July is Happening

09 July 2017

I am wearing odd socks with sandals And no-one can stop me.

plants Regard the rampancy of the not-quite-wildflower patch.

plants Some of those flowers are two year old parsnip plants, which various weird sorts of wasp seem to like. So that's good, because it means someone benefits from my laziness.

a pizza Making this pizza was the antidote to the 48 hours preceding it.

table covered in sprockets But the kitchen table is no longer available for eating from.

I Have Made a Thing!

29 June 2017

View from below the apple tree

View from below the other trees

A couple of days ago I (finally) finished my collection of viola duets, which is a digital sheet music download which also comes with demo recordings. It's on Bandcamp here.


Why being bilingual helps keep your brain fit. (I am not bilingual but now have a sudden urge to learn Swedish.)

Do Not Nest Here Please

18 June 2017

Beware of ... fields

I don't know whether they were house martins or swallows because they were moving too quickly and I am not well enough acquainted with the differences, but they were repeatedly fluttering and landing in the overhang above an upstairs window of my house. As if possibly considering it for a nesting site. I was the other side of the window at the time, and my initial reaction of "oh how lovely, a birds' nest outside my window, chicks, adorable, yay" was quickly replaced with "BUT THOSE WINDOWS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE BEING REPLACED NEXT WEEK OH NO" and so I ended up in a frantic fluctuation between staring adoringly at them while making cooing noises, and remembering that THEY MUST NOT NEST THERE and I must frighten them away and make loud monster sounds.

At one point my window was open and one of them landed on the top of it and its tiny birdface was about 20cm from my humanface and it was extra-difficult to do the monster thing because ITS TINY BEADY EYE OHMYGOD but eventually my brain caught up with itself and I was able to reluctantly emit a kind of "RAAAAR".

They went away and have not come back which is GOOD and TERRIBLE.

Today from a train window I saw a pub bearing the strapline "Arguably the best pub in the world" which made me snigger all the way to the next station, and fantasise about opening a rival establishment opposite using exactly the same slogan.

To the South

06 June 2017



Decaying buildings part 1

Decaying buildings part 2

There's nothing like a pair of six-and-a-half-hour train journeys in which to sort brain-thoughts into piles, although now they're in the piles I'm still not entirely sure what to do with them. In between the train journeys I decanted some of them into the ear of my lovely friend in Surbiton, who fed me tofu and champagne and chocolate mousse and a hurdy gurdy. We decanted wine into ourselves, also, and walked in woodlands.

In the morning, apropos of nothing, her radio switched itself on briefly, said something about Strong Female Characters for a few seconds, and switched off again. I was impressed.

Back in the North East, I played in a fairly informal outdoor gamelan concert on Sunday, and afterwards I managed to cycle all the way back from Durham in the rain which was inevitably wet and sometimes very uphill and pretty exhausting but now I know I can do that. The very last two miles in particular are not much fun, but I can do it.

And on the upside, the rain meant there were fewer people on the cycle path to be annoyed by the fact that my bicycle bell doesn't sound exactly like a traditional bicycle bell because it's one of the ones that you ping with your thumb and it strikes it once from the outside (and then you usually need to do it a few more times to make sure that people heard), rather than the regular sort that has an internal beater and makes the traditional sort of thrumming ringing sound. Half of pedestrians apparently don't recognise this sound as a bicycle bell, including one who said good-naturedly "Oh, I was wondering what that noise was!" after I'd rung it about ten times, starting from what I think is a reasonable way away, and was nearly on top of her and she still hadn't looked.

Naturally I apologised and fortunately we laughed and I made it all-my-fault by promising to get a more normal-sounding bell. But I am not actually going to. (Well, maybe I will, just to see whether it makes any difference or not. Maybe it's not the bell. Maybe it's me. Also if it does make a difference then I'll be able to stop having to apologise all the time* so that might be worth it.)

*Well, actually only the apologies about having a weird bicycle bell will stop. Not the ones about all the other stuff, obv.


11 May 2017

It is getting leafier

and leafier

an unintended and thrilling bonus from taking these photos is that I can see that when they re-wired our street a few weeks ago they have put back considerably fewer individual strands of wire than they took off and now it is neater but the sky is less interesting and criss-crossy for the photos

I cycled all the way to gamelan rehearsal yesterday, with more success than my trial run (note to self: always do a trial run). Because:

  1. I did not get lost
  2. I met no teenagers
  3. I saw a heron
  4. The heron did not take the piss out of me. As far as I know, obviously, because I don't speak heron. But I at least did not perceive it to do so, and maybe should start applying this principle to humans by pretending I don't speak human either

In gamelan we made a video and I had two cups of tea and two and a half biscuits (obviously I needed more than usual, because cycling).