Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Old Man Inspects the Beans

So I come indoors from the veg patch weepin' and wailin' and tearing the grey locks.

"You know them broad beans what the bees sabotaged? Nicking the nectar so hardly any set? And like they seemed to be seemed to be making new growth? And I's thinkin' maybe they're gonna flower again and give it another go?" say I.

"Yes?" say Old Man, transfixed in front of telly with Wimbledon and Andy Murray and that....

"Now... the bean tips is covered in huge, dark green aphids. Clamped to the tips they be. And making smaller greenfly like the clappers!"
I wave my arms about in aimless distress.

"Oh?" say Old Man, as he levers himself out of the tennis watchin' chair and ambles out - heading towards the veg patch.

I goes in the kitchen and huff and sigh and wonder what The Old Man will be doing about the broad beans.

Then I look through the kitchen window and see..... The Old Man down in the veg patch.... taking pictures of the beans with his new camera.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A Life Less Urban

You'll know that you live somewhere at least semi-rural - when you find yourself staring at the bottom of your shoes and wondering if you have been trekking badger s**t all through the house.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A Walk by the River

This is how it goes down here... in the very most and utterly South West corner of England... er... sorry... Cornwall.

Yesterday we's wrapped up in grey mist. Can't see a thing. A bit of clearance driving to St Just with Big Sis for lunch and a mooch. But getting close to St Just itself? Grey mist. Can't see a thing.

Today - it is bright, frightening sun. The Old Man and I must have his Sunday Walk. I say -

"Don't want the beach today! 'T will be like trekking the Sahara Desert... with gulls."

So we go inland to the wood, where the small river flows along its edge.

Aaah... Chiffchaffs chiffchaffing, buzzards circling way up high. Crickets and grasshoppers bounce out the way as we walk the path. On the wooden bridges we stop and stare at the water as it flows more sluggish, cos of the grass and weed that developed during last year's drought and still thrives.

From one bridge we watch a slender, bronzy, damsel fly resting on a blade of grass. From the other bridge we watch a magnificent Emperor dragonfly hunting above the water, turquoise and green, built like a helicopter. (see my Post from last September "In the eye of a dragonfly") Suddenly another dragonfly, smaller maybe, joins it above the water. They fly and tousle. I don't think this is friendly. The Emperor holds its competitor against the water's surface. And the enemy admits defeat and flies off, leaving Emperor to continue hunting.

Splash! Splash! A small Jack Russell is paddling upstream.

"Come on lazy, swim..." calls its Owner, "....Can't take him on the beach for a swim, see." he says. (Summertime ban on dogs on beaches.)

"Yes you can," say we... "Down Long Rock. Beach full of dogs."


We leave the paddling terrier and the scattered birds and dragonflies. Go back home for The Old Man to see to his rising bread dough.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Animated Discussions: A Town Called Panic

Oooh. Lookin forward to Film Four's showing of "A Town Called Panic" this coming Wednesday 22nd June at 10.40pm.

This is a feature length spin-off from the Belgian children's TV series of the same name (distributed by Aardman). And it's animated using plastic models "picked up at fleamarkets": Cowboy, Indian, and Horse... and stopmotion animation.

I thought it reminded me of the "Cow, Cyclist & Pirate" adverts for Cravendale Milk, which ran from 2007. And so it might - the Cravendale adverts being animated by the same Belgian team, Pic Pic and Andre, that originated the "Town..." TV series.
Sadly, this particular series of adverts has now ended, and has been replaced by the (not for me so successful) "Cats with Thumbs" advert.

Can't resist showing a Vimeo trailer. So here it is.

A Town Called Panic (Trailer) from filmswelike on Vimeo.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Singing from Cardiff

We been glued to the Cardiff Singer of the World contest on BBC 4.

Tonight (Saturday 18 June, 7.30-9pm) BBC 4 is broadcasting the final of the Song Contest. We's be watching.

Tomorrow (Sunday 19 June, 5.30pm. BBC 4) is the final of the overall Contest.

Some lovely singing and frocks.... some not so nice singing OR frocks.

The former Eastern Bloc appears to have it, but the diminutive South Korean, Hye Jung Lee does a wowser Zerbinetta and Meeta Raval rolls her eyes and belts it out for England. I did quite like the Australian mezzo Helen Sherman and the Irish mezzo Maire Flavin too. Perhaps I just like mezzos?

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A Day Out: Totnes

So where do all the silver-haired hippies go when they head West? Well if they don't make it to down here (West Cornwall), my guess is - Totnes in Devon.

The Old Man and me goes there yesterday... trekking up that long old hill past all the second-hand, health food, ethnic clothing, crystal shops. We eat lunch in the Willow restaurant, we buy towels and stuff at Green Fibres and we discover the excellent Drift Record Shop. Where The Old Man buys an equally excellent record "Build with Erosion" (see previous post "Record Buying in Totnes") and I buy a CD by The Middle East, "I Want That You are Always Happy".

And what do you know? The Drift Record Shop lady is equally aware of our own "local" record store, the lovely "Jam Records" in Falmouth.

Then we trek downhill, glug tea, get in the car, and motor on further west ... back home for supper.

Record Buying in Totnes

The Berg Sans Nipple - Change The Shape from Clapping Music on Vimeo.

Aah. The fruits of The Old Man's record-buying stint at The Drift Record Shop in Totnes - A track from "Build with Erosion" by The Berg Sans Nipple!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Old Man Suggests Bean Fortification

So... you may think this is a bridge too far... or should I say... a moat too far? The Old Man has come up with an idea for a barrier against them slugs and snails which is the end of all barriers.

Believe me, I've tried most things short of poison.... egg shell, sharp sand, coffee grounds, copper tape, copper impregnated material, sheep's wool, plastic funnelly things (OK to keep slugs away... no good against snails)

But... sooner or later my vegetable plot is rent by a high pitched wail, my own, as I find the latest glistening stump of what was once a healthy squash, courgette, bean plant, whatever.

I have been thinking of growing some vegetables in pots anyway. So, following The Old Man's Battle Plan... I have purchased a large... very large... drip-tray and some clay pot feet. Then I's put the tray out in the yard; put the pot feet in the tray; put pots on the pot feet; planted beans in the pots.... and filled the drip-tray with water. Voila! A moated bean-growing system.

Maybe the little gastropods will parachute in? I cannot put that past them.... and I will let you know.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Robbing Bees and Ravenous Snails

My beans! My beans!

I's growing broad beans and climbing beans. Finally my broad beans are tall and full of flower as I give up and seriously water them in this drought.

But what's this? No beans comin.

One day I catch the bees at work on them - and the little Bs are nipping round the back of the flowers and makin holes to take the nectar or whatever they go for. So they's not going in "through the front door" so to speak and me flowers are not being pollinated.... and... and I've got no broad beans coming!!

Meanwhile... as usual... the slugs and snails are ignoring any barrier I put around my French beans and gnawing each one down to a stump.

Why do I bother?

Actually, I tell you why. Nothing beats picking your dinner ten minutes before you put it in the pot.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Graphic Passions: The Wrong Place

Got a new graphic novel today.

It's "The Wrong Place" by Belgian cartoonist and illustrator Brecht Evens.

That excellent blog: Drawn (..."your daily source of inspiration for illustration, animation, cartooning, and comic art"...).listed it as a 2010 favourite. And I decided I'd like to see it for real.

Its story centres on the magnetic Robbie, a Mr Cool, a "charismatic lothario" captivating the attention of men and women alike; his relationship with his childhood friend Gary (Mr Grey and so very not Mr. Cool); and the picaresque party night life of their city.

But Evens' narrative is made up of sumptuous watercolour compositions. The pages are layered jewels. OK I hoovered up the story in an afternoon...
But I shall be looking at the pages themselves for a lot longer.

If you want to get a taste of Evens' style take a look at his own blog "Brechtnieuws".

Monday, 6 June 2011

After the Open Studios

I am tired today, despite all that Tea from China.

I spend Saturday in the company of Big Sis, visiting some more Cornwall Open Studios - mainly the huge amount housed at the old Redruth Grammar School - now called Krowji. Here we find painters, printers and bentwood chair-makers... and textiles and potters and jewellers...

We have lunch in the cafe there and finish the day by visiting the Camborne workshop of artist Sue Dove. Her textile based critters are a great inspiration to the textile parts of me.

So I bought me a Bird - to take home and discuss the "beingness" of Being a Textile Critter with.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

All the Tea in China

A beautiful day.
Think we's gonna step out, take a walk, and visit an Open Studio.

We decide to visit the studio of potter Michel Francois - just over the hill there.
Where we find a very hospitable welcome; and a good discussion about his pots, Chinese and Korean pots, and the world of China tea.

And yes - we do come away with some pots. Somes for me and somes for the Old Man. And that's what I call a good time.

Michel is indeed a Tea Believer and has his own blog Tea Jar.

You, meanwhile, have until Sunday June 5th to look in on Cornwall Open Studios.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Animated Discussions: Around the World

Whilst I am in travellin' mood... I'll be excited to see Joann Sfar's "The Rabbi's Cat" . It's due to be released this week and is adapted from Sfar's own graphic novel of the same name.

Hemm..hemm...."In Algiers of the 1920’s..... Rabbi Sfar accompanies a painter to a mythical city in Africa. He takes with him his own beautiful teenage daughter, his talking cat, an old Arab Sheikh, and an eccentric Russian billionaire ....." Again we've got hand-drawn animation. And I want to see it.

Meanwhile, The Old Man is waiting to get his hands on the DVD of "Chico & Rita". Released in 2010, this animated feature is full of music and tells the love story of two artists, a singer and a pianist, who travel from 1940s Havana to New York. Can't tell you no more. I ain't seen it yet! But I will soon!!