Tugs, Snags and Breakages

I so admire people with lovely long hair, but it’s looking increasingly like I won’t ever be one of them. For most of my adult life I’ve worn my hair in variations of a practical bob, from jaw-length to shoulder-length, with or without a fringe, but always worn loose. Over the years I’ve also tried one disastrous perm in the early 80s; a short, layered cut maybe about once a decade since then; and only twice in my adult life have I succeeded in growing my hair down beyond shoulder-length. Now is one of those times, and having persevered for so long to get this far with it, I find I absolutely hate having longer hair.

Disappointingly it seems I hate the tickly feeling of my loose hair falling over my shoulders and down my back, and hate getting loose strands of my hair trapped in anything and everything, so I always seem to tie it up out of the way to stop it annoying me even though I don’t like wearing it tied up. I hate the constant tugs and snags and breakages that seem (for me) to be an unavoidable part of having longer hair, regardless – I’m always having to be so careful. If I wear it loose it catches in everything and breaks off, but if I tie it up it resists and breaks anyway – it feels like a never-ending lose/lose situation, very disheartening all round and it’s really getting me down.

The thing is with me, I’m really not a very girly girl – I wear minimal make-up, and even then only when the situation dictates I have to. And in the same vein I’m much better with a naturally easy-to-wear kind of hairstyle, which is probably why a bob works best for me. Short layered crops on me need a lot of ‘oomph’ to look acceptable, which takes time and effort. Oh, and product – it takes a lot of product, which I hate using as I can’t stand the feel of it in my hair. So all in all short layered crops don’t really work for me. And as having longer hair is proving to be surprisingly high maintenance too, it looks like I’m going to have to admit defeat once more and go back to my tried-and-tested bob…

Oh well…!

House Mill: How a Tidal Mill is Powered

Until its closure in 1941, the Grade I Listed Building House Mill in Bromley-by-Bow, East London was the largest tidal mill in the world – basically a traditional water mill, but powered in bursts by the tidal river over which it sits. I found it a fascinating place to visit, so I’m keen to share what I’ve learned about the mechanics of it all…

tide-rises

As the tide rises, the water flows through the open sluice gates underneath the red-roofed mill, collecting in the mill-pond behind.

mill-pond

As the tide turns, the sluice gates are closed, trapping the high tide water in the mill-pond.

sluice-cranksluice-wheelsluice-winders-and-water-wheel-doors

To power the mill, the sluice gates are opened enough to allow water through under pressure to turn the undershot water-wheels, which then through a system of gears and cogs powers the mill-stones located high above to grind the grain.

water-wheels

gear-system-1gear-system-2gear-system-3gear-system-4

PS If I’ve got anything wrong in my understanding of the process, many apologies! πŸ™‚

House Mill is currently open on Sundays between 11am-4pm for guided tours only – it’s little more than a shell of a mill at the moment, but at least it still exists, and is well worth seeing round. It closed in 1941, with much of the original interior being sold off as salvage, and the building itself then sat derelict for almost 50 years before it was bought in the late 1980s in order to be saved for posterity rather than pulled down for redevelopment.

The guided tours of House Mill are run by volunteers, who also run the adjoining cafe and little gift shop and are very knowledgeable about the history of the mill. To be honest I’d never even heard of a tidal mill until discovering House Mill – apparently it got the water necessary to turn the water wheels from careful management of the ebb and flow of the tidal river over which it sits, the water wheels in turn powering the mill-stones to grind the maize.

Please see http://www.housemill.org.uk/ for the House Mill website and further information πŸ™‚

See my other posts on House Mill here and here πŸ™‚

 

House Mill: The Milling Process

Like many other traditional 18th Century mills, House Mill in Bromley-by-Bow, East London used gravity to facilitate the efficiency of its milling processes.

House-Mill-exterior

First, sacks of grain were hoisted by ropes and pulleys through one-way trapdoors from the lowest floor to the uppermost floors of the mill, where they were stored until needed.

grain-storage-1grain-storage-2

The sacks of grain were then tipped into hoppers in the floor, which led directly through to the floors below and allowed the grain to be gravity-fed straight down into the grinding stones.

grain-hopper-above

grain-hopper-below-1grain-hopper-below-2to-millstones

House Mill had multiple pairs of grinding stones, so the noise and the dust and the rattling vibrations when the mill was in full production must have been overwhelming.

millstones-1millstones-2millstones-3millstones-4

The ground flour then dropped straight through into sacks on the next floor down, graded by fineness, which could be altered by changing the gap between the mill-stones by turning the metal ‘spiders’ on the wall above the sacks: The closer together the stones, the finer the resulting flour πŸ™‚

flour-sacks-1flour-sacks-2

PS If I’ve got anything wrong in my understanding of the process, many apologies!

House Mill is currently open on Sundays between 11am-4pm for guided tours only – it’s little more than a shell of a mill at the moment, but at least it still exists, and is well worth seeing round. It closed in 1941, with much of the original interior being sold off as salvage, and the building itself then sat derelict for almost 50 years before it was bought in the late 1980s in order to be saved for posterity rather than pulled down for redevelopment.

The guided tours of House Mill are run by volunteers, who also run the adjoining cafe and little gift shop and are very knowledgeable about the history of the mill. To be honest I’d never even heard of a tidal mill until discovering House Mill – apparently it got the water necessary to turn the water wheels from careful management of the ebb and flow of the tidal river over which it sits, the water wheels in turn powering the mill-stones to grind the maize.

Please see http://www.housemill.org.uk/ for the House Mill website and further information πŸ™‚

See my other posts on House Mill here and here πŸ™‚

Three Mills Island, Bromley-by-Bow

Three-Mills-Island-1Three-Mills-Island-2House-MillClock-MillThree-Mills-TV-Studio-

Three Mills Island in Bromley-by-Bow was named after three mills that once stood there.

The red-roofed House Mill (built in 1776) still stands, and is currently in the process of being renovated for historical interest (more about this mill later – far too much of photographic interest for one post!). Clock Mill (with its clock tower and two drying kilns) was built in the early 1800s and is now a school premises. The third mill referred to was a windmill, but this has since long gone although the name remains. The building immediately behind Clock Mill (through the blue gates) is now a TV Studio, aptly named ‘3 Mills Studios’.

It seems there have been mills of some sort or another recorded in this area of East London at least since the 11th Century, as they have even been recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086!

House Mill is currently open on Sundays between 11am-4pm for guided tours only – it’s little more than a shell of a mill at the moment, but at least it still exists, and is well worth seeing round. It closed in 1941, with much of the original interior being sold off as salvage, and the building itself then sat derelict for almost 50 years before it was bought in the late 1980s in order to be saved for posterity rather than pulled down for redevelopment.

The guided tours of House Mill are run by volunteers, who also run the adjoining cafe and little gift shop and are very knowledgeable about the history of the mill. To be honest I’d never even heard of a tidal mill until discovering House Mill – apparently it got the water necessary to turn the water wheels from careful management of the ebb and flow of the tidal river over which it sits, the water wheels in turn powering the mill-stones to grind the maize πŸ™‚

PS See further posts about House Mill here and here! πŸ™‚

Daily Prompt: Illusion

I grew up being told that ‘the camera never lies’, yet I was always puzzled that my early point-and-shoot photographs, once I’d had them developed, rarely turned out the way I remembered them. They were too ‘flat’, or too dull, or too unremarkably boring and not at all representative of what I’d thought I’d seen in my mind’s eye when taking the picture in the first place.

And then I learned that a camera lens doesn’t seem to ‘see’ the world the same way as I do, so I would have to learn to change some of the settings manually to ‘show’ the camera how to create and reproduce my chosen style of representation of what I was actually looking at. I would basically be teaching my camera how to lie – how to create an illusion of my own choice.

Quite often even once I learned these some of these technical tricks I would find my particular view of what I was seeing before me would prove very different to someone else’s captured view of the same subject, even if we we were both taking pictures at exactly the same place at the same time. There was not, it seemed, just one reality but multiple realities seen differently by different individuals, all presumably equally as valid as each other.

Frustratingly, even with a decent-enough camera nowadays to be able to choose my focus points, the depth of field, and play around to my heart’s desire with exposure values to suit myself so that I’m effectively making images rather just taking photographs, sometimes the results I get straight out of camera still aren’t quite enough for me… I’m still left wanting so much more.

I’m discovering that I want to start being even more creative with my artistic endeavours – I suppose I really want to learn some proper post-processing skills to add something more dramatic to my images, using whatever digital ‘darkroom’ techniques I might have at my disposal to help me make my personal illusion of how I choose to see the world complete πŸ™‚

Daily Prompt: IllusionΒ