Learning piano – Its all in the head with this guy !

3rd March 2017

I happened across Danthecomposer a few weeks ago and felt that his philosophical approach to playing the piano, although very different, had a lot of merit and deserved investigating. Here is an about link:   https://www.youtube.com/user/danthecomposer/about

I have watched his first 4 of his 10 videos and am now practicing according to his suggestion, briefly several times a day to implant the mind to fingers memory needed  . I have to say this has changed not just my playing, but perhaps more importantly, my feeling for the piano and what I am able to create .

Here is link to the suite of videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drO86DNI348&list=PL4cPpP-Ua6NWrn4SeCHHjMNMESg0qEZ-M

His idea is to quickly create the freedom and confidence to be able to play across the entire keyboard with fluidity and without sheet music – amazingly it works!

For those wanting to take this to the next level he continues with a series on playing Jazz piano;

tomt

Major Teddy Norton of Morstead & Everest

12th Feb 2017

Major Edward Felix Norton (21 February 1884 – 3 November 1954)

Norton set a record for climbing to extreme altitudes without oxygen—28,126 feet 

When living in Owslebury Bottom after WWII , our journey to or from Winchester passed by and acknowledge the house of Major Norton. The man known to us for his exploits as a mountaineer and being a member of two expeditions on Mount Everest in 1923 & 1924.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_F._Norton

1924 Group Photo

His house was almost opposite Morstead Church just before the road forks, left to Longwood & Upham , right over Jackman’s Hill through Owslebury Bottom to Owslebury.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/30/everest-diaries-edward-norton-george-mallory-andrew-irvine

More:

http://mountainworldproductions.com/wp/2014/06/everest-1924-forgotten-chapter.html

I have just ordered a copy from Amazon.uk

Diaries of Edward Norton, James Mallory & Andrew Irvine.

While there are some well known characters and gentry who were at one time residents of Owslebury , I think Major Teddy deserves additional recognition. I wonder where he was buried

Tomt

Who reads our stuff ?

Saturday 11th Feb. 2017

Two years on from Blogday 1, I have logged 84,000 page reads, almost 7,000 last month. Which begs the question, who reads my stuff ? Since I write across such a wide range of topics it is unlikely to be defined as a group with common interests, so how do they find my piece on the topic of their interest ?

1563
1270
1198
1133
1067

Virtually none of them ever leave a comment before moving on . The Blogger stats does not yield useful info in this regard.

Feel free to share your experiences .

thornton.tom1@gmail.com

tomt

Airmail – Par Avion letter writing.

Friday 10th February 2017

Old Airmail Letters

“Aerogramme”

A word long forgotten in the age of Txt me and Twitter etc.
I was practicing my handwriting with a selection of my fountain pens when I realised that my grandchildren will never have experienced receiving a handwritten letter . That is, seeing a letter, and recognising the handwriting even before excitedly opening the envelope.  Now eager to read the news from a dear friend, a lover or distant aunt or cousin. These were often shared around the household widening the family bond. Many of those letter writers had learned to write with a beautiful cursive hand , their letters beautiful to behold.
http://palmermethod.com/

Cursive Business Script

I decided to that I would write such a letter to each of my grandchildren , one that would be a surprise and eye catching , it would be an Aerogram . Though easier said than done . While I have written many hundreds of Aerogram and Airmail letters before and since my emigrating to Canada in my twenties . The electronic world has delivered instant connectivity and hand written mail has vanished into its ether .

A blank  prestamped Aerogramme

First challenge is to find a pad of airmail writing paper and matching envelopes, this paper was usually described as Onion Skin . My local stationer just laughed when I asked for these “not seen for years” they said . But adding that, “all our steel pens had suddenly disappeared” since it is now apparently cool to write with pen and ink again, so maybe the Spencerian era is returning.

Interestingly I found on the web several printable .pdf files to print download and print your own Aerogrammes . Here is a link to one in my Dropbox –
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3838208/airmail_stationeryset.pdf

Meanwhile I have found pads of onion skin at Staples 8 1/2″ x 11″  so I can put these through my printer to create my own Aerogrammes it need.. I will hand write my letters but it is equally possible to type and print them onto the template. This circumvents the need to find the elusive Airmail envelopes.

Airmail Envelopes were of a lighter paper to minimise weight.

Here is link to my Google Drive for a .pdf Airmail US Letter page template created with iStudio for Mac so you may print your own airmail pages.

So “Write On! my friend”

Update Thurs. 16th Feb.

We had cause to go into town today so called at Staples to find the Onion Skin Pads . I just sat down and tried the first sheet with various fountain pens . This paper is beautiful silky smooth to touch and all my nibs glide over it oh! so nicely. I highly recommend this writing material. You’r gonna love it  to:)

Bye! I’ve got letters to write.

tomt

 

Di Longhi EC702 Espresso – update 2017

30 Jan 2017

Update to the Blog http://www.myblog.tom-thornton.ca/delonghi-ec-702-expresso-maker/

Two years and 3 months on the machine sprung a leak 🙁 oooooo
I immediately contacted Forum Appliances Vancouver to order a replacement. They also confirmed they would repair it for $75 BUT the shipping costs would be around $40 each way. :(O

I decide to open the machine to see what where the leak was .
YouTube is mine of useful info for such purposes :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6u1IgA60nw
There are several more video on other EC702 repairs.

What I found was that a gesket on the output side of the Valve #71 had been sqeezed out .

Showing the #71 Valve output side disconected
 and the damaged Seal/ gasket

Damaged seal detail.

Here is a link to the parts manual for EC702.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9PKcMMo1zSEbllmcG5OdExQN0E
There being no breakdown showing the gasket I orders two replacement valves –  #71 @ $5. each  form Forum. I see this a cheap insurance 🙂
As 2nd repaired machine will reside in the RV Trailer.

The replacement machine arrived this morning just in time to make my mid morning brew – Happy birthday Me !

Even with this failure I still consider this to be the best value for money coffee maker on the market . Which is why I replaced with the exact same one.

Only my original 1990’s Starbucks Barista which lasted 7 years has not disappointed me – I have suffered through 2 Krupps 2 failures within weeks  ( Leaks)
Breville 2 failures (Electrical).

Read my modification post to further improve this machine
 http://www.myblog.tom-thornton.ca/delonghi-ec-702-expresso-maker/
I have also found it wise to ease out the steam jet to  lowere the back pressure other wise the Pipet will push off at high velocity into your milk which then soak you and the whole area in hot frothed milK <I:(O )))))))
tomt

Nuclear Fusion is near – ITER

29th Jan 2017

ITER – Project site Nuclear Fusion by 2035

Watching The Christmas Lectures recently on BBC iPlayer by the scientist  Saiful Islam I learned about the existence of a Nuclear Fusion demonstration project in France named ITER partner in this endeavour are China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States . The expectation is to produce 10 times the energy input Which means electricity without pollution virtually free.
Here is link where you can lean more about your future :
https://www.iter.org/proj/inafewlines

tomt

WOW! -Real Marmalde

27 Jan 2017

Winter’s Delight, Fresh Tasting Tangy Marmalade

It is about late January when the supply of jars of this delicious tasty homemade preserve dwindle in the larder. Fortunately it is also the time that the Seville Oranges magically reappear in the grocery stores.

We make our own because I love the real thing , that is , NOT the sugary syrup in jars found at your local supermarket for $5 ea., which is the most expensive sugar you can buy . No the stuff I am talking about is like biting into a whole fresh orange !. Full of zesty citrus flavour.

Ok so now that you are drooling , and you are eager to have a go at making your own.

Citrus Ingredients for One batch:)

In my experience of making Marmalade the method is as important as the exact ingredients .

You need:
8 Seville Oranges & 2 Lemons
You may substitute other citrus according to your preference, but I recommend that for your first batch you stick to the above basic version.
6 Cups sugar
4 Cups Water
Pomoma’s Universal Pectin.
For non N.Americans 1 cup = 8 fluid Ounces
This makes approx 8-9 cups of Marmalade.

Buy this easy to read style

You will also need a Candy / Deep Fry Thermometer with temp reading in excess of  120C .














The process :

First cut the fruit in half to make it easier to work with.
Now with  very sharp remove the outer peel in thin broad slices.
Then slice the peel into 1/2- 3/4″ long narrow strips and set aside.
I have also found that instead of the above, if really sharp potato peeler is used on the whole orange, a much finer more consistent peel is removed .

















Next squeeze every possible bit of juice out of you fruit into jug.
I  have found the tools in the photo to be the best for this.



Now in 4 cups of water boil the squeezed fruit, seeds included, until it becomes translucent and soft , usually about an hour.
When cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the juice that you can .

Time to prepare and sterilize your jars and their lids .

Now I have found that although in theory you will have extracted enough pectin , the natural setting agent, from the seed that you boiled I have had disappointingly runny marmalade on occasion :(. So I now add a dose of off the shelf pectin .

For this I use Pomona’s Universal Pectin because it is activated be Calcium not sugar and one can reduce the sugar content significantly if desired.

I have found it is best to add the pectin dose to the extracted juice and blend it well before adding the cooking pan.









Get ready to cook :


Prepared ingredients



You need a large jam pan , Stainless Steel preferably, with a heavy bottom to avoid burning. I also have found our regular kitchen stove to have difficulty in delivering enough heat to achieve the necessary rolling boil to the magic temperature of 108C . Instead I cook outside on our Coleman Propane camping stove.

COOK!

Juice pressing tools – Lemon Squeezer and Potatoe Ricer


First
place all the spent citrus centres into the pan with 4 cups  water cook until translucent about 45mins – 1 hr. allow to cool and squeeze out every drop of liquid and reserve it back into the pan. To extract the maximum from the cooked cores I squeeze them in the Potatoe Ricer shown in the photo . this adds a lot of fine pu;p to the brew which may not be to everyone’s liking.

Rolling boil at 104C – Wait!


Next
add all the prepared liquid ingredients into the pan and begin to heat gently adding the sugar by drizzling it in while stirring steadily.
Once the sugar is fully dissolved, begin to raise the heat keeping an eye on the thermometer reading , while liquor is at a rolling boil. It will probably stall for a while at 104C, but be patient !. Another point to note is that the sliced peel will become translucent. What is happening now is you are boiling off excess water which raises the boiling point of you Marmalade . When the thermometer reaches the magic 108C  and this may take another 1/2 hour, test a drop on a cold plate to be assured of your preferred degree of set .

Storage
Remove from heat and place the precious Marmalade into the sterile jars to just below the top, cover with lids and tighten the rings , turn upside down to for 5 + mins the seal is confirmed when the lid pings 🙂

Now you have many months of breakfast pleasure to enjoy 🙂

tomt

Searching .pdf files Mac – Family History etc.

19th Jan 2017

SKIM .PDF Tool for Mac.

Plunging again into Thornton Family history in Wiltshire UK. I have just purchased and downloaded two CDs of data from the Wiltshire Family History Society sales point – Genfair. These are massive .pdf files of over 11,000 pages . which raises the question is there a search tool to avoid scrolling through the entire document ?.
For my Mac I found “SKIM” and tried it  is Awsome !!

Skim is a viewer for Portable Document Format (PDF) files, intended for easy reading and studying PDF documents.
You can search PDF files, bookmark them, add notes, highlight sections, and take “snapshot” for easy reference. Skim can also open PostScript (PS) files, converting them to PDF.
In addition, with Skim you can fully concentrate on reading the PDF file in a powerfull full screen mode, or give full screen presentations of your PDF file.

Tomt

Illicit Drug Use – A Tipping Point !

4th Jan 2017

Much news and media coverage has been given over to a disturbing increase in drug related fatalities in BC. Fentanyl being at the center of it. I find it far more disturbing for our already overloaded healthcare facilities and staff now being asked to divert precious resources away from treating genuine illness . Instead they are tasked with giving ICU care to the detritus of society that are playing Russian roulette with chemistry in order to escape reality and their miserable lives. I am told now that their brains are so damaged from the initial drug and its antidote that they will be in care for the rest of their lives. OMG ! What are we doing?

Where are we headed ?
One has to have some empathy with the Philippines with such a large proportion of its population living in poverty with 2 million addicts and growing . History is littered with examples of what happens when a society reaches a tipping point  of intolerance and a revolution erupts, the consequences of which are usually extreme.

So why do so many of our young feel that their lives are empty and meaningless and use poisonous chemicals to escape from their reality, eventually they make it permanent ?.
If one looks around the world into the faces of those in refugee camps who have faced the horrors of war and deprivation, there is hope in their eyes . It’s not so much about the challenges you meet in life but rather how you meet those challenges that makes all the difference . So many of the people that I have met and admire are those that have endured really tough times when young. Hence I am more inclined think that in many cases, both here at home, and in favelas and ghettos of the world one of the biggest problems unfulfilled expectations rather than deprivation. In today’s world of instant communication everywhere we are born into a world where are told everything is available now!  Reality is that few can have it all, or even most of it . But that is what is happening, the few are getting richer and richer or to use an old saying
“The Rich get richer, and it’s the Poor what gets the Blame !”

85% of the Worlds wealth in 3 regions 🙂



If you are not part of the Solution then you are part of the Problem !

The transfer of great wealth from the work of the poor to the industrial , banker or aristocratic society has always stirred the wrath and eventually brought down ancient empires and rulers. Currently we have many wars happening around the world as I see it they are usually triggered by a disparity between the “Haves and the Have Nots” – In the case of The Arab Spring was about the price of bread and grew into much more. But if the Egyptian labourer had been payed enough to buy bread and feed his family then it seems unlikely that The Spring would have blossomed.  Likewise I say that if we were able to design and apply a much fairer redistribution of wealth across the planet versus the present situation where 1% have over 50% of the world’s wealth.  Then the dreams created by the media could perhaps be somewhat better met and the desperation of our youth be calmed toward more rational behaviours. Hence our care facilities may the get back to purpose caring for the sick not the fatally disillusioned !

tomt