Week 12/2024: Sea songs and chicken homes

Week of 18 March 2024

After a fabulous Tasmania Reads week, I got to exercise my democratic right to vote on Saturday.

A close up of a person wearing green leggings, yellow skirt, orange top and a red jumper. The image doesn't show their face, just their upper leg and abdomen
Election day outfit

I’m leaving this election day outfit here. If you know, you know.

Songs of the Sea

I suppose you could say Friday night’s conversation about Tasmanian wild places, especially the coastlines, flows nicely into Songs of the Sea. This was a concert I saw on Saturday afternoon at the Ian Potter Recital Hall.

Van Diemen’s Band tells us

Oceans are vast, deep and mysterious. They sustain us, swallow us whole and transport cultures over vast distances. Floating on the ocean’s turbulent swell are grand, lyrical narratives, stories, myth and song.

Songs of the Sea is a musical collaboration between Van Diemen’s Band and Mikelangelo – “a raconteur, salt-crusted storyteller and bittersweet bard”.

A man faces the right of the photo. He is dressed in a suit playing an accordion. The image has a red border and the letters TR in the top left hand corner
The Theatre Royal’s promotion photo of Mikelangelo in Songs of the Sea

It was first performed on a tall ship at the 2023 Wooden Boat Festival, and they revived it for a short touring season around Tasmania this month.

The show brings together the Van Diemen’s Band fiddles (Julia Fredersdorff, Rachel Meyers and Katie Yap), Luke Plumb on mandolin and another instrument that I didn’t catch the name of, but Mikelangelo referred to it as “that other thing” so I think we can safely say no one else did either), Dave McNamara on accordion, and Mikelangelo’s gorgeous baritone voice.

The artists “draw on maritime folk music styles, experimental and classical composition to evoke in song the salty smack of open water”.

People sitting on chairs facing a stage set up for six musicians. The letters VBD appear in purple lighting above the stage
Ian Potter Recital Hall at the Hedberg/Theatre Royal

Saturday’s concert was a wonderful voyage of music and songs, including one called “Farewell to Nigg”. This, we were told, was written in response to a call for songs commemorating the town of Nigg in Scotland, where they were about to build oil rigs. The lament was about loss of the town as it had once been.

It made me think of the town my great grandparents lived in, also home to some Scottish oil rigs.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show, so it was very much an adventure for me. But I have to say that when I woke up on Saturday morning I wasn’t expecting to learn about the technical difficulties involved in making love with a mermaid. I’ll never look at Ariel the same way again!

Dave McNamara’s accordion featured prominently, and there were some beautiful songs involving two accordions. Not sure ‘duelling accordions’ will ever be a thing but I have a new appreciation of this often maligned instrument.

I loved this show. It was the first performance I’d been to at the Ian Potter Recital Hall and I wondered what it might have been like to experience this on a boat. Unfortunately, since I get seasick, I’m never going to know!

The new chicken house

We’ve had our chicken house since we got our first chickens in 2012. It’s survived massive wind storms and moving house (but it was never quite the same after that). Some of the parts were starting to look a little worse for wear and we were running out of solid wood to screw bits that were falling off back into.

So a new chicken house was needed.

An old wooden chicken house with a green roof. A grey trunk can be seen on the left side and a green bin in the right. A black chicken is inside the chicken house.
The old chicken house

After considering a few options, we picked out one similar to the old one but with a few more features (dual nesting boxes for a start).

Unlike the old one, this one was flat pack.

[Insert hours of agony]

It took about five hours to build.

A new white-framed chicken house with a nesting box attached to the side. There is a grey trunk to the right of the chicken house.
Done at last

The next challenge was to convince the chickens this was their new home.

All I’ll say about that is they found their way into the cage but figuring out that the ramp went up to their sleeping area was too much for them. And there are some chickens that hate being picked up and moved into a more secure location, even when they’re half asleep . . .

Week 12 summary

Habit tracker

  • 9.30 shutdown: 3/7 days
  • 8,000 steps: 6/7 days

What was the best thing about this week?

I really enjoyed Songs of the Sea.

I’m glad the chicken house is built.

And I’m also glad Slabs and I managed to pick out new curtains without too much debate. Though when 90 per cent of the colour choices were variations of grey, it wasn’t that hard.

An array of curtain fabric in very uninspiring colours
Shades of grey

What did I notice this week?

I was in a bookshop and they were playing the War of The Worlds soundtrack, which I hadn’t heard for years. I didn’t know who all the singers were, but as soon as I heard the lead female vocalist, my brain said “Evita”. And yes, Julie Covington, who voices Beth on the soundtrack, also voiced the role of Eva Perón in the original studio recording of Evita.

What did I learn this week?

After a horrible (at least) 20 minutes sitting at a bus stop on a busy main road waiting for a bus that never came, I learned I need to take a physical book with me everywhere I go.

I also learned why lifts have mirrors.

What I’m reading this week

  • The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris
  • How To Win Friends And Manipulate People by George Mladenov
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