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I've been busy

Well, the security system installer is going to be paying me a visit soon, and later in the year, the guy to install the fibre optic.

The living room was a bit of a disaster zone. Many boxes. Mostly mom's stuff, with some junk of mine added to the top.

There was a lot of pointless crap that could be thrown out. Including numerous boxes of... Lanvin? The famous sea horse chocolates. I know mom liked those, but it's a bit eccentric to have bought several boxes and then not eaten them. <shrug>

But most of it? Boxes of wool. So. Much. Wool. And pieces of fabric. Stacks of pieces of fabric. I haven't thrown that out, instead I've slung it all into the not-bedroom where I can pretend it doesn't exist. And, I swear to god, it's a mountain. I've seen actual wool shops with less stock.

Then there are the books. English, French (mom's 3rd language), Spanish (mom's 2nd language), German (mom wasn't fluent but could understand and be understood), as well as Italian (and an Italian course), Greek (mom knew a little), and something that looks like Hebrew.

Then boxes of pottery. I was upset a while back over accidently breaking a nice teapot and not finding anything that looked even remotely nice on Amazon (useless), Next (meh), or M&S (meh and pricey).
Well, mom's ghost came through for me. I now have a number of, not teapots, but entire tea services. I think. I've honestly not looked at them all. I spotted a nice traditional style white ceramic pot (single person size) with a fitted grey/brown cosy that had a big red heart. Can't help but think, given that was literally (and figuratively) the first one I stumbled upon, that there's a message there.

Well, I worked my arse off all three days of this weekend. I had only planned to do two days but, you know...
Half of the room is now tidy, and the storage room is mostly full. Oh, and there's like a dozen or so black bags out back which... uh... one goes in the titchy little wheelie bin every other week. It's going to take me most of the rest of the year to clear the backlog. I'm not sure if the municipal tip accepts these sorts of bags (mixed rubbish) rather than sorted recycling. I think it depends on where you are, and I know the local rubbish people are big on recycling (to the point where it was like "30% of you only use the collection every other week" (unsaid: since they pretty much doubled the price) "therefore we're going to help the environment by only collecting two-weekly" (and screw the 70% that put rubbish out weekly).
Entirely coincidentally and absolutely not at all related - I've noticed an increase in fly tipping and rubbish strewn in the ditches, especially in the forest.

Anyway, here's a photo I took of the half of the living room that's "done". I say done in quotes as I still have to sort out the bookshelves, remove some of mom's books and put up some of my own. Plus, when it's all done I can spread things out a little. Though, while the rocking chair by the keyboard was just "oh, put it here for now", I do rather like the idea.

The living room
The living room.

Bear in mind, however, that this room is not insulated so it gets pretty cold in the winter.

I have dumped the sofa in the cow barn. It had been placed right up against the back wall. Not one of mom's better ideas. Suffice to say, the sofa survived a lot better than the wall did.
Plus, what am I going to do with a partly mouldy sofa that's sat through decades of dampness?
It wasn't easy getting this out, but... managed.

The old sofa.
The old sofa.

In its place, I have put two kitchen tidies. One just has random stuff on it, I'll need to go through and sort it all out.
The other is for connectivity.

Connectivity.
Connectivity.

Lower left (two green LEDs) is the Livebox. The smaller box on top of it (more green LEDs) is the UPS to keep it running in case of power cut.
The red LED is actually the burning tip of an incense stick.
To the front, the walkie-talkie phone. Behind that, the guest router (normally off). The password given "oh,hello." relates to that router, not the Livebox. My internal network is blocked from access by guests, any access to "192.168.1.*" will be disallowed.

On the right now, at the bottom is the amplifier hooked to the speakers. The display says "blue" as I'm using Bluetooth from my phone. On top of that is my NetRadio, and in front of that, Japanese cherry blossom incense.

 

I was sort of pushed into doing this by the visitors, but in a way I'm glad it happened. I've spent three and a half years being "guardian" of this place. I guess now I need to start thinking more of myself as the "owner" and that it's now my home.
But mom's bedroom... still off limits.

 

One of the things that kept me sane as I was doing this (asides from inordinate amounts of tea) was that I missed when selecting a symphonic rock station and ended up with something called "Celtic Moon". I immediately facepalmed hard as some bloke was singing "Danny Boy" but I couldn't be arsed to go change the station.
I'm glad I didn't, as when you get away from the painfully cliché stuff, it's actually rather lovely and very peaceful, especially a song called "Taladh na Beinne Guirme". Google does an incomplete translation telling me it's Scots Gaelic, but switching to Irish also gives an incomplete translation. Though we can tell it's actually Scots because there's a big clue - Irish uses ácúté accents while Scots uses gràvè accents. Don't ask me why, it's just how it is. So while there will be some similarities in the written language, but it'll sound different. In much the same way that Latin eventually turned into Spanish and French...

It's interesting to note that Scots and Irish belong to one branch of the Celtic languages, while Welsh and Breton belong to another. A Welsh person once told me that he was able to be understood in the Breton part of France because of the language similarities. But the two groups (Welsh/Breton and Irish/Scots) are quite different to each other. It's an interesting thing to note that there was such a divergence in the Celtic language family. Anyway... here's the song. I don't really know what it's about, but it sounds nice. For the past couple of days, I've put this on my headphones and listened to it a couple of times before drifting off to sleep. ☺

 

Next weekend will be more of the same. The other side of the living room. I expect to find Even! More! Wool! and possibly fill enough bin bags to see me well into 2024. Eek!

 

The elephant in the room

The Daily Mail recently had an article bemoaning how duty free shopping was proving harmful to tourism.

They summed up the issue by saying that visits were "down 24 per cent compared to 2019", and pointing out that "visitor spending was also down by 7 per cent to £26.5billion in 2022 - but when inflation is taken into account, visitor spend was 17 per cent below 2019 levels".

They note that "spending levels in France and Spain were more than three times higher than pre-Covid, while spending was more than double 2019 levels in Italy and Germany".

Of course, being the Daily Mail they quote the chairman of the Association of Internation Retail... "The only factor that can explain a difference in growth is the removal of tax-free shopping, which puts us at a 20 per cent price disadvantage".
Really?
You sure that's the only factor? Because, you know, that fluorescent pink elephant pole dancing in the middle of the room is really starting to get hard to ignore. We're right into willful ignorance territory here.

 

 

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Gavin Wraith, 30th May 2023, 22:10
"Stacks of pieces of fabric" - was your mother into quilting at any time? My eldest daughter is The Hackney Quilter - try googling. My wife has started quilting too, so our house also has its stacks of pieces of fabric. Newhaven has a coffee shop selling fabric for quilters. Whether quilting is an activity that has spread to your neck of the woods I do not know, but you could find that there are people who would pay to take your fabric, and wool, off your hands. 
Were your mother's Greek books in Modern  
Greek? 
See here https://lrc.la.utexas.edu/eieol/iriol for how hilariously difficult is the grammar of Old Irish. 
David Pilling, 31st May 2023, 13:41
When I was a kid, it was all about England's wealth being based on wool. By now they literally can't give the stuff away. Lots of thinking what to do with it - one use is insulation. Stuff your black bags of wool into the roof space. 
Patrick M, 31st May 2023, 19:26
I empathise a lot with your experiences. I thought the story about the teapot you found was really sweet. I also can't help but think there's a message there. 
 
You have a pretty cool set up in your living room by the way. I notice the midi cable attached to the keyboard, do you compose music?
Rick, 31st May 2023, 20:31
I suck, both at playing and composing. Something I'd like to change, but time and concentration are things I lack... 
 
I wrote the MIDI module for RISC OS, subsequently improved by others. You can find a copy at the 2023/03/19 blog entry (though, note, I have an improved version I need to get around to releasing). 
 
This works with RISC OS using the Rhapsody4 software (https://jeanmichelb.riscos.fr/Rhapsody4.html). 
J.G.Harston, 1st June 2023, 15:02
I've been moving my Mum into a retirement apartment, which has neccessitated culling the contents of her three-bed house. I currently have my place stacked to the ceiling with boxes of books, paperwork, curtains, bedding, and yes, loads and loads of random rolls of fabric. I still have to find space for her late husband's electric scooter before the house is sold. I've had it listed online for sale for a month with no bites. 
Anon, 2nd June 2023, 21:04
They do say that the piano (and by extension the keyboard) is the easiest instrument to learn, but the hardest to master. 
 
Which makes sense actually. The gap in proficiency required between playing a C-major scale and playing a complex piece is enormous. Unlike, say, a guitar, where you have to reach a certain level of competency before you can manage to play a scale. (And most guitarists have no idea what notes they're actually playing.) 
 
I play piano. And keyboards. I've actually been on some commercial recordings, although modesty prevents me from name-dropping. I'd agree with the above statement, it's taken me years to get "good enough". Plus you need to know a shed-load of music theory to get the most out of the piano. You know, all the tedious stuff (which I still find tedious, but it's necessary).

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