’t buy it. We saw Loretta and stopped for a chat, telling her in passing about the lovely t-pot.We left L to take part in a street collection for the animal sanctuary, then after our two hour stint was up had a tootle round the town. On the way back to the car, we decided to get the t-pot. It was gone…it had been sold! Yesterday, Loretta gave me a beautifully wrapped present… you guessed it…da-dah! The very teapot! : )
Fingers: Have crocheted a spiral in hand-dyed cotton. It might make a necklace for those brave enough to wear quirky stuff. May try adding some beads too. Needs something else I think. Fulled knitted ‘vessel’ has had three washes so far. I wonder about doing some machine embroidery over it? May give it a go.
Stomachs: Made butternut squash and rosemary soup, and fruit scones. both very comforting.
Birds: Fed them today. Goldfinches were feeding from the first tree while I filled up the feeders on the second. Saw something that looked very like a dunnock. Magpies were making a right racket this afternoon…yobs. Though strictly speaking not an avian… we had a squirrel on the bird feeder in the back garden!
A Rainy Monday…
‘A player of Romeo’ one of me Shakespeare quote pics, shown at Buxton museum, Ten Plus Textiles exhibition, 2007.
First day, for a few months, without our Ellie; the house is very quiet. Hope you’re settling in well in your new house sweet.
Happenings: been to Dunham with Wendy. Melvin kindly picked me up and took us there. Had a great time catching up with dear Wendy. We seem to be able to talk like old friends, no matter how long it is since we’ve seen each other. Had lunch in the lovely stable restaurant, overlooking the deer park. Chap walked in carrying a heap of large antlers. “Rutting season” he explained, then disappeared. Yep, that phrase explains many things here on planet Earth.
Hands’n’fingers: knitting a vessel….well, trying. Making it up as I go along, or in art-speak “intuitively responding to the materiality and form of the vessel’s ongoing construction”.. yeah, right. Do love this charity shop mohair, such vibrant colours and great fun to wash and ‘full’. Disadvantages… mohair fibres in your eyes, mouth and dinner!
Ears: podcasts as usual, liking ‘Unwound’ and ‘Caft Sanity’ at the mo. Must get back to listening to some folk too.
Marimbula: Need to practise ‘Jack’s Maggot’… that tricky (for me) first line!
And later…: Ironing and downloading. Must try and get skype.