Shiko gig: Crofty Carnival, Saturday 30th July 2007

Heyup. Shiko will be drumming at Croft Carnvial this Saturday — come and see us!

Crofty is a small village on the north coast of the Gower Peninsula (map here). I’m not 100% sure of the times yet, but I think it starts around noon. I should become certain tomorrow. It’ll probably be a smallish fun affair, drumming on foot as part of a parade, apparently. As usual with Shiko gigs I’m not completely sure what to expect. :-) There is talk of heading off to Pontardullais afterwards to do some busking in pubs (it’s their carnival this Saturday too).

“I’m wearing a glowing hat – just look for a glowing hat!”

(If you can’t be bothered to read all the of the following, just watch this video and know that I Was There…)

At 5pm yesterday, I left Swansea in the company of eight excellent people. Around 10pm, we arrived at the car park at Stonehenge, and set up our tents. Around 11pm, I stood before the stones and took a deep breath, before walking among them, touching them, looking, wondering (and weaving my way through a tight-packed throng of revellers). Around 4:50am, along with about 24,000 other weirdos, I looked to the sunrise but alas, ’twas hidden in clouds. Around 6am, I was in the tent, being horizontal; around 10am, I was up and about, rejuvenated and ready for the drive home; around noon, we left. Around 5pm I was waving madly at ex-students from the passenger window of a mini on the M4, much to their amusement. Around 7, I got home and made the cats happy through the magic of food.

26 of the most pleasant hours I have ever spent, I must say. The only thing missing was Bash, which is an excellent excuse for going again next year.

I’d never been to Stonehenge before at all, and I am incredibly grateful to my parents for never taking me, because this was the best first visit I can imagine. Ordinarily, it’s impossible to get right up to the stones (see google maps – those greayish dots trailing around the stones are disappointed tourists), but for the solstice it’s open and free – all praise English Heritage. It was so good to be able to walk right up to this incredible site without restriction, and I recommend a solstice visit if only for this purpose. Word to the wise, however: if weirdos bother you, arrive early, touch the stones, and don’t stay past sunset.

Cos yep, it’s gotta be said: the place was full of weirdos. I was happy to be one of them, but definitely on the normal side, alas. Much nonsense was spoken, but I was particularly amused by: “Emergency! Emergency! Glowstick breakage on the western stone!”, “If you’re not drinking ginger wine you don’t really exist – it’s a quantum thing.”, and “Your hat would be no good for Burning Man: they’d run you out of town. No, they’d fire-poi you out of town.”

BBC coverage here – though I’m sure most of the crowd didn’t get up early: they stayed up late. :-) “It’s bad lovin’, woo hoo, it’s bad lovin’!”

It was a clear night with stratocumulus scudding in from the south just in time to sprinkle us with a couple of light showers and obscure the sunrise – given the rain lately, we were more than grateful for the weather. I certainly didn’t mind not seeing the sun actually break the horizon: I was there for the night, not for the moment. It was a bit chilly around 3am, but I was kept super snug (and thus smug) by my birthday present from Bash and my parents: a shiny new Montane Extreme Smock, as recommended by intrepid Mountain Rescue types. All hail.

Interesting: 5000 more people than last year, but 1000 less cars. Only four arrests.

Photos will follow.

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A not-camp-at-all weekend in London

Two weeks ago, we spent the weekend in London, to attend a civil partnership ceremony (I call it a wedding as, I’m sure, would the happy couple) and a house-warming. The wedding was on Friday morning, so (after giving up on trying to find reasonable rail tickets) we drove up Thursday night and stayed with Jason & Sid, whose party was on Saturday. The wedding was lovely: Robin & Oliver, South-African compadres of Bash’s who came to ours (front row/right in this photo), so we were very happy to return the honour. :-) They made a lovely couple, and the ceremony was very touching. The wedding took place at Old Marylebone Town Hall (“Reception Room”) – a very nice venue, with lovely officers (though marginally and amusingly haphazard a couple of times), followed by reception at The Groucho Club. I shudder to think how much it cost them, but the food and wine were both delicious and copious. No, we didn’t see anyone famous. :-)

We milled around Wimbledon on Saturday, wombling on the common and browsing expensive charity shops. In the evening, the house-warming party… Continuing the geeky tradition begun at New Year, some of us did some programming: this time on the classic Amstrad CPC-464 at the top of the stairs (Jason is Very Retro). This being a bit old and light to run a python interpreter, Jason and I knocked up a simple BASIC program to print “Welcome to Jason & Sid’s party” at a random place on the screen every 5 seconds. We even had to RTFM.

It wasn’t all geekery, of course: evidence here. My choice cuts follow.

Will, Bash, Andy Rena doing the chicken dance Crafty smirk Me and the missus Jo worship Lush I left my heart in syntax error Exactly what it looks like Oh, you! Gorgeous Martina I have no idea

Double header

Quiet here lately because it’s exam processing time in the real world, so I’ve been busy busy busy marking, check-marking, and munging. Next week’s busy too but then I can settle into research gear for the summer and do lots of Haskell — woo.

I’m still loving the hell out of xmonad, which just keeps getting better every day. Yesterday I went dual head through the magic of Xinerama; at first it made my brain hurt, trying to keep track of where each workspace was, but now I’m getting to grips with it, I’d say. It’s nice to be able to work on one thing (a blog post, say) while keeping an eye on a background job, and while programming it’s cool to have multiple emacsen filling my field of vision. What could be better?

There is surely much more to say about many things, and I will surely say them soon.