Piano project: Sound and Vision

This is the first song I’ve recorded on this year’s project of converting an old upright piano into a electric piano / recording studio. The video shows some pictures of the process. If you want me to make you one let me know 😛

Strava art

I made a couple of cycling doodles recently, where I created pictures by cycling whilst recording the route I took. One was for a Look Mum No Hands! competition. I chose to draw a turkey for this as it was thanksgiving. I’ve won a jersey and cap which I’ll go and collect once the shop is open for business again. The other doodle was an adaptation of a route originally cycled by Anthony Hoyte that said ‘Merry Christmas’, which I changed to ‘Merry Crisis!’. Anyhow, a good excuse to cycle around London. Some roads were new to me and others brought back memories.

Knitting project – Nick Drake tribute jumper

“You have to knit something for yourself!”, was the advice from Aneeta and friends at Knitting SOS , after the last few projects were garments knitted as gifts for others. So rather than make something that I might just as easily be able to buy in a shop, I decided to make this one-off Nick Drake tribute jumper. It’s based on a knitting pattern by Katrine Hannibal which I’ve modified to mimic the throw/blanket worn by Nick in a photoshoot by Julian Lloyd in ’67/8.
It’s taken me ages to finish, but my skills have definitely improved. I think I’ll take a short break from knitting to focus on other projects, but I’m already wondering what to knit next, so drop me a message if you have any ideas.
Music is an excerpt from Black Eyed Dog by Nick Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974).

Sunrise at Chanctonbury Ring

“(…)how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong, but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing the blind, deaf stone alone with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head.”

Christopher McCandless

On Tuesday night I cycled down to Chanctonbury Ring on the South Downs to arrive before dawn so that I could see the sunrise. I’d planned on going on Sunday to see the it on the solstice, but cloud was forecast, so I delayed it by a few days. The ride down was a nice route and pretty easy cycling. I had reached the suburbs by dusk and enjoyed the empty roads. It was a clear night and as an added bonus I got to see a thin moon set.

For the last few miles approaching Chanctonbury Ring there was a bit of nightime off-roading involved, but it wasn’t so bad that I needed to get off and walk at any point.

I arrived about 45 minutes before sunrise and the sky was already beginning to lighten. There were some campers on the Western side, but I had the Eastern side to myself. I found a nice spot to rest and had a quick nap for 20 minutes before waking to watch the sunrise. The hill sits proud on the South Downs, so the view over which the sun rises is impressive.

I then cycled over to nearby Cissbury Ring. This is a much larger area of land, less mysterious and more natural looking than Chanctonbury, and also very beautiful. From there I cycled down to the coast and along to Brighton, then back to London via Ditchling Beacon and Farthing Downs.

The way back after Ditchling was tough; the temperature went above 30C, and combined with hills and hot-tempered heavy traffic didn’t make for as pleasant a journey as the way down had been. There were nice sections though, some leafy lanes and smooth tarmac.

223 km (138 miles), 2,263 m (7,425 ft) elevation, 4 cheese rolls, one pain au chocolat, a few Percy the Pigs, a sorbet, and gallons of water.

I’ve labelled this number one of a series so that it might encourage me to do some more rides themed loosely around the Solar System. Until next time.. 🙂

Windsor cycling trip

A ride to Windsor to test the latest wheel builds and grab a photo of one more Lionel Stanhope painted sign. A sunny day; I managed to tan my hands a shade of pink. The route out was via Battersea Park, Putney, Richmond (though we were denied access to cycle through the park), Bushy Park, Shepperton, Windsor Great Park (also denied access to bring bikes within 1km of The Long Walk?!). Fish and chips in Windsor. We took a less scenic and more direct route back. The security guard at Nine Elms Waitrose said my bike looked cool. Obviously a man of taste. Popped into London after dinner to top up the miles to one hundred. Wheels still in one piece. A nice day out.

Knitting project: Vintage Cardigan

A friend posted a picture she’d found of a cardigan that she really liked and asked if anyone could knit it. One google image search later and I’d found the vintage pattern online. It’s synthetic which was nice to knit with and I used bamboo needles which were great to work with too. Vintage size = tiny! I learnt loads in the process and got some extra help along the way by popping into sessions with Aneeta at Knitting SOS.

Vintage knitted cardigan

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