Monday, 12 August 2013

Estate work

Lin holds the rope I've slung round the upper branches of the tree that overhangs Rock Cottage; ties it for safety round a tree trunk. Up a ladder leaning on the fork of the tree, I start sawing through a limb of the heavy soft ash, having sawn a wedge on the side we plan the branch to fall. Up a ladder I use a bowsaw.
Trollying kit on the path up Bell Hill to Rock Cottage
No garden tidying has been done since summer 2011, and then when I was on my own and avoided felling the larger limbs...

...As the branches start to chuckle I climb down the ladder and both of tug the rope, rocking away at the half-cut until it gives, cracks and slowly begins to fall while we keep pulling. So each of the five spreading branches drop where they should, missing the roof of the house.

On the ground the amputation is further de-limbed; cut into smaller lengths with a 12" chain saw. Other smaller trees - mainly birch behind the cottage - succumb. More will come down on our next visit when we'll need to scythe, sickle and mow grass. Meanwhile, Lin wields the hedge cutter clearing spreading brambles, cotoneaster, dog rose, ash saplings, hazel tips and ageing budleia, building up a stew of logs and foliage around the edge of the cottage.
"Next time we're here, we'll get some order in this chaos...cut logs and kindling and stack it below the lean-to. We'll have to get a professional to cut the ash trees along the path. They're already too tall and heavy for me. We'll get a good load of fire logs from them."
Now at least the repaired walls and roof of Rock Cottage are open to the sun needed to dry out the parts that had dampened from wind-driven leaks now sealed.
The garage by the road below us has been full of cast off objects for too long. Lin phoned G W Edwards, scrap dealers, in Cinderford who sent round a man with a small truck in half-an-hour and - for £5 - off went an old fridge, a doorless washing machine, along with a bicycle last used twenty years ago, the old wood stove now replaced, a couple of Calor gas stoves tattered by rust, a fireguard and length of stove pipe.
"How much will you get for that lot?" I asked
"Ooh, we'll be lucky to get £2.00"
"I think not" said Lin later

*** *** ***
Yesterday saw an annual celebration in Corfu in honour of the island's patron Saint Spyridon, our village Philharmonia taking part, and there's our neighbour Dimitra, far left in the first picture...

Λιτανεία τ' Αγιού 11.08.13
Λιτανεία του ιερού σκηνώματος του Αγίου Σπυρίδωνος στην πόλη της Κέρκυρας, σήμερα Κυριακή 11 Αυγούστου 2013, σε ανάμνηση της σωτηρίας του νησιού από τους Τούρκους, που  για 40 ημέρες πολιορκούσαν  την πόλη, το 1716. Μια ισχυρότατη βροχόπτωση, που αποδόθηκε σε θαύμα του πολιούχου Αγίου, έτρεψε τότε τους οθωμανούς σε άτακτη φυγή. Με ψήφισμα της, η Ενετική Γερουσία  καθιέρωσε λίγους μήνες αργότερα, την Λιτανεία της 11ης Αυγούστου.
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Η πομπή με εκκίνηση από την εκκλησία του Πολιούχου, θα κάνει το γύρο της πλατείας (Σπιανάδας), με δύο στάσεις για ισάριθμες δεήσεις μπροστά από το Παλιό Φρούριο και το Παλάτι αντίστοιχα, συνοδευόμενη από 8 Φιλαρμονικές, μεταξύ των οποίων και αυτή του Χωριού μας. Το ιερό σκήνωμα του Αγίου θα συνοδεύουν 8 Μητροπολίτες, εκ των οποίων οι δύο από Ουκρανία και Λευκορωσία.
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Έντονη η λιακάδα στο νησί, αλλά σαφώς λιγότερος ο κόσμος που παρακολούθησε τη Λιτανεία. «Λιγότεροι οι πιστοί, αρκετοί οι περιηγητές» θα σημειώσει μονολογώντας ο ιερέας δίπλα μας και ανάμεσά τους και αρκετοί χωριανοί μας.
11august2013f.jpg 11august2013d.jpg 

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Χθες, παραμονή της εορτής, στην μικρή εκκλησία της Πλάστιγγας, θα τελεστεί όπως κάθε χρόνο Λειτουργία, με τη γενική φροντίδα της οικογένειας Σαββανή… Οι «επιτελούντες» θα απολαύσουν στο τέλος καφέ και αναψυκτικό στη σκιά από τις δαφνιές της αυλής.
Υ.Γ. Ανέλπιστη η φετινή παραγωγή σπύρδας για το Γιάννη Κένταρχο... τόσο που χρειάστηκε φορτηγάκι για τη μεταφορά, αφού δεν χωρούσαν στο αυτοκίνητο του γιου του, Σπύρου...Πιο πάνω, στο στένεμα του δρόμου, η κυρά-Χαρίκλεια, απτόητη από τη ζέστη, τραγουδάει από το παραθύρι της «Δυο μαύρα μάτια», καλωσορίζοντας ταυτόχρονα τις δεσποινίδες Μαρία και Έλλη Βαρβαρίγου, άρτι αφιχθείσες στο χωριό.11august2013h1.jpg
(My rough translation) Litany of the holy relics of St. Spyridon in Corfu Town, took place today Sunday, August 11, 2013, in commemoration of the salvation of the island from the Turks, who in 1716 besieged the city for 40 days. A cloudburst, considered a miracle of the patron saint, distracted the Ottomans and forced their retreat. A few months later the Venetian Senate proclaimed the Litany of August 11. The procession, starting from the church of the patron saint, will tour the square (the Spianada) with two stops for as many prayers in front of the Old Fort and Palace respectively, accompanied by eight bands, including that of our village. The sacred relic of St.Spyridon is accompanied by eight bishops, including two from Ukraine and Belarus. The island lay under strong sunshine, but far fewer people attended the procession...Yesterday, on the eve of the feast, the small church of Plastingas, (after this my Greek fails me and I shall ask for help from Aleko D).
*** ***
An email circular just received:
Victoria Jubilee Allotments Association Committee
Minutes of extraordinary meeting held on July 6th 2013
Present  Apologies
Phil Rose
Sue Rose
Scylla Parkin None received
Robin Clarke
Gill Preston
Danny Webster
Jeevan Singh
Ralf Decambre
Some accusations have been made by a Victoria Jubilee plot holder about the committee, one of which is a very serious one directed at one member in particular. 
This particular accusation was made official when sent to the Big Lottery suggest misappropriation of funds.
This issue has been passed on to Clive Birch of BDAC and Adrian Stagg of Birmingham Council allotment department who will deal with the situation.
A personal libel case is also being sought which will be dealt with separately. 
It was suggested and agreed that we put in writing to the plot holder a request for an explanation and an apology to the committee and a retraction of the accusations in writing to the Big Lottery Fund.
The following were suggested and agreed as ways to improve communication -
We send a trial email to check our email contacts and update them. Gill will do this. 
Also that we publish our meeting dates a year in advance.. 
Committee members who have access to other members email address’s were reminded that they are only to be used via the vjallotment gmail site and strictly for allotment business. 
Sue Rose added – we should be grateful to committee members and other plot holders who give up their time to carry out all aspects of running the allotment. 
**** ****
Sunday supper at our daughter's - three happy hours with Amy, Guy and Oliver and, of course, the dogs.
Arriving at Amy's and Guy's home for supper
Mum's wooden owl which used to fly in Brin Croft
Ollie in the garden on Summer Lane





Simon, Amy, Lin, Cookie and Oscar on the sofa after supper
*** *** ***
A catch-up account as work proceeds on the JH archive:
It has been difficult to mine and refine the ore of the collection of old film and tape left me by my stepfather Jack Hargreaves! Others with more skill than I had been puzzled as to what to do with this collection of largely unmatched 16mm film and ¼" tapes. We still are! It took me longer than I like to think to grasp how Jack and his team at Southern had put OOT episodes together. I hadn't realised the film was in positive for a start; hadn't realised it had a magnetic strip down one side containing library sound effects added to an edited version at Southern TV's studio in Northam. It took a while to grasp that there were no recordings on film of Jack in the studio at start and finish and that the film didn't include title or credit sequences. I was puzzled as to the reel-to-reel tapes. Why had each programme been recorded in sound effectively rendering the sound effects on the film irrelevant in any reconstruction? Thank goodness tho' that these tapes were made at all! I recognised early as had others that the lack of 'shed' sequences with JH talking to camera would make commercial interest in the material improbable. We are now pondering in what medium to preserve reconstructed film - DVD, DV or Betacam. After hesitation I have selected Betacam (with DVDs for me to play around with) and found a skilled technician in Francis Niemczyk who has begun the long process of synching matched tapes (of Jack's musings) with Stan's location film. I forgot to mention how much of that vital tape-film matching process had been carried out and inventoried as a labour of love by Roger Charlesworth at the collection's second home in Plymouth (not even an OOT area) - the South West Film and Television Archive where it had been deposited by Jack's old friend Nick Wright after he moved to a house too small to house the unwieldy collection Jack had left him. The key issue of seeing off copyright claims on Out of Town despite Jack leaving them to me in his will was dealt with last year after I bought all distribution rights in OOT from Endemol who had been licensing the only collection of so-called Out of Town videos that was commercially available - all made by Jack to sell as VHS and later DVDs with the support of Endemol's predecessor Primetime, long after the demise of Southern Television in 1981 and never broadcast, tho' they use a selection - initially uncredited - of Stan Bréhaut's location film over a new commentary JH made at his home in Dorset in 1985-6. There remains one key challenge in bringing the JH archive back to life from its current location in a lock-up near my home in Birmingham. How do we (I say 'we' because I have had so much help on FB pages and from the informal JH committee) 'fill' the imageless gaps (no titles, no credits and no 'shed') when Jack is talking in his studio 'shed' before each episode dissolves to one of the myriad locations Jack and Stan had chosen for that week's episode of Out of Town....We are making progress! It's exciting to take on a challenge that has, so far, defeated other experts and amateurs - how to bring over 200 old episodes of Out of Town - some going back to the 1960s - back to life and suitable for a variety of media not available to JH (tho' he anticipated how the web might be used) in a way that is sufficiently inexpensive yet professional to have satisfied someone as expert as was Jack in the craft of television. This little essay may go some way to explaining why no institution or even keen individual is that interested in this invaluable archive in its unrestored form.. Jack Hargreaves - the invention of the camera from Simon Baddeley on Vimeo.
I am very aware that this account omits the story of how Kaleidoscope unearthed the only surviving 34 'lost episodes' of Out of Town that, so far as I currently know, exist - complete episodes rescued, as explained in the leaflet that accompanies the box set created and marketed by Delta in 2011 having been rescued almost literally from a skip by David King.

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