Friday 28 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Journeys to the Extremities
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/www.CornwallCAM.co.uk.
MAPS: Lizard Point & Lizard Point with Land's End. Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Lizard Point is the southernmost extremity of mainland England. Cornwall's roving CAMera webmaster Charles Winpenny paid a visit there, and also to nearby Church Cove where he took the featured picture. Not too far away is England's most westerly point at Land's End. The two map links in the header of this item give coverage of both extremities. There is something very satisfying abut reaching such places, unless of course you are Alexander the Great who is reported to have wept when he realized there was no where else to conquer. I once visited Cape Finisterre in France, and felt rather disappointed: surely somewhere that the Romans called 'End of the Earth' should have a certain ambience? We decided to stop there for an al fresco lunch, after all there is nowhere to go but back when you have reached Finisterre. As we ate a ship in full sail came in to view, making the visit memorable. This had happened to me once before, that time in northern Scotland when I think it may have been the sail training ship Captain Scott, so I count myself lucky in such matters.
If you are quick to visit Charles' page (content changes daily, although links will be there for a few days), you will see information about Guglielmo Marconi's early experiments with radio, which were carried out on the Lizard. The nearby church of St. Wynwallow in the parish of Landewednack is England's most southerly church, which Charles visited, and there are pictures both inside and out.
Thursday 27 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Poet of the Dark Satanic Mines
CREDITS: © Julian Thurgood/www.VisitCumbria.com MAP: Millom
Click on the static image to load a scrollable panorama.
Yesterday, when I mentioned the south Cumbrian town of Millom, I did not intend in any way to disparage a place for which I have a great affection. In the late 1960s I was a cartographic surveyor, and one of the areas I surveyed was the site of the Hodbarrow haematite mine. The place was in its death throes then, the Hodbarrow Mine finally closing in March 1968 after years of gradual deterioration. Looking at the panorama accompanying this piece it is probably hard to imagine the despondency that hung over the town. The place was a dump: literally in the sense that to the south of the town the spoil from the mines was tipped within first an inner barrier against the sea, and when this began to collapse because of the subterranean mining within an outer barrier; also metaphorically because years of economic hardship had left their visual mark upon the town as money for upkeep dwindled.
The boom years began just after the middle of the 17th century when rich iron ores suitable for the processes of the time were discovered. It is said that the Hodbarrow mine was once the largest industrial site in the British Empire. To put that into perspective, I noted that the population figures given on the official town web site show that the present population is only 2,000 souls less than the 10,000 at the town's peak activity. Millom was always an honest place, which is why I liked it so much. It had no airs and graces, just a kind of courage in the middle of adversity. Things have been tidied up from the ravages of the past: on the local government web site you may see a tidy main square; nearby in contrast to the smokestack industries of the past a wind turbine generating site annually saves the emission of 9,350 tonnes of 'greenhouse gases'. The town of Millom has nothing to be ashamed of today, indeed it has many reasons to be proud.
One of those reasons is one of its own sons, Norman Nicholson. Born in 1914, halfway through the 120 year industrial life of the town, he spent all his life there until he died 1987. Nicholson loved his home town, and celebrated it, and its people, in his poetry. Reginald Procter (1909-1987) was a contemporary of Nicholson's, and his reminiscences are a fascinating counterpoint to the poet's work. Here is a taste of Nicholson's poetry:
Rising Five by Norman Nicholson
'I'm rising five,' he said,
'Not four,' and little coils of hair
Unclicked themselves upon his head.
His spectacles, brimful of eyes to stare
At me and the meadow, reflected cones of light
Above his toffee buckled cheeks. He'd been alive
Fifty-six months or perhaps a week more:
But rising five.
Around him in the field the cells of spring
Bubbled and doubled; buds unbuttoned; shoot
And stem shook out the creases from their frills,
And every tree was swilled with green.
It was the season after blossoming,
Before the forming of the fruit:
But rising June.
And in the sky
The dusk dissected the tangential light:
But rising night;
But rising soon.
The new buds push the old leaves from the bough.
We drop our youth behind us like a boy
Throwing away his toffee wrappers. We never see the flower,
But only the fruit in the flower; never the fruit,
But only the rot in the fruit. We look for the marriage bed
In the baby's cradle, we look for the grave in the bed:
But rising dead.
Nicholson's output was not limited to poetry, but included a Lakeland guide, and literature in several forms. Although he was made Poet Laureate his work seems to have fallen from popularity. Most of his work seems to be out of print, and I was unable to find a collection on the web. His work is certainly worth of being rediscovered by a later generation, and deserves a wider audience.
Present day Millom's place on the web is well served by Dr. Muffet (a 'nom de web' for Chris Driver, and an amusing *historical reference) with a comprehensive page of web resources. Check out the pictures in the photo gallery for modern Millom, and contrast them with those in the historical gallery.
My own memories of Millom are chiefly of wandering over the spoil dumps, and particularly of the spectacular contorted and subsided inner barrier. I remember it as looking like part of the Great Wall of China, and wish that I had taken photographs. I suspect that after I was there the place began to flood: indeed David Bradbury has two galleries of pictures taken around 1968 or 1969 when parts of the inner barrier are shown submerged. The place is now the lagoon you may see on the map, and serves as an RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) sanctuary.
The latest news of Millom's progress as a proud and thriving community comes from the local newspaper as recently as Monday of this week: plans are in progress for a statue by internationally recognized sculptress Josefina de Vasconcellos to be sited on the shore at nearby Haverigg.
*The original Doctor Muffet was Doctor Thomas Muffet who lived in Britain from 1553 until 1604. He had a daughter called Patience who became the 'Little Miss Muffet' in the children's Nursery rhyme. Her father thought he could cure the common cold by making Patience eat spiders!
Wednesday 26 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Phoenix Shoots from the Ashes
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/www.LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAP: Black Combe. Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Today's picture shows a somewhat unusual scene in the English Lake District. Fire is not much of a hazard in this area because of the high rainfall. Controlled burns of the dead bracken and heather from the winter are done by the farmers, however. After the removal of these blanketing plants the new growths provide food for sheep, and for grouse in areas where there is organized shooting. I have never seen such an extensive burn, if indeed this is a controlled fire, but perhaps things are done a little differently in the very southeast of the district. This is Black Combe, which is generally considered because of its position to be the 'end' of the fells that attract hikers. The nearby town of Millom must once have sent such plumes of smoke into the air: it was an early adopter of the Bessemer Process developed by Sir Henry Bessemer for the mass production of low cost steel, but declined as that process was superseded. The town is now a quiet backwater that has been passed by with the importation of cheap steel from the developing countries.
Tuesday 25 February 2003
One Day All Music Will Be Available This Way
eMUSIC current pick: Music of Archduke Rudolph of Austria
Joseph Suk, violin, Susan Kagan, piano (KOCH Classics)
The eMusic advertisement in the home page header is a wholehearted recommendation: I have applied for a revenue earning affiliation, but even if this is not granted that does not affect my recommendation. I have been a paying customer since the end of last year, and I am delighted with the service. For a small monthly payment an unlimited number of MP3 files may be downloaded from the growing catalog. If you try the risk free 14 day trial you may download 50 MP3 tracks for free: there are no restrictions on what you may choose.
When I first tried eMusic there was no software for the Macintosh computer platform that allowed users to download all the tracks in a single album, although this has now been rectified. Consequently I cancelled my trial, expecting lots of hassle because I had given them my credit card number. This was not the case: I received a timely notification of eMusic's record of my cancellation and no credit card charge was ever made. The catalog may be browsed without restriction to see if the service provides music that you would want to download: click the picture or the album title name to check this out for yourself.
All the files are very well annotated, download effortlessly, and are clean, without crackling, hissing, or other aberrations. The cost of all this is far below the nearest competitor. It is possible to join subscription services that have the latest issues, but I found the cost to be well beyond my financial ability. When you see the glorious issues that are available on eMusic then you may, like me, question if higher costs are worth the minor benefit of responding to some record company's latest marketing plan.
This album is playing on my system as I write, and what a delight it is. Suk has long been a favorite of mine, capable of strong and vigorous playing, but with the delicacy of touch required for the more lyrical and sensitive passages. Kagan accompanies delightfully here, with playing that matches Suk's virtuosity. The noble in the title was Archduke Rodolphe (1788-1831), a student and patron of Beethoven, for whom the Archduke Trio was dedicated. This historical snippet whetted my appetite for more research. Surely I am not alone in missing the sleeve notes that were such a delight on the back of vinyl albums? I was pleased to find these liner notes.
Monday 24 February 2003
Sometime in the life of every photo weblog there comes the day when including pets and children can no longer be avoided. However, do not be deceived by appearances! That seemingly sweet child on the right is Preston: a few nights ago he plunged our normally serene household into chaos. First he drove a ten wheeled fire truck through the living room, accompanied by realistic Klaxon sound imitations. Not content with this, he then reversed his path to go the full circuit of the bedrooms. The dogs hid behind the couch; several potted plants were struck by the fire appliance turntable ladder and fell to the floor strewing their contents, which were then ground into the carpets by the firetruck wheels. The bath was filled with dinosaurs, and only stationing a sizable adult on the toilet, with the lid down, prevented ensuing drainage problems. A full investigation of the utility room produced more bicycle wheels and tires than I knew we possessed. Only after an exhausting session running on a treadmill, followed by immersion in hot water and wrapping tightly in towels to make swaddling clothes, did any semblance of order return to domestic life. The price of this peace was the non negotiable requirement that all household members watch a video of 'Once Upon a Forest', an engaging tale about a family of cartoon hedgehogs.
The young fellow me lad on the left, hey no wisecracks -- I mean on the right of the photo on the left -- is called Rich. We have yet to have the pleasure of his company. I detect in his eye the same gleam of wickedness to be seen from his father: one can only hope that the child has inherited some of his mother's charm and common sense. These two are second cousins: in the way of family life someone will undoubtedly suggest that they spend time together, with us. I have just remembered that I have important business elsewhere on that day -- whenever that might be.
Sunday 23 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Less is More for a Claude Effect
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/www.LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAP: Loughrigg Fell. View for larger monitors. Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Early yesterday morning photographer Tony Richards took a walk up Loughrigg Fell, one of the lower but most delightful hills in the English Lake District. He returned with this picture of Windermere, and other misty shots that you may see by visiting his CAMera web site (content will change tomorrow). The effect is somewhat reminiscent of the paintings of Claude Gellé. When the picturesque style was at its height gentlemen even carried 'Claude Glasses', which were smoked glass mirrors through which they might properly appreciate the picturesque qualities of landscape. Many wealthy admirers of the style were influenced to have gardens and landscapes constructed on their country estates in emulation of the style of Claude paintings. ArtCaf.com have an easily read art appreciation page on Claude, which will give a good idea of what his work looked like, though confusingly they use 'Gennée' and 'Lorraine'… take your pick. I have another delightful series of painterly images of light and shade from Carmel Melisanda Glover in Brisbane, Australia. These will appear early next week when I have coded a viewer application to display them to their best advantage for your enjoyment.
Saturday 22 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Breaking the Soundbite Barrier
CREDITS: © AnnBowker/Mad About Mountains MAP: Loch Katrine
Click on the static picture to load a scrollable panorama.
I read that the attention span of the average web surfer is six seconds. A warm welcome to all you above average people who are still reading! In the days before the soundbite, or before the Industrial Revolution even, literature was written to be enjoyed at leisure and at length. Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), somewhat like the latter-day Lord Archer but with style, wrote to get himself out of debt. He went on to create a record of the oral history of Scotland, and in prose, lyrics and poetry. I think it is only fair to temper such apparent approbation by adding that if you decide to read, or even just load, 'The Lady of the Lake' (200k load) you may find it resembles more an endurance test than an enjoyable diversion. I waded through it, and discovered that once I had settled to the task then the immersion became a pleasure rather than a chore. If you just want an overview then AWERTY has an examination crib sheet style of summary, not itself exactly a soundbite. The popularity of Scott's work may be judged by the sale of 20,000 copies of 'The Lady' within a six month period of 1810, the year it was written. The modern Scottish tourist industry owes a great debt to this writer who popularized the region.
'The Lady' is set around Loch Katrine in the Trossachs region of Scotland, seen in the featured picture taken from the summit of Ben Venue by Ann Bowker. More views taken in other areas of the Scottish mountains are available from Ann's panoramas gallery. These days the loch provides water for the City of Glasgow. When I visited the area a steam boat was available, the mooring being the dam on the eastern end of the loch, for sailing the length of the loch, which gave wonderful vistas all around. Finally by way of contrast you may like to read 'Loch Katrine' by arguably the 'World's Worst Poet', William Topaz McGonagall: not up (or down), in my humble opinion, to the level of his more famous 'The Tay Bridge Disaster'. If you have, then thank you for reading to the end: consider it a warm up for 'The Lady'.
Friday 21 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Almost Holy Mountain
MAP: Great Gable. Click thumbnail image to enlarge. CREDITS:
['memorial' link, map link & main picture] © Andrew Leaney/www.leaney.org
['service' link] © Sandy Saunders/www.TheWalkZone.co.uk
On a number of occasions in this weblog I have mentioned holy mountains around the world: Great Gable is as close as it comes in the English Lake District to being elevated to that category. Fell walking aficionados will argue unflaggingly about the merits or failings of various Lakeland hills, but mostly a mention of Gable will simply be met with vigorous nods of approbation. The summit bears a small memorial to members of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club who fell in the Great War, and a well attended memorial service is held there every year on Armistice Sunday. Andrew Leaney has excelled himself with this record of a walk across Great Gable to the massive flat topped Kirk Fell seen in the featured picture. The high peak beyond is Pillar, another much loved hill, with the Ennerdale valley lying to the right. All this is superb hiking country that will delight those who enjoy walking the high places.
Thursday 20 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Valley of Ghosts and Stones
CREDITS: © Kilmartin House Trust/www.kilmartin.org
MAP: Kilmartin. Version for larger monitors. Click thumbnail to enlarge.
The Kilmartin web site has this introduction: There are more than 350 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius of the village of Kilmartin, Argyll [Scotland]:150 of them are prehistoric. This extraordinary concentration and diversity of monuments distinguishes the Kilmartin valley as an area of outstanding archaeological importance. Kilmartin House is a world-class centre for archaeology and landscape interpretation which combines a Museum of Ancient Culture and a unique and vibrant visitor centre including an intense audio-visual experience 'The Valley of Ghosts'. The web site has a guide to the museum at Kilmartin and also features the Rock-Art web site with illustrations of the intriguing record of the ancient peoples of the area.
Near here, at the Dunadd hill fort, the ancient kings of Dalriada placed a foot in a carved imprint said to be that of Fergus Mor, son of Erc and first King of Dalriada in about 500AD. The last king to use the foot print would be Kenneth MacAlpin, who moved the throne to Scone, but the story of the Stone of Scone is a whole other chapter of Scottish history. I was assured that if I placed my foot in the imprint and swore an oath in support of Scottish Independence, then I would forever be safe in the Kingdom of Dalriada. This I did, and I have to say that no ill ever befell me travelling through that country: as humorist Alexander King prayed when leaving friends' city houses (later a book title), "May this house be safe from tigers."
Wednesday 19 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Top of the World, Ma! Top of the World!
CREDITS: © OTTTO Holdings (Aust.) Pty/www.BridgeClimb.com
Version for larger monitors available. Click thumbnail to enlarge for normal view.
Visitors with vertigo should look away now. This is the view from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia. For those brave enough, Bridge Climb organizes a stroll to the top: details are on their web site, and you may even buy tickets online. There exists a plethora of rivetting facts about the bridge for lovers of trivia. My favorite is the story of a ticket inherited by Paul Cave, who is the founder and chairman of the Bridge Climb company: as a teenager Paul's late father-in-law lined up for two days from 19th March 1932, the day the Bridge was opened, and purchased the first rail ticket sold to the public for crossing the Bridge on 20th March 1932 - ticket number 00001 from Milson's Point to Wynyard Station. The Bridge Climb web site has a virtual tour of the route across the 1,500 metres of steelwork. Also available is an IPIX panorama of the full 360° view (plug-in required).
Tuesday 18 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Fourth Harbinger of Spring
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/www.CornwallCAM.com Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Back in early February I wrote about the Triumvirate of the English Spring: the snowdrop, the primrose, and the daffodil. At that time I thought about adding the crocus, though finally I decided against that, because I think of it mostly as a cultivated plant. Also I don't know the name for a ruling body of four: it's definitely not quadumvirate in any of my dictionaries, though Google found 35 people using the word. Now Charles Winpenny has posted this gorgeous picture of crocus in full bloom in a garden in Fowey, Cornwall. Spring is bursting forth here, too. Several kinds of tree are in blossom. We have an almond in the garden, which we thought had perhaps seen its last when we harvested the nuts last year. Once again it is in bloom, so with luck we will have some more nuts later in the season. Even with irrigation this desert seems to be unfriendly towards many of the flowers that I am familiar with from the English Spring. Later there will be a few daffodils in gardens, and much later the lovely Indian paintbrush will appear.
Monday 17 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Clouds on Everyone's Horizon
CREDITS: © John H. Farr/www.FotoFeed.com Click thumbnail to enlarge.
I have no wish to push the metaphor in today's headline too far, nor is that an intended pun on the photographer's name. Sometimes when I write the words seem to have a life of their own. When I first typed the headline it even contained one of my regular typos, 'clods'. While I was looking at this picture, however, it did occur to me that reading clouds on the horizon is a bit like reading current events: there is a vast body of knowledge about both, but the dynamic factors at work are so complex that it is very difficult to forecast outcomes for individuals. At best some likely general probabilities of outcomes at a statistical level can be attempted. I remember a story told by the redoubtable walker Hamish Brown, about being pinned down in the lee of an overhanging boulder for most of the day, when a deluge prevented him from being in the open. He had a small radio on which the BBC weather news advised that there were to be "showers of a persistent nature". Whatever the future general synopsis, I wish for you that your microclimate in the time ahead will be just threatening clouds on the horizon, which bring you no harm.
In addition to John's FotoFeed site, with daily pictures of the life and landscape of New Mexico, you can share his innerscape responses to events in his own life, and the world at large, through his FarrFeed weblog. His published writing is available in the ebook format from the JHFarr.com web site. In addition to 'Buffalo Lights', a tale of giving up and letting go to start a new life, 'Yellowhammer Farm', a Vietnam era coming-of-age and back-to-the-land rite of passage is now available.
Sunday 16 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Ignoring the Carton Instructions
CREDITS: © Ann Bowker/www.Keswick.u-net.com Click thumbnail to enlarge.
To my shame I think of myself as a 'Kodachrome carton' photographer. In the mid morning or mid afternoon, faithfully following the instructions on the box, I position the sun over my left or right shoulder, set the shutter speed above 1/125th second, select a median lens aperture, and set the focus with the infinity mark below the maximum depth of field indicator. After seeing this shot from Ann Bowker maybe I will try to be a bit more daring, perhaps even venturing to try a 'contre jour' (against the light) shot like this the next time we have a day here without blazing sun, so that a little detail remains in the picture The hills are Scope End, Hindscarth, and Robinson, taken from Cat Bells in the North Western Fells of the English Lake District on a recent misty day. You may see the full walk by visiting Ann's web site, though the content may have changed at that link by the time you visit.
Unusual View of the Desert Southwest
CREDITS: © Robert F. Riberia/www.UtahRedRocks.com Thumbnail links to page.
While we are on the subject of unusual pictures, here's one that appeared in the recent update to Robert F. Riberia's 'Picture of the Week' feature on the UtahRedRocks.com web site. Definitely not the way that one expects the desert southwest to be depicted! Check out the remainder of Robert's web site for stunning pictures of the desert landscape in a more familiar setting.
Saturday 15 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Colorful Cows of San Antonio
CREDITS: © Gary Brooks/Personal Album. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
Gary Brooks and his wife recently visited San Antonio, Texas. They stayed at the Menger Hotel, which is where Teddy Roosevelt formed the 'Rough Riders' in 1898/99. That in itself was enough to make me sit up and take notice. I feel the onset of a research project. It gets better. Looking out of the window during breakfast, they saw the River Walk area of the city… and cows… lots, and lots of cows! You may see other examples by visiting Gary's personal 'San Antonio Cows' Mac web album at the URI link in the heading of this feature. I was tickled pink by these pictures, as was one of the cows that you may see by visiting Gary's album. I seem to remember other cities running this kind of art project. Yet another research project.
Friday 14 February 2003
Pix of the Day: One Dog and Her Man
CREDITS: © Dave Newton/www.Daves-Lakeland-Mountains.co.uk
MAP: Place Fell. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
This is Megan, who is a Welsh Border Collie. She takes Dave Newton on mountain hikes, probably to perform useful tasks such as driving the car, carrying the food, and taking advantage of photo opportunities when Megan is in a winsome mood. Together they hiked up Place Fell, the same hill featured on Monday of this week in the item from Tony Sainsbury at Eye on the Lakes. What a wonderful day out Megan and Dave had in one of the finest areas of the English Lake District. Dave reckons this might be one of the best galleries he has done: no argument from here.
Thursday 13 February 2003
Pix of the Day: In Praise of Thorough Web Sites
CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/www.Leaney.org
MAP: Maiden Moor to Dale Head walk. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
Free wheelin' artistic spirit (something my mother would have classified as 'feckless') is a good thing for some endeavors, but not I venture to suggest for the management of web sites. For that good old left brained heavy duty collar work done by persons who apply themselves with diligence and attention to detail, but above all with great thoroughness, is devoutly to be wished. I have no way of knowing what sort of a person Andrew Leaney is, but on the evidence of his web site I guess he falls in the latter category. That only goes for the web work, of course, what he is like off duty is anybody's guess! After that outburst I can hear keyboards being tapped far away in Australia, a place from whence even the smallest perceived deviancy is pounced upon with unbecoming ferocity. I expect soon to receive an excoriating email rebuttal of my guesses and opinions. Probably some required corrections, too.
www.Leaney.org has gradually grown to become a valuable point of reference for lovers of the English Lake District fells. Just log onto the home page to see the thoroughness with which Andrew has built the site: walking log, search facility, fell listings (by FCC height and alphabetical, naturally), with photo galleries and panorama galleries all neatly linked together, and all topped off by a useful links page to other walking sites. Especially useful are the maps that accompany each walk. The featured picture is from Andrew's entry for last Sunday, when he walked the delightful ridge from Maiden Moor to Dale Head. The picture was taken from Maiden Moor towards Cat Bells (where you can see Andrew's route on the left flank), out over Derwentwater to the town of Keswick, with the Northern Fells group in cloud. An excellent site that is always a delight to visit. Thoroughness is such an under-rated virtue these days.
As of yesterday Tony Richards' LakleandCAM web site site is back online at the normal URI, with the usual fine set of pictures in the daily updates.
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Wednesday 12 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Geological Compare and Contrast
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/www.CornwallCAM.co.uk
MAP: Bedruthan Steps. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
Those who enjoy the 'compare and contrast' format beloved of academic examination bodies, please refer to the item about 'Twelve Apostles' on the coast of Australia. Everybody else just sit back and enjoy the view. This picture is one of several (content may have changed by the time you visit) taken by Charles Winpenny, webmaster of CornwallCAM. That series of pictures is a fine collection of evocative seascapes from the north Cornwall coast.
Tuesday 11 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Server Woes at LakelandCAM
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/www.LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAP: Grasmere. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
Regular visitors to Tony Richards' LakelandCAM web site will have found that the server has been unobtainable over the weekend. Today there is an apology page: there are technical problems that are beyond Tony's control. However, the updates have been switched to some alternative temporary accommodation, on the server where the site archives are hosted. While the problems are sorted out you may still keep in touch with Tony's updates by using that link. The picture featured is my own choice from the archive. It is a picture of misty Grasmere taken from Loughrigg Terrace. Best wishes to Tony while he struggles with this misfortune. I hope we see him back on line again soon so that we can continue to enjoy the daily pictures.
Monday 10 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Good Walking Weather is a Matter of Luck
CREDITS: © Tony Sainsbury/www.EyeOnTheLakes.com
MAP: Ullswater. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
More than a decade ago I had the good fortune to live in this lovely place. I had just completed a computer training course, and I was given a work experience placement in the outdoor center at Howtown on the eastern shore of Ullswater lake. Through the generosity of the school boss I was allowed to live on-site, and work flexitime. Oh joy! Whenever the weather was fine I was able to take the same walk as Tony Sainsbury, who took this picture, and the remainder of the time to work to my heart's content developing a database for the school. The instructors and staff were as nice a group of people as it has ever been my pleasure to work among. A very happy time when life was otherwise difficult.
Later I was also lucky enough to meet Tony Sainsbury on a glorious day as we passed down the northeastern ridge of that wonderful mountain Helvellyn. Since finding Tony's web site I have been following his updates regularly. His luck with the weather has not been so good recently. His excursions seem to have coincided with every day of inclemency that the district has been able to throw his way. This picture is something of a celebration on his behalf, that at last he managed to get a good day on the fells! The web site content may change in a week or two, so cut along there, and with Tony enjoy some of the finest scenic walks in the English Lake District.
Sunday 9 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Turning Tides on Black Beaches
CREDITS: © Don Burluraux/North York Moors CAM
MAP: Durham coast. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
Britain was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, and the effects on the environment from large scale mineral exploitation are still in evidence. The Durham Coalfield in the North East of England extended onto the coast, where until recent times the waste from the coal pits had turned the beaches black. A Millennium Project called 'Turning the Tide', funded by the proceeds from gambling on the National Lottery, has made steps towards cleaning up the mess. Don Burluraux walked from Seaham Harbour southwards to Crimdon Dene on the Durham Coastal Footpath, and his photo essay on his North York Moors web site contains evidence of the improvements so far.
The work is not yet complete, as Don shows in one picture of a beach that still carries evidence of colliery waste in its black sand. No waste was actually tipped there, but rather was transferred by tidal action. Residents of the area are proud of their history, though painfully aware of its effects. The human cost of generating the wealth of the Industrial Revolution was high: the Durham Mining Museum web site opens with a page In Memoriam for accidents that occurred back in time for the same month that you visit. If you are interested in the history of these places there is much to see and read in the Museum, including maps and historical documents. Don shows a picture of the pit winding gear that has been turned into a memorial. The web page also has links to interesting connections with the landscapes Don passed through on his walk. An enjoyable introduction to the delights of this coast, though if you are familiar with the area it will bring back many memories.
Saturday 8 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Dawn at the Foot of the Mountain
Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
Our situation at the foot of the mountain on the western side of the Colorado Plateaus precludes a direct view of the dawn. However, if there are high broken clouds then the early eastern light will often illuminate them in a splendid display. The picture featured here was one such morning earlier this week. A little later the rising sun will shoot across the valley from above the mesa tops, making the peaks of the Pine Valley Mountain range glow fresh and pink. When accompanied by a good bowel movement I can't think of a better start to the day.
Friday 7 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Excursion Around My Father
CREDITS: © Anne Bowker/www.Keswick.U-Net.com
MAP: Borrowdale Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
The web sites that feature pictures of the English Lake District are out in force depicting the recent snowfalls. This one from Ann Bowker's CAMera page (content may change before you visit) is the head of the valley called Borrowdale, the very heart of the geophysical makeup of the district, and a place my father often called "the roots of heaven". His own given middle name was 'Borradaile', given under circumstances that were never satisfactorily explained, and he habitually spoke in a declamatory manner peppered with a wide variety of allusions. I thought it might be interesting to track down the source of his phrase.
The least likely sources, though still possibilities for he was very widely read, are the works of Romain Gary and Lao Tzu or the teachings of Krishnamurti. More plausible are the 1958 John Huston film based on Gary's novel, or Sir Malcolm Arnold's music for that film. My father was a keen cinema-goer, and an accomplished violinist, the latter activity always referred to as "fiddle playing". The Bible was a strong possibility, for although a self confessed heathen, my father quoted that book more extensively than any Southern Baptist preacher. The nearest I came in a search of what he always called "The Good Book" (the 1604 King James Version, of course) was one of 22 entries containing the word 'roots':
Jonah 2:6 'To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.'
Finally I came across what you might think was a very unlikely source: in the archives of the University of Lancaster there is this entry:
BUTLER-ADAM, John Francis.
The roots of heaven : a structural analysis of place and the English Lake District.
University Microfilms, 1977 Classmark Microtext [4/0658]
What artifact is being referred to I do not know. What I do remember is that my father was an avid collector of old books. He would scour salerooms and used book stores, always searching particularly for books about the English Lake District. Although he considered anything costing more than one British pound to be a wild extravagance (now you know from whence I inherited that trait), and always converted any cost into pre-decimal currency in order to judge its worth, he acquired several first editions, and a number of rare examples. When he died his collection was given to Carlisle Library, an institution that his own father had helped to found. I hope they were able to make good use of his bequest. I like to think that John Francis Butler-Adam was the source of William Borradaile Scott-Parker's phrase, and that they will enjoy the higher branches of heaven together.'
Thursday 6 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Daily Round, Uncommon Task
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/www.LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAP: Holme Ground. Thumbnail clicks for normal view.
Good winter snow scenes in the valleys of the English Lake District are not easy to capture. Following snowfall there is often fine weather, but equally that causes the snow to melt. Tony Richards travels throughout the area capturing the district day by day in all its moods. If anyone is going to be on hand to capture those pictures it is going to be Tony with his daily updates to LakelandCAM. Such dedication is much appreciated by his following, especially those of us who are exiled from visiting ourselves. This picture was taken just below Holme Ground, near the Landale area.
Wednesday 5 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Not All Cruisers Are Humungous
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The last bike picture I showed was a humungous yellow peril that produced yearning for the open road, even if its over the top pretensions clashed with my modest tastes in such machines. This one shows that even cruisers can have panache without being tasteless. I began to wonder if owning such a machine might be something that I would enjoy. Certainly the climate here is favorable, and for the daring the law allows riding with hair streaming in the wind… or skin in my case. I had thought that my mid life male crisis ended with the sale of my last bike, though clearly this is not the case. I prefer to think that it is a case of being eternally young at heart.
Tuesday 4 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Kiwi Cows
CREDITS: © Alexander Todorenko/www.NewZealand.net.ru
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Resisting the temptation to show you pictures of the lovely Karina, when I visited Alexander's galleries at New Zealand Daily I chose instead this whimsical picture. New Zealand's dairy industry is world famous, but although Alexander captions this picture 'Low Maintenance Cows' I have no idea of the story behind this street picture. Feel free to make your own story up, with some reasonable tale about what use might be made of these animals. I know they give chickens pot eggs to encourage laying, perhaps they give bulls pot cows to encourage interest in china shops.
Monday 3 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Triumvirate of English Spring
CREDITS: © FreeImages/www.FreeImages.co.uk Thumbnails click for normal view.
These are the three flowers that for me marked the possibility, arrival, and height of spring, when I lived in northern England. The first snowdrops poking through the late snow of winter were always joyful harbingers, in spite of the raw winds that still blew. The delicate primrose, shyly growing in a woodland glade, brought delight to many sheltered walks early in the year. When the massed banks of daffodils burst through, that was the final proof that once again the annual cycle was to be fulfilled.
Sunday 2 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Journey Into Inner Space
CREDITS: © Australian National Botanic Gardens/www.ANBG.gov.au
Thumbnails click for normal view.
Following yesterday's item about Joshua trees, an Australian correspondent, Carmel Melisanda Glover, sent me some pictures of an equally eerie Australian plant, the Black-boy bush. That politically incorrect name has largely been replaced by the common name Grass-tree, known to botanists as the genus Xanthorrhoea. The genus has three species illustrated in the Australian National Botanic Gardens photo database: australis (LH picture), nana (RH picture), and preissii. In the language of the Eastern Kulin people, the indigenous inhabitants of the area now known as Central Victoria in southeast Australia, the plant is referred to by the names 'bagap' and 'kumbadick', probably referring respectively to the flowering stalk and the overall form of the plant. Little did I know that researching the Grass-tree would lead to one of the best web sites I have seen for a long time. The 'Meet the Eastern Kulin' project took me on a journey to explore the world of a people whose life was more closely tied to the land than we have the knowledge, understanding, or sensitivity to fully comprehend. I commend it to you as a place of excellence about another culture, worthy of a full investigation.
The exploration of Inner Space, both personal and planetary, still has vast uncharted regions that have yet to be investigated. Phil Watson has a page detailing the use of the Grass-tree by aboriginal peoples. The 'Gulgadya Muru - Grass Tree Track' interpretative walk at the Manly Dam Reservation, just north of Sydney, New South Wales, links the present use of the location to the past use by the indigenous peoples. The Lamington National Park web site offers a wide ranging guide to the flora and fauna of southern Queensland, including an excellent picture of a grove of young Grass-trees. 'Palm Plantations of Australia' is a commercial supplier of Grass-trees with a dedicated web site for the genus, which includes more excellent pictures with one of the johnsonii species. Ken Beath's 'Australian Photos' web site has two galleries for Barrington Tops, north of Newcastle, and Gallery No. 2 has two pictures of a fine Grass-tree site at Mt. Cabre Bald. In the introduction to the Eastern Kulin web site there is a moving quotation from historian Manning Clark, and this comment, "The authors of this project, with Manning Clark, believe our lives have been forever enriched by our contact with Indigenous culture."
Carmel remembers a winter camp, seen in summer in this picture, when the place was otherwise deserted. She shivers at the memory of the eerie appearance of the Grass-trees in the chill mist. As I write this I have just learned of the tragedy that has befallen the spaceship Columbia TS107, which broke up over the Texas-Louisiana border on its re-entry path to Cape Canaveral. The title for this item was chosen before I heard the news, but chosen because we had intended to rise early to see Columbia pass overhead here in southwest Utah. The exploration of Outer Space has a very high cost in many senses. I will pass on any coment other than registering my deepest sympathy to all those who have suffered a loss in this tragedy.
Saturday 1 February 2003
Pix of the Day: Fremont's Most Repulsive Tree
CREDITS: © National Park Service/www.NPS.org
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John Fremont, early explorer and promoter of the West, called it "the most repulsive tree in the vegetable kingdom." Clearly he was speaking from a time and perspective quite different from the NPS web page about the Mojave National Preserve, where that quotation appears. Although I do not find the trees repulsive, in fact I find them attractively fascinating, I will admit that they are somewhat eerie. Single specimens growing near here look quite decorative, almost as though placed by some highway landscaper. However, clusters of the trees remind me of the plants in John Wyndham's novel 'The Day of the Triffids': they look as though they might at any moment begin to move forward. The NPS web site has a map of the Mojave Preserve. The nearby Joshua Tree National Park has its own section, with additional information about the trees and their amazing life cycle.
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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)