When Jane and I went wombling on Saturday morning, I spotted what at first I thought was some spring plant poking through the earth. On closer inspection it turned out that, no, it was yet more rubbish – thousands of 5cm lengths of nylon cord. They weren’t tied together; my best guess is some kind of industrial offcut that somebody decided were easiest to dispose of by tipping down the bank beside a layby on a busy road!
It makes an intriguing photo but I’d rather see genuine plants growing up through the soil.
It was probably a little unfair to take last month’s photo when we had just had snow but, this month, you can see how things look on a more typical late spring day. The polytunnel is looking more naturalised, with a selection of plants in pots down the side (and more that you can’t see down the other side, mainly spent bulb pots). You can also see the frames we have put up inside. I did a little more work on those today, although I still need to get the wood running from front to back properly fixed in place.
You might also notice that the water butt can’t be seen by the side of the shed. It is now moved a bit further along that wall and linked up to one of our new 350l butts. You can see the other one in the canal-side section of the garden. I need to run a hose down to that but we can bear a few more days of heavy rain before it becomes urgent, especially as the tomatoes and other plants in the polytunnel start to demand more frequent watering.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the garden continues to develop but I’ll try to make the most of it each month rather than wishing my time away.
My set up was similar to the previous one, except this time I used the camera app on Windows to set up the framing but actually recorded direct to the Q2n 4K camera, giving a higher resolution and thus more freedom to change the framing during the editing stage.
Jane and I did another litter pick today. In the photo above, you can see that we’ve separated out the recycling but you can also see a collection of small blue and black bags. We didn’t open them but suspect they contain dog poo, all dumped at a single spot on our route.
It does make you wonder what the person who bagged all that excrement was thinking. What is the point of bagging it up and then throwing it by the path? We didn’t even have to step off the path to pull the bags with our pickers. You wonder if someone didn’t get the memo about why dog walkers pick up the stuff or didn’t have the nouse to read beyond the first sentence.
Anyway, that’s more grot pulled out of the local byways.
Not me but this sparrowhawk. You can see him sitting on the fence. His face is not very clear in the photograph below but at least you are spare the details of his meal.
I think the meal was one of the sparrows who makes use of our Photinia shrub. As we ate our meal last night, we saw the sparrowhawk swooping out of the bush and then settling on the fence further along. I watched with binoculars for a while and then popped upstairs. My 70-300mm lens isn’t amazing for this kind of work but gave me the opportunity to get a reasonable shot. I’ve done some further work using the GIMP but the basic colours (including the blush of red Photinia on the left, contrasting with the foggy green on the right, from the edge of the bathroom window) were in the original.
I’ve been slowly working through Life Streams (Smith, J.B. and Graybeal, L.L.) with a friend. It is a study book that explores a number of streams of Christian practice, published by Renovaré (2010) and we’re approaching the end of it. Each session ends with some homework options and the one I picked from the chapter on the incarnational tradition was to read something by Solzhenitsyn, Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy. Each is a major Russian writer who wove Christian faith into their works. I ended up finding a collection of Russian short stories via Project Guterberg and a tale by Tolstoy called God Sees the Truth, But Waits.
These Russians had a tendency to write fat books long before it became de rigueur but this story is blessedly short and free to read (hurrah for the wonderful Project Gutenberg, which continues to make public domain works available online).
The protagonist, Aksionov, is falsely accused of a crime and sent to a labour camp. Even his wife seems to doubt his innocence so he commits himself to God, who he knows saw the truth. Alas for Aksionov, God seems to remain silent on the matter. It won’t take you long to read the story so I will avoid spoilers but to my eyes — and I suspect to Tolstoy’s — God does appear to perform a slow but deep work of grace. It is far from what Aksionov might once have asked for but reminds me of what the (far less saintly) Rolling Stones once sang: “you can’t always get what you want but… sometimes you might just get what you need.”
A year or so ago, I signed up for membership of the ScottsBassLessons.com website. This includes not only a forum but also loads of learning material, including courses, seminars and more. For example, this week I was able to catch up with an hour long masterclass from Michael League (of Snarky Puppy fame). That was a recent recording but, if I’d been free at the time, I could have attended the live session and posed questions directly so, while not quite the same as a one-to-one, face-to-face lesson it is still an incredible resource, giving me possibilities that would otherwise be impossible.
Part of the site is an area called Players Path (sic). Yes, I’m sure there ought to be an apostrophe but I am presenting it as seen. I’ve recently finished working through all nine levels but I didn’t record any of my work. Now I am taking a second run through and this time my intention is to capture my final performances of each piece.
Back at level one, the playing isn’t making me break a sweat but I’m concentrating on figuring out how to do the recording. I’m running a Zoom Q2n 4K into the Camera on Windows 10, so I can record the video and monitor it on screen. At the same time, I’m recording my bass through my Helix LT into Logic Pro on the Mac, where I’ve set up the backing track to play along to. Audio and video get merged together in HitFilm Express and I think I’ve got the essentials down.
Now to keep going and get back up to the levels where I can’t just sight-read the pieces cold.