Saturday, 25 February 2012
Ok, it's owning up to lifelong addiction time - but I'm definitely not looking for any cure. I don't exactly know why, but I've always felt a personal affinity to the music of Sir Edward Elgar. Whenever I listen to his music, It's almost like he's posted me a CD with a note saying "Jerry, find a quiet spot, put the headphones on an enjoy because I know you are going to like this". But why does this qualify for my blog? Well Elgar once told a friend that his music was 'outdoors music'.
Above is a photograph I took on a visit to Malvern. These hills seem to be just plonked in the middle of otherwise very flat country; this was also where Elgar spent most of his life, and the Malvern Hills have become synonymous with him. I could have chosen so many examples of what I like, but I found these three links on you tube, so perhaps if you have some time, find a quiet spot, put the headphones on and (only if you find it your 'cup of tea') enjoy!
1) 'Sospiri' which means sighs, plus a lovely outdoors video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZNvTpoQVUA
2) 'Mina': When we visited Malvern we found the churchyard where Elgar is buried. We then went to Elgar's house and museum, and in the garden we found another little grave-stone that said 'Marco' & 'Mina'. Mina was a Cairn Terrier that Elgar was clearly so very fond off. This is such a charming, wistful piece (definitely recommend skipping the advert!). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYybBBd2IvU
3) 'Piano Quintet in A minor' If you did enjoy the other two links, and fancy something a little more meaty then listen to this chamber piece. If you haven't time for all three movements, try just the second movement from about 13.55 - I find it so sublime! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOpiAxga3Ts
Posted by Jerry at 17:39
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Thursday, 16 February 2012
Here is the body of one of our 34 string 'Clarsach' harps; it is the part that amplifies the sound when the strings are plucked. The customer for this particular instrument has requested a stylised rose design painted onto the soundboard. She also asked that it incorporated the initial letter 'R' but without it being too obvious. Can you see it (I don't think it's very hard to spot)?
Design now ready to paint
The soundboard may now be done but the harp itself is a few weeks from being finished.
Posted by Jerry at 11:54
Saturday, 11 February 2012
prompted me to put up a few images from the garden this week.
Looking out from the back door.
Hmmmm, I wonder where where our neighbour's cat has has been?
Bird footprints on the garden table
We've left our marks
and this Wood Mouse sprang out,
bounced back off the snow,
and zoomed away behind the pot.
Posted by Jerry at 13:12
Saturday, 4 February 2012
It was a pretty hectic morning for everyone. My wife was very busy getting us ready for our expedition; (among many other things) creating an amazing packed lunch, filling 3 flasks (soup, coffee & hot water) and making sure we had plenty of blankets, gloves, scarves etc. Two of our fantastic carers came to get Thomas up and ready. My daughter was making last minute touches to her packing (off to Paris for her French exchange week) and I was watching the cricket on TV.
Finally, as we were about to drive away, the day was capped off perfectly by the appearance one of my all time favourite birds - a Short-eared Owl. It was thrilling to see it quartering the ground beside us and diving down on perhaps an unsuspecting vole. We turned around and drove back for another 'fix' of this superb bird and at one point, it flew up and passed close to the van. Then as if that wasn't enough, a second Short-eared Owl appeared - perfect!
And it's lovely now writing this, recalling our day with a glass of sloe gin, snow falling outside...
and watching the football on TV.
Posted by Jerry at 16:12
Thursday, 2 February 2012
I love wood; I suppose it's just as well as I've worked with it for nearly every day of my (34 years) working life. But it's great in this form too - long dead and rotting, and it's pretty remarkable that this tree, up at Gatton's Nut Wood, is still standing! I say dead but in a way it is still full of life with creatures like beetles and their larvae, woodpeckers, spiders, moss, lichen, fungi... and a lot of fun to paint too.
Posted by Jerry at 13:38