Sunday, 18 March 2018

18th March 2018 - Coloured Eggs - but not for breakfast

Thought for the day:"Lorry Carrying Fruit Crashes On Motorway. Creates Jam"
(real Newspaper Headlines)

We are off to get some coloured chicken eggs today - not sure if they give us coloured chickens - haven't worked that one out yet - but apparently the eggs are fun. Off to Drefach to get them - so we should be able to pick my car up from the station on the way...

Seems I popped for a nap yesterday about 6pm and woke this morning at 10am ....
Was a nice dinner - honest !

Still, must have slept through any hangover that should have been heading my way - it dissipated along with the snow storm that apparently fell over night - no sign this morning ...   though the temperature has dropped again !

Just Saying
and so - continuing the Farming Theme for the day...

Saturday, 17 March 2018

17th March 2018 - things are not always what they seem

Thought for the day:"For sale - TV - volume stuck on - I thought I can't turn that down !"

Athelstan Installation in Swansea - probably the Brunswick afterwards - Car left at the station 

Meanwhile I loved this optical illusion - sheer artistry

and on the subject of Culpable Homicide..


Friday, 16 March 2018

16th March 2018 - Little Known Welsh Facts

Thought for the day:"The future will soon be a thing of the past."

I had a need for something Welsh this morning so I decided to add this picture.....
The sun is shining as usual here in God's Own Country and the bronchial cough is departing slowly.

So the breaking news is....

It is quite feasible that you have to be Welsh to understand that - but I will not explain it...

Meanwhile - there are a number of Castles in wales - but not everyone knows exactly how many there really are... This little map shows some details. Of course - not all of them are habitable - in fact very few are!

Some other little known facts ... (Source Wales on Line)
The Irish were a menacing threat to Roman Britain and forts were built along what is now the Taff to guard against their attacks. Colonies of Irish existed in Wales long after the Romans. Names such as Llyn and Dinllaen are of Irish origin, as was the kingdom of Dyfed, where there are 20 stones inscribed with letters in ogham, from Ireland.

The Vikings repeatedly attacked Wales in the 10th century. From strongholds in the Isle of Man and Dublin they savaged communities along the coast. It's probably in this time that Scandinavian names, later adopted in English, were given to places like Swansea, Bardsey, Anglesey and Fishguard. There is evidence that the Northmen established small trading stations in Cardiff and there was an extensive stronghold in Anglesey, whose people were sold as slaves. In 987, 2,000 men of the island were captured and sold. The next year, places like Llantwit Major and St Dogmaels were among those plundered.

'Sais' is still used today in Welsh to describe someone English, sometimes in a derogatory context. However, it was first used in the 15th century to describe a Welshman who knew how to speak English. Welsh people had little reason to know the language in the middle ages, and the use of the word suggests the knowledge was rare and viewed with contempt.

Thomas Capper's life was ended at Cardiff in 1542 when he was burned alive. He was a Protestant and the first religious martyr in Wales since Roman times, a victim of Henry VIII's persecution of those who denied the practice of Catholic mass. In 1584, Rice Jones of Gelligaer appeared before magistrates at Cardiff for playing tennis at the time of divine service.

The "four centres of the Great Sessions" were Carmarthen, Caernarfon, Denbigh and Brecon - "the capitals, so to speak, of the four corners of Wales", says John Davies. Carmarthen was the biggest town in Wales in the 16th century, with around 2,000 people. The other three had around 1,000. Swansea, Tenby, Monmouth and Pembroke also had around 1,000 people and there were probably slightly more in Cardiff. By 1700, Wrexham was the largest town in Wales but Carmarthen had re-established its lead by 1770. By 1801, Swansea was the biggest town, with over 10,000 people living in what was Britain's main copper-producing area.

The first surviving words in Welsh are those inscribed around 700 on a stone in a church in Tywyn. But the first Welsh may have been written down as early as 600. Early Welsh was the medium of Taliesin and Aneirin, poets of the time. This is particularly impressive as Latin was the only written medium throughout Europe and there was virtually no written French, Spanish or Italian until after 1000. The adoption of the word 'Cymru' may have been around the same time, with the word 'Kymry' used in a poem from 633. At that time, the word referred to the Old North as well as to Wales.

As late as 1921, 56% of the population of the parish of Llanddeiniolen, near Caernarfon, had no knowledge of English and there was one parish on the Llyn peninsula (Bodferin) where everyone was monoglot Welsh. In the 1930s there were nearly 100,000 people in Wales who could speak only Welsh.

Hen Wlad fy Nhadau was composed in 1856 by Evan and James James of Pontypridd. But it was thanks to the National Eisteddfod in Chester in 1866 that it became the national anthem. It was sung with such passion it was immediately adopted as the anthem. A visitor to that Eisteddfod wrote: "When I see the enthusiasm which these Eisteddfods [sic] awaken in your whole people I am filled with admiration."

In Blackwood in 1842, there was one pub for every five people.
Following the Beer Act of 1830, there was a huge increase in the number of places people could go to drink. As well as that startling figure on the number of places to drink in Blackwood, there were also 200 taverns around the Dowlais Ironworks alone. And it didn't take long for temperance societies to be established as a response. The first among the Welsh was actually set up in Manchester - but by 1835 there were 25 in Wales itself. The first teetotal society in Wales was founded in Llanfechell, Anglesey in 1835. A poll in Mountain Ash claimed to have established that 90% of people backed closing pubs on Sundays.
So Cheers!!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

15th March 2018 - That Rings a Bell

Thought for the day:"I wrote a song about tortilla - well it’s a rap really"

I know it is the Ides of March - but I have discussed that event before so I will move swiftly on to the subject of Bells - and the news that on this day in 1940 Hermann Goering decided that 200 Church bells was more than enough for Germany and decided to melt the rest down and smelt them for weapons...

I started as a Campanologist in my early teens, any younger and I probably would not have been able to manage the weight of the bells, though it is clearly true that technique is everything - otherwise no-one would be able to manage the larger bells weighing many hundredweight.

Christ Church Radlett
I recall Radlett as having the smallest peal in the country - the Tenor (lowest bell) weighing in at less than one hundredweight. My local Church, St Mary's in Edgware, had a treble (the lightest bell) weighing in at just under 2 hundredweight and the tenor was a good 9 or ten hundredweight.

St Margaret's Edgware
I knew little of other themes in bellringing - other than the normal cacophany which its the usual European answer to the call to prayer but had heard of Carrillion.

The carillon is a collection of tuned bells for playing conventional melodic music. The bells are stationary and struck by hammers linked to a clavier keyboard.

Carillonneur in action

The instrument is played sitting on a bench by hitting the top keyboard that allows expression through variation of touch, with the underside of the half-clenched fists, and the bottom keyboard with the feet, since the lower notes in particular require more physical strength than an organ, the latter not attaining the tonal range of the better carillons: for some of these, their bell producing the lowest tone, the 'bourdon', may weigh well over 8 tonnes; other fine bells settle for 5 to 6 tonnes. A carillon renders at least two octaves for which it needs 23 bells, though the finest have 47 to 56 bells or extravagantly even more, arranged in chromatic sequence, so tuned as to produce concordant harmony when many bells are sounded together.
I remember setting up the bells in Edgware so you could play them by pulling on the ropes and causing the hammer to hit the side - We were not very good at it and soon went back to normal Change Ringing.

The carillon in the Church of St Peter, Aberdyfi, Gwynedd, Wales is often used to play the famous 'Bells of Aberdovey' tune. I must go there sometime and see that.

The carillon of Kirk in the Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, United States, along with the one at Hyechon College in Daejoen, South Korea, have the highest number of bells in the world: 77.

A carillon-like instrument with fewer than 23 bells is called a chime. So I suppose what we built in Edgware was a Chime rather than a Carillion. American chimes usually have one to one and a half diatonic octaves. Many chimes play an automated piece of music, such as clock chimes. Chime bells generally used to lack dynamic variation and inner tuning, or the mathematical balance of a bell's complex sound, to permit use of harmony. Since the 20th century, in Belgium and The Netherlands, clock chime bells have inner tuning and produce complex fully harmonized music.

Nope - not a Chime !! I now find that this was what we had in Edgware

The Ellacombe apparatus is an English mechanism devised for chiming by striking stationary bells with external hammers. However it does not have the same sound as full circle ringing due to the absence of the doppler effect derived from bell rotation and the lack of a damping effect of the clapper after each strike.

It requires only one person to operate. Each hammer is connected by a rope to a fixed frame in the bell-ringing room. When in use the ropes are taut, and pulling one of the ropes towards the player will strike the hammer against the bell. To enable normal full circle ringing on the same bells, the ropes are slackened to allow the hammers to drop away from the moving bells.

The system was devised by Reverend Henry Thomas Ellacombe of Gloucestershire, who first had such a system installed in Bitton in 1821. He created the system to make conventional bell-ringers redundant, so churches did not have to tolerate the behaviour of what he thought were unruly bell-ringers.

However, in reality, it required very rare expertise for one person to ring changes. The sound of a chime was a poor substitute for the rich sound of swinging bells, and the apparatus fell out of fashion. Consequently, the Ellacombe apparatus has been disconnected or removed from many towers in the UK. In towers where the apparatus remains intact, it is generally used like a Carillon, but to play simple tunes, or if expertise exists, to play changes.

Change Ringing ..

In English style full circle ringing the bells in a church tower are hung so that on each stroke the bell swings through a complete circle; actually a little more than 360 degrees. Between strokes, it briefly sits poised 'upside-down', with the mouth pointed upwards; pulling on a rope connected to a large diameter wheel attached to the bell swings it down and the assembly's own momentum propels the bell back up again on the other side of the swing. Each alternate pull or stroke is identified as either handstroke or backstroke - handstroke where the "sally" (the fluffy area covered with wool) is pulled followed by a pull on the plain "tail". At East Bergholt in the English county of Suffolk, there is a unique set of bells that are not in a tower and are rung full circle by hand. They are the heaviest ring of five bells listed in Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers[6] at 4.25 tons (4,318 kg) in total.

These rings of bells have relatively few bells, compared with a carillon; six or eight-bell towers are common, with the largest rings in numbering up to sixteen bells. The bells are usually tuned to fall in a diatonic scale without chromatic notes; they are traditionally numbered from the top downwards so that the highest bell (called the treble) is numbered 1 and the lowest bell (the tenor) has the highest number; it is usually the tonic note of the bells' scale.

To swing the heavy bells requires a ringer for each bell. Furthermore, the great inertias involved mean that a ringer has only a limited ability to retard or accelerate his/her bell's cycle. Along with the relatively limited palette of notes available, the upshot is that such rings of bells do not easily lend themselves to ringing melodies.

This is a diagram of one type of method ringing. Each bell strikes once in every sequence, or change, and repetition is avoided. Here 1 is the highest-pitched, and 6 is the lowest

Instead, a system of change ringing evolved, probably early in the seventeenth century, which centres on mathematical permutations. The ringers begin with rounds, which is simply ringing down the scale in numerical order. (On six bells this would be 123456.) The ringing then proceeds in a series of rows or changes, each of which is some permutation of rounds (for example 214365) where no bell changes by more than one position from the preceding row (this is also known as the Steinhaus–Johnson–Trotter algorithm).

In call change ringing, one of the ringers (known as the Conductor) calls out to tell the other ringers how to vary their order. The timing of the calls and changes of pattern accompanying them are made at the discretion of the Conductor and so do not necessarily involve a change of ringing sequence at each successive stroke as is characteristic of method ringing. Some ringers, notably in the West of England where there is a strong call-change tradition, ring call changes exclusively but for others, the essence of change ringing is the substantially different method ringing. 
As of 2015 there are 7,140 English style rings. 
The Netherlands, Pakistan, India, and Spain have one each. 
The Windward Isles and the Isle of Man have 2 each. 
Canada and New Zealand 8 each. 
The Channel Isles 10. 
Africa as a continent has 13. 
Scotland 24, Ireland 37, USA 48, Australia 59 and Wales 227. 
The remaining 6,798 (95.2%) are in England (including three mobile rings).

Oh well - that rings a Bell !!

oh and on the subject of the Ides of March

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

14th March 2018 - No time like the present

Thought for the day:"I am not one to brag but I totally got out of bed this morning"

A grey day - but one where I have to get my finger out and start on at the piles of "things" I ought to be doing that I have managed to put off because I have had the 'Flu. You can only procrastinate a certain amount - thought o be fair - starting to write this blog is a form or procrastination in itself.

You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again. Benjamin Franklin

But what did he know??

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
– Mark Twain

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
– Abraham Lincoln
“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.”
– Napoleon Hill

“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
– Leonardo da Vinci

“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
What mood is that? Last-minute panic.”
– Bill Watterson
“One of the greatest labor-saving inventions of today is tomorrow.”
– Vincent T. Foss

“What may be done at any time will be done at no time.”
– Scottish Proverb

“The two rules of procrastination: 1) Do it today. 2) Tomorrow will be today tomorrow.”
– Author Unknown

“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”
– Spanish Proverb

“I remember reading somewhere about an organization called Procrastinators Anonymous. I think they had been in existence for some years but had never gotten around to having a meeting.”
– Unknown
“Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment”
– Robert Benchley

“Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”
– Michael Landon

So - guess I better get on 

Cheers !

Mythodea - Vollsanger - Here all week

(Submission for information of Fabian Geuss and Katll - Live Adventure)

How can I best introduce myself?  
My name is Vollsanger and I am "Here all Week".

The name Vollsanger, which did not exist anywhere other than in my imagination, is based upon a very bad made-up Viking language - "Voll" or Full, and "Sanger" for Song - or "Filled with Song". There are others who think that the character is full of something else - but we can leave that alone !!

After role-playing in the UK since 1999, in one of the largest game systems here - Curious Pastimes, in 2004 my wife and I formed the first dedicated LARP/Re-enactment Tavern in Britain - the Crimson Moon Tavern. With this mobile Tavern we covered most of the Game systems here in the UK as well as more established Reenactment events. Serving Meads, British Country Fruit Wines, real ales and ciders - and Vollsanger would come out from the bar to entertain..

Asking only a copper piece I would sing your favourite song. For a silver piece I would move onto another table and leave you in peace (I made a lot of silver that way!)  - or for a Gold piece I would write a song for you - extemporized there and then - and in many cases refined it and added to the creation of original and "filked" songs.

"Here all Week"  - Vollsanger - his song! 
(Herstmonceaux Medieval Fest)

Who are you and for how long have you been a musician?

I have played guitar since a child, the Autoharp more recently, and have sung in major Choirs as well as perfomances and local "open Mic" sessions, but mostly I play in the Crimson Moon - which still has over 40 bookings per annum - though under new ownership now.

I specialise now in "re-discovering" lost viking songs - "stolen" by others - "The Sounds of Violence", taken by Simon and Garfunkel, "Welcome to the Coast of Caledonia" taken by the Eagles. "Laars Trekking", and of course the now Notorious "And a Green One" which has now been performed in over 24 languages including Klingon and Dothraki!

2018 and I have been very proud to have been voted LARP Bard of the Year in the UK LARP Awards.

Where are you known from, where have you played on Mythodea/ConQuest, how could our reader know you?

I came to Mythodea first in 2013 as a player with the Grand Expedition. I played Vollsanger, arriving as Der Vollsanger - the head of a Bardic Order second only to Der Meistersinger. I played to camps and for friends and illegally in the town - refusing to join the Guild of Bards until they proved worthwhile - being chased around town with my Son in Law acting as a Lookout and Body-guard - great fun and lovely role play!! 

On my last day I decided to give the Guild the courtesy of a roleplay visit - I was invited to play at one of the Taverns which I did, and they offered me a beer token for my trouble. That fitted with my Bardic Heritage and sense of fun ....  The next thing I knew I was invited to attend the next year as Bard...  I have been in the Stadt/Tross ever since...

And so nowadays, if you are in the Town or the Tross you will find "Der Alte Bard" - the guy with the long Blond Hair (Platinum Blond - not White!!) pushing his Volls Wagen full of instruments, beer and meads. Playing the main Taverns in the evening - but you will find me at the Wein Stube, the Abtei, a street corner, a trader or anywhere someone wants  to hear a song..... or needs a Gin and Tonic...

The Volls Wagen
Do you have a specific / special Mythodea- or ConQuest-song? Is that song online available? 

I have many songs for Mythodea - but over the last years I have tried to celebrate the the great Taverns of Mythodea, and the beautiful people I have met. My Project "Love Chronicles of Mythodea" was almost ready last year and I hope to have the full CD available by next Conquest. 

It is a sad tale of the beautiful women that Vollsanger has met and fallen in love with in Mythodea, (and totally failed to make an impression) and the Taverns that he met them in.....

Taverns include the Heilige Krabbe, Black Pearl, Jollie Rouge, Scorpions, Rote Stern, Klabautermann, and his forsaken loves include Windlillie, Harma, Mona Mour, Finja, Sinistaire, Valeria,

an unknown lady stolen by the Viinshar,

and Tanja - "I said I would write you a song!"

These songs are currently all available on Soundcloud and individually on video - Find them on "Vollsanger Sings" on my Youtube Channel - or on the "Mythodea" Channel on the same place.

What’s your favorite LARP-song by a DIFFERENT bard/musician?

My favourite LARP song is also from Mythodea, by the amazing Klanggespinst : Des Lebens Kreis.

Written by Sarah Krause of Saitenweise - she and Michael Höfer made me welcome as a stranger in a strange land from my first visit into the Bard Guild. It also seems to sum up the whole concept of LARP and Life and Live Action. 

What’s your plans for next year (on ConQuest and elsewhere)? Where can we see/hear you?

This year I hope to once more join the people of Mythodea. To act as Bard and sing and enjoy the great camaraderie of the Bards, the players and the staff. Hopefully the Volls Wagen will be there ..

together with the many friends I have made over the last few years. Seems I have been adopted by a few more groups this year - most particularly "The Flaming Eagles" who are anxiously waiting to hear their new anthem ... "Fear in the Cities" - and a time to visit old and new Taverns.

Oh - did I mention that I also take my camera and video ???  See my galleries and video tracks for a personal view of Mythodea ...  Vollsanger's View - here all week

And Finally - from Conquest 2017 - and the official Website - The "Tavern" Song .... Bad Norderby

Link here : Bad Norderby
Hope to see you there ...

Mr V.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

13th March 2018 - New Tech and Fame

Thought for the day:"Some things are better left unsaid - a fact I normally realise just after I have spoken"

So, another laptop bites the dust...  Done all the main tests on it - the hardware tests fail at Hard Drive test. Windows USB Boot will not affect the machine - so I guess it is a gonner - either way have decided to get another Tesco Special !!!

Have worked a few things out - that One Drive and Drop box will backup the desktop as well - I did not know that... AS I do not use My Documents anymore - it means that the only area that is not backed up is the desktop - so I may be able to fix that as well.

Such are the times we live in that a click on the desktop now means that a brand new lap top should be in the local store by 3pm tomorrow - that is a little scary !

Meanwhile - the hacking couch still attacks when least expected. Had to go out this morning to have a blood test and as the cold air hit me I was doubled up for a few minutes. Sitting here - I have just had a repeat! Clearly not well yet...

But the town has an excellent system now for taking bloods - a full appointment blood letting system - where over the last three occasions I have not had to wait more than 30 seconds on any occasion - walk in - check the name and into the booth! This one was for a fasting test as well - so time to get back and have some breakfast afterwards. Sadly I did not know the young lady who was taking blood as well as she obviously knew me!! She had just finished as Fairy Godmother in the local Pantomime with Denny Twp, and she was recollecting when we were both in Pantomime with Peter Howard when I was Peony the Ugly Sister!!  Yes, he one with a little zeta jones in the chorus ! But the bit that got me was the questions about the re-enactment and whether that was still going and whether we still hung a large spider in our Lobby !!! Well - I smiled and agreed and chatted as normal but I am afraid to say that I had no idea who she was...  It may come back to me....

But it seems that we are all well known as family. Was down in Barton and went out for dinner as usual in the House Martin Restaurant / Pub. As we sat - chatting with the young waitress who knows our order very well now, and who had just changed her hair colouring to what can only be called a pink flame, the manageress came by to chat with us - but mainly "Victor" to check that he was alright. It transpires that the pub got a little worried about him over the snow storms and so they sent "Darren" - one of the lads - to go around and check that he was alright - after they had not seen him for 3-4 days....   What with the decorator friend over the road bringing a meal to him and the next door looking in on him regularly - I think he is in good hands...

Sadly, yesterday was his driving test and the passing of an era for him, as he was tested as "unsafe" in the vehicle. A devastating blow for him, to his independence and self esteem. But a safety measure it must be said to the rest of the village. He was relatively safe - but it was better to hear form a qualified instructor the issues that she saw in has driving. Some 72 years driving - but no more. We are now thinking in terms of finding taxi firms in the area...

Back home,it is cold, but sunny. Finally getting rid of some of the malaise from the 'Flu, and seriously thinking about getting the jabs next year ....