Saturday, 5 May 2012

Today: The Devil makes work for Idle Fingers

Today, i was going to build a clay oven in the garden. there is a hole four feet deep where I extracted the building material and I suppose I ought to fill it in before someone falls into it.
You could lose a small child in there. And I know some candidates. I really want to build a clay oven to bake my bread, which I have been very busy doing lately.
Baking bread is sequential and I find it restful. A clay oven in my tiny garden would take up a significant proportion of space but I am sure it would be worth it. I saw Hugh Fearnley-W making one on telly and it fired my imagination.
But, today, it looks like it might rain and I need to buy some sand to mix with the clay and seeing as I still am not allowed to drive, I decided it will have to wait. I have some enthusiastic friends who are fellow bakers and who are anxious to help so perhaps I will recruit them for the stomping and mixing part later in the weekend. I promise there will be pictures.
So, since I can't get on with my construction projects and the clouds look ominous, I decided to get out my banjo for the first time in a year or so. Sometimes, you just have to make a noise. This is me. Not my best playing but I am very rusty after a hiatus of about ten years. I used to busk in Cardiff dressed as a hillbilly. It was good training for presentations. Once you have dealt with tramps trying to steal your money-hat and well-dressed fellows inviting you, with no hint of a smile, back to their flats to "play with my banjo!" you can deal with pretty much anything.

Alas, the kids came along, the banjo went in the loft and I became a respectable member of society, father-of-two and wage-slave. I forgot my wild youth, put aside frivolous passtimes and settled down to a domestic bluegrass-free existence.
But my ears still prick up when I hear the strains of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on the telly on some advert or other.

I shall end with a popular joke from my bluegrass days:
Q: What is the difference between a banjo and a trampoline.
A: You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.



I don't get the joke.

PerlNumquist said...

People don't like banjos. There are many such jokes.


I thought I was missing some crass innuendo.

Kay G. said...

Oh my goodness, is there no end to your talents? It's not fair!
You are a very good banjo player!
Now, don't get me started on defending hillbillies, you are talking about my people! My Daddy can show you how to make moonshine, if you would like, but you could teach him how to play the banjo.
(And was that really you? Or was it somehow a trick?)
We hillbillies are a cynical bunch.

Librarian said...

Pete!!! I LOVE this!!! The only bit I don't like about it is that it is too short. Please, play us a full song next time. I can't sit still when I hear bluegrass, it makes me want to skip and hop and clap my hands. Yes, silly me!
As for the bread baking, there was a very interesting bit about community bakeries in The Times the other day. I read this at the B&B last week; the article is online but I can't access it because I am not registered with them. Maybe someone else can:
Anyway; seems like interest in proper, wholesome food is increasing, and people who bake do more and more so not only for their own benefit, but manage to turn it into rather successful business, at the same time doing something for and with the community where they live.

PerlNumquist said...

Ahh, Kay, it's a lot easier than it looks. The open tuning means you can hit any string you like and it does not sound discordant. So, yes, it really is me. I am a country boy at heart.
We had a go at moonshine once. I broke a liebigs condenser at school and rather than own up and have to pay for it, I slipped it into my bag (I come from a family of shameless thieves but I am mostly reformed these days). It was still serviceable so we brewed up a few gallons of sugarwater and after a few weeks, distilled it. It was horrible. I am sure your father has much better recipe.
Sadly, I refuse to pay the Times for their content and can't view the article on community bakeries. I would like to think this is s anew kind of "revolution" but alas, the "artisan bread" in our local bakers retails for £3.50 a loaf and is enthusiastically bought by those who don't know you can make it yourself in a couple of hours for about 45p a loaf.