Music, Muse and Marvel (by )

Marvel Comic plectrums

I am 33 yrs old - for my 30th it was decided that I would attempt the music I had never really had the chance to do. Al got me the Purple Vin and a tone of plectrums. I was going to and indeed started singing lessons. But really I have not done as much as I had hoped.

I've sung 4 times, five if you include my own birthday bash (not including campfire singing here) and my guitar practice is sketchy at best.

Alaric got me a microphone for the valentines just after we moved in here - so 2012 - and I have been producing songs which are slowly ending up on my bandcamp page - this really got going when I got a place on a song writing workshop with Paul Murphy. To date we have:

Windy Gloucestershire which I won the creative olympics bronze medal for song writing:

I Want To Know About Everything - which is about science:

Shy - which is actually my poem set to the hammond organ we accidently bought instead of a bed settee.

Bubble of Bone - where I muck around with the echo and zynergy charms

Ivy - I kind of wanted this one to be a dance track but it kind of is a fragment instead - a ghost of what it could be.

I knew Him So Well - where I experimented with putting a half there narrative over the top.

Flowing - a song about war and one I sung at the open mic at Wychwood

Firey Redemption - a song and painting I produced in response to the homophobic attacks and discrimination in general - both voices are me and I wanted it to sound similar to Billy Holliday in a little shake recording naked sound - I know most people do not like this song - I however am happy with it - it says what I want.

Hey You - I actually wrote this whilst at school as a 'protest song' when I found out in GCSE business studies that women could expect to earn less than men for the same job - plus general teenage punk 'where do I fit in society' - I decided to add in a disjointed thrash/death metal voice as well.

Love Song From The Gutter - what it says - about childhood discovery of love that can't happen. It is a twin to Bubble of Bone and I think it still needs a backing.

Little Ghost on Parade - which is about prostitution and living on the edge but still fighting for a future.

Summer Sun - a love song for walking around Gloucester with my husband 🙂 It needs guitar backing or something still.

I have a couple of other songs to come yet that involve drums, me singing three parts and the guitar etc... But there is a real issue - I have lost my ability to sing one my own in front of people - ok so the on my own has always been a bit of an issue but I swear it's a lot worse now :/

I went and did a couple of lessons and joined a group at Centre Arts but things where too complicated at the time as it was around when we were trying to move and I was still on crutches and stuff.

So you can imagine Al's surprise when I started to sing and sing and sing the song Let It Go from the Design Film Frozen. I announced that I was going to an audition for the Gloucester Pride with the group Jean does her drama with. And I got the song sound LUSH - really dam hot. My throat kept closing up when I thought of people though, so I got Jean to sit and be a staring audience and at first I struggled and then it was good and then I got Al to join in and the same. I even worked out bits of it for the guitar - gave up looked on the internet and amended someone elses chords until I was happy with it but discarded the guitar as I'm not at the point where I can sing and play well enough at the same time. I focused on singing it my way...

And it was fab.

And I have the perfect outfit.

Then I got to the audition and I was shaking, I stared at the page of words and could not look up and I squeaked my way through the song. And I mean squeak - the power and depth had gone, most of the notes where in tune (I think though wobbly). I think I croaked on one of them though and so on.

I apologised and they were lovely and put on backing music and I sang it lower in my 'camp fire' voice and they said I was much stronger in my lower register (not as low as I sing Firey). But I'm sure I don't sing in tune in camp fire voice - my mum always used to moan about it when I sang like that and it kind of doesn't take any effort and is almost talking. I'm also still not sure I'll be able to sing it infront of people.

SO it was a bit of a flop - on the other hand I am singing with other for the event and that is great 🙂 I have missed MTSoc (Musical Theatre) since leaving Imperial and until I moved to Gloucestershire I was always singing. I can't read music and I don't understand the technical side of things - I have confidence issues over it all due to being told in primary school that real musicians do not play by ear and having started off thinking music was something you felt as I initially could not hear as a small child and so on.

Anyway I have been trying to sing the Frozen song lower with the result of a scary Nick Cave style version earlier that made Mary very cross - she didn't like my high version of Let It Go either - she likes the Camp Fire voice as long as I don't hit and wrong notes - she sulks if I do and starts singing over me.

For a 3 yr old she is amazing at tonal stuff.

Anyway I have always gone with confronting my fears - scared of heights become a climbing instructor, dyslexic - become a writer, social anxiety? chronic shyness? - get your bum on stage.

The photo at the top of the post is my new plectrum collection - or rather what has already arrived - I broke my second to last one at the weekend and kind of found that you can now get really amazing ones - they are all the different Marvel Comic book character ones 😀 I am still awaiting, shiny, sparkly ones, space themed ones and dragons. I kind of didn't realise how many there were but am happy especially as Jeany has asked to start learning again so she can have a plectrum - good job I got an extra pack so it wont break my set up then 😉 Also this means Comic Book Plectrum Jewellery - three of my past times in one thing 😀

(Don't worry Clare the last plectrum is the wonderful engraved silver one you got me!).

Another Hectic Bank Holiday (by )

It started Friday with a friends leaving the country do in Bristol where I chatted about politics, scifi, fantasy, gaming, art and science. Then Saturday it was up relatively early to go to an audition to sing at the Gloucester Pride in June (more on that later), then it was home to work on festival trollies and to bake cakes 🙂

The girls helping daddy build a festival trolly

We found a broken trolly a few years ago and we decided that this year we were going to get it fixed in time for festival seasons 🙂 Al has slowly been buying and finding the bits to do this with. He has spent the weekend welding, sawing and tightening things 🙂

test running the festival trolly

He insists it's not a gokart.

Alaric assuring me it's not a go kart for the girls

I made chocolate orange cake, diary free choc cup cakes and lemon zest cupcakes for the family fun day to raise money for the Play House Theatre in Gloucester (more on this later too as it was a fab day with lots and lots of photos!).

Sunday was pretty much taken up with the Funday which ran from 11 until 4, we had pizza and film time when we got home.

Today I got up, cleaned out chickens and sorted the wormaries a bit - one of them had an ants nest in it 🙁 But fortunately it hadn't done that much damage. I then had a shower and we headed out to the climbing wall for Jean's Rock Mice season. She was in disgrace for wearing her shiny school shoes and the wall don't tend to give climbing shoes out for mice seasons :/

If she wants new shoes before next term she is buying them herself!

I worked on the design and illustrations of the comic book whilst she was in climbing and Mary and Al went shopping for various bits including a drill bit and strawberry plants!

Last week me and the girls cleared up the old grow bags and put the soil in the girls old laundary basic to make an upcycled strawberry planter. Jean then helped me plant the strawberries Al had got.

Jean planting strawberries

They weren't quiet the kind of strawberry plants I had in mind so not sure how well it is going to work but hey ho!

One upcycled strawberry planter

This then lead to the issue that Al had managed to get far more plants than I had expected for the tenner I'd suggested (he actually spent 12 but close enough). So this meant that we had to find homes from the remaining plants - and this meant finally getting around to mounting all the disused cabinets on the wall that I have collected since we moved in.

Alaric rilling wholes in old cabinets to mount of the garden wall Alaric drilling the wall for the old cabinets

As you can only really use good solid furniture for this sort of thing it took two of us to mount them on the wall - this meant I got to play with the power tools too as the cabinets were too heavy for me to hold up for any time.

corner unit as planter

I'm really quiet pleased 🙂

heart cabinet as wall strawberry planter

And I have space for more stuff to happen.

old shelving unit as planter

We were then going to head down to the allotment but alas the weather got in the way so instead we headed to the garden centre to get some planters - we found some galvanized ones on half price sale so got four of them plus some more terracota pots. So it turned into an expensive weekend. But I then spent the evening repotting my sage, tyme, comfrey and sorrel. I also weeded the blue wooden planter I have and put four pots of margaram, golden margaram and oragano into it. The pots I freed up I then used plant out more of my tomatoes that I have grown from seed.

I cleaned the decking up where I've put the planters and am chuffed 🙂 Also though not this weekend - this week I also cleaned the smaller planters I had and brought them in for the window sills. I planted them up with salad mixes as I have been cheerfully eating home grown salad. One night during the week I made basically the whole dinner from home grown stuff - true most of it we have to thank the person who had the allotment before us but still!

Feeling guilty we didn't make it too the allotment though :/ We plan to go after work this coming week.

You Fib, Voting and Representation (by )

A dark malaise is pouring over my country
The hate is bile rising choking community
Dear politicians You Fib
Not even the old skool twist of the figures
You simple do not check them in the first place
And it scares me how reasonable you can appear
How you have lulled the desperate and greedy
How you have twisted the heart of my land
I fear the outcome of those he seek the easy answers
Not like those other parties
Unlike them and yet... ah yes there
Hate of the different just because it is not you

Choose wisely when voting - remember MEP is proportional representation so tactical voting is stupid - you get what you vote for - also think careful about the council elections and who you want running your area and the knock on effects. PAX

Though I don't agree with it, an out of Europe policy is a valid position; I just wish that there was someone to represent my friends who feel this way without all the other baggage. I think there is a minority of those that think this is what they are working for and getting, but evidence is against it and that is sad. I see images of people trying to discuss the actual facts and figures of Europe and it sinks into obscurity due to the racism, sexism and other such topics. They do not have anyone to represent them in reality and that is wrong.

Of course there isn't really anybody to represent me and Al either, and here we hit a crux of politics - are we voting for parties or people?

If it is a party then I want a big list of all the parties and policies and to pick what I want from that - if it is people then what they do and say is incredibly important and the idea that their words and actions are not party policy becomes void, especially if they say something or do something and retain their position of power.

Given the choice I personally would probably go for Pirate Party, Green, TUSC (trade unionists and socialist coalition followed by lib dem - this is from having been lib-dem/green depending on what the vote was for and who was on offer. Sadly my choices are very limited and options here seem to be lots of far right groups, which frankly scare me.

I think if UKIP had turned into the party that was planned, then I wouldn't be worried, but that is not what I am seeing - I am seeing xenophobic, racist, sexist, homophobic view and hate of the vulnerable and different.

And that is without the privitization of the NHS and business practices - of course, I concede that privitization of the nhs is a valid political standpoint; just not one I agree with.

And of course the big three (Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dem) are not innocent at all in this - they have candidates and councillors that have said awful t hings, though they tend to lose their positions (of course the media could be covering stuff up and running a smear campaign but actually they seem to have been mostly supporting UKIP and so on. We have been astonished that there have not been any balanced pieces with the upcoming elections.).

Politics, like everything else, depends on your own story as to what you see - people can see the same interview and get different things out of it. One side sees a victory, the other evidence of bullying and so on. It is a mine field - I just wish people would actually think for themselves - go and research and think and look at their own biases - and we all have our own.

A hundred years ago women were still dying to allow me the vote - something which at least one UKIP member would have taken away.

Personally I want to stay in Europe, for human rights reasons - ie maternity leave, holiday pay etc... and I believe it can work for economics too - happy workers are hard workers (some tweaking is often needed depending on job type etc... but it pretty much holds.) And even with the risk of those I urge to vote, even voting UKIP. I will still do it as I believe voting is important (even if voting methods and politics in general have huge flaws).

At the same time I am actually sick of political canvassing - I think it kind of shouldn't be allowed - that there be one website that contains the policies (in accessible ways so explained in videos etc...) of ALL the parties. One day I had the BNP, UKIP and British Democrats in a row - this then caused me to snap at the little old man who was with TUSC who's policies I quiet like - canvasing fatigue I'm calling it!

Of cause there is the apathy issue in the UK were politics is concerned as well and therefore how you would get people to actually go and look.

I actually don't really have much of a point in this post other than - go and vote, think about who you are voting for though especially with Europe stuff as it is proportional representation and so there is no protest vote - you get what you vote for. Also though UKIP in general scare me, I feel sorry for the minority who seem to actually be trying to discuss political points and get derailed both within and without and those drawn to the party inside and outside of London seem to vastly differ.

ie political representation in this country sucks as does the actual voting system, but please still vote.

The scariest thing I've seen so far was the BNP youth video - truly scary - I kind of don't want to put it on here - even if it turns out I agreed with one policy :/

This is me looking at everything with the coolest, rationalist head I have - emotionally I want to just rage about Nazi attitudes and scapegoats.

Other good articles on voting:

Go Vote Dammit

Voting For Tomorrow

Coping with the Allotment (by )

We have been working hard this weekend on the garden and allotment stuff.

Alaric and Mary helping Jeany water the allotment

This week we finished preparing the ground for some lettuce and one of the other people at the allotment gave use some braccias to plant and we popped in some purple sprouting broccli too 🙂

I de-thistled and nettled most of the site - Jeany picked dandelion flowers, lemon balm and a whole bag of dandelion leaves for the rabbit and chickens.

Al's pelvic has gone on the wonk again so basically we both need to have provisions in place to do physio whilst at the allotment - we seem to be managing though with lots of breaks and sit downs and what have you.

Alaric doing physio at the allotment

The major test of the weekend though was finding out if it was wheel chair accessible for our friend who was staying - the answer is YES (during the summer anyway - it wont be in winter though). But it means I can take my mum there and have picnics inbetween the allotmenting 🙂

Accessibility win for the Primrose Vale allotments

It turns out there are redcurrent bushes in amongst the raspberries and they are already covered in fruit ready to rippen 🙂

Red currents starting to grow

The raspberries are looking good too - still at the flower stage at the moment but you can just see the fruit beginning to form 🙂

Raspberries in flower and starting to bud

I found some love little mini mini flowers nestled in the stuff I was weeding - some where orange:

mini little hidden orange flower

And some where pink:

mini pink flower

We also dug up some leeks, more spring onions and harvested more asparagus 🙂 These are all from who ever had the plot before us - as are the fruit bushes 🙂

We spent about 5 hours there on Sunday all told and I took this photo of Al - he was moving too fast so I chopped the bottom of a foot off with the framing and took it on the wrong setting but I still think he looks epic 🙂

Alaric being cool beans at the allotment

We also discovered that though the runner beans are sadly gone the broad beans I planted in the spare space amongst them have grown so I weeded the bean tee-pee section and planted more beans to crop after the lot I started off in the house. We also gave up on the sweetcorn, weeded that bed and sowed baby sweetcorn in the space - we shall see.

The radishes are already sprouting too 🙂

On Saturday there was mainly enjoying ourselves but I did spend a while sorting the garden whilst Alaric was in London - I have flowering strawberries - the ransoms and garlic chives have also gone into flower but then I am about to put them in a bigger pot in the hope of getting a good lot of them so that is ok 🙂

Strawberry, ransom and garlic chives in flower

I also have a good lot of potatoes growing and potted out some more tomatoes 🙂 Sadly though I think the decking round by the 'dinning room' is rotten 🙁 So that is being added to the to do list!

Jeany was very tired as she had spent Sunday Morning doing a Jujistu thing but she loves watering the plants and her and Mary made a den etc...

Sunshine and a fine time! (by )

We went to the Cavery at Brockworth with our friend Charlee.

Picnic time

We sat outside and set the kids up for a picnic 🙂

Charlee, Mary and Jean being cool beans

After a lovely long lunch in the sunshine, Jean started reading and Mary started trying too... escape!

What do you mean I can't climb over the fence?

She even tried to climb a tree 🙂

Mary climbing a tree

She finally convinced her sister to become a partner in crime and they along with the rest of the kids in the pub garden, jumped the fence into the field - the field used to be open via a gate, this is the first time we've been there and they haven't been able to just stroll in!

The girls having jumped the fence

The weather was glorious and I knitted and chatted and took photos 🙂

Charlee Brown being one with the sky

It was an epic day.

Hawthorn May Tree blossoms

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