Duelling fiddles!

Posted by jerry on November 21st, 2006 — Posted in Journal, Music

The Majors Creek Folk Festival was – as usual – quite an experience! After the fun and games of finding a campsite before a rear tyre went completely flat, then finding the spare tyre was also flat, I could sense this would be a memorable festival… But then the State Emergency Services came to the rescue with a small air compressor and things started to look up. Good blokes the lot of them – even if they do wear orange jump-suits 🙂

The sessions were good this year, starting fairly low key and then building rapidly. At one point I was playing a reel full pelt, and then someone tapped me on the shoulder – I glanced round and there was Tony Pyrzakowski – the fiddle player from Wheeze and Suck Band and Mothers of Intention. I keep running into this amazing guy and folk festivals, and when we do: it’s on!

Tony Pyrzakowski and Jerry Everard

We are well matched as musicians and we lark around a lot, playing at being competetive rivals – actually he knows more about playing fiddle than I’ll ever know – but then I know more tunes than he does :-p And it all makes for a great show for anyone who happens to catch us in the mood – especially after a few pints of the good stuff.

Will o the Wisp fire circus

Anyhow, after the fire show – Eve hired me to MC the Will o’ the Wisp Fire Circus – it was off to the session bar for a few tunes.

Saturday was a real highlight as Tony and I got going  – both of us trying to look casual while the rosin dust fairly flew off the strings. We played some great tunes and the crowd just kept getting bigger as the tunes got faster and faster. That’s the stuff festivals are made of and this year’s Majors Creek was one of the best this year!

Sharon did a special tribute by stitching one of the pictures of us playing! What an amazing piece of embroidery!

There was another great session late on Saturday night when the singers had sunk to Goodnight Irene and the pace was quiet, along came Davydd McDonald – a great young Brisbane musician and it was on again – Da Eye Wifey, Maggies Pancakes and then into some great jigs and reels. Davy stayed with us between festivals and he did me the great tribute of writing me a reel – Jerry’s Reel – so I said to him in my best imitation of Michael Caton from the movie The Castle: “That’s going straight to the website!”
The weather held until Sunday when the wind came up – we managed to get the campsite stowed before the rain set in – and after sitting in on a few concert sets we headed off back to Canberra.


Homeless shopping trolleys

Posted by jerry on October 18th, 2006 — Posted in Journal

I was driving to work the other day and was struck by the lengths to which shopping carts go to escape the rat-race, ending up as homeless vagrants, wandering the streets and highways by day and sheltering under bridges or in culverts by night. Inspired by the Field Guide to Shopping Carts of North Eastern America I decided to document a couple from downunder.

The first is a Romeo and Juliet story of two young lovers – trolleys from different supermarkets, who have run away and are now living rough near the old Weston Creek forest in Canberra

shopping trolleys

The second is a lonelier tale of a trolley who’s lost and cant find their way back to the supermarket. This one sleeps rough under an overpass on the outskirts of Canberra city centre

shopping cart

Both would be classed as Type B1 – True Strays: Open True – a cart situated on a street or in a park or parking lot, outside of a two-block SOURCE radius. Thanks to MAKEZINE for pointing to the field guide
What is the most remote location you’ve seen a shopping cart?


Wooden Peg stilts – part two

Posted by jerry on October 14th, 2006 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Woodwork

With the legs cut to length, and the supports cut and the whole thing assembled so far, the other elements are the foot-plates and the straps to hold the stilts to the leg and foot.

First: the foot plate.

Cut two pieces of timber – pine or hardwood – into two rectangles each 19mm x 100mm x 260mm.

Then carefully draw a radius  across each corner, using a suitable round object – in this case some car polish – as  a guide.


Then carefully cut around the radius  – you can use a sander, or a coping saw, or in my case a hobby band saw, then sand the corners smooth.


The footplates are now ready to be fitted by drilling and screwing to the support brackets.


Now for the  knee cup and straps.

Cut a piece of PVC drain pipe of a radius larger than the wearer’s shin. Cut it about 100mm long and bisect it so you have two matching cups. These will be drilled and screwed to the upright post near the top and with the convex side pointing forward.

Using some old mouse-mat rubber, cut two pieces at 100mm x 250mm and glue them to the cups to provide padding for the shin with a bit left over to wrap around the leg for comfort.

Now, using some wide webbing strap, screw the webbing so it is trapped between the cup and the timber upright, having first stitched velcro in a manner that will allow you to feed it through a D ring and back to attach on itself, holding the leg firmly in the shin-cup.


Do the same with the heel and toe straps – attach them beneath the footplate with scres and washers to hold them firmly in place.


And then you will have a pair of stilts – please use them safely – always with a minder, and practice with good hand-holds until you are confident on them. Once again I take no responsibility for breakage or injury if you choose to build these stilts.


Making peg stilts – new design

Posted by jerry on October 9th, 2006 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Woodwork


Many of you will have seen my previous design for making circus-style strap on peg stilts. This time I have come up with a slightly modified design that is lighter, simpler and even easier to change to different leg lengths. Once again – I can take no responsibility (or liability) for any accidents arising from anyone attempting to make these from my plans as I have no control over how these plans are translated into actual stilts. I offer these plans for interest and to show how I have approached the problem of stilt construction. Enjoy!


Timber components (What you will need for the timber parts of the stilts):

Two times 40mm x 40mm x 1m pine dressed all round and completely free of knots, and with a nice straight grain – no compromise on strength here!

Two times 40mm x 40mm x 500mm pine dressed all round

Two times 40mm x 40mm x 250mm pine dressed all round

Four times 3/8 x 120mm bolts with two washers and a nut for each bolt

Two times 19mm x 110mm x 200mm cedar or pine cut away 45 degrees (for foot supports)
Two times 19mm x 110mm x 220mm cedar or pine (for foot plates)

Cut the timber to length and ensure it is smooth (dressed) all round. You can round over the corners with a router or sander.


Then measure carefully (at least twice) and drill two holes about 50mm from each end of the 250mm piece. Then use this as a template to set up to drill all the other components.


Once you have all the square timber components drilled and cut to size, it’s time to cut the supports from the cedar. I cut these away at 45 degrees to save weight and also to ensure that any costume legs don’t get caught up on the bracing.


The outer support is then drilled with a spade bit to the diameter of the washers but only part way in so there is a recess for the nut and washer. Again this is in the interests of not having any costume leg hang up on the bolts.


Once you have the components all drilled and cut you can do a trial assembly up to this point. Ensure that all the support components are flush to provide an even support for the foot plate. In this photo I have assembled the stilt components without the foot plate so you can see the construction.


Notice how the support plate is set forward – that’s to allow your feet to be positioned to keep the ball of your foot just in front of the stilt leg – an important aspect of stability when walking in them.

The next blog post I will show cutting the foot plates and attaching them to the stilts. Then a subsequent post will show the webbing to attach the stilts to your legs.


Canberra Floriade 2006

Posted by jerry on October 2nd, 2006 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

The tulips are in full bloom at Floriade – Canberra’s flower festival – and with a sunny long weekend it seemed a perfect day to check it out.

tulip 2006

Well, the flowers are wonderful and the record crowds seem to agree, despite the sun being just a bit too intense (can they turn it down a bit?) and the cars parking in the dirt were kicking up a fair bit of dust.

The flower beds are arranged in contrasting colours and heights and stretch off into the distance in Commonwealth Park between the lake and Stage-88.


And with a carnival theme the balloon benders and street performers delighted the kids and adults alike with their skills.

floriade balloon bender

After a pleasant walk back over Commonwealth Bridge, we headed to the Pancake Parlour for a short stack of pancakes and iced coffees. And there I found that the place had a free wifi access point – so I just had to do some quick photo edits on the iPaq and upload a quick blog entry! What a great idea – the place gets a thumbs up from me 🙂