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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 (166 votes) 
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JohnG
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Gordon Shumway said
Ecclesfield any good, Colin? (I still can't PM you)  

@Gordon Shumway - As @Retired has now had over 100 posts, PM is now available! Hoorah!

The old curmudgeon!

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November 11, 2021 - 7:46 am
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Hi,

Thanks Andrew; it's nice to know my PM's are now working; perhaps because I've scored a century. Geoff is focussed on stringed instrument repairs but on his website states he can obtain any instrument and at times might have a repaired instrument for sale. I'll be very interested to play my violins after Geoff has set them up correctly with decent strings; sound post in correct position and I'll ask him to have a look at the bridge; I know I'm a novice but it's very hard not to play two strings together so any help will be most welcome.

I'm now hooked on violins and still want to learn to play and also to build the violin I've started as a very interesting long term project; Geoff did mention there are so many secondhand violins for sale because people buy a violin then quickly find out they are difficult to play so they give up rather than sticking with it.

Thanks @JohnG yes 100 posts already; how time flies by.

The last two evening practice sessions have been absolutely terrible; I find it difficult to relax because I'm always so busy and this must have a knock on effect but last evening I couldn't get any sense out of the D string at all just skating with the bow; I tried extra pressure also adding rosin to the bow hair it just laughed at me; my electonic tuner showed the string to be in tune and my bow was adjusted OK in fact I tried a number of adjustments; both my violins have Hidersine strings fitted and both D strings were sulking making me think it's a problem with me; I checked in the mirror to ensure I was bowing correctly and I tilted the bow both ways also tried with full flat hair; they didn't want to play.

Bron and I have been out all morning and I'm not at all surprised I get tense and can't relax; it's becoming a nightmare just driving the car; speed cameras; road humps everywhere; road works and heavy traffic and sadly even two out of four lanes closed on the M1 motorway causing a huge tailback; I hope no one was injured. Yesterday whilst taking Bron for her Covid booster jab it was a struggle just to drive four miles and it's getting worse. I've also been spending time doing heavy filing in the workshop and jobs like washing and drying the car in fact anything but relaxing; after dinner I'll spend time up our very steep rear garden with the petrol strimmer so I'm sure I'll be on top form for the violin practice this evening. Not complaining in the least I'm used to constant work but it doesn't aid violin playing.

Kind regards, Colin.

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November 12, 2021 - 4:50 am
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Hi,

Yesterday afternoon as planned I was up our mountain of a rear garden with the petrol strimmer then in the front garden dead heading spent flowers; when I came indoors and settled at the keyboard with a mug of tea I found I was in trouble; my hands were shaking so badly I struggled to hit the keys I wanted; this no doubt due to using the strimmer; it took quite a while before the shaking left me.

After tea I went into the studio for my now normal violin practice and surprised myself; I expected hand and arm problems but I was fine and made a bit of progress playing the D string; I can play both E and A strings having practiced so much on these two so I'll now do the same practicing on the D string until I get it right.

I've just back tracked a bit to your kind information on post #20 Andrew of this thread. At the moment I wouldn't know a correct note if it bit me but I'm still trying to get decent sounds out of the strings with the bow; I'm not finding it easy but then many would be violinist's would have given up by now; once I get the hang of bowing the D string then I'll do the same with the G string; when I'm confident I can bow all four strings in a reasonable manner then I can move on to learn what notes I'm playing; if I try to do everything at once I'll fail and end up totally frustrated; I'll keep nibbling away in my own time determined to win. Geoff is also going to set me up with a shoulder rest which should be a huge help; I don't mind problems in the least; finding solutions is how I learn.

You suggest Tonica strings Andrew as a change from the Hidersine strings currently fitted to both my violins; I take a lot of notice of everything members are suggesting because I want to learn; my new Hidersine Vivente goes into "Stringed Instrument Repairs" next Wednesday; rather than me just experimenting with different strings possibly running up a lot of expense because I don't understand yet what I'm doing I'll be guided by Geoff and as he's an expert luthier he can put any strings on he thinks will work best for my particular violin also I want him to check the bridge and possibly change it; whatever it costs I want the Hidersine setting up to the best possible standards then any problems will be down to me.

I'm still only a novice with violins so please bear with me; I've got lots of more pressing jobs to do so I don't have unlimited time to play with violins; our bungalow and gardens are high maintenance then life in general gets in the way; I'd love to be on a desert island with Bron without a care in the world and without constant jobs hanging over me but I can dream on.

I was out of bed at 6 o'clock this morning and by 8:30 was back home having visited three supermarkets. I've now got most of the items I need to complete my spool clamps but still am waiting for shake proof 6mm washers to arrive; everything takes so long these days now I can't visit the suppliers I so often visited before they ceased trading; buying online is fine and convenient but it can easily knock a project back a week or so just waiting for goods to arrive; when doing a totally new project planning ahead is difficult as in making a violin; I'm not in a hurry because there's always work to be done around home.

One job I can do today is glue the rubber protective washers onto the clamp spools all 80 of them so I might end up as high as a kite if I don't ensure good ventilation; I'm going to use impact adhesive which gives off nasty fumes.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Gordon Shumway
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November 12, 2021 - 9:07 am
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Retired said
You suggest Tonica strings Andrew as a change from the Hidersine strings currently fitted to both my violins; I take a lot of notice of everything members are suggesting because I want to learn  

Well, I have to admit I tend to go for the cheap and simple and practical. There's not a lot of point in spending £100 on a set of strings, as, without wishing to offend, few people have the violin or the skills where they'd notice any difference.

I reached grade 8 on a plastic oboe that cost £99 in 1973 and I'm very cynical about the amounts of money others think they have to splash out.

Andrew

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Hi,

Thanks Andrew. You did well to reach grade 8 with a plastic oboe full credit to you.

I'm a true Yorkshireman and as such not known for having a light grip on money but I will spend money if I think I'm getting good value without trying to rob anyone. I like places such as scrapyards and Rufforth Auto Jumble where I can pick up cheap but good items; scrapyards aren't what they used to be since the decline of our once great industry many scrap yards having closed; I visited Rufforth Auto Jumble last week and even this is in decline with many indoor stalls left empty.

Over many years I've bought scrap machinery it being the old cast iron type and once I've fully restored it then I've got a top class machine for life unlike the modern tinny machines built down to a price and of such a quality it lasts until the warranty expires.

I have the skills needed to do this kind of work but having fully rebuilt a machine it then pays for itself many times over; I'm good with hand tools but it's nice to have the backache taken out of jobs such as planing or making multiple joints; if I can use one of my machines rather than hand tools then I leave the hand tools alone.

I take your point about not throwing money away but feel it often pays to upgrade wherever possible; my two violins are classed as "cheap" both around £160 mark and I find them ideal for me as a raw novice but already I'm noticing they sound nothing like the more orchestral type violins however much I practice with them; I'm still a novice but I always want to improve in whatever I attempt to do.

Now in retirement I wouldn't consider installing a home made fitted kitchen using a single speed non hammer drill and cheap tenon saw bought from the market which I bought when first married; I ended up with blisters on my hand using the cheap saw and after each cut through sheet "Contiplas" it needed sharpening; these days I have rebuilt machines where I can pop timber and sheet material through in a blink.

I'm spending money on my new Hidersine violin having a luthier set it up for me; I can easily afford whatever it costs and when Bron asks of me what I would like for Christmas then I might accept a more expensive violin; I don't want a room full of violins as I often see on YouTube videos but I would like a really nice violin one perhaps having been played in orchestras so then I know I can aspire to doing it justice through many hours of practice.

Bron and I never have holidays away from home the only holiday we've ever had was fives days self catering in a cottage 44 years ago; we're now in a position to indulge ourselves in our respective hobbies so buying a more expensive violin I see as more useful than being down the pub every night and the violin will be much better healthwise; it all comes down to personal choice though everyone spends their money to suit themselves.

Kind regards, Colin.

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stringy
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Colin you may be interested in this vid if you havent seen it, fiddlerman no longer reccomends this instrument but it gives you an idea of what can be achieved by playing on a cheap instrument if you have the skill, if you dont want to listen to the talking he actually starts to play at 12.23 in the timeline. Its about 80 quid. Not everyone can play like fiddlerman but you get the point.

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

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Hi,

Many thanks stringy for adding the interesting video which I watched full length. It reminds me a poor workman blames his tools?

I've been looking at camcorders with a view to buying one for recording my practice sessions more really for sound than anything else allowing play back through the computer; the choice of camcorders is overwhelming and I decided not to bother but then I remembered we have a Transcend Pro 100 dash cam in the car so I'll experiment with this; it won't cost a penny which is in keeping with my reputation for being a tight Yorkshireman.

I've seen lots of videos taken with a mobile phone but I don't use a mobile phone at least not often and my mobile phone cost only £11 brand new about six months ago; I think it's steam powered; Bron has a more expensive mobile phone but she never uses it this phone has camera and Intenet etc but neither of us have any interest in phones seeing so many with a mobile phone welded to their ear as if their life depends on it.

It's been really strange over the last few days; I've got worse not better with my evening violin practices; the studio is to the rear of the bungalow and the coldest room in the bungalow; normally I pop in and turn the CH radiator on for quarter of an hour to make it more comfortable; yesterday evening as I went in and picked up my violins they felt very cold indeed.

I've played both violins on the E & A strings without problem but however I've tried I've been skating over the D string which has been frustrating; I'm not doing anything differently then before; I had been making progress just using E; A & D strings to play the first four notes of "Somewhere my love" and I was pleased with progress but suddenly the D string on both violins decided they didn't want to play; straight bow; lots of varying pressure on the bow; dark Premium Kaplan rosin used; different bow speeds nothing semed to work; the only difference I can think of is the temperature drop which is a lot in the studio; this morning I've brought the Hidersine violin and it's bow into the warm front room to see if it makes any difference; a poor man blames his tools and I'm still very much a novice but I find it frustrating to have made positive progress only to now go backwards.

My Hidersine Vivente goes in next Wednesday to be set up by a qualified luthier so when it returns I'll be interested to note any differences. I'm frustrated but not at all put off practicing or trying to learn how to play my violins; both my violins are very similar of the same price range and both have Hidersine strings fitted.

The problem most likely is due to my inexperience but having the violin set up won't hurt; I'd still like a really nice violin even if it doesn't help me play better; Bron is happy to buy me one for Christmas and funds aren't a problem at all; I've got lots of expensive tools in the workshop I seldom use but it's nice to know they are there; not being morbid but when we die the vultures will descend so it's time now to spend whilst we're still here to enjoy what we've worked so hard for.

Kind regards, Colin.

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stringy
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Steam powered, ha,ha,ha made me laugh. Trust me when I tell you even though you think you are going worse actually you are not. Everyone on violin improves in exactly the same manner as you mention, you suddenly think you are playing worse but you are improving all the time, its not just you that this happens to, your ears generally improve quicker than your muscle memory.

If you want a new fiddle get one, you only live once, but dont expect it to dramatically improve your playing just yet, it will be beneficial in the long run as it would make certain things easier to do.

I suspect the skidding over the string is due to a build up of rosin on the bow at one point, try not putting any more on for a few days and sèe if it gets better, it could also be due to the angle of attack on the string seeing as its only the one string, I had a similar problem in which the bow would skip as I drew it down and I narrowed it down to one point on the bow which had to much rosin build  up, I used a dry clean tooth brush on the hairs of the bow like brushing your hair. When he bow is not under tension and the hair is loose.

Forgot to add, as for dying I think you are many, many years away from that, for one thing you are too busy;)

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

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ELCBK
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@Retired -

Ask the Luthier if he knows anyone giving violin lessons locally. 

violin-1267

A few in-person lessons could make all the difference in the World for you, right now! 

Especially since you have no previous music experience to help guide you.  Last thing you need is any more frustration. 

Worth it even if you have to drive a bit of a distance - just to help get a better start.

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Hi,

Thanks stringy for your encouragement. Yesterday evening I was back to being happy once again regaining lost ground practicing; it's possible this colder weather affected me making me stiff rather than relaxed; I also placed the violin and bow where it could warm up during the day but I don't know if this made any real difference; I'll keep practicing and expect good and bad days.

Thanks also stringy for your welcome tip about rosin build up; I'll also give the bow hair a gentle brush; every little helps for a novice. I'm sure a top quality violin won't immediately as if by magic turn me into a top class violin player but I'd like to own such an instrument and hopefully eventually grow into it; I don't want to keep upgrading violins so I may as well buy a really good violin and be done with it after all it's only money. Yes I'm definitely too busy to die but I do check obituaries to check.

As ever Emily it's very good of you to offer useful advice thank you. When I visit the luthier on Wednesday it's to drop the violin off then I'll collect it a week later; I won't be allowed into his workshop and my violin wil be put into quarantine for two days; Covid is still bad locally and although I can easily afford violin lessons I'm scared of catching Covid; it worried me as it has done this morning whilst visiting three local supermarkets; customers were wandering around without face protection and no regard at all regading social distancing; I'm not surprised Covid is still such a huge problem.

https://www.examinerlive.co.uk.....l-22050050

Our area is unsafe regarding Covid; it's a real threat; I always wear face mask and gloves whilst out; our local petrol station on Friday was business as normal I was the only one wearing protection even the guy on the checkout wasn't protected; I'd rather be cautious and scared than be in A&E. Normally I'd be very happy to accept your advice Emily and if Covid eases to a point I'll feel safe then yes I'd seriously consider violin lessons.

I sure had fun yesterday; I brought my car dash cam to the computer and set everything up; I've used this dash cam years ago free hand around our property but after trying a number of times it became obvious it didn't like my violin playing so plan "B" was put into action. Here's my experiment using the dash cam five years ago;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....ZVb0LMrme4

I have a DSLR camera so decided to try this to make a video; an hour and an half later the battery was at last fully charged; oh how I dislike batteries; once again I set everything up but this was the first time I'd tried to create a video with this camera; a number of failed attemps it was time to consult the instruction manual; I went online to obtain the PDF manual all 200 pages of it but still no luck and by now I was starting to think everything I try is against me; dash cam/DSLR camera not wanting to help; error messages thrown up on the monitor; GRRRRRRR enough is enough.

Later in the day I went back to basics; what was I trying to achieve; it really came down to wanting to record me practicing playing my violins then play back on the computer speakers; I wasn't bothered about visual I only needed audio then a thought ocurred to me; do I only need a microphone to plug into the USB socket on the computer; I've now ordered a microphone through eBay.

I'm not up to speed with all the electronic gadgets just needing them as required and I've never needed a microphone; I do like to try everything the hardest way first though it makes life exciting.

Transcend-Camera.JPGImage EnlargerVideo-camera.JPG

Dash cam & DSLR camera messages; I often think a sledge hammer would be useful when this happens; in order to sort both cameras out I'd end up spending even more time messing around; time to walk away from both of them and now try a microphone; life is so full of fun.

Kind regards, Colin.

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ELCBK
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@Retired -

What about lessons using Zoom? 

Btw, if Bron's phone takes photos, does it take video? 

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Hi,

Thanks Emily for your suggestions. Our friends use Zoom to keep up to date with family and also to take part in meetings; it's a good suggestion and worth considering.

Phones of any kind I dislike with a passion having been tormented at work before I retired for many years by phones and a pager; I'm glad to have the choice to be free of them at last; I've stated a number of times 3 departments; 5 phones a pager and sometimes 3 pagers if my colleagues were off site; at one point when mobile phones were introduced I was also given a mobile phone the size of an house brick to carry around then came emails; I still shudder almost 21 years into retirement just thinking about where I worked. I do appreciate your suggestion though.

There's so much on this forum to help me and also endless YouTube tutorial videos; I'm still at basics and my Hidersine is being dropped off at a luthiers tomorrow afternoon to be accurately set up then any problems will be down to me which I expect anyway still being such a novice.

Whilst practicing I now notice a huge difference between the E string and other three strings; the E string is very loud and sharp indeed by comparison and the jump from E to A really is very pronounced the other three strings are much quieter/flatter; I also have trouble with double stringing the A string is so near the height of both the E & D string; I'm very much aware of my inexperience but the luthier can check the bridge too also upgrade the strings; every little helps and I don't mind spending money to get everything just right.

The new USB microphone arrived this morning and I've connected it and tested it so I'll try recording a violin practice session which should be interesting; I'm using "Audacity" for the microphone; it should be fun.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Fiddlerman
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November 16, 2021 - 12:48 pm
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One of my first product videos. If not the first. LOL

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Gordon Shumway
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ELCBK said
Ask the Luthier if he knows anyone giving violin lessons locally.  

Maybe. Or, like I said, maybe ask ESTA

Andrew

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Hi,

Thanks Andrew; I had a quick look at ESTA; £100 deposit and £750 for a course?

ESTA.JPGImage Enlarger

I'm not in any hurry to learn playing a violin in fact I enjoy learning the hard way with anything; I enjoy making mistakes whilst being on a learning curve; I spent years restoring vintage valve radios starting from scratch not even understanding what a DMM was; I made many mistakes along the way but eventually I became so proficient knowing I could restore any vintage radio I lost all interest because the challenges had gone so I packed in with these restorations; I don't want to end up the same with violins; I want to enjoy learning; there's so much useful information on this forum coupled with a vast number of YouTube videos to choose from I'm spoiled for choice so I'd like to settle back and enjoy learning at my own pace however long it takes and the longer the better; I'm treating making a violin from scratch exactly the same way. I truly appreciate everyone's generous help to get me up and running quickly but I want to spread learning to play and to make a violin over our long winter treating both as a wonderful hobby.

I've now taken my Hidersine violin over to Geoff at Stringed Instrument Repairs in Ecclesfield; I liked Geoff right from the start having spoken with him on the phone and to meet him in person he's a really decent guy so anything I need regarding violin's he's now got a loyal customer.

Geoff couldn't invite me in due to Covid being so bad locally so we chatted on his doorstep both wearing face masks; I'd already explained to Geoff what I'd like him to do; in less than five minutes of arriving Geoff had my shoulder rest sorted out and I could support my violin with my shoulder and chin rest without even touching it with my left hand so this alone is a massive step forward.

I'd told Geoff I was having trouble with both the D & G strings; Geoff pointed to the G string bringing my attention to it; the string is worn out and I've played it very little; the strings as supplied new are simply rubbish; Geoff is going to replace these with good quality strings; the pegs made possibly of resin are poorly fitted so these will be sorted out; the sound post too will be set up; the bridge however was a surprise; it's actually OK. I'm not at all surprised many of these cheaper (£160) violins are sold  after only a short while ending up for sale on eBay or Gumtree the owner disillusioned with violins in general. I knew there was something wrong but I don't have experience to fall back on though I'm rapidly gaining experience.

I'm looking forward to collecting the violin next Wednesday morning; Geoff say's it's highly likely he can also sort out a much better second hand violin in good unrepaired condition for me so I won't need to keep upgrading as I gain experience; I'll grow into a really nice violin and already can tell when something isn't right so I must be improving. Things are looking up.

Kind regards, Colin.

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Gordon Shumway
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Retired said
Thanks Andrew; I had a quick look at ESTA; £100 deposit and £750 for a course?

No, give that a miss!

I know of them because my teacher temps in their admin team.

As to your bridge, I think I recall you said you accidentally hit the D string while aiming for the A string. That's common. I do it a bit on my Gewa so I've put a slip of paper under the A string, but I'm pretty sure I could find you a video of Yehudi Menuhin doing it too.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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@Retired -

...in less than five minutes of arriving Geoff had my shoulder rest sorted out and I could support my violin with my shoulder and chin rest without even touching it with my left hand so this alone is a massive step forward. 

GREAT to hear this news! 

 

https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/catmusic.jpg

 

Did he let you hear what another 2nd-hand fiddle in good repair sounds like?  

- Emily

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Jim Dunleavy
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Retired said
.............eventually I became so proficient knowing I could restore any vintage radio I lost all interest because the challenges had gone........

  

Let me reassure you that the same is highly unlikely to happen on the violin blink.

I speak from experience.

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Gordon Shumway
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It demonstrates that there are different perceptions of what restoration is about.

Some see it as a challenge.

Others see it as bringing a beautiful object back to its initial glory.

Although, granted, not all vintage radios were glorious when they were new.

Andrew

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Hi,

Thanks Andrew; I asked Geoff to check the bridge because I've no experience yet as to whether it was set up correctly which it is so as I suspected the problem is down to me but at least I now know; if I don't know I ask. I'll just keep practicing and already I've made lots of positive progress.

Thanks Emily for asking if Geoff had let me hear a good second hand violin play; unfortunately due to Covid the conversation between us was carried out at Geoff's front door; a very short distance only a matter of feet behind me I thought I was on the hard shoulder of the M1 motorway with the sheer amount of vehicles passing by including 38 ton wagons; at times we had to wait until a big vehicle passed by in order to hear each other talking; it must have appeared strange to anyone passing by to see me trying my violin with the shoulder rest added; not something seen everyday. Geoff lives only 19 miles distant from us but it took 45 minutes in the car to reach him; I think all the apprentices were out practicing digging holes in the road with lots of temporary traffic lights mostly at stop; what fun I have trying to do anything.

This morning I visited the post office then to the pharmacy to collect a prescription; the prescription won't be ready until this afternoon; I despair of getting a full uninterrupted day in the workshop but they say miracles do happen.

I'm sure you're right @Jim Dunleavy violins are something totally different to every other thing or project I've done; I wanted a lifetime hobby to enjoy in my retirement and violin's are perfect; I can enjoy learning to play and also enjoy making a violin; there's so much to learn I'll never be bored; I could spend a full year just on this forum alone and not read everything; I'm finding violin's are a truly wonderful hobby.

Yes indeed Andrew; I once paid £10 for an industrial radio which could power speakers in a factory; it was a "Sound Sales" and absolutely boring to look at just being a valve radio in a metal casing the shape of a cube; I gave it away to a friend who put it on eBay and it sold for £200; it was his to sell and it didn't bother me because all I actually lost was the £10; a week later a clone of this radio sold for £800 on eBay.

I've fully restored vintage valve radios which were in terrible condition bring them back to as new; I must have restored over 100 of these from cheap to expensive and when I decided I'd had enough I had over 70 radios in my collection; I retained just a few but sold or gave away the rest having a good clear out. Since then I've done lots of assorted projects and finally got around to violins; I'm sure violin's will now become my major hobby but I'll also do other projects that interest me; I like things which fully challenge me and anyone saying "that can't be done" then I'm happy to show it can be done; it's so easy to give up at the first problem and walk away; I'm too thick to know when to walk away and am too stubborn to quit once I start something.

I've just enjoyed a mug of tea and a lump of fruit cake so time now to head into the workshop to resume making violin tools.

Here's a picture for you Emily knowing how you love cats; it's a cat we had called Furball but unfortunately died a few years ago; we've had a number of cats but no longer due to the cost of vets bills. We still spend around £20 weekly feeding all the neighbours cats which visit us daily; we too are cat lovers.

Furball..jpgImage Enlarger

I'd better get off my backside before another day slips quietly by; the workshopp awaits.

Kind regards, Colin.

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