Sunday, January 28, 2024

Harley Kimbro Lewis at Celtic Connections

Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow. Sunday 29-January-2024.

This was a birthday present to Mary from her sister and brother-in-law. We drove up to Glasgow on Sunday afternoon for a cup of tea, and then George drove us into central Glasgow. I am still amazed that you can drive into the middle of a big city and get on-street parking close to where you want to go. I would not even contemplate doing such a thing in central London. It would be public transport both ways, no question.

We went for a curry beforehand at Mowgli. It was an Indian version of tapas where you order a number of small plates to make up a meal of the size you want. The flavours were very fresh and certainly not your classic mystery meat in a gloopy sauce. Definitely a recommendation.

The interior of the theatre was beautifully ornate, much like some of the London theatres of similar early Victorian era. It does not surprise me that is is a Category A listed building.

We had a very short walk to the theatre for a pre concert drink and get settled into our seats. Martin Harley, Daniel Kimbro and Sam Lewis played an hour of Americana. A couple of tracks I knew but several new ones. Kimbro clearly shares the same laconic sense of humour as Martin. However, there was little banter as they cracked on with the music playing tune after tune. At the end of the first hour, they said that the end of our set. What! We had not realised that it was a double bill and there was a different act on after the interval. That explained the lack of banter.

It was interesting to hear Martin play a different range of songs than his solo shows which are all his own compositions. 

Quoting from the festival website, “From Knoxville to Nashville via Hertfordshire, Martin Harley, Daniel Kimbro & Sam Lewis collaborate for the first time on a slow cooked, laid back album reminiscent of an early American songbook. Produced at Wow & Flutter studios the old fashioned way; writing songs in the morning and rolling the tape in the afternoon, the album highlights Daniel’s Appalachia roots, Sam’s Nashville tones and Martin’s travelling riverside blues. Individually they have worked with some of the biggest names in the business. This is acoustic Americana at is finest.”  

At the break I dashed to the loo then went to the bar only to join the back of a very long queue. They closed off the queue just as I joined it in the nick of time. Even with efficient bar staff I only just made it back to my seat in time for Butler, Blake & Grant. I’d never heard of them, but clearly well-known to the adoring audience who gave them a standing ovation at the end of their set. 

Apparently Britpop background but sounded a bit folk oriented and a clearly a talented trio. I might as well quote from the festival website again:

“Norman Blake, Bernard Butler and James Grant are three of the most renowned and respected musicians in Britain. Norman; a centrifugal force in Teenage Fanclub, Bernard; songwriter-producer and founder member of Suede and James; songsmith supremo of Love and Money. Returning to the festival that spawned their collaboration, they play a selection of each others songs and will preview new material.”

We have been burning the candle at both ends in the last few days, what with Burns Night, a birthday lunch for Mary at 1863, a team meal out on Saturday night at Dog and Gun and now this so it was straight back to George and Sandra's for an early night. 

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Dorothy Wordsworth’s Lake District

Ullswater, Cumbria.

When we were allowed out to exercise during the first Covid lockdown in 2020 we started walking the Ullswater Way in sections. See “The Ullswater Way - In the Footsteps of Dorothy Wordsworth”. Dorothy is the sister of William Wordsworth. 

Part way through this I was contacted by Paul Westover of Brigham Young University, USA, who was helping compile an electronic edition of some of Dorothy’s Lakeland writings to be published by the University of Colorado. These included "Excursion on the Banks of the Ullswater". However due to Covid he was unable to get to the UK to take pictures himself and wanted to use my photos.

I happily gave him permission to use any pictures from the blog. He also had a wish list of photos which gave us an added purpose and focus to our later walks - as well as being delightful walks in their own right. 

After some delays this online edition is now available at Dorothy Wordsworth’s Lake District:

“Dorothy Wordsworth is one of the most distinctive voices of Romantic-era literature: the author of extraordinary journals, poems, narratives, letters, and natural descriptions. This edition celebrates her work as a literary guide to the English Lake District. It offers access to works from across her career, all newly edited from manuscripts, extensively annotated, and situated within their original material formats and circumstances of composition. While some selections are general favorites, others are less well-known, and a few (selections from the Rydal Journals) have never been published before.”

Table of Contents.

  • Introduction
  • First Notebook of the Grasmere Journal (1800)
  • "Excursion on the Banks of the Ullswater" (1805)
  • "A Narrative Concerning George & Sarah Green" (1808)
  • "Excursion up Scawfell Pike" (1818)
  • Rydal Journals (1824-5, 1834-5)
  • Back Matter

Loads of scholarly detail in the transcriptions and concordance of the various manuscript versions.

It also includes an interactive map of Dorothy’s walks:

A couple of my photos did make it into this edition at Reading Text of "Excursion on the Banks of Ullswater".

Stybarrow from Silver Crag.

Low Close Horse Farm.

When restrictions were lifted Paul was able to visit and we gave him a whistle-stop tour of Penrith and environs where I learned more about the Wordsworths’ connections to the area. 

Penrith Town Hall: formerly Wordsworth House, residence of the poet’s cousin Captain John Wordsworth.

Blue plaque.

Arnison’s: William and Anne Cookson, grandparents of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, lived here.

Plaque put up by the town council.

Penrith library: formerly a school for the children of upper-class families where the young siblings, Dorothy and William attended school (see Early life of William Wordsworth).

No blue plaque, but the school inscription above the entrance.

The Robin Hood: William Wordsworth stayed here with Raisley Calvert, 1794-95.

Blue Plaque.

Amongst other places we took Paul to Lowther Castle where Wordsworth’s father was a legal agent for James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale. He was thrilled to pass through Clifton because, as a man interested in history, he knew that it was the site of Clifton Moor Skirmish the last battle fought on English soil.

So in a very, very small way I have made a contribution and on the way learned a lot more about Dot and Bill. So that was nice.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Raynaud’s syndrome

Mary reckons I cannot categorically state that I suffer from Raynaud’s syndrome as it has not been formally diagnosed by a doctor but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck I say it is a duck.

This is what my hand looks like after a chilly cross-country run with the Eden Runners Thursday social group complete with mild pain, numbness and pins and needles. It takes about an hour for my fingers to return to normal colour and sensation.

According to the NHS:

Raynaud's affects your blood circulation. When you're cold, anxious or stressed, your fingers and toes may change colour. Other symptoms can include:

  • pain
  • numbness
  • pins and needles
  • The skin may turn white or a lighter colour as blood flow is restricted.
  • [image] Fingers of a person with white skin. One fingertip is pale while the rest of the skin is pink:
  • [...]
  • The symptoms of Raynaud's may last from a few minutes to a few hours.

I rest my case, M'Lud.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Egg Box Symmetry

I do like an egg box with maximum symmetry. A full box had three: two axes of reflection symmetry and one centre of rotational symmetry. If I see an asymmetric egg box I have to rearrange the contents to increase the amount of reflection and rotational symmetry. I am not mad!

For example:


Mary says I am a sad muppet.

Egg Count Best
3 Symmetries
1 Symmetry
0 Symmetries
Five N/A

Three N/A
One N/A