The Severn Way

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Originally posted on Haven Avenue:
Shrewsbury is a small town, and you’re never too far from the countryside, but I didn’t realise just  how close. Follow a narrow track from the town’s large Frankwell car park, past the cricket ground, and you are in fields, and following the Severn Way. Your path leads you through…

Advertisement

An Application For Rubber Grommets

If, like me, you’ve got cupboards full of small rubber grommets, I’m sure some days you sit around and try to think of a use for them. Maybe make an evening of it, open a bottle of wine, draw flow charts and diagrams in a vain attempt to just find some use for the things.

Well, I have it, the holy grail of surplus rubber grommet applications.

To stop sympathetic overtones on my mandolin.

Sorry, what’s that?  What the *** are you on about, Andrew?

Oh, I’d better explain a bit, then. With photos.

Sometimes the strings behind the bridge – the bits you don’t strum/pick – resonate in sympathy with what you are playing. unfortunately, since these bits aren’t tuned (or even tunable) the resulting tones are discordant and unpleasant. They are sympathetic overtones, or something like that.

Some players thread leather laces through the strings to damped the unwanted sounds, and some use small rubber grommets to stop the vibrations. So that’s what I’ve done. The grommets are slightly wider than the gap, so they get squashed slightly, but i don’t care.

 

There’s a Lion on the roof

There’s often lots of interesting things going on at the back of buildings. I visited my friend at her new reflexology job, and her window gave a unique perspective on the lion on the top of the Lion Hotel’s ballroom from 3 floors up.

Lion in Profile

Lion in Profile

If you go down the back of the hotel with a zoom lens, you can get this view. It’s slightly mad that a stone lion is up there on the roof where hardly anyone is going to see him.

The Lion

The Lion

Probability-based Ambient Space Music

I record a lot of music using Ableton Live, I like the fast workflow and the ability to play loops and build up a track without having to commit to a structure first. The other thing I like doing is using the probability functions of the loops.

Normally when a loop plays to the end, it will start playing again from the beginning. If there are more than one loop on a track, you can set the probability that it plays a different loop, plays this loop again, plays the first loop in the set, etc. This is a good way to introduce variation into more programmed music styles.

I tend to use it for ambient music, having some loops shorter than others (to build up unusual meters) or empty loops (to add patches of silence on the track). The effects aren’t always obvious, but they make the track less repetitive. Sometimes it sounds horrible, and needs tweaking.

This is one I did over the weekend, I’m not sure if this is the best example of the probability thing, but it’s all I’ve got right now.

 

Going Booze-Free

It seems all the rage now, giving up alcohol for January. This is my second year of doing it. Only one of my friends tried doing it, but failed due to peer pressure and a couple of birthdays.

There are a number of reasons I put myself through this:

  • Save money (I’m usually pretty overspent after Xmas, every little helps, etc)
  • Health (I usually feed like crap after Xmas, after eating all that fat instead of my usual chickpea-rich diet)
  • A challenge (It’s a habit , dropping a beer or 3 in my shopping basket)
  • Sleep (I wanted to eliminate booze as a cause for my insomnia)

Results? I saved some money, I lost some of the weight I’d put on in the past couple of months, I’m getting better at not making impulse purchases (except for vintage film cameras, obviously!) and I can’t decide whether booze affects my sleep or not (yeah, crap conclusion I know).

No Booze

No Booze!

Cute Baby Photos

No, I haven’t had a baby – it’s a camera.  A Voigtländer Baby Bessa 66*. You might be thinking it’s looking a bit corroded, that’s because it was made in 1938, and has been stored badly. The insides look pristine, though.

Voigtlander Baby Bessa, top view

Top view

It is otherwise in fairly good nick – the bellows are still light-tight, the shutter still works (although all speeds work at 1/150 second), and the lens is in fairly good condition with no scratches. The aperture looks really good.  The viewfinder has no glass or lens in it, just holes in two pieces of metal – it is meant to be like that. That’s how they did things before the war.

It had a roll of film in it when I got it, only 7 of the shots had been taken, but I’m not paying to get that developed (B&W medium format film is about £10 to get developed, that’s without printing!). I’m keeping it carefully until the day I finally get around to developing my own negatives, then this can be a test roll!

Voigtlander Baby Bessa, front view

Front View

I’ve already shot a roll of film with it – B&W – which I hope will be back by the end of the week. If it comes out ok, I’ll post some pictures. Or I might post them anyway.

*The 66 refers to the size of the negative – 6cm square. They also made a 46 which was 4.5cm x 6cm.

The Joy of Socks

image

I don’t love the cold (although it’s much preferable to the wet) but I do like the opportunity to swear thick thick socks.

The rest of the year your feet would get far too hot, but now those socks that are almost thick enough to stand up on their own can be dragged out of the back of the drawer and worn inside your winter boots. Or just worn around the house instead of slippers.

My fleece dressing gown doesn’t get worn much, either, except on freezing winter mornings, but I think that’s another blog…