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* * *
  Thursday we were up half an hour earlier to head off to the county town of Somerset.  Taunton appeared to be quite a nice place.  We found a very pleasant coffee shop (run by a coffee merchant so the coffee was good, as was the Millionaire's Shortbread.)  Then we spent a while investigating the history of the area in the local musem, which is situated in part of the old castle.  That was interesting - geology, Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romans, Saxons (very little), Vikings, Middle Ages monasteries, Judge Jeffries (boo, hiss) and on to the present day.

  Then off to Tiverton, in Devon, to the Grand Western Canal - which was originally built to transport stone to lime kilns to produce lime to scatter over the local fields.  All eleven miles of the navigation are entirely unconnnected to other waterways.  They are also entirely sans locks, being built level - no mean feat given the somewhat precipitous undulations of the Devon countryside.

  Eventually a man in a waistcoat and bowler hat appeared, leading a Shire horse in harness.  This was duly hitched to a barge with large windows and we all embarked.  This was advertised as the highlight of the whole holiday - a two-and-a-half hour trip along the Grand Western Canal in a horse-drawn barge.  Actually it was very pleasant.  The weather was, mostly, sunny, there were primroses and bluebells in bloom along the canal banks and hedges and trees bursting into leaf.  There were small fish in the water and ducks (mallards) on the water, including a couple with balls of fluff known as ducklings in flotilla.

  At the half-way point, where they turned the barge for the return trip, we were informed that there was an aqueduct which could be viewed a brisk six-minute walk up the tow path.  Several people, including H went to look.  At which point the heavens opened.  Some of those going to look sheltered under a nearby bridge.  H had already passed it so continued.  He got the aqueduct then came back to dry out a bit.

  Readers who have been on canals will know the relentless 'chug-chug-chug' of the boat engine forming a backdrop to their holidays.  You don't get this with a horse-drawn boat.  Just the purling of the water around the boat bows, then the clopping of the horse's hooves on the tow-path, the wind in the trees, the singing of birds, the quacking of prospecting ducks - which we were encouraged to feed.  Lovely.

  I also finished the pair of socks I'd taken.  So that's a pair for Sis.  Then I started on another pair, for someone else.

  Friday we packed quickly.  "Have we left anything?"  "No."  "Good, lets have breakfast."

  For the first time the hills above Teignmouth were not sparkling in the morning sun.  They were being rained upon.  They'd been rained upon another morning.  The difference was that this time Exmouth was also being rained upon.  We got into the coach, set off and eventually came out ahead of the wet front.  The countryside was bathed in sunlight and the trees were bursting into flower and leaf.

  We stopped at Dorchester, heart of Hardy (Thomas Hardy, the novellist) country, found lovely little cafe which did good coffee and excellent (warm) Dorset Apple Cake.  Then proceeded to explore the High Street.  At which point the wet front, propelled by a sou'westerly wind, caught up with us.  We headed for cover in a little shopping 'mall' (though much older than the name 'mall' might suggest).  Went in one side to get out of the rain, came out the other side and it had stopped.  We also found the wool shop.

  Back to the coach, headed eastward.  Eventually left the rain well behind, so far behind that we'd gotten to Portsmouth, unloaded, caught the bus home, unpacked, sorted things out and put on a load of washing long before the wet front finally arrived.  What was more welcome was that the seedlings, which had been growing apace before we left, were still alive and apparently thriving.  I'd distributed them between two other windowsills in slightly less potentially sunny situations.  So that if it was sunny all week they'd have had some chance of surviving, whereas in the front room they could have dried up completely.  All were well.

  That's the washing line fixed - you may remember the halyard finally parted and we had a jury rigged line for the past few weeks.  The window cleaner came last week and threaded the new halyard through the pulley at the top of the pole - it's about 20' up, he had his long ladder with him.

  Today H unwrapped the new washing line, which fell into a tangle directly.  No faffing around like it was going to behave itself first just to lull us into a false sense of security!  Then he fixed it to the halyard at one end - with tie-wraps cos the halyard is woven, rather than twisted (that would have been a 'splice' job) and to the fixed point at the other end.  Thanks very much, H.  I then proceeded to peg out.  Now all we need is fine weather for a few hours.  I wonder, could I do another washing machine-load and get that out when the present lot dries?  Or would that really be pushing it?  Let's see.

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
cheerful cheerful
* * *
Did you miss me, Dear Reader?  Did you even notice I'd been gone?  We had a few days away in Devon, based in Exmouth.  It was a coach holiday, so I reckon we were about the youngest there, possibly by at least ten years.  I know one other holiday maker was 83, cos she told me!

  We had a very pleasant time.  Monday was driving down to Exmouth.  We were picked up at 9:30am, which was a very civilised time compared with other holidays.  It was gloriously sunny all the way down so we spotted primroses, bluebells, cowslips, the odd buzzard and tried to identify which trees were coming into leaf.  It was very noticeable how much further into leaf the trees in Devon were compared with those even in Dorset, and particularly compared with those in Hampshire.

  Writing of trees, it turned out that the big, chartreuse coloured trees were (most probably) oaks.  Having made a careful study, it looks as if it may be a good summer.  The oaks were definitely further out than the ash trees we saw - those that were still alive!  And look, those saplings in a row there are elms!  I'm old enough to remember elm trees, from back in the day before Dutch Elm disease.  Lets hope those saplings are a resistant strain.

  So anyway, Exmouth is very hilly - which came as a bit of a shock to the system compared to Portsmouth.  The hotel was overlooking the mouth of the river Exe and Dawlish Warren across the rivermouth.  We had a room right up in the roof, but overlooking the view.  It was glorious, specially in the sunshine - which it was for most of the time.  Unpacked, went for a short walk down to the Front and along to the clock tower, then blew back - it was very windy.

  Tuesday was windier still, but lovely in the sunshine.  We had the day free to explore Exmouth, which we duly did.  Nice place.  Used to be the 'posh' area.  Being near Plymouth, which has been a major Naval port, it tended to attract admirals and their families - Lady Nelson spent some time in one of the houses on the same road as 'our' hotel.  Another house was home for a while to Lady Byron and her daughter Ada.  Yes, that Ada, who became Ada Lovelace, who wrote some of the first computer programs, who was highly regarded by contemporary Men of Science (once they got over the fact that she was a pretty young woman) and who is commemorated by the computer language Ada.  We found the yarn shop, where I got some brightly coloured yarn in acrylic (I'm not a yarn snob.)

  Wednesday we headed off to the seaside town of Sidmouth.  A pleasant place which appeared more up market than the present town of Exmouth (fewer empty shops and charity shops.)  We found a very pleasant cafe/restaurant to duck into while it rained, where we had coffee and an excellent though huge slice of Victoria Sandwich (could have done with one slice between the two of us.)  This cafe was above the local yarn shop, I got a crochet hook.

  You may know, Dear Reader, that the Devon soil is red.  The pebbles on Sidmouth beach have a distinctly pinkish tinge as a result.  We sat for a while on the prom, ignoring prospecting seagulls as requested by a nearby poster.  Apparently gulls have become a bit of a hazzard, swooping on the unexpecting and making off with their chips or ice-creams.  There was also a prospecting Turnstone - the first I've ever seen (prospecting or otherwise.)  This was a little more careful, specially when it saw any dogs.

  Then we headed across to Seaton, where we caught the tram to Colyton.  The tram up was an open one, ex-Bournemouth, and it really caught the wind as the lines took as across it.  There were fleece blankets available for the chilly, but that didn't make much difference when the wind was blowing through your ears!  We had a late lunch on what had been Colyton station but was now the terminus of the tram ride.  Then caught the next tram back to Seaton.  Fortunately this tram had a couple of enclosed areas.

  The tramway goes past an RSPB wetland reserve on one side and the river Axe on the other, thus there are opportunities to view wading birds of various kinds, including a heron and little egrets.  There are also shelduck - which seemed to have parcelled out the river mudflats between pairs of them, and various wading birds and gulls.  I might have seen a curlew, I don't know, I didn't see it for long enough to be sure.  Seaton may well have a yarn shop, we weren't there long enough to find out!

  Which is enough for one episode.  Y'all have a good day now!
Tags:
Current Location:
as usual, not Devon
Current Mood:
cheerful cheerful
* * *
Man walks into a bar in France.  Yes, this is funny though not a joke.

  "Stick 'em up and put all your cash into this holdall!"  (I 'translate' as my schoolgirl French definitely isn't up to this level of dialogue.)

  A woman holding a baby pushes past him, goes behind something, puts the baby somewhere safe.  Then returns, tells him off and proceeds to attack the (armed) robber, snatching away his holdall then grabbing his gun and hitting him repeatedly with the holdall.  At which point a male bystander joins in, hitting the would-be robber with a chair.  The 'robber' decides all this is too much like hard work and legs it.  Perhaps they then called les Gendarmes?  Truly, as Kipling* has it, "the female of the species is more deadly than the male".  Particularly if she has young!

  While on the subject of the female of the species - a woman is to appear on the front of new American $20 note, in 2020 at the earliest. Harriet Tubman - a black ex-slave who fled from her slavery in Maryland to freedom in Philadelphia.  She later became responsible for guiding many more black slaves to freedom, usually in Canada, where their 'owners' had no legal claim to them.  She also acted as a spy for the Union army during the American Civil War.  Then she went on to donate part of her land to the Church and a home for elderly people was built there, where she ended her life.

  I dare say there will be a certain amount of hoo-ha about this.  There always is when changes are made, and this change swaps a past president for a black woman!  (President Andrew Jackson, a slave owner, will be moved to the back of the $20 note.)  A black woman who achieved much in her lifetime then, as is the fate of so many women (and, presumably, black people) got forgotten by History.  Go Google her, Dear Reader, you should find something as History, at least hers, is currently being re-written.  Seems to me that she's more than worth the accolade.

  Meanwhile Donald Trump, having made a vigorous comeback from his major defeat in Wisconsin(?) has promised to change his image.  Dur?  It's not his image that's the real problem.  It's what he's planning to do, how he thinks, what he says, what he believes - specially as a lot of that is wrong.  That's what's got him winning the American Presidential election listed as one of the Ten Worst Things That Could Happen to the World.  And if he doesn't realise that, then he's an eejit.  If he does realise it, then this is merely a cynical ploy to deceive voters.  But then, Trump is a would-be politician, and we know how many of them are 'economical with the truth'!

  And Finally - a picture selected as the best image in the Open category of the Sony Photography Awards 2016.  The winning and shortlisted images are being exhibited at Somerset House, London, until 8th May.  Looks like it could be well worth a visit, Dear Reader.

Enchanted Bamboo Forest

Enchanted Bamboo Forest by Kei Nomiyama.  Shot in the mountains of Shikoku Island, it captures the Luciola parvula firefly at the beginning of the rainy season.  It puts me in mind of Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night.

  Whatever you're doing, Dear Reader, have a good weekend.  We'll be off to visit the family - time for sock knitting and catching up with everyone.






  *That's Rudyard Kipling, Victorian/Edwardian author and poet, lover of the British Empire and, consequently, somewhat out of favour these politically correct days.  Not the Mr Kipling who makes "exceedingly good cakes".
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
The Female of the Species (is More Deadly Than the Male) - popular song (at one point)
* * *
The other day the Chancellor, George Osborne, made a speech claiming that we would all be £3,400 worse off per year if Britain left the European Economic Community, aka The Common Market*.  Apparently this figure was from a paper he'd written, which had all sorts of formulae to calculate this and that.  H and I looked at each other and said, "How does he reckon he knows that?  How can he possibly tell?"  Because all such 'calculations' are looking into the future, and what is in the future we just can't tell.  Fortunately.

  You never know, Dear Reader, it might just be an attempt to come up with some what look like they might be accurate figures in the face of all the scare-mongering tactics used by both the 'Leave' and the 'Remain' groups.  There have been terrible forecasts of all sorts of disasters coming from both sides, some of which may even have some basis in fact.

  Cos that's the thing, so much of what's being said is opinion, and biased opinion at that.  A lot of the rest of it has been made up by people who really should know better.  But there we are.  As with so many elections, what the facts are, what people are actually going to do, come in a poor second to trying to frighten the electorate into voting their way and general mud-slinging.  Ah well, it's only another two weeks, I suppose.

  It's said that there are lies, damned lies and statistics.  I beg to venture that there may be another (even worse) category:- statistics as used (abused?) by politicians.

  Now I know there are 'good' politicians, those who are 'in it' because they genuinely care for their constituents and want to represent them and improve things for them.  Trouble is, they aren't the ones we hear about all that much.  Hmmm, what was that about Good News being no News?  So we hear from/about the 'dodgy' ones - and I can use that description because I'm not in Parliament!

  You know, Dear Reader, faced with all these democratically elected representatives and a hereditary woman of clear integrity with a longstanding sense of duty and deep faith in Almighty God, I'll take Her Majesty every time*.

  Happy 90th Birthday, Ma'am.  Hope you have a really good day.






   *Honestly, given our vacillating attitude over the past forty-plus years I wonder that the EEC hasn't turned to the UK and said something along the lines of, "Oh for goodness sake!  If you're really that dissatisfied, get out!"

  **Yes, I know we've had bad kings, and the occasional queen, but not nearly as many as we've had bad politicians - no matter how democratically they've been elected.
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
Patriotic
Current Music:
Crown Imperial - William Walton
* * *
A cinema chain recently decided to allow mobile phones to be left on in their cinemas.  The outraged response soon had them changing their minds and the arrangement.

  I don't know, Dear Reader, when I go to the cinema it's to watch a film.  If I want to discuss it I'll do so later, or maybe whisper to the person with me, but only a few times.  I definitely don't want people round me texting all the time, with their little lights and beeps.  Besides which, don't modern phones have an ability to record a whole film, or at least sections.  I thought the present level of pirating was bad enough, without allowing people to bring their own pirating equipment into the cinema.

  Apparently when you tell a 22-year-old to turn off their phone, don't ruin the film, they hear "please cut off your left arm below the elbow."  Seriously, Dear Reader, is it that bad?  I mean, I know about phone 'zombies', people walking along so absorbed in their phones that they'll walk into things, including other people, trees and the road, but losing their left hand?  It's only for a couple of hours, max!

  Sometimes when I go to see a film there will be families there with small children.  Small children who fidget noisily after the first five minutes.  That's disruptive.  Or there are groups of teenagers who chat with each other.  That's disruptive.  Or there's someone really close eating sweets which are wrapped in crinkly wrappers and all in a very crinkly bag.  That's disruptive.  People with their little lighted screens in their left hands continually fiddling away, specially if they haven't turned off the beep-every-key-pressed thingy, that'd be really disruptive.

  Bearing in mind the location of our 'local' cinemas - miles away, and the ticket prices - arm and a leg, maybe I'll just wait 'til modern films are broadcast on TV.  That way I'll only, perhaps, have the ad breaks to deal with.  They aren't nearly as disruptive, particularly if I record the film first.

  Enjoy your day, Dear Reader, and if you go to the cinema, please turn off your mobile!
Current Location:
a planet, far, far away!
Current Mood:
amazed
Current Music:
Star Wars, theme - John Williams
* * *
* * *
What are we doing to our children?  Last week the country was horrified by the news that two girls, aged 13 and 14, had tortured to death a woman with 'learning difficulties'.  They did this over a period of five hours, taking selfies of the process, then phoning the police to take them home.  The girls had been 'in care' for most of their lives - where they clearly hadn't been taught, or learned, to care.

  Then last Friday another headline - Spalding Deaths - Two 14-year-olds Charged With Murder.  A woman, known as a popular and kind person and a well-known dinner lady, and her daughter were murdered, apparently by a 14-year-old boy and girl.  Further details have to emerge about the killers but . . .

  Now I know adolescence can be a seriously difficult time for many people - but going out with a mate and committing murder?  How are we raising our children?  And, perhaps more to the point, how are we raising the children who 'for their own good' have been taken away from their parents.  Clearly just providing them with food, clothing, a bed, and some sort of formal education up to age 16 is not enough.

  Y'all have a good day now!







  *"-- when they're old they won't be lost."  Proverbs 22:6 (The Message)
Tags: ,
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
distressed distressed
Current Music:
Jeux d'Enfants
* * *
Last night the Church organised a Women and Pudding event at the Manse (Pastor's home).  Basic premise: all women in/attached to the Church invited, bring a dessert with you (almost put 'desert' there, oops!)  So I made cheesejacks (like flapjacks but with cheese instead of syrup), arranged for a lift and went along.

  There were about twenty of us, ranging in ages from H at 90 to M in her early twenties.  Puddings comprised cheesecakes - both refridgerated and baked, fruit salad (yum), strawberries, cheese and biscuits, banoffee pie (yum), profiteroles, and a most excellent chocolate ice-cream; most of which were home made (including the ice-cream.)

  So we sat round with our cups of tea/coffee/water and chatted, sampled the different puddings, recommended some, complimented the cooks, and generally had a Really Good Time.  Christians don't/can't enjoy themselves?  Rot!

  A group of us finally decided we had to get home so left at about 10pm.  That's when the other sort of 'fun' started.  K was driving.  Sp didn't shout that that was her road soon enough for K to turn into it, so she turned up the next available road.  We got most of the way along then stopped because there were three cars stopped in front of us.  We waited for a while, then Sp got out to have a look.  The car at the far end of the road - the one causing all the trouble - was a paramedic Rapid Response vehicle with the hazard lights flashing and the Rapid Responder nowhere to be seen.

  Ok, fine, we don't mind waiting if it's a genuine emergency, and at 10:30pm it probably is.  Besides which there are now cars behind us so we couldn't reverse out, even if K felt up to so doing.  It was a good thing there were four of us in the car.  We were having fun together even if we were waiting and it was gradually getting so late that we weren't about to try walking home separately.  Those of us with husbands waiting at home phoned, told them of the situation and warned them that we could be a while yet.

  By 11pm G was desperate for the loo, so she picked one of the nearby houses which still had a downstairs light on and went and knocked.  The very nice lady occupier let her use her facilities, then told her that there was a very sick elderly lady living at the top of the road and the paramedic was probably with her.

  By the time we'd been there and hour and a half it was beginning to get a bit beyond a joke.  So G got out and went to explain the situation to the (now six) cars behind us.  Would they please mind reversing to the main road so that we could all get out.  We'd already been stuck at least an hour - that convinced even the Very Young lady in the last car.  She'd only recently passed her test and the thought of reversing, even the shortest distance, in the dark, didn't appeal.  The woman in the car immediately in front offered to reverse her car for her, if she didn't want to do it herself - she obviously didn't want to be stuck any longer either.

  So we started backing up, very slowly, very carefully, "How much space have I either side?"  "Bags of room"/"You're getting a bit close this side."  Eventually it was our turn to, on finding a wider part, turn and drive out onto the main road.  w00t, no watching policeman to jump on us for driving the wrong way down a one-way street ("But we were only going the one way, Officer!")  And so to our various homes.  I got in at 11:55pm, much to H and my reliefs.  I reckon I could have walked home in the nearly two hours it took to drive last night, even at the speed I currently walk.  Not that I'd have wanted to at that time of night.

  However, all in all it was a fun evening and a good time was had by all, even the four of us stuck in Ophir Rd for far too long.  We reckon that when Tracey, the Pastor, is telling the Church tomorrow about the fun we all had last night, there will be four of us rolling around giggling!

  I didn't bring a doggy bag home for H.  There were only the strawberries and the fruit salad he could have reasonably had anyway.  Everything else had far too much cream/chocolate/sugar/other fats.  You know, the kind of foods which are so delicious but health 'experts' now reccommend we only have very occasionally.  So I suppose that'll be no more puddings for any of us for the rest of the month!  At least.  As if!

  Which is sufficient for now.  Y'all have a good day!
Tags: , ,
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
cheerful cheerful
Current Music:
Pleasure Train Polka - Strauss jar
* * *
Yesterday was beautiful.  Sunny yet with enough of a breeze to make it fresh enough for me to not wilt.  Not from the warmth anyway.  So once the towels were finally pegged out, I got a few things together and caught the bus to the Staunton Estates.  There I had lunch overlooking the ornamental lake and noted how much further on the trees were than when I visited a fortnight ago.

  The horse chestnut trees are well into leaf.  Willows are following, as are (possibly) sycamore.  Ash trees are starting to put forth leaves, as are the oak trees, though I'm not sure which started first, so that's that for forecasting the possible dampness of the forthcoming summer.  Nearly all the shrubs and small trees are starting into leaf, some of the large ones are burgeoning, still others are obviously just thinking about it.  There was a red-flowered Camellia the size of a small tree!

  Last time the hazels had catkins, the pussy willows were largely over and a touched yew bough shed wafts of yellow pollen.  This time the alders also had catkins.  Give it another couple of weeks of fair to good weather and all the trees will be showing the green of leaves and not just the green of algae growing on their trunks after the soggy winter!

  Primroses were out in various places, also wood anemone, bluebells and wild arum lily (aka Jack in the pulpit).  I expect there were violets out in the beech woodland, but I didn't visit to check - too far to walk in my present 'condition'.

  I considered walking around the ornamental lake, then decided against it and went to the expensive side (the lake side is free entry, the Model Farm you have to pay to get in.)  The Model Farm is very popular with families with pre-school-age children, there were quite a few yesterday.  There was also what looked like either a nursery school group or a Reception group on a class visit.

  So I had a cup of tea and a scone while watching the rooks, one jackdaw and a Herring Gull scavenging crumbs.  Then wandered round looking at the rabbits, guinea pigs, Jersey cows and calves, goats (Pygmy and what looked like Angora), donkeys, chickens, turkey, miscellaneous ducks and geese, Jacob sheep and lambs (there were just the sheep last time) Shetland ponies and rheas (yes, on a Model Farm in the UK!)

  There were also a Large White boar, Dougal , definitely a boar, and a Saddleback sow doing what pigs do in the spring.  I can tell you that that boar has a ball-sack to boast of but a penis which is really nothing to write home about (about the size of one of my smaller fingers.)  From the way the sow collapsed when the boar first mounted, then retired to the pig ark afterwards, I reckon that AI wouldn't be entirely unwelcome to her.

  I wonder whether the farm may be subject to financial squeezing.  The last time I visited it had more rare breeds, including wild boar, other breeds of pig, a Shire horse, Highland cattle and llamas.  But maybe some of them were out grazing in fields on the 'free' side and I hadn't seen them.  Whatever, the bus goes from the end of our road to the Estates and it's a good place for a walk in the countryside or viewing and feeding various animals.  I shall most definitely be going again.

  Today I'm off with a friend to get us some net curtains.  Such are the 'joys' of living in properties which are either flat-front-to-pavement or bay-and-forecourt.

  Y'all have a good day now!

 
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
cheerful cheerful
Current Music:
Voices of Spring - Strauss
* * *
There now, it turns out that the sniffer dogs used at Manchester airport are sniffing out portions of cheese or sausages brought home as souvenirs.  They're supposed to be sniffing out smuggled drugs/animal products (cheese or sausage, anyone?)  In fact at Manchester Airport the sniffer dogs totally failed to find any Class A drugs in a seven-month period.

  Which made me think.  I mean, we are beginning to use sniffer dogs to detect cancer in medicine.  We're even using sniffer dogs to detect traces of various kinds of rare wildlife (eg: bank voles).  Dogs noses are pretty discriminating.  So what was going wrong at Manchester airport?  Were the dogs insufficiently trained?  Was their training not being sufficiently reinforced?  Were their handlers giving them the wrong signals?  Were the dogs so anxious to please that they 'found' almost anything?  Or were the dogs just hungry?

   Ok, cancel the last suggestion, dogs are always hungry!  All the same, something appears to have gone wrong with the training process if they're routinely missing smuggled drugs.  Unless, of course, no drugs were smuggled through Manchester airport during the seven month period.  But how likely is that?  Meanwhile sniffer dogs everywhere are being given a bad name and you know what, proverbially, happens to a dog with a bad name.

  Oh dear, the Edinburgh schools I mentioned on Monday may be closed for a good long while.  That's five secondaries, ten primaries and two 'additional support needs' schools all built by the same PPP (Public-Private finance initiative).  They contracted out to some cowboy builders and now up to 7,600 pupils' education is being severely interrupted, not to mention a lot of revision for important exams.

  The good news, I suppose, is that Edinburgh city council is clawing back money from the PPP (Edinburgh Schools Partnership), which will then go to help repair the buildings.  I only hope that the next time Edinburgh city council wants some building done, they'll learn from this and be a little more selective.  Which, I realise, could be difficult if they're obliged to take the cheapest bid - even if it turns out to be horrendously expensive ten years later.

  And Finally - I finished another pair of socks last night, with about two feet of yarn to spare!  Hmmm, maybe not enough to hang a badly named sniffer dog!

  So tonight I can dig through my stash and come up with another sock project.  Or maybe I'll dig out the linen mix yarn and start on my red summer cardigan.  I know it's beautifully sunny and warm (out of the wind) at present but it is only mid-April.  It could easily turn cold any time over the next month(s).  Still, 'twill take at least six weeks to knit the red cardigan so perhaps I should get to it.  Then, come end of May/early June and another warmish spell I shall have something to wear.

  Right, I'm off to find the yarn, some needles and knit a swatch.  I have to do something while the washing machine wends it's weary way through a 'cotton 60°C' program with the towels.  Aaaarrrggh!  It goes on halfway to forever and I'd like to go out today.  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
cheerful cheerful
Current Music:
The Swan, from Carnival of the Animals - San Saens (played on flute and harp)
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Have you watched one of the many NCIS or CSI programmes, Dear Reader?  If so, you'll know the point when 'the Geek' runs a facial recognition program to see if they can ID someone - whizz, whirr, whirr, and there we are, "Looks like X" or "They're not in the system".

  I've been inclined to think that this kind of ID-ing might well be hype.  You know, the kind of thing shown because it looks good rather than because it can actually be done.  Turns out I was wrong - but hey, I'm a Mother, I'm used to being (in the) wrong (though much less so in recent years!)

  Apparently a twenty-one-year-old Russian photography student has been taking photos of random people, then tracking them down on  Russian social media using a facial recognition app.  They've published the results of this experiment online - Your Face is Big Data.  Go look, Dear Reader, and scare yourself!  Hmmm, just a thought, Egor Tsvetkov is Russian, how's your Russian Dear Reader?

  Now maybe I'm prejudiced (make that probably) but I've always thought of Russian stuff as a tad 'clunky'.  So think what a bright Brit or American could do with what they might have available.  For that matter, think what the Authorities could do, even cash strapped as they are.

  Seriously, Dear Reader, if you're one of the many who post on social media, take a while to check your 'Privacy' settings.  H reckons that 'the cloud' is secure enough, the weak point is most often the end user!  If you're thinking 'Privacy settings?'  'Dur?'  Perhaps now is the time to look at your Facebook/Twitter/whomever 'set up' page and see what is available in the way of security/protection.  You may think you're just sharing with friends and family, but are you?  Or are you actually sharing your pictures etc with anyone who cares to look?  Egor was merely conducting an experiment and published his results.  Someone else could be using similar methods to, ooh, stalk you?  Or maybe as a way in to pinching your ID totally.  Just a thought.

  While thinking of H - the other evening he asked me if I had any of his pairs of pants in the wash.  He'd spent a while looking for a clean pair early that morning, by torchlight so as not to disturb me (H gets up at a horribly early hour and leaves early so he can leave work earlier and get home at a reasonable hour) but hadn't found any.  I'd been meaning to go through his wardrobe some time, so I went upstairs and had a good look.  Result - four pairs of pants (that's underpants, Dear American Reader, not trousers), including the silk pair he resolutely refuses to wear!  The other pants are all dry now and back in the wardrobe for another early morning shufti.  Hmmm, looking for black underpants in the dark.  Sounds like a potential party game!

  And Finally - another example of what you can find when you have the right equipment and look hard, a Loch Ness monster has been found.  No, Dear Reader, not a living, breathing Nessie, but a model which was made for a film shot on the Loch in 1969, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, starring Sir Robert Stephens and Sir Christopher Lee (as Mycroft, not Holmes).  The right equipment in this case was sonar imaging in a drone, which was 'flown' over the loch bed.

  So there we are, Dear Reader.  Perhaps it's time to check your security protocols and passwords.  Perhaps it's time I checked mine too.

  Y'all have a good and secure day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
cautious
Current Music:
Trumpet Concerto, III - Hayden
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