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How much?!

June 3, 2018
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In my daily work, I often get people asking “can I have some paper”, “a few sheets”, “a pile of card” … When consulted about how much people actually require, they are often unsure. We then move on to what size and colour? They often do not know what they want and expect me to know what the person who asked them to ask for something wants. It’s a spooky thing! Believe it or not, I do not know how much you need!

So just for the record, here goes… the quantities below are not set in stone, but if you don’t know how much you are asking for, this is what you might receive.

 

If you insist on being vague, just add ‘quite’ at the start of your request … ‘quite a few’ multiplies the few by an unknown quantity. It’s a spooky thing!

Actual paper quantities:
“A pack” of paper, is a ream which is 500 sheets.
25 sheets = 1 quire
500 sheets = 20 quires = 1 ream
1,000 sheets = 2 reams = 1 bundle
5,000 sheets = 5 bundles = 1 bale

 

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Conversation with constructions

June 2, 2018

So another trip to the homeland, and of course this instigates new old things to ruminate on.

While visiting the resting place (and hence archived memories) of my maternal grandparents, we discovered the gardens of Tremenheere a stone’s throw away. After a few hours exploring Tremenheere; combined with a day in a sunlit St Ives the previous day; I found myself, a backslidden Arts postgraduate, again toying with ideas of perception, shape, form and texture etc. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed thoughts of ‘Art’. The perception of Art can be fickle, subjective, and a culturally complex thing.

Tremenheere reignited thoughts about human constructions, decay, and the nature of life, and time. Thoughts about movement (dance & movement are also archived in my mind; I enjoyed the physical interactive elements of my studies as elemental to exploration of the human condition and artistic expression), movement and how change can make the subject seem exposed and perhaps become vulnerable, fragile, yet stronger and powerful…

The camouflage of routine and ritual can be broken by movement. Growth breaks shapes and makes new marks. As a creative thinker or creative artist, we might have an urge to make marks, create images, reshape noise. In thin places like Tremenheere, and for me Cornwall has many ‘essential’ places, we can to a degree silence some of the saturating noise of our culture and the echoing reverberations of our ever-present infotainment mediums.

The cleansing invigorating properties of art that works, especially when found in thin spaces, can be remarkable. I find that when combined with nature, good art might resound dark-night, bright-light, harmony, melody, discord, and new narratives that might both heal and/or shudder.

However, I return again to the fragile idea that no matter how exciting our creations and constructions, interaction with our natural wild world always surpasses the podiumed or framed human constructions we create. Conversation with the natural world, interaction between our individual creations, combination and respectful sharing of our endeavors perhaps is the god we might celebrate and learn from.

 

Just a person, on a bike…

May 9, 2018

This May it’s been 7 years, and roughly 25,000 miles, since I started using a bike to get to and from work daily.

To the prospect of ‘cycling to work once a week?’, I recall adamantly thinking ‘never in a month of Sundays!‘ – it was seriously not an option. However, after a month or so I found myself riding to work and back daily.

Mindsets have changed since 2011 (sadly the cycle infrastructure has not!). You can see posts, from my dalliances with ‘the media’ to Bike Books here: https://julesprichards.wordpress.com/bike/

Back in 2011, my primary aim was to save money, and get some exercise – little did I know then how it also ‘might’ change the way you see the world. I thought I’d just relook at some figures.

I initially commuted 7 miles each way, then for a year I did 10 miles, now I am back to 8 miles each way. Below is an update to my previous ‘Commute’ costs post.

Current 2018 fuel costs:
Driving ~8 miles @ 7.5mpl, £1.26p/litre, costs £1.35 each way, that’s £13.50/week.

You can read about a previous buscarbike experience and costs here: Commute

So simply on fuel, I’m saving us ~£13.50/week.
That’s 39 weeks x £15 = £526/year.

Yes, I know I’m lucky to be able to ride a bike to work, yes there are some jobs where it’s not possible, but there are a lot of jobs where IT IS POSSIBLE!  You may recall, when it was initially suggested that I could cycle to work once a week, my response was ‘never in a month of Sundays!‘ – it was seriously not an option!  The idea was simply crazy!

(i) I’d get wet and cold and be a gibbering wreck when I got to work.
(ii) I really don’t fancy the ride home after a day at work.
(iii) It’s too far.
(iv) It would take too long.
(v) The traffic would be a nightmare.
(vi) I like my radio in the car.
(vii) There’s always a reason why not to…

It may take a while to chage habits and routines but after a few months cycling daily, I found…
(i) Buzzing! and ‘up for it’ when I get to work. (The weather is not an issue if the right clothing’s worn, and inclement weather is much less frequent than you think!).
(ii) Take it from me, surprisingly the ride home is a great tonic!
(iii) It’s not as far as you think.
(iv) At an average rush-hour, by bike’s not much more than by car.
(v) Don’t be part of the traffic! 94% of my commute is OFF main roads!

(vi) Radio* in one ear on the bike is fine (low volume). and ride off-road where possible.  (*BBCRadio3 AM, BBCRadio6 PM)
(vii) Eliminate the negative, accentuate the positive…

It has taken me years to rediscover, there’s a lot to unlearn, perspectives change and the world becomes quite a different place.

I am not a follower of the sport of cycling, worthy though it is. Just as an average driver is probably not a follower of Rallying or Formula 1, exciting though they are. I am not a lycra lover. I don’t (anymore) try to beat my time! I don’t think you should have to “dress like a cyclist” to ride a bike – practical ‘normal’ clothes can be found to suit most purposes. It’s just riding a bike to get from a to b.

The simple act of riding a bike is good for so many reasons – personally, socially, mentally, physically, community, interaction, pace, progress, ambition… all can be fed by a new way (an old way) of experiencing things.

Perhaps think again, and perhaps cycle again?

You can read my previous Celebration of Cycling post here.

You can see my bike related posts here: bike

On your wall…

April 6, 2018

I’ve updated the post below with some new wall prints that I’ve just created for our new walls…

Brighten up your wall …  even more than that, make it personal!

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If you need help getting a unique personal image for your wall, let me take a look for you.

Whether it be for your office, lounge, diner or bedroom
let’s take a look and see what we can make fit.

I’m happy to take some shots for you, I can work with images you’ve taken, or
I might work from your brief/ideas or concept.

  • 21446711676_6d9d966f07_bI’d like a red flower…
  • I want a picture of Benji our dog…
  • We’d like a family portrait…
  • I have some old prints of Gran and Grandad…
  • Can you do something abstract … ?
  • Can you remove the lamp post … ?

We can meet up and I’ll take a roll of shots for you to view.
You can leave briefs or material with me and I’ll work on your concept.
Or perhaps you have something else in mind?

rigsWe can create work for canvas prints of various sizes or large-format wall mural prints.
Of if you just want a print for framing yourself I can produce it professionally.

The answers usually yes! … as long as it’s legal it is ethical 🙂

I just charge for my creative time, and I source reproductions from various reliable cost-effective printers.

Give me a bell, and we can have a chat!

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Let them make cake.

April 2, 2018
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Cake, in a post-cake world.

This year I have found the emotional narratives of spring and specifically the Easter festival specifically vibrant. Like when you can’t see properly ‘cause of bright shiny stuff.

Even when you spend years meandering with deconstruction, experimental creative thinking, and the post-postmodern full-emptiness of current enlightenments, our past colours our world, (thankfully). Our upbringing, the stories and things at the hearts of ourselves reinforce our world whether we want it or not. Emotional narratives pull us strongly.

When I try to ignore some of the more imaginative and cakey ideas our culture entertains, I scrabble for somewhere else to place value. God said, “forgive them, they know not what they do”. I may not know what we do, but I think we still need to do stuff, or else there’s not much left. As August said, “If you don’t like where you are just picture where you want to be.”

Some of the pictures we live with make it more worthwhile. The stories we tell, and the rituals we enjoy, the treasures we cherish, the stuff that binds us to others … often it does not make total sense. Often we don’t know quite why we do what we do, but we need to do it, and let it be. We may not always agree with seemingly trivial warm and fuzzy stuff, but perhaps its these seemingly unimportant things that we need, to let us all be.

So when I ignore most of the trinketry of Easter this year, seeing my sister’s simnel cake (from a distance, via the magic of Facetime) lights up a deep narrative. And so, we also make cake. Okay, ours is not a real simnel cake, it has a rich mix of fruits and spice and a topping of marzipan and ours has many confused disciples on the top. But it still tastes great!

So this Easter, thanks go to pictures, stories and stuff that we use to colour in the spaces, join dots and make cakes in a post-cake world.

A belated happy Easter to you.

 

Movement

March 18, 2018

Some thoughts on movement.

And so we moved..

We all move, all day, but when are we really moved?

After 14 years creating habits, routines and rituals we pulled the metaphorical cloth from the table to see what stayed in place. We had a mad half hour in January which turned into moving house in March – Like you do.

Over an exhausting 48hours, with much needed help from Dad & Uncle, we actual put everything that was ‘on the table’ so to speak in to six van-loads and transported it a few miles down the road. We will be putting things back on the table for a few months.

 

I count this as the 12th house I recall having lived in. Never have I lived in one place more than about 7 years, until the last 14 years that is. After 14 years, the initial rearrangement of a place to inhabit has been a moving event. You suddenly realise that you have built a life around many things, objects, spaces, and as I say, habits, routines and rituals. We take a lot for granted, we do a lot unconsciously, and having to carry on as usual when all the usual things are not in their usual places can be disconcerting

But we rejoice at a new table, hopefully a new altar in the world, a fresh space to grow.

I pray the routines, rituals and habits that might evolve will be good. To quote Deepak Chopra “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”
And something more antique from Ovid “All things change, nothing is extinguished.  There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent. Everything flows onward; all things are brought into being with a changing nature; the ages themselves glide by in constant movement.”

More moving for me is I recall my Cornish Nana had a scullery. We now have a scullery… “And you will keep singing as the days go by.”

 

Joy and meaning.

February 25, 2018
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Joy and meaning…

 

I was recently sharing in one of Brian Draper’s helpful email series’.  This one mentioned Dr. Alastair McAlpine’s profound observations gained from working with seriously ill children: What terminally ill children taught this doctor about how to live”. “…the so-called small things were the ones that turned out to have enormous significance at the end.”

Obviously, it’s not the same, but sharing our house with two children, and working in a school, the simplicity of a refreshing childlike perspective is often pricelessly gifted to us. Yes, it might be difficult, it is difficult, to see past our cares, our worries, and the pressures and expectations our culture advertises. Also, the childlike growing teen is learning to fit in with our culture and testing our constructs – the growing-child’s behaviours are often challenging. What we are talking about here is an essential childlike spirit… Perhaps.

But it’s not just children that can realise a more honest way. What simple truths might we discover, as Brian says “if we as grown-ups, can subtract the ephemera of adulthood, to enter life more fully…” ?  Alastair McAlpine writes “The kids were not hung up on “stuff” … the happiest, most meaningful moments were simple ones that … embraced the importance of human connection”.

As adults, we engineer the question ‘What brings you joy and meaning?’, something children perhaps don’t ask but just do, be and are. They naturally(?) do, be, are, and embrace their joy and meaning in just being alive. Perhaps again, it’s that simple process of pause, stop, yield, relax, breathe

Riding to work recently, I slowed my bike to let two children and their father, also cycling their bikes, pass on the track in front of me. Unwarranted, they both individually proclaimed with joy and meaning “Thank you!”, “Thank you!”… The simple honest natural(?) action really made my day, I couldn’t help but smile – in fact further down the track I smiled and audibly laughed – happy daze!

The lack of interaction, as well as the intolerant and often ignore-ant interaction, we so often experience as adults, is bathed away by the joy and meaning that a simpler attitude (or lack of ‘attitude’) can bring.

Last month I shared Edward De Bono’s thoughts “A Child … enjoys the use of his mind just as he enjoys the use of his body as he slides down a helter-skelter or bounces on a trampoline”

Often (and especially on my commute) the happiest, most meaningful moments are: the simple ones that … embrace the importance of human connection.

I am reminded of a moment a few years back: the Morning Puja.
“The day was still grey and the bin lorry ahead was trailing musty decay but the bin men smiled and life or something inexplicable filled the air.

Pause, stop, yield, relax, breathe… give thanks … with someone.