Whistle

I used to whistle a lot when I first started working, usually because I was happy. Then someone said to me ‘a whistling woman and a crowing hen brings the devil right out of his den!’, they didn’t think whistling was ladylike.

I didn’t whistle much at work after that. But I had a tune that I would whistle to call in our cats and have used it ever since we started keeping them. It’s a short tune, but I think it gives them an idea of where I am. It also is high pitched so that it cuts through the traffic noise instead of shouting which can get jumbled up with other voices.

I kept whistling the tune when one of our cats went missing. I didn’t know if he could hear me but I hoped he knew I was calling him. After eight days he came back, very thin and ill, but I think the whistling helped him know he was wanted.

Certainly most of my cats listen to my whistle and come when called. Only one ignored it. She would come to the back door then ignore me. As if to say, you are not my mistress! I’ve found one of them will jump up on my lap when I whistle and another gives a loud purr-miaow when I whistle at him.

Whistling is a challenge. I like trying to recreate bits of classical music, like the flight of the bumblebee or old hymns. As I just tried that the cat lying down on my right lifted his head, went purr-miaow and went back to sleep again!

Hand cranked music

Using a handle, the owner of this small but pretty organ was playing at the Etruria Canal festival today. The birds on to of the organ sang and whistled too. They could work independently of the organ and it was good to hear their beautiful sound.

I think the mechanism must drive bellows that sends air down the different pipes of the organ. I didn’t look at the mechanism but it probably runs on cardboard/wood slats with holes and slots cut into them to hold the organ stops open for different lengths of time in order to play music. Presumably the music changes speed depending on how fast the handle is spun round.