scribbles posted in April, 2011

play me, I’m yours

Saturday, April 30th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

IY 1Jac Malloy posted this picture in my flickr group ‘Piano’s place in public

This is one of 16 placed around the city of Austin (Texas) as part Luke Jerram’s Street Piano’s project and Austin’s Art Week. The Street piano’s project has placed over 400 pianos with the simple instruction ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ in cities around the world.

The piano’s are decorated by local artists, anyone can play them for as long as they want. On this blog post a young family plays on a bridge for kayakers and joggers. The pianos in public give people smiles, strangers talk to each other, people dance, people pull-out thier isolating headphones and listen to the people nearby. So very beautiful.

A statesman article reports:

Each piano’s location was strategically chosen, Walker said, so that one piano is often within earshot of another. He said he hopes people playing will be able to respond to one another, a sort of call-and-return musical duet traveling above the hubbub of an increasingly growing city. A professional tuner is assigned to each instrument to make sure all remain in working condition for the duration of the exhibit.

But the exhibit goes further than simply adding a little flavor to downtown street corners. It is mostly designed to change the way people relate to their urban environments and to instigate a sense of ownership within local residents about where they live.

People grow used to how their cities and local environments look and feel, Walker said. “Play Me, I’m Yours,” draws people’s attention so that they can no longer ignore their surroundings, he said. The point of the exhibit is to disrupt that familiarity with both music and the curious presence of an instrument typically seen in people’s homes

play me, I’m yours
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sleep

Friday, April 29th, 2011 | tags:  |

sleep can hurt you too

Five word Flash Fiction Friday (5F)
sleep
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road-crossing is an athletic skill

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

This article published in the British Psychological Society’s Readers digest concludes that “Athletes are more skilled at crossing the road than non-athletes (when they can’t go backwards or sideways while crossing)

For me this article raised many more questions than it answered, for example

  • Will local councils be sending pedestrians on athletics courses to reduce road traffic accident rates?
  • Will crossing the road be introduced as a new Olympic sport?
  • Did being unable to go side-ways or backwards during the crossing give the athletes an unfair advantage?
  • Will road-crossing skills be used to identify the potential athletes of the future?
  • Who funded this research? Is this a good use of their money?

 

road-crossing is an athletic skill
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tinkle tinkle tinkle

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

servant call systemTyntesfield house has a bell-pull system to call servants. At the foot of the servant’s stairwell each bell is labelled with its location. I was surprised to see that nearly all the bells are the same size and shape.

They sound the same, they look the same.

Servants had to look at the bell moving then read the room description beneath to work out where they should go.

tinkle tinkle tinkle
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ding dong bell, pussy’s in the well

Monday, April 25th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

Facebook determined to destroy my self-esteemWendys – be prepared

Facebook advertising says so

With each Facebook personalised advertisement pushing me to update my relationships, jobs, looks – a little bit of my self-esteem slips away.

Actually it doesn’t. For some reason I’ve developed an immunity. I’m an exceptional person. It  seems like many women do loose a little bit of confidence, a little bit of heart. Advertising standards could do so much more to protect the mental health of the public, saving oodles of money

Today Facebook recommends that I get a rich (or poor) dad, presumably either by:

  • persuading my father to become an entrepreneur, or
  • marrying a ready-made dad

The other adverts suggest that before I can successfully bag myself an effective male entrepreneur I’ll need to lose 7 pounds in 10 days, head-off any rogue menopause symptoms and get my nails painted with miniature masterpieces representing different garden views from famous stately homes of Britain. You can just see Cliveden’s terrace garden on the last adverts’ forefinger

grrrrrrWhile on my annual national Holiday manoeuvres in National Trust properties I managed to snap this undercover, long-distance, sniper photo-shot on Cliveden’s terrace garden. Here we see an entrepreneur with child springing a suprise ambush on an unsuspecting slightly plump, sweaty, female with unpainted nails

Be careful out there

 

ding dong bell, pussy’s in the well
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spring specialities

Sunday, April 24th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

Why I love England #17:  bluebell woods

Portbury Bluebell woodSpending hours of the Easter national holiday weekend wandering through cool woodlands surrounded by dappled light, beautiful bluebells, immersed in the wonderful scent. The forests of the USA were beautiful too but the bluebell woodlands of England are magical in their own special way

spring specialities
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2 bits of fabulous banter »

free tranquility

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Bluebell borderReading town is not reknowned for its beauty. Internet research before I first visited provided a rather scathing description of the town as a place that is near other places worth visiting like London, Oxford, Windsor, Stone Henge. A commuter town that people only visited to sleep or shop in the mall resourced with most major chain outlets in a riverside setting.

The descriptions didn’t tweak my aspiration to live in a cute city with a rich history, diverse and vibrant entertainment opportunities. This photograph was taken at 10am in Forbury gardens in Reading town.  Whatever the season the gardens are cared for and visited. They are so beautiful. I walk through them to soak up the free tranquility and social vibes whenever I’m walking to the train station (often) or downtown. Like a village, locals use the gardens to sunbathe and play games, I bump into people that I know. Unlike a village the gardens host many, diverse, events. Bands play in a band-stand, it hosts art shows and charity fund raisers. Reading parks are wonderful. They are a good reason to live in the town.

Reading has 3 major parks – Palmer’s Park, Prospect Park and Forbury gardens. Each plays a slightly different role.

  • Palmers park -tennis, soccer, cycling, jogging, cricket, children’s playground. SPORT.
  • Prospect park – nature rambles, picknicks, jogging, dog walking, snooping on wildlife, steam train appreciation
  • Forbury gardens– concerts, sunbathing, break from shopping, picnic, watching the world go by, history lesson, plant appreciation

Drop by and check it for yourselves, for me its a special place for tranquilty and community

free tranquility
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6 bits of fabulous banter »

human rafts

Friday, April 22nd, 2011 | tags:  |

riding bloated bodies to safety

Five word Flash Fiction Friday (5F)
human rafts
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downmarket residential area

Thursday, April 21st, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

Dallas Laundry at DawnBBC Radio 2 described the shooting of two British students in Sarasota Florida as happening Several miles from a recognised tourist area in a Downmaket residential area where it is very unusual to find tourists

Apart from an exta 8 syllables what are the main differences between Downmarket residential area and Ghetto? Why do you think the BBC chose the longer phrase?

downmarket residential area
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Advertising tailored to who?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

advertising tailored to meFacebook suggests that I, or my baby (???!), should learn to type and get a part time job.

Facebook knows my age, gender, relatives on face book (parents, siblings, cousins, nieces), apps I’ve installed and the advertisments I’ve dismissed because they were either ‘uninteresting‘ or ‘offensive‘ (e.g. Make-up, diet, cosmetic surgery, high-healed shoes). Facebook does not know about my schooling or employment.

What do you think? Should I give up my FT, rewarding job, have a baby, and get a part-time typing job working from home?

Advertising tailored to who?
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verified sauce

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

Using rigourous (Scottish) field research techniques Dr. Alan has been working on identifying some sociological correlates of human behaviour. Recently he’s been able to state conclusively that

it is fallacious to attribute causality to Sunshine, also we are not convinced of the role of Moonlight; furthermore, we have not proven any kind of causal connection as regards to the Good Times. We conclude, on reflection, and having eliminated all other factors, that, as well as there being a strong correlation, there is strong support for the hypothesis positing causation to the Boogie.

verified sauce
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wacked out

Monday, April 18th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

If it hadn’t been for Scooby Doo I never would have discovered the full fun of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals. I thought Robin’ Banks was some sort of US celebrity until I saw this video

Fun Lovin’ Criminals sang Scooby Snacks

wacked out
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institutional violence or a ticket to Kansas?

Sunday, April 17th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Institutional ViolenceVisitors to earth from planet Wendy see the marketing of high healed shoes as institutionalised violence, targeting females. For some inexplicable reason hobbling, the risk of broken ankles, is an attractive female characteristic.

Women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness.

Erica Jong

The majority of females are complicit in perpetuating this violence. Visitors from planet Wendy are baffled by this complicity. Visitors keep their befuddlement under their stylish hats lest they cause offense, identifying themselves as targets for the near ubiquitous, rigorous enforcement regime.

What shoes should I wear to demonstrate my lack of complicity without attracting non-compliance social penalties?  My tastes rarely coincide with high street fashion. My criteria for yesterday’s shoe purchase trip, in priority order, were

  • must not introduce a risk of bodily injury when walking – I can fall over without artificial aides.
  • comfortable – definitely bouncy soles and soft uppers
  • can be worn to walk 4 miles per day on sidewalks and in buildings
  • please or amuse members of the public, work colleagues and clients when I wear them to work
  • give the impression that I’ve dressed-up a bit for a trip to the Theatre, Garden or Dinner party
  • colour should sort-of go with some of the clothes I already own. A fairly open criteria favouring blue, black, grey, brown, white and orange.

ticket to KansasI’ve wanted a pair of red shiny, low-heal, soft soled shoes ever since I first read the Wizard of Oz. This pair of Kansas hoppers closed the deal in the time it took to try them on. I only visted 2 shops, RESULT!  All my criteria filled and MORE!

Waiting decades before finally meeting these shoes adds a special relish to our union

Unwrap the Edam, the cheese is on me!

institutional violence or a ticket to Kansas?
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blood on the patio

Saturday, April 16th, 2011 | tags:  |

Fresh bloodIf anyone noticed the blood on the patio, they didn’t mention it.

Polite English society or people too busy partying to notice?

I’ll never know.

blood on the patio
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ground swallowing

Friday, April 15th, 2011 | tags:  |

OMG! Virus emailed to EVERYONE!

Five word Flash Fiction Friday (5F)
ground swallowing
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Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 3)

Thursday, April 14th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Thomas alone in the Carparkwendy:  when I bring Thomas in for his new tyres I’d like you to upgrade the software aswell – but I don’t think I should pay for the software update

Service engineer: (disarming giggles) Good luck! You’re booked in

Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 3)
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girl conformance grooming

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 | tags:  |

Cosmopolitan is helping meSometimes I wonder what life would be like if I spent time putting on eye-make-up, plucking my eyebrows, carefully choosing clothes to emphasize my natural curves, mastering walking in stiff shoes with high heals, dying my hair, applying creams to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and increase the firmness of my breasts.

Tailoring myself with the myriad of girl-conformance grooming accessories would probably take longer than the average commute even after I’d refined the required skills.

The thought drifts away like steam through a bathroom window while a large towel wipes water from my skin soon covered by soft cashmere. Thankful that I don’t need the social proof, approval, conformance provides though I’m possibly a little lonely.

girl conformance grooming
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Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 2)

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

ParkedDuring Thomas’ annual service the battery was disconnected forcing his onboard computer to reboot. After reboot the Diesel Particle Filter malfunction warning still showed.

The mechanic said the filter looked ok. The nice chap at the Mini Dealership explained that the software might be malfunctioning and would cost me £90 to upgrade.

£90 for a software update!

What?! Software malfunctioning? Software not doing what it was designed to do? That sounds like a programming bug to me, a design fault. Software doesn’t suffer from ‘wear and tear’ like mechanical components. It sounds like Mini manufacturers, BMW, are passing on the cost of fixing their poor original workmanship to their customers! Atrocious. Most software providers release free fixes for software bugs. Hmmmmm…..

An internet search suggested that driving above 40 mph consistently for 10 minutes on a regular basis should burn-off the diesel particles and remove any mechanical problem – if one actually exists. There were lots of discussion forums talking about the warning light showing when there was no malfuntion on BMW cars. Consistent with an actual software design fault.

I changed my driving pattern to include regular periods of driving over 40mph for 10 minutes. Bye Bye to beautiful back-road Oxfordshire. The warning sign still showed. Sigh.

Time to re-visit those lovely chaps at MiniCooper Reading…

Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 2)
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brass

Monday, April 11th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

I do enjoy a good brass section in a pop song. Enjoy

Swing out Sister sang Breakout

brass
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bouncers required

Sunday, April 10th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

Break in (or out) through garden gatThe Wendy House housewaring anniversary is always accompanied by much excitement and clucking around in chicken like chaos. This year has not been an exception. Even the local wildlife wants to get involved.

Something, or someone, has improvised a cat-door in the garden gate to prepare for the frenzied comings and goings. There will be bouncers at the gate, providing instructions on how to bounce safely, a first-aid cat will be offering first-class purring and warm poltices. A log fire will be available on demand for any freak cold-snaps and extra kettle-boiling duties incase the lashings of tea fail to keep up with guests enthusiasm, god forbid!

There’s a high risk of a break in my blogging resulting from over-excitement due to the fun and games, parking chaos in a permit-only zone and excessive bounce-related falling-over
Garden colour and texutre

bouncers required
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streamlined

Saturday, April 9th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Words of wisdom from  an almost stranger*.  A product designer gave me this little gem while discussing options for an upcoming Wendy House garden party:

Don’t be fooled into taking the shell off of your racing snails to make them more streamlined, all it does is make them more sluggish.

I am now planning to require that all the racing snails come with their own shells in place

* Past tips provided by Alan the hairdresser.   Lucia the hairdresser, an Essex girl, an anonymous  manicurist, a Jackson’s sales assistant, a bus stop philanthropist, a mini salesman, Windows Network Diagnostics, Flat Eric, a girl on a London commuter train, a Redmond based software developer and Reading Police.
streamlined
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tragic movie icon

Friday, April 8th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Gina, lotta bridge hit her

Five word Flash Fiction Friday (5F)
tragic movie icon
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cistern valve spigots

Thursday, April 7th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

The Wendy House toilet has a high wall-mounted cistern. Fabulous water pressure flushes the toilet with a gravity induced whoooooosh.

Piping to toilet cisternBut the cistern has always filled slowly with a noisy trickle of water. The whole arrangement is reminiscent of Victorian school washrooms. While waiting 15 minutes for the cistern to fill is not a problem when I am alone, for guests  it introduces a timing problem at peak use times.

With an imminent Wendy House party, home improvements are on the menu. Replacing the limescale clogged cistern valve. Yay. No problem. Or so I thought. A quick trip to the DIY shop where the sales assistant didn’t even know what a valve that controls the waterflow into the tank above the toilet was. Sigh. I picked the valve that looked most like the one already installed and toddled off home. So far so good. I switched off the water supply to the house then climbed on a tall bar stool to reach the cistern, remove the lid and start trying to unscrew the current valve.

Things started going wrong. A bit of the old valve broke off in my hand. A close inspection of the instructions for the new valve revealed that despite diagrams I could now work out what this meant

fit ballvalve using backnut(s) provided and ensure that the spigot(s) are used to centralise the tail of the hose

The backnut, spigots, tail nor hose were labelled in any of the 4 diagrams. Quickly I resoted to visual matching, make the new one look like the old one currently looks (without the limescale or broken bit). Then I realised that I would probably have to take part of the wall away to access the pipes.

The doorbell rang

Hello I’m Rob White and I’m canvassing for the Green party in May’s election. Can I ask you if you know whether you are going to vote in the election

yes

I can ask you, you know if you’re going to vote, or you are going to vote?

errr… ..um, I am going to vote

Are you going to vote for the Green party?

Valve in hand, I look at the two young perky faced boys on my doorstep

Have either of you ever changed a cistern valve?

Oh no, that’s very complicated, I’d call a plumber, you’re a brave person

They start backing away slowly as if I’m holding a loaded weapon. I’ve replaced cistern valves before. Normally its a couple of minutes, an easy job. Their lack of willingness and skill is a tad disappointing. I reassure them about my vote and non-violent intentions then call Kevin.

Wonderful Kevin sorts out my cistern with Canadian calm

Cistern refill time has sucessfully been upgraded from a 15 minute trickle to a 30 second flow. Result! Almost grounds for a proposal.

cistern valve spigots
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recycling confidentiality

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

In my valiant steps to curb my consumerism, mend my waywardness, I partake of old-fashioned passtimes such as darning socks and spurious knitwear. Mumsie taught me how to darn. Darning wasn’t a syllabus item on the compulsory (for females) Home Economics course provided by Chipping Sodbury Comprehensive school. A lot of useful home economics were omitted from my Home Economics education. It wasn’t comprehensive by any stretch of the imagination.

Recently I’ve added ‘Brickette’ making to my many economic home skills. Here’s the recipe

  1. Borrow a brickette maker (I failed at this first step – I bought one)
  2. Use a large (not plastic) bag to collect the shreddings from the confidential document shredder at work.
  3. Empty the shreddings into a large waterpoof container (Bucket!)
  4. fill the bucket with wate
  5. Leave the shreddings to soak for 3 days
  6. Scoop the soggy shredded paper from the bucket into the bricket maker and squish into a brickette
  7. Leave the soggy brickette in the sun tor dry-out. I’ve placed my first brick in my log-store

Three days to make one brick. I only have one bucket. I wonder how many bricks I’ll be able to make this summer? I wonder how well they’ll work as fuel on the woodburner. Apparantly it is possible to make brickettes from tea bags…

soaking shredded confidential papers Brickette squished from soaked paper

recycling confidentiality
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11 bits of fabulous banter »

no blog entry today*

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

* you are imagining the title, the footnote and anything approximating a series of 5 previous none-entries. Please do not comment on or refer to the absence of this post in any public arenas, its existence will be denied.

no blog entry today*
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3 bits of fabulous banter »

One Plucking Thing After Another

Monday, April 4th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

http://www.ukuleleorchestra.com

The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire brings us 8 players of- Bass, Barritone, Tenor, Soprano and Fridge Magnet Ukeleles. Fresh from New York’s Carniegie Hall with only hand luggage, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain played the New Theatre Oxford to the delight of a mature audience and their teenage offspring. Witty banter inbetween singing, whistling, dancing all accompanied by Ukulele playing.  Playing songs from one musical genre in another style, for example, Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights re-interpretted in the genre of Swing bands

Recommended for anyone with a sense of humour, love of diverse musical genres or 80’s music, and Yorkshire people.

4 smiles: Ratings explained

The set included:

  • Hawkwind’s Silver Machine as an ode to commuters
  • David Bowie’s Life on Mars delivered with duet lyrics from other songs. One person singing I did it my way and so on while the lead vocalist sang the main lyric. It was fascinating, creative and worked extremely well.
  • Ian Dury and the Blockheads Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll as a polite tea party
  • Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights as a Swing band
  • Wheatus’s Teenage Dirtbag” as a polite love song
  • Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK as a group campire singalong
  • Recognisable classical stuff that I am sadly ill-equipped to name
One Plucking Thing After Another
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Amelia pulls it off!

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

At the Chipping Sodbury finishing school for young ladies of good stock Mrs Thompkinson-Smythe’s ‘Floral Art and Table decor” course skills had transformed the graduation Marquee into a heavenly garden.  Amelia Penrith-Perkington steps up to the Dahlia festooned podium to recieve the class graduation award for “Lady most likely to Marry an Arabian Prince”. Alemia’s successful final year project in International Etiquette and Arabic stock had given her the edge over Maria Fountaine-Diddly who’s sister had already bagged a Shiek. We see a flash of red from the underside of Amelias 4 inch heals confirming that she has chosen just the right pair for the occassion. Like a lipizzaner she gently swings her mane (24 shades of honey blonde) removing strands from her eyes and the hinges of her Jackie Onassis sunglasses.

Despite being under canvas  Amelia keeps her Jackie O’s balanced pertly on her nose to hide the unexpected bruises from the recent cornea-corrective surgery.  She hopes her fellow students, and tutors, will forgive her for this little faux-pas. Failing to use the Jackie O’s as an alice-band to hold hair away from her face is a level 1 style error. Terribly middle class.  She regrets that the eye-corrective surgery happened so soon before graduation, but it really did have to happen before her coming out party. Relying on an emergency back-up pair of spectacles for  unanticipated contact-lense catastrophes just isn’t acceptable now that she’s nearly 18.

Amelia winces as she recalls how her hair had betrayed her last summer by flicking a contact lense from her left eye while riding in Al-amir Sagria’s Jaguar XKR convertible.  This had not been a problem on the drive to Newquay. Unfortunately, when they arrived at Jamie Oliver’s ‘Fifteen Restaurant’ Amelia had used the wall mounted urinals in the Gentlemans washrooms as a hand basin. Not an ideal way to prepare for the first course of moule mariner. Puking on the champaign ivory leatherette seat covers, just before Honiton, had not made for an idyllic end to the evening. Like silent lightening the Shieks people replaced the car. Amelia released a sigh, without letting her shoulders drop, at the thought that these traumas were now behind her.

As she turned to the podium Amelia caught a glimpse of the Govenor, Mrs Burke-Forster, texting! During the acceptance speech! Luckily, Mrs Burke-Foster finished her message before the applause and wolf whistles from some bizarre local people draped across the school boundary walls outside the Marquee, had stopped.

It gives me great pleasure….

Another writing exercise focusing on using another person’s voices. This time, imitating the style of another writer. I hope people who know the writer I am imitating will recognise the style 🙂
Amelia pulls it off!
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8 bits of fabulous banter »

Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 1)

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

I love it when my car talks sexy to me like this. Really Thomas is saying, phone those nice boys at the Mini Service centre, you know you want to. And he’s right, I do want to and I do call them. On the phone I slowly, precisely say to the service centre chappy

I’ve got a Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction, Yeah, really, I have

He giggles

Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 1)
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raw cheeks

Friday, April 1st, 2011 | tags:  |

Raw cheeks, spatula replaced. Resignation

Five word Flash Fiction Friday (5F)
raw cheeks
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