Thursday 31 July 2014
Was Oxfordshire Artweeks in late May? I really should get my photos of my contributions to the St Clement’s exhibition published. This one is called Holocaust and was partly inspired by leaving a much loved chopping board on a hot stove top. Could have been worse but at least I found something to spark an idea.
Wednesday 30 July 2014
I recently rediscovered a trove of blog fodder ideas on my Evernote account. For example in 2010, I was impressed with the concept of Solar Piksols. These used an array of small solar panels projecting from a wall to create create both images, via the pattern of shadows, and energy, from the mini-solar panels on top of each one.
Unfortunately, it seems to be one of those bright (yes, sorry… pardon the pun) ideas that never took off. Four years later and the website of the original designers doesn’t seem to have moved from the original concept and further web searches show a small splash at the time but no evidence that they have moved into production or even custom installations.
Perhaps the energy return was too small, as the surface area exposed to strong sunlight at any one time would be tiny compared to an equivalent flat PV panel, especially one tilted to follow the light. Maybe the technology will advance with more efficient cells and one day this will become a reality. Meanwhile though, file away under ideas for a sunny day.
Tuesday 29 July 2014
Visiting our friend Daniel on Sunday afternoon, we joined him on the community allotment he helps organise. Joining his diverse team, there was a bit of digging, a fair amount of watering, harvesting and lots of drinking tea; a lovely way to spend the time. The most unexpected event was a twister further across the allotments, which lifted a green plastic sack up into the air.
It must have been quite stiff because it held its shape and, like a kite without a string floated up. And up. And up and up and up until it was a tiny dot disappearing in the distance. Amazing and, given that the allotment is almost on the main inbound flight path for Heathrow (jumbo jets landing every three minutes or so), just a little scary.
It reminded me of that disreputable proverb: eagles soar but rats don’t get sucked into jet engines!
Sunday 27 July 2014
I notice that my friend Matt Gallagher has posted his top 20 albums for the last year so I thought I would take a look at my Last.fm charts and do the same. On that page you can see a list of all 299 albums I have listened to at least one track from over the last year and below are my top ten:
- Jake Shimabukuro – Peace Love Ukulele
- James Hill – Man With A Love Song
- Lucy Van Dael – CORELLI: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-6, Op. 5
- Nova Schola Gregoriana – Gregorian Chant For Meditation
- Rend Collective Experiment – Homemade Worship By Handmade People
- The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain – The Secret of Life
- AC/DC – For Those About to Rock We Salute You
- Renaud García-Fons – Méditerraneées
- Lyle Ritz – How About Uke?
- Joni Mitchell – Blue
Given that this has been the year I took up the ukulele (about a year ago in fact) it isn’t surprising that a number of uke albums are in the chart (#1, #2, #6 and #9). Most of the others are albums I’ve either bought or been given. I like to familiarise myself with new albums and burn them into my mind by repeated listening.
It does reveal a weakness of the methodology though. The violin sonatas rise up the list because each individual track is short; I’ve only picked the album as a whole a couple of times. I’ve listened to some of the albums in the Steve Lawson / Daniel Berkman Fingerpainting set more than that but they suffer on track count because they average about 6 tracks rather than 30 per individual album and, to some extent, should probably be considered as one large album with separate disks; they would be much nearer the top on either listening time or sensible grouping as influences on the metrics.
Then again, even more “accurate” stats still wouldn’t capture the level on influence, how often a song or phrase comes to mind. A chart will take you only so far in understanding (but, nonetheless, is interesting for some measure of comparision).
Saturday 26 July 2014
Is scrumping an appropriate colloquial verb to apply to wood? Cycling to work this week, I’ve noticed a branch bent low over the footpath beside the ring road cycle path that I use. Since nothing has been done to remove this obstruction, I returned this afternoon with a saw and removed the broken branch, taking a few lumps of wood as my payment.
Mmnnn… perhaps I should just chalk this up to being part of the big society!
Friday 25 July 2014
Cytisus ‘Moyclare Pink’
I’m still well behind on getting my photos published. Here is one from May this year, which went up yesterday; a beautiful cloud of pink Cytisus flowers from a bush seen at RHS Rosemoor in Devon.
Thursday 24 July 2014
Why is it that the last screw never goes cleanly into the wall (or, more accurately, that the drill waits until the last one to hit an obstacle it can’t clear)? We put the second curtain pole up in our front last night and, just as with the first one, the final hook was the most problematic one.
I think I’ve dodged it by using a shorter screw but I’ll have to keep an eye once the curtains are up. Ah, the joys of DIY!