Etched Behind Eyelids | November 2023
Bedraggled ponies as the tail end of Storm Ciaran passed over.
A brighter day in Sutton Park.
I have started work on my second quilt. This one is going to be a half square triangle star pattern, and I’m using fabrics I dyed myself using local plants. Gustave can’t help himself and always sits on my fabric to offer his pattern weight services.
Cutting and preparing the half square triangles requires patience as it takes ages. There really aren’t any shortcuts with quilting. I laid the fabric out to cut 8 at a time half square triangles, but for the next part I could either mark the large squares with a fabric pencil and ruler to divide them into 8, and risk sewing wonky freestyle lines, or cut them first and then sew them with my 1/4 inch guide foot, which guarantees straight seams. Six and two threes, I opted for option 2 as it’s the most accurate, and all told I don’t think it’s any slower. The 8 at a time method would only be quicker if I didn’t need to mark the sewing lines onto the large squares, but I don’t trust myself to sew accurately without guides and a 1/4 inch guide foot (the one with a little edge that you push your fabric up against whilst feeding it under the needle).
Watching delivery drivers come and go.
I bought a new (secondhand) wool cardigan, it’s an Aran cardigan. Gustave got up on his tiptoes to investigate when it first arrived, smelling of unfamiliar smells.
He’s not allowed on the table but I couldn’t help but laugh when he climbed up and then rolled on my cardigan, capturing a few frames before I picked him up and put him back down on the chair.
Double corduroy and a walk in Sutton Park. It’s been wet and mild this autumn after a wet and mild summer, and there is still some colour on the trees well into November. What a contrast to last year when the leaves came down in August and September after the drought, and were almost all gone by mid November.
I love the little pops of yellow on the silver birches. It won’t last long, but it’s such a joyful sight.
I bought a secondhand drone this month. It’s my first drone, and I bought it so that I can capture some aerial footage and photos of our allotment, as well as some of my favourite local haunts. I put off buying a drone for a long time. The legal restrictions in the UK meant that up until recently, there wasn’t really a drone I could fly in the city anyway. To fly in residential areas drones need to weigh less than 250g, and until DJI released the first of their mini series a few years ago there wasn’t a drone that was both light enough and with a good enough camera to justify getting one. I bought a mini 2 from one of my usual secondhand camera traders. I always buy secondhand from a dealer because then cameras come with a 6 month warranty which gives me peace of mind. I think that whoever had mine before me barely flew it though. I will never understand people who buy cameras just to unbox them and then sell them on.
It took me a while to figure some connection and radio interference issues which weren’t clearly explained in the manual, but I’m starting to feel a little bit less nervous about putting it up in the sky now that I’ve taken it for a few flights and I’ve seen the return to home fail safe in action. The drone lands itself where it took off from if it loses radio connection for more than a few seconds. I learned through forums and YouTube that my phone needs to be in aeroplane mode when I fly – which I enable after the app has found satellites and pinned a starting location – and once I’d made that adjustment my intermittent radio control connection problem stopped happening.
The other reason I put off getting a drone is that I know they’re noisy, and I don’t like drawing attention to myself or causing a disturbance. Thankfully the drone is little enough that once it’s 20m up in the sky, you can barely hear it.
Sat in the park on one of my first attempts at flying my drone, a woman came up and stood over me, asking silly questions like “is this your new toy?” and “is it your drone or your other half’s” when I was holding the remote and Ed was sat next to me on a bench. Drones have a reputation for being boys’ toys, it’s the same with a lot of camera gear, but I think interactions like that one happen more frequently with drones because you can hear them and they’re less common, so people assume it’s okay to stop and gawk, and pass commentary. Anyway, our end of the allotments is secluded enough to be able to fly my drone in peace and quiet, and if I fly it in the park or in woodland clearings I’ll just make sure that nobody is around.