Thursday, 26 May 2011

Books1-3, Kitchen near disaster, New orchid, BT or sad sign of the times?

Not really any new challenges to report at the moment, but I'm enjoying Emma's Count of Monte Cristo, I'll try & read 60 "mind-improving" books & comment on them as I go. It will take much more than a year, any sensible suggestions welcome. I'm ruling out things I've read before. This year I can list Darwin's Barnacle, not as geeky as it sounds, as bit technical in places but a fascinating insight into him & his obsessional & hypochondriacal traits. I think I mentioned Periodic Tales, a quirky quest to collect all the elements, with their histories, again not too technical for us normal people.
The kitchen disaster counts as a new challenge (16), we got a good second hand cooker for Amy's house, but found it was 4mm too wide for the space. The previous skanky one was a small one, much too small for  "normal" space. Problem solved by removing the top, dismounting the units from the wall, sawing off a bit of skirting board in situ as water pipe was put in after it, like a 3D puzzle, then just sliding the whole lot a centimetre & reassembling it all. Graham the Wonderful has a machine which can cut the 1cm off the worktop. The best bit is that the floor tiles now fit the space beautifully as I had to trim it round the pipes, so better than before.
Walking in Somerset last weekend with Gail, Eve Denise & Roger I found a fly orchid, a first for me, but not really a challenge. Finding all the British ones would be!

Finally, I went into the bank & was served by a nice young man I'd met before, in a wheelchair, I suspect from a cervical spine injury, he said he'd remembered me because I had been polite last time, how sad that that's memorable.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Watercolour Class

Lesson 2 was a little more successful I think, I may still publish the first attempt, but am still working on it.

Munros & whisky: Number15& a start

If anyone noticed my absence, I was walking in the Glen Shiel area with Walkers With Altitude, our redoubtable walking club. On the first day we did the South Shiel Ridge, over 2000m of climbing, 7 Munros & 24Km by the time we took the sensible route off the last Munro as knees didn't allow the sheer route. It took 12 hours, has to be another challenge!

 The second day would have been the stunning views from the Five Sisters of Kintail, tantalising glimpses to tempt us to try again.

 Day 3 was more or less rain&galed-off.
 The selection of whiskies in the Cluanie Inn nearly made up for it though, between the group & a couple of other defenceless walkers I tasted 17 of them, happy to go back for the rest to make up 60 as Chris suggested.

I also found several flowers I've not yet identified, any ideas?

Thursday, 12 May 2011

cucumbers, Number 14 watercolour class

Morre of a BT than a new challenge, but I have real cucumbers! Still only 1" long, but growing up.
I've now been to "real" watercolour classes, rather than just playing around, 1st result a little disappointing, a stormy sunset in Tibet, too much sunset, not enough heavy lowering snow-sky. I'll post one when I do better.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Haiku 17-20

Haiku 17

gentle drizzle breeze
snow-white glow-white floe-white sky
seal-head bobbing sea

Haiku 18
no ugly duckling
feathered bobbing chrysalis
glow-white butterfly

Haiku 19
blackbluegreen light tricks
firebreasted spearkiller
fishfed fledgelings

Haiku 20
rainbow blue iris
soft lilac chiffon cavern
purple mohican

More on haiku

clare gave me a book on haiku for my birthday
so many rules
the good thing is that they all contradict each other
as far as I can see you can choose which to follow.
I like the traditional 5-7-5 sounds
in english that's syllables but not in japanese where some syllables are long or double
there should be a phrase of two lines and a fragment of one
rhymes in japanese are easier
no foreign words no personification no punctuation or capitals   (Microsoft Word throws a wobbly)
they should end with an open thought possibly so it can be the start of a series
or to inspire the reader to continue
haiku seems to be a way of  living and seeing things as they are not just writing
they should be in the present tense as seen and inspired by the moment like a fragment of a photo
they must have a positive mood no gloom
i also found the word "honkadori" a literary association, but also a more personal secret association of place or objects for use between lovers so the frog pond may have many depths of meanings, from Basho's famous haiku to whatever meetings may have happened there
is this the origin of "hunkydory"?
i haven't always specified a season but most have a nature theme
there's a long tradition of adding to or changing admired haiku as a tribute, so my idea of borrowing phrases from my favourite poets isn't new.

Friday, 6 May 2011

60 books,trees, Exmoor, "Leisure", Number 13

Following Emma's New Thing, the plan to read 60 mind-enhancing books has evolved, but not in 1 year. Andy & Richard suggested several bits of light reading like War & Peace, Joyce's Ulysses, Paradise Lost as well as some more digestible ones. I'll keep you posted. I need to keep some non-fiction going, currently Colin Tudge's Secret Life of Trees, a fascinating account of the evolution of my favourite beings & the eco-webs surrounding them. It doesn't count as I've read it before but is great for tree-lovers. I'm also reading Periodic Tales, Roger's birthday present from M&R,  bit of history & enough chemistry for the near-geeks.
I had a very good weekend on Exmoor with some DofE ( Duke of Edinburgh's Award) groups, for the first time ever I had 2 girls who were really interested in trees & plants, paradise!
I know now why people say they can't see how they managed to work, I don't think I have been idle for more than about 5 minutes since I finished work, but the garden and Amy's house are both looking a little better. I've taken to gardening with my magical camera with my tools in case of creepy-crawleys
I wonder if it counts as a new achievement to work out (with Clare's help) how to put photos of the right size in the right place? Given my computer skills I think it does! So 13 down, nearly 1/4
The next one will be 60BTs, see Clare in follower list.