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Retired in retirement.
Life's ups and downs.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (150 votes) 
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stringy
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April 2, 2022 - 3:23 pm
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What kind of soil is it that your trees, or ex trees I should say were growing in. Just saying this because I notice you are on a slope.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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April 3, 2022 - 5:38 am
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Hi,

Thanks for asking @stringy Having felled the trees I found the soil to be virtually bone dry with lots of it like powder due to the trees shielding it from the rain; however over the last 35 years all the trees and shrubs have been dropping pine needles and leaves; I raked up lots of these from the surface and used them as mulch elsewhere then I rotavated; as I walked over the freshly rotavated ground I sank in deeply and didn't hold out much hope as to soil qualty but wildflower seeds are stated to do better on poor soil.

Now the ground is exposed to our dire weather which recently has been a mixture of rain and snow with frosts the soil is now amazing; it looks rich and fertile; after rotavating I didn't rake and walke all over it before broadcasting the wildflower seeds as recommended but instead I've left the ground very rough indeed with deep welly imprints; I'm trying this out in the hope it will prevent totall loss of water when it rains; with raked ground it seems to form a crust then rain simply heads down to the valley bottom; the middle of the garden is very steep indeed.

The new wildflower meadow I created three years ago at the very top of the garden is somewhat less steep and I raked this but ended up buying a new very long hosepipe to use in rare sunshine; I was very disappointed whilst watching the water run away with dust on its surface this obviously being soil erosion so this year I've created furrows about 3" deep right across the meadow in the hope these too will retain water; I got the idea from YouTube so can't take credit for it but it makes a lot of sense.

This side of the valley is mostly heavy clay; we had a brick making company about half a mile away but with the trees and shrubs etc dropping leaves over so many years our soil is now excellent.

Time now for a violin practice which I'm looking forward to.

Kind regards, Colin.

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April 3, 2022 - 10:45 am
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Hi,

How can I be so unlucky with most things. 15 very tall trees felled and disposed of in just under two weeks working in terrible weather then as soon as finished the weather was absolutely brilliant. This week three lots of plants and shrubs arrved in three deliveries; this time planting each day in bitterly cold weather dodging rain or snow showers.

A while ago I bought a Laney LX20R and a Tascam recorder/mixer to create a recording studio; I also rigged up a car radio to Sony speakers in order to play MP3 tracks from stick this working very well indeed.

I've been so bogged down with heavy work that each time I've tried recording my violin playing hoping to play back through the amplifier I've only partially succeeded. This morning now having spare time I wandered into the studio and decided to try the Tascam and amplifier once again. With everything switched on and a bit of violin practice recorded once again playback through the amplifier proved very difficult indeed; everything was working and I could hear the violin but only at normal volume; as soon as I tried to increase the amplifier volume above #1 the amplifier screeched its head off?

I knocked off for dinner and still no nearer to solving the problem; all the wiring was correct after all I could play back at normal volume and I knew for certain both the Tascam and amplifier were working as they should but there was someting wrong.

I've just popped into the studio and reconnected the Tascam output to LH speaker for the amplifier it had been set from the start to RH speaker; only two options and as usual I get it wrong; I never suspected polarity problems.

I'm just the same with traffic lights which really annoy me usually turning to amber then red right at the last second having let a row of vehicles through; companies I've bought from for years going out of business; lots of frustration  and yes I'm moaning because I wish something would go right for a change. Over the last eight years Bron and I befiriended a local self employed gardener taking pity on him because we knew he was stuggling; we've given him lots of free items and he said if ever we needed help he'd be there for us; with all the heavy tree work one of the big trees was leaning well over our our fence into next doors garden so for once I thought I'd ask for help but I offered £100 which was agreed to; no offer of a free hand in spite of years of helping him; I emailed giving a few days notice of the tree felling but no reply; no reply to my second email; no reply to my third email so I felled all the trees working on my own but had to use a winch on the leaning tree. With the job completed I phoned him and was told he'd been off work ill which of course could happen to anyone but how strange when he said he'd had to contact his gardening customers advising them he was ill; Bron and I mustn't even be on his list because he totally ignored three emails; another so called friend bites the dust and this was the first time I'd ever asked for help. In future I've had it and will do as I've been doing all our 46 years of married life and do everything ourselves.

Something has actually gone right but only after lots of frustration; the amplifier is now fully working; I should have more time now for violin practice because in future anyone wanting free favours PARDON?

Kind regards, Colin.

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April 15, 2022 - 6:38 am
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Hi,

I've not posted for a while because my life has just been one long moan.

Yesterday I cut the grass and washed the car then did weeding; as usual I found yet another job needing doing; I'd erected a new fence only about six years ago using treated wooden posts; why should I be surprised to find three of the posts broken at ground level due to rot.

It now being an holiday I'll wait until next week then I'll buy galvanized scaffolding tubing and replace all the posts so I still dream of a bit of peace in order to play my violins.

On a positive note though I've now made a recording of me playing around on Bron's new Yamaha electronic keyboard using the Tascam; I exported the recording to my computer in WAC format but couldn't upload to YouTube so I converted it to MP3 which again was rejected then I converted it to MPEG and again it was rejected so just another learning curve; I'll get there in the end; I found using the keyboard a lot easier than using the violin for recording but I will record violin practices now I've gained a bit more experience. Just YouTube now to sort out.

Kind regards, Colin.

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April 16, 2022 - 1:59 pm
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Hi,

WOW; two violin practices today and the weather is glorious; first practice early this morning and I've just come out of the studio feeling pleased for a change.

As usual another unexpected job awaited me; I really should be blindfolded whilst outdoors.

Pointing-Apl-22_0001.JPGImage EnlargerPointing-Apl-22_0003.JPGImage Enlarger

I found a section of wall in need of urgent repointing as seen. Normally I'd have repointed the entire wall but I'm becoming increasingly fed up of being diverted from what I want to do; the repointing is now completed looking strange but it will dry much lighter in colour.

Tomorrow I'll do the job I set out to do today; it never lets up but two violin practices today has cheered me up.

Kind regards, Colin

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April 17, 2022 - 2:20 pm
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Hi,

Today I did the job I intended to do yesterday. I added large numbers to the bungalow front years ago and also large numbers above the front door but we still receive mail addressed to neighbours so I'm relegated to postman.

I've now added a second large number display I wonder if the numbers will be noticed?

Two more violin practices today and I've just come out of the studio feeling pleased; less tension on the bow seems to work better giving more control and better tone; I'm starting to be more relaxed and my arms and fingers no longer ache from heavy work; things are improving.

Bungalow-numbers_0003.JPGImage Enlarger

Bungalow-numbers_0004.JPGImage Enlarger

The original numbers and today now in stereo; the letters/cards we receive addressed to neighbours are all hand delivered so I'm now wondering if the neighbours wished they lived here? crossedfingers

Kind regards, Colin.

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JohnG
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April 17, 2022 - 11:49 pm
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Except now you may not get mail addressed to 39, only 3939! lol

Glad to hear practice is improving. 'Tis a good thing!

The old curmudgeon!

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April 18, 2022 - 3:47 am
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Hi,

Many thanks @JohnG it's a good job I don't live in America or I'm sure you'd be absolutely right but here in the UK I wonder how many streets actually have house numbers reaching 3939; whomever sorted out our street numbers must have been on strong medication because the first number is #13 and it being a cul de sac all numbers are odd without even numbers; no numbers 1 to 11?

I've just returned from the supermarkets and am enjoying a mug of tea until the studio warms up; I'm determined to play my violins more; I'm improving even if only slowly; I'm still struggling a great deal with balancing the violin on my shoulder; I'm practicing without shoulder rest but find I can't shift but I'm no better using a shoulder rest; I can't get the shoulder rest just right allowing the violin to remain in position without swivelling round. With the weather warming up a bit I can spend more time in the studio so sorting the shoulder rest out needs priority; I'm gaining experience too using the Tascam and amplifier; days and weeks disappear at an alarming pace.

Kind regards, Colin.

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April 21, 2022 - 2:40 am
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Hi,

On Tuesday I couldn't do anything right at all whilst practicing playing my violin; the worst practice ever but before putting the violin away I gently cleaned the strings using meths.

Yesterday was the best practice ever; playing it back through  the Tascam and amplifier really cheered me up; something so simple making a huge difference.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Gordon Shumway
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April 21, 2022 - 3:02 am
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Retired said
I gently cleaned the strings using meths.

I use Eau de Cologne. I suppose meths are pure enough, but the lingering odour isn't as nice.

Andrew

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April 22, 2022 - 8:35 am
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Hi,

Thanks Andrew; I'm sure Eau de Cologne will smell much better than meths but I've not tried it; I've not heard of Eau de Cologne for many years although when I was a kid it was very popular.

I used to do quite a bit of french polishing so have plenty of meths to hand also I have plenty of 99.99% alcohol;

Isopropanol Alcohol IPA 99.99%

Isopropanol Alcohol IPA 99.99% dissolves a wide range of non-polar compounds. It also evaporates quickly and leaves nearly zero oil traces in comparison to similar solvents. When compared to ethanol, IPA is relatively non-toxic and, as a result, it is used widely as a solvent and as a cleaning fluid, especially for dissolving oils. The most common examples of this application in your day-to-day include cleaning electronic devices such as contact pins (like those on ROM cartridges), magnetic tape and disk heads (such as those in audio and video tape recorders and floppy disk drives), the lenses of lasers in optical disc drives (e.g., CD, DVD) and removing thermal paste from heatsinks and IC packages (such as CPUs).

Rubbing alcoholhand sanitizer, and disinfecting pads typically contain a 30–70% solution of isopropyl alcohol depending on the exact use.  Also, Isopropyl alcohol is a major ingredient in “gas dryer” fuel additives. In addition, IPA is a  biological specimen preservative. Therefore Isopropyl alcohol provides a comparatively non-toxic alternative to formaldehyde and other synthetic preservatives.

I also have Acetone so I think I'm covered for cleaning the violin strings for a while but it's always interesting to learn something new; thanks for sharing.

Kind regards, Colin.

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April 26, 2022 - 4:29 am
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Hi,

I've just turned the heating on in the studio and today is very rare indeed; no jobs lined up that must be done. Over the last few days I've been incredibly busy again; I found a number of wooden fence posts to have broken just below ground level. I erected a new wire mesh fence only six years ago and now the posts are rotten.

Working on the steep slope I've finally replaced all ten wooden posts with very heavy 4mm thick 6' x 48mm galvanized steel scaffolding poles; lets see these rot out in six years. Modern wood treatment is rubbish; the wooden posts were bought as tanalized; anyway job now done and today I'm free to practice playing my violins.

Garden-Apl-2022_0013.JPGImage Enlarger

Yesterday I managed two short practice sessions and really enjoyed them; I won't go mad today with long practices but break them down to say 30 minutes each but a number of them which I'm now looking forward to once the studio warms up; during the night the temperature dropped to 1C.

Perhaps in the coming months I can start to concentrate more playing my violins hopefully having more free time which has been long in coming.

AN UPDATE.

I nicely got settled into my first violin practice this morning at peace with the world when war broke out with two cats fighting just outside my studio window; I lose the will to live.

Kind regards, Colin.

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May 7, 2022 - 10:18 am
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Hi,

I'm moving along at a steady pace with violin practices when I get the chance; however my studio is gaining more kit; I've just bought a pair of nice monitors these being new M-Audio BX4 Drivers 120W Monitors; they arrived yesterday and I've unboxed them but not yet connected them to the Tascam.

I've also bought a mic this is Rode NT1-A Complete vocal recording also new but it's yet to arrive.

I've also bought Pirastro gold rosin which I'll try using shortly.

There's always jobs to do around home; over the last couple of days I've dismantled our heavy garden bench and this morning finally completed its repaint; once the paint dries I can assemble it and tick another job off; I never bodge jobs hence I dismantled the bench to ensure I could do a good paint job also upon reassembly I'll be using A2 stainless steel fastenings.

I'm just enjoying a mug of tea before heading into the studio to play around with the new monitors before another day rapidily disappears.

Bench-slats_0001.JPGImage EnlargerBench-slats_0002.JPGImage Enlarger

I painted both bench ends this morning so the paint is still wet. The paint is brilliant green BS221.

Kind regards. Coliin.

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May 7, 2022 - 11:24 am
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@Retired - You are always so busy, it makes me tired to just read about your activities! You sure I can't convince you to take a vacation to the U.S. and set my house and yard up right? I'd brew you a cup of tea and maybe even through in an American made scone for your trouble! lol

Really sounds like you're getting the practice in and setting up your recording facilities well.

The old curmudgeon!

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May 8, 2022 - 5:16 am
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Hi,

Many thanks JohnG; yes always very busy indeed; out of bed around 7am unless it's Monday & Friday then I'm out of bed by 6am to do the supermarket shopping but even getting up so early there still aren't enough hours in a day. Thanks for your kind offer of welcome to set your yard up but I'm struggling to keep on top of our own; everything in our gardens (yard) is going ballistic; I cut it back and a few days later I'm cutting it back again; I knocked off at 7:30 last night having just cut the grass; not a lot of grass but needs regular cutting and just another job of many.

I did an 11 hour day yesterday only breaking off for dinner and tea times; I was in the workshop very early and finished the bench painting job so once the new stainless steel screws arrive I can reasseble the bench and tick the job off; I have the Stainless nuts & washers but await delivery of the screws; I used a 2" foam roller to paint the wooden slats but used a brush to paint the intricate cast iron ends; everything I do seems to take forever.

I set up the new monitors yesterday afternoon but have just had to order another pair of cables to connect them to the Tascam; the Tascam has duel outlets (Stereo) but only a single cable at 5M long was supplied; the new cables are due next Wednesday; I'm pleased however because I can use a single monitor at the moment and I'm very impressed so far.

Whilst in the studio I was also keen to try out the new Pirastro Gold Rosin I've just bought; I gently cleaned the bow hair and strings using meths then I could start over with the new Gold Rosin; using this rosin and the new amplified monitor what a great difference to sound quailty over using the Laney guitar amp. I only briefly played with the new rosin but even I as a novice could immediately tell the difference; this rosin seems to grab the strings better without the occassional slipping I experienced whilst using the cheap Hidersine and slightly more expensive Kaplan rosin; I must be improving because I'm starting to notice lots of differences.

I did expect the new monitors to blast lots of sound out like the mini hi-fi but so far they play about as loud as my recording; not a problem because my studio is small but I did expect a lot higher amplification; being so new to all this I'll play around with the Tascam controls for when I'm recording it's very likely me at fault and not my kit.

I'm working flat out to complete all the jobs I need to do then I can relax and spend more time in the studio rather than at present only grabbing half an hour at a time and often when I do play my violins my hands and fingers are stiff from working also my arms ache; I've just knocked off for a mug of tea but I'm now about to do some exterior painting.

Bench-ends_0003.JPGImage Enlarger

Here are the cast iron bench ends resplendent in their new paint; I used brilliant green BS221 for the wooden slats and just for contrast decided to use black for the ends. I tipped the ends over in order to fully paint all areas; it all takes time but I never bodge or take the easy solution.

Your kind offer of tea and scone sounds tempting John. thumbs-up

UPDATE,

Since posting I've just enjoyed some studio time playing around with the Tascam and monitors; yes definitely me at fault as expected and not my kit; still just using one amplified monitor it now really does amplify and I'm delighted with its output; I'm looking forward to the new cables arriving then I can connect the Tascam and monitors as they should be connected; in the meantime I'm still enjoying this new experience.

Now more familiar with the Tascam controls I thought I'd try the Laney amplifier once again and this now works with high volume too so I'm going to keep it; the monitor though is better because it's got very clean sound unlike the Laney which suffers background hum; during my years restoring vintage valve radios I could clear hum by prodding around with a 0.1UF capacitor on probes one probe to chassis the other testing components until I found the source; on the VHF side the valves were always fully shielded.

I also found it pays to play away from the Tascam mics avoiding background noise from the bow; I'm learning all the time.

It was nice to break away from all the work for a short while; I must do this more often. With the playback engaged I popped outside to check if the music was loud enough to cause annoyance but it was fine so I can practice and play back in peace without offending anyone. A very good morning indeed.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Hi,

The new cables arrived so now the Tascam and monitors are fully connected much to my delight; I keep popping into the studio but can't settle because I'm forever tired due to all the work I keep doing and with more jobs still hanging over me.

Last Saturday I ticked off six jobs including the garden bench; yesterday I ticked off more jobs but every job I do throws problems at me like stainless flanged screws not arriving being bought through eBay resulting in a weeks holdup reassembling the bench.

Yesterday whilst trimming our tall laurels I had to collect the stepladder from the garden hut; as I entered the hut there was a loud buzzing inches above my head; I looked up to find a wasps nest; totally fed up of all these complications I ignored the wasps and collected the ladder; faced with nothing but hassle including our dire climate I'd had enough and no longer cared; I hate wasps with a passion and wasting so much time with nothing but frustration and hassle this time it was short and sweet; I belted the nest with a sweeping brush then legged it at speed; five minutes later with the nest strewn smashed on the hut floor and only the odd wasp I put the ladder away.

Today I wanted to attack our wrought iron railings with the angle grinder but again it's raining; I was rudely awakened at 4:30 this morning with rain bucketing down on the bungalow roof just above me head; at this rate by the time I complete all the jobs it will be winter again and I was dreaming of making a violiin from scratch this year.

The dire weather is my biggest enemy; during our long winter it causes damage to the bungalow and gardens then during our joke of a summer I'm doing lots of maintenance whilst still tormented by the weather as I am again today.

In spite of all the work and problems I'm making slow but positive progress playing my violiins; I'm often told there are those much worse off but I'm never told there are those much better off?

Here's the bench having received a comprehensive paint job; I never bodge job.

Bench-May-2022_0003.JPGImage EnlargerBench-May-2022_0004.JPGImage Enlarger

Kind regards, Colin.

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Hi,

I'm now making a deternined effort to play my violins; yesterday I enjoyed my longest practice sessions to date at 45 minutes each playing my 1880 Gernan violin and really enjoyed both which went well. I've just enjoyed another 45 minute session but just for interest I've been playing my new Hidersine Vivente and the German violins.

Having had the Hidersine sorted out by a luthier with a decent set of strings on; a while later Bron bought me the German violin with even more expensive strings fitted at over £40 more than the Hidersine strings. Strings on the Hidersine at £60 the set and I think the luthier said the strings on the German violin were £110 the set. The luthier supplied and installed all strings.

I expected a huge difference in sound but back then when I played both violins side by side I couldn't tell them apart; it's quite a while since I've played the Hidersine but this afternoon suddenly both violins sound totally different to me; the German violin is much louder; the Hidersine now though sounds much better than when supplied new with a pleasing tone so I'm making progress and am starting to pick up the different notes as I play.

I'm exclusively using Pirastro gold rosin which is much better than the cheap rosin supplied with the Hidersine violin but if anyone can recommend an even better rosin I'm willing to learn

When I first started to practice I could only play for about five minutes due to pain in my left arm and hand due to strangling the violin; I'm now much more relaxed and can play for 45 minutes without problem; both violins feel totally different to hold but I played both without unwanted screeches.

The strings on the German violin are very good at staying in tune but the Hidersine strings do need a bit more adjusting; not a lot but enough to make a difference.

I'm as busy as ever doing work around home and gardens but I'm now getting on top at last hence I can spend more time in the studio; everything is settling down; violins and the studio kit are all pretty new to me but I'm feeling a lot more relaxed; I'm getting used to recording using the new condenser mic; Tascam and new amplified monitors for playback; like any novice I've made lots of mistakes due to my ignorance but with forum members help on here and help from another forum regarding my home studio it's all coming together allowing me to concentrate on playing the violins without worrying about Tascam; mic and monitors; if I forget the Tascam is still set to record on channel 1 and I try to play back the monitors don't half yell at me; I've done this a couple of times but no longer because I've got into a routine.

At the risk of asking a very silly question has anyone any idea as to the strings Susanna would be using to play Lara's Theme?

I realize same strings sound different on different violins but I'm very keen indeed to learn to play Lara's Theme. I'm good at asking silly questions but I learn a lot by doing so.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Hi,

A bit of progress; last night I bought a 1960's Russian Balalaika and am looking forward to its arrival. I'm still practicing playing Lara's Theme on my violins but I also would like to play Lara's Theme on a Balalaika then use my Tascam 8 track pocket studio to learn how to mix.

Russian-1960s-Balalaika-I-bought..JPG

I'd love to spend hours in the studio but I'm still bogged down with bungalow and gardens maintenance mostly taking ages because of our dire climate; almost the end of May and it's still raining whilst blowing a gale; will it ever let up?

Kind regards, Colin.

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May 26, 2022 - 6:35 am
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Lol, I had been afraid to play Black Eyes in case the neighbours heard it and thought I was pro-Russian! However, I just got around to looking it up and in fact it seems to be more Ukrainean than Russian! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.....sian_song)

Andrew

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Hi,

Thanks Andrew; I'm nosy so had a look;

Real singing unlike this modern stuff that's forgotten as soon as it's heard. The Balalaika is now on it's way to me.

I've given both huts a primer coat of paint and just ordered two more gallons; it's Benjamin Moore Aura Exterior Satin in Yellow Green; total cost of paint over £300 it's £102 per US gallon which is quite a bit smaller than a UK gallon.

I want to get these jobs out of the way then perhaps I'll find my way into the studio in peace; I had a short violin practice this morning and it was poor because I couldn't relax with wind and rain just the other side of the window; will the wind and rain here in Yorkshire ever let up?

Kind regards, Colin.

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