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“Felt” can mean at least two different things. One meaning is the past tense and past participle of the verb “feel”; another is a noun, meaning matted wool fibre. Today featured both.

The day started early thanks to glorious sunshine streaming in through the bedroom window, and I was happy to get up and feel active – watering the plants and pruning the banana tree: the banana-y smell produced by the “bleeding” cutoff points was wonderfully fresh and I felt quite primeval and machete-worthy for a short time at least.

My attempt to make felt out of an old jumper I once knitted but which had become shapeless and bobbly is something I clearly felt (haha!) should have been a success story, but reality determined a different path. I put the sweater in an old pillowcase together with a rough old towel and stuck it on a boil wash, full of hopeful anticipation. So far so good, until at the end of the cycle said bundle was extremely heavy and sodden: too much for the spin cycle. I got it spun in the end, but it hadn’t felted (that word feels wrong!), so I might have to try more drastic measures…

Barely had I finished clearing up the not-so-felting debacle than I needed to get ready to go hiking with friends. We drove to Zaster and walked up the gorge and over a mountain and back down again. Oof!! Gorgeous plant life in evidence, and also on the plus side, I felt more at ease with these friends (originally friends of my ex’s) than I had done previously, and I felt more up to the hike physically than previously, too.

Nevertheless, I was pleased to get home again this evening and cook a yummy post-hike lowcarb dinner of bacon and egg with salad. I can live with that!

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Photo showcase: Going against the grain

Going against the grain

Going against the grain (Click to view larger version)

Although I normally use the “photo showcase” category to revisit older photos, this is a new picture, taken just yesterday on a walk up above Hinterzarten in the Black Forest.

I have a bit of a thing for signs, as those who’ve followed my Flickr stream over the years will no doubt be aware (here is a collection of them put together especially for this post), and this one immediately caught my eye as it still had a lot of crispness despite being obviously rather old and weathered, and the red stood out really well against the grey boards of the background (it was a farm building of some sort, with chickens out the back…). The exposed grain of the sign perpendicular to that of the boards added interest that would have been absent had the sign been more pristine.

As it had been foggy when we left Freiburg, I didn’t bother with a “proper” camera on this occasion but relied on my phone instead. I knew it would therefore be well-nigh impossible to get a “straight-on” picture of this without horrible perspective distortion on the upright lines, so I went for a quirky tilt instead.*

* OK, let’s face it: I wanted a quirky tilt in any case.

When I got home and reviewed my pictures, I was annoyed to see I’d just nicked off the right-hand corner of the sign, making the whole shot look really careless and sloppy, despite what I thought had been valiant attempts to frame the sign nicely with a bit of space around it. The moral of this is that you MUST review your pictures properly at the scene when using a new version of a photo app in which all sorts of stuff has obviously changed. Clearly in this case, the lens doesn’t capture everything on the screen.

I almost deleted the picture in disgust, but I desperately didn’t want to, having thought of ever such a clever name for it and all that. The solution I decided to try was to tilt and recrop. The additional tilt was included so that I could get the left-hand edge of the sign absolutely vertical and (I hoped) give the picture a sense of balance, to pretend that there was a deliberate stylistic choice in there. The lopping off of the right-hand corner of the sign needed to look more deliberate, too. I’d have cropped it in a bit more closely on the right, but I didn’t want to “shave” too closely to that small round knothole above the edge of the sign.

The result is something I’m surprisingly happy with. I’d never have made a deliberate choice to chop off part of a triangular sign in that way when taking a picture of it – it would have felt like a poor framing choice – but I guess that in trying to save the photo I’ve just ended up going a bit more against the grain than I originally intended. I could have tried to “sell” it to you all as some kind of maverick, original conceptual idea. But then again, necessity is the mother of invention and all that.

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