I never got round to doing the prop shaft this weekend because I got distracted. First by gathering sloes from my secret location just down the canal from Crick. This year we now have enough for two and a half bottles each of Sloe Gin and Sloe Rum. Not all for us I hasten to add. Some will end up as Christmas presents.
On the way back from gathering sloes I passed Paul of Piston Broke on the towpath outside the marina. He was putting some finishing touches on his amazing solar panel array which can be pointed accurately at the sun in both horizontal and vertical planes. I stopped for quite a while and got all the lowdown from him. Some might think it over engineered but it’ll sure do the job. Best of all I liked his shadow gauge which using a “needle” and half a Coke can allows the panels to be exactly set at 90 degrees to the vertical angle of the sun’s rays. As to the rotating turntable, complete with copper slip rings to allow complete 360 degree rotation without tangling the cables, it’s a work of art. I see they have put some pictures on their blog now although they don’t show the close up detail. As of Sunday, Piston Broke now resides nearly opposite us in Crick marina for the winter.
Now positively my final report on our musical weekend. Friday evening saw us over at Launde Abbey for the dulcimer club weekend. The Abbey has had a refit about a year ago and is now a superb place to stay, or to drop in for tea. If you are that way inclined they also have “retreat weekends” where you can just sit and be quiet. Out in the sticks near Oakham, it is in a beautiful setting in great walking countryside. Should you ever be in that area, I recommend a visit. They also operate as a hotel, so you could use it as a base for a short break.
The other nutters and I made a lot of noise and chatted, played music and laughed into the early hours. A couple of blog readers suggested I showsome of photos, so I remembered my camera. So far so good. Then I discovered I had left the SD card in the slot in the telly on the boat because we were using it to show some photos to Rick and Marilyn. Luckily the camera has a bit of memory to take a very few of pictures without the card, so here is what I got to give you a flavour.
First some mountain dulcimers I bravely resisted buying
A couple of members exchanging a tune ( a lot of this goes on)
A somewhat blurred Mat Fox (tutor) amidst about 30 hammered dulcimer students. Mat is an amazing guy who is musical director of Kinetica a very successful carnival group in London. He is also a good egg and makes me laugh.
The other tutor, our Chattanooga friend the astonishing (there is no other word for it) and charismatic Butch Ross demonstrates a tune while the sheep graze in the pastures outside. Apparently he showed some pictures of Launde on his facebook page and his American friends reckoned he was either at Downton Abbey or at Hogwarts.
“Butch Ross can't do anything right.
He plays the mountain dulcimer.
He plays it standing up like a guitar.
He holds it upside and strung backwards.
And Butch Ross plays rock n roll on it.
Despite all this wrongness, somehow it all sounds just right.”