One Block at a Time…

….Rogerus dedit totum boscum suum quem habuit in villa de Swaniton sine aliquo retenemento, vel qui aliquo tempore se vel heredes suos potuerit contingere, cum tota terr &, cum omnibus aliis pertinentiis suis…

Anybody who has any knowledge of languages will know that the opening paragraph is Latin. Over the past couple of weeks I have been trying to translate whole blocks of Latin text using Google Translate…it has been an eye opening experience! To illustrate the point this is what Google Translate translated the text above to mean:

Roger made entirely out of wood in the village, which had Swaniton without any reservation or any time that they or their heirs can happen when all the land, and with all other appurtenances …

I think you’ll agree this is nonsensical. Of course you could legitimately argue that without knowing the context it makes any translation far less reliable. This is true but even when you know the context Google’s A.I. has made a real hash of the job. What it really means is, and this is my translation so will no doubt lack finesse:

Roger has gifted his wood and all the land in the wood in the manor of Swannington without any reservations and forever….

So why am I trying to translate 14th century Latin written by a clerk in the East Midlands? Well from time to time I dabble in a bit of local historical research (I have mentioned it before from time to time in this blog) and as I have time on my hands I have been filling it with a bit Latin translations. What this was all about was trying to identify the location of land gifted in Swannington to the Cistercian abbey at Garendon which once stood isolated in the countryside outside Loughborough (the site of the abbey today is next to the M1 junction 23 – a rural idol no more.). As a result of hours compiling translations I have now got a pretty good idea of the land use in 14th century Swannington and also where the missing Grange in the manor was located. It is a niche interest I know but we can’t all have the same hobbies or interests.

Taking of hobbies the Lockdown has really knocked my photographic endeavours for six but at least I have exercising the creative part my my brain by making some art.

BTW…it seems that digital art is now big business….

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Onward to hopefully better things…..

Well that was a winter for the record books….we didn’t do anything special in fact we didn’t do much at all because for most of the winter we were in lockdown. Come to think of it this latest lockdown started at the start of November so this really has been Lockdown Winter! Still as we enter spring things are on the up: I’ve had my first covid jab, the weather over the past few days has been bright and quite mild and the first daffodils are starting the flower.

The only fly in this rosie picture that I am painting is that today, the official first day of spring, the weather is overcast and grey with just a hint of fog! (No glorious sunrise to greet the new season!) but for us here in Britain we can hopefully look forward towards some relief from the covid world we have inhabited over the past 12 months – and yes it has been 12 months! (There are so mant things that can go wrong before we can venture out towards a new normal – new variants popping up being the obvious immediate threat!)

But let us all look at the positives just now and hope that by the time I come to write about the end of Spring things are still looking so much on the up!

The future is bright…thank god the future isn’t orange….

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Amongst many Sci Fi fans the Isaac Asimov the Foundation series of books are viewed as masterpieces of Sci Fi literature. I finally got around to wading through the first of the series called Foundation and I have to say I’m not that impressed. The reason why I finally ventured into the series is because Apple TV+ are making a big buck series based on the series. I wish them luck because they are going to have to rewrite most if not all of the dialogue, there isn’t much else, as it hasn’t, in my view, aged well at all.

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Contemplating the Nothingness…

So the snow has gone but I’m stuck in and around the house. Yes I’ve had my first jab and so this is the first step to something approaching a return to freedom but nonetheless I am not convinced we’ll see any real easing of the restrictions until Easter. I’m OK with this but it does mean I have lost a lot of my photographic mojo – so instead I’m working on different types of paintings.

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Cold Toes…

Beautiful, beautiful light streamed in through the window this morning. Did it tempts me outside? Not a chance – it’s minus 3 degrees C outside and I’ve had my fill of cold toes for the time being. So instead I decided to work with my iPad Pro this morning. Far more comfortable and occasionally rewarding.

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Nowhere to Go….

Yesterday I was allowed out of my local area – I had to take the car into town to be serviced and MOT’d. Now I am aware that my sticking to the lockdown rules are certainly more strict than many people in my neighbourhood but I feel we’re doing our bit even if many other people have decided to have a more liberal interpretation of what the restrictions are. This isn’t the time nor the place to argue who is right but the upshot is that for the first time in since before Christmas I went into the centre of Leicester.

The whole lockdown has drained my enthusiasm to capture images as visiting the same places again and again – this is something I’ve complained about before on this blog but it is something I am really feeling. The hopeful thing is that it would seem that I should be vaccinated by the end of March which should enable me to feel safer to widen my circle of operation beyond what it is at the moment.

Just to add to the restrictions it has been cold over the past few days and so this has kept me in doors as well. Today I decided to brave the cold and frost and just try and make some images.

The one good thing is that the days are noticeably longer which always lifts the spirits and as I write this most of the snow from this morning has all melted away. One final thing to suggest that spring is not too far away away the catkins have started to appear on the willows.

Perhaps this will encourage me to get out a bit further and try and make some more interesting photographs? I doubt it because I have too many other stimulating this things to do at home at the moment.

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The Madness Continues…

So another ‘mould breaking‘ camera, the Sony Alpha 1, has just been announced and the talking heads are disgorging their views on something they know nothing more about than we simple folk whose clicks they are desperate to harvest. It is all so familiar and also so pointless. I am sure that the camera will be outstanding, very few cameras nowadays aren’t, yet it does seem to miss the broader point. Who will buy such a beast? I suspect it won’t be the legions of people passing comments when encouraged to do so by those well worn encouragement from the talking heads..”but what do you think? Let me know in the comments below.” I suspect most of the people who will buy this camera aren’t people at all but rather corporate buyers who will then rent the camera out or provide it for their staff photographers to to cover the olympics or whatever is left of popular sport after the pandemic has finished its work.

Does any of this really matter? Well if you work for Sony I’m sure it does but for the rest of us? I’m not sure. We now seem to live in a world where we must all like comment and subscribe less we miss out on whatever is the next greatest thing. And the way we know that it’s such a thing is because of the talking heads who then insist that we like comment and subscribe whilst all the time Google hoovers up more data about everyone. We all know that we are the commodity being traded and yet we all continue to like comment and subscribe and so the circle is completed and slowly any meaning we might have slowly disappears.

Of course this is shameless nonsense on my part because I am as guilty of the crimes I outlined above as everyone else. I watch my selection of talking heads although I don’t like nor comment but the longer I do it I start to notice that certain people are starting to slide down the charts. The first tell tale sign is that they start to try new gimmicks to get their numbers up. Perhaps their USP has passed its sell by date; Perhaps they have just lost whatever they had when they were first successful or perhaps the world has just moved on.

Maybe one day when, like cows being let out onto spring pasture, we will no longer bother about these talking heads as we no longer are afraid of straying outside but as the mainstream media’s conveyor built of content slowly drys up we are stuck with the talking heads. We know we shouldn’t but we do watch and of course we “…Like; Comment and Subscribe….”

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Goodbye Pale Moon….

Whilst the bitter cold had seeped into my bones every time I stepped out of the door it did have one bonus – wonderful views of the moon. Now, I’m afraid I won’t see the moon for a while as dense clouds have blanketed us. Is this a fair trade? The older I get the more certain it is. The moon will be back sometime in the future and in the meantime I look forward to the balmy temperatures reaching as much as 6 degrees C.

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Too Old, Too Tired…

The beautiful dawn light this morning was so very very inviting. What great photographs might await the intrepid photographer? What photographs indeed – I’ll never know. I’ve been busy over the past few days and I was just too tired to venture out into the sub zero temperatures. I just couldn’t feel arsed to leave the warmth of my house for the bitter cold. There is a point where you just have to say no and that point was this morning.

Instead captured a few photographs out of my window whilst the bright bitter sun illuminated the world . As I captured the images I felt myself curling my warm and cosy toes as a pavlovian reaction to the cold just inches away. However, nothing lasts and as I write this all around you see the drip drip drip of the snow and ice thawing.

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The fields of Leir…

People have been living in the area where I live since the early Bronze age. Indeed, thanks to all the development over the past 30 years I know live in perhaps the best known prehistoric landscape in the whole of the county.

The most famous local prehistoric character, known throughout the world if you only did but know it, who perhaps might have even lived in one of the numerous roundhouses in the area is Leir (this is the person, or his legend at least, who inspired Shakespeare’s tragic play about madness, hubris and decay King Lear.). The local River Soar’s old name was believed to be Ligera from which Leir is a derivation and Leicester’s old english name was Ligoraceastre although I prefer the old Welsh name of Cair Lerion. In short Leir is all around if we only did but know it.

I’m not entirely sure why Leir’s image has been rebounding around my head over the past day or so as the weather takes a turn towards the Arctic and we all huddle down around the fire or central heating. Winter has really come for the first time this year and we have experienced the first real snowfall along with a couple of nights of frost. It won’t last long but while it does it keeps alive this notion within me that Leir once lived not too far from where I am writing this. Not sure what he would have made of blogging or the modern world in general. Recently, at times, I have had the same feeling about the world but all things change just as one day the winter will be gone and the spring flowers will bloom once more and and who knows, perhaps – just perhaps, we might be free to enjoy them.

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