Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
London Underground and Tube Information - Including tube map, underground route planner and other useful links.
As a regular visitor to London I got fed up searching for tube and underground information from my smartphone so I created this page to help me when I am on the move. I also put in some tips based on my own experience of using the tube and helping tourists and visitors to the city.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
- Need for endurance (brass band cornet players play like violins in an orchestra so there is more need for endurance than with the trumpet meaning that rims are likely to be wider or flatter than trumpet).
- Need for flexibility (thinner rims give more flexibility but increase attack, this is why I think the Wick rims are the way they are - to prevent very brassy attacks without sacrificing flexibility too much).
- Resistance requirement (in general tighter feeling instruments work better with slightly more open mouthpieces and visa versa - this also has a lot to do with the mouthpiece gap).
- How much pressure you use when playing.
- Whether you are required to play after the point when your lips have gone (a serious issue for brass band and big band players who have no choice in the matter!).
- The sound model you are aiming for.
- Physiology of the lips (children have smaller mouths and need smaller mouthpieces, people with big lips can't play on really shallow mouthpieces without adopting odd embouchures).
For a survey of cornet mouthpiece throat sizes and a discussion about how this affects resistance see this article:
cornet mouthpiece throat sizes.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Is this it?
What exactly is "this"? Its not explained on the poster so presumably we are to make up our own minds. I am sure that the people behind Alpha would say that the question is about existence and the meaning of life, but clearly it is aimed at our satisfaction with the substance of every day life as its during every day life that we are passing and reading this poster. The provocative question seems to be aimed at people who are disatisifed with life. Not just marginally disatisfied with some aspect of their life, but thoroughly disatisfied with everything, and possibly even depressed.
Evangelical churches are increasingly relying on exploiting people's disatisfaction with life rather than celebrating what life has to offer. They seem to have got into the business of telling people that life is pointless without God (or more properly their very narrow depiction of God). This is all very negative. What about people who simply don't have the ability to believe in God or people who live genuinely fulfilled lives without God? This is the crux of the matter. I know lots of people who are perfectly contented without any religious belief.
This advertising campaign by Alpha - like much of evangelical Christianity - is misleading, because it makes the unsubstantiated claim that without believing in God and Jesus there can be no satisfaction, enjoyment or fulfillment. Clearly this is not true. Most people have no fervent religious beliefs, but live generally happy lives whilst many people with religious beliefs feel unfulfilled and unhappy. There seems to be no connection at all between personal fulfillment and religious belief.
So how did the church get here? The simple answer is "lifestyle evangelism". Evangelicals facing an ageing church membership and declining numbers moved away from concentrating on the issue of sin, with all its negative connotations, to a strategy of attracting people to the faith through other Christians who displayed themselves as examples of how enjoyable and fulfilling life could be. Its not quite flirty fishing, but its heading there. The problem is that "it" does not work for everyone. Churches are themselves full of people who do not feel particularly fulfilled so its a strategy which is bound to fail.
This has done untold damage to battalions of people who have filtered through churches and found that "it" did not work for them. This is why most growing evangelical and charismatic churches are full of very confident, clean cut, younger people with professional occupations. Its not God that has made them like this. They have self selected themselves because they already fit that lifestyle and like attracts like.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Edinburgh City Mission - Another Example of Creationism Becoming Mainstream in British Evangelicalism
A look at its web site shows two projects which are specifically aimed at promoting creationism rather than helping people in need (which was always its primary objective).
On their Cultural Ministries page I found:
"Literature Table - Edinburgh University
An estimated 12% of the cities population are students, 26,000 of which are part of the University of Edinburgh. Although the university was founded by John Knox and the Reformers, the Enlightenment of the 18th century gave birth to the Humanism, Evolution and Atheism of Hume and Darwin. Today the University probably stands as the world stronghold of humanistic evolution, and the International Science Festival gravitates around it.
ECM has a table outside the library and hot drinks are served to hundreds of students. Using literature and thought-provoking questions on posters, a natural bridge is built along which the Gospel is freely shared. By this means a small, but growing number of students are becoming Christians, and many are being deeply challenged."
"The Edinburgh Creation Group
In November 2006 ECM co-pioneered a special outreach to the scientific and intellectual community based near the University. Deeply concerned about the godless attitudes around them, which can be traced back to the Enlightenment and Evolution, they sought to set up an effective ministry to dismantle the humanistic idol and present the truth of Creation and of Christ. In this way Edinburgh Creation Group was born, the team being made up of scientists and an historian. Since then leading scientists and experts have given regular weekly term-time talks using PowerPoint presentations to classes of students and others. These have been filmed and put on the Edinburgh Creation Group's website. The result of this has been that over 20,000 people world-wide have now watched the talks via the internet videos."
Friday, October 2, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
- Can email articles and photographs in from my Google G1 mobile phone.
- Don't need to maintain any scripts on my hosting account as it uploads via FTP.
- Some evidence that Google indexes Blogger pages more quickly because Google own Blogger.
- Its published under my own domain name.
- By hosting the pages outside the Blogger/Google network I have some protection from pages being taken down for legal reasons. Anyone complaining would have to contact my ISP, and because they are in Ireland it makes any threat of legal action slightly more difficult.
- No ads.
- Publishing via FTP from Blogger.com is getting slower and slower because it insists on uploading all the pages in the blog rather than just the ones that have changed.
- Not hosting it on Blogger's own servers means I can't use some of the new Blogger features like "followers".
- Means maintaining a web hosting account for it with sufficient resources and enough reliability (my hosting is actually very reliable, but Blogger hosted blogs have greater redundancy).
- Some difficulty maintaining my custom Blog template when Blogger make changes.
- People leaving comments have to have a Blogger account or I have to leave it entirely open (which is undesirable).
- All Blogger functions will work.
- Publishing should be faster.
- Templates should be easier to update.
- Will still be able to post via email.
- Ads may appear on my blog.
- Less security against malicious takedowns and legal threats.
- Possible to have it under a new domain - for a fee.
- Better templating than Blogger.
- Ads - but only shown to people who have not logged in as Wordpress users.
- Less functions/gadgets than a Blogger hosted blog.
- Possible to have it under a new domain - for a fee.
- More control over malicious takedowns and legal threats than a Wordpress hosted blog.
- Will have to maintain and update my own copy of the Wordpress scripts.
- Server load issues of running the scripts might cause problems for my web host or increase my hosting costs.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
- The tone of the instrument is fuller than the whistles with the plastic tops; almost flute like.
- The conical bore means that it is more in tune across its whole range.
- Although it is not tuneable they always seem to be well in tune at normal pitch (A=440Hz).
- The wooden fipple plug is naturally warmer and the windway is larger which means that it is less likely to be blocked by condensation.
- It has a more even response, requires less air in the upper register than some of the tighter whistles, although it needs a bit more air in the lower register.
- Because it can take more air it is potentially louder than some other whistles, but the volume is more controllable.
- There is a bigger separation between the lower octave and the upper octave overblow which allows for a greater dynamic range in the lower octave without accidentally squealing the note that is an octave above.
- It is inexpensive: you can get a Clarke original whistle for under £10.
- They are made in the keys of C or D.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
By running as registered charities these organisations receive a number of benefits that amount to taxpayer funding of their operations, which includes evangelism and in some cases campaigning against evolution and environmental concerns like global warming.
The benefits that Christian TV channels receive from the taxpayer through their charitable status include:
- the ability to reclaim tax on donations given by individuals through Gift Aid.
- business rates relief for any buildings they are using.
- exemption from paying corporation tax on their profits (surpluses)
The value of these to the organisations is difficult to determine in full, but Gift Aid alone can amount to a substantial part of their income.
Gift AID is a reclaim of tax from the government on donations made by UK tax payers. I have examined the accounts of three UK based Christian Television networks to try and estimate how much they are earning from Gift Aid. One (UCB) state explicitly in their annual accounts how much they receive in Gift Aid. The others I have estimated.
At least two of these channels (God TV and Revelation & Genesis TV) are not in the mainstream of the Christian religion and speak out against evolution and environmental concerns.
Channel: UCB TV and various radio channels
Charity: UNITED CHRISTIAN BROADCASTERS LIMITED, Registered Charity 299128
A staggering 16.3% of their donated income came from the government through the Gift Aid scheme - a total of £859,000 in state funding.
From their Accounts for year ended 31st December 2007
Total Income £6,819,108
Total income from donations £5 241 108
Total gift aid (according to their annual report @ 16.3% confirmed) £859,000
Channel: GOD TV and GOD TV EUROPE
Charity: THE ANGEL FOUNDATION, Registered Charity 1079501
God TV is not regulated by OFCOM. It operates under a foreign broadcasting licence and is outside OFCOM regulation allowing them to use fundraising techniques which would probably not be permitted if they were under a UK licence.
We do not know how much they are receiving in Gift Aid donations as they do not separate it out in their annual accounts. However, if we conservatively estimate it at 10% then it would mean they received at least £1M per year from the government to fund their operations. The figure could be much higher.
From their Accounts for year ended 31st March 2008
Total Income £12,174,673
Total income from donations £11,166,574
Estimated gift aid @ 10% of donated income £1,116,657
Estimated gift aid @ 15% of donated income £1,674,961
Channel: REVELATION TV and GENESIS TV
Charity: REVELATION FOUNDATION, Registered Charity 1100573
We do not know how much they are receiving in Gift Aid donations as they do not separate it out in their annual accounts. However, if we conservatively estimate it at 10% then it means they are receiving at least £167,000 from the government to fund their operations.
From their Accounts for year ended 31st March 2008
Total Income £1,740,988
Income from Donations £1,677,136
Estimated gift aid @ 10% of donated income £167,713
Estimated gift aid @ 15% of donated income £251,570
Issues this raises
Should taxpayers money be going to fund religious broadcasting organisations whose principal aims are evangelism?
If the government is to continue funding organisations like this, should this not be conditional on them operating under UK broadcast licences so they are regulated by OFCOM? For example, God TV gets money from the UK government but does not have to abide by UK broadcasting restrictions. This means they can use fundraising techniques which would be dubious under UK broadcasting regulations, but still get Gift Aid on those donations from tax payers.
The other side of the coin
It could be claimed that Gift Aid us a reclaim of the tax the donors have paid on their earnings, but the reclaim is at a notional "blended rate" which may be more than the donor has paid in tax. If the money was not given to them by the government then the government could spend it on things that would benefit the wider community.
Changes to charity law in the UK
The Charities Commission has recently published new guidance to charities that they must be able to show "public benefit". Its not clear how they will apply this to existing charities, but it will be interesting to see how religious charities and in particular Christian television stations will be able to prove a public benefit when they have such narrow sectarian aims and objectives. I suspect they will get round it by having very broad aims in their charity memorandum and articles of association, but in reality pass the vast majority of the funds raised straight to the TV channels they are operating.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I think the answer is that just as Galileo showed that the sun does not revolve round the earth, evolution challenges Christians to accept that they are not the centre of the universe. A rather humbling notion, especially for the self exalting kind of Christians who tend to be the ones who are very pro creationism.
Therefore in the tradition of Plato's conversations I present this fictional discussion between a fundamentalist and an enquirer which is based on the sort of reasoning that I heard regularly during my time as a fundamentalist.
Do you have to believe in creationism in order to be saved and go to heaven?
No, you just need to have faith in Christ. This is all that is required.
See Acts 16:31 and Romans 10:9.
Most professing Christians do believe in evolution. For example, the teaching of the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Methodist churches all allow for belief in evolution, so why do we need to believe in the biblical account of creation?
Those people are not true Christians.
So you would say they are not saved then?
It is possible they are saved, but it is not certain as they have rejected the bible as being the word of God.
So you are saying that I do have to believe in creationism to be saved?
No, I didn't say that.
Yes you did!
Well its an issue of living the best way possible.
Those who are closer to God and more conformed to his will for their lives will receive a greater reward in heaven.
See Matthew 16:27 and 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.
So there are different classes of salvation?
No, I didn't say that.
Yes you did!
Well if you want to be a true Christian and be absolutely sure of receiving your maximum reward you do need to believe in a lot more than the basic gospel message. This includes creationism, premillenial dispensationalism, the special status of Israel and a number of other things. Believing in these things is God's will for the Christian. They are revealed in his word and will be confirmed to you if you get into a church that preaches the whole word of God and you pray about it.
So if I don't believe in those things I am not a proper Christian?
No, I didn't say that.
Well you seemed to imply it.
Well its what I believe, and what all my friends believe. The bible does seem to say these things so they must be true. Therefore if you don't accept them you are rejecting the whole counsel of God and not living in truth. You therefore run the risk of being rejected by God.
See Matthew 7:21-23.
That's very interesting but I am not sure I agree with you.
I will be praying for you, that God will reveal the truth to you.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I also have a CD for sale in aid of charity - click here for info.
If you are interested in me doing any playing for you please contact me.
Dashing White Sergeant (set)
Rocky Road to Dublin
I also play other styles of music on the whistle including baroque and early music:
Quel Sguardo Sdegnosetto by Monteverdi
Friday, March 20, 2009
I need to say right from the start that I believe it is impossible to identify a particular individual as Jack the Ripper. Too much time has passed since 1888; the police scene of crime investigation was not as thorough as it would have been nowadays and most of the paperwork and original evidence is missing. However, I think we can determine enough about the killer from the remaining evidence and the circumstances of the killings to be able to eliminate the celebrity suspects and find something which is much closer to the real killer.
My own interest in the Whitechapel murders started when I was a boy, but I only became concerned about it in 1988 when the Michael Caine film was widely screened on TV, billed as a "drama documentary". The film was based on Stephen Knight's book "Jack the Ripper, The Final Solution" which was the first book to put forward the royal conspiracy theory. I got the book out of the library, read it, and found the whole theory preposterous. Even after all this time the general public who have no detailed knowledge of the case generally believe there was a royal conspiracy or some sort of royal family involvement in the case. Before I write anything else I need to thoroughly refute both of the royal theories in order to provide a clear desk on which to set out my ideas for discussion. This is where a blog has great advantage over a magazine article. You can comment on what I write and discuss my articles with myself and other readers through the comments facility (Google account required).
The Royal Conspiracy Theory
A detailed explanation of Stephen Knight's royal conspiracy theory and how it came to be written can be found in this Wikipedia article.
Prince Albert Victor, the grandson of Queen Victoria, falls in love with and secretly marries Annie Elizabeth Crook. Annie is a working class, Roman Catholic woman and as such he is prohibited from marrying her. The marriage is held in secret with Mary Jane Kelly (the Ripper's last victim) as a witness. The prince and Annie had a daughter who was looked after by Kelly. Kelly and some of her friends decide to blackmail the prince and the royal family employ their doctor Sir William Gull to kill them. The prince's illegitimate daughter by Annie, Alice Crook, grows up and becomes the mistress of the artist Walter Sickert, eventually having a son with him called Joseph Gorman, or as he likes to be known Joseph Sickert.
Why the royal conspiracy theory does not work:
- If Albert Victor had married a Roman Catholic and had a child there was no risk to the monarchy as the marriage would have been void under the Royal Marriages Act. There might have been a scandal of some sort, but there was never any risk to the heredity of the monarchy and Albert Victor would not have even needed a divorce in order to marry someone more suitable.
- Sir William Gull had had a stroke a year before the murders and was incapable of doing them.
- There is no evidence that the coachman John Netley ever existed. Proponents of the royal theory say there is a census entry with a misspelling, but as an amateur genealogist myself I know that misspellings are not as common as they appear. They are usually transcription errors when the sheets were compiled or put on computer. The original sheets are nearly always correct. There was no John Netley.
- Mary Jane Kelly could not have acted as a nanny to the illegitimate child as she was apparently living in Wales at the time with a man called Davies.
- Joseph Gorman (Sickert) eventually admitted he had made the whole thing up.
The Prince Albert Victor Theory
The second royal theory is that Prince Albert Victor acted alone in killing the five women.
Prince Albert Victor, while travelling abroad, was infected with syphilis from a prostitute. Deranged by the developing Syphilis he sets about killing prostitutes in London as revenge. The royal family find out and place him secretly in an asylum where he eventually dies from syphilis.
Why the Prince Albert Victor theory does not work:
- He can be placed elsewhere at the times of three of the murders by multiple reliable witnesses.
- There is strong evidence that Albert Victor was a homosexual (see the Cleveland Street case) and homosexual serial killers normally kill men, not women.
- Three days after the final killing Albert Victor went on a state visit to Denmark and was not confined secretly to a mental hospital as proponents of this theory claim.
- He does not match the witness descriptions. The prince was too young compared to the average age of the killer given by witnesses.
- Even if he had died from Syphilis he woudl not necessarily have become deranged or psychotic. Advanced Syphilis only very rarely causes psychosis. The other symptoms including dementia are much more common and would have prevented Albert Victor undertaking the energetic life he clearly did (hunting, fishing etc).
Now that I have laid the royal conspiracies to rest I hope it will encourage casual readers to look beyond them to see what the evidence can tell us about the real killer.
If you would like to read a good book on the subject I would recommend The Complete History of Jack the Ripper by Philip Sugden which is an unbiased account of the events of the Whitechapel murders. He is a proper historian and its an unbiased account based on the evidence as well as being one of the cheapest books on the subject.
A full list of my planned articles:
Jack the Ripper - An Introduction
Jack the Ripper - The Letters
Jack the Ripper - The Timings of the Murders
Jack the Ripper - Can psychological profiling help?
Jack the Ripper - What can the killing of Mary Jane Kelly tell us about the killer?
Jack the Ripper - My Suspect
Jack the Ripper - The Goulston Street Grafitto
Jack the Ripper - Suggested Books and some reviews
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I did it by looping the sound effect recording of the tardis taking off from the original first episode from 1963.
Right Click Here and choose "save as" to download it.
I also tried Ebuddy from the web browser but could not get it to work because of problems with the way it requires pop ups.
So far the only way I have found of doing MSN messenger is by using their old mobile interface which is located here.
Click Here to log in using the built in web browser in the gphone.
Its not ideal but it works.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? (Douglas Adams)
Saturday, January 31, 2009
It is possible to send and receive email from your domain based email address using the Gmail service (currently Google do not charge for this). This includes the Gmail webmail interface, its mobile accessible version, IMAP (with a very large inbox) and SMTP delivery from email programs like Outlook. These instructions explain how to set this up.
First of all you will need a domain name with email forwarding. Many domain registrars already provide this free when you register a domain name e.g. www.nameroute.com.
There are a number of things you need to do in your domain registrar's control panel, the gmail web interface and your email program.
Things you need to do in your domain registrar's control panel:
1. Decide what email address you want to use at your domain name and set up a single email forwarder in their control panel or administration system to forward mail from that address to your gmail address.
Things you need to do on the gmail web site:
1. Create a gmail account through the google web site.
2. Click on the "accounts" tab in settings and under "send mail as" click on "add another address". Enter the address under your domain that you have set the forwarder up for in our control panel. An email will be sent to this address. You will need to recover that email (it will arrive in your gmail account) and click on the link to confirm you have the right to send mail from that address.
3. Now go back to the "accounts" tab in the gmail settings and click on "make default" next to your domain based email address.
You can now send and receive from your domain based email address using the gmail web interface. If you want to use an email program like Outlook then see the steps below.
Things you need to do to use an IMAP email program like Outlook:
1. Log into the gmail web interface click on settings (in the top right hand corner). Under settings click on "Forwarding and POP/IMAP". Enable IMAP. Do NOT enable POP3.
2. Click where it says "configuration instructions" and configure your email program accordingly, making sure you set up all the advanced settings or it will not work. You need to set it up as an IMAP account in your email program.
3. Make sure you enter the log in user name for IMAP as your gmail address and gmail password.
4. You need to set the email address in your email program as your domain based address so that it sends from the correct address. For example, in Outlook Express this is the address in the general tab in account settings (the field called E-mail address).
5. (optional) In Outlook Express you can hide some of the unused folders marked [Gmail] to keep things tidy. Do this by clicking on the account in your inbox area in Outlook Express and then on the "IMAP folders" button at the top of the page. I only have inbox, sent items and spam folders showing in my Outlook Express.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
After much faffing around I finally discovered that Windows was misreporting the fault. The drive was not full - the file was too large for the FAT 32 file system on the drive (it was a 4.2 GB disk image and the file size limit is 4 GB). All my machines are formatted NTFS which has no file size limit. I have not used FAT 32 for a long time so the USB drive must have been formatted that way out of the box without me noticing.
So the moral of the story is: don't take Microsoft's error messages at face value. A lot of time would have been saved if Windows had reported the error as "file too large for FAT 32 formatted disk".
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I have modified the original posts to try and make it read more like an article, but its still a commentary on what happened.
I found these instructions:
and as I had a piece of 1 inch diameter aluminium alloy tubing I decided to give it a go.
Cut the tube to approximate length plus 2 cm to give me some leeway for error.
Cut the window and filed out the burrs.
To do this I put masking tape on the tube, marked it out in pencil, drilled the short edges with a small drill bit and used a fine junior hacksaw blade to cut the top and bottom, then I filed them out using a needle file.
Made the fipple plug.
To do this I cut a bit off the end of the handle of an old garden brush which was a good fit in the tube already. Put some sandpaper on my workbench and rubbed it backwards and forwards till I had taken enough off it to get an airway 17mm wide (to match the window)
Made the ramp.
I used a hammer and the round end of a radiator plug to "panel beat" the depressed area over a large number of strikes with the hammer. I tried to align the edge of the lip so it was straight but this is not easy with aluminium, I can see now why so many makers mill out the lips in aluminium whistles. Then I filed the edge slightly sharper to give me a start at being able to make a sound.
Shaped the wind way.
I put the fipple plug in the tube, taped the tube to my bench with gaffer tape and used a block of wood and a hammer to shape the top of the airway slightly flatter. Again a lot of short sharp strikes while moving over the area to prevent the tube being damaged. The wood protects it also.
Took whistle indoors and left it to reach room temperature then blew some air through it to warm it up. Taped the fipple block in place and was surprised to make a sound, this was a bottom C#.
Glued the fipple block.
I used impact adhesive because thats what I had.
I also used it to fill the gaps between the wood and the tube now that it had been slightly distorted.
Total time so far: one hour plus coffee break.
I had to leave it for the glue to set overnight.
Tools used so far:
Mitre saw (to get the fipple block ends straight, although you could use any saw).
Junior hacksaw with a fine blade
electric drill and drill bits
chromatic tuner (could use a piano or other tuning aid)
Checked for seal round the fipple block and all was OK
Warmed it up and tested the tuning, still just under C#.
Spent one hour (yes one hour) trying to get the manufacturers label off the tube!
It was laminated on with plastic and I ended up using solvent. I am not going to include this in the overall time for making the instrument.
Tuning of root note D
Cut the tube with hacksaw about 6mm at a time till I was showing a flat D.
Then very carefully took small amounts off (filing might be easier) until I hit it correctly.
Making of holes
I put masking tape right down the centre of the tube and marked the centre line in pencil. Then calculated the positions of the holes using the formula in the article. I decided to offset some of the holes as I have short fingers and I did this by looking at pictures of commercial whistles. Drilled the holes with a small drill bit and removed the masking tape.
Started on the furthest away hole, enlarging it with successive drill bits until it got higher in pitch and nearly in tune. Then used tapered reamer to adjust it more precisely. Could use a rat tail file for this or just successively larger drill bits.
Tools used today in addition to yesterday:
Tapered reamers (not necessary, could use a file or drill bits)
Time spent in total so far: about two hours in total
So far I have bottom two notes playing in tune. Next task will be to tune the other notes and then make sure the lip adjustment is right for a good tone on every note.
Couple of photos of the progress so far (click on image to see larger version):
You can see that the holes are all still small apart from the bottom one which has been tuned.
The rest will get bigger as I work my way up.
The mouthpiece will be cut at an angle and filed smooth. The lip will need adjusted to make a clear sound on all notes, but even in this state its actually sounding good on the two notes that work.
I work from home so at lunch time I made a quick sandwich and started tuning the whistle. I did each note in turn, opening up the hole with successively larger drill bits till it was just below pitch, then I went back and used a tapered reamer to finely adjust the holes. It was a bit fiddly, but took half an hour to complete. Because I knew I would have to clean the holes I stayed slightly flat on the note so I can adjust again later. I was surprised at how big some of the holes were but they were in line with the sizes the author of the article ended up with. At this point I was glad I offset the holes.
Total time so far : 2 hours 30 minutes
I then used a half round needle file to de burr the top and bottom surfaces of each hole.
I used some P600 paper to clean up the lip which has improved the volume.
OK, we have a working whistle.
Here is a clip of me playing the Dark Island on it:
I still need to shape the mouthpiece and varnish the end of the fipple block to protect it. I think making that diagonal cut might be quite difficult with hand tools. Will do it later and report back.
A functional low D in under three hours using basic household tools, and I have never made a woodwind instrument before. I have to say, I am surprised and even slightly shocked. Its not an Overton or even a Susato but it works!
A couple of the notes are still a bit flat and need pulled up but I will do that with a rat tail file, gradually over the next few days. I will cut the mouthpiece to shape later today and varnish the wooden end. I may also adjust the wind way to make it more efficient and send more of the air onto the lip blade.
Photo of what it looks like with the holes correctly tuned (click on image for larger version):
I have shaped the mouthpiece end and am re gluing the fipple block, then I just have to varnish the wooden end to protect it. Going to lacquer coat it and also the top of the mouthpiece because I had a bad reaction to an aluminium trumpet mouthpiece once (so did a lot of people which is why they stopped making them).
If anything, resetting the fipple block made it louder. I meant to burn the top of the block to harden the surface a bit but its too late now. Maybe the next one I build. I can see me doing more of these. Maybe a very mellow C made from half inch plumbing pipe next.
Having made the angled cut for the mouthpiece I realised that there was going to be a tendency for my bottom lip to lever the wooden block up the way and slightly narrow the airway. To stop this happening I drilled a hole through the bottom of the tube and screwed the fipple block to the tube using this. The adhesive might be strong enough but a bit of over engineering does no harm.
I have now sprayed the mouthpiece end with clear lacquer and its going to take some time to settle down. Will give it another blow tonight and see how I get on. One not is noticeably flat in both octaves so one hole needs enlarged slightly and then that will be it.
I have adjusted the tuning again and recorded a bit of Hot Asphalt to try out a faster tune. I am glad I offset those holes.
This instrument has been well used and features on my new CD.
I went on to scorch the inside of the fipple block as a way of hardening the wood. This video is a final demonstration of the finished instrument. Having experimented with this one I have found an easier way of doing it. Instead of flattening the tube at the fipple end to make the air pass over the blade I could make the bit taken out of the block wider at the open end and narrower at the blade end. This is how the Clarke original whistles are made. I think I could reduce the air requirement by doing this and bringing the blade down to the level of the top of the fipple block. I will be building another one soon.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
From A Manuscript Of The Reign Of King James VI With An Introductory Enquiry Illustrative Of The History Of The Music Of Scotland By William Dauney, Esq. F.S.A. Scot., Edinburgh, 1838
This book is available for free download from Google Books - Click Here.
The music starts at page 215.
Contents of the Skene Manuscript
The manuscript is a collection of eighty five pieces of music written in mandore tablature. The mandore was a form of lute tuned to a similar pitch to the modern viola. The closest modern equivalent would be the mandola.
Here is a facsimile example of the original tablature (click on image to see a larger version):
The music contained in the manuscript was written for secular entertainment purposes and would have been played in the noble houses of Scotland. Some of the tunes refer to members of the family of James VI (e.g. Prince Henries Maske) and this music would no doubt have been played at the royal court. Much of the music is French influenced because of Scotland's close connections with France, but it does contain some specifically Scottish melodies including the first written down version of the Flowers of the Forest. Some of the melodies are written for specific types of dances.
Here are some excerpts played on penny whistle:
And here are some more, including the version of the Flowers of the Forest (the first written version of that tune):
A full commentary and explanation of the origin of the tunes plus any lyrics is contained in the book by William Dauney, referenced above starting at page 253.
Origins of the Skene manuscript
The date is uncertain, sometimes between 1615-1625, but possibly as late as 1630. Written by, or for, John Skene of Hallyards Castle, Lothian.
Sir John Skene was Lord Curriehill (1543-1617) a member of the Faculty of Advocates since 1575. Appointed as a judge he served as Lord Advocate from 1589 to 1594 and was involved in the prosecution of many alleged witches. His book Regiam Majestatem is a record of the laws of Scotland as they stood before James VI became James I of England.
He also served as Scottish ambassador to Holland.
Hallyards Castle was a fortified tower in the usual Scottish style. The foundations still exist to the north west end of the runway at Edinburgh Airport, although this is a later version of the house built by John Skene's son.
The castle was affected by undermining and was a partial ruin by the 19th century. It was finally demolished in 1975 when the airport runway was extended.
The family also owned Curriehill Castle in Currie.
Location of Hallyards relative to Edinburgh Airport (click on the image to see a larger version):
Closer view (click on the image to see a larger version):
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
It is pretty faithful to the narrative in the book and even makes reference to the diaries, but there are a number of changes:
- The film starts with legend of Vlad the impaler which is not in the book
- Renfield is a lawyer, who had been working on the property transaction before Harker.
- Character of Dracula is less threatening initially in the book than in the film, where the vampire explantion is more overt from the beginning (I suppose because film goers won't find it a surprise).
- Draculas ownership of Carfax Abbey is stated early on in the film rather than it being a surprise later in the book that it is next to the asylum.
- Dracula has a shadow that operates seperately from his body movements in the film.
- The carriage driver is not revealed as Dracula at any point
- Mina and Lucy do not stay in Whitby and none of the action is set in Whitby.
- Seward suggests a larger animal like a cat to Renfield, but in the book Seward is slightly bemused by Sewards request.
- Shaving incident is not as in the book, the book only has no reflection in the mirror,
- The baby is given to the female vampires not in a bag, thus making it require less imagination.
- The female vampires are not described as being like Dracula physically which removes the incest angle.
- Seward is injecting himself with morphine.
- Dracula appears as a wolf rather than the wolf escaping from the zoo being controlled by him which is not in the book
- The wolf still escapes from the zoo but it seems to be poseessed by Dracula
- The ship Demeter does not wash up at Whitby with a dead man lashed to the wheel
- Lucy is more aware of what has happened to her earlier on rather than it being dream like.
- She does not seem very ill comopared to the description in the book.
- Dracula only appears as a bat briefly at the end of the film in the abbey scene, not at the windows of the house.
- Dracula seeks out Mina rather than him being spotted and not wanting to be discovered.
- There is a theme of love in the film associated with Vlads wife killing herself which is not in the book
- Scene in the cinema and the entire relationship between Dracula and Lucy is not in book
- Lucy's mother does not appear in the film and does not die
- No communion wafer for cleansing the boxes of earth, holy water used instead.
- The undead Lucy does not attack children in the park, and seems to have abducted a sleeping child.
- Search for the boxes does not happen in the film.
- Renfield does not plead to be allowed out.
- Ship to Transylvania does not divert
- Burnig with wafer takes place in Transylvania rather than before the journey.
- Mina trying to save Dracula is not in the book.
- The vampires do not turn to dust when their heads are severed.
- Dracula transforms into rats
Friday, January 2, 2009
There are several remains of the original British in habitants still visible in the county particularly a large cairn of stones upon Lochcoat Hill and another on the banks of the Forth about a mile west from Barnbugle Castle Near Kirkliston there is a circular earthen tumulus surrounded by large rough stones at some distance from each other and some sepulchral tumuli on the south bank of the Almond opposite to Livingston House.
This got me wondering if these ancient burial sites still existed in Livingston.
Where was Livingston House?
Livingston House was known locally as Livingston Peel and stood between Eliburn and Livingston Village
According to W.F. Hendrie's "The history of Livingston":
By 1483, the tower from which de Leving defended his lands stood on a rampart of ground and was surrounded by a thirty foot moat, full of water.
Livingston Village grew around the peel, and the foundations of the peel have been recreated in Peel Park which is adjacent to Leving Place (itself named after the family who originally built the peel). I have highlighted the location on this aerial photograph.
Click on the photo to see a larger version:
The peel eventually belonged to Sir Patrick Murray (1632-1671) who acquired it in 1652. He created a garden in the grounds with over 1000 species of plant which eventualy moving to Edinburgh on the site currently occupied by Waverley station. It became the Royal Botanic Garden and then moved to its present site in Inverleith, Edinburgh.
Where are the burial mounds now?
I did a search on Microsoft Live Maps which has good aerial photography of Livingston and directly due south of the Peel site is the Kaims area (streets like Kaims Drive and Kaims Place). Kaims may suggest a series of mounds (kame or kaim being the Scots word for a mound, used mainly these days as a scientific term for certain types of glacial feature). There are still some undulations to the east of the houses next to Alderstone Road near the entrance road to the football stadium.
Click on the photo to see a larger version:
Are these the same mounds referred to in the 1830 article or have they been cleared to make way for some of the houses and development in Livingston?