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Thursday
Oct272016

Old friend

Way back when in my dim and distant past I was a woodwind player. I haven't played regularly for years though, so I'm not sure I can still claim it. Flute was my first instrument, I think I was 9 or 10 when I took that up. Then when I went to secondary school (age 11) I started playing the tenor saxophone. 

I'm only 160cm tall now. An 11 year old me with a tenor sax must have looked a bit ridiculous. But Dad found a second hand one going cheapish, so that's what I got. It wasn't just second hand. It was 50 years old (give or take), a slightly grubby, silver Pan-American. I still have it. 

Pan-American Tenor Saxophone

That makes it somewhere over 75 years old. It's grubbier now. I haven't taken the very best care of it.

Pan-American Tenor Saxophone

That receipt is taking the place of a piece of felt that I lost over a decade ago. It still makes a beautifully mellow noise, but it's never been the easiest to play. Some of the keys in more modern saxes have been shifted to make them easier to reach. The octave key, for one. 

Pan-American Tenor Saxophone

These days they are slightly to the right, they sit better under the thumb. And the rollers for my little finger, well, I can't remember them ever actually rolling. 

Pan-American Tenor Saxophone

We live in a detached house now and I'm out of excuses for not playing. A friend sent me word of a local concert band who were desperate for sax players, and I've gone and joined them. But I did something first that I still feel horribly guilty about: I replaced my old Pan-American friend.

Pan-American Tenor Saxophone

I bought a shiny, brand new Jupiter. Brass, like all the other saxophones I've ever seen. With my old mouthpiece it sounds beautifully mellow, and I can reach all of the keys, and it's a lovely thing. 

But oh, the guilt.

Pan-American Tenor Saxophone

The guilt. 

Sunday
Oct232016

Quietly clanking

Another post about a thing I've finished and hadn't got to blogging. 

Both Clarkie and I have accumulated a whole lot of medals from various running races. I used to hang mine on the door to my study back in Brighton, and they clanked like hell when the door got shut but it didn't matter, because if we had guests I wasn't using the study. When we moved, I switched them to a set of hangers on the side of a big bookcase, and no more clanking. 

Then Clarkie decided she wanted to hang hers too. The only place, really, was on the back of the guest bedroom door - cue the return of the clank. This time though, it is a problem when we have guests. Particularly if the guests (say) want to use the bathroom in the night. So, I had to fix it. 

Medal backing

It's a pretty simple fix. I made a very small quilt, from a single piece of material and some left over blanket. It sits behind the medals and dulls the noise they make when they hit the door as it stops moving. 

The material is patterned with bunting, which seemed appropriate. I quilted it along the lines of the bunting on the pattern. 

Medal backing

The curves were an interesting challenge! 

To hang it, I sewed a couple of tabs to make use of the same hooks that the medals are hung from. 

Medal backing

I took the medal off that hook to take the photo, the hook is still usable. The weight of the hooks and the stiffness of the quilt holds it flat to the door, and the noise when you open and shut the door is now gone. 

Guess we need to invite some people to stay to test it properly! 

Thursday
Oct202016

Emergency lighting

It's dark now when I get back to Didcot station, and it's a mile and a half from the station to home. I rather foolishly lost my very expensive (but pretty old) Exposure Joystick front light on the train on Friday. I think it came off the folded Brompton when I threw it on the luggage rack, but I didn't notice until I was outside the station to go home.

Tedious.

So I dug out one of our old front lights to use on Tuesday, but when I put batteries in it it didn't work. 

Irritating. 

But I carry a small torch in my bag, so if I could get that to sit in the (now redundant) light bracket that I still had, I'd still be legal. Only problem was, it was too small for the bracket. 

Cue a moment of brilliance from one Clarkie:

Temporary lighting

That's a sanitary towel. Yup. 

Well. It got me home?!

 

Saturday
Oct082016

Get there eventually

Remember this quilt?

Finally Finished Quilt

I posted about making it back in 2013.

Well, I just finished sewing in all of the ends. Yes. Really. 

Don't get me wrong, it's seen a lot of use. The cashmere on the back is just beginning to go bobbly in places, and it's faded from sitting on my office chair in the sun. But yeah, I only just got around to sewing in the ends. 

Friday
Oct072016

October 7th

We were away last weekend, and daylight is starting to get a bit scarce in the evenings around here now. I've been home a couple of days this week, but I've had a cold so hadn't thought about pictures. Getting back to normal now!

7th October 2016

I can't quite believe those Rudbeckias are still flowering. They are starting to go over now, but they have been pretty darned good. Things are in general looking a wee bit ragged though. It's definitely going into wind-down time. 

Blueberry

Having said that, this is actually a pretty fine display. That's one of my blueberry bushes. I didn't think of blueberries as Autumn colour, but that is a definite bonus. I even had a good crop of blueberries this year, and I hope the damned blackbird enjoyed them. (I did get some. Next year I may have to do nets.)

7th October 2016

There are acorns everywhere - that's mostly what's scattered across the patio. They make one hell of a noise when they hit the shed roof. There's still actually a fair bit of flower out too. The verbena has been wonderful all summer, and the russian sage are still going strong too. I hope they will continue to look good through the winter. 

Sedum

The sedum is just about at its peak now. I think it looks great against the cordyline. 

7th October 2016

I'm a little worried about the maple. It's lost almost all of its leaves already, without them really changing colour. I'm wondering if it got a little dry and stressed over the summer. We'll see what happens next year I guess. 

Need to get some more bulbs planted for Spring!