Monday, September 08, 2008

recent txt conversation with my dad

jess leevin spit! spit! by bus

wye a bus?


are ew woshin the rugby l8r?

woo's on?

dragins an sumwun

wot channel?


mite do if I gerrome in time

unless yew is goin via bangor, yew shood do!

i jess not countin my chickins

yew got chickins onna bus anorl?!

of corse

muss be the west wales servis en?


rite shurrup I'm weedin inna garding

yew shurrup, i'm tryin to do a crosswerd

onna em4 at lars, traffic very slow

chickens are drivin are ey?

we've eeten em

oo the hell's drivin en? wossa werl comin to!

the ducks!

bluddy ducks!! oi, yew not avin me on are ew?

no, yew gorra be quackers to drive in iss porin rane!

ah yers, corse yew av

orriten shurrup now


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Notting Hill Carnival-Batala Band de Percussao

Notting Hill Carnival-Batala Band de Percussao
Originally uploaded by Daniel_C_C

We were at the back somewhere, but we were there! And it was the best.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Braved the market in Brioude this morning, with a view to finding out why this Clermont-Ferrand based samba band got a gig instead of us. Beats me.

OK OK I left the camera in the car, so I'll have to post it later.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Batala Samba Massif

Some recent photos on flickr here
And one or two video clips on youtube here
Alex took some at rehearsal a few weeks ago, and they are here

Saturday, July 19, 2008

More window frames

It's a variable activity, blogging, for me. Like other things, there are phases and periods of activity and quiet. Anyway, here's the latest photo window frame project I've been working on. It's been a bit of a case of two steps forwards one step backwards. But with a final revised bit of wood bought this morning at the market we should be ready to see if we're going to keep the glass in the window frames or not. We could keep these original, old, cloudy frames, replace them with new clean ones, or leave them out altogther. Any thoughts? The photo was taken in the village here about 50 yards from the house. It's printed onto canvas, but not mounted onto stretchers because it is going into the window frame.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

You wouldn't believe it if you didn't see it


A while ago I produced my first photos in window frames ... this one as a present for a friend. Since then I've done a few more, mostly sunflowers.

I've just received a commission for a series of my sheep pictures that includes a window frame triptych. It also includes four images printed onto canvas by contrado, who I can happily recommend based on my experience with them to date. Quality, speed and value for money.

The sheep canvasses have come out nicely. What do you think?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Photos, sun and elections

That's a pot pourri of recent days.

Some few years ago, shortly after landing in this corner of paradise, we had a run-in with a local politician. He was arrogant, offensive, and a disgrace to local politics. Since then, his (hopefully) unique combination of charms has led him into other conflicts, some much larger. Well, the recent local elections have brought out all the people he's upset over the past 10 0r 12 years, and they've voted him out of all but one of the three offices he held. Hali %$£$% luliah! We've drunk a toast to the new folks; let's hope they can bring some badly-needed resonsibility, credibility and humanity to their communities.

We've had a fairly wet time so far this spring. Which is a good thing, don't get me wrong. But when the sun came out for a couple of days, the collective rise in morale was everywhere palpable. It's raining today.

But the greatest pleasure has been spending time with l'il lamb out on the bikes, taking photos, sharing them on flickr, and gardening together. Apples ... eyes ... all that.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Robot - in principle

I've had a hard time convincing li'l lam that you can make a programmable robot out of string and wood, but finally proved my point with this video from New Scientist on YouTube.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I can't believe it

So much going on to rant about, and nor franceranting going on. What's the idea!!!

Local elections of a medieval flavour for a start. The bribery through abuse of power in the community of communes over the past few years has ensured a few votes for one of the most unpopular constituents, and despite coming third has elected to go ahead to the second round. What's he got up his sleeve then?

In the local commune, so many of the old (sic) councillors left after soooooo long that the local population were shocked into apathy. It was hard going to get the required 11 names on the list; achieved just in time for the paperwork. But at what cost? No second round here, but the choice of Mayor to be made on Saturday night. There are rumours about how that's going, but I'm keeping shtum for now. Good luck bunny is all I'll say for now.

Our pursuit of a property to buy has already been a roller coaster, and there's no change there. I hate estate agents. No, really.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New Blog or should I say Blogue

A website for one of the new Batala kids on the block last year - Samba Massif - never quite happened. So to make a start I've got a wee blog with an introduction, some photos and video clips, and links to some of the other Batala groups around the world. Have a look. Please. Leave a comment. Pretty please.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Back at the ranch

I've been back for a week or so, getting stuff organised after my trip and straight back into developing plans for a children's environmental activity centre. Snappy title! Anyway, more of that at a later date.

This is just to say that all the free books have gone to good homes; the ones left in the box going to Oxfam in Romsey.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

On the road again

Probably quieter than usual here for a week or so as I hit the road tomorrow for a week or so. twittering will continue here.

I used to work out how many miles I'd be doing on these trips, but I've given up. Trying a time-free non-linear view of travelling over the past year or so. It seems to lead to less stress.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Poem 4 - Limerick


A limerick's cleverly versed-
The second line rhymes with the first;
The third one is short,
The fourth's the same sort,
And the last line is often the best.

John Irvin

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Poetry book 3


What is this life, if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davies

French Farmhouse Doors

Our old, lovely, twisted french farmhouse doors have been squeeking for a while, so I thought I'd give them a drop of oil. Worked a treat; no more noise. Only problem is that they are so twisted that it was only a sticky mechanism that allowed us to shut them. Now they're smooth and oiled, they pop open all the time. Ever heard the expression, if it ain't broke don't fix it?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Forming, Norming etc. ...

I don't know if this model is still popular, but it occured to me yesterday during a few issues raised before and at our samba rehearsal. It's a nice idea if it now means we can get on with the music. Not guaranteed it seems from the explanation, but I'm optimistic, as ever.

Poem for a deat poet - Roger McGough

Not that it's about him, but he's one of my favourites. For obvious reasons.

Poem for a dead poet

He was a poet he was.
A proper poet.
He said things
that made you think
and said them nicely.
He saw things
that you or I
could never see
and saw them clearly.
He had a way with language.
Images flocked around
him like birds,
St Francis he was,
of the words. Words?
Why he could almost make 'em talk.

Roger McGough

Friday, January 04, 2008

Another book

To add to the complete list of books here is The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and Legends by Peter Beresford Ellis, in excellent condition. Only postage cost or call by and collect.

Could be fun if anyone wanted to call by with a swap. It's a way to go from anywhere.

Poetry book 1

Me an Li'l lamb are compiling a poetry book one at a time, and I thought I'd share the first few here. Turn about. Down to you to guess which are my choices, and which are hers...

Warning - Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children
We must have friends for dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Books are friends

Parting with books is always a little sad. Rather like parting with friends. But as one friend once said, quoting I assume, friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or for life. Unless it's for life, then let them go when the time comes. Same with books. I've been hanging on to some of these for decades without even being aware of their existence. I still have many, but most are as yet unread. When I've read them, they'll join the list until I can give them away. If there are no takers, it might be to charity shops sometime before the end of January.

Free Books

Surname Date Title
Hopkins 1976 Poems and Prose
McFadden 1992 Ancient Voices Current Affairs
Hands 2004 The Handbook of Digital Photography
Black 1979 The Elements of Palaeontology
Collins 1990 A Roomfull of Birds - Scottish Short Stories
Lawson 1992 Unnatural Selections
Ballard 1984 Empire of the Sun
May 1982 The Many-Coloured Land
Wodehouse 1987 Life at Blandings
Peake 1978 Gormenghast
May 1982 The Golden Torc
May 1983 The Non Born King
Peake 1987 Tutus Groan
Peake 1983 Tutus Alone
Lewis 1989 The Volcanoes Above Us
Trueman 1972 Geology and Scenery in England and Wales
Coelho 1992 The Pilgrimage
Richards 2003 Xenophobe's guide to the Welsh
Yapp 2004 Xenophobe's guide to the French
Rowe 1991 Collins Gem Wine
Kennedy 2001 The Rough Guide to the Internet
Twain 1972 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Van der Post 1967 The Hunter and the Whale
Fitzpatrick 1999 Tanzania Zanzibar & Pemba
Kay 1998 Trumpet
Chatwin 1989 What am I doing here
Vonnegut 1994 Palm Sunday : Welcome to the Monkey House
Suskind 1986 Perfume
Dickens 1974 Bleak House
Austen 1972 Pride and Prejudice
Lewis 1979 My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen … Reverend Sirs
Willmot 1987 Pemulwuy: The Rainbow Warrior
Baker 1972 Christmas Customs and Folklore
Okri 1998 Infinite Riches
Crossley-Holland 1985 Axe-Age, Wolf-Age: A Selection of Norse Myths
Yeates 1962 Selected Poetry
Gatt 1976 Turner: The life and work of the artist (illustrated)
Eichenbaum & Orbach 1983 What do women want?
Sassoon 1940 The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston
Buchanan 1978 The Portable Plato
Neidjie 1989 Story About Feeling
Lawrence 1975 Sons and Lovers
Thelwell 1978 Belt Up
Dickens 1977 Great Expectations
Dickens 1985 Oliver Twist
Swift 1967 Gulliver's Travels
Dickens 1969 Hard Times
Dickens 1970 A tale of Two Cities
Brewer 1895 The Student's Hume: A History of England
Thelwell 1976 Top Dog
Thelwell 1978 This Desirable Plot
Thelwell 1978 Up The Garden Path
Thelwell 1977 A Leg at Each Corner
Thelwell 1977 Riding Academy
Thelwell 1978 The Effluent Society
Thelwell 1975 Angels on Horseback and Elsewhere
Hamilton 1982 Plato: Gorgias
Magorian 1998 Goodnight Mister Tom
Cantlie 1927 First Aid to the Injured
Guareschi 1964 Comrade Don Camillo and Don Camillo and the Devil
Livingstone 1944 Plato and Modern Education
Gwynn 1975 The Gower yarns of Cyril Gwynn
Proulx 1999 Wyoming Stories from Close range
Froude 1886 Oceana or England and her Colonies
Bronte 1986 Jane Eyre
Sayers 1983 Peig: the autobography of Peig Sayers of the Great Blasket Island
Thouless 1968 Straight and Crooked Thinking
Barber ? Innsegall: The Western Isles
Morton 1945 In Search of Scotland
Hoog 1979 Monet
Allott 1986 English Poetry 1918-60
Godin 2005 Purple Cow
Hays 2004 Marcus Aurelius - Meditations
Banks 2002 Dead Air
Treffert 1990 Extraordinary people
Maclellan 1986 Gaelic Dictionary
Rhys Jones 1986 Living Welsh
Lorayne 1986 Page-a-Minute Memory Book
Liyi 1984 100 Chinese Idions and Their Stories
Charton 1989 Seas and Oceans - Collins Reference Dictionary
Pearce, Markandya, Barbier 1991 Blueprint for a Green Economy
Allen 1943 Guerrilla War in Abyssinia
Dossey 1985 Space, Time & Medicine
Emerson 1990 The Oxford Authors Ralph Waldo Emerson
Packham & Harding 1982 Ecology of Woodland Processes
Robbins 1997 Unlimited Power
Aman 1982 Folk Tales from Indonesia
Marshall & Gabriel 1994 The Great Pub Crawl : A Story of Swansea Pubs
Mackechnie 1974 Gaelic Without Groans
Tredennick 1957 Plato : The Last days of Socrates
Robbins 1992 Awaken the Giant Within
MacNeill 1991 Everyday Gaelic
Blacklaw 1989 Bun-Chursa Gaidhlig
Williams 1999 The Work We Were Born To Do
Knight 2000 NLP at Work
Handly 1979 The Way of the World: Congreave
Robinson et al. 1978 Elements of Cartography
Morris 1986 Intimate behaviour
Acland 1990 A Sudden Outbreak of Common Sense
Hays 1987 You Can heal Your Life
Dobson (Ed) 1991 The Green Reader
Edmunds 1979 The Gower Coast
Maclean & Carrrell (Eds) 1986 As an Fhearann from the land
Clarke 1994 Oz Clarke's Essential Wine Book
Koski & Symons 1991 YOU Magazine Journolists
Swindells & Mason 1989 The Complete Book of the Water Garden
Mitford 1968 Madame de Pompadour
Here's the whole list of books I want to pass on to whoever wants them and is prepared to collect or pay postage & packing.

Happy New Year again and again

One big turn of the year event!

There's little chance of that happening I reckon, but it's a nice thought. Roll the solstice, Christmas and New year into one event, have three or four days of celebration/holiday, and then carry on with life. I'd prefer solstice; since living in the middle of nowhere, I really do notice the change in daylight hours, and I am sooo pleased when the days start to get longer. I'm up for all those new year energies straight away. Only everyone around me is focused on Christmas. OK, let's have a shindig, great. Then let's get into the new year! But no, we all have to wait a week and have some kind of party again! No wonder there are some forced smiles around at most of the new year's bashes I've been to. This year was cool, I enjoyed it. Really. Ok Ok it is a bit baah humbug, but only a bit. Let's get up and at 'em sooner, that's all.

Books for free

Here's the first 30-odd books that are sitting here free for anyone for the cost of postage. Unless of course you happen to be passing, in which case call in, have a browse and take what you want. I'll get the rest of them up here soon, and put a link on the sidebar to the final full list. I'd be happy to hear some suggested swaps, but the point of this distribution is to have less stuff! The formatting hasn't gone too pear-shaped.)

Surname First name Date Title
Hopkins Gerard Manley 1976 Poems and Prose
McFadden Steve 1992 Ancient Voices Current Affairs
Hands Geoffrey 2004 The Handbook of Digital Photography
Black Rhona M. 1979 The Elements of Palaeontology
Collins Publisher 1990 A Roomfull of Birds - Scottish Short Stories
Lawson Gary 1992 Unnatural Selections
Ballard J.G. 1984 Empire of the Sun
May Julian 1982 The Many-Coloured Land
Wodehouse P.G. 1987 Life at Blandings
Peake Mervyn 1978 Gormenghast
May Julian 1982 The Golden Torc
May Julian 1983 The Non Born King
Peake Mervyn 1987 Tutus Groan
Peake Mervyn 1983 Tutus Alone
Lewis Norman 1989 The Volcanoes Above Us
Trueman A.E. 1972 Geology and Scenery in England and Wales
Coelho paulo 1992 The Pilgrimage
Richards John Winterson 2003 Xenophobe's guide to the Welsh
Yapp Nick 2004 Xenophobe's guide to the French
Rowe David 1991 Collins Gem Wine
Kennedy Angus J. 2001 The Rough Guide to the Internet
Twain Mark 1972 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Van der Post Laurence 1967 The Hunter and the Whale
Fitzpatrick Mary 1999 Tanzania Zanzibar & Pemba
Kay Jackie 1998 Trumpet
Chatwin Bruce 1989 What am I doing here
Vonnegut Kurt 1994 Palm Sunday : Welcome to the Monkey House
Suskind Patrick 1986 Perfume
Dickens Charles 1974 Bleak House
Austen Jane 1972 Pride and Prejudice
Lewis Don 1979 My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen … Reverend Sirs
Willmot Eric 1987 Pemulwuy: The Rainbow Warrior
Baker Margaret 1972 Christmas Customs and Folklore
Okri Ben 1998 Infinite Riches