The Universe is a Hydrogen Sonata

The universe is a Hydrogen Sonata?

Confined by the restrictions of zero-covid what better way to escape to than to The Culture?

The Hydrogen sonata is a version of the Hero’s Quest where the protagonist goes on a quest to find something, which in the end doesn’t matter, What does matter is what she found out about herself. 

Set against the background of a civilisation on the brink of enfolding to the Sublime. The protagonist and some ship minds endeavour to find out some truths fundamental to the development of the Gzilt – will this knowledge prevent their sublimation?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hydrogen_Sonata

When the going gets tough, the tough start baking

When the going gets tough, the tough start baking chocolate muffins

Chocolate muffins recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 250ml milk
  • 250g sugar
  • 400g flour
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • salt to taste (½ tsp)
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • x2 muffin trays either greased or with paper muffin cases

Recipe:

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Line 2 muffin trays with paper muffin cases. In a large bowl beat 2 medium eggs lightly with a handheld electric mixer for 1 min.
  2. Add the vegetable oil and  milk and beat until just combined then add the sugar and cocoa and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder then mix until just smooth. Be careful not to over-mix the batter as this will make the muffins tough.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips 
  5. Fill the muffin cases two-thirds full and bake for 20-25 mins, until risen and firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the trays will not fit on 1 shelf, swap the shelves around after 15 mins of cooking.
  6. Leave the muffins in the tin to cool for a few mins and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once cool serve with a nice pot of tea.

Variations:

Use vanilla essence top with chocolate fondant icing, sprinkles or icing sugar

Year of the Water Tiger

Feb. 1, 2022 – Jan.21, 2023 is a year of the water tiger (水虎)

春节快乐  – Happy Spring Festival

Characteristics of Water Tigers: Studious, Thoughtful

Water Tigers have an innate ability to learn something new, and they are especially professional in the fields of art and handicrafts.

They have a strong sense of self-esteem and seldom accept advice from others. They only have a slim chance of failing in their careers, which often incurs envy from others.

what fate has in store for Water Tigers: Bittersweet

Water Tigers will achieve more in their careers by getting help from their friends and lovers. They should be very careful and thoughtful when making big decisions and dealing with any emergencies in life, and should not trust others readily or they will suffer because of it.

If you’re interested in this sort of thing then go here for more horoscope info.

T’lorem ipsum

T’lorem ipsum, by eck that sounds reet queer Tha don’t get owt for nowt ‘appen as maybe tha knows Th’art nesh thee nay lad soft lad wacken thi sen up t’foot o’ our stairs. Nay lad where’s tha bin. Th’art nesh thee a pint ‘o mild any rooad t’foot o’ our stairs. Where there’s muck there’s brass t’foot o’ our stairs ah’ll gi’ thee a thick ear. Ah’ll learn thi tintintin tell thi summat for nowt soft lad mardy bum. Chuffin’ nora ah’ll box thi ears soft lad ee by gum tell thi summat for nowt ah’ll gi’ thee a thick ear. Bobbar nay lad. Breadcake soft southern pansy wacken thi sen up. Be reet where’s tha bin mardy bum mardy bum. Tell thi summat for nowt where there’s muck there’s brass shu’ thi gob. Dahn t’coil oil. That’s champion ey up will ‘e ‘eckerslike shurrup by ‘eck. Eeh. Shu’ thi gob face like a slapped arse god’s own county soft lad th’art nesh thee tha daft apeth.

State of the art printing press in Cleck-Heckmondwike, West Riding

Ne’ermind soft lad th’art nesh thee gi’ o’er ah’ll box thi ears shurrup. Ginnel snicket Tha knows wacken thi sen up cack-handed nay lad gi’ o’er ne’ermind. Ee by gum. Tintintin ah’ll box thi ears aye tha what ne’ermind big girl’s blouse. Nay lad tintintin face like a slapped arse what’s that when it’s at ooam. Michael palin ah’ll gi’ thee a thick ear. By ‘eck that’s champion mardy bum mardy bum t’foot o’ our stairs appens as maybe. Will ‘e ‘eckerslike. Big girl’s blouse nay lad tha knows. Eeh ah’ll gi’ thee a thick ear. Where there’s muck there’s brass. Shurrup where there’s muck there’s brass. Aye. T’foot o’ our stairs cack-handed where’s tha bin. Soft lad.

Nobbut a lad big girl’s blouse nay lad is that thine shurrup. By ‘eck th’art nesh thee shu’ thi gob. Bloomin’ ‘eck nay lad tintintin god’s own county. Chuffin’ nora breadcake nobbut a lad shu’ thi gob. How much that’s champion how much shu’ thi gob. Sup wi’ ‘im bobbar shurrup where there’s muck there’s brass. Shu’ thi gob bobbar. Ah’ll learn thi god’s own county where’s tha bin. Bloomin’ ‘eck ne’ermind. Dahn t’coil oil th’art nesh thee that’s champion wacken thi sen up ah’ll gi’ thee a thick ear. Bobbar ee by gum is that thine. Cack-handed. Soft lad ey up big girl’s blouse nay lad that’s champion.

Gerritetten ey up tha what. Aye mardy bum aye. Bloomin’ ‘eck ah’ll gi’ thi summat to rooer abaht ah’ll box thi ears is that thine ee by gum th’art nesh thee. Ey up ah’ll gi’ thee a thick ear chuffin’ nora nah then th’art nesh thee dahn t’coil oil. God’s own county wacken thi sen up. God’s own county ne’ermind. T’foot o’ our stairs bobbar wacken thi sen up by ‘eck tha daft apeth. Mardy bum eeh soft lad sup wi’ ‘im. Aye bobbar where there’s muck there’s brass tha what. Will ‘e ‘eckerslike. God’s own county soft southern pansy by ‘eck nobbut a lad what’s that when it’s at ooam chuffin’ nora. Tha knows.

Geoffrey Boycott tell thi summat for nowt aye tintintin breadcake. God’s own county what’s that when it’s at ooam big girl’s blouse how much chuffin’ nora. Cack-handed god’s own county mardy bum shurrup. Appens as maybe. That’s champion tha knows ah’ll gi’ thee a thick ear nay lad chuffin’ nora ah’ll gi’ thi summat to rooer abaht.

Any rooad cack-handed be reet nay lad soft lad ah’ll gi’ thee a thick ear. Tha knows ah’ll gi’ thee a thick ear ah’ll gi’ thi summat to rooer abaht ne’ermind where there’s muck there’s brass th’art nesh thee. Tintintin be reet. Sup wi’ ‘im god’s own county. Soft southern pansy ah’ll box thi ears cack-handed. Tha what ah’ll box thi ears by ‘eck will ‘e ‘eckerslike how much. Dahn t’coil oil dahn t’coil oil what’s that when it’s at ooam that’s champion. T’foot o’ our stairs ah’ll gi’ thi summat to rooer abaht t’foot o’ our stairs Alan Bennett how much what’s that when it’s at ‘oam

What’s Lorem ipsum?

Scholar’s Stones in the Snow

供石 (Gōng shí) or scholar’s stones vary in colour and shape. Their size also varies from hundreds of kilos to less than one kilo. They are placed in traditional gardens and the grounds of colleges , schools and universities.

These examples are to be found in the grounds of a university in Tianjin.

Duchas.ie, The Schools Collection

dúchas.ie, The Schools’ Collection, Co. Roscommon

A treasure trove of old school books lovingly scanned and transcribed. The handwriting is superb and the insights fascinating.

One of several entries about Fairy Forts written circa 1937

“There are two fairy forts situated in my district. One is about a quarter of a mile from my house in a village known as Cloonarrow while the other is about three hundred yards east of my house.
The fairy fort situated about a quarter of a mile is of circular shape and is surrounded by trees. Fairies are supposed to abide in it and are said to appear after twelve o’clock a.m. In front of this fort a house was situated but now the owner of the house and of
the land in which the fort is situated is dead and the house has collapsed. There is no entrance hole to it.
The other fort situated a very short distance from my house is a circular little hill surrounded by trees. Neither is there an entrance hole to this fort. It is said that a woman dressed in white appeared to a man at this fort and accompanied him to a place known as the “Crooked Bush” where she disappeared.
Nobody ever dreams of tilling the land in which the forts are, neither do they cut the trees as it is said that anybody who touches those trees is sure to be unlucky.”

Using freely available online resources and my local knowledge I’m pretty sure this is the location of the Fairy Fort 300 yards East of the author’s home:


Fairy Forts are typically, but not exclusively circular archaeological sites. Often tumuli or hill forts, there are over 30,000 of them in Ireland.

See also: https://www.nolligan.ie/SU/?p=3504

A Fairy Song – Shakespeare

Who lives here in the Castlerea Desmene Fairy Village?

A Fairy Song
William Shakespeare

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire!
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green;
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours;
In those freckles live their savours;
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.

New Header Picture: Bangkok sunset

Chao Phray River Bangkok
Sunset over the Chao Phraya River, Bang Sue, Bangkok

The Chao Phraya is Thailand’s major river flowing 372 km from the confluence of the Ping and Nan rivers through Bangkok and into the Gulf of Thailand.

In Bangkok the Chap Phraya is a transport artery for a network of river buses, cross-river ferries, and water taxis. The river buses are cheap and are an excellent way for tourists to see Bangkok.

According to wikiyoyage the prices currently are around 30 Baht (roughly one US Dollar) and there are a confusingly large number of different boat lines:

The photograph was taken in November 2018.

John Cooper Clarke – Apart from the Revolution

https://johncooperclarke.com/poems/
APART FROM THE REVOLUTION

Each drop of blood a rose shall be
all sorrow shall be dust
blown by breezes to the sea
whose fingers thrust
into the corners of restless night
where creatures of the deep
avoid the flashing harbour lights
in search of endless sleep
there were executions
somebody had to pay
apart from the revolution
it’s another working day

a million angels sing
peasants eating cake
wedding bells are ringing
the room begins to shake
the children free from measles all
have healthy teeth and gums
they live in the cathedrals
and worship in the slums
poverty and pollution
have all swept away
apart from the revolution
it’s another working day

He also has a new book out which has received very good reviews. Could be a great Christmas gift.

New Header Picture: the Plassey

reck of the Plassey
The wreck of the Plassey, Inisheer, Aran Islands

The MV Plassey started its life as HMS Juliet, a naval trawler in the Royal Navy built at the beginning of WWII. during the war she took part in Operation Torch in 1942 and in the Mediterranean theatre. After the war she was converted into a merchant ship and sold to the British merchant service as the Peterjon. Later, in 1951 she was acquired by the Limerick Steamship Company and her name changed yet again to the MV Plassey (sometimes written as Plassy).

She operated around the coast of Ireland until 1960 when she was caught in a severe storm and ran aground on Finnis Rock, Inisheer, Aran Islands whilst carrying whiskey, stained glass and yarn. Luckily, the entire crew was saved. Two weeks later, a second storm washed her off the rock and drove her up the beach.

The Plassey is probably most famous for appearing in the opening credits of the TV comedy Father Ted.

Photo taken July 2019

Global Golden Hour: Sunsets around the world

Amateur Hour presents: Global Golden Hour

The Photos app that comes bundled with MacOs periodically produces slideshows. Normally, these are themed around places or dates. One caught my eye though – it was called ‘Golden Hour’ and included photos I’d taken from many places. Usually, photos taken around sunset are better because the quality of light is better.

Sunsets from

China: Tianjin, Beidaihe, Sanya

Thailand: Bangkok

Ireland: County Roscommon, the Irish Sea

UK: Leeds

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to export it so it could be edited. I had to re-create it manually using iMovie. This is the result I call it Global Golden Hour: Sunsets around the world.

The soundtrack is “In Memory of a Free Festival Part 2” by David Bowie which I thought was appropriate. All rights remain with the original artist blah, blah blah, no profit is being made, blah blah, fair use, blah blah.

Click here to open in a new browser window

New Header Picture: Pingdingshan

Nei Mengu
The extinct volcanoes of Pingdingshan, Xilin Gol, Nei Menggu

平顶山, 锡林郭勒盟,内蒙古

Pingdingshan in Xilingol League in Inner Mongolia has a very distinctive landscape. There are many extinct volcanoes from a time when this was the sea floor. This photo was taken in early October and the lush green grasslands had already faded to their winter brown. Even so you can see a flock of sheep in the foreground.

The interactive map is a new feature which I’ll maybe use again now that I know how to do it.

For tourist info click here

New Header Picture – The Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare attrac up to 1.5 million tourists a year.

Rising to a height of 214 meters they stretch for 14 kilometres. They are made up of sandstone and shale formin distinctive layers as can be seen in the photo.

The award winning visitor centre is dug into the hillside so it doesn’t detract from the scenery.

Alternatively take a virtual tour:

This photograph was taken in July 2019.

Progress being made updating this site

It’s always been messy….

Very slowly updating the site.

Can we fix it?

Er, probably not but I’ll give it a go.

It’s going to take time, there are over 1,300 posts going back 17 years.

Each needs to be checked and then updated to have a remote chance of being noticed by search engines.

Broken links from defunct sites are (mostly) being restored using wayback machine/ archive.org links.

Update Progress:

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Adderbury

Church of St Mary the Virgin, East Adderbury.
Church Going
by Philip Larkin (1922-1985)

Once I am sure there’s nothing going on 
I step inside, letting the door thud shut. 
Another church: matting, seats, and stone, 
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut 
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff 
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ; 
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence, 
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence, 

Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don’t. 
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few 
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
“Here endeth” much more loudly than I’d meant. 
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door 
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence, 
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for. 

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do, 
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too, 
When churches fall completely out of use 
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show, 
Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep. 
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places? 

Or, after dark, will dubious women come 
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some 
Advised night see walking a dead one? 
Power of some sort or other will go on 
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random; 
But superstition, like belief, must die, 
And what remains when disbelief has gone? 
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

A shape less recognizable each week, 
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who 
Will be the last, the very last, to seek 
This place for what it was; one of the crew 
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were? 
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique, 
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff 
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh? 
Or will he be my representative, 

Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground 
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt 
So long and equably what since is found 
Only in separation – marriage, and birth, 
And death, and thoughts of these – for whom was built
This special shell? For, though I’ve no idea 
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth, 
It pleases me to stand in silence here; 

A serious house on serious earth it is, 
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognised, and robed as destinies. 
And that much never can be obsolete, 
Since someone will forever be surprising 
A hunger in himself to be more serious, 
And gravitating with it to this ground, 
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.

James Douglas Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971)

“I am Dionysus, the child of Zeus, and I have come to this land of the Thebans, where Cadmus’ daughter Semele once bore me, delivered by a lightning-blast. Having assumed a mortal form in place of my divine one,”

The Bacchae by Euripides

Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as ravens claws.

“Art and religion, carnivals and saturnalia, dancing and listening to oratory – all these have served, in H. G. Wells’s phrase, as Doors in the Wall.” 
― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception

平原县, 德州市, 山东省

Image

A memorial pagoda in Pingyuan County, Dezhou, Shandong Province
A bit different from but similar to Banbury Cross

Ride a cock horse

to Banbury Cross.

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;

Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.

The origins of this rhyme are uncertain.

Banbury used to have several crosses: the High Cross, the Bread Cross and the White Cross until they offended puritan sensibilities and were destroyed around 1600.

The present cross dates from 1859 to commemorate the wedding of Victoria, the Princess Royal , to Frederick of Prussia whose coat of arms were blocked out during World War 1.

So removing and defacing statues by those gifted with moral certainty is nothing new.

人, 丛, 众

Widely seen Chinese Covid poster:

人 rén – person

丛 cóng – a collection or group

众 – zhòng – a multitude or crowd

Chinese covid poster 2020/21 Beijing

There is a tradition of health posters as we can see:

“To do a good job in epidemic prevention and hygiene work is concrete patriotic behaviour in the battle to smash American imperialist germ warfare!”

Iggy Pop – Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_not_go_gentle_into_that_good_night

Il faut cultiver notre jardin – Voltaire

Ce bon vieillard me paraît s’être fait un sort bien préférable à celui des six rois avec qui nous avons eu l’honneur de souper.
Toute la petite société entra dans ce louable dessein ; chacun se mit à exercer ses talents. La petite terre rapporta beaucoup.
car, quand l’homme fut mis dans le jardin d’Éden, il y fut mis ut operaretur eum, pour qu’il travaillât, ce qui prouve que l’homme n’est pas né pour le repos.
Cela est bien dit, répondit Candide, mais il faut cultiver notre jardin.