Tuesday, June 22, 2010

21st June 2010

Well it’s been a medical few weeks lately. My brother is in a Newcastle hospital at the moment so I have trekked up there with Nick a couple of times. Had myself a tooth pulled out and had to collect Mike from the hospital after a frozen shoulder episode. I’ve had quite enough for the moment. So long as Nick doesn’t chop off any fingers anytime soon I’ll be ok.

The cycle runs and in the clock of the seasons strikes 12 noon for the Solstice and in chimes the summer with a melody of dragonflies climbing into the azure sky riding on the soft winds that enter the dawn and kiss the Heel stone. Now silent Stonehenge is devoid of druids, golden sickles and sacrifices. It embraces its destiny as pointer to the stars revolving high above the earth. The industry of the Neolithic age stands as a fitting shadow to shade our advances and remind us that it is summer, we are finite and the earth shall live forever in a billion more cycles that culminate in the harmony of the birth of summer.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

I dont know where this little fellow came from...good sign having newts as it means the pond is healthy. Here's some info

Palmate Newt (Triturus helveticus)
This is Britain's other small brown newt. It is a little smaller than the Smooth Newt, rarely exceeding 6cm. Adult females are hard to distinguish from female Smooth Newts. The best way to tell them apart is the fact that the throat of the Smooth Newt is spotted and that of the palmate newt is either plain pink or yellow.

The male, in breeding condition, has a low crest along the middle of the back, a filament at the tip of the tail and black webs on the back feet, from which it gets its name as it makes the feet look rather like hands. The dark markings at the side of the head are more marked in the Palmate Newt.
Whilst widely distributed, the Palmate Newt has a definite preference for shallow ponds on acid soils. It is therefore most commonly found on heathland in the south and west, and in the north, on moorland and bogs. The life cycle of the Palmate Newt is very similar to that of the Smooth Newt and they also eat very similar prey. Palmate Newts seem able to withstand dryer conditions than the Smooth Newt and are frequently found a long way from water.

In Great Britain, this species is protected only in as much as sale and trade in any form is prohibited.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

6th June 2010

I haven’t written anything on here for ages sorry. I blame it on the good weather and the garden.

Here’s what I wrote last weekend when I went down to the Chelsea Flower Show with Mike, 4 nurses, a nurse’s sister and a nurse’s mum (who is 90 and absolutely amazing.) She walks everywhere, has perfect hearing and vision, yet is almost double my age and I haven’t either of those senses intact.

Friday 28th May 2010

Got the train from Wigan station leaving Robbie with Mike’s sister so I hope he behaves himself? It’s a while since I have been on a train but happy to report that nothing has changed. Hard to find a seat and had to walk the whole length of the train to finally find one, all the while, listening to an announcement that I could upgrade to first class for an extra £15. Nothing changes does it? The only good thing (going at least,) was that with the higher speeds of the trains it only took 2 hours from Wigan to Euston. Got in to Euston around 2pm.

The hotel is basic but clean and is close to Waterloo bridge so in a good location overall. Close enough to walk to central London in about 15 minutes. Ok it’s wasn’t the Sofitel but I could stay here all week for one night there. Weather was warm and sunny so after unpacking went to Covent Garden for a few hours came back and went to see ‘Love Never dies’ which is the sequel to the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The performances from the leading characters was exemplary and overall the show is ok but not as dramatic as the Phantom.

After the show met the ladies in the hotel bar for a few drinks. Well for one of the ladies more than a couple! But it’s stressful being a nurse so when they get a chance to unwind they go for it I guess.

Saturday 29th May 2010

Off to the flower show at 9am and of course it’s raining now after the blue sky start to the day at 7am. I only know because I was sat outside in the smoking area then. I wasn’t on my own either, there were a few other members of the naughty, evil smokers club there and one gets to thinking how did we end up like this? Who decided it was a crime to do it indoors and probably more importantly, where will it all end up eventually? I guess if they can pull this stunt off then, they can brainwash people into doing just about anything else. Non-smokers rule...yeah!! Just don’t come moaning when all the other stuff that follows on from it affects you...and it will? You can never take away a freedom, (even if you don’t agree with it,) and expect everything else to go in your favour. Life doesn’t work that way.

Anyway I’m getting off-track. The flower show was incredibly busy despite the rain but given the price of the tickets a little rain wasn’t going to deter anyone. At least we didn’t have to queue long. What did I think of it? Truthfully it was good, but not as good as I thought it would be. The gardens were smaller than they appear on TV and there are actually not that many of them. Factor in the rain and the jostling crowds creating difficulty actually seeing the garden exhibits and I’d rate it 5 out of 10. Any inspiration available generally had a hefty price tag attached. It rained solidly the whole time so by about 2pm we left and walked to the Victoria and Albert museum.


Now that’s interesting and also dry and I learnt that in Victorian time’s archaeologists travelled the world and made replicas casts) of the ancient monuments they encountered so that people back home could see them. The cast of Trajan’s column is amazing and so tall they have to display it in 2 pieces. It’d be great to see the real thing one day. Here’s a little bit about it.

Trajan's Column is a huge Roman monument honouring, of course, Trajan. It is an example of a spiral frieze. Normally, a frieze is located on the entablature of a building, but in this case, the entire column is a frieze. It spirals the whole way up, telling stories of military victories as it goes. Curiously, most of it is completely unreadable, especially for those living in ancient times. Though a staircase exists inside, it still is still not possible to read the middle parts.

The structure is about 30 meters (98 ft) in height, 35 meters (125 ft) including its large pedestal. The shaft is made from a series of 20 colossal Carrara marble drums, each weighing about 32 tons, with a diameter of 3.7 meters (11 ft). The 190 meter (625 ft) frieze winds around the shaft 23 times. Inside the shaft, a spiral staircase of 185 stairs provides access to a viewing platform at the top. The capital block of Trajan's Column weighs 53.3 tons which had to be lifted to a height of ca. 34 m.

After the museum we headed back and we all went out to a local Italian for dinner before taking a walk along the river. Stopped for a drink at the National Film Institute bar. The wine was served in plastic tumblers and to make matters worse there were 3 mice running under the tables. The staff thought it was hilarious...one to avoid I think.
Sunday headed back and due to work on the high speed line we were diverted so the trip home took a good deal longer. To cap it all Robbie had disgraced himself several times so I think Mike’s sister was glad to see the back of him.

Sunday 5th June 2010

So here we are a week later...the weather has been beautifully hot all week but still no rain so things are now getting a little bit dry. We’ve been promised some rain today but for some weird reason it is refusing to fall here this year.

You’ve probably heard of the shooting in Cumbria this week...how sad is that? People in the wrong place at the wrong time and one nutcase with a gun...words fail when this type of thing happens. If you had to sum the weeks news in a sentence it would be – Oil, the Middle East, Korea (both of them), the economy and crime with guns. In fact that sentence could be used for about 52 weeks of every year.

Hope you’ve had a good weekend despite all the bad news.