Wulf's Webden

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Monday 1 July 2019
by Wulf

Toy Story IV

Jane and I had a trip to the local Vue cinema tonight, prompted in part by discovering that they have reduced their standard price down to a fiver. It seems a more reasonable price than the heights some cinemas have reached, although the place feels a bit run down and wasn’t packed. We weren’t there to critique the venue though but to watch the latest instalment of Toy Story.

I’d heard some lacklustre reviews, suggesting it was just another rehash of the same ideas, so I wasn’t expecting much. I’m glad that didn’t put us off; I came out thinking it was a brilliant addition to the series. I remember when the first one came out in 1995. It was groundbreaking animation and I still have that, and Toy Story 2 (1999 – less novel but enough to earn its place), on DVD. The third film (2010) was a let down for me, perhaps something that might appeal to those who weren’t born when the previous one came out. To my mind though, they’ve knocked it out of the park with this latest (and, allegedly, final) release.

It is still in the same general area, with themes of friendship, heroism, loss and love but it feels more grown up. The animation demonstrates the level that art has reached and it has plenty of action. However, I’m not sure I’d want to take very young children, and there are some deeply menacing moments along with humour on various levels, from slapstick up. It explores how we change, we break but we can go on, developing value rather than ending up always returning to the nursery.

I will be interested if I do get a chance to talk to some younger people who have seen the film but, right now, I think this a Toy Story for the second half of life.

Sunday 30 June 2019
by Wulf

Pudding for a summer day

Or pudding for a summer evening. The point of this post was to note that I’ve been able to construct a summer pudding entirely out of soft fruit from the back garden – strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and tayberries. Along with a reduced-price loaf of ‘plastic’ white bread (heading towards stale but a better texture for the purpose than my regular home baked loaves), I’ve now got the result assembled in the fridge awaiting consumption tomorrow.

The recipe is pretty simple – a bowl lined with clingfilm and then slices of bread, filled with the fruit. The fruit was lightly cooked with a little water and sugar, with the strawberries dropped in just before taking it off the heat to stop them going mushy.

You take the crusts off the bread so my treat tonight is going to be crusts soaked in leftover juice (I put a bit too much water in with the fruit to start with – 300ml rather than 3 tbsps!).

Saturday 29 June 2019
by Wulf

Music for a summer evening

I probably should have posted about this evening’s Music for a Summer Evening event at St Nicholas in Old Marston before it happened. As with the previous event in June 2017, I was playing bass with a small jazz group supporting several pieces including a jazz mass from Bob Chilcott.

Sorry – that means you missed a good ‘un. I’ll try to be more timely in 2021, when it will probably run again.

Thursday 27 June 2019
by Wulf

Dimensionally Transcendental

Doctor Who fans will read the title and immediately think of the TARDIS. The acronym stands for time and relative dimensions in space and the famous phone box is known for being much larger on the inside than the outside.

What I’m reflecting on though is the University (of Oxford) Admin Services garden party, which I popped into this afternoon. It was held at Worcester College which, like many of its collegiate neighbours, has much more extensive grounds than the small frontage would suggest.

Combining manicured gardens and gorgeous sunshine, it was an experience to remember even if I didn’t expect the ten minute walk from the entrance to the party!

Wednesday 26 June 2019
by Wulf
Comments Off on From a Forest Path

From a Forest Path

Bernwood Forest - Watercolour
Bernwood Forest

This is the painting I was working on when I saw that hare on Saturday. A mix of trees and already-orange bracken on the far side of the path; a variety of grasses on my side.

I started underdrawing with a water-soluble graphite pencil, working out the shapes of some of the main tonal clusters, and then began laying in colour. I used my dagger brush – long, floppy bristles tapering along an angle to a fine point. It isn’t a great choice for large, smooth washes but is brilliant for getting into corners and creating effects, including those fine grass stems.

Tuesday 25 June 2019
by Wulf
Comments Off on Wrist


Magnus has been doing (almost) daily sketches of hands since February this year. I haven’t, but I got a bit of my hand in this sketch from last Wednesday:


Looking back, I think I’ve made the wrist and certainly what is included of the forearm too narrow but it was a good exercise with my water-soluble graphite pencils.

I drew it at a PCC quiet evening last week. We had listened to the first part of Ephesians 4 and were reflecting on the metaphor of the church as a body. I was pondering how we grow into the things we choose to do (or, indeed, the things we merely do if we abnegate our responsibility to choose). For me, that is represented by this wrist.

Although you can’t see it on the surface, I had the chance to have both my wrists scanned by ultrasound a couple of years ago as a control subject for a planned clinical study. Under the surface, I have significantly more vascular development in my left wrist, probably as the result of 30+ years of bass playing where that wrist supports my fretting hand. What you do – taking the opportunity to sketch whenever possible included – shapes your being in ways visible and invisible.