Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but one of the YouTube channels I follow is Gold Shaw Farm. It can get a bit ‘Our Tune‘ at the moment from time to time but on the whole the ducks, chickens, geese and, of course, the wonderful Toby dog compensate for that. The fascinating thing at the moment is to notice just how far the seasons in Vermont, USA are behind us in the UK. For those of you who might know Vermont is much much further south than where I live yet they have winters that are significantly colder than us and so spring arrives later.
Up here in the far north, we’re roughly on the same level as Churchill, Hudson Bay, nature is bursting out after the winter’s short days and long cold nights. Apart from the flowers the thing that we notice most about spring is that the birds pair off, have sex on our pergola and build nests. We now have a couple of jackdaws nesting neraby and I have to say they are an impressive bird in the breeding plumage.
They are the smallest Corvid but lack nothing because of that as they really are as cunning and curious as their much bigger cousins. The nest boxes are now beginning to be populated and all around the bird spong is simply the best pick me up I know. It starts about an hour before dawn and continues almost relentlessly until after sunset. For such small creatures birds are capable of creating a such a loud and varied choir.
After the long winter we’ve just endured it is so uplifting to realise that once more we can look forward to longer warmer days. Perhaps life isn’t so bad at the moment after all, although your life, for obvious reasons, may well not be so peachy.
It’s almost 3 months since I visited Abbey Park – can’t think what stopped me taking the short trip. As of today some of the restrictions have been lifted and so I thought that it would be alright for the short journey (I am only too aware that this self restriction is not being observed by many people but I can only do what I think is right.). How things have changed. Just a few shrubs and trees are starting to stir but the whole park resonates to the sound of Canada Geese and their loud honks. Spring is here and the Geese are breeding.
Of course the geese are not the only creatures responding the lengthening days it is just that they are by far the most gregarious.
….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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….”