Samstag, 17. März 2018

Happy St Patrick's Day!

... und gaaanz viele tolle Tunes! Ich hab die Tage viel mit Inkscape gespielt und natürlich war da der Bock vom Farbbuch wieder mit dabei: 

Angefangen habe ich mit einem Tutorial "wie man ein Glas macht". Ich hab das Weinglas durch ein Guinnessglas ersetzt und gleich mal "Spiegelung" ausprobiert.... 

Und ein klein wenig sinnvoller - ich hab mich auch an Infographics versucht. 
Irgendein Thema mußte herhalten... warum also nicht Musik und Patrick's Day? 

Patrick's Day Entscheidungshilfe

Inhaltlich ist das Käse. Es gibt ja Leute, die mögen Auftritte. Bei mir sah das schon beizeiten so aus: 

Gig oder Session? Session!
Welche Fragen man sich da zwischendurch stellen könnte, ist irrelevant...

Ich werde auf jeden Fall heute in Leipzig sein und mindestens die halbe Nacht Tunes spielen! Die andere Hälfte... da hoffe ich, daß sich einer der Hunde überreden läßt, in den Schlafsack zu krabbeln.
"Happy Camper"-Wetter ist anders...

Freitag, 16. März 2018

a story - not a tune - today

The world is full of stories. Full of fascinating people - with stories that are a joy to hear! And great fun to tell. Couldn't make it up...
No need to make it up in real life but, well...
Making up stories ... thought I'd try my hand at fiction.

Learning to write short stories seemed a nice thing to do. (Nicer than a boring old tune...) Been a  while since I thought this up - with today being 'The day' - to put on the blog whatever I came up with... 

It is much, much harder than I thought!

First question - as always in writing: Who do I write for? 
That one's easy: I always know who I write for. So here you go...

What I wanted was... something slightly scary. Childhood fears. Fears that still lurk. Fears you can't find words for. 
What are the words that can find those fears? Just tickling them enough to make them stirr but not enough to wake them? Not enough to take shape - just a shadow below you in the water... 

needed a good bit of treasure hunting to locate this candle....
it  has been lurking in the scary depths of a drawer for ages.
Biding its time....  this candle knows about 'drama'!

Turned out it is easier to start out with something that is not scary. And I'm having second thoughts... Should have thought about something better. But well, today's the day. There'll be more. Days and thoughts and stories ... 
The real stories behind this are way more fascinating (to me) than what I am able to write.... Sandy Cove. Morphed into other beaches.... Little Nigel who I minded when I helped out in the chreche in Castletownbere all those years ago (and the day everybody was allowed to throw ONE stone into the sea - he worked hard to drag a massive rock to the shore!)
and people who told me about their sea monsters...
The world is full of stories. And waters that are deep and dark.....


in the water

"You really can’t swim?" I switch off the car’s engine and stare at him in the rear view mirror.
A meek no. Little voice. Little boy.

"Why didn’t you tell me?"
I think, ‘why didn’t your parents tell me? I said I’d take Nigel to the sea, didn’t I?’

"You wouldn’t have taken me here." He beams at me. Delighted by his own cleverness that tricked me into going to the beach with him. "Nobody takes me to the beach ever …"
He jumps out of the car and runs to the stairs that lead down to the water.

But you know the way from the car park well enough, don’t you? 
"Oi! Come back here! Won’t you help carry our stuff?" I shout after Nigel. He is my neighbour’s little boy. Shy and quiet and nice to have around. I enjoy minding Nigel.

He runs back to me, graciously relieves me of one towel, and we walk down the weathered wooden steps together.
Sandy Cove. One of my favourite places - secluded and peaceful and sheltered by steep cliffs that are speckled with clumps of tiny pink flowers. I love to come here, stretch out on the warm sand, listen to the waves and think about all the little wonders that surround us. How do these flowers manage to grow out of pure, vertical rock?
I guess I’ll not get much of a chance to daydream today!

"Do you want to learn how to swim?"

"No!" The shrillness of his voice surprises me. His eyes wide open as if I’d asked him to…. I don’t know... eat something disgusting. Like brussel sprouts.
"When I’m a grown up I will swim."
That - apparently - is a fact. One that doesn’t involve learning how to swim as a kid. You grow up. You swim.
"They won’t get me then," he adds.

He will make that face! I just know that he will! The face that kids make when you’re being a silly adult asking silly questions. But I ask anyway, "who?"

He stops and there it is! The face! He puts on a voice to go with it when he says, "the Joes!"

"The Joes? Who are they?"
That look again! But he is trying to be patient with me. "You know! The Joes! Ampy Joe and… the other Joes!"

We keep on walking down the stairs to the incredibly white sand. Nigel seems satisfied. All’s said.
Down on the beach he points out shells and names them. He even knows the names of different kinds of seaweed! Or maybe he makes them up to test me. Trying to find out if I really don’t know the most basic things about the sea and its creatures.

"Mh?" He drops the ‘skellington of a sea urchin’ and looks at me.
"Will you tell me more about the Joes? Pretend I never heard about them. Pretend I’m a stranger."
A sly grin. "Mustn’t talk to strangers."

"Ah come on! Are they scary?"
He squints at me. Thinking hard whether this is a game or a test or whether I’m just plain stupid.
But I know Nigel. He likes to lecture. He even looks like a little professor when he does. His posture changes and I can nearly see the tweed jacket and old fashioned bow tie!

He stares at the waves. "They live in the water. Any water. The river. And the lake. And the sea."
"And the indoor pool? Do they live in the indoor pool, too?"
I get a scolding look for interrupting.
"And the indoor pool. Any kind of water. But not the bath or the shower."
Good to know. I was going to ask…
Apparently that’s all there is to know about habitat.

"Ampy Joe is nice," Nigel goes on after thinking for a bit.
"And the others?"
"They aren’t!"
"Ah yes. I see. What are their names?"

He doesn’t answer but bends down to pick up a tiny shell. Holds it up with one hand and….
did he really just straighten that bow tie he is not wearing with the other hand?

He is excellent in his role. Pretending I have never been to the sea and need to be told everything!

"This," he declares, "is a periwinkle! You can boil them and then you can eat them, you know?"
I do. And I want to hear about the mysterious Joes. Not swap recipes. But Nigel is in full ‘little professor mode’ now. "You boil them in a pot and then you take them out and get them out of their shells with a toothpick. They’re all curly and wobbly. And there’s always sand! They are crunchy - and yucky!"

I try to get him back to his story, "do the Joes eat periwinkles?"
That seems to work!
"The Joes eat everything in the sea. They eat… periwinkles and mussles and urchins and…"
I can hardly believe he is running out of sea creatures to list!
He seems happy with his knowledge of Joe diet!
"And they are always in the water! All the time! They swim. And they can swim UNDERWATER! Aaaand… they can hold their breath for TWO hours!"

He’s scanning the sand again. I scan, too. Hoping there is nothing interesting there. I want to get him talking before the little professor gets distracted by yet another thing! I’m really intrigued by the Joes now and why Nigel won't swim before he is an adult.

"What do they look like?"
"Ampy is the smallest. But he looks like the others. He is just smaller!" He looks at me - uncertain, reading my face. But at the same time daring me to contradict him or question his expertise on all things Joe!

I try an encouraging nod. He’s frantically scanning the ground again. Sweet little boy - he’s making it up as he goes along and needs some inspiration. But there’s nothing there. Just sand.

"Horses!" he says, "they look a bit like horses!"
Nigel is like an oyster! All he needs is a grain of sand and he is off to form a pearl of a story around it!

"They are like those huuuuge horses! You know? They have long tails and...and … they have flippers!"
"Not hooves?"
"No-o! Flippers! And they swim real fast! Faster ‘n a boat! And they can hold their breath for two hours!"
And so I learn that they are like massive, big horses with flippers that live underwater. Except for Ampy Joe! He’s only little! A little horsey, flippered creature. But he, too, can hold his breath for two hours. Actually HE can hold his breath for three hours! I get one other name: Grumpy Joe. He’s the worst! I also learn that the horse-like creatures don’t talk but sometimes they screech. Like the seagulls. Loud. Like a choir of seagulls! Which I think is an odd phrase for him to use. Is it a squabble of seagulls? I’m sure I read that somewhere...

"Will we take off our shoes and walk in the water, Nigel?"
No! We won’t! The thought really scares him!
Is this parent psychology gone a bit too far? A little boy so obsessed with the sea and its creatures that it seemed a good idea to stop him from wandering in - with a story? What does he think the Joes will do to him? I better not ask. We keep our distance to the water’s edge.

"They eat periwinkles. And urchins. And seals!" His voice sounds dreamy now. "And they can’t see properly under water. Like me - when I hold my breath and open my eyes in the bath. It stings!" He looks up at me. All sincere. All professor in his invisible tweed jacket and bow tie. "They can’t see properly and that’s why they think little kids are seals - or fish. And they drag them down."
Ah! That’s it then! Horse-like sea monsters that drag you down. I wonder if he practises holding his breath in the bath to be prepared. Just in case he will not grow awfully tall - or the Joes’ eyesight deteriorates until he is an adult. They could still mistake him for a seal if he doesn’t grow tall. But no. Adults are fine! He will swim as soon as he is a grown-up. Better not give him any doubts about that!

I brought a blanket and a picnic and we find a nice spot. Close to the rocks. They are between us and the water and give shelter and shade. Nigel flops down beside me and stares at me. "But…."
Poor little soul. Is there more that scares him?
"But what, Nigel?"
"But…. EVERYBODY knows about the Joes!"
"Well, I didn’t. But I do now! Thank you!"

It’s a lovely day and we have the tiny beach to ourselves. Nigels skips and hops over the sand and picks up treasures to show me. Seaglass and shells and a huge orange buoy.
He lectures again about seaweed and creatures of the sea. I recognise some of the names. So he probably really knows all those things…
"How come you know so much about the sea? You said you don’t come here often?"

A deep hearted sigh is all I get at first.
"Nobody eeever takes me to the sea…"
He has the disappointed look of a little boy that got promised a cool toy for christmas but then finds an embarrassing T-shirt that will get him bullied in school.
"But I dream about it. Every night"

I send him off treasure hunting again. And listen to his lectures when he comes back. Listen to his dreamed up knowledge of the sea.
I could do with some dreaming now, too. Would be lovely to fall asleep in the warm sand. Nigel wouldn’t wander off into the water.
But he might climb the cliffs or do some other silly thing that gets him hurt.
No -  it’s my turn to sigh…

"Nigel... I’m a grown-up, right? I can go for a dip in the water, can’t I?" (I bite my tongue not to add ‘although I’m not very tall’)

He’s fine with letting me go for a swim. He sits down on our blanket and sorts his shells by size around the buoy.

The cold water wakes me up in an instant. So lovely to let the waves carry me up and down. And out. Just a bit.
Poor Nigel. Missing all this liquid niceness!
Freezing cold at first but after a minute or two it’s pure bliss to float in the water. Turquoise closer to beach - turning a dark blackish green when I get to the dip. The edge where the white sand ends and the sea quite suddenly gets really deep. There’s an undercurrent here that will knock you off your feet if you walk in the shallow water and get too close to the dip. 
Divers like Sandy Cove. Dark rocks and underwater caves that are so very tempting to explore.

I pause to look back and watch Nigel. Still engrossed in sorting his marine treasures.
Getting upright gets my legs into the really cold water. Dark and icy cold - mysterious deeps full of unknown wonders. The fresh, salty smell of the turqouise water is replaced by a smell of... stirred up darkness. 
Something small and silvery flits past. Too fast to make out. Some little fish in a hurry to get away from something. Nigel would probably have a name for it.

Nigel! I hear him scream!
I feel my heart beat like mad as I look out for him on the beach while the waves kick me up and drag me down. Trying to swim back fast with seaweed suddenly getting tangled around my leg.
He’s on top of the rocks. Stares at me in panic. His hands pressed on his his ears. Screaming, screeching. With…. his mouth shut?
Screeching like… a choir of seagulls?

Traum vom Meer
dream of the ocean

Dienstag, 13. März 2018

Die Schäfer brauchen Hilfe!

Heute war Demo in Berlin. Für die Weidetierprämie und den Erhalt der Schäferei.
Neulich habe ich dazu einen Artikel gelesen, der echt gut war. Jetzt wollte ich den teilen und find ihn nicht mehr.
Die Artikel, DIE ich gefunden habe, gefallen mir nicht. Deshalb in eigenen Worten. Ohne Zahlen und Fakten. Die gibt anderswo. Zum Beispiel beim Bundesverband der Berufschäfer

Hauptakteur des Artikels war Sven de Vries.  Verlinkt habe ich hier mal einen Artikel aus der TAZ.
Sven war mal Programmierer und wurde dann Wanderschäfer. Nicht nur aus Jux und Dollerei und nicht nur für ein paar Monate oder Jahre sondern ernsthaft. Mit Leib und Seele. Und mit Technik auf der Weide. Er zieht über die schwäbische Alb und twittert über sein Leben und seine Schafe.

Außerdem sieht er aus wie Catweazle! So 'ne "Type" ist pressewirksam. Und mit Twitter, Facebook und Co (Elektriktrick....) erreicht er Leute.

Die wenigen Schäfer, die wir noch haben, profitieren (hoffentlich) davon!
Vielleicht setze ich ihn hier zu sehr in den Mittelpunkt aber das ist eigentlich egal - Sven hat eine Online Petition gestartet für die Weidetierprämie. Seine Präsenz in den Medien könnte helfen, daß viele Leute aufhorchen bei dem Thema!

Um die Weidetierprämie ging es auch heute in Berlin.
Worum geht es da im Detail? Eine pro-Tierkopf Prämie für Schäfer. Es geht NICHT darum, kauzigen Aussteigern ihr Leben im Bauwagen zu finanzieren. Es geht um ein Erbe und um Zukunft.

Der Zusammenhang von artenreicher Kulturlandschaft und Schäferei ist komplex und den kann ich hier nicht wiedergeben. In aller Kürze: Schafe erhalten Kulturlandschaft. Und Kulturlandschaft ist etwas besonders.... Landschaften, die wir (mit unseren Nutztieren) seit vielen Jahrtausenden geformt haben. Die Natur hat sich daran angepaßt. Mit extremem Artenreichtum! (Wesentlich artenreicher als der Buchen-"Urwald"). Wer mehr wissen will, für den habe ich eine Buchempfehlung: Geschichte der Landschaft Mitteleuropas.
Ein Kulturerbe und ein Naturerbe: Pflanzen, Insekten, Vögel, Nager, Reptilien und diverse Säugetiere...

Schäferei ist Nostalgie. Aber nicht nur im Postkartenformat.... nicht nur der malerische Schäfer mit seinen Schafen und Hunden und der Weste mit den 52 Knöpfen für die 52 Weidewochen....

Schäferei ist nostalgischer Artenreichtum!
Die Subventionen in der Landwirtschaft dagegen sind auf Effektivität ausgerichtet. Auf Ertrag und Leistung.

Lammfleisch isst hier kaum jemand und Wolle heimischer Schafe ist ein Wegwerfprodukt. Geld kommt höchstens aus der Landschaftspflege. Weil diese Landschaft irre wichtig ist. Soweit, so gut!

Nun gibt es aber doll viel Geld für Flächen und wenig für Landschaftspflege (und DER Papierkram muß irre sein!) Wer Land besitzt, bekommt Geld. Wer das Land beweidet, guckt in die Röhre. Wer riesige Monokulturen mit Raps und Mais anbaut oder Silo macht für das Vieh im Stall, der bekommt aus dem großen Topf.
Wer sieben Tage die Woche, 365 Tage im Jahr arbeitet, um seinen Schafen eine gute, traditionelle, tiergerechte Haltung zu bieten UND traditionelle Landschaft zu erhalten, der sieht davon nix. Die Schäfer besitzen das Land nämlich nicht (oder selten.)

Genau da setzt die Weidetierprämie an: Es geht nicht um zusätzliches Geld. Es geht um Umverteilung. Die EU Regelung sieht das vor. Die EU ist nämlich FÜR Förderung von Vielfalt. 22 Staaten machen das auch schon... die Bundesregierung setzt auf "Leistungsförderung".

So ganz prinzipiell.... es gibt Berufe, die aussterben. Braucht keiner mehr. Dann ist das halt so.  Aber bei der Schäferei sehe ich das anders. Das ist eine Nostalgie, die wir uns leisten sollten.

Nicht für Catweazle in seinem Bauwagen auf der schwäbischen Alb. Für Artenvielfalt und einfach nur für die Schönheit von ... Heidelandschaft, Trockenrasen mit Orchideen, Insekten und Vögeln und kleinen bunten Oasen in der Wüste riesiger Agrarmonokulturen und Betonwüsten...

Und irgendwie ist da noch mehr... noch mehr "Erbe"... Wer mit Schafen zu tun hat, kann nicht mehr anders.... das machen wir Menschen seit 10000 - ZEHNTAUSEND - Jahren.
Und deshalb gibt es noch ein paar Leute, die mit nem Stundenlohn von 6,20 - ohne Wochenende und ohne Urlaub mit und für die Schafe leben.

Petition #SchäfereiRetten