Sunday 26 March 2017
At first glance, the view in March:
Looking Down on the Back Garden – March 2017
isn’t so very different from the view in February:
Looking Down on the Back Garden – February 2017
However, click on either image to view in the set on Flickr and alternate between the two images. Changes that seem minor start to jump out when you jump a month at a time. For example, March has more daffodils as well as some hyacinths – in fact, today, we’ve got the first of our tulips in bloom. Or look at the Buddleja globosa, halfway down the fence on the right. The major growth spurt is still to come but it is definitely creeping higher – about 5-6″ which isn’t obvious when you just look out of the window daily.
I’m including this in my 52photos set not just to bring me up to date but also to illustrate how the camera lets us see beyond our normal, time-bound field of reference.
Friday 24 March 2017
Most years I start my tomatoes off sometime in February or even at the end of January (growing indoors, of course) but I’ve only just round to getting the seeds for this year going. Possibly it will delay the point where they start cropping. On the other hand, it might not hurt at all. Starting them too early and then leaving them in their seedling pots too long might be just as bad for their long term health.
Anyway, I’ve got four varieties going this year, which I hope will be easy to distinguish when harvesting:
- Moneymaker – a long-term standard in the UK
- Marmande – reasonable sized beefsteak fruit
- Golden Sunrise – yellow fruit
- Rosella – a cherry variety with dark fruit tinged with purple
The first two are from some quite old packets of seed but worth a chance – they worked okay last year. Golden Sunrise are from seeds I saved from last year’s harvest and I think were my favourite from that season. Finally, Rosella is a new variety.
Anyway, seeds sown at last and (hopefully) there will be signs of germination in a week or two.
Thursday 23 March 2017
When I got home last night, I turned on the radio and discovered that the story I’d briefly noticed on social media a little earlier was not a false alarm. Bad things had been happening in Westminster, London, outside the Houses of Parliament. That wasn’t really the mood music I’d wanted while preparing for my gig. As it turned out, the gig went down very well and the shadow from London didn’t stretch that far but it still felt a little disquieting; enjoying happiness while knowing that, not so far away, a lot of people were in distress.
I am normally out of bed before Thought for the Day comes on Radio 4 but, after pouring out my energy last night into a high octane performance, I was treating myself to a mini lie-in. The observations from Rt Rev Nick Baines (Bishop of Leeds) were helpful. He was in the Lords and preparing to lead prayers as the news came in. Without downplaying the wickedness of the attack, he gently pointed to the many people who did well. The police mobilised to respond to the threat and Westminster Abbey offered sanctuary to those trapped in the area. Although evil was done, much good was also done and much kindness shown.
It isn’t as news worthy but, whether in response to an incident or woven into day to day living, the practice of such virtues is a quietly powerful response to those who think their raging violence will endure against faith, hope and love.
Wednesday 22 March 2017
Behind the Mask
Behind the Mask is an anthology of superhero stories edited by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson. Setting off on the journey of reading it, I wasn’t sure what to expect; I’ve read plenty of superhero stories but normally they are accompanied by pictures and this is words, words, words. As the title suggests, this is less about heroes battling with amazing strength and energy and more about the people they are when they get time away from the public eye.
The first story didn’t do much for me but the second (‘Destroy the City with Me Tonight’ by Kate Marshall) gave me some impetus to continue – the protagonist finds herself becoming an avatar of a city but ponders how to escape this geas. Overall, I felt it was a mixed bag and I was not as gushingly enthusiastic about all the stories as the editors seem to be. Some just didn’t appeal and others were hard to follow or, on following them, ended up not really going anywhere.
However, there were a few excellent stories in the mix. My favourite was ‘The Beard of Truth’ by Matt Mikalatos. That was on the more comic (ha ha) end of the spectrum but there were also some less flippant contributions that also stuck with me. Having finished it, I’m not convinced to make superhero fiction my new, big thing (and I think options are relatively limited anyway) but it has opened my eyes to a few new names to watch out for and a few moments where my reading imagination could soar through the skies with its cape flowing out behind.
Tuesday 21 March 2017
I’m out tomorrow night for another Oxford gig with The String Project. We’re playing at The Furry Mic, which is held at The Mad Hatters (43 Iffley Road). The band is due on shortly before 10pm but the evening starts not too long after 8pm and, at our last visit to the event, had a wonderfully diverse collection of performers. Free entry (although expect a collection for a local charity at some point).
If you are a rock’n’roll aficionado, you might have an inkling which song and artist we’re going to nod to (albeit just for a few bars) but most of the set will be our originals, some tried and tested, some quite new but all with a few fresh twists and turns. Anyway, that’s the news!
Monday 20 March 2017
I have spotted that I’ve dropped a bit behind with my 52photos project so here is an image I took just after Christmas, published in early March and have worked on with the Gimp this evening:
Hunting Eagle by Roger Davies
It is a sculpture I saw at RHS Rosemoor. I’ve made it a bit brighter and sharper, increased the cyan vignette and cropped it but it isn’t too far off the original.
Sunday 19 March 2017
I’ve been working hard on my latest OU assignment this weekend but it’s time to have a break; I’m back off down to the Red Lion in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell tonight for the monthly jazz jam (7-9pm). Jazz-tastic.