sue orton

for inspiration, joy and untangling

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falling back in love with sound

Hearing_Love-1397951374mI have hearing aids; they are marvellous; but it’s been quite a journey falling in love with sound again.

Not hearing talk on the radio was my first sign that I wasn’t quite catching everything and I ignored it for a couple of years. Further noticing that my right and left ear were different, my GP suggested a scan, which was all clear.  Further procrastination followed, the TV was louder, home communication was increasingly comical or frustrating. I can  hear but not quite as well as before. But I didn’t want to acknowledge it.  However, last October, I had a hearing test; the recommendation, two hearing aids.  Bother. I’m not old enough!!  Memories of shouting at my mum when she refused to wear them sent me into a slough of despond this winter.  So what changed?

I researched hearing aids … the technology now is wonderful.  You can link them to your phone, your music, to podcasts even to Radio 4, wow. I started to notice lots of people wearing them and they looked fine. At home, frustration was rising and I was missing jokes and key bits of conversation.  Then, during a teaching session I realised I couldn’t hear everyone clearly. Enough.

HowtheEarHears_001I found a brilliant local audiologist who explained all about hearing loss and began. Did you know that with sound your brain is a like muscle working hard to process whatever sound it can get. Less sound = more work and it’s exhausting.  Two trial behind my ears aids were programmed for me to try.  It’s a challenging process getting used to them with everything loud and overwhelming at first including my own voice. The tiny buds linking to four microphones in my ears were uncomfortable and itchy at first.  But the bird song, clear conversation, sensational music wow… I was hearing stuff I just didn’t know I was missing.  I had surround sound again.

After 2 weeks I decided that I would get my own. They are brilliant. So I’m over it. I’m over the internalised prejudice, I’ve spat that out.  I feel happier and more relaxed too. It’s just made life fuller, more relaxed and a joy again.

Also, I can now hear birdsongs again.  Have a listen here: Bird songs and calls

© sue orton 2017




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January return to Taiji Qigong

I have returned to practising Taiji Quigong this week thanks to the brilliant DVD The Road to Health and Vitality with Chris Jarmey and sold for just £5.00 + pp in aid of The Bubble Foundation. He explains the benefits of the practise and then takes you through the 18 movements (about 25 mins) gently and clearly; I love it.  If you want one,  send a cheque to the foundation + a donation if you wish and they will send you one.

© sue orton

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2017 creative action methods education: with sue orton & noelle branagan

60878350-vector-tree-rings-background-and-saw-cut-tree-trunkWho are these workshops for?
Creative Action Methods will value add to the skills of facilitators, coaches, educators, group workers, team leaders, managers…and anyone who works with people. Developed from Sociodrama these workshops are an enjoyable and powerful form of learning.

If you are interested but have no experience of Sociodrama, Psychodrama or Action Methods, please attend a taster session

Taster Sessions held in Brighton and Southampton early 2017
28th January 2017 – 10.00-12.00 noon
Friends Meeting House, Brighton BN1 1AF
18th February 2017 – 10.00-12.00 noon
Grove Centre, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1RT

Two Day Creative Action Methods Education Pilot Workshop
Friday 17th Saturday 18th March 10.30am – 4.30pm
Friends Meeting House, Brighton BN1 1AF

Further Information

© sue orton & noelle branagan

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612 #2 finished at last

After a busy summer term mentoring, weaving is now centre stage. Phew I have missed it.  Yesterday I finished 612 #2 at last. I have realised that taking weaving in short burst of a day here or an hour or two there plays havoc with my weaving rhythm and confidence.  The last few days have been all about settling into the weave and relaxing. I’m really noticing the stress fall away.  After a great day with a weaving pal I am now excited about further designs and colour explorations. So here are the results:

@ sue orton 2016


612 design: #2

My inspiration for colour for #2 has come from beautiful pictures inspired by Norfolk painted by Michelle Cobbin; do check them out.

This time I had a much better warping process; learnings from #1 settling in.  This will be quite a technical post for weavers amongst you.   Two warps this time.  Raddle and sorting crosses a little further away from the ends of the warp; there is still fine tuning to be had here.  I have also used 4 threads for counting and for the raddle cross corresponding the sett [8 ends per cm].  The main change has been to winding on, thanks to my weaving pal Julia.  She suggested putting the raddle cross sticks closest to the back beam and then suspending the raddle just in front of it, brilliant.  The wind on just completed.  Tomorrow threading and sleying then weaving.

© sue orton


612 design: #1

Yesterday I finished weaving #1 of my 612 design. It came off the loom at tea time, washing and drying took the rest of the day; I’m quite pleased with it.  Technically the size, base pattern and the weave structure work, although I wonder if a little wider selvedge might improve things.  The big twill pattern I like, it works with some colours better than others.  As for the sett (for knitters, this is like the tension) I might try it a little looser although the drape of the merino wool is fine now it’s finished.  Then to the colour: it does reflect my design source but I’m thinking that some combinations are a bit flat, especially the citrus band. Colour combinations to be explored in #2 on. Let me know what you think.

© sue orton


women writers 3

In February I decided to seek out women writers who I did not know and  who’s books had been shortlisted for prizes in the last few years. What a treat I have had.

StateofWonderA State of Wonder by Ann Patchett I found just brilliant. It made me laugh and cry in equal measure and I never saw what was round the corners. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2012 and described here:
There were people on the banks of the river. Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women for ever. Dr Annick Swenson’s work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investors, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns. Now Marina Singh, Anders’ colleague and once a student of the mighty Dr Swenson, is their last hope. Compelled by the pleas of Anders’s wife, who refuses to accept that her husband is not coming home, Marina leaves the snowy plains of Minnesota and retraces her friend’s steps into the heart of the South American darkness, determined to track down Dr. Swenson and uncover the secrets being jealously guarded among the remotest tribes of the rainforest.

BurntShadowsKamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows effected me deeply; I re-realise that the dark days of the second world war has left many trails into this century. It’s a brilliant book described here:
In a prison cell in the US, a man stands trembling, naked, fearfully waiting to be shipped to Guantanamo Bay. How did it come to this? he wonders. August 9th, 1945, Nagasaki. Hiroko Tanaka steps out onto her veranda, taking in the view of the terraced slopes leading up to the sky. Wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, she is twenty-one, in love with the man she is to marry, Konrad Weiss. In a split second, the world turns white. In the next, it explodes with the sound of fire and the horror of realisation. In the numbing aftermath of a bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world she has lost. In search of new beginnings, she travels to Delhi two years later. There she walks into the lives of Konrad’s half-sister, Elizabeth, her husband James Burton, and their employee Sajjad Ashraf, from whom she starts to learn Urdu. As the years unravel, new homes replace those left behind and old wars are seamlessly usurped by new conflicts.

TheLowlandFinally The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri.  I finished this last week and have been unable to get this tale of family ties, the bond of brothers and the breaking of family traditions across continents out of my head and my dreams. Described here:
From Subhash’s earliest memories, at every point, his brother was there. In the suburban streets of Calcutta where they wandered before dusk and in the hyacinth-strewn ponds where they played for hours on end, Udayan was always in his older brother’s sight. So close in age, they were inseparable in childhood and yet, as the years pass – as U.S tanks roll into Vietnam and riots sweep across India – their brotherly bond can do nothing to forestall the tragedy that will upend their lives. Udayan – charismatic and impulsive – finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty. He will give everything, risk all, for what he believes, and in doing so will transform the futures of those dearest to him.

Tempted, you can buy them through Wordery an independent bookshop which has free delivery. Link at the top of the blog.

© sue orton