Drive from Cassano to Bastia airport (Googlemaps link) takes at least 1 hour 50 minutes.
14:15 Bastia AF4460 to Paris (Orly), arrive 15:50
20:40 Paris (CDG) to Berlin (Tegel), arrive 22:25
Kite flying into the sun to confuse the mice.
People used them to make crosses in order to protect the harvest and with the dry leaves they filled mattresses. Its popular names is fiori di morti – “flower of the dead”. The official name of the variety found in Corsica is in fact Asphodelus ramosus.
When heated its bulbs explode like fireworks, on the feast day for Saint John the Baptist children hold them in the fire built in the village square and then knock them against stones to make them bang.
For centuries it was planted near tombs to nourish the dead. It also fed the living.
The asphodel is edible: its bulb can be made into a kind of bread. It lost its importance as food after the introduction of the potato in the 18th century. The asphodel became known as “the bread of the poor”. It continued to be appreciated for its medicinal properties in treating ailments such as indigestion, coughs, inflammations, ulcers, toothache, as well as tuberculosis…
Quick look at Ajaccio (pronounced Adjgaksio) after discovering that Napo-Rama is closed for the winter.
Window in Ajaccio.
Drive to Corte 1h 25 m
Well-aged entrance to the apartment.
Corte apartment https://www.booking.com
First impressions can be deceptive. Great apartment! Check out the wash-basin.
On the way up through the village.
View from the belvedere up to the old castle.
From one mountain goat to the next.
Small, free contemporary art museum in Corte https://www.frac.corsica
Gerhild shows solidarity with the Corsican women.
Kim is trying to understand the Corsican man.
The motto over our fireplace –
Friends are silent angels who put us back on our feet when our wings no longer know how to fly.
The link for the guys with a drone Youtube channel
Picnic looking down into Cala di Palu.
Kim thinking lofty thoughts
The view from our balcony – Residence de la Tour Piana
The sun rose over the mountains at quarter past eight.
Stock up at Spar Supermarket – Route de Calenzana, 20260 Calvi
Drive to Piana 2 h
Look who we bumped into on top of a hill!
This fellow wasn‘t very talkative.
Résidence de la Tour, Piana https://www.booking.com
Hotel Calvi Marina https://www.hotel-mariana.com/en/ Hôtel Mariana, Avenue Santa Maria, 20260 CALVI
First impressions – Calvi airport is enjoyably tiny. Starlings deafening in the palm trees by the seafront. Fish & chips / salad in one of the few open restaurants for an expensive €70 (with 500 ml of Sicilian red). Snow on the mountain tops.
Fitness is a big deal in Berlin with fitness centres popping up everywhere like mushrooms. However, you don’t have to become a member of one of these joints to stay fit as Yolanda the Yoga Queen can show us.
Yolanda is a moving example of the ancient art of wooden Yoga. Yolanda’s wooden Yoga skills are so advanced that she has mastered the technically very demanding eyebrow twitch, even accomplishing the plait swing with simultaneous neck stretch first recorded aeons ago in the darkest depths of the forests surrounding Berlin.
As a master of her craft, she is entitled to wear the Navy blue initiate’s frock, with its matching conical headpiece.
A friend gave me an A4 card with a figure to be cut out called “Gymnastics with Sister Adelheid”. You can see it halfway down the page http://www.edition8x8.info/bastelbogen/bastelbogen.html I had a lot of fun making this and when you lift Adelheid’s substantial body up and down, her arms wave down and up in a most fetching manner!
Adelheid was created by Martin Graf who is a brilliant artist with a great sense of humour. His web site is in German, but the images and animated GIFs speak for themselves, so it’s a great source of inspiration.
The nurse who looked after me as a 10 year old was called Yolanda and I loved her dearly. She also rhymes nicely with Yoga, so that was that. I also decided to change the movement so that when Yolanda’s body is pressed down, her arms go up. Trendy girls in Berlin favour long hair at the moment, so I thought that long plaits would be nice for her and maybe they could move up and down too. While considering how to do this I thought well let’s move her eyebrows as well.
I used three sheets of 6 mm plywood sandwiched together for the body in an almost triangular shape. For the arms I used 2 mm plywood with carved limewood hands and shoes. The legs are 6 mm beech dowel with 1.6 mm metal rod to move the arms. In the middle piece of the 3-layer sandwich there are slots in the plywood to accommodate the legs and the springs which push them down. This middle piece has an angled top on which the arms rest. Three small polyamide washers help the arms to move freely and I cut grooves in the outer pieces of the sandwich to provide space for the bent metal rods to move up and down.
This arrangement means that when you push down on the body, the leg springs compress and the metal rods move up into the body thus lifting the arms. As each leg has its own spring, you can choose to place one foot onto a raised platform leaving the other foot floating free in the air. If you then push down on the body only one arm will be lifted. As the ruff is fixed to the body, you can also push down on the ruff.
I cut a beechwood egg into two halves as the basis for Yolanda’s head, I chose a smaller egg for her nose, two hemispheres for her eyes and a cone for her hat. I used 2 mm plywood for her plaits and carved a limewood ruff to hold her 6 mm dowel neck.
To understand how things move, here is a partial assembly, showing just one plait which is pivoted on the metal rod on which Yolanda’s right eye (and eyebrow) is fixed on the outside.
As the metal rod from the neck moves up and down it moves the plait up and down. The plait is fixed with epoxy resin adhesive to its axis rod, so this rod turns as the plait is moved. The eye on the outside is also fixed to the axis rod, so it also turns as the plait is moved. Here’s a short video showing the movements https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pejNGatJAyQ
The plaits overlap so I added padding on each half of the egg to keep the plaits properly offset and to fill what would otherwise be an ugly gap. This padding means that one eye needs a metal axis rod which is longer by the thickness of the padding. A plastic washer beneath each plait keeps it moving freely.
The ruff is glued to the top of the body and the neck is glued to the ruff. The neck can move within the head thus moving the brass rod up and down. I chose not to use a spring here so that friction can hold the head on the neck in any position that you choose. To lift Yolanda’s plaits you have to pull her head upwards, “stretching” her neck. To lower the plaits you press her head down. Her hat is a good place to hold because your fingers are then clear of her eyebrows. As each plait lift its metal rod turns, rotating Yolanda’s eyes.
Her eyebrows are glued to the tops of her eyes and move with them. As her plaits lift her eyebrows tilt and Yolanda seems to frown. As her plaits go down, her eyebrows relax and Yolanda appears calmer. You don’t really notice that her eyes are rotating, her eyebrows grab your attention and give her this variable expression. Once you have set her expression you can then use the ruff to press the body down and lift her arms, without changing her expression. If you choose, you can press down using her hat, in which case her expression will first relax and then she will lift her arms.
If that’s all a bit complicated to understand, there is a video of Yolanda in action here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b1OuLkBtCY which should help.
As a well brought up young lady Yolanda takes care to use white cotton ribbons to keep her plaits tidy, which of course match her snow white ruff and socks.
What does it take to make us happy? How do we get to seventh heaven or even up onto cloud nine?
It’s really the small things in life which count and seeing my wife enjoying a swing in the garden outside a mountain restaurant in the Alps I thought that would be a great start. Originally, I planned to put the swing in a bird cage but then I thought “who’s happy being caged in?” So I decided to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar, trala and use clouds to swing on instead. There was recently an exhibition in Berlin about hippies and psychedelia, so I decided that a strange bird will sit on my swing, with a psychedelic Mohican haircut, a strange bird who really knows how to enjoy life. To keep him company, I added some heavenly birds who might even be storks just back from delivering their latest load of babies.
I decided to use a crank to turn a small wheel, which then causes a larger wheel to first turn one way and then back the other way.
There is a video showing the mechanism working https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYGhfcFeSac
For an extravagant visual impression, I chose a golden (brass) chain to provide the drive to the top axle. This is screwed to the big wheel beneath the base to transmit the motion to the top of the swing, where it is also screwed in place.
The same wheel at the top which makes the swing rock also pulls the four strings to make the four birds rise up. Strategically placed screw eyes guide the four strings to the four birds.
The swinging man has to really enjoy his swing as he is in 7th heaven, so moving forwards he leans back and pulls his legs up with his mouth open laughing. Right at the back, ready for his next swing, he sits up straight with his mouth closed and his legs hanging down.
Like a puppet, he has strings on his legs and a string on his chest. These strings are permanently tied to the framework. As the swing moves forward the strings tighten to pull his legs up, As the swing moves back the string tightens to pull his upper body erect on the seat. Gravity closes and opens his mouth.
His hands are permanently glued to the rods and his thighs are glued to the seat so that his body and lower legs can move freely.
The arms hinged with screws and plastic washers and the hands which hold the rods of the swing.
There is a video which shows how the birds move https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuCOqCZR1_k
The wings are hinged to the body using screw eyelets and a piece of bent brass rod. The neck is a piece of white cord which flexes nicely as the body moves relative to the head. My harshest critic, a four year old neighbour asked me why the birds don’t move around in a circle although they are flapping their wings. She is quite right of course and a slightly more complex mechanism would have made that possible. I will tie a knot in my hankie to have a go at revolving birds at some future time.
Everything is of course floating on clouds and I chose columns as in an ancient Roman temple to support an ethereally round top. Giant golden hands firmly grasp the ends of the axle for the swing. It is all made of wood, but a lick of gold paint gives things that certain sheen which we would expect in our Seventh Heaven.
It was fun making this but, as always, I was much wiser at the end than I was at the beginning. Initially I was very casual about the dimensioning of the moving parts and had to beef things up a lot when I noticed my mistake. After some strengthening, the mechanism works, although turning the crank requires a very uneven amount of force depending upon its angle of rotation. The finished item is quite large and the birds are easier to see than the “main” figure on the swing. Of course the columns and round roof are required to support the top axle but they do obscure our psychedelic hero enjoying one of life’s simple pleasures, which is a pity. Maybe a simpler inverted V-shape frame would have been better, without our feathered friends fluttering away up above. I still like it anyway!
Here is a video showing the finished item – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AEWpeBCgO0
See everything on one long page here, or choose a day.
For our 2 favourite girls in Berlin.
Music for this walk
Hey Teddy, do you want to come for a walk?
Which way, which way?
Wow, what’s that?
Apples! Just lying on the grass!
Found me, found me.
Where is Teddy?
Just my size and I love the colour.
Hey! I‘m hungry too.
Mmmm. Cheese roll.
It’s very pretty.
Gerhild found me a necklace under a mushroom. Maybe it’s magic?
Peek a boo.
Bet you can‘t see me!
Huh. There‘s nothing under this mushroom.
This way home.
Nice clouds this morning.
How do you like Vilnößtal?.
Popped into St. Peter’s church for a quick peek, having listened to its bells every 15 minutes since we’ve been here, and vainly tried to read the clock in its tower.
Kim finished reading his first ever Stephen King novel. It‘s a bit strange with invented „horror“ creatures as the author can invent the rules as he goes along. Not exactly a Sherlock Holmes story where things have a logic to them.
Gerhild finished „The little shop on the corner“ and she liked it a lot – just the right thing for a holiday.