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another of those weeks

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Spotted out the front of my building, undoubtedly ready for someone to make a quick getaway 😀

There have been days lately where I’ve needed to remind myself that I have a 100 per cent success rate with at least one KPI: I have reached the end of every working day without killing anyone! Yep, yet again, everyone has wended their way homeward, though if looks could kill…

We’re all tired and stressed and we are all busy. It’s a time when being a team player is a cardinal virtue and, yes, it’s true that not everyone is. Oh, well.

Big picture check: is the planet still rotating on its axis? Tick.

Well there you go. Nowt to worry about 😀

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2019 in Health, Motorcycling

 

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oh, I think that was another week

1986-06-13 Aalholm Automobile Museum, Denmark - 2

There was no Bugatti, so I thought I’d share this one, an exhibit at the Aalholm Automobile Museum in Denmark. Photo with my Dad in 1986. There’s a better photo at the link, which discusses the sale of the museum’s collection.

My work has been mind-numbingly busy, in a mind-numbing way. Allergies are still wreaking havoc all round. Whatever last week was about, I played bocce at lunchtime on Friday and made it to Saturday. Today we attended an Italian motor show. Dr B showed off his motorbike, and YoungB showed off his car. Both were much admired by fellow aficionados.

As well as lots of Alfas, Abarths and Fiats, of varying ages, shapes and sizes, there were low-slung Lamborghinis (although I’m not sure they actually come in anything but low slung, to be fair), muscular Maseratis and an astonishing number of fabulous Ferraris, including this one, which was truly amazing. My other favourite was what the organisers described as a Fiat 500 on steroids! It was gorgeous and I would certainly like one of those under the Christmas tree this year, thank you, Santa. Surprisingly, there was only one other motorbike, and one all-but obligatory scooter.

There was excellent pizza, there were cakes and gelati, and a raffle. YoungB won a prize! I think the bucket of cleaning gear will provide much long-term usefulness although it’s certainly less exciting than the prize he missed out on by one ticket, namely being able to drive one of the exhibited new Alfas for a weekend, courtesy one of the main sponsors 🙂

All up, it was a lovely day. We’re all exhausted and a bit sunburnt, but will undoubtedly be back at the grindstone again tomorrow.

May your Sunday have been as enjoyable as ours, whether or not it involved a car show of any sort 🙂

 
 

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simple pleasures

Things I Love Thursday: Drying Clothes Outside | Kinda ...

Image copyright – thank you,  Kate. You don’t need to be frugal to understand the benefits of outdoor line-drying

Dr B and I have been doing a fair bit of gadding about the place, one way and another. It was a seamless transition for him: I slid into the passenger seat as YoungB vacated it, you might say. Fewer excursions were two-wheeled, because I categorically will not get on a motorbike and I do not ride a pushbike; but I was happy enough to accompany him in the car.

There’s some necessity for household chores to be done early if we’re going to be out for the rest of the day. If there’s sunshine and a good breeze, I can launder bedlinen before we leave, retrieve it from the line when we return and remake the bed straightaway. There are few things as delightful as the fragrance from breeze-dried sheets wafting around you when you’re drifting off to sleep. It makes you feel virtuous, too!

Just as an aside with regard to the above photo, no, I would not hang my clothes that way. For example, from my perspective, there would be entirely too much effort then required to iron jeans that have been pegged by the leg. If you are time-poor – and this is a discussion I had many years ago with a fellow student nurse, when we were both struggling with night duty, studying for final exams and simultaneously maintaining daytime apparel for our uni-student menfolk – then you do your best to minimise after-laundering effort. But, you know, everyone has their own way of doing things, none of it is wrong, it’s often necessary to change methodology to suit differing circumstances, and the results are what count. I liked Kinda Crunchy Kate’s enthusiasm for the overall concept.

Of course, let’s give thanks to our local star – that “small, unregarded yellow sun”, as Douglas Adams described it – and some bulk movement of air (aka large-scale gaseous flow, global air currents or wind) for assisting with the drying, but I had to take care of all the precursor steps. Those sheets didn’t magic themselves into the washing machine and onto that line; no, they jolly well did not. And you can be quite sure that Dr B didn’t, either.

May you, too, have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the benefit of our local star, whether for boosting your vitamin D levels, or drying your laundry and helping to make it smell fresh 😉

 
 

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catching up

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Dr B is making excellent progress with his creative task!

Isn’t it good when you share a meal with friends, and are able to catch up on everyone’s news? I don’t do it as often as I’d like. The Bs have far more of a cafe lifestyle than I do, mostly by virtue of their cycle outings (of whichever variety). Yesterday it was my turn with some old friends from my nursing days. One is still in the business, nowadays working as a midwife in a busy city hospital. The other has already retired. We met for our meal at a halfway-point eatery, and between swapping news of former colleagues and hearing about the exploits of children and grandchildren, a couple of hours passed swiftly and pleasantly.

The friend who is still in the business doesn’t live far from me, so we travelled together. She’s another who knits and sews, and would like to learn crochet but is time poor now. A particular joy of our homeward trip was our quick duck into a fabric store, one where we’re both VIP members. It’s not far from home for either of us, so barely even a detour. She was looking for something she could use to refresh the old, tired, three-panelled privacy screens in her hospital’s nursery. We bought some lovely animal-print curtaining (in both colourways, to be used alternately so that one side presents taupe, cream, taupe and the other side cream, taupe, cream). It should sew up beautifully and look a treat.

The style of curtaining uses stretch wires at top and bottom. I have recent experience with that, because I made a small, privacy curtain for YoungB, so that he wouldn’t be constantly disturbed by a neighbour’s sensor light going berserk. I used some old furnishing fabric and put a wire only at the top. That was mostly for haste, but also because YoungB’s cabin presents problems when you try to screw things into its walls. So, although my crochet projects might not be completed, I have had a small sewing success.

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Curtain in a hurry, with some installation challenges unmet. However, YoungB loves it because it keeps out enough light that he can sleep. That’s all it needs to do.

When my friend drove me home, we checked the progress of the Bs’ building work: as the top photo illustrates, they’re going great guns (and they were both working on it yesterday). They did some catching up, too, in their case with a chippie friend who is our unofficial consultant (he has lots of good, sensible advice for safely working alone and will be getting a slab of his favourite tipple when the project is done). YoungB will shortly have a run of almost a week off, so he’ll be a great help with the roofing. They ought then to catch up sufficiently with the work that we might have a fully-roofed pergola by the end of next week. Bonus. And exciting-issimo.

As I implied, I’m not caught up on all my crochet WIPs. The green market bag needs handles, but I have to count stitches at least a little bit so that the handles are centrally located. I have, however, just about finished a knee-rug for work! Yet again, it’s made with some of that 8-ply (DK) synthetic green yarn gifted to me by a friend, and more of my variegated scraps, held double. So it really is thick and, this time, it really is quite small. I think my starting chain was about 60. It will work fine in the office, which is where I intend to use it. I will catch up with finishing all of the other small bits and pieces, but not while I’m watching TV. For me, because of my poor eyesight, that’s sometimes a little trickier than simply dealing with a piece of repeating-pattern crochet. I can manage, “One treble, one chain,” ad infinitum! The photo is somewhat dull, but I think you’ll get the idea: a quick and easy pattern that produces a lovely, squishy finish.

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Scrappy stashbusting stuff. And small, but enough to cover my knees so that I don’t get too cold at the office.

I hope you’re also catching up with your crafty projects, and old friends.

 

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revisiting your own past

1989-09-24 Armidale NSW_01

World premiere performance, concert version, Claudio Pompili’s “Songs for Ophelia” for unaccompanied female voice. Given in Lazenby Hall, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia, as part of the Musicological Society National Conference concert, on 24 September 1989.

Sometimes, as the years slide past, you forget the details of the good things as well as the bad. In my case, the bad might include mistakes I sometimes made mid-performance but the good definitely includes how stellar some of my vocal performances actually were. Luckily for my memory and the possibility of sharing some of that splendour with possible future grandchildren, recordings can bring a reminder. A few months ago, Dr B and one of his old schoolmates were working on Dr B’s motorbike together. They’re neither of them entirely capable of staying on the point, so their conversation wandered from motorbikes and strayed across many strata of music composition and performance and getting inside the technical stuff; and their physical presence wandered from the shed into the house for some musical evidence.

Some of the recordings Dr B used to illustrate points were of me singing his music (that’s not uncommon). A couple of works I’d practically forgotten, it’s so long since I recorded them and I probably never performed them more than a few times anyway (they were to some extent experiments by Dr B and not well suited to my vocal range or timbre but I sang them anyway in the spirit of collaboration and because they were too beautiful to let such minor details deter me utterly). Dr B’s Songs for Ophelia remain perhaps the most spectacular things I have ever performed, with all sorts of wondrous vocal pyrotechnics whose sparkle and agility still have the power to surprise even me; and I was the one pulling them off.

I would perform them differently now for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which would be that my voice is considerably older and darker than it was then (1989 – 1990) and, because rarely used nowadays, distinctly lacking in the sparkle and agility. I reckon, though, I’d still get the kind of reaction from the audience that I got the other day from the old schoolmate: a recognition of something special. (And a chuckle from YoungB who reckoned the resulting warbles were remarkably akin to those produced by the damn magpies when they start up at about 4.00 in the morning, as we well know from years of being up at that hour for rowing training.)

Now, you’re probably going to ask where can you hear any of this spectacular stuff and, I’m sorry, I can’t upload without going Premium. That’s probably not going to happen on our single income, particularly when this blog is not an essential part of anyone’s life.

However, I hope I’ve added a link to the page of Dr B’s recording where the Songs for Ophelia can be found; if you have time to scroll down the page. Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day is short – we’re talking 22 seconds – but stunning, if you’d like an idea of why I’m pleased to have unexpectedly revisited that part of my past (yes, unexpectedly because, in the normal run of things, you wouldn’t expect motorbike maintenance to end up encompassing the sharing of what are now close to vintage recordings).

I tested the link, and it worked for me. I hope it will work for you, too 🙂 And of course the photo is of me singing my little heart out to a sizeable audience. The recording was made at the Ultimo studios of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (usually referred to as the ABC, the Abe – think the Beeb – or Auntie). I believe the original recordings have since gone the way of the dodo in one of the many clear-outs; but note that the copyright was originally with the ABC.

 
 

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an even bigger sideways wallop

Addio, Maurizio; your final ride was on a road something like this.

Addio, Maurizio; your final ride was on a road something like this but on the other side of the world.

On Thursday morning we woke to devastating news from Italy: one of the cousins had been killed in a motorbike accident. Yet again, plans for future meetings and shared learning went out the window. We’ve been a bit of a mess ever since.

Yesterday, however, YoungB and his fellow-student girlfriend, Dr B and I spent a delightful day: exhibition, lunch at one of YoungB’s favourite and highly-recommended burger joints, coffee at a chain we probably have – or should have – shares in by now, then a short reception prior to the local premiere of an Italian-Australian film (happily, set in Dr B’s part of northern Italy), showing at a nearby cinema and part of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2016. After the film, a Q and A session with the director and her producer husband (information here), and a chat with YoungB’s Italian professor who was also in the audience, it was dinner time. We trundled across the road for that, then hiked back to the car. We had coffee and cakes at a same but different locale (Glynde) before finally coming home some eight hours after setting out.

We were all physically tired but somewhat restored in spirit, even if poor YoungB’s feet were hurting after the amount of standing and walking he’d done in totally inappropriate shoes. End-of-season sales saw that situation remedied this morning, so he went off to watch soccer while Dr B and I pottered about at home: he in the garden, I in the laundry. Oh, the thrill of it all 🙂

But the burning question I’m asking myself is, can I knock up a dress before Thursday’s AGM? I’m tired of winter, tired of being cold, fed up with wearing trousers and not that fond of the idea of a skirt. A dress? There’s potential in the idea. You know me, it’s unlikely to happen. But it makes me feel a little less inadequate to have it as a sort of non-plan when my knitting doesn’t make sense to me because every time I pick it up to do any, there are interruptions. Never mind. We’re alive and well and aren’t we lucky to have that?

 
 

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but there weren’t any blisters

Where we weren't walking yesterday but where we w ill be walking in September: blue skies and seas to cheer us on

Where we weren’t walking yesterday but where we w ill be walking in September: blue skies and seas to cheer us on

Yesterday, in relatively mild conditions, Dr B came with me on a 15-Km training walk, a loop along our nearby riverside park. I appreciated his company and was most impressed by his efforts, particularly as he’s one who’s normally far more comfortable on a bicycle. He was silly enough to point out at one stage that, had we been on bikes, we could have been to the city and back again in the time it took us to walk about halfway. He might have been, I had to remind him, but I’d be a tattered and bloody mess and still at the beginning, having already fallen too many times to feel confident of continuing. So we walked and, as a concession to his weary legs, caught a bus home for the last uphill bit.

Today the weather is distinctly wintry, so he’s been clearing the last of the grapevine prunings and is presently off listening to pub bands. I’m achieving nothing I would like to – any sort of crafting work – and not much that I’m meant to – though dinner didn’t magic itself into the oven any more than the laundry hung itself on the indoor line – but tomorrow is a working day and I’ve reached the point of believing that it’s more important to get a good night’s sleep than to finish knitting anything, no matter its urgency.

Is that heresy? I fear so. Better hang me, then 🙂 I hope your prospects are cheerier, whatever your weather or crafting tendency.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2015 in Cycling, Knitting

 

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