Boracay, A Hidden Tropical Paradise

Originally posted 2017-07-27 13:50:03.

boracay beach
The beach at Boracay

Boracay: White Sand and Plenty of Fun

 

 Boracay is a bouquet of impressions. Triangular sails silhouetted against the sunset, tropical forest all around, an avenue of palms along the beach. Pure white sand, clear, unpolluted tropical water, adventure excursions, fun night-life and a laid-back atmosphere—not to mention exotic dancing girls. All this at prices that remain very reasonable. Does this appeal? Well, instead of Phuket or Bali, consider a trip to Boracay instead.

 

Boracay (pronounced bor-AH-cay) is an island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It’s a popular resort amongst Filipinos and other Asians. It has an amazing beach, lots of eco-tourism and adventure sport, and great night-life. However it is relatively unknown by Western tourists, and remains fairly unspoiled and friendly. Plus, for Brits and other anglophones, English is almost universally understood and very widely spoken in the Philippines.


Continue reading “Boracay, A Hidden Tropical Paradise”

DIY Fiddle Repair and Maintenance 2

Originally posted 2013-05-24 19:21:02.

fiddle repair

Part Two of the series on how to repair your own violin

Basics of repair

There is a grand tradition of fiddlers who repair their own instruments, as I said. Just because you happen to be a player does not make you useless, after all.

To repair your own instrument gives great satisfaction. I have one fiddle which is over two hundred years old which I found in bits, with all her varnish stripped. She would surely be worth more financially if I had had a restorer fix her, but I did it myself, she sounds and plays wonderfully, and I get a real kick out of the fact that I saved her myself. Because, believe me, she was kindling-wood before.

That brings me to an important point.


Continue reading “DIY Fiddle Repair and Maintenance 2”

Damp Walls–How to get them dry

Originally posted 2016-07-30 18:45:38.

In the past walls were rendered and plastered with lime. Lime is a truly wonderful material that can be bent to a whole series of uses, but as a render on stone it is unsurpassed. It ‘breathes’, allowing moisture to escape and suppressing damp walls. This is because it is very porous. So why are there damp walls in so many old houses today?

Continue reading “Damp Walls–How to get them dry”

Christmas: An Orgy in the Philippines

Originally posted 2018-01-04 07:48:24.

Well it’s been quite a couple of weeks here at the fun factory, so if I didn’t wish it before, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year — and if you are one of those miserable cunts who insist on saying ‘Happy Holidays’ well, fuck that, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See, I’m not vindictive.

Anyway, it has been quite the Festive Season. Here I am in sunny Pampanga, Philippines, with the delightful Sam Villasencio and we are getting along just fine. On Christmas Eve we went to see friends of hers who live nearby, which turned into a typically Filipino party with Red Horse shots and much music and dancing.

We men were treated to a twerking display by the girls and I am happy to say

Twerk it baby

 

that Sam help up the side very well. Food was courtesy of Renz and his wife Joanna but Renz did most of the cooking while Joanna, a classic Pinay beauty, entertained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Christmas: An Orgy in the Philippines”

Roofs in France: types of tiles used

Originally posted 2015-01-10 04:46:29.

France is divided, basically, into the north, where tuiles plates were traditional roof covering tiles, and the south, where tuiles romaines are found. There is a line just south of Chalon sur Saone where you can see this change quite clearly, and you know you have officially entered le sud, even though the Mediterranean is still hundreds of miles away. I always stop for a glass of wine in a café when I pass this point. Roofs in the north, with their flat tiles, tend to be steeply pitched, whereas in the south the pitch is much more gentle.

Continue reading “Roofs in France: types of tiles used”

Wood in Traditional Building 2: Poplar and Pine

Originally posted 2014-03-12 13:35:43.

Everyone will be familiar with the beautiful poplar trees that make valleys in Burgundy and elsewhere so charming to the eye. Poplar produces straight-grained timber of prodigious length. The wood is soft and easy to cut, and it holds nails very well. It resists splitting firmly because is has an interwoven grain, so it is tricky to plane well; better to use a power plane. But poplar is in any case best kept for rough work.

It has two big disadvantages; it can to warp severely as it dries, so great care must be taken in stacking; and insects just love it. Poplar should never be used unless it is treated or painted, or else the woodworm will have a field day. However, it is reasonably resistant to rot, and as long as it is used with care, is a useful timber. It is cheap and plentiful, light and easy to handle.

Unfortunately, poplar is usually grown individually, in long thin avenues, or as windbreaks along the edges of fields, and more rarely in plantations. Its presence in the beautiful valleys of central France is a great asset visually. However, this causes a problem when it is cut for timber.

Continue reading “Wood in Traditional Building 2: Poplar and Pine”

Wood in Traditional Building 1: Oak

Originally posted 2014-02-18 12:54:42.

Wood is, along with stone and earth, one of the principal materials used in the construction of buildings, and particularly older buildings. The principal varieties used are oak, poplar and beech, known as hardwood in UK.  Spruces and pines(softwood in UK) are also much used, especially in new-build.  It is important to have some understanding of the nature of wood, its uses in the older house and some sympathy for its virtues as well as its limitations.

Wood is used in a wide variety of applications, and the most important of these are the support structure for floors; the roof timbers and associated work; and the interior finishing timber. Timber is also used in the construction of interior walls and in many areas in the construction of supporting walls.

There are three timbers commonly found in older buildings in France, namely oak, poplar and pine. Other timbers are often found as parts of outhouses and sheds.


Continue reading “Wood in Traditional Building 1: Oak”

Grip: How to hold the fiddle and bow

Originally posted 2013-07-03 19:59:34.

Grip the fiddle and bow photo
Grip the fiddle and bow so that the bow crosses the strings at a right angle

Once you have the grip of the instrument under the chin sorted out, the next thing to address is the right hand’s grip on the bow. This can cause a great deal of trouble though in my opinion is not as tricky as the left hand. Again, the secret is to avoid tension; the hand must be relaxed. To do this, all four fingers and the thumb must be in contact with the stick, and all must be curved. This is hugely important. The most common grip errors are for the little or pinkie finger to lock and become straight and rigid. Do not allow this to happen. Another is for the pinkie to lift off the stick, which is also wrong. More subtle and harder to see but just as damaging is for the thumb to become stiff.


Continue reading “Grip: How to hold the fiddle and bow”

Peg Replacement on a Fiddle or Violin

Originally posted 2013-06-27 22:56:04.

To replace a peg, you’ll need the right tools.

Some of these are  specialised, and can be expensive, but even after just one set of pegs, you’ll be ahead, and believe me, then you’ll want to do more.

One of the most common problems with old violins is that the pegs are poorly fitted, are not a match to the violin or are just plain old worn out. A fiddle that won’t tune because the pegs jam or slip is a curse. Fitting new pegs is not difficult to do.


Continue reading “Peg Replacement on a Fiddle or Violin”