one day at a time…
Friday 31 January 2003

Pix of the Day: World's Best Weasel, Possibly
CREDITS: © Dr. Donald A. Klosterman/Images of Beautiful Places
Image version for larger monitors. Thumbnail clicks for normal view
Royal Gorge Bridge © Donald A. Klosterman
The Phrase Finder utility contains this entry: 'Stewart Chaplin's story 'Stained glass political platform', 1900, contains 'Why, weasel words are words that suck the life out of the words next to them, just as a weasel sucks the egg and leaves the shell.' Theodore Roosevelt made use of the term in 1916 when criticizing President Wilson. Yesterday I mentioned the second highest bridge in the United States. Today's feature is about the highest bridge, the Royal Gorge Bridge, near Cañon City, Colorado, or about 50 miles southwest of Denver as the crow flies.

Reliable sources, such as the official bridge web site, only claim this as the highest suspension bridge in the world. Clearly in the world of records and superlatives those weasel words have great importance. Other bridges claim the record of highest, always adding their own weasels, such as reinforced concrete or girder. I was unable to discover the highest unweaseled bridge. There is an Indian Army bridge in the Himalayas at an unweaseled 18,379 feet, but we are not discussing that kind of height here. That source for that link says the name of the bridge is 'Bailey Bridge', which shows just how suspect Internet information can be. The Guinness Records web site will respond to 'longest bridge' as a search term (the Second Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which joins Mandeville and Metairie, Louisiana, USA. 23 miles and 1,538 yds long, completed 1969), but is suspiciously mute on 'highest bridge'. Record buffs may like to read about a jaw dropping bridge that is planned to cross the Straits of Messina, between Sicily and mainland Italy.

This weblog is not about records, however. It is about pictures of excellence or interest. The webmaster is the highest authority in this matter, and brooks no argument. Qualifying pictures of the Royal Gorge Bridge were susprisingly few and far between. My search led me to Don Klosterman's 'Images of Beautiful Places' web site, where today's featured image may be found along with others of the bridge. If you enjoy photo galleries of interesting locations, hit the link at the head of this article for a rewarding tour. What does not seem to be disputed is that the drop from the Royal Gorge Bridge to the river is a vertigo inducing 1,053 feet. Cars were formerly allowed across, but now only pedestrian may pass. There are small gaps between the deck planks, which need regular renewal, and bridge movement can be sensed when crossing. Please note that fishing from the bridge is not allowed.

Thursday 30 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Single Arch Steel Bridge King
CREDITS: © National Park Service/www.NPS.org
Version for larger monitors. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.

King of Steel Arches © National Park ServiceIn the world of single arch steel bridges this one is the king: the New River Gorge Bridge near Fayettville, West Virginia, is the longest single span steel arch bridge in the world. The arch is 1,700 feet, and the total deck length of the bridge is 3,030 feet. It is also the second highest bridge in the United States at 876 feet. Our local Hurricane Arch Bridge pales in comparison. The PBS web site has a graphic to compare the Fayettville bridge with other world famous spans. Rich Koors has a web site dedicated to the bridge, which includes construction details with pictures and an animation, design discussion, and maintenance details. This place is a mecca for bungee jumpers and whitewater rafters, as well as more sedate hikers, so Rich also includes a section on recreation. The NPS page is a good starting point for discovering all the other attractions of the area, and includes a map and other visitor guides.

Wednesday 29 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Error in Apostle Numbers
CREDITS: © Bruce Henderson/www.WarrnamboolCAM.com
Thumbnail clicks for normal view. MAP: Warrnamabool & Melbourne.

Apostles © Bruce HendersonLast Sunday was 'Australia Day', and Bruce Henderson's WarrnamboolCAM recorded the festivities. However, it was an earlier entry that caught my eye, the pictures of the 'Twelve Apostles' at the end of the 'Great Ocean Road' in the Port Campbell National Park, South West Victoria. The official web site for the park has more details, and the Great Ocean Road web site has an excellent interactive map and other delights. Whoever gave the area that name seems to have had poetical imagination in excess of numeracy. I have been unable to determine the exact number, but it is less than twelve. I for one could not care less; in the naming of places, accuracy is only of secondary importance to a sense of the grandiose. It is almost two years since I walked by the ocean. I hope I will be able to do so again before too long.

UPDATE: a grovelling retraction is required. Eagle eyed Australian correspondent Eric Shackle, a former hot metal journalist who has to my cost transferred his skills to the digital medium, has taken me to task over my wild assertion that his fellow countrymen are innumerate. It seems there were originally twelve Apostles, but one of them fell victim to the depredations of the ocean. On Clausewitz' advice, I will respond by asking that someone supply me with the name of the fallen Apostle: all answers on the back of a high denomination banknote in the currency of your choice.

Tuesday 28 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Ships of All Different Sizes
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/www.CornwallCAM.co.uk
Thumbnail clicks for normal view
Falmouth Harbour © Charles WinpennyIrish Ferry © Charles WinpennyOne of the things I greatly enjoy about Charles' CAMera web site is that he looks at everything. Today's update included pictures of Cornish pasties (mmmm…), and ships both great and small. The latest edition of the BBC Cornwall local radio program 'Cornwall Connected', which was broadcast on Sunday last, features an interview of Charles by presenter Chris Blount. The broadcast is available all this week as a three part webcast on the BBC web site. You will need RealPlayer to listen, but there is download help on the BBC page. There is also a picture of Charles. Nice to put a face to the name after so long. Congratulations, Charles!

Monday 27 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Bleakness of High Lakeland
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
Version for larger monitors. MAP: Blea Tarn. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
Blea Tarn © Tony Richards
Blea Tarn in the English Lake District lies on the hill road between the two valleys of Great and Little Langdale. At this time of year the bracken is dead and brown, and there is a beautiful air of bleakness and austerity about the scene. A little later in the year the new green fronds of the bracken will tranform the color of the place. Then the visitors will return in large numbers, many unaware that they have missed seeing the area in one of its most beautiful aspects.

Sunday 26 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Covered Bridges of New Hampshire
CREDITS: © Erin Paul Donovan/LivesFree.com
Thumbnails click for normal views.
Mt Orne Bridge © Erin Paul DonovanSwiftwater Bridge © Erin Paul DonovanErin Paul is a freelance photographer working out of Manchester, New Hampshire. His web site has ten galleries featuring the fauna, flora and scenery of his home state. My weakness for all forms of bridges has resulted in many entries on this weblog, and on this occasion drew me to Erin Paul's section on the covered bridges of New Hampshire. The bridge on the left is the Mt. Orne Covered Bridge between Lancaster, NH, and Lunenburg, Vermont; that on the right is the Swiftwater Covered Bridge at Bath, NH. Those links will take you to the Covered Bridges web site.

There are over 50 covered bridges in New Hampshire alone, including the Cornish-Windsor bridge, which at 460 feet is the longest covered bridge in America. One fascinating piece of trivia is that bridges over the Connecticut River are listed only in New Hampshire. That is as a result of a 1934 United States Supreme Court decision that determined the border with Vermont to be the low water mark on the western bank of the Connecticut River. Why are the bridges covered? Those old time builders were practical men, so forget all the stories of kissing trysts and hidden battalions! The coverings protect the valuable structure from the weather, and prevent snow load that might cause collapse.

If you want a pictorial introduction to the delights of New Hampshire then Erin Paul's web site is a good place to start. I also enjoyed the cloud pictures, and the bird pictures, and lovers of scenery will find many aspects of New Hampshire spread through several of the sections. This site is a fine addition to the growing collection of worldwide CAMera sites represented on this weblog.

A reader's comment on pishtush: "He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up to the topmost pinnacle of tosh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash." [H.L. Mencken, on Warren G. Harding, in the 'Baltimore Evening Sun' (1921); quoted in the 'Penguin Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations' (2001). Thanks for noticing go to Eric Shackle, and Michael Quinion's 'World Wide Words'.]

Saturday 25 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Everywhere a Click from Here
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
Thumbnail clicks for normal view.

Chris Blount © Charles WinpennyThis picture shows Chris Blount from BBC Radio Cornwall examining the detritus swept onto the promenade in Penzance by recent inclement weather. Chris had been interviewing Charles Winpenny, the webmaster of CornwallCAM, for the local program 'Cornwall Connected', which will go out next Sunday. The program will be available as a webcast from the BBC web site, and I will give more details when that is available. I find it interesting that connection between people all over the world at a very human level is increasing as part of the convergence of all the media through the unifying channel of the web. Chris often uses the web to link together items featured on his program. Congratulations to Charles on the recognition of his CAMera web site as a valuable local resource, though 'local' is coming to mean something quite different these days, when everything is just a click from here.

Friday 24 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Across a Green & Pleasant Land
CREDITS: © Don Burluraux/NorthYorkMoorsCAM
MAP: Stokesley, Thirsk & Kirkbymoorside area. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.

Green Idyll © Don BurlurauxDon's walk from Fangdale Beck to Bilsdale Moor (that URI may show changed content through time) gives an excellent introduction to this upland area of the North Yorkshire Moors, in the eponymous county of northwestern England. The path wends from the delightful stone houses in the village of Fangdale Beck, up through the tree line, then onto the open moor. The route shows clearly the differences between the 'intake' land and the open, unfenced sheep ranges at higher altitudes. On these marginal agricultural areas farming life is subject more than in most places to the prevailing agro-economic climate as much as the weather. Don shows three sites that just didn't make the cut, with the walk ironically ending near a modern TV transmitter. NorthYorkMoorsCAM is another of those web sites making a valuable contribution to recording the life and times of one beautiful area of our planet. The work of the CAMera community's is starting to be recognized more widely. In tomorrow's feature you will hear how one CAMera site is being profiled on local radio.

Thursday 23 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Panorama From Smith Mesa
Click on the static image to load a scollable panorama.
Smith Mesa Panorama © Ian Scott-ParkerUPDATE: Seemingly this post pushed many browsers a pixel too far. Users of Microsoft's often maligned Explorer may be able to use these original links (try clicking here for a standard panorama, or here for larger or studio monitors), your mileage may vary. For everyone else the panorama has been recoded as a scrollable window on the page, or a static image. Perhaps one day we may have a common standard!

Earlier in the week I featured some pictures taken from Smith Mesa. Using a series of 17 pictures I created a 180° panorama looking out from the edge of the escarpment in a sweep from the Kolob heights on the left, past the highest peaks of Zion Canyon, and ending with the plateau country that runs down into Arizona. The resulting movie met my expectations, but at 3Mb in size was not the sort of thing I might reasonably offer to visitors, unless they were fortunate enough to possess very fast broadband connections. Added to all that I have been told that Microsoft, in a fit of pique quite untypical of their usual concern for users' needs hahaha, have removed Quicktime support from Windows XP and later PC versions of their browsers. I have coded the recommended workaround, but who knows what might happen?

My own local copy of the panorama allows zooming in to view individual rocks, but the file is huge, taxing even a fast system without the additional overhead of an Internet connection. So here you have a Poor Man's Panorama, without zooming features, but at least it scrolls. Life is just a long series of compromises.

Wednesday 22 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Give Me a Place to Stand
Thumbnail clicks for normal view.

Double Jib © Ian Scott-ParkerOver at the construction site for the new Hurricane Arch Bridge dualling, the foundation works have been completed. The first section of box steelwork to make the arch has been installed on the north side. To achieve this the contractors have manoeuvred a crane with a very tall jib into the bottom of the canyon. I guess they used the old road down to the hot springs to do this, then tracked along the bottom of the canyon. That crane is working directly under the arch so the leverage on the jib is not great. On the top, located on the south canyon rim, this giant piece of equipment is used to move the box sections down into the canyon. That does involve high leverage forces on the crane jib. The solution is the back jib and counterweights that you may see in the picture. Archimedes discussed levers on a grander scale than this (ΔΟΣ ΜΟΙ ΠΟΥ ΣΤΩ ΚΑΙ ΚΙΝΩ ΤΗΝ ΓΗΝ), though I think even he would have been impressed with this set of kit.

Tuesday 21 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Topsy-Turvy in the Southwest
MAP: Smith Mesa topographic. Thumbnails click for normal view.

Virgin © Ian Scott-ParkerSmith Mesa © Ian Scott-ParkerWhile processing a series of panorama pictures, taken yesterday on Smith Mesa, I realized that the vegetation here in the high desert southwest is topsy-turvy when compared to my homeland. There, in an equable maritime climate, the valleys have trees, and as altitude is gained the vegetation thins. Here quite the reverse applies: the lower altitudes are bare, with vegetation thickening as height is gained. This pair of pictures illustrates the point. The left hand picture, taken from the top of the Mesa, shows in the lower foreground the area around the township of Virgin, which lies at around 3,500 feet of altitude above sea level. The right hand picture shows the top of the Mesa at about 6,000 feet of altitude, where there is sufficient moisture and tilth to support Piñion (or Pinyon) Pine and other relatively dense vegetation. Where we walked the recent snowmelt had made the red earth quite soft underfoot. Low cactus grew under the trees when there were clearings. We saw patches of grass, which are unusual if there is no direct irrigation. Further along the Mesa there are springs. Up there, on that day, the silence was very loud.

Monday 20 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Eye Level With The Zion Giants
Thumbnail clicks for normal view.

Zion Giants © Ian Scott-ParkerThe mighty rock walls of Zion Canyon are more easily observed close by than they are from a distance, because of the intervening heights. However, there is a road that climbs to the wilderness of Smith Mesa from where something approaching an eye level view may be had above the lesser hills. It is ironic that the road services the nation's only privately owned rocket sled test track capable of producing supersonic speeds, which sits atop Hurricane Mesa, owned and operated by Universal Propulsion Co. Inc. a division of the Goodrich Corporation. The highest peak in this picture is the West Temple. Most of the names in this National Park given by a methodist preacher, something of a surprise in this LDS (Mormon) homeland.

Sunday 19 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Yearning Challenges Preconceptions
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Yellow Cruiser © Ian Scott-Parker
Today we had pre-spring in southern Utah. The air was warm, and the sunshine now has a warning of the burning heat we will experience once May arrives. It seems that by common consent this was the start of the motorcycling season. Shiny cruisers were much in evidence on the streets, with groups (or gangs if you happen to be a tabloid journalist) of motorcyclists forgathering in mall parking lots. They certainly project an aura of aggression, but I have always found them to be friendly and sociable if they are engaged by unassuming conversation. Coming from an age and culture where display of unabashed ostentation is eschewed, I find machines such as the one pictured to be something of a personal challenge to my preconceptions. On the other hand I yearned to be twenty something again with my sweetie on the pillion cruising the Interstate on this behemoth. Those seats certainly look at least as comfortable as my armchair at home. The pilot's view sings the joy of the open road. Am I being over imaginative to think that the full frontal view is like the sort of shy smile one gets from the sort of girl who knows she carries all before her?

Saturday 18 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Did The Bridge Move For You Too?
CREDIT (LH): © Ian Britton/FreeFoto.comwww.FreeFoto.com
CREDIT (RH): © David Robertson/DaveRob.org.uk Thumbnails click for normal view.

Transporter © FreeFoto.comGondola © David RobertsonYesterday's pictures showed the engineering solution for bridging canyons. Today the featured pictures show one way engineers solve the problem of bridging rivers in flat countryside: the moving bridge. This class of bridge is constructed in several different forms. For an introduction to moving bridges you may go to Derek Locke's award winning 'Art and Science of Bridge Building' web site. The bridge shown here is the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge over the River Tees in north east England. The years and events leading up to the building of the bridge are detailed in an article on the Now&Then web site, including the cost £68,026 6 shillings and 8 pence. For those who are old enough to remember the conversion is easy: 6 shillings and 8 pence was a third of a pound, when there were 12 pence to a shilling, and 20 shillings to a pound. It's good to know that some old things are still working, even if they do show some minor evidence of rusting through the paint!

Friday 17 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Tarantella on Octopussy Bridge
Thumbnails click for normal view.
Bridge Maker © Ian Scott-ParkerBridge Foundations © Ian Scott-Parker
Work is proceeding for the addition of a second carriageway to the Hurricane Arch Bridge. Regular visitors may remember that this bridge starred in the James Bond movie 'Octopussy'. A friend, to whom we had sent a calendar featuring one of the spectacular bridges that are required hereabouts to carry roads across the canyons, asked later, "How do they set about building these bridges?" Here's how!
Teetering on the edge of one of the abutments to take the picture of the work in progress, I suddenly remembered that I often get mild vertigo these days. I was standing with each foot on a separate piece of the steel reinforcement that protruded from the concrete kickers out over a drop of two hundred feet. My knees began to shake, and the motion was taken up by the steel work, causing me to perform a ludicrous tarantella. Almost hysterical, I imagined that Monty Python scene in the Cheese Shop sketch, but with Italian mandolins instead of Greek bouzoukis. For a brief moment I contemplated throwing myself onto the adjacent shuttering to escape from this predicament, finally opting for an undignified backwards shuffle to safety. If you detect camera shake in the gorge picture, perhaps you will make allowances.

Thursday 16 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Windows of Opportunity
Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
Golden Grasses © Ian Scott-Parker
Nearby Quail Lake has the distinction of having two dams. One is in the obvious place where the run off heads down the valley. The other is at the side of the lake, which is otherwise contained by an escarpment. An upheaval back in geological time cut a sharp defile through the bluff, which the reservoir builders plugged with an earth dam.

Late one afternoon we were scouting around the holding tank below the side dam. Our purpose was to find a track that might allow access to the escarpment. In this jumble of basin & range geology it is always difficult to guess where good viewpoints may occur, but I had the feeling the high point of the escarpment might be a possibility. We were on the wrong side of the Virgin River, which runs along the base of the escarpment. No access. Hey ho!

Given the dull light, and the time of day, it was an unlikely occasion for pictorial photography. However, as we reached the end of the holding tank to turn and retrace our steps, I saw this clump of pampas grasses growing at the waters edge. Just then the sun burst below the horizon, briefly flooding us with a golden light. I took the picture you see here, but the others in the series are dull in comparison, because that brief illumination only lasted about 5 seconds, then the cloud and horizon regained control.

Wednesday 15 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Cornish Country Park Wildlife
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/www.CornwallCAM.co.uk
Thumbnail clicks for normal view
obin © Charles WinpennySquirrel © Charles WinpennyAce lensman Charles Winpenny took these two pictures in Tehidy Country Park (content may have changed by the time you visit) in mid January of this year. Although Charles says the cold weather made the creatures bolder than usual, I am nevertheless in awe of his stealthy approach and steady hand. If you have tried this sort of shot yourself then you will know how often it ends in disappointment at the very last second as you are about to release the shutter.

Tuesday 14 January 2003

Pix of the Day: John Graham Hardware
CREDITS: © John & Stuart Graham/www.JohnGrahamHardware.co.uk
Thumbnail clicks for normal view. MAP: Longtown

John Graham Hardware © John & Stewart GrahamThis is the best shop I know! When I lived in Longtown, Cumbria, England, the family hardware store run by John & Stuart Graham was the sort of place I tried to think of something to buy just so I could go inside. The place is an Aladdin's Cave, stuffed with every item of hardware you could think of, along with a few that that you would never be able to imagine! Go in and ask for some bizarre item, and John or Stuart will stare into the distance for a moment, then with an enthusiastic, "Yes, we've got some of those!" will delve into one of the drawers, cabinets, boxes, shelves, or buckets that occupy most of the available space. Only once did they let me down, with a rueful, "No, sorry, we can't get hold of those any more; but try back in a couple of weeks, because we think we may know of somewhere we might be able to get some."

Every town needs a John Graham Hardware branch. John, seen here sitting contentedly outside the shop as is often the case when the weather is fine, told me that he had never taken a holiday in 20 years, and that he had only been off sick once. Let's hope that now son Stuart has joined him in the business that he's going to take things a bit easier, though I bet he's still in that chair the next time you go by.

Monday 13 January 2003

Pix of the Day: A Lion, a Lamb, and a Howitzer
CREDITS: © Dave Newton/www.Daves-Lakeland-Mountains.co.uk
Thumbnails click for normal view, also larger & extra large [1: L-X] [2: L-X] [3: L-X]
Helm Crag 1 © Dave NewtonHelm Crag 2 © Dave NewtonHelm Crag 3 © Dave Newton
On a fine winter's morning in the English Lake District, photographer Dave Newton took these pictures under some amazing lighting conditions. The hill is Helm Crag, which has a summit rock outcrop that is said to resemble from different angles a lion with a lamb, or a howitzer. Dave retired recently, and treated himself to a new camera and his own domain name. Let us hope this means we may look forward to lots more pictures like these shown in today's feature. If you are using a larger monitor these pictures will display in superb detail if you click one of the popup links for larger or extra larger images, which are located in the header of this article.

Sunday 12 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Giants, Hoodoos, and Devils at Work
CREDITS: © Don Burluraux/NorthYorkMoorsCAM Thumbnails click to larger image.
MAPS: [Arches National Park (PDF format); North York Moors]
Bridestones 1 © Don BurlurauxBridestones 2 © Don Burluraux
A while back I featured a picture of the Hole of Horcum, the starting point for one of Don Burluraux' illustrated walks in the North York Moors of northeast England. Now Don has added the complete walk, which ends 9 miles away in Malo Cross. Read Don's walk log for the stories behind the names of these places, and the traditions associated with them in folklore. I had forgotten just how green is the land of by birth. Here in the high desert southwest of the USA my eyes have become accustomed to bare rock scenery in shades of red and brown. When I first arrived people would ask what I thought of the town. My usual teasing answer was that it was wonderful, but I couldn't understand why they chose to build it in the middle of a rock quarry. Now I realise that the rock quarry extends for hundreds of miles in every direction, and I have grown to love its arid beauty.

nevertheless it was a treat to see the saturated greens in Don's pictures, especially the knee high bracken. Despite this, the pictures I have chosen to feature are yet more rocks. Don's walk passed through the Bridestone Rocks, a name he says may be derived from the Old Norse word for an 'edge' or 'brink'. This area was glaciated so I imagine the rocks were left when the glaciers retreated at the end of the last Ice Age, and the elements have since eroded away these siliceous sandstone rocks.

Hereabouts the 'hoodoos' of Bryce Canyon are a well known example of strangely formed rocks, best seen in John Catalano's gallery. However, an even stranger set of rocks can be seen in the Devil's Garden in the northern part of the Arches National Park in southeast Utah: that picture is from Shayok Mukhopadhyay's web site with a tale of meeting up with a Punjabi trucker on his way to fight unfair traffic tickets issued in New Mexico. This is a strange land, where strange events often happen. I wonder if the Punjabi trucker ever bought an hotel in Moab? 'Notes from the Road', one of my favorite web sites, has an extensive feature on the whole area called the 'Great Basin Grand Staircase Escalante,' with fine photographs and excellent travel writing. If you plan to visit then UtahRedRocks has an excellent introductory guide.

Saturday 11 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Spiritual Calm in High Places
CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/www.Leaney.org
Thumbnail clicks for normal view. MAP: Mungrisdale (pronounced 'mung-grizedale').

Spiritual Calm © Andrew LeaneyA recent spell of wintery weather covered the fell tops of the English Lake District with a light fall of snow. All the Lakeland CAMs have featured excellent pictures during the cold, clear weather that followed the snow fall like it usually does. I chose this picture from one of Andrew Leaney's walks because it shows a favorite area of mine. I spent a lonely Christmas Day 2000 on top of Mungrisdale Common, which lies just beyond the fell tops in the middle of Andrew's picture, in conditions similar to those in the picture.

It is said that Mt. Kailash, Tibet's most sacred mountain, is rooted through the seventh hell while bursting through the highest heaven, and so is considered to be the World Pillar. One 32 mile trek along the 'kora', or sacred circuit of the mountain, is said to wash away the sins of a lifetime. Undertaking 108 circuits is said to ensure Nirvana. Martin Gray is an anthropologist and photographer specializing in the study of sacred sites and pilgrimage traditions around the world. Over the past eighteen years, Martin has visited and photographed more than 1,000 sacred sites in eighty countries. He has also written a book 'Places of Peace and Power', with the Introduction and Chapters 1 & 2 available online. Although he doesn't specifically mention the area around Mungrisdale, I am sure Martin would recognize the significance of the place if he ever visited. If you are a person who has ever felt spiritually moved by a sense of place then you may find Sacred Sites a place worthy of an extended investigation.

Friday 10 January 2003

Pix of the Day: He Almost Dueled with Lincoln
Thumbnails click for normal view.
hields Statue © Ian Scott-ParkerShields Grave © Ian Scott-Parker
My own life has regrettably been characterized by almost achieving many things. Although it would be unfair of me to impugn the character of General James Shields with such an accusation, it does seem that he must have often fallen short of his own ambitions. nevertheless, judged as a man who never gave up trying, I have to admit that he had more of a share of success than I ever expect to have.
The statue of Shields [inscription] stands in front of the courthouse in Carrollton, Missouri. The bust [inscriptions 1 and 2] rests on a plinth above Shields' final resting place, in the St. Mary's Cemetery of the town that has honored him with a statue.

You may read about the duel he almost had with Abraham Lincoln, around the time when they competed for the hand of the lady who eventually became Lincoln's wife, and whose behavior was the cause of the challenge. After his military career (located at the bottom of that page, as you might understand after reading) Shields went on to reportedly be the only person ever to represent three different states in the US Senate, twice failing to be re-elected and finally giving up through poor health. My own feeling after reading about Shields is that he might have achieved greater things if the tide of history had not so often run against him. A bit like me really…

Thursday 9 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Snow in the Desert
CREDITS: Robert F. Riberia/www.UtahRedRocks.com
Thumbnails click to link to originating web page.
Click thumbnail to visit web siteClick thumbnail to visit web siteClick thumbnail to visit web siteClick thumbnail to visit web site
Today's featured photographer is Robert F. Riberia, whose 'Utah Red Rocks' web site has given me much pleasure in the last couple of month. If you click on the left hand thumbnail you will be able to visit Robert's 'Picture of the Week', page which is currently featuring his favorite image from 2002. The other 3 thumbnails click to link to Robert's Gallery No.8, which contains a remarkable set of pictures taken in the high desert of the Colorado Plateaus during snow and fog conditions. Looking through the galleries on this web site it is easy to see why the photographer became so obsessed with this place that he left his life in the sophisticated urban northeast to move here among the rugged red rocks of the desert southwest.

Wednesday 8 January 2003

Pix of the Day: The Grandeur That Was Rome
CREDITS: © Paolo Borgognone/www.Rome-CAM.com
Thumbnail clicks for normal view.

Circus Maximus © Paolo BorgognoneEven though photographer Paolo Borgognone has pulled so far back that you might wonder where the pictorial content of today's image has gone, even then you will still not fully appreciate The Grandeur That Was Rome. This place is vast even in comparison to modern stadiums. Some events that took place in this arena may be unsavory by modern standards, though I have read that in the USA the current administration is making plans, so that should there be military action against a foreign power, then the events will have full media coverage for the enjoyment of the folks back home. Paolo's site has a nice gallery feature so that you may click through his themed pictures at your leisure. This is another web site to add to the growing international body of CAMs. Perhaps one day they will all be available from some centralized web site so that you can do a virtual Cook's tour of anywhere that takes your fancy. Hmmm… another good idea for a thrusting young entrepreneur.

Tuesday 7 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Scottie in the Mist
CREDITS: © Garth Newton/www.IlkCAM.com Thumbnail clicks for normal view.

Scottie in the Mist © Garth NewtonToday the weblog returns from the sunny Australian beaches to the cold, misty winter of the UK around the English East Midlands town of Ilkeston. Garth Newton's Ilkeston CAM web site exemplifies the excellent work of the British CAM sites in bringing the delights of their locales to a wider audience. Garth has just reorganized his site, so I took the opportunity to delve through his archives where I found this delightful picture on the Ilkeston Town Walks No. 4 page. The site also has a useful index page with a map listing many of the other CAMs around Britain along with some excellent sites abroad. Many thanks to all the CAM web site authors whose work brings so much pleasure to others, especially we exiles on foreign shores. Dig around Garth's site and you will find a record of life in and around Ilkeston. I often imagine archaeologists of the future as they dig through the rubbish dumps of the third millennium to discover discarded hard drives from web servers, and what a treasure trove they will find. There will be no need for them to reconstruct what life was like from a few old teeth or pot shards: they will have all those CAM pictures to let them see just what was going on in our lives and what the places looked like.

Monday 6 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Calmer Weather in Warrnambool
CREDITS: © Bruce Henderson/www.WarrnamboolCAM.com
Thumbnail clicks for normal view. MAP: Warrnamabool & Melbourne.

Warrnambool Beach © www.WarrnamboolCAM.comToday's excursion to reconnoiter suitable sites for taking panoramic photos of Pine Valley Mountain was thwarted when a dust storm blew in from the north. As a child in the UK I was disbelieving when I was told of the 'Great Dustbowl', where they said that the topsoil in Kansas, Colorado and the Panhandle of Texas had simply blown away. That caused the largest migration of people in American history: between 1930 and 1940 it is estimated that 2.5 million people left the Plains States. What we had today was not a proper 'Duster', but it was enough to give me sufficient understanding that my curiosity is wholly satisfied, so please, enough! The power has been on and off most of the afternoon, so this weblog update will be late: Macintosh OSX is as solid as a rock, but still depends on the electrical supply. I realized today that the last time I had any reason to restart this computer was the last time the power failed, which gives an ironic new twist to Apple's 'Switch' campaign.

In search of softer climes I surfed over to Warrnambool, which is west of Melbourne on Australia's south coast. The report from the webmaster at WarrnamboolCAM is that yesterday they were experiencing "Slightly overcast conditions with a top temperature of 20 degrees and a slight sea breeze - not quite warm enough to be on the beach…" Later, perhaps after a beer at the 'Criterion', described as "One of the few real working men's pubs still surviving - good bar trade and a good place to catch a glimpse of a real Aussie country pub", I thought we might select a restaurant from the local guide: my own fancy was 'Bo Jangles', which the reviewer (whose identity remains shrouded in mystery to prevent the offer of monetary inducements by proprietors, I guess, though an Australian correspondent tells me that Bruce Henderson might be responsible) says is "A bustling pizza and pasta restaurant with a reputation for quality food." Back here the sunset was like something out of a Botticelli painting, raw underlit red clouds seen through the red dust blown up from the 'Red Rock Country' around here. Isn't the net cool? We just circumnavigated the globe without leaving our seats. Now if only the power company can get their act together…

Sunday 5 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Immortal Fish in Florida & Cumbria
Thumbnail clicks for normal view
Immortal Fish © Ian Scott-Parker
Cursed as I am by the affliction of making connections to every occurrence of my daily life, when I saw these fish in the foyer of a restaurant at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida, these lines of Wordsworth's sprang to mind:

Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle: William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

"And both the undying fish that swim
Through Bowscale Tarn did wait on him;
The pair were servants of his eye
In their immortality;
And glancing, gleaming, dark or bright,
Moved to and fro, for his delight.

Bowscale Tarn is a forbidding glacial cwym in the Northern Fells of the English Lake District. The Wordsworths, William and his sister Dorothy, passed this way on their journey to the Highlands of Scotland. I suppose when Wordsworth was invited to the knees-up to celebrate "Upon the Restoration of Lord Clifford, The Shepherd, to the Estates and Honours of His Ancestors" he felt he ought to sing for his supper, or at least declaim one of his more tedious odes. It seems that as Wordsworth grew older he also grew more long winded and boring: contrast the tight craft of his most famous work, 'The Daffodils' (1804), with the slightly later 'Feast of Brougham Castle' (1807). Taking the hint, I'll see you again tomorrow!

Saturday 4 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Walking as a Spiritual Exercise
CREDITS: © George. M. Henke. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
Labyrinth © George M. Henke
This labyrinth was constructed by George Henke, who sent me the picture after he had walked his labyrinth at the Winter Solstice. Perhaps some definitions are in order: a maze is 'a network of paths and hedges designed as a puzzle for those who try to penetrate it', whereas a labyrinth is 'a complicated irregular network of passages or paths'. The essential difference (in this context even although your dictionary may suggest the words are interchangeable) is that a maze is non-unicursal, with many intersections and dead ends, whereas a labyrinth is unicursal with continuous flowing path. In other words a maze is designed to drive you crazy, whereas a labyrinth will soothe you for meditational walking. This may all sound a little too woo-woo and New Age psycho babble for some, but trust me: I have walked George's labyrinth and been soothed. The giant New Mexico skies with an enormous brassy red sun sinking below somber grey clouds, and the 7,000 feet of elevation with convivial and generous hosts were merely added bonuses to the proceedings.

If your still with me then you may care to visit the web pages for the Labyrinth section on the Awakenings: Simple Solutions for Life's Problems web site. There you will find some notes on labyrinth walking, and how it can be used as a meditation: as the author explains, "At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are." The site has lots of other equally interesting sections, including enneagrams, mind states, metamorphosis, cycles of change, and Jungian psychology. There is a pitch for the book 'Lessons for Living' by Daniel H. Johnston but it is not done at all intrusively. Everything is presented simply, and like the labyrinths, "…there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not."

For those with a practical interest in labyrinths I recommend the 'Caerdroia' web site at Labyrinthos.net for an introduction to the history of labyrinths in many cultures. Best of all they have 'Practical Geomancy' section with an animation that finally allowed me to grasp how mazes are built from seed patterns expanding outwards.

Friday 03 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Cake Shop Double Entendre
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/www.LakelandCAM.co.uk
Thumbnail clicks for normal view. MAP: Lakeland

Herdwick Ram © Tony RichardsIn a bout of nostalgia triggered by Christmas Pudding, seasonal cards from my homeland, and emailed pictures of my nearest and dearest, I embarked upon a sentimental Internet journey for things familiar in my previous life. This chap in the picture is a noble Herdwick ram, the breed that is so characteristic of the fells of the English Lake District. The visual appearance of that proposed World Heritage Site is a result of the husbandry of these special animals: I saw them referred to as the 'Gardeners' of the Lake District on a web site that is rich with details about the breed. Strangely, I was unable to find on the web pages of the Herdwick Breeders' Society any reference to author Beatrix Potter, the first woman to be elected as president of the Society, whose gift to the National Trust of 14 farms stocked with thousands of Herdwick sheep must have given the breed enormous impetus. Astrid Goddard has an interesting page about the Herdwick's penchant to be 'hefted' or 'heafed', and the article includes insightful interviews with two local breeders.

Herdwick meat from suppliers such as Agnus is a delicious treat for epicureans; their wool makes hard wearing garments from local suppliers such as Crookabeck; without them the land would soon become derelict, and less appealing to the millions who now visit annually to enjoy the beauty of this wonderful place. The district also produces other foodstuffs that made my mouth water on this sentimental journey, many included on Helen Gaffney's web page for Cumbria. I remember 'tea breads' that were quite literally made with strong tea, and a variety of soda cone that my mother called 'biskies'. The sausage is every bit as good when eaten cold with locally ground mustard in a sandwich on a fell top as it is served hot for a simple meal with spuds and vegetables. The Rum Butter is delicious on traditional oatcakes, or used to flavor the slow cooked mutton. I tried to think of the treat I missed most, but if you have knowledge of the vernacular of the USA you will understand that asking for Rock Buns is fraught with potential for misunderstanding.

Thursday 2 January 2003

Pix of the Day: How to Become Famous
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/www.CornwallCAM.co.uk
Thumbnails click for normal view.
SS Great Britain © Charles WinpennyMatthew © Charles WinpennyIn a recent poll the top three 'Great Britons' were Winston Churchill, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Diana Princess of Wales. I will leave you to your own ponderings on the relative merits of these three persons, or even on the value of such lists. However, only IK Brunel could actually claim to have built a 'Great Britain': in its day the ship of that name was an engineering triumph of the first industrialized nation, which many argue had already passed its heyday and was in decline. The ship is generally agreed to be the first ocean going luxury cruise liner. Photographer Charles Winpenny took the picture in the English port of Bristol on Christmas Eve 2002. On the same day he also took a picture of a replica of 'Matthew', the ship that in 1497 John Cabot sailed from Bristol to Newfoundland, then unknown to Europeans.

The longer perspective of history is indifferent to our present assessments of worth. I wonder how many people in these lists will be remembered for their achievements 500 years from now? The top 100 list includes entries for some people already forgotten by most of us, and some that we wish we only could, but it is a wonderful jumping off point for many interesting biographies, including late comer Marie Stopes trailing in last place. Cabot never made the cut this year - because unfortunately, like so many other Great Britons, he is disqualified through being born elsewhere.

Wednesday 1 January 2003

Pix of the Day: Fish & Chips Utah Style
Utah Fish & Chip Restaurant © Ian Scott-ParkerUtah Fish & Chips © Ian Scott-ParkerThis is how they serve fish & chips in southern Utah: after collecting an order from the outdoor stall there are tables and chairs on the lawn where the feast may be enjoyed in the warm Christmas sunshine. The food was very good as you may see, but there was something seriously missing in the ambience. This dish is best served wrapped in newspaper and eaten huddled up in a car with misted up windows, parked on a windswept sea frontage where the rain can lash unhindered from the cold, grey ocean. The shop called 'The Prime Minister' stocks a range of British foodstuffs. They had Cumberland Rum Butter, and we bought the last Christmas Pudding in southern Utah to serve to our guests that night. I suppose the Butterscotch Angel Delight will sell out rapidly once words gets around about just how elegant and refined a dessert it makes when served atop the ice creams that are so widely enjoyed in America.

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)