Sunday, December 18, 2011

Redwing on the holly

But no camera to hand, and couldn't bear to move while it was there in view. Lovely creature, like a thrush, but smaller, and with red under the wings, clearly visible when it fluttered to keep its balance and grab the berries on the ends of branches. Not many berries left, though.  I checked the other bush, and almost missed the goldfinches on the feeder.

Higgs-Boson joke

at several hands' distance via facebook

 Higgs Boson walks into a Catholic Church. Priest says 'What are you doing here?'. Higgs replied 'You can't have Mass without me'

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pendle Hill story

I'm noting this link - as a rationalist, I think one thing - as an enthusiast of dark stories . . .

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A link to synch with idiosyncracy

Too good to  miss - too long to copy - click on title or click here  - the vagaries of English orthographical diversity.

More family stuff - baby brother is 60!

A few pics from the party at the White Hart in Duffield last weekend. I didn't get any decent ones when it was dark and dance-time.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Poetry and Science

Excellent short article by Ruth Padel.

My thoughts for what they're worth - 

Seeing the full moon in a clear sky on a cold night like last night can take the mind on a journey both poetic and scientific. I think the urges to understand and to express mystery have the same source - our endless curiosity and need to communicate and speculate.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Visit to Leeds, and Abbey House Museum

An afternoon with Rose in the (Kirkstall) Abbey House Museum, where the toys kept her occupied for a good two hours on a wet and blustery afternoon.
Then I realised I hadn't taken any pics of Isaac, since he'd been at school all day, so here's one taken next morning.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Guinness cake

I made two of these 'pre-Christmas' cakes today.  Slightly altered recipe - no mixed peel, but currants instead.  Not bad considering I bought the ingredients from memory.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

La Belle Dame sans Merci

I didn't know this Keats poem was based on a 1424 French poem by Alain Chartier La Belle Dame sans Mercy.

There's an interesting article on the poem and on Keats.

Full text

Festival of Christmas lights

I spotted my first house decorated for Christmas, and illuminated, on the evening of November 30th.  At the bottom of Rockingham Hill.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eilidh goes skating

Harry's pencil drawing of Eilidh on her new roller skates.

An anecdote about translation

Confession time - I haven't yet read the article, but I couldn't resist passing on this little story from the comments beneath it.  I don't care if it's true or not, and I'm sure there are just as many rushed and stressed Irish and Spanish people as there are laid-back English and Americans:

The Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, and a Spanish professor were on the radio  discussing translation.  In order to illustrate his point about translations  failing to carry  the finer nuances of words,  the Spanish professor asked,

"For instance, in Irish, is there any word which means the same as "mañana"?

"Indeed," replied Kavanagh,"we have several words in Irish that mean the same as "mañana". None of them, however, carry quite the same sense of urgency!"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kiddy art - just for fun

Leonie posted one of Eilidh's pictures on Facebook.

She claims that all she did at primary school was stick beans and macaroni on paper plates!  Not so, Leo! Though this was done at home, as far as I remember.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Prison's great for lapwings

I'm not sure what the story says about modern farming methods.

The reason the lapwings ended up in prison is the ground, which is flat with short grass, rich with other plant species, and holds plenty of insects for the growing chicks to eat. Lapwings nest on the ground, and the open, flat spaces allow them to spot would-be predators. The land has never been reseeded, fertilised or treated with chemicals.
Because it is an area where no humans tread, it is also free from people who would disturb the birds' new home, the Prison Service adds.
Good luck to them, and whoooo knows, they may do the prisoners some good?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

People thinking

Two links from the BBC website magazine - both written by people who think . . . both hidden away under A Point of View.  I spotted them today, and the Self one was published in late October.
Will Self on euphemism and warfare

Friday, November 04, 2011


I know they're not rare, but until this year we've hardly ever seen any on our feeders.

Taken through the kitchen window, and enlarged from the original, so definition not all it could be, but it's a start!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Day in Leicester

Yesterday, we hit the nearby city.  After the ritual of coffee and blueberry muffin, and the essential purchase of shoes and trousers, I wandered around, amusing myself by playing with (a few) of the camera settings.

I only wish I could understand the blog settings and get things to sit on the page where I want them!

Still and all, I more or less find my way round Leicester city centre these days - it hasn't played that disorienting street swivel trick on me for a while.

And finally, lunch in the museum cafe and a browse around the dinosaur fossils exhibition.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

London aquarium visit - 2

London aquarium visit

This drinking lark is a serious business!

I love the patterns on the rays.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

St Medard(us) , Little Bytham

The name on the church struck me as we drove through Little Bytham last Friday. I have never seen it in England before:
The church is a Grade I listed building. It is dedicated to two 6th-century French saints, St Medard and St Gildard (or Medardus and Gildardus); the dedication is unique in the UK. Virtually unknown in Britain, St Medard is still well-known in France, with at least 25 towns or villages named after him (as St Médard or St Méard).[2] Gildard, thought to be his brother, is less well known.[3] The villagefête is held annually on or near St Medard's feast day, 8 June.
St Médard is particularly known in France for his association with bad weather - and once, as a child, was protected from rain by an eagle which hovered over him.

His feast day is celebrated on June 8. It is believed that, as with Saint Swithun, whatever the weather on his feast day, it will continue for the forty days following, unless the weather changes on the feast of St Barnabas (11 June).
One day, soon, I shall make time to visit the village, which was once a railway junction. The East Coast mainline trains still run through on a viaduct.

and talking of weather . . . Brooklyn's had a foretaste of winter.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


A lot of people in the UK (England, in particular) decry Halloween as an American import.  In fact it's based on a long tradition.
In Scotland and Ireland, Guising — children disguised in costume going from door to door for food or coins — is a traditional Halloween custom, and is recorded in Scotland at Halloween in 1895 where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.
 The practise of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported children going "guising" around the neighborhood.

When I first came to Corby in the early 1980s the local kids would dress up and go round neighbours' houses, saying rhymes like:

I'm an Aberdonian
I come from Aberdeen
I've come all the way to Corby
to get my Halloween 
The sky is blue
the grass is green
please may I have
a Halloween?
Now they're more likely just to say 'Trick or treat' but it is really just carrying on a long tradition of children 'begging' at certain times of the year. We always had 'Penny for the Guy' and  used to go carol-singing around neighbours' houses - and not for charity, either.

All generally good fun and a way for neighbours to meet local kids.

I spent Halloween 2007 in Brooklyn - it was delightful to see the elaborate decorations on certain houses, where children were obviously welcomed.
I'm afraid the home-made cats' ears didn't work very well.

The shops on one of the main avenues were nearly all open that evening and handing out candy goodies, and there was a good-natured parade with music.

One of the decorated houses

A store giving out candy

The traffic lights are not part of the costume
She looks a bit spooked? It was getting cold!

And another lovely idea - share or give a scary book!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I'm a little puzzled by autumn this year.  It has a shabby feel.  Leaves aren't changing as they often do to bright flames, but seem to be shrinking into dirty green then brown.
I went out to snap some autumn this afternoon, berries are good, Virginia creeper is red, but not a lot of golden.  Maybe I should have patience and wait for autumn-yet-to-come?

Oh, I did spot my first pumpkins in a window!

Virginia creeper looking a little wind-ravaged
some kind of seed pod
poppies flowering in late October

In  our local pocket park

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another tomato post

Here they sit, inside, ripening - I don't want to feel obliged to find too many green tomato recipes!  The round tomatoes are from two plants.  The plum ones are from another two - but not so prolific by a long way.

I heard tell there was a frost last week, but so far, though it has certainly been cold, I haven't seen frost.  Maybe I should get up early?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Doggy bags - go for it.

I enjoyed this article on the Beeb website.

It brought back memories of a lunch with a friend in Brooklyn at the Trattoria Mangia, where I found two large panini a little too much and they insisted I should take one away with me.  I looked for someone hungry - and found one - my daughter, who'd spent the morning with her friends and hadn't eaten.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Welland Valley Art Society Autumn Exhibition until 14 October

We've just been over to the private viewing and opening of the exhibition in Stamford. Harry has four paintings in the show.

Half Dome, Yosemite

Girl in a Hat

Lady with Cat

Then we spent a relaxed afternoon in the sun by the Welland.

Unfortunately, I left my camera card in the computer, so no pics of the ice-cream van, registration F7AKE, nor of all the people enjoying the weather.