Tuesday, 18 September 2018

On the Way Home

Yesterday (Monday) I walked down to Registan Square early (before 0800). One or two other tourists with cameras and everyone else was local and cleaning the place. Ladies with witches brooms sweeping up the leaves, men with scissors deadheading roses, a man with a sort of hoover/polisher doing all the steps. And me. More interested in the people than the architecture.





But the architecture is still outstanding.

Later in the day we visited yet more blue domed tombs. They are all merged into one now. At 1840, we were on a train to Tashkent.



Four of us plus luggage shoehorned into a teeny closed space. That was first class. I wonder what the nonfirst class was like. 

This morning I had my favourite grapes for breakfast.


These are used to dry and make the very best sultanas. Definitely my favourites. 

At 1230 today we are going to set off home. Plane out at three, in Heathrow at 2000 hours. So what did I think? It is a very clean country. Only saw one beggar. Never saw a ragged, hungry child. Children spotlessly clean. I get the impression they love children. Our guide is always telling us about his four year old daughter. They are also very keen on preserving their ancient buildings and are spending a lot on conservation. The people are friendly and English is compulsory in schools. The hotels were good. The downside? The food is boring and a bit tasteless. Both of us have lost about two kilos in twelve days. Unusual on holiday!!!







Monday, 17 September 2018

(Backup) Athens

The way I can tell it is Athens, is that,if I step out on to my balcony, I can see the Acropolis in the setting sun. See below. Tomorrow I get to visit it. Tonight I am too tired to appreciate it.






Up very early this morning and off to Heathrow. It was Terminal 2which I have not visited since they rebuilt it. Very posh, it has a Heston Blumenthal restaurant, and loads of couture shops. Air Aegean was a bit disconcerting. The staff  just talked Greek. A four hour flight then 40 km into Athens which is very spread out. Apparently in the 1970s, someone put up a tower block. Everyone was horrified and it is now illegal to have more than five floors. So a very spread out city.

I have a personalised walking tour organised for tomorrow.so will report tomorrow evening.
I have worked very hard over the last few days. The Open Studios stuff is all hung up or laid out and the studio is tidy. I shall be glad when the Open Studios is over, end May. It has been a lot of work.

I have spent the last hour trying to get photos from my iPad into the blog and failing completely. It is a very new iPad and there has to be a way of doing this.

(Backup) Driving round Britain

Yesterday I drove to Leamington Spa by way of Worcester which is far from direct but my accountant works in Worcester and I had an appointment with him. He said several things of interest and I ended up at Anne's house in time for her to give me last minute instructions. Then they were off to Glastonbury while I prepared to drive Alex to a party.  But the postcode was wrong and we ended up in the countryside with nothing visible but fields and cows. So we were both miffed and went home.

Today I drove back to Malvern to see people and fight with banks. All of the battles were won -- by me. Then I drove to Castlemorton Common where I inspected the black poplars. These are centuries old and were pollarded for many of those centuries. Now they have thickened trunks which have rotting bits, in other words, very interesting. But a number have died. I was delighted to see that someone has planted twelve small black poplar trees. They are now about ten foot high. Whereas old ones are 40 to 50 foot high. I took a large number of photos.

 
The 



This evening taxi drive was okay in that I got Alex to his swimming class and home again without incident.

I have been thinking. I am keen to do some Lino cuts and have some good ideas for two or three colour prints. The truth is that I have gone off weaving. MIT is a lot of effort to warp up the Megado. For what? In 2006, I suddenly went off antenna design. No new problems. I had done everything before. Boring. So I was not too bothered when I retired two years later. I suspect the same is happening with weaving. I know what I create a draft for is going to work, so why bother. I can see trouble ahead here!

On our way

We (Dorothy and myself), arewaiting in a Boeing 757, for takeoff to Tashkent from Heathrow. Uzbekistan Airways. It is not quit the same as Virgin! There is an air of casualness about and the business class seats are just wider than the Economy ones. No beds here! 

The dogs have gone to our dog sitter, JuLia for their summer hols and they will love it. Lots of other dogs to play with. The adults adore them all and spoil them rigid. Jerry got off to a bad start by steal a plastic bottle full of lemon yellow acid due and destroying it In The garden. This was done at home just before leaving for Julia’s. I noted he had bright green whispers but thought it was green tomatoes. After he left, I discovered the partly destroyed plastic bottle and yellow dye all over the lawn and, I admit it, panicked. But it turns out that acid dyes are used as food dye. So no problem there.. When I  phoned Julia, she inspected him and reported he had four yellow paws!. He was washed. He does not like water. Serve him right. And the first thing I have to do when I return is put forty odd bottles of acid dye. On a high shelf in stead of under a table in the garage.

I was in Uzbekistan in 2013 and looked through all my photos taken then. Interesting, they are records of things, silk weaving, food, bazaars and not at all good photos. I must try harde this time. I have been doing an onLine course with David duChemin which is a real eye opener. Not much on ‘use this f number’ more you need to engage with the sitter. He is most interested in people. And not in what he calls picture postcards. I will post asi grand you can see if I have cha ged.

(Backup) At Samarkand

Today we bussed from Bokhara to Samarkand by way of Timor’s town. Six hours of bus trip on not bumpy roads. However Timur’ town was worth it. The style is very different from Bokhara and Khiva, much plainer although monumental in some places.


The fortress walls.


His statue and the remnants of his palace gateway.



Two Uzbek girls sightseeing. They asked me, not the other way round.

Last night we were taken to a private house for a meal of plov. Sort of risotto with lamb. Delicious. Tonight’s meal at the Samarkand hotel was the standard fare, vegetable salads, meat and veg soup, meat and potatoes, small cake. These are very variable. Mostly the first two are okay but the third is poor and the cake can be horrible or delicious.













(Backup) Still at Samarkand

This morning we discovered that, since Saturday we have had no WiFi. No email and no roaming. Fortunately the kindle bit of the iPad was functioning well. Which was just as well because I have eaten something which disagrees with me. So I stayed in all day and very restful it was too. What I did was to read my way through the collected exploits of Sherlock Holmes. And make loads of notes about jobs I must do when I get home.

Yesterday was spent seeing the sights of Samarkand. I still think it is a beautiful place. 




Us in Registan Square, Samarkand



Just another dome with blue tiles.



The market. How I love markets.









Still at Samarkand

This morning we discovered that, since Saturday we have had no WiFi. No email and no roaming. Fortunately the kindle bit of the iPad was functioning well. Which was just as well because I have eaten something which disagrees with me. So I stayed in all day and very restful it was too. What I did was to read my way through the collected exploits of Sherlock Holmes. And make loads of notes about jobs I must do when I get home.

Yesterday was spent seeing the sights of Samarkand. I still think it is a beautiful place. 




Us in Registan Square, Samarkand



Just another dome with blue tiles.



The market. How I love markets.









Monday, 10 September 2018

Uzbekistan



Here I am back in Uzbekistan after five years. After a nasty overnight to Tashkent, we were hauled out on Saturdayafternoon to walk round the city. The highlight for me was the market. And of course looking at okay.





The next day we were out of bed at four. Tashkent National airport has to be experienced to be believed, even then you might have to pinch yourself. Basically it was a scrum to get past the checkin desk. That was only thr start of the group’s woes. We had been split across two flights, one at 0720 and one at 0740,we were on the second flight. We could see the other flight strumming to get on the bus and then we were called. We waited on the tarmac for 30minutes and then went. But when we got to Urgench, the others were nowhere to be seen. We had collected our luggage, very slow considering we the plane was only a few feet away. We then held a panic meeting when pointed the party arriving. This was twenty minutes after us. Where had they been? On the Tashkent tarmac! The reason for the panic was that there was on more flight that day and that was at 2200hours. By now we were late so we rushed off in a bus to see two fortresses of mud brick and in a scary condition. After we had lunch in a yurt. 

I had a good inspection of braids holding the yurts together.




Lots more on my iPad. Then we got to Khiva. — late.





And this morning I was out at dawn.




Today we walked round Khiva from 0900to 1600.  Mind you we had tea and cakes, astonishing good cakes. Tomorrow we drive to Bokhara.













Monday, 3 September 2018

Bookbinders at Chester

Last week I was at Chester University for the bookbinders annual do. Eight lecture/demos in two days plus an exhibition plus two auctions and of course lots of gossip with friends.

Because I have never been to Chester, I drove up early on Thursday, got there at one and set out to examine Chester which is very odd. It is quite clear that the city fathers are ruthless about shops. The place is full of black and white half timbered buildings with lots of decorative wood work and a shopkeeper has to live with that. So you have

A branch of Boots with a small tasteful sign on a spectacular mediaeval building and a modern BHS next door with a bus queue as well. And that is repeated throughout the city centre.
The first floor is all arcaded and full of shops too. So you have very upmarket shops (Penhaligons) mixed with Starbucks and a small sweet shop. And very busy too. Which is very pleasing. I could wander round all day. It is so quirky. very much unique and I am not at all surprised the City Council has strict rules on shopfronts. And not a Macdonalds arch in sight.

I really should have allowed two days. I never saw any of the Roman buildings. I did see the city walls but had no time to explore them and I walked past the cathedral. But I was determined to concentrate on the city centre. Chester, I will be back soon!

I have signed up for an expensive photographic course with David du Chemin (Canadian). About a year ago, I suddenly started getting newsletters from him, no idea why. I like his approach. Anyway I signed up for this course on travel photography. I had learnt enough to put some of his ideas into practice in Chester. I do not know if the photos are 'better' but they hang together better. I walked round for an hour before taking any photos and then concentrated on the quirky bits. Like the Boots building and the arcades. 

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About Me

I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.