New Header Picture: Pingdingshan

Nei Mengu
The extinct volcanoes of Pingdingshan, Xilin Gol, Nei Mengu

平顶山, 锡林郭勒盟,内蒙古

Pingdingshan in Xilingol League in Inner Mongolia has a very distinctive landscape. There are many extinct volcanoes from a time when this was the sea floor. This photo was taken in early October and the lush green grasslands had already faded to their winter brown. Even so you can see a flock of sheep in the foreground.

The interactive map is a new feature which I’ll maybe use again now that I know how to do it.

For tourist info click here

New Header Picture – The Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare attrac up to 1.5 million tourists a year.

Rising to a height of 214 meters they stretch for 14 kilometres. They are made up of sandstone and shale formin distinctive layers as can be seen in the photo.

The award winning visitor centre is dug into the hillside so it doesn’t detract from the scenery.

Alternatively take a virtual tour:

This photograph was taken in July 2019.

Progress being made updating this site

It’s always been messy….

Very slowly updating the site.

Can we fix it?

Er, probably not but I’ll give it a go.

It’s going to take time, there are over 1,300 posts going back 17 years.

Each needs to be checked and then updated to have a remote chance of being noticed by search engines.

Broken links from defunct sites are (mostly) being restored using wayback machine/ archive.org links.

Update Progress:

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Adderbury

Church of St Mary the Virgin, East Adderbury.
Church Going
by Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

Once I am sure there’s nothing going on 
I step inside, letting the door thud shut. 
Another church: matting, seats, and stone, 
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut 
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff 
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ; 
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence, 
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence, 

Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don’t. 
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few 
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
“Here endeth” much more loudly than I’d meant. 
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door 
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence, 
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for. 

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do, 
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too, 
When churches fall completely out of use 
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show, 
Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep. 
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places? 

Or, after dark, will dubious women come 
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some 
Advised night see walking a dead one? 
Power of some sort or other will go on 
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random; 
But superstition, like belief, must die, 
And what remains when disbelief has gone? 
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

A shape less recognizable each week, 
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who 
Will be the last, the very last, to seek 
This place for what it was; one of the crew 
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were? 
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique, 
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff 
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh? 
Or will he be my representative, 

Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground 
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt 
So long and equably what since is found 
Only in separation – marriage, and birth, 
And death, and thoughts of these – for whom was built
This special shell? For, though I’ve no idea 
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth, 
It pleases me to stand in silence here; 

A serious house on serious earth it is, 
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognised, and robed as destinies. 
And that much never can be obsolete, 
Since someone will forever be surprising 
A hunger in himself to be more serious, 
And gravitating with it to this ground, 
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.

James Douglas Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971)

“I am Dionysus, the child of Zeus, and I have come to this land of the Thebans, where Cadmus’ daughter Semele once bore me, delivered by a lightning-blast. Having assumed a mortal form in place of my divine one,”

The Bacchae by Euripides

Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as ravens claws.

“Art and religion, carnivals and saturnalia, dancing and listening to oratory – all these have served, in H. G. Wells’s phrase, as Doors in the Wall.” 
― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception

平原县, 德州市, 山东省

Image

A memorial pagoda in Pingyuan County, Dezhou, Shandong Province
A bit different from but similar to Banbury Cross

Ride a cock horse

to Banbury Cross.

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;

Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.

The origins of this rhyme are uncertain.

Banbury used to have several crosses: the High Cross, the Bread Cross and the White Cross until they offended puritan sensibilities and were destroyed around 1600.

The present cross dates from 1859 to commemorate the wedding of Victoria, the Princess Royal , to Frederick of Prussia whose coat of arms were blocked out during World War 1.

So removing and defacing statues by those gifted with moral certainty is nothing new.

Iggy Pop – Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_not_go_gentle_into_that_good_night

Il faut cultiver notre jardin – Voltaire

Ce bon vieillard me paraît s’être fait un sort bien préférable à celui des six rois avec qui nous avons eu l’honneur de souper.
Toute la petite société entra dans ce louable dessein ; chacun se mit à exercer ses talents. La petite terre rapporta beaucoup.
car, quand l’homme fut mis dans le jardin d’Éden, il y fut mis ut operaretur eum, pour qu’il travaillât, ce qui prouve que l’homme n’est pas né pour le repos.
Cela est bien dit, répondit Candide, mais il faut cultiver notre jardin.

‘You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.’ #2

before
after

Planted:

Castanea sativa (Sweet chestnut)

Apple trees:

Egremont (M111) – Dessert
Greensleeves (M106) – Dessert
Martin’s Seedling (M111) – Culinary
Ecklinville (M106) – Culinary
Uncle John’s Cooker (M106) – Culinary

Soft Fruit:

x2 Gooseberries – Hinnonmaki Red
x1 Gooseberry – Invicta
x6 Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
x4 Blackcurrant (Ben Sarek)
x2 Redcurrant (Ribes rubrum)

Constructed:

  1. Windbreak netting
  2. Composting bin

Numbeo

Numbeo is a collaborative online database which enables users to share and compare information about the cost of living between countries and cities.
It also includes data on:

  • property prices,
  • crime,
  • health care,
  • pollution,
  • traffic,
  • travel,
  • quality of life
Quality of life comparison (March 2020)

Low Tech Magazine

What is Low-tech Magazine?

Founded in November 2007, Low-tech Magazine questions the blind belief in technological progress, and talks about the potential of past and often forgotten knowledge and technologies when it comes to designing a sustainable society. Interesting possibilities arise when you combine old technology with new knowledge and new materials, or when you apply old concepts and traditional knowledge to modern technology.

My personal favourite articles:

Reinventing the Greenhouse –

Research shows that it’s possible to grow warmth-loving crops all year round with solar energy alone, even if it’s freezing outside. The solar greenhouse is especially successful in China, where many thousands of these structures have been built during the last decades.

How to Downsize a Transport Network: The Chinese Wheelbarrow

For being such a seemingly ordinary vehicle, the wheelbarrow has a surprisingly exciting history. 

https://www.lowtechmagazine.com

Timperley early

Make a raised bed

take an old door…
disassemble it
cut to size
Assemble the frame
Place the frame

Prepare the soil

Double dig the soil and remove stones, roots and weeds
Get two wheelbarrow loads of sand and grit for drainage
Rhubarb likes well drained soil so mix in the sand thoroughly
Add 150 litres of multi-purpose compost
Plant the rhubarb crowns so the tips are just above the soil
Mulch with wood chips and bark

Rhubarb prefers a sunny site and should not be harvested in the first year. Three crowns should be enough to feed a family. Once mature the crowns can be split to provide new healthy plants.


Update: April 2nd 2020

‘Timperley Early’ is one of the earliest varieties to mature, producing pink-red stems streaked with green. It’s ideal for forcing to provide tender pink stems as early as February. If left to grow naturally, ‘Temperley Early’ is ready to harvest from March.

Riparian ownership: Responsibilities of a riparian owner

“A riparian owner is the person, or people, with watercourses on, next to or under their property.”

What are my responsibilities as a riparian owner?

  • To pass on water flow without obstruction, pollution or diversion that would affect the rights of others.
  • To maintain the banks and bed of the watercourse (including any trees and shrubs growing on the banks) and any flood defences that exist on it.
  • To maintain any approved structures on their stretch of the watercourse and keep them free of debris. These may include trash screens, culverts, weirs and mill gates.
  • Riparian Owners must not build new structures (for example a culvert, bridge or board walk) that encroach upon the watercourse, or alter the flow of water or prevent the free passage of fish

How do I maintain the watercourse?

a) Keep growth of vegetation (trees, weeds, reeds, grass etc) under control 

b) Keep watercourses free of debris (e.g. litter, grass cuttings, and fallen trees and branches) 

c) Remove excess silt 

Here are some good URLs:

http://www.sussexotters.org/pdf/Advice%  20on%20Wildlife%20Friendly%20Weed%20Clearance%20  and%20Veg%20Management%20in%20Watercourses.pdf

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/104184/Good-Practice-for-Watercourse-Maintenance-.pdf

http://www.theriverstrust.org/media/2017/04/Pinpoint-21.0-Soil-Management-Managing-ditches.pdf

Futility Closet – a collection of entertaining curiosities 

About Futility Closet

Futility Closet is a collection of entertaining curiosities in history, literature, language, art, philosophy, and mathematics, designed to help you waste time as enjoyably as possible.

The database contains more than 10,000 items, and more are added each day.

You can read Futility Closet on the web, subscribe by RSS, or sign up to receive a daily email.

CATEGORIES:
Art
Crime
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History
Hoaxes
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https://www.futilitycloset.com