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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Fireys, rainbows and slouch beanies.

It's been an an odd week.  I've been a bit distressed about a schism that has been happening at our fire brigade, and it has affected both my thinking and my health.  Why do people desire power to the point of destroying the thing they want power over?  I don't know. It is not in me to understand it.

Ah well, am trying to let go of that and just enjoy the people I enjoy, keep the ultimate goal of the brigade in mind, and hope that it all resolves itself. It is sad, though, to think that you are part of a team and find out that actually there are two teams, and sometimes they pull together but mostly they were pulling in different directions with different agendas.


We did go out to one call out this week, another car fire, this time a wheel on a semi trailer that had a seized bearing. The efficient young truck driver had already got it out by the time we arrived. 

It was a bit of a non event, which, when you think about it, are the best kind when you are in a fire brigade, but since it was me, Nikki and Andrew in the 1.4 and Angus and Paul T in the Light Tanker, some of my favorite people in the brigade, it was actually a fun night.  We had a nice chat back at the station and it made me feel a lot better about everything.

Last Saturday, for Schedules, we split into two teams (Ha!  Ironic!) ) and took turns cleaning out the old station and doing a driving exercise.  I went out in the Light Tanker with my Bro-in-law Craig driving, so that was nice.  It rained pretty heavily so the tracks were fun.

My youngest niece, Niamh, came along to help and got to try out some of her mum's gear.

How adorable is she?

There was a lovely rainbow the other morning when we went out for our dog walk.

We got a silly selfie with it. Interesting to see that one of my eyes is drooping a bit there. Not surprising since my body has not been happy this week.  It used to be quite marked in the Lyme days, and this might be a sign to up my salt a bit more in case the dreaded bug has taken a stronger hold.  I called it my Aughra eye, (a Dark Crystal reference for those fellow fantasy geeks out there).


I think this was the best ever photo I got of my Aughra eye.  This was a very nice Percheron called Guinness who belonged to the people who were selling a horse that I didn't buy, though I sometimes wish I had. 

This pic always cracks me up.  :)

Writing is back on track, thank Brigid!  It took me quite a few 'blood on the forehead' days to get back into flow.  Yesterday I went over the 50 000 word mark.  Hardest 10 000 words I've written in years.  Not so much because of the story, as too much else distracting my brain and dragging me down.  Let that be a lesson to you, grasshoppers!  Don't let people and their machinations distract you from your true life's purpose!  Go sit in the sun and play a musical instrument instead, and when your mind is peaceful once more, then go in and write like there's no tomorrow.

Speaking of which, I've been messing with Jethro Tull's, "Cup of Wonder," for my next song on the lyre.  It has always been one of my faves of theirs, though in truth it would be hard to pick an utter fave.  Still not sure if it will work, or be pleasurable to sing with the lyre. As I found with "Gay Bar", which I really did begin to work out, some songs just feel boring when sung on the lyre.  Since I kind of have to keep practicing every song I have in my lyre lexicon, or I forget them, I only want to stick with songs that give me a frisson of pleasure every single time I play and sing them.

"Cup of Wonder," for, as a Fb friend of mine would say, the happiness of the people.  :)

Crochet at the moment is two projects.  One is a slouchie beanie for me made from that beautiful hand-painted yarn from my friend, Marigold and dog, plus some red that complements it nicely.  It's a bit of a slow one since the fingerling weight/4 ply yarn is so fine, and the half double crochet stitch is one I always find a bit awkward, but the result is pleasing.

The other one is the new 'flowery pasture' afghan for my middle niece.  So far I have this many squares and it looks like it might be quite nice.  Sometimes you get to a certain size and realise that the design isn't working and have to change plans.  So far so good. We'll see!

Interesting how the colours change under flash or lamp light. Lamp was even worse. Those are all different greens in the background, no purples or navy blues, I swear to you!   

We have a few fine days in a row forecast here.  Glorious sunny cold days of middle winter.  I plan on making sure I get out into them as much as possible! I'm sure the dogs would be glad to hear it.  They're loving their crispy cold morning walks!

This is dear little Skila, who I got to give some pats to yesterday while mum and I were visiting a brigade friend for a cuppa.   Always love an extra doggy fix! 

She is a lovely gentle family member.  Dogs are so cool!  Aren't we lucky to have them, in all their varied forms?



Thursday, 23 June 2016

Another Anglo-Saxon Lyre Song At Last!

We went up to Noble Falls last week to record this, because part of the song is about going to water to earth yourself.  It seemed right. 

It was a lovely day, cold but sunny. I wore my wrist warmers so my hands would be warm enough to play the lyre properly, not to be all rock god.  :)

Expecting to need quite a few goes to get it right for the video as usual, I was super chuffed to get the song out on the second attempt.  As you can tell at the end!

The song is, "Follow the Sun," by Xavier Rudd.  It's a lovely song and wise too. I hope you enjoy my version.

This week has been a tad grey and even colder than last week. Yesterday it never got above 10C on our verandah.  We're still off for another picnic today, sans lyre this time. It's been years since I visited Hovea Falls, a local place of much power that I wrote into Land of Fire.  It's time to go back, grey day or no!        

Monday, 20 June 2016

Favorite books: "King Solomon's Ring," by Konrad Lorenz.

Look at this lovely lovely man!

This is a non-fiction book, I can't say I'm a huge reader of non-fiction unless the topic really interests me, but Lorenz's book has always been one of my favorites.

My current copy looks like this:

I had to replace it because my first copy was loaned to someone who never gave it back. 

The new cover is ok, but the original looked like this, which is a magical cover far more in keeping with the contents.  

It came from a rental house across the road from the share house I lived in when I was seventeen. They were moving out and having a party and the house was getting trashed, including the little bookshelf of elderly hardcover books that had come with the house.  Even at that age I didn't like that this sweet, tumble-down little house was being mistreated, but all I did was save this book.  What more I could have done I know not, but I wish I'd tried. 

At any rate it was a very lucky save.  It turned out to be a gem of stories and information that had been written by someone with as much passion for animals as I had and still have. Written in 1949 and first translated in 1952, it may have dated in some ways but in others it is as fresh as the day it was written.

The little drawings that pepper the book are treasures:

And his delight in the behaviour or everything from common pond life to the complex social lives of jackdaws is truly a joy to read. 

Unlike some zoologists, he did not look down on the keeping of pets, and had dogs, hamsters and many other pets of his own, delighting in them just as much as the wild creatures.

Some of what he learned about raising wild geese, that they imprint to the parent figure, was brand new to science at the time and has helped immeasurable numbers of people who are trying to raise rare and endangered birds.

His story of being out in the field, waddling along in a crouched position, quacking away, so that a hatching of tiny wild ducklings who had imprinted on him could see and follow him, and being seen over the stone wall by amazed villagers who couldn't actually see the little ducklings in the grass, is an image that will never leave me. :D

If you love animals, read it.  There are copies everywhere even now, and it is still popular for a very good reason.    These should be more people like Lorenz.   It seems to me that if everyone was like these sorts of curious, intelligent, kind, gently-potty zoologists, the world would be a much, much better place.

And he loved dogs too, as so many of my heroes did and do. He even wrote a whole book about them, but I've never read it.  I don't know why.  Maybe because I can't believe it would be as charming as King Solomon's Ring!   


Thursday, 16 June 2016

Woah! Busy Thursday!

Yesterday was busy, but in a varied and therefore good way.

I got my words, which pleased me because I've had a bit of a lull in motivation this week. Not usual for me when writing, but there is a lot of other stuff going on and I have 40 000 words down and have been writing steadily for eight weeks, so I am ok about having a little break.  It was good to be back at the keyboard yesterday, which I guess shows that my rest from writing was useful, but is now over.  

We also went out for a picnic lunch, sans dogs, and videoed my version of Follow the Sun by Xavier Rudd.  Have to get it off the video camera and onto youtube and I haven't seen it yet myself.  We did it beside running water so the sound might not be good enough.  We'll see. For now I only have a photo.

By the way, this image came by my Fb feed via Paul (thanks for sharing it, Paul) and I thought it might be useful to others like me who are bad at reading times signatures in musical notation.

Then in the afternoon my youngest niece came over for another art lesson and she finished her big project portrait of herself and her pony Ollie.  Phew!  It was a long and complicated project for a ten year old, but she stayed keen to the end and is very happy with her final result.

I love these shots of her concentration as she works.

Here she is doing the signature!  The final proud flourish!


The whole thing required much discussion, experimentation and even over-painting, so I think she learned a lot.

Then it was time to cook dinner, but just as we started, we got a call out to a car fire down on the highway.  Off we went!

It was pretty exciting getting the 1.4 down the highway though all the stalled traffic.

But Elton did a good job.   Good on you, Elton!

The smoke was horrible. Our masks don't really protect us enough from it, so we aren't supposed to be at car fires. You need full breathing apparatus for it really.  We get the calls though and then we help with traffic and make sure the fire doesn't get into the bush.

Directing traffic was interesting. Amazing what speed some people think is going to be slow enough to get past this sort of thing safely!

I felt very sorry for the poor people, who were off on a holiday with their caravan when their car caught fire. The car was pretty much a pile of char by the time it was fully out.  They had a dear little apricot poodle who was safely held in the arms of one of the owners.  And that is why you slow down going past accidents and fires.  Who knows if that dear little dog, or a child, might not act oddly due to being frightened and dash onto the road?

Here's my dear little dogs safely inside our not on fire car.  :)

Got any yummies for dogs in that shopping?

Come on, when's the walk?  This shopping thing has knobs on!


Sunday, 12 June 2016

More winter walks.

Dawn was lovely on Saturday.  Both here...

And when we got up to the block for our walk...

Saturday morning I went over and took some photos for my sister and nieces of them riding their horses.  Jen's Irish Draft sporthorse boy, Fionn, is under saddle now and beginning to learn his job, so we wanted some progress shots of him.

Niamhy and her Ollie.

Molly and her Mahlee.

It was fun getting photos of them all riding at once.  The kids are getting so good now, they saddle up on their own and ride independently so Jen can ride at the same time too.

Saturday afternoon we went and helped one of our older Firey members cut up some firewood.   My sister Jen took the opportunity to get some lessons in using a chainsaw while she had my smaller 'hers' chainsaw there to use.  She did good!

It is kind of scary watching the guys using the bigger chainsaws in typical blokey devil-may-care ways. I showed Jen the proper way.  :D

Terrible objectifying of Andrew here but couldn't help taking this shot of his bum looking so nice in his firey pants.  :D

We did an hour and a half and then had yummy afternoon tea. It's all part of being in the Brigade family. 

This morning we took a walk round the block. These are very big blocks!  Part of the walk takes you down this cutting along the old railway line that is now a walk and bridle path.  It is dark and smells very fertile and earthy along there. When passing through them, I often think of the convicts who made these cuttings, done the hard way with shovels and picks.

It was a nice surprise to find this little bit of environmental art along the side of the cutting.   

I love it when other people do quirky stuff for you to find.

It was a bit rainy but I do enjoy a winter weather walk, and the Labbie girls don't care!

Come on daddy!  Time to go!
Yesterday I had a nice peaceful day of reading, crochet, wood splitting, baking and lyre playing. Ah, a home day, just what I needed!