Planarchy Archive - January 2007



It snowed on Planarchy Towers last night..the first for three years if the Blog is to be believed

Not a lot, but enough to make things look pretty for a while.

20070124   9:55

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It's Marmalade making time, isn't it? 

Zee's marmalade is delicious and made, like all the best Marmies, with Several oranges.  My part of the manufacturing process is firstly to say "No, it's not done yet," and secondly to do the artwork for the jars. This year, however, the Several oranges were all marmaladed before I could take a picture of them. 

Luckily we have this orange lamp-shade and its photo makes a much better label than a picture of an orange (or several).

20070122   20:29

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Flutterbyes in a London garden already?

!!!!   Yep, this afternoon saw the first Red Admiral of the year come say hello to me at Planarchy Towers. 

But what is there about for them to eat this time of year? 

Luckily for this one I had a little bit of magic honey left... I diluted it down in water, soaked it onto a bit of sponge and then hand-fed the Flutterbye.  I've never done this before....and I think it may have been a first for the Flutterbye too.   A strangely satisfying experience though.  Not easy to take the picture holding the feeding cloth in one hand seven feet up in the air and the camera in t'other... but you get the idea.  He drank for about five minutes and then flew off.

20070119   16:57

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Blog Huh?


See below for others participating in Witchy's excellent Bloghuh's mythstery!'s a double huh from me now I finally get round to doing one.

Firstly we have my problem with my body clock. 

I always used to be a morning person, as a child I loved getting up at 6am to do two paper rounds before school.  No problems at Uni with 9am lectures either (yes I know arts graduates may be surprised to learn that there was such a thing).  Even my last employed by someone else job was no problem.  The lab started work at 8 officially but I was often in by seven (having had a swim on the way in).

Then nearly two years I started working for myself.  Overnight my sensible body clock died.  I can still get up and get the girls off to school but, on days when I'm actually working at home, my mind doesn't seem to want to start thinking until about 1pm.  I've tried doing very boring things, housework, even running a few miles but nothing seems to get my brain kick started until the afternoon.  I seem to be hit my peak nowadays just as the girls get home for school with a second summit sometime when I should be cooking supper.  Aaaaarrggghhh!!!!!!!!  ..and huh?


Huh number two mystifies me just as much but is a little less frustrating. 

As most regulars know, about two years ago I stopped being a microbiologist and decided to have a go at earning money from photography.  It's not been going badly but two years in I am still regularly shocked at the pictures that net the most hard cash in one off sales as stock images.  A couple of hours ago this one above took the record previously held by this one.  I didn't think the previous holder was a particularly outstanding shot (though it is an undeniably beautiful setting, Lake Tekapo, South Island New Zealand).  This shot of an ancient arch up t'road in Waltham Abbey is totally unremarkable and indeed was taken whilst I was on my way to somewhere else (to take photos of Dragonflies). But I do recall taking a few minutes to frame the shot so the whole arch was included and using a fisheye lens which meant the photo needed quite a lot of de-fisheyeing afterwards.... time well spent after all.  To cap it all, none of the dragonfly photos from that day have yet.  Huh?

Read more about things that mystify others at participating Bloghuh? blogs this week:

Alley Kat, Aprosexic, Blue Witch, bob's yer uncle, Changing Places, Depthmarker, In the Aquarium, Jen&HerBoat, Kitchen Witch, La Que Sabe, London Daily Photo, Pewari's Prattle, Purple Pen Quixotic Evil, Santiago Dreaming, Tabula Rasa Tiger Feet, Who Knows Where Thoughts Come From?, wintermute   go and have a look at all of them them too!

20070112   16:21

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Friday on my Mind

DG has just accidentally reminded me that I haven't yet told you what I got for Xmas.  Zee bought me a year's sponsorship of Friday the Harris Hawk... you'll remember I met him during my Hawk Experience Day in October which was last Christmas's present. I hope to be going down to see how he's getting along soon.  In the meantime a ready.... steady....go selection along with a portrait (in landscape) of this lovely Harris Hawk.

20070111   16:16

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Glad to be Grey?

OK, I'll try not to let this wander into a piece as long as my Pogues one.... but no promises.

Way back in 1978 I went to my first proper Gig.  I'd seen local bands in church halls obviously but this was the real thing......  TRB were playing at what is now the Camden Palace but back then was called The Music Machine and a few school friends and I were to be there.  TRB were, as most of you I'm sure know, the Tom Robinson Band. 

By this stage they'd already had a hit with "2-4-6-8 Motorway" and were on to their second with The Rising Free EP from which, "Glad to be Gay" was getting the most airplay and media attention.  Anyway, 'twas an excellent first gig and we followed TRB for the next few years and then Tom solo for a bit afterwards.  I next caught up with him live at Glastonbury in the early '90's where he was performing an excellent live set with TV Smith, punk hero and once time leader of the Adverts (and pictured above).  From here it was to his Castaway Christmas Parties.  I don't know when he started doing them or indeed exactly when it was I last went to one but it must have been about 10 years ago.  They're a free affair for TR fans and, when last I attended, held in an upstairs room of a pub.  Yes, free!  How many other performers put on a free show for their followers once a year (or ever)?

Anyway, a few weeks ago my longest serving friend Tim (who was at that 1978 TRB gig too) asked if I was going to the Tom Robinson Castaway Party this year.  I confess the email invite had gone to a half forgotten email account and had to be extracted from a deluge of Viagra adverts, Nigerian Finance scams and bogus Stock deals but there it was.... it was to be a ticket affair this year which one just had to print out and they also asked for an email to give a rough idea of numbers.

So it was that Sunday afternoon found me arguing with Witchy's SatNav as to the best way to get to Battersea from Planarchy Towers, whilst Mr.Witchy tried to decide who to listen to.  Despite choosing my route we still got there in time to meet Tim and a gathering crowd awaiting the opening of the doors to the Grand Hall of the Battersea Arts Centre.  Slightly more than 50 or 60 people this time (several hundred, in fact!).  The front row of seats had of course been reserved for us so we duly took our places...

The show, Tom informed us, was to be divided into two halves with an acoustic set first which would mix his material with that of some his friends.  Apart from Tom's songs with and without various bits of the band, the stand-out performers from the first set were:

Lee Griffiths, a wonderfully chatty and comic geezerish type who confounded me with his angelic voice and songs.... not what I was expecting from the pre-song patter at all...excellent.

SongwriterBloke, I'm afraid I didn't catch his name.  He'd been on one of Tom's Songwriting Weekends and composed an excellent song about Plastic Surgery... has to be heard ideally and a great shame he can't be name-checked here.  I suspect it was his biggest performance to date and he made a good show of it, excellent.

TV Smith, apologies also due to TV.  I'd forgotten what charisma this man has.  And what a great songwriter.  And what a great singer.  I suspect I shall shortly be investing in some of his more recent albumage.  Tom is a great entertainer but the stage really did seem to come alive when TV was upon it.  Three of his songs from Sunday found on You-Tube.....The Lion and the Lamb, Perhaps the Good Times are Back and Thin Green Line.  Excellent is not superlative enough.

Then a few more songs from Tom, some old some new, an embarrassing moment when glasses were needed to get his keyboard on the right setting (comes to us all) and then a break for air/beer/samosas and/or bananas.

The second half was slightly more electric, with guitarist Adam Phillips also ably demonstrating the importance of the right haircut when mainly backlit for that true rock god look.  A mixture of old and new material with my favourite new song being Merciful God(?).. a wonderful industrial noise most unlike anything I've heard Tom do before.... I do hope that this and the other new material does get to see the light of a recording studio some time soon.  The set finished with "Motorway" before "Power in the Darkness" with a Flemish interlude (he'd left the Tony Bliar words at home) and then encores which included "War Baby" which I have to say remains my least favourite Tom song... excellent sax work from Tim Sanders though.... a smile from Tom and then time for a bow and the trip home.  The donation buckets were ringing with large amounts of well deserved change...... and TV Smith had all his dreams answered when Witchy went and asked him for his autograph, which he duly gave on a promo leaflet for his new book.

We let the SatNav decide the route home and I admit it did get us home faster than I got us there :(

Thanks to Tim for reminding me of this event and to Witchy and Mr.Witchy for giving me the lift there....and to Tom Robinson and the rest for putting it excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I'm sure we'll be back for the next one......

Slideshow of my pix from the day here...

And not as long a post as the Pogues one either!

20070109   15:33

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Ah, we're here....

....and today's toy animal that we don't have is an elephant. 

Young Kay eventually found me this hideous glass creation minus its trunk which has since been glued back on.  The first problem was actually a misunderstanding about what exactly I meant by an elephant.

"Why would I have brought the elephant up here?" she asked. 

Well, she has a point.. and after finding me the glass object she explained that she'd thought I meant the drawer unit we have in the dining room.  Which does make sense.  Really.

Back in the late 1970's my parents bought themselves a hideous reproduction writing desk, not quite as hideous as this one but in the same vague vein.  Obviously as an obstreperous teenager, who'd probably just half-deliberatley failed his French O-level, I refused to call it an escritoire and instead decided it would be called The Elephant.  Thirty years later all in the family (including my parents) still refer to it as "The Elephant"....

"..have you seen my keys?"
"They were on the Elephant earlier,"

Naturally the girls picked up on this quickly and tangentially so that when we bought a sideboardey thing for our kitchen/dining room it too became an elephant.  We also have a unit in the hall in which shoes are kept which I'm trying to get called the Hippo but that's proving harder to stick....

So, you can now see why teen Kay was slightly confused when I asked her if she had an elephant in her room.

Anyway, the reason I wanted it was to go with this excellent story that I heard on Radio 4 yesterday but seems only to be linked on the Metro (sorry) about recycling Xmas Trees into elephants as food in Germany.  Which explains the "Ah, we're here"........ title... doesn't it?

Sadly our tree has already been shredded................and anyway the only elephants we have don't eat anything at all. 

Happy twelfth night all.

20070105   16:43

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Crossing the Atlantic

Would you believe there are no little toy boats at Planarchy Towers?  Kay has a rather battered old PlayMobil Pirate Ship but that's it. 

Disgraceful!  So a little duck will have to do.

It's all because, as I'm sure you've guessed, this amazing 14 year old who has just taken the record to be the youngest person to ever sail single-handedly across the atlantic....and I get worried letting 14 year old Kay go into town on the bus!  Then again, I dare say the Atlantic Ocean is, in many ways, safer than the East End of London and his dad was following behind in a support boat.

Hats off to the young lad all the same.

Oh,. and Happy New Year to you all.

20070103   17:51

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