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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Art, High Cross House |

Tea still brewing

Tea still brewing

Spent yesterday playing with various tiny modules and batteries that may ultimately fit inside a teacup to create my speaking cups. The little sound module I’m attempting to use seems to be notorious in not working, or in being very difficult – and so it is proving. It’s really quite interesting that in the day of ubiquitous information and the dominance of English (in language) and China (in manufacture) it seems almost impossible to find understandable information about this little module. I couldn’t get it to work – at all – and on further digging it seems that the way the device operates is dependent on what mode it is set to in the factory. However most people who are selling the device don’t seem to know this, don’t seem to know whether they can get one set to the mode I want, or don’t understand the question. The documentation is both impenetrable and in quite poor English which makes things less than clear. On the plus side, I have successfully won an eBay auction for a set of 1950s melamine tea cups and saucers which aesthetically and practically seem perfect.

So although I have solved some of the myriad technical challenges in trying to put standalone and self-maintaining sound into a teacup I have quite a few major hurdles to go before there is true progress.

The house continues to be busy.  Interestingly (and purely anecdotally) this seems related not at all to the fact that the Summer School of Music is happening elsewhere on the Estate, but rather on the fact that it is now high season, and summer holidays are in full swing. When it doesn’t look like a beach-y kind of day, families head out to see the sights, and that includes visiting the nearby National Trust properties. What seems surprising is (again anecdotally) how many come without really know anything about what they are coming to see.  The National Trust logo, it seems, is enough information for most. So there is still surprise for some to encounter a modernist house. And much confusion or mis-information about the school or why the house was built in the first place. We did have a visitor the other day who seemed to think that the school had been a Borstal – interesting to posit where that came from and whether it links back to the cultural shock the school and the Trust represented. Parts of this county are still fighting the Civil War, so it is perhaps to be expected that cultural shock of a mere 80 years distance still feels palpable and still feeds an active rumour mill.

Of course there are also visitors who are expert and have some with a critical and interested eye. They are sometimes designers or engineers who know a great deal about materials and want to know, for example, what kind of steel was used in the windows, or what veneer was used in the built-in furniture.

Most are in-between. Curious, interested, puzzled, a little unsure how to react.

N took part in the Salcombe Regatta harbour swim this morning, along with at least 300 others. After that we had breakfast sitting down by the marina, rather than rushing home so that I could get to High Cross in time for my 10am start. It is my birthday, although as I’m one of those who never celebrates that is a poor excuse. It was, simply, a beautiful day, and the one thing that age is teaching me is that art, after all, isn’t everything, and that sooner or later life must be given a chance to be celebrated in other ways.