Not Piddling but Paddling

pipiI fortuitously pulled up alongside this sign while checking the map for the way to the river. With apologies to Stevie Smith, it gave a good cue for a title.To see the video on YouTube, click (or double click)  the link below:

A Quick Trip on the Vienne

It should auto-play, but if you get a big red splodge with white dots, click on that.

 

 

The Cause of True Love?

002 FormersGnu Gnu, as she is now known, has form if not substance, and she is beautiful in her  transcendence, but her metamorphosis from sleek  long planks of red cedar is in abeyance. Over the phone the timber yard had said they could  cut  the planks into  1/4″  strips and profile the edges into bead and coving, but face-to-face they demurred, so it will be my hands that give shape to Gnu Gnu‘s intimate hidden detail. Which will be a lot of work. And a lot of sawdust and a lot of wood-shavings. Isn’t there something about that in A Midsummer Night’s Dream ?

We Have the Technology

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Breakfast stop on the Chichester Canal

When Oscar Goldman murmurred these words prior to reconstructing Steve Austin he certainly wasn’t about to go for a paddle. But I was, and in searching for a title afterwards I first considered ‘As I Went Out One Morning’ (Bob Dylan), ‘Quite Early One Morning’ (Dylan Thomas), or or ‘As I Went Out One Mid-Summer Morning’ (Laurie Lee). Dylan won the Tom Paine Award for the song, which references Tom Paine, and Tom Paine had a strong link with Chichester, so it all goes round and round.

I wanted to post a video here, but it would cost me 60$ a year for the facility, so double click the following link to see the footage on YouTube:

As I Paddled Out One Mid-Summer Morning

The video is crudely edited – I’m still low on the learning curve – but things can only get better, as we once believed before TB cosied up to GWB.

Postscript: The video originally had  Dylan’s song, from the John Wesley Harding album, as a soundtrack. Due to understandable copyright restrictions, it was  blocked by YouTube. I have replaced it with a free-to-play track by Lunasa, but which carries a payload of adverts. Sorry!

Gnu Gnu

001 StrongbackThe new canoe is in the making, and one of my worst (?best) puns may yet become its name. The photo shows the strongback in the making, and on which the canoe proper will be built. The plans were bought from Bear Mountain Boats in Canada, and the Western Red Cedar for the planking will come from Canada too, via a timber yard in Southampton. The design is old-school ‘Prospector’, proven and pleasing.The construction is modern: strip-planking soaked in epoxy and protected with glassfibre mat. It won’t be a quick build.

Heraclitus – Patron Saint of Canoeists

258 L. Eishort, Cuillins from kayakThe Black Cuillin from Loch Eishort

The pottery, and therefore the blog, have been dormant for a year. I miss them both, but just now I’m paddling much more than potting. Of course, if you want to take your cue from the Moody Blues’ second hit single, I won’t be offended. For my part, I’m with Heraclitus, and further, browsing a new translation, I see that he actually wrote “You cannot paddle in the same river twice”. He was also a bit of a riddler…..

Flamingos, not pots, in the Desert

716HkvZ6CxL._SL1360_As all is largely quiet in the mud-shed, I thought I’d do a post about my good friend Kevin Borman’s latest book. I had the honour of helping with the proof-reading, and there is also a ceramic connection as I supplied a little information about bentonite for the book. On one level ‘Flamingos in the Desert’ is a guide book to the Almeria region of southern Spain, where Kevin lives with his partner Troy. On another, it is a wide ranging and quirky account of his exploration of the area: sleeping under the stars on mountain tops, multi-day hikes along the coast and along rivers, bird-watching, poking about in ruins,  tracing abandoned railways, water-mills and watchtowers, researching Moorish history, gardening in a semi-desert, spaghetti Westerns, goat-herding, pigeon-keeping, geology & geography – and much more, too much to list. It’s another well-crafted book by a knowledgeable and inquisitive writer. If you are still interested, Google it. Other Search Engines are of course available.

Procrastinatorium

rocket stoveSome days there are so many reasons for not getting stuck in that I despair of ever making another pot. This time I am excused. My old wood-burning stove has gone, replaced by this seemingly mundane slap-up of old bricks. Lurking behind the haphazard facade is my version of a rocket stove, no less, and it works a treat. The flue goes up 3′, back down to the floor, then up again, before joining the main stack. The mass of bricks warms up and becomes a radiator. Surprisingly it burns less wood, heat for heat, than the old stove. I’m still not making any pots though – it’s just too cosy sitting in front of this beast.