Incredible as it seems to me, it’s Easter already – time to have some extra eggs (probably some from chocolate, too) and take a few days off. These are much needed here, as the past weeks have been quite busy and I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather today, so I’m more than happy to have some days off to spend time with friends and family, relax, catch up on news and generally have a good time.

Which also means I’ll be not blogging for a few days; I’ll be back on the blog on Wednesday next week. In the meantime, in lieu of an Easter Bunny, I’m giving you a Cat With an Easter Egg:


She was slightly confused by the sudden appearance of a yellow egg in her cat bed, but she took it in stride. Or, more correctly, she kept calmly and carried on napping.

Have a few nice days!

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Miscellaneous linky stuff has, again, piled up around here so you are getting the appropriate post.

First of all, you might remember the petition about the impending closure of the Musée des Tissus in Lyon? Well, it’s not over yet – there is still hope, as a consulting firm is going over the museum trying to figure out how it can stay open. The museum will remain open at least until July 2017 and maybe until the end of 2017, but might still be closed for good after that. You can read more about the current status here, and if you haven’t signed yet, that same link will let you sign the petition to keep the museum open – every single voice counts.

I’ve recently been pointed to a BBC series called “Mastercrafts”, and one of the parts of the series is about weaving. You can watch it on youtube (oh glory of digital videos!)

While we’re talking about Britain – if you’re looking to buy a home in Warwickshire, you could have the country’s smallest castle. It does look lovely!

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I’m away for only a few days, and my return is to a garden in bloom – the tulips are open, and there’s spots of colour everywhere:


Yellow tulips, and the willow in the background is going like crazy.


That said, the willow fence is going like crazy everywhere now!


More tulips – these were more yellowish once, but they have sort of migrated towards orangey red over the years. There’s also hyacinths in blue and dandelion that snuck in (and is allowed to bloom a bit more).


And the peach tree is also flowering – let’s see if there will be peaches this year…

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I’m back home from teaching! It was lovely to be in Paderborn, and I really enjoyed the city in springtime – there was a blooming magnolia right in front of the place where I stayed, perfuming the air. I had glorious weather for the walks to the Uni and back, and for the evening strolls to and through the city centre. There’s lovely ice cream to be had in Paderborn, and in contrast to the south of Germany, the supermarkets are open until ten in the evening (they close at eight here).

The course I taught was two half days and two full days, and it was, as these things usually are, really interesting for me. I don’t know where I heard it, and it was ages ago, but I was once told that teaching something will lead to you really learning something – and I can say that this is actually true. Well, I don’t necessarily learn something more about the subject I’m teaching (though this happens as well, from time to time, as questions or approaches or Wild Things that Just Happened shed some light from a different angle on the subject, and suddenly you realise why this or that works this or that way, or doesn’t), but I always, always learn something about people. How they think. How they learn. How they look at structures, and movements, and techniques. That is, to me, endlessly and utterly fascinating, and there are so, so many different approaches and different personalities and different characteristics. It’s also endlessly and utterly satisfying to provide instructions and explanations in such a way that all the participants in the course get it, and can work the technique. (Not always easy, and sometimes it’s really, really hard or even impossible to find the right way of explaining. But when it works… it’s a true “Yes!” moment.)

One of my “Oh wow, that is interesting”-highlights from last week was one person who was essentially ambidextrous. Which is a wonderful and really helpful thing – unless your brain, as happened to her with one technique, keeps getting hooked on working the technique in the direction best suited for working with the left hand… but with the right hand.

I also realised how much I rely on looking at the structures of a textile, both for analysis (where you have no other possibility) and for teaching. I try to teach the moves necessary to make something together with an awareness of how they work, and why – which makes it easier to see what needs to be done next, and to find and correct mistakes.

Brains, I can tell you, are awesome. And fascinating. Especially when they are doing weird things!

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I’m off teaching, and thus I’ll make a little pause in blogging – I’ll be back next Monday.

Meanwhile, for you, a few links:

X-Ray of the oceans show the impact humans have. Not pretty.

Also not pretty: This story about two immigrant doctors nearly getting tossed out of the US.

Much, much nicer: A physicist who also is an origamist, and does incredible things with paper.

And finally, a big list of science podcasts (just in case you are looking for some).


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The little cat has been ferrying home ticks for a few days now, so it is obviously warm enough for these little buggers to be really active again… which also means it’s time for the yearly public service announcement:

If you are living in tick country, or plan to travel to one, there’s two nasty sicknesses that can be transferred by ticks (which are the only members of the spider family I truly dislike). One of them, Lyme disease, is nasty and especially so if it is not detected in a timely fashion. The other, tick-borne encephalitis, is also nasty – but there is actually a vaccine against it, and at least in Germany, it is strongly recommended for those active outdoors.

So do consider checking your vaccination records and getting a refresher if you are running out of protection; look for ticks when you were outside and remove them as soon as possible. We have a tick-removing tool that has a loop you put around the tick, which works very well for both humans and cats, and grasps even small ticks very securely. Though they have no threads and some people say you should not turn them, I have the impression it’s easier to get them out if you twist instead of pull straight. Whatever tool and method you use, make sure you have all of the tick out – sometimes, the head can rip off and stays in the skin.

To kill them, either pour boiling water over them, smash them until they burst, or (my preferred method) burn them. Don’t think you can kill them by flushing them down the sink or toilet; they can survive several weeks under water with no problem. You really have to kill them dead with a capital D.

There you go. May your summer be tick-bite-free!

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After I missed Pi Day this year, I’m happy to report that the Internet reminded me in time to, in turn, tell you that today is International Hug A Medievalist Day. Yes, it’s a thing. It’s been a thing since 2011, when somebody invented it.

If you are curious now, you can read an ultra-short interview with the inventor, Sarah Laseke, over here. And if you’re unsure about hugging protocol, here’s a tongue-in-cheek advisory table on whether to hug away or rather not, and how.

Enjoy this day, whether you getting an extra hug or not!

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