Tin Whistle Challenge: Denis Delaney

My second tin whistle challenge: Denis Delaney.

This is an double jig, which I have adapted from the setting in “O’Neill’s Music of Ireland” (number 703).

Denis Delaney (MIDI)

Denis Delaney (PDF)

Despite the fact I haven’t recorded my first challenge yet (see previous post) I will practise this tune and aim to upload a recording at the end of the week, recording equipment permitting.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Tin Whistle Challenge: The Sporting Pitchfork – the results?

Here we go, then.

My first Tin Whistle Challenge was The Sporting Pitchfork. I have been practising through the week, when work and family have allowed (“you’re not playing that tune again?!”), so here is the result:

…erm, or not, as the case may be.

It’s not a fantastic start to my challenge, but I’m not going to be able to post my recording till later in the week.

I have been practising, but I am currently staying away from home, for work, and I had planned to make my recording whilst staying in the hotel. After lots of wandering round trying to find a good spot to record in, I have discovered that the microphone on my phone – whilst suitable for basic phone calls – is not up to this task.

Sounds like a poor excuse? Maybe. But I won’t be able to make a proper recording till later in the week when I’m home.

So, to try to establish a habit of recording and publishing each week, I am posting this excuse. 🙂

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Logging time using Microsoft Notepad

I have come across a useful trick today with Microsoft Notepad. It seems that this most basic of editors can help you maintain a basic time log; for example, you could use it to track the time you spend on different activities during the day.

To use this feature, simply open a new instance of Notepad, and type .LOG onto the first line (the leading dot and capital letters are essential).
Windows Notepad, with ".LOG" entered on the first line

Save this somewhere you can find it again (I chose LOG.txt on the Desktop) and close the window.

Next time you open the file, Notepad will automatically add a newline with the current date and time.
Notepad showing a new line with the current date and time

Now add any notes underneath this to explain what you have been doing or are about to start, save and exit.

Repeat this as often as you like to build up an activity log.

Of course, there are many more sophisticated pieces of software out there to manage your time, but this is still a handy little feature from an often overlooked little program.

I have also tested this in a couple of other editors. TextPad (on Windows) offers the same feature. Gedit (Linux/GNOME) and Vim (Linux/terminal) do not. If you have tested this in any other editors, please let me know in the comments.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Tin Whistle Challenge: The Sporting Pitchfork

My first tin whistle challenge: The Sporting Pitchfork.

This is an Irish folk tune, which I have found in Grey Larsen’s book: The Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle. Grey includes numerous variations of the tune, so I have picked a version I like and transcribed it here. I have used Grey’s own notation for rolls and cuts.

The Sporting Pitchfork (MIDI)

The Sporting Pitchfork (PDF)

I will do my best to learn the tune and upload a recording at the end of the week.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

The tin whistle challenge

As I am trying to improve my tin whistle playing (starting from a very low baseline!), I have decided to set myself a challenge: learn a new tune each week and record the results.

Why am I doing this?
To give me some focus, mainly. Up till now I have been picking out tunes from my head, or making idle squarking noises. As I am playing for fun and relaxation, I have developed a small repertoire of tunes I can play (to varying standards) and now I rarely stray from them.

What are the rules?
Every good challenge has rules 🙂
I will choose a new tune every Monday and post the sheet music here. During the week I will practice the tune and post an audio recording here at the end of the week.

I may not stick rigidly to the rules, as work and other life events may get in the way, but I will do my best.

Wish me luck.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

First seedlings

My first seedlings of the year (if you ignore the garlic, onions and broad beans I planted in the autumn) appeared this week.

On the tomato front, Roma VF is this year’s winner, with the first seedling raising its head on Friday, followed by three more the next day. Trailing slightly behind were Gardener’s Delight and Black Russian, with one seedling of each apearing above the soil by the end of Saturday. These were all sown two weeks ago on 28th February.

From the legumes, sugar-snap peas are leading the field, closely followed by asparagus peas. One seedling of each showed its face on Saturday. I am particulary pleased because both of these are from seeds I saved last year; the seeds from the packet have not appeared yet.

I have been a little unfair to the rapini; all three varieties (40, 60 & 90 day) sent up seedlings within a week of sowing, so they really deserve the title of first seedlings of the year. But after the tomato-moth devestation last year, I am keeping a watchful eye on my tomato seedlings.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

BBC 6 Music

Today the BBC released their strategy review to the public, officially confirming rumours that, amongst other changes, the radio stations, BBC 6 Music and BBC Asian Network, may be shutdown.

I can’t comment on Asian Network, as I’m not in the target audience, but I think it will be a sad day if 6 Music closes. I listen every day, as I wake up to face the morning, whilst I work and as I relax in the evening. If I travel for business I always pack my DAB alarm clock so that, even as I find myself in some unknown hotel bed, I can still wake up to Chris Hawkins and Shaun Keaveney. I even paid for a DAB radio in my car just so I could listen to 6 Music and Radio 7 whilst on the move.

One reason given for the station’s closure is that the BBC should not be competing with commercial operators. This puzzles me as I am yet to hear a single commercial radio station that comes close to 6 Music in terms of style and content. Xfm has a similar primary playlist for current music, but lacks 6’s journeys into archive music. On the other hand, I fail to hear any significant difference between Radio 1 and the majority of commercial music stations broadcast around the country.

The station closure is by no means guaranteed; the BBC Trust are now conducting a public consultation and will have to approve or (hopefully) deny the proposal. The Trust have setup an online survey to gather the public’s views on all aspects of the review.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Back to the garden

Now our family of three has settled, I have returned my attention to the vegetable garden.

Despite my best intentions to plan my sowing and select my varieties before the new year, Sebastian’s arrival in December has left me well behind my tight schedule :-). On the other hand, the garlic, onions and broad beans I planted back in November are coming on nicely. Even the elephant garlic, which hadn’t show any signs of growing before the snow arrived, has now begun to appear above ground.

In order to get back on track, this weekend I have revisited my garden plan (thanks to the really useful planning tool at growveg.com) and placed an order to replenish my seed collection (thanks to moreveg.co.uk who supply smaller quantities of seed for much lower prices than the big boys do).

I have also sown my first seeds for the year: a couple of tomato varieties (more to come!), some sweet peppers, rapini (or broccoli raab), more broad beans, sugar-snap peas and some asparagus peas I saved from last year. In all honesty, it may be a little early for some of those to be growing now, but I am aiming to avoid vegetable overload this year by sowing successionally so I have only started a small number of each.

After this one weekend I am feeling a lot more confident and excited about the prospect of growing veg this year. Now I just need to finish digging the beds for everything to be transplanted to…

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook