Saturday, August 27, 2005

Greenbelt Folk Club

Well I finally got on to the net here at the festival. Two days in and I've just about seen round the whole site. I havent seen half the things I intended to, but thats always the way at festivals. I did manage to see Emilliana Torrini last night who was brilliant and we went along to the folk club this afternoon and I plucked up the courage to play a tune on the tin whistle. My daughter and I have been having lessons together since January, and every time I hear proper folk musicians it inspires me to learn more. I dont know why I left it till I was approaching middle age till I learnt an instrument but I reckon your never too old to do these things. The learning process seems to be quite similar to when I learnt to juggle and unicycle - you struggle along for months not getting very far, then suddenly something clicks and your brain understands what you are trying to do. Learning new skills is a real buzz, especially when it involves a bit of interaction with fellow human beings rather than machines ( he says typing in to a computer )i'm doing a bit of fire juggling tommorow morning, then in the afternoon going to listen to Leo Hickmans talk - all the talks from the festival are going to be available as downloads, i'll put a link when I get back.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Getting ready for Greenbelt

Just spent the last couple of days here in Pontypridd and we are now getting ready for the trip to Greenbelt tommorow. I've finally bought a new digital camera . Its a Sony DSC S80 for those of you interested in these sought of things. Its only 4.1 megapixels but I reckon thats more than enough for what I want it for, so hopefully they'll be a few more of my own pictures on the blog from now on. Anyone interested in getting a new camera should check out I found it really usefull and they give you good comparisons between the different brands, show you sample shots and let you know the cheapest place where you can buy it.
I had planned to build my brother a pair of stilts while I was here but we couldnt find the right type of wood - We usually use ash at the community circus. The festival were looking for jugglers for one of the events so i've offered my services - its always good to meet up with other jugglers, even if they just want to show off a new trick. Q. How many jugglers does it take to change a light bulb? A. 10, 1 to change the bulb and the other 9 to say I could do that!
Anyway, got to finish the packing. Next time I post will be from the festival site - hopefully with pictures taken on my new camera!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Leash the Celtic Tiger

Irelands econonmic growth over the last decade has been well reported. But is it time to put a leash on the celtic tiger?
The Irish government is pushing ahead with ill advised projects at the expense of the countrys heritage and health. But a growing resistance movement is making its presence felt.

The proposals to extend the M3 motorway through Tara hill / Skryne valley have brought wide spread criticism from both academics and the general public. The save Tara campaign is getting support from all over the world from people outraged at the potential destruction of this historically significant site. Road building seems to go ahead based on projections of future car use which arent taking account of peak oil. As this article in indymedia points out the road could become a white elephant within 10 years and all the destruction would of been for nothing.

Another campaign gaining support at the moment is the Shell to sea campaign which is seeking the release of 5 men: Micheál Ó Seighin, Willie Corduff, Brendan Philbin, Vincent McGrath and Philip McGrath who are in Cloverhill Prison, Dublin for not allowing Shell to build a pipeline through their land.

"We are currently in prison for refusing to allow Shell and their Irish
Government partners build a pipeline close to our family homes.

Our crime was to refuse access to our lands. We have refused access because of the certainty that if this pipeline as currently proposed ruptures we, our families and neighbours, will die."

Its frightening to see the Irish government taking so little concern for the rights of their own people, but its good to know that the Irish people arent going to take it sitting down.

So boycott Shell - as if I needed to tell you that anyway.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Bicycling Comedian

Listening to Mark Radcliffe on Radio 2 last night from the Edinburgh festival, I heard him talking to the bicycling comedian Tom synders. This guy has travelled to all his comedy gigs over the last 18 years by bike, and his visited every state in America as well as touring quite a bit in Europe. Tom started touring by bike when he didn’t have enough money to get to a gig, so he bought a bike and cycled 1400 miles in 14 days from Las Vegas to Des Moines in Iowa only to find the club had burnt down!I must admit this is a very attractive idea – I’ve always fancied doing my juggling show by bike but carrying the 8ft unicycle could be a bit tricky. But for some of the local kids shows I do around Christmas I might give it a go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


This time next week we will be on our holiday. We are staying with my brothers family in Pontypridd for a couple of days before going to the Greenbelt festival. This will be my first Greenbelt. It's been ages since I went to a music festival. I went to Glastonbury a couple of times in my early twentys, but havent had much time for festivals since the family came along. So i'm looking forward to getting in to the festival mood, chilling out and seeing a few good bands. Its a very family based festival, so hopefully the kids will get as much out of it as we do.
I'm particularly looking forward to hearing Leo Hickman speak. He has written a book about trying to live ethically - "A Life Stripped Bare (Tiptoeing through the ethical minefield)" where he asks Is it possible to live a life that is western but also aware, or is the ‘Good Life’ the preserve of the eco-warriors, new-age spiritualists and the organic-product endorsing Hollywood set? Apparently some of the advice he received included: ‘The most sustainable food source is skips!’ and ‘Having children is the most unethical thing you can do, so try ceasing that for starters.’
I often think that people get the impression that those of us who try to live ethically are self righteous do gooders. But with all the evidence stacking up about the damage that our lifestyles are doing to the planet I cant understand people who do nothing about it. Thats part of what attracts me to cycling - it makes you feel good and you feel that you are doing something.
Musically - I'm looking forward to The Proclaimers, Karine Polwart and Emiliana Torrini and I'm sure there will be a few circus heads there for me to juggle with aswell.
They are also trying to do a virtual collage of the festival, so i'm going to try and post a few times while i'm there.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Piano Bike

Back to a bicycling theme ( just about) .

Found this on a google search. How does he cycle and use the pedals on the piano?

I'd like to see him try Alp D'Huez

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Originally uploaded by gentlytiptoe.

Hannahs latest creation

whoops - I meant to post this to my Family Blog but it ended up here by misstake. Oh well this is my sister in laws latest creation, lovely isnt it - very long arms and legs.