Hamble Campbell's Home Page

An occasional window on Hamble Campbell's world.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Get your tickets for a journey .....

I have just bought a single ticket for the train to Yorkshire for three months' time. I can't buy the return ticket for another week as they only sell them at the cheaper price three months ahead. So I've got to ring back in seven days to buy the second instalment. Over the three months the price apparently climbs quite high so I do have to use this rather strange method to buy my tickets. It is all part of the fascinating world of the marketplace and us customers must play our part in the system. No wonder so many people decide to drive their car rather than use the train.

Urtica dioica, where is your sting?

Or rather - Stinging Nettle, who is your sting for? My little dog does not seem bothered by stinging nettles, even when emptying her bladder rather clumsily all over them. Which makes me wonder if stinging nettles are able to sting animals - perhaps fur and feathers are a protection. Have stinging nettles evolved especially for us naked apes?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Handbag!

I thought you should be amongst the first to see my new handbag.

Last Saturday I undertook my third weaving lesson. Actually it was really my first weaving lesson because the first two days were mainly spent learning how to warp the loom.

This is my colour and weave sampler - it has different warp threadings which my teacher had put onto the loom for me. I then wove different combinations of the warp wool in the weft to see the effects each had.

At home I washed the fabric and it felted slightly. Then I made it up into this bag, using an old bamboo handle I had to hand. I have to admit to some pride in this article, though next time I would probably ensure the handle wasn't such a close fit.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Quotidian riparian perambulations and an idea for a new invention.

On one of my dog walks, at the weekend, I was amazed at how suddenly the greenery has grown large. The impression, I think, was mainly due to the super-abundance of blossom - from horse chestnut trees and cow parsley. The rain has made the planty smells more potent, and the colours more glowing. On the river I saw a grebe and her partner, with their two chicks, one of which was having a piggyback on her Mum's shoulders. (Or it might have been on his Dad's shoulders, etc.).

I am very stupid about bird recognition and other bird mores. It struck me the other day, when the songs were so loud and enchanting, how lovely it would be to know the names of the singers. Short of enticing an RSPB warden along with me when I go for a walk, I thought a useful gadget to own/invent/commission would be a pocket-sized machine to point in the direction of the song which would identify the bird singing it. I believe there are machines which do a similar job for bats but they work by analysing the frequency of the bat's call. I don't know if the technology is available to perform such a task for birds. It would need to filter out other sounds and maybe in some circumstances there would be too many different species all singing at once and maybe some species have too wide a repertoire. I do know, however, that a great deal of information about a sound can be stored digitally in a computer so maybe my idea is a runner.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Castellated finish

At the end of my weaving I thought I would try out a new finish. It's a pig to do but I thought it would be good for a wall hanging which is what I think this piece will be. This bit of weaving is about five feet long I think and it is a sampler of patterns on a rosepath threading as set out in "A Handweaver's Pattern Book" by Marguerite Porter Davison. Hopefully I shall finish it tonight if I can keep off the computer.

French versus Runner

The French have won.

This year I have not planted any runner beans but I have planted two lots of climbing French beans. This is my attempt at successional sowing. They were planted in pots at two week intervals but the last lot was put in three weeks ago, so you see my standards are already slipping. And to be honest the second lot were planted by my twelve year old under-gardener. She also put in the second lot of Mange-tout, or sugar-snap peas, which are my all-time favourite as long as I remember to pick them before they get too big.

This week I came very close to buying a greenhouse. I've been thinking about this since 1999 now and I've chickened out again. I've been waiting so long that now I think that only the best will do for me. I would love a Hartley 10x8 but they are stupidly expensive so I thought I would go for a Rhino as they seem really good and you can get all the staging etc and it would still be cheaper than a Hartley. But then I thought it would still be stupidly expensive for a greenhouse and the money would go quite a long way to a week in Venice in October on the train for the four of us which is what I'm hankering for as well.

A special treat to eat that is also good for you.

I thought you should all know about this. I have been including the following in the three lunchboxes I prepare each morning and it has met with a very favourable response. May I propose:

One square of best plain chocolate and four Brazil nuts. I recommend it for your elevenses.

Monday, May 08, 2006

And the French for Bluebell is ...

In case you were wondering, I have consulted my dictionary and the translation is jacinthe des bois. Its Latin name is Scilla non-scripta and it is a member of the Lilly family.

Bluebell wood

We went for a walk in some nearby woods on Sunday to see the Bluebells. They are always something special and this year excelled themselves in their blue and perfumed beauty.

I had wrongly thought that the French for Bluebell is myosotis but that is actually the Forget-me-not. It always wrong-foots me because as a former medical secretary I immediately think of myositis - which is the word for "inflammation of muscle tissue which causes pain, tenderness and weakness". Not the same thing at all.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Logcabin weave finished article

I was pleased with my weaving here, although the wool is perhaps a bit itchy. I could imagine this fabric being more suitable for a cushion cover or curtains. So if I was to weave this scarf again I would use softer wool (I just used some oddments I had to hand) and I think I would put in a bit of colour at the ends. When I took it off the loom it looked quite nice with the blue header I had put in. Unfortunately I had already cut the threads when I had this thought. The header is supposed to be just for getting the tension regular and to weave past the Vs that occur at the beginning of weaving near the knots for the front stick.