26 Mar 2015

It’s best not to stare


It’s been a few months. How ya doing? How’s your knitting? I’ve missed you.

In fact, that’s what today’s post is all about. I just thought I’d take a moment to tell you that I’ve missed you since the last ever episode of Cast On hit your earbuds last October. I’ve missed talking with you, and have really missed talking about my knitting. Tonia tries, bless her little woolly socks; she does try to look interested when I talk about my knitting. But it isn’t the same.

We had a solar eclipse last week. Right on the vernal equinox it was. Kind of neat how that happened. We had very fine weather in west Wales, and though I didn’t have the proper glasses with which to view the sun, I sneaked a tiny peek anyway, even though you’re not supposed to do that. Ever. And I saw the predictable after-image of the sun behind my eyelids for ten minutes afterwards. Which is why everyone says don’t do that. I’d tell you the same but, if you’re like me, you wouldn’t listen to me anyway.

It’s best not to stare at the sun during an eclipse. – Jeff Goldblum

I sat outside with the chickens for the whole eclipse, solar after-image notwithstanding, watching to see if the chickens would be fooled into an early roosting. They’re weren’t. Up in northern Scotland they got the whole shebang, a 100% no kidding around complete and total solar eclipse, but here in west Wales we only had 90% darkness. Apparently 90% dark is not dark enough to fool a chicken. I brought my trusty field recorder outside with me to capture the sounds of the eclipse. I didn’t notice much difference between the level of birdsong before, during, or after the eclipse, to be honest, but it was a nice way to spend a morning.

An eclipse is a wonderful thing to experience through a field recorder. I listened to the wind. And the birds. And the sound of passing jets, which is the kind of sound you don’t notice until you turn a recorder on. After a half hour or so of listening it occurred to me that I didn’t know why I was out there recording the eclipse in the first place. It’s not as if I was going to share the audio with anyone. My mother loves birds, but even she would draw the line at 40 minutes of birdsong. I wouldn’t listen again, probably, having been through the experience once already. I had a lovely field recording of birdsong, and chicken noises, and airplanes and, like my knitting, no one to share it with.

On eclipse day, the day of the vernal equinox, I began to think to think again about podcasting, as I have so many times these past six months. And, like all the other times, I couldn’t see a way around the fact that I simply don’t have the time to make podcasts the way I want to. Which is to say, regularly, and with passion. I want them to be something I’m excited about. Something I look forward to, like I did in the early days. I’m not happy making them any other way. And on the day of the vernal equinox I realised that, while I”d considered monthly, and bimonthly podcasts, and rejected the idea, I had never considered making podcasts seasonally. A podcast every three months. On the equinoxes and solstices. Four podcasts a year. And the more I considered this idea, the more I liked it.

Of course, as it happened, I had had the idea on the very day of the vernal equinox. And there’s nothing I can do about the fact that there wasn’t a podcast on that day. But the first of what I hope will be many seasonal podcasts is in production, and will be live soon. Maybe even this weekend. And the next will follow on the Summer Solstice, June 21st, 2015.

It won’t be Cast On, and don’t know what I’m calling it yet. What it will be is me behind the microphone and, I very much hope, you on the other end, listening.

All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul. – Victor Hugo

Posted on March 26, in Blog


  1. Missy wrote:

    What is this in my Podcast app? A new episode of Cast On? Can it be true? Is it a (heartbreaking) April fool?
    Brenda, it made my day to see a new episode and then to come here and read your news. We’ve missed you too! Can’t wait to hear more from you. Welcome back to podcasting!

    Posted on 4.3.15 ·
  2. Rose Obloy wrote:

    Brenda, I think having a nice field recording, especially one taken during an eclipse in your own yard no less, would be a lovely thing to have. To have it listen to it, jet planes and all, while flying would be great. To be able to hear one’s home when you can’t just go outside … now would that just be a nice thing. I listen to books and podcast all the time, but sometimes you just need nature. And now you do. And you didn’t have to buy it.
    Thanks for the podcast. Missed you.

    Posted on 4.10.15 ·
  3. Audrey wrote:

    Oh yes, I do love to hear you talk about your knitting. I’m just sorry I can’t tell you about mine 🙂 I’m one of your lucky lapsed followers who still has tons of Cast-On episodes to listen to in order to catch up with the rest of the world, although I did cheat and listen to the very last one with a heavy heart. I am so happy to read there will be more when I am done listening to the ones I have missed. You are a welcome and familiar soundtrack to our knitting, of course we want more, just as long as it’s something that makes you happy too. Thank you Brenda 🙂

    Posted on 4.11.15 ·
  4. Madhuri wrote:

    Hi Brenda – so glad to come across this post, and to know you are back podcasting in some form! I was just thinking about how much I’ve enjoyed your podcast over the years, and wanted to write you a comment to that end, and am so pleased to have discovered this! Thank you again for sharing your fantastic gifts with us!

    Posted on 11.16.15 ·

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