Monday, August 29, 2016

My adventures by Marmalade

 I 'ad quite an adventure on Friday that I think you'll love to read about although you may feel sorry for this blogs owner afterwards.
It was Friday evening and I'd had me tuna in oil for supper when although I'm meant to stay in overnight I decided to make a dash or it, pawing at the door until it opened wide so I dashed all the way up the stairs.
Joanne had seen me but it takes her time to get up with her disabilities so I was well away as she shuffled one foot then another up the stairs looking for me so do you know what I did as she had got halfway up the stairs?
I run all the way into a bedroom hiding.
Joanne had spotted I moved so checked the bathroom and then this bedroom when I just leaped on the bed followed by another deep down a narrow dark gap underneath it just staying there dead silent.
She couldn't get me nor could I get out as there things underneath in the direction facing the door so she had get help clearing the way out but I wasn't for moving even though people were concerned about me.
It took over an hour before I came out.
She's been poorly for a good couple of days afterward with being worried about me and struggling to help me.
Regards, Marmalade.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Nature Summer 2016

As we enter the August bank holiday, I thought I'd  like to take look back to the Summer  when I was I was away and I saw this group of trees.
 It just appealed to me greatly so grabbed my camera  and took this picture in the early morning of it while other folks were doing other things like getting up.
Nature has always held a fascination for me, not least in my childhood being surrounded by countryside.
It isn't just flowers that interest me, even leaf structures do too.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thoughts on the 2016 Summer Olympics

This is been written on what has been a very wet and windy weekend here in the English Midlands where it hasn't been really fit enough to go out so I've been studying, doing some reading, colouring and watching the tv a bit.
One thing that I have been watching is the coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics from Brazil, following the athletes in their attempts to win their own and their team medals  in their various stages from cycling to boxing.
Seasoned readers of this blog know one sport I do love is Hockey so it was a pleasure to watch the Women's field hockey competition that saw the British defeat New Zealand and then the Netherlands to take the gold medal in an exciting closely matched performance settled by a penalty shout out.
 In fact the British Olympic team have come second only to the United States in the standings with 27 gold medals included in its 67, beating their record from the 2012 games held in London, here in the UK which is a momentous achievement they can be proud of.
From a personal angle there are some life lessons you can draw from what was achieved, the importance of focus, being centred on what matters to achieve your aims, the preparedness to practise the skills you need to do it and personal self-discipline.
It also was interesting that a a number of teams had both a black out from social media use around an event and also curfews so people got the rest they needed and no distractions from what they needed to do.
Perhaps as a country the UK can believe in itself rather more than  has in the past having the ability to hold its own in the world for what it has to offer and its talented citizens.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Teen Beat XXII - Tom Petty

The last time I mentioned TP was in 2014 with the Hypnotic Eye album although I have a lot of Tom Petty's albums on cd.
 This album originally came out in 1993 remaining a favourite of many although though their have been other compilations such as Playback box set and 2000's Anthology: Through The Years and it recently (July 2016) came out on double vinyl.
More accurately for people living  my side of the Atlantic, it's a re-issue as there was a very limited vinyl release for Europe and the UK and that edition is like much early 90's vinyl very expensive when you see a copy.
The strength of this set is its brevity containing only the 45's and two new recordings such as Mary Jane's 2nd Dance and that the running order makes for a highly enjoyable play starting with such early tracks as American Girl running through such gems as I Need To Know, Refugee, Don't Come Around Here No More and I Won't Back Down with a lack of anything resembling padding so in just over 68 minutes the case for Tom Petty is made convincingly in song and arrangements.
The four side splits are chosen well so you get the opportunity changing them to reflect on what you have heard and in non technical terms the sound and pressing quality of this European lp set is really high with the grooves cut by Chris Bell.
The picture last Friday was of my turntable playing this!
 Before the Heartbreakers were formed, there were a group of guys who played with Tom Petty In Gainsville, Florida and that band was reformed for an album in 2007 and this, Mudcrutch2, is their new offering also bought on vinyl issued May 20th with shared song writing between the band and Tom.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Letter writing weekend

A scene from the past? Well I'd be in some very serious trouble for cheating like that and I recall well at boarding school a classmate too who wasn't the popular kid in class for bragging and being somewhat priggish did try the concealed note trick for an exam and got caught out.
It brought a smile upon my face!
Another great story was the kid aged 14 who was in an electrified wheelchair who writing his Geography homework about Japan wrote of his extensive trips and personal knowledge that he sure couldn't of had although Ronnie was a gas to be with. He'd been clearly caught out plagiarizing a book from the library as there was no way he'd of gotten the bottom of the seabed!!!
As my Papa knows whatever my failings are I'm never that dishonest as hard going as studying can be for me like this weekend where I was working on understanding the types of writing, the typical format and structure of each and the style and tone doing exercises in rewriting from supplied information letters and articles in all  five of them.
That's to develop competence and confidence in using them in everyday settings to help me do more for myself and my BFF, Lucy, support each other in our studying in addition to generally getting our lives together.
After that I listened to some music to relax and chatted cos too much studying and no fun isn't any good for me as much as having to settle down and do some structured activity is.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The "ShallowMemory special" phono cartridge part II

Way back in 2013 I wrote  a bit about how for those of us who use turntables that use removable (SME) type headshells we could have a easy to fit and install cartridge for getting the music on our records  to our amplifiers phono input so we could enjoy.
The shallowmemory special phono cartridge

To recap, the long bit from the screw in fitting to the tip where the red dot is comprises of the Ortofon Concorde Pro cartridge usually seen with a robust stylus for dj work such as scratching but by fitting a more home Hifi type stylus and setting the downforce appropriately, we can get a great sound knowing unlike mounting a conventional cartridge into a headshell this it well perfectly aligned geometrically for optimum performance at the factory.
Following changing the record deck recently and the main amplifier, I had heard a good deal more detail coming from it and three years on was thinking about at least getting a new stylus for it as they do wear in time.

What I was interested in was getting was a stylus that was a more accurate fit to the groove in the record so fine detail would be clearer especially on loud tracks toward the end of the record that would just push on so I'd use the older one for, say, 45's and testing used records with and this the better one for albums.
*Fitted and playing Tom Petty's Greatest Hits (Universal/ Geffen  records)
When fitted and set to around 1.6 grams downforce, it gives cleaner sound on 'hot' cut albums and less surface noise provided obviously you've cleaned your records plus copes with those last tracks on the side better.
Although expensive it gives a performance comparable to Ortofon's 2M Blue but without the complications of mounting and aligning it properly in a separate headshell which, believe more many forests have been written with charts and print out protractors to use!
School geometry did have a practical application after all!
Now to continue cleaning out a jammed email inbox brought to my attention by Lucy last night!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer LG Camp

If you were expecting a post on Friday, well you didn't miss anything cos with getting back here later on Thursday writing something  for then really wasn't going to happen not least feeling a bit stiff and tired.
For six days I was a long away from home on something of an adventure for littles and middles in Southern England that for me started with visiting two friends by train where I changed into my green pleated skirt and had to help out by doing things like popping pea pods which wasn't something with my co-ordination I was exactly good at, being more mediocre at best.
We had pork chops and vegetables followed by home grown rhubarb  and ice cream between talking among ourselves and listening to some music.
On the Saturday when the event proper was to start, after breakfast we collected some of the food we were taking with us as well as other things like games equipment, a chalk board and our own cases to travel for a good number of hours starting out from South Staffordshire but because of traffic and Spaghetti Junction (J 6) on the M6 motorway was closed we took a different route through Tipton that left Susan convinced for a period we weren't going in the right direction although we could see Wednesbury parish church and Wednesbury is directly connected to the motorway.
I travelled down in my black pinafore dress (tunic) with "Junior Prefect" badge on, white blouse, tie and grey socks.
The journey down was fairly smooth apart from some delays and diversions  around of Huntingdon (Hunts) and Cambridge that did delay us a bit before one of our group needed to talk with the venue owner before we unloaded the car.
As quite some time had elapsed since we ate after taking stuff to our rooms and the equipment to where it was needed we had a pork pie and some salad as everyone else arrived some twenty-one people in total, introduced themselves.
Soon it was time for our first evening meal and while most people ordered Indian cuisine, Susan and Jennifer prepped the vegetables cooking  together with the pie for ours although I did scrape the potatoes and kept an eye on the vegetables.  
As it was very warm we ate outside on an outdoor wooden table facing the garden.
This time my assigned duty on the chore list was to set everything for breakfast in the morning although I did help out with a few other things too.
One thing did quite a bit of between other activities was colouring my Frozen colouring book as I could start and resume working a page  with my Staetdler pencils in addition to having fun playing with Sylvanian Families.
The theme of our get together was The Sea so many of the activities related to it.
On the Sunday I tried using a tricycle which was fun as I haven't the balance to use a bicycle but found I needed assistance as I couldn't get it started by myself  lacking the strength to turn the peddles  around. It was a enjoyable experience to go around the field in it though.
In the morning we worked as a team on making a Pirate Ship from cardboard pinned with plastic pins (Makedo) and other bits decorated and cut out to make sails, steering wheel and big branches for oars and so on which came together well give there wasn't a formal blue print or similar to go by, pretty much deciding as went along how it was to look.
We even had a message in a bottle!
I think it did help get people to co-operate apart from being fun.
In the afternoon, Jennifer had a painting class with people painting things that reminded them about the Sea and what it means to them.
I painted a picture "Jo at the Beach" showing a child Jo looking on admiring her sand castle and bucket and spade in the summer, having done the outlines in pencil.

The completed pictures were displayed and the best one chosen.
After a scrumptious chicken evening meal, we had a mainly 80's music quiz where you had to guess from twenty fifteen second  the artist (or group) and the track from each with people in teams.
The team I was with, the "Radioactive Cats" comprising of Fudge, Kelly and I scored thirty-five out of a possible forty-two and so  won it comfortably.
Because the weather looked a bit poor for later on we decided to move the Girl Olympics to the Monday morning.
We had a variety of events such as a relay race, filling the water bucket event, archery which I was rubbish at and an Egg and aSpoon race except golf balls substituted for hard boiled eggs.
Get set to go, Jo!

With my disabilities anything like this is very hard going from following instructions to actually having the strength to take part and most of my childhood school games were wheelchair based but I enjoyed it and probably learnt something about the importance of taking an active part having the support of your team rather than just deeking out of it.
After a salad lunch, we had a 60th birthday anniversary party for Linda's dolly, Sally, where we had cake and tea feeding our dolls which was something I quite enjoyed not least for being in something very much in little headspace.
I and an other snucked out to a deserted recreational ground where I went on a slide with help cos I couldn't climb on to it with the physical side of my disabilities, swung from a swing feeling the breeze caressing me in my pink gingham dress and played on a see-saw feeling very much middle/little..
Upon our return it was time for the arts and crafts  session so being a bit exhausted but as high as kite, I did a load of colouring in felt tip pen which is different cos I usually colour in pencil  from the colouring in sheets provided although you could do oil painting, bead work and chain making if you wanted and others did.
The classroom is never far from my thoughts as a middle.

We ordered fish and chips with a few exceptions and Samantha and Becky drove down to pay and collect our order which was very yummy.
In the evening we had a disco where the resident Cat Girl danced to The Cure's Love Cats and M's Pop Music with Sammy  as well as Auntie C a bit as this was the one night I was in bed a bit later than normal. I grew up, allegedly, dancing in a wheelchair which is much easier for me but it was very enjoyable to sway about with friends who understand how hard it it can be.
Tuesday saw Sammy take on the persona of Miss Take delivering a fun but effective lesson about Sea Monsters different ones and their characteristics ending with drawing a Sea Monster of your own so I drew a Kelpie in Northern Scotland.
After lunch, Alice did a Sea based Treasure Hunt with a twist, the twist being a making three minute scripted video of "Little Pirates of the Carribean and the Curse of the Plastic  Pearls", a adventure on the high seas involving plastic pearls with several of us having acting and spoken parts around our home made Pirate Ship of which one was with a Scottish accent, one Canadian and one American which was hilarious.
Perhaps it was near Greenland?
Jennifer and Susan cooked a Meat Pie and vegetable tea with help in scraping potatoes which was followed by cheese cake.
In the evening Daisy played guitar and sang Streets of London, Romeo and Juliet, The Boxer plus Donovan's Universal Soldier pretty well and we presented a birthday card and shared cake for a friend whose birthday was in a few days time.
Jennifer read a Tale from the Farmyard out about Scarecrows and why they help farmers in her strong Black Country accent with Southern English translation provided by Susan.
Having lived in the Midlands now for over fifteen years I didn't need it!
The Wednesday  was more a last minute play, hug and leave half day as people needed to leave at different times with one having to travel to the United States too with a group of us having a buffet lunch of left overs before setting off to South Staffordshire where I had a much appreciated overnight stay before catching my train home here in the North-west Midlands and taking a taxi straight home.
I would like to thank Jennifer and Susan for organizing a dead kewl camp, putting together the program and bringing quite a bit of the sports equipment  together with the food plus Alice, Daisy, Debbie, Linda, Mr Paul, Sammy and Suzy for their activities