Monday, 26 October 2009

Scotland the Brave

We started rehearsals in the spring.
It's been a little chaotic at times, but all those rehearsals were worth it. We had so much fun.
On Sunday our Scottish Country Dance group participated in "Memories of Scotland", a fundraiser for the Richmond Hill Centennial Pipe Band.

In addition to the pipes and drums, there were Highland Dancers, singers and of course, the best part of the show, the Scottish Country Dancers!

I don't have any pictures of our actual dancing.... maybe on a later post... but the whole group performed four dances on the stage (The Piper and the Penguin, Bratach Bana, The Minister on the Loch, and The Reel of the Royal Scots) and the men performed The Reel of the 51st Division. This dance has a fascinating history.

At the beginning of World War II, the 51st (Highland) Division formed part of the British Expeditionary Force's GHQ reserve.
In 1940, the 51st Division was helping the French Army slow the German's advance on Paris. When the situation became hopeless, the 51st decided to fight their way back to the coast, but were unable to cross the channel, and about 10,000 men and officers surrendered to the German army.
Some officers of the original 51st (Highland) Division ended up in a POW camp near Salzburg. Since dancing was always a big part of Scottish military life, the POWs started a dance class to pass the time. At first the dancers were reduced to hand clapping and counts for music, but later on managed to obtain musical instruments such as practice chanters and even an accordion through the Red Cross.
The dance called The Reel of the 51st Division was invented during the winter of 1940 by three officers. One of the officers tried to send a description of the dance to his wife in Scotland, but the German censors suspected that the dance notation was a secret code and spent a lot of time trying to decode it, until the men demonstrated the dance to them.

Since then, The Reel of the 51st Division has been traditionally a men's dance.

Here's the dance notation:

1-81C set, cast off two places (2C up) and lead up to 1cnrs
9-161C set to 1cnr, turn 1cnr RH, join LH in the middle to BiL, turn 1¼ LH to 2cnrs
17-24Repeat with 2cnrs, cross to 2pl own side
25-322C+1C+3C circle6 and back.

No wonder the Germans were confused!

(btw, I'm in the middle, top left photo.)

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Mystery Socktoberfest Knit-along Challenge

I love to knit socks.
There's nothing quite as comfy and warm and foot-welcoming as a pair of hand knitted socks.
I've knitted quite a few pairs but always used a very plain easy pattern, free on the Patons web site here.

But then I found Through The Loops Designs and a mystery sock pattern that's being published with a new part every Thursday through October.
The first instructions were for the cuff, the next week the instructions were for the ankle part, and the most recent instructions were for turning the heel.

This pattern is far more complicated than anything I have ever attempted before, and I'm definitely not particularly talented with knitting needles, but I'm pretty proud of my progress so far.

There are knitters all over the world making the same sock pattern... neat idea, eh? I can hardly wait for Thursday to come round so I can get knitting again!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Polite Graffiti

Well, at least they didn't spray paint the wall.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright.....

A couple of young men broke into the Calgary Zoo yesterday. One of the men got badly mauled by the zoo's Siberian tiger.

Hospital officials said the man's wounds are "significant", but gave no further details.

The tiger said he tasted "G-R-R-R-R-EAT!"

Thankyou, CBC Radio, for that little joke.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

An Unexpected Visitor and a Sad End.

I thought I heard the back door to the garden (here) shut, but when I looked out, there was nobody there.

I assumed it must have been my neighbour's car door that I heard.

But when I went out to the driveway later, I was startled to find this.

He must have flown into the window in the door. I think it's a juvenile Red tailed hawk.

I called the kids next door over to look, as it's not often they'll see such a gorgeous bird so close.

But now, what to do with a large dead bird? I couldn't dump such a magnificent bird in the garbage, he deserved better than that, so I dug a hole and buried him in my back yard, under a little ornamental fir. Dust to dust ....