Saturday, May 31, 2008

an extreme case where suddenness may have happened

A good friend from Australia explained to me why she always flies business class on domestic flights in India. Her case is indisputable.

Some years ago she was flying between to two cities in India on one of the many domestic carriers. The plane trundled off to the runway but stopped short on one of the taxiways. After ten minutes or so, some steps and a small airport bus appeared. All the business class passengers including my friend were off-loaded and taken back to the terminal, leaving the economy passengers on the plane.

Back in the lounge, my friend asked what was happening, why had the business class passengers been bussed back to the terminal leaving the others behind on the plane. "Madam, there is a bomb scare on that plane..."

See, you can't argue about that!

Friday, May 23, 2008

a ski-jump called Heike

a wooden ski jumpOslo, Tuesday 20th May: I went for a walk this evening in the high woods above Frognerseteren, overlooking Oslo. At times there was total silence, apart from birdsong, the occasional rustling of young leaves, trickling streams, and the sound of my breathing. I saw nobody else at all.

I found this wooden ski-jump stranded on a hillside of fresh grass. It seems to be called Heike. A good friend tells me that the Norwegian for ski-jump is the rather lovely "hoppbakke." And with perfect logic, ski-jumping is "skihopping."

There was brilliant long shadow sunshine over on the western side of the hills - and some very noisy fieldfares too. There were patches of perfect pale pink wood anemones everywhere.

A refreshing Spring evening in Norway...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lindsay Road, Leicester

garden as on Google Earth todayIt is rather eerie zooming in on the house where you once lived a long while ago. I suppose that that is what Google Earth is all about.

As you'd expect, so much has changed in those decades, but there are still details there that existed when I was very young - it looks like there's still a privet hedge, a holly tree and a laurel bush in the front garden. But they are the sole survivors of once richer gardens overall.

Of course, childhood memories have things much bigger, sunnier, better than they maybe they were. This garden looks so much smaller than I remember it, then I was so much smaller too!

The great faded grey farmhouse that used to occupy the land beyond the lower left of this Google Earth image has long gone. Even when we lived there it had ceased to function as a real farmhouse as its land had been given over to housing. Though I have very fond memories of the sounds of the turkeys, geese and chickens kept by its owners.

The gardens used to be home to Cox and Bramley apple trees, gooseberry bushes, strawberries, cultivated and feral blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants, raspberries, an enormous unclimbable Conference pear tree, and a vegetable patch in which we used to grow radish, beetroot, lettuce, peas, new potatoes, broad beans, runner beans, broccoli, shallots and carrots... And on the basis I cannot remember any chemicals (except for the sticky bands applied to the fruit trees and the soot around the runner beans), this must all have been organic, even though we didn't know what the word meant in those days.
garden as it was around 1960
And there were flowers too. We had stocks, flags, michealmas daisies, lilac, roses, and a selection of white and purple rockery plants. But we also grew summer stocks, asters, gladioli and chrysanthemums.

This second image gives a rather crude impression of what I think things were like in the summer. The centre-right bushes are gooseberries, to their right are raspberries, to their left strawberries. The bushes lower right are blackcurrants, whitecurrants and redcurrants. To their left is the pear tree. Centre left is the Bramley apple tree, next is the Cox's tree. The big brown patch is where we grew our vegetables and cut flowers.

We had far less lawn to maintain back then - it certainly wasn't much of a garden for play. But there is a tell-tale "crop-mark" on the Google Earth image where the old garden path used to be.

Maybe the current owners may wonder at was used to be, literally in their back garden.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

is this the worst restaurant review ever?

I doubt that it is, but it's a pretty accurate review from my experience, and makes 'whaaat' fun reading even if you've not eaten there - The Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company from The Daily Telegraph 18th April 2008...

Don't get me wrong, Whitstable is a fine place and I really like it, this restaurant is well situated on the beach (and should be much better as most of the comments suggest). The same company owns The Continental Hotel just the other side of the harbour - this also seems to suffer from resting on its laurels...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

first summer sun

oleandersSunday 4th May was the first day this year in Cornwall when the sun had summer heat into the evening. With summery oleanders peeping through, swifts and swallows aloft, the feeling that the sun has been colouring your skin all day, a glass of very chilled wine, and some drifting sounds of Gypsy Kings, I am reminded of the best bruschetta I have ever tasted - La Caletta. Maravilloso! poppy

I can do quite good bruschetta, but I do things by eye, so no recipes here, least until I figure out how to translate eye into amounts and words...

And not to be outdone, the bruschetta-ripe tomato-coloured poppies decided to come out today too!

Friday, May 2, 2008

when the blog takes over...

Deal, Kent, Thursday 1st May: I mentioned before that the blog was determining content to some extent, now I notice how it's colour scheme is affecting my photographs. Or is it causing them?

Well weird - blog assimilation? Whatever...

There are three cross-Channel ferries just below the horizon, which I've cropped anyway. There was also a gale blowing into my face when I took this photograph looking south towards Dover.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Non-places are characterised by their triviality, constructed spaces which don't warrant being called a 'place'. Airports, shopping malls, motorway services areas, motorways, bus and ferry terminals. They are temporarily occupied spaces en route to somewhere else. They are havens for signs of information or instruction - "check-in" "duty free" "toilets" "50% off" "The Atlantic Highway" "go to gate" "switch off phones".

I have a feeling that blogs are in some way analogous to non-places, a species of non-narrative that flows in time without the need for a temporal constructor of a storyline. Blogs have instructions, information and signing similar to non-places - "view my complete profile" "post a comment" active labels and navigation devices. Most of all they run against continuous sequential time - with posts like vehicles on ferries running the first-in last-off system.

There is a sub-species of non-place actively constructed as a fiction - British Airways calls its mobile-free lounge 'The Sanctuary"; a part of Dorset is brown-signed "Hardy Country" and Yorkshire has its "Brontë Country"; one of Britain's largest shopping centres is called "Bluewater", now notorious for banning hoodies; and the names of British motorway services can err towards the rural - "Sedgemoor", "Michaelwood", "Birchanger Green" - as sign-only spaces.

The photograph? In spite of its looks this is very much a place - this is a nun walking just below the main steps to the great Tōdai-ji (東大寺) Buddhist temple in Nara, Japan. I have a habit of pointing my camera in the other direction...