Good weekends

I’ve had two good weekends on the trot now, and it’s made me think about what makes a weekend good and what things I love doing on the weekend – especially when the weeks are extremely busy!

Last weekend it was Lara’s birthday and so after my day spent at Didcot Railway Centre recording the steam engines, I travelled to London for her party and stayed over so that we could enjoy a nice walk to Mudchute farm the next day. I had a great time at The Old Crown, drinking fine foamy ales and chatting with Liz, Kirsty and Alice. I was excited to learn of various Opera projects Kirsty is involved in, and of Mark Miodownik who Alice pointed me towards. Mark Miodownik is an engineer and scientist who founded the materials library, in order to research ‘the senso-aesthetic properties of materials to understand why materials feel, smell and taste the way they do.’ I love this materials-driven approach to things, and the curiosity and sense of discovery that characterises his projects. I also especially like that he has researched the making of perfect coffee and put together a podcast on this for Resonance FM! In between chatting about all this exciting stuff and dancing and drinking, I gave Lara this, which is a kind of joyous picnic kit.

From left to right the kit contains: one small bag, created to fit an ice-pack inside it for super cooled sandwiches, one bag with 2 pockets and wipe-clean oilcloth lining, one small tablecloth for pleasing outdoor arrangement of noms, one postcard featuring foolish gnome imagery, one round tupperware container for strawberries and other such tasty morsels, one postcard with a cabbage leaf on it for added random spice, one tasty blue biscuit-container so that biscuits will not be crushed in transit and one useful I SPY Wildflowers manual for the correct identification of picnic flora.

I do like the sewing on this, and I was more confident the second time around with using the pattern. The fabric was found in my bedsit; it was large square cushion covers for which I had no filling or use. So I laundered the fabric and repurposed it. I do like the quaint pattern and the fresh blues and greens beside one another.

The next day our hangovers were mostly cured by the healing fare on offer at mudchute kitchen (truly my favourite cafe in London I think) and then made sure that the sheep were also well fed. I have an amazing recording of the pigs grunting which I will endeavour to furnish you with at the bottom of this post.

The Oxford Down sheep at Mudchute were lovely to feed with their soft muzzles and enthusiasm. However sometimes they got so excited about the food that they snorted more of it onto the floor than they actually got to eat. I went home last weekend on Sunday and proceeded to be rescued by Mark who fed me his finest chilli and charmed me with the best Valentine’s day card ever.

This weekend was filled with similar percentages of partying, social fun and outdoor pleasures as last weekend, though I have decided that perhaps it would be good to eliminate hangovers from future weekends. Yesterday we met up with my family in London to celebrate my Pops’ birthday, and enjoyed a brief visit en route to the wondrous Rachael in Prick Your Finger. If you follow Rachael’s blog you may wonder why her and Louise have been building a bicycle powered mill; well yesterday Rachael told me all about the amazing installation they are planning for the Stanley Picker Gallery, and it turns out that for LOUDER THAN BOMBS they will be spinning wool in the gallery. Or as it says on the event flier,

‘By constructing the world’s first bicycle powered wool mill, they will turn unwanted sheep fleeces from within the M25 into a range of seductive yarns, good enough for the Queen.’

You know how much I love a bit of local woolly action and I think this is going to be great so do come along between 16th – 20th March to see this lovely yarn being made from unwanted fleeces!

Finally, today was spent happily walking with Mark and we have consolidated the first circular route on the A4074 soundwalk series that I am working on. We have walked this route a few times now and spent today just making sure we have the route defined before I start trying to map it, or describe it to anyone else. I love this project; I love how walking the road changes the way I feel about it and how much I learn about the outlying landscapes of my most regularly-driven route, just by walking around it. I find I see so many things when I walk that are impossible to appreciate when travelling at the speed of a car.

Today for instance I saw an equestrian weathervane near Toker’s Green; this is one of the items in I SPY in the Country; the book on which I based my last I SPY series for The Hub. The A4074 project will involve a lot of I SPY / I HEAR action, since a major focus is how we think about place using our eyes and especially our ears. I do enjoy the things you get to hear and see when on foot and we spent a really happy time today also thinking about how we could document walking in various ways, like video, on paper, or in audio recordings and podcasts… I kept thinking about Richard Long’s textworks, and all the choices you can make when you walk about how you choose to record or document your sense of a place. This is one of my favourite posts on that topic, over on Kate’s amazing needled blog.

I think Mark will be blogging his video experiments from the day later on the Walk 2012 project blog. I will go through my notes after next weekend, which is also going to be good involving a concert performance of Alvin Lucier’s Gentle Fire and some kind of amazing, relaxing Sunday activity that is yet to be decided. Joyously, this weekend I also started a new sketchpad which is very exciting since I have tended to mostly use this blog as my sketchpad since I started it, and it’s nice to be working with ink and stampers and biros and drawings and paper again.

Looking back over two fine weekends I have decided that the perfect weekend contains the following ingredients:

People you love
Sheep / Wool / Knitting
Trees / Animals / Skies
Purpose
Ales
Walking
Making
Exciting projects
Good ideas
Sounds
A bit of making
Tasty food

I hope you had all/some of these in your weekend.

6 Responses to Good weekends

  1. Lara says:

    Ahhhh! It was great weekend and I’ve been thinking about the soft faces of the sheeps. Am well up for an east london cardi when the yarn is ready. Your weekend sounds great and I love Valentine’s card, so sweet. I am planning my inaugural picnic with the marvellous kit, maybe either in Edinboro’ or Dartmoor next month! Big love to you for your week ahead. Lara xxxxx

  2. tinebeest says:

    I had a great weekend in Cornwall, with lovely food (courtesy of mr beest), some staring at the blue sea on Friday, and this morning a walk where I wish I could record the sound to cherish on the next grey day. Spring was most certainly in the air, carried with loads of little lines of birdsong.

  3. heather says:

    Fabulous valentine, perfect that it’s in sound! the pigs sound pretty amazing too.

  4. colleen says:

    What an interesting good weekend list. I’d tick a lot of those too, though would have to add the sea, or failing that water, though the sea is best because of the smell and the sound.

    I wonder if that pig is the one next to the allotment gate – the Gloucester Old Spot boar who has dug down so much that he has exposed the water pipes. And the rooster reminds me of the bottle of Shepherd Neame “Early Bird” that I had this weekend.

  5. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Blog Archive » FO - Tweed Bag

  6. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Blog Archive » Knitting, Sounds, & Good Weekends continued…

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