Sunday, July 13, 2008

Politeness in live concerts -where has it gone?

I have just been to see a wonderful young orchestra play some amazing orchestral pieces in the Perth Concert Hall, conducted by a virtuoso, world class conductor.
The music was fabulous, and the young people played with distinction. I happen to know they have practiced all week last week, more than 5 hours a day, perfecting their performance.

In the final piece, after the interval, a woman two rows from the front started eating from a foil wrapped bag of potato crisps! The cellists were distracted, and even the conductor turned around twice to see what was making the racket. Then she burped ( I kid you not!) and then when the crisps were finished, she rummaged in her bag (still rustling the foil) until she found her hand cream and then proceeded to noisily slap the cream on her hands!

I really think most people do not know how to distinguish between sitting in your loungeroom watching a DVD, and making comments as you like, and a live performance in which the players are with you, sometimes only metres away.

So, here is my "audience guide" to how to conduct yourself at live performances:
1. Get there on time. If you are late and your seat is at the front, ask the staff to put you at the back (if they let you in at all) until a suitable break.
2. Don't eat in the middle of a performance, especially in a 'quite bit"
3. Don't text people on your mobile phone in the middle of the performance. Even if your keys ar soundless, the light disturbs others. Some sound systems will be disturbed by your activity.
4. If you bring your baby and he or she begins to cry, please take them out.
5. If you are in a classical music performance, look at the programme and work out how many movements you are listening to. It is expected that each movement will proceed without applause between them. Let there be a quiet moment, so that the music can flow from one mood to the next without interruption.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Drying in the winter -our latest technology

We wanted to reduce our reliance on electricity for clothes drying in the winter.

My darling man made me a clothes line which hangs under the eaves on the side of the house away from the weather.
As you can see about 2/3rds of it is under the eaves. Darling Man will add a short roof from the eave to the fence so that it can be completely dry.
He even put down 24 bags of blue metal, so that the ground drains any water away and keeps the feet dry while we hang out the washing.
Already we have reduced the need for the use of an electric dryer for hours every week, to less than 1 hour per fortnight ( sometimes we just need a quick 'whoosh' to completely dry something which has hung outside in damp weather.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Climate change evidence in my garden?

In the summer I could not keep the tomatoes alive. The hot winds and scorching heat dessicated them.
Unknown to me, one poor plant survived and in late Autumn I found this tomato plant. It is the best looking tomato I have grown for years, but it should not be flourishing at all. This is winter in Perth, Western Australia and everyone knows tomatoes grow in summer.
Pundits have said that Western Australia's south west is one of the first places to show effects of climate change. Our rainfall has declined by nearly 40% in the last 40 years. Our summers are hotter, and as this tomato shows, our winters are milder.
I wonder if the tomatoes which are now hanging in large green bunches on this plant, will actually get enough sunlight to ripen? It will be interesting to see.
If so, I might need to adjust my whole planting schedule.
I am also thinking of making permanent shade structures for the whole garden for summer, a concept we would not have had to contemplate years ago.
These are worrying times for those of us who care for the earth, and my tomato might just be giving me proof of a generalised climate change. Of course I know that it is too early to tell -but if this were to be repeated over several years, then we would know that our Perth climate more closely resembled that of Geraldton, some 400 km north of us, where tomatoes are grown in winter to supply the demands of southern cities.