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Weedon's Wanderings: 18th May 2018.

Warsaw Radio mast, courtesy of Wikipedia

TRYING: VERY!

We've been exploring all the various methods for connecting to the Internet from our forest home.  I had hoped by now to be able to upload my blog by a method which, if not fast and furious, was at least more moderate in megabytes than our current 0.3.  We have trialled two supposedly foolproof mobile internet systems since I last wrote. One was fabulous - as long as we drove to the M5 near Gloucester, where we scored a blistering 40+.  But there had to be a better way. So they sent us the all singing and dancing Superfast home model - which managed ... 0.3. 

" But you're only 0.7 kilometres from the mast," the tech guy marvelled.  "You should be getting terrific speeds."

"Yep, but you haven't seen the hill in between," I suggested.  He got out his contour map.

"Oh, crumbs. I see what you mean. More of a mountain actually..."

So the next (and presumably final) episode in this saga is that a man with a ladder and very tall antenna will call on us and put it up on our house.  Will it be so tall that it peeps above the prow of the 'more of a mountain', I wonder? 

You may wonder how I'm sending you this.  Well, if you live next to the M5 at Gloucester, take a peep out of your window.  You'll see Tony ferrying me up and down while I beaver away in the passenger seat on the tiny screen of my iPhone 5s...

Weedon's Wanderings: 24th April 2018

Box of tissues

THE WEEDON WAY

We've just left the lovely crowd of music lovers who are enjoying a week of camaraderie and melody at Seacroft Festival, run by Organ & Keyboard Cavalcade magazine.  For me, it was a tearful farewell as our plans have altered quite suddenly in this past fortnight, and we won't be returning there in future. Why? Well, Tony and I clock up 143 years in age this year and, although we are both very fit and motivated in most respects we both have our weak spots.  Mine is that I can no longer lift anything and I can also be floored quite suddenly by allergies. And Tony's Achilles heel is that, after 38 years of well controlled diabetes, his sugars have recently gone crazy. A chap who could be 'glowing in the dark' one moment but out cold with a hypo the next shouldn't be driving hundreds of miles and lugging gear about. 

So we have had to withdraw from those activities which make up concert touring. Everyone has been so kind and understanding, including those people who had booked me, my fellow artists who are standing in at short notice and the dear folk who make up my audiences.  I'm going to miss seeing you all very much.
 
But you know the old saying: a bad Penny keeps turning up. As that particular door shuts, and we return to the Forest of Dean to 'mend' dear Tony, another set of doors is flying open in my mind. 

I've wanted for ages to produce more materials for learning about music, under the heading 'The Weedon Way'. I already have in mind items about composing and playing by ear, and I welcome other suggestions. I hope to find some way of uploading snippets to YouTube despite our lack of broadband. I also look forward to doing lots more composing and arranging and uploading the results for sharing. 

So, despite my recent tears, I'm now smiling again and excited about how we can continue our relationship over the ether. Watch this space! 

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Weedon’s Wanderings: 8th April 2018

Sibelius sauna shed

GETTING IN A FLAP

We’ve been surprised by catching whooping cough - we’d always assumed it was a childhood illness.  But then we are just big kids. The word ‘whooping’ made me think of whooper swans (which you can see and hear here and here).  From there it was a short step to cranes (here and here). And from there a shorter step still to the beautiful 5th symphony by Jean Sibelius... 

The final movement has a stunning theme, which is sometimes said to represent Thor swinging his hammer.  But I was more convinced by Christopher Headington’s argument that it was inspired by swirling autumn leaves and the wing beats of migrating cranes.  Sibelius composed from a pretty shed by a lake in his native Finland, directly under the cranes’ migration route.  CH felt that Sibelius was sitting in his hut, feeling rather down through being off colour, with the dead leaves skittering around outside, when the huge birds passed overhead on their way South for winter.  What do you think: is this a mythical figure doing some heavy-duty DIY, or the haunting depiction of birds, and summer, deserting a darkening Scandinavia together?

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More Weedon’s Wanderings: 22nd March 2018

Houses of Parliament

GREAT NEWS!

A few months back, I took the unusual step of writing to my MP.  Why? Because moves were afoot to close down long-standing small music venues (including village halls etc) if new housing was built nearby. The logic (?) behind this plan was that the new residents would be unreasonably disturbed by the noise from the hall. No-one seemed to view the entertainment on the doorstep as an asset, which I certainly would. Not to mention that the hall would be useful for playgroups, scouts, community gatherings and the like.

I was surprised to receive a fulsome and personalised letter from the MP, although he was able to offer no concrete hope. But today my copy of the Musicians’ Union magazine flopped onto the mat, with the great news that the bill has been changed: now it’s the builders’ responsibility to make the homes sufficiently sound-proof and the halls can stay open.

I’m not patting myself on the back for this change of heart, though. It looks as though Sir Paul McCartney was the prime mover and shaker on this one, backed by Jools Holland, Brian Eno and various other worthies.  Nice to hear that sense can, however, prevail at some points in the mad times we’re witnessing.

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WEEDON’S WANDERINGS: 22nd March 2018

Penny wandering

What’s in a name?

As you may have noticed if you’ve been following this blog for a while, I have been struggling to name it.  I think it started out as Weedon Wednesdays, and it has certainly ended up as Weedon Weekly.  But neither describes it accurately. The arrival of each instalment is dependent on my work schedule, my access to the internet (which has been completely haphazard since we moved into our ‘Hansel and Gretel’ home in the forest) and whether I have anything of interest to impart. I’ve been fretting about this, and Tony suggested over breakfast that ‘Weedon’s Wanderings’ would be a better fit.  I’m not entirely sure if he was referring to the fact that I often lose my thread in conversation with him, or that completely disconnected subjects grab my attention at unpredictable intervals.  Never mind.  Let’s go with Wanderings for now, and I hope you enjoy the element of surprise which that title will allow!

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