What Happens When you Substitute Records for Tree Rings

If a tree falls in the woods, and there’s nobody around to hear it, does it still make a sound?

This is one of those riddles which kids have been telling each other for years in an attempt to both confuse people and appear smarter than their friends by seemingly having all the answers. As for me, I have absolutely no idea, but I do know what happens when you substitute records for tree rings on a record player. And yes, they do make a sound.

Bartholomaus Traubeck is the individual who first came up with the idea of attempting to translate tree ring data into music by way of using a special record player which uses light sensors to read not only the rings, but also the colour of the wood and the texture. This data is then translated using a special algorithm which, in my opinion, has resulted in breathtakingly haunting music being created. I don’t just appreciate it as a musician either – I appreciate it as a person.

For a taster of the album, entitled Years which Traubeck has put together, you can listen below.

Alternatively, if you’re like me and that 2 minutes and 14 seconds was far too short, you can listen to the entire album below:



Alex: “I’m Going to Blow Myself Away”

Yesterday, London was visited by some particularly strong winds which were literally shaking my house and howling like nothing I have ever heard before. Alex became increasingly intrigued by the wind speed, studying the trees and the fence, and noticed that they were shaking quite violently. I took one look at her, she looked at me and then said “Victoria, I’m going to blow myself away.” I quite literally facepalmed at this point but Alex got off the sofa, fetched my Dad’s Hi-Vis jacket (“because if I blow away, I want the planes to see me”), headed out into the street in broad daylight, spread her arms and waited.

As Alex is literally quite mad, I decided to turn this into an experiment which would enable me to spend an extra ten minutes avoiding coursework, and so set out to determine whether a wind speed of 45mph is strong enough to blow away a tiny human. After all, it is rather amusing, if a little embarrassing.

Alex’s first attempt on the street didn’t work too well, but you can see that she appears to be having a jolly good old time playing outside the front of the house. My mother, who is just to the left of her, you can hear quietly speaking to our dog walker Siobhan, who has become accustomed to Alex’s shenanigans and now ignores her. Alex does things like this on a daily basis, and so people in the street are no longer shocked.

Following this first failed attempt, Alex decided to move into the back garden, where she believed that the wind was blowing stronger. We were actually met with a slither more success, but this was only in the form of the wind blowing her top up slightly, and Alex hadn’t moved a muscle as a result of the wind.

In conclusion then, it is clearly impossible for 45mph winds to move a person, even if they are attempting to ‘catch’ it in an item of clothing.



Does Careless Whisper Really Make Anything Sexy?

I wrote a post similar to this one almost two years ago (again for an older blog), and upon reviewing the videos I just had to share them again.

I can’t remember exactly how this came into being, but as it appears to be a huge search topic on YouTube, we most likely took the idea from there and then decided to test the theory that Careless Whisper makes anything sexy in our own weird way.

1. Does Careless Whisper Make Watering the Plants Sexy?

The first test that Alex and I did was to see if watering the plants could be made any sexier by playing Careless Whisper.

2. Does Careless Whisper Make Mowing the Lawn Sexy?

Sticking with the outdoor theme, Alex and I then decided to see if mowing the law could be made any sexier by adding a soundtrack.

3. Does Careless Whisper Make Eating Cereal Sexy?

For the third and final test, Alex and I decided to move indoors in order to see whether eating cereal from a box could be made any sexier.


In conclusion, I’m actually very doubtful that Careless Whisper makes anything any sexier – in fact, I think it probably makes it a whole lot more disturbingly hilarious than attractive. However, things like this are always subjective and you may, yourselves, find that Careless Whisper does actually make everything a whole lot sexier.



This is totally against anything that I would usually post, but I just had to share these pictures of the goat I was hanging out with at a fair today with you all. Since disabilities are still a big taboo in society with people still being horrified by individuals with unfortunate afflictions, I just thought this was amazing. Most animals which are deemed ‘unhealthy’ or ‘imperfect’ find themselves being put down or dying as a result of rejection from packs. Yet, at Wimbledon Common today, I saw Hope (yes, I named the goat), who reminded me that there is hope in the world. She wasn’t hidden away from visitors, and in fact was in pride of place, at the entrance, mixing with the other goats. Her owners were clearly proud of her as opposed to embarrassed. As a society, we should be proud, instead of pitying or feeling sorry for those less fortunate than ourselves. Life, regardless of its appearance or form should be celebrated at all costs.



18 Pictures Which Can go a Long Way to Lightening Your Mood

Everyone has the odd day where they feel a bit down because life isn’t actually going to plan. For me, if all else fails, these pictures are guaranteed to make me forget about how crap my day has been. 

1. This Pug who uses the Internet to look up pictures of other pugs.


2. This tunnel of lavender


3. This cake which makes me wish it was my birthday every single day.


4. This cake that makes me want to stick my face in it and forget that I have ever heard of the word ‘diet’


5. THAT picture of a possum that ate too many pastries


6. This family of giraffes that make you want to cuddle EVERYONE


7. These two pigs who are clearly loving life


8. This treehouse with a pool


9. These shoes which I would take out a loan to own


10. This puppy who loves his teddy


11. These holiday huts that make me want to live on an island.


12. That bookcase that, if I had it, would absolutely make my life


13. This dog who thinks he’s the owner


14. These balloons which are so pretty I could die


15. The bathroom that’s so cosy you couldn’t possibly EVER be stressed.


16. This little girl who’s holding hands with a penguin, holding hands with a penguin.


17. The wine cellar of Kings


18. This wedding dress which makes me want to get married. NOW.


*All pictures are taken from Pinterest. If you recognise any and want removal/wish to be credited, please contact me.

How to do Your Bit to Remember Those Who Died in the First World War 100 Years After it Began

The 4th August 2014 marked exactly 100 years since Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, and marked the beginning of a war of attrition which would claim the lives of over 16 million people from the armed forces and civilian ranks and wound over 20 million more. To this day, it is still recognised as one of the deadliest conflicts ever fought.

100 years on, massive efforts are being made to ensure that the individuals who sacrificed themselves for our freedom would be remembered. We’ve held candlelight vigils, the programmes detailing the atrocities and demonstrating just how brave and valiant our ancestors were are being broadcast round the clock, and the Tower of London is currently host to an artistic tribute of ceramic poppies created by artist Paul Cummins. Each poppy represents a fallen soldier.

Whilst these are all impressive means by which to remember the fallen, the most special by far has to be The British Legion’s Every Man Remembered campaign. This website contains the name and regimental number of every single man and woman who served in the Commonwealth forces and, tragically, lost their lives. It’s an incredibly simple and easy website to use. When you arrive at the home page, you are given the option to commemorate someone you know, or to commemorate someone who is unknown to you and your family. You can choose a namesake, someone from your local area, or commemorate someone who died on a particular day all those years ago. This is all an effort to put faces to the names of those who died; to rehumanise them and ensure that every single fallen hero is remembered by at least one individual who acknowledges their sacrifice.

Being from a military family, this has been an incredible resource for myself and my family, as we have finally been able to trace the burial locations of family members that we lost during the First World War. We have also been able to find other family members who died that we were unaware of, by whittling down the search results by battalion, regiment and location. I have learned so much more about them and their sacrifice than I could ever have hoped to and, finally, put faces to their names. I can’t even begin to describe how overwhelming it was to eventually look into the faces of men I had heard stories about, but never put a face to. The family members that I have been able to locate so far are John Collett, Ernest George Collett, James Gilmour Wilson and Rupert Edward Miles. As I discover more about my family, I will be updating this list (as amazing as this tool is, I haven’t had enough spare time to explore it fully).

Ernest Collett
Ernest George Collett was born at Stratton St Margaret on 20th July 1889, to William John Collett and Ellen Beams, his wife. He was the second of thirteen children that they would have together. He married Ellen Iles in 1914 and later that year, they were both blessed with a daughter who would affectionately become known within the family as Nelly.

Five of the thirteen children born to William and Ellen would eventually volunteer to fight in the war in France, and Ernest was the first of those five to join up and see active service. He became Private 7646 with the 1st Battalion Wiltshire Regiment and, tragically, was killed on12th March 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres. His name appears on Panel 53 of the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial.

John Collett
John Collett, who was affectionately referred to as Jack by his family and friends, was born at Stratton St Margaret on 11th April 1891. He was the third of thirteen children who would be born to William John Collett and his wife Ellen Beams. Like his brother Ernest, John saw active service in France. However unlike Ernest, John was a professional soldier. He enlisted shortly before his seventeenth birthday, on the 8th March 1908, and would see active service in South Africa and Gibraltar before the outbreak of the war in 1914. When the war broke, he was Sergeant 8108 with D Company of the 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment.

John’s war began on the 17th February 1915, when his regiment boarded the SS Tinteretto and sailed across the English Channel for France. Unlike many of the young men who made this voyage with him, John had never had the time or opportunity to find himself a wife or a sweetheart due to his deployments. So, while they carried pictures of their other halves tucked inside their clothing and kit, John instead carried a picture of his mother, Ellen, which never left the inside of his army tunic. This was for two reasons, the first being that he and his mother were extremely close. The second was that he used the space on the back of the photograph to secretly record the regiment’s movements as they travelled across Northern France.

The first of John’s scribblings relates to the sea crossing which took him to France, and from there charted his journey. They went straight to Boulogne, and then moved to Merville which is where he was stationed on the 21st February 1915 when the 20th Russian Army corps historically surrendered. It would then appear that the soldiers travelled in a circular movement, travelling to Saint Omer, Amiens and then, finally, they arrived in Le Havre on the 28th February 1915 before returning back to Boulogne. At the end of March, John and his battalion are recorded as being based in Laventie which is situated to the west of Lille, and a month later are entrenched in the nearby town of La Gorgue. At the end of April, the British army made major advances towards the Border of Belgium and John found himself moving through Strazeele and then up to Caestre but, by the 5th May, John found himself back on the outskirts of La Gorgue, to the north in Estaires. Unfortunately, due to the amount of moving his regiment had done, there was no more space on the back of his mother’s portrait to record any more details, and so no more details are evident from the photograph.

John writes of a second list of places which detail the second phase of his campaign. This time, they were fighting to the south of La Gorgue, including the areas encompassing Richebourg to the north of Lens, and then Albert and Fricourt to the south of Arras. His second to last entry names Bray-Sur-Somme to the south of Albert and the east of Amiens as his place of entrenchment and then, finally, Flixecourt to the north west of Amiens. It would be reasonable to assume that John’s presence at Fricourt coincided with the Battle of the Somme, which began in the 1st July 1916, as the Allied line ran right up to a crossing on the Albert Road in the village. Although the village was not subject to direct attack initially, the Allied troops cut off all supply lines to the village which resulted in its capture that same day. However, the loss of life us recorded as being horrendously large.

After seeing a lot of action, and coming out of some hideous situations in one piece, John’s luck finally ran out on the 9th April 1917. Two years after he first set foot on French soil, during a successful attack on the small, German-held village of Neuville-Vitasse, John was killed. He is buried at the Neuville-Vitasse Road Cemetery which is located to the east of the village that he gave his life to liberate. His grave reference is B13 .

James Gilmour Wilson
James Gilmour Wilson is a relative from my mother’s side of the family who was tragically killed on the 15th February 1917 at the Battle of Ypres. Sadly, I have not been able to uncover many details about his campaign due to records being lost when his sister, my Great Aunt, was moved into a home. What I do know, however, is that James was an unbelievably courageous individual, posthumously being awarded the Military Cross in recognition of heroic actions on the battlefield. Unfortunately, I know no more than this as his citation is nowhere to be found. I am, however, extremely proud. He was just 19 years old when he died.

Rupert Edward Miles (see featured image)

Strangely, Rupert isn’t listed on the Every Man Remembered website among the dead by the name which is given on his death plaque, which is odd. I would know, since the plaque currently has pride of place on my mantelpiece at home. Due to his employment at the Great Western Railway, I was able to ascertain his identity. Instead of being listed as Rupert Edward Miles, he is commemorated as Rupert E. H Miles. He is remembered in the Great Western Railway Magazine, Volume XXVIII (No.6): June 1926, p. 146. He was a sapper in the Royal Engineers, serving with the 77th Field Company and was killed on the 14th February 1916, aged just 22. He is buried in Bedford House Cemetery. Prior to the war, he had been a fitter for the Great Western Railway in Swindon.

Why Taking your Husband’s Surname ISN’T ‘Medieval’ or ‘Horribly Sexist’, and Weddings aren’t ‘Acres of Misogyny’

I should start by iterating that I am NOT in any way, shape or form an anti-feminist. I’m all for equality between the sexes, I love my independence and I relish the fact I have all the social, political, legal and economic rights as men in this country. However, I recently read an article in the Daily Mirror in which feminist columnist Polly Hudson claimed that it’s sexist and medieval for a woman to take the surname of the man she is to marry. She then goes on to pick at every aspect of the wedding ceremony from the father walking the bride down the aisle to the bouquet toss. Whilst I’m sure that Polly’s intentions were not to disgust her readers, I couldn’t feel anything but angry when I studied the article. Two thoughts went through my mind; the first being that feminism had become ridiculous and would appear to be, in a lot of cases, extreme. She almost bullies women into feeling ashamed for not keeping their own name. The second was that every romantic ideal of my own wedding day had been tarred with the ‘misogynist’ brush, destroying all romantic notions of the little rituals which will, if I get married, be so incredibly important to me.

Taking your husband’s surname is NOT medieval.

The first issue I have with Polly’s article is that in no way, shape or form is taking your husband’s surname medieval (the only accuracy Polly has pointed out in her claim that it is, is that medieval women took their husband’s surname). For starters, surnames during the medieval period had a much more significant meaning to them than they do these days; they were usually derived from titles, profession or place of habitation. For example Webb was a surname attributed to weavers, and Baker was a surname attributed to bread makers. Therefore, following a wedding, the women took on the identity of their husband’s profession, not just their family. The surnames would be used to attribute individuals to their family groups for the purpose of records, and also distinguish them from each other as society grew.

Nowadays, surnames don’t hold as much practical significance as they did during the medieval period. However to me, they’re still important. Personally, I think taking your husband’s surname is a tradition which should be upheld if it’s something you wish to do. I’m incredibly proud of my current surname; several members of my family have been very successful and brought it some prestige, and it’s very uncommon in the UK. If and when I get married, however, I will be dropping it in favour of taking my husband’s. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t. After all I’ll be starting a family with him, living with him, and sharing my life with him as my partner from that moment on. When I consider how big those changes are, and how frivolous some people are with using deed poll to change their names, taking my partner’s really isn’t such a big deal. I will still have my roots and know where I come from. I won’t ever lose my family ties. Instead, I’ll be making my own. Everyone is entitled to make their own decision regarding this, but it’s better to make an informed one as opposed to being pressured or made to feel ‘subservient’ by an overly feminist woman who wants to pressure others to share her ideals.

There is no reason why your sister/friend/mother/ can’t make a speech at your wedding

I’m not sure if Polly is familiar with YouTube, but I’m sure if she typed ‘maid of honour speech at wedding’ into the search bar, she’d find plenty of examples of women standing at the top table and toasting the bride and groom with a speech which could rival that of her male counterpart. In the UK women have the same rights as men, and these rights are not void when it comes to nuptials. These days, they can be both traditional and modern without a hint of sexism in sight. All you need to do is ask. I’m pretty sure I won’t be breaking any laws by asking my sister to speak at mine. I’d ask my Mum, but since she almost drowned me in happy tears at my graduation I’m sure she’d be too busy trying not to flood out the guests to say a single word – let alone a speech!

You are not ‘property’ being ‘traded’

Whilst a daughter was her father’s property back in the day, the handing over of which was symbolised by a walk down the aisle, today it means something entirely different. My father has never treated me like property, and has only ever encouraged me to be my own person. I don’t see why he should all of a sudden ‘lay claim’ to me for my wedding day. Instead, I look at it as the last walk I’ll ever make with my Dad as his little girl. It will be an act of love, not ownership, and a final confirmation that he trusts the person that I marry to protect me and keep me safe for the rest of my life. It doesn’t mean he’s a misogynist or of the belief that women can’t look after themselves as well as men can; he just wants his daughter to be as safe as possible with a man who loves her unconditionally. He will use the walk to reassure me that I can go through with my marriage and support me as I make the biggest change I will ever make in my life. Or, should I get cold feet and decide I don’t want to go through with a wedding for whatever reason, he will be there to support me then too. I for one know that when I make that walk there is nobody I’d rather have by my side than my father, and I sure as hell won’t be able to make it alone.

The bouquet toss is NOT solely for ‘subservient little women’

Another tradition that Polly has sought to demean is the bouquet toss. She claims the women jostle each other to try and catch the flowers, whilst their boyfriends look on wondering which will be forced into marriage next. If this does happen, these displays of emotion will be made purely in jest and everybody in our society knows it. The bouquet toss is a bit of light hearted fun which provides amusement to party guests. Nobody believes that the person who catches it will be the next to marry, and that’s why it’s so much fun. There is also nothing to prevent the men from joining in either. The reason they don’t is most likely down to the fact that they don’t have any interest in flowers, and enjoy seeing the state that their partners get in trying to shove other women out out of their way whilst they attempt to claw their way to victory. I don’t think Polly has considered that there are just some things that men aren’t in to, and her attempt to legitimately use it as an example of separation between the sexes is just ludicrous.

Divorce doesn’t mean you’re stuck with your husband’s name

Polly cites Ronnie Wood’s ex wife Jo as an example of an individual who is ‘stuck’ with her ex husband’s name. She wasn’t ‘stuck’ with it; she just chose not to change it. She had become known by the name, and decided that she wanted to stay known as Jo Wood in order not to slip into anonymity. When you go through a divorce, you can change your name. You can revert back to your maiden name. It doesn’t mean you’re ‘handing your identity back’ or giving your ex another part of you. In fact I think it means the opposite. By retaking your maiden name, you symbolise how strong and independent you are, and I imagine that without association to my ex should I ever go through a divorce, it will make moving on with my life so much easier. It also doesn’t mean that I’m allowing my father to ‘repossess’ me. Like I said previously, I will never forget where I came from and, should I need to start again, I’ll go back to the beginning.

I apologise if this has come across as one sided – that wasn’t my intention. I’m merely adding my voice and opinion to the debate, along with my reasons why. If people choose not to marry that’s none of my business. There is nothing wrong with cohabitation without marriage. There is also nothing wrong with choosing to keep your name or adopt a new one when entering into marriage. It is not for others to judge those who choose to do things either way; everyone is entitled to make their own choices and be happy with them. For me, the traditions of a wedding are important and should be kept, but modernised where possible. I don’t judge those who decide to do differently unless they do so in a way which demeans the ideals of others in such a way that it is insulting. In the same way, I don’t expect to be judged or made to feel less of a woman because of the decisions I have made or will make. I don’t want to be accused of ‘setting women back 100 years’ or of being ‘weak’ for not fulfilling somebody else’s ideal. Ensuring my rights are protected is important, but so is making decisions which will be the best for me and my family.