Sunday 31 October 2010

Liverpool Bold Street – street art

There is some great street art on the pavements in Bold Street at the moment – nicely complementing the Liverpool Biennial.

Saturday 30 October 2010

Now that's what I call skill

Thursday 28 October 2010

Liverpool Biennial – Bridging Home

This piece of artwork – part of the Liverpool Biennial, an International Festival of Contemporary Art – was designed by Korean American Do Ho Suh.

Soeul is a very crowded city and because of its population density it is c0mpletely acceptable for an individual to invade another’s personal space. The perception of individual space is significantly different from elsewhere.

Memory and nostalgia also play a key role in his work.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Unfortunate Ends

Classical composers who came to unfortunate ends:-

George Butterworth - killed at the Battle of the Somme.
Jean-Baptiste Lully - hit himself on the toe with his conducting baton; it turned gangrenous, kiling him.
Anton Webern - shot by an American soldier by mistake when he nipped out for a smoke during a curfew at the end of the Second World War.
Enrique Granados - died on a cruise ship torpedoed by a German U-boat during World War I.
Harles Valentin Alkan - crushed to death by a falling bookcase.
Ernest Chausson - rode his bicycle into a brick wall.
Alexander Borodin - dropped dead on the dance floor in full national costume at a winter ball in St Petersburg.

Thursday 21 October 2010

Liverpool Biennial - Earth and Æther

This piece of artwork – part of the Liverpool Biennial, an International Festival of Contemporary Art – was designed specifically for the Chapter House of Liverpool Cathedral. It was created by artists in residence Lin Holland and Jane Poulton.

In the middle of the tiled floor is a large piece of red sandstone (of which the cathedral is made) which has been covered in gold leaf.

Hanging above it is a mirrored house. It explores man’s attempts. through the sanctification of earthly objects, to approach a sense of the sublime.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Most popular pub names

These are said to be the most popular pub names in England. The figures quoted are from the year 2000 and are only approximate.

The Crown (1,106)
The Red Lion (659)
The Swan (603)
The Bull (557)
The Royal Oak (557)
The King's Head (503)
The George (447)
The Plough (432)
The White Hart (370)
The Coach and Horses (168)

Monday 18 October 2010

Happy Monday - Barbie

One day a father gets out of work and on his way home he suddenly remembers that it's his daughter's birthday.

He pulls over to a Toy Shop and asks the sales person, 'How much for one of those Barbie's in the display window?'

The salesperson answers, 'Which one do you mean, Sir?

We have: Work Out Barbie for £19.95, Shopping Barbie for £19.95, Beach Barbie for £19.95, Disco Barbie for £19.95, Ballerina Barbie for £19.95, Astronaut Barbie for £19.95, Skater Barbie for £19.95, and Divorced Barbie for £265.95'.

The amazed father asks: 'It's what?! Why is the Divorced Barbie £265.95 and all the others only £19.95?'

The annoyed salesperson rolls her eyes, sighs, and answers: 'Sir..., Divorced Barbie comes with: Ken's Car, Ken's House, Ken's Boat, Ken's Furniture, Ken's Computer and one of Ken's Friends.

Saturday 16 October 2010

R. I. P.

My desktop computer has died so if I am slow in moderating comments or sending e-mails please forgive me. I am currently trying to give it the kiss of life but it's not working. Perhaps I need to try those electric shock paddles they use in ER!

Japanese Bridge

Claude Monet - Japanese Bridge - 1899

Scriptor Senex - Japanese Bridge - 2010

Thursday 14 October 2010

Liverpool Biennial – Kris Martin

The setting for Kris Martin’s project is the Black-E – the former Great George Street Church in Liverpool’s Chinatown which is now a community facility. I had never been in the church before and the setting is brilliant. I know Mum once went into it for a service because she told me about heard Woodbine Willie preach there. The Rev. Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, better known as Woodbine Willie, became one of the best known figures of World War I. At the outbreak of the war he volunteered as a chaplain, and won the Military Cross in 1917. His habit of handing out cigarettes to troops earned him his nickname, being a heavy smoker himself.

In myth and legend, swords are symbols of protection, purity and truth.

Frequently they have the power of magic attributed to them and Kris Martin’s sword – entitled Mandi XV and first displayed in 2007 – is certainly magical.

A great contribution to the Liverpool Biennial.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Wednesday Wildlife - Spindles

A spindle is a wooden spike used for spinning wool, flax, hemp, cotton, and other fibres into thread.

The word also has a variety of other meanings such as a piece of wood that has been turned on a lathe for use as a baluster, chair leg, etc.; any of various rotating shafts that serve as axes for larger rotating parts; or a spike - any holding device consisting of a rigid, sharp-pointed object.

No, it''s alright - I haven't put this posting here by mistake. You might imagine it should have gone on my Word Blog but did you know that the name was also once used in the U.S. for dragonflies:-

A Swedish legend holds that trolls use dragonflies as spindles when weaving their clothes (hence the Swedish word for dragonfly trollslända, lit. "troll's spindle") as well as sending them to poke out the eyes of their enemies. Another Swedish piece of folklore suggests they were used by the Devil to weigh people's souls.

In England they were also once known as Devil's Darning Needles whilst some uS local names include darner, darning needle, devil's darning needle, ear sewer, mosquito fly, mosquito hawk, needle, skeeter hawk, snake doctor, snake feeder, and, still in use apparently, spindle.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Some misleading plant names

Kiwi Fruit come not from New Zealand but from Canada.
The Spanish Chestnut is from Asia Minor.
African Marigolds are from Mexico.
Chinese Yams come from Africa.
French Beans are from Tropical America.
Jersey Buttercups come from Germany.
Turkish Tobacco is from Mexico and Texas.
And the Jerusalem Artichoke is from N America.

Monday 11 October 2010


I’m afraid I’m having trouble with childishly obscene comments on my blog so I have had to go back to putting on comment moderation and only accepting comments from people with google accounts. I wonder what sort of kick people get out of leaving obscene comments - they must be very sad! I appreciate that going back to Google account holders excludes one or two of my regular (and favourite)commenting friends. I very much hope that they will think about signing up to Google because I would miss them!

Happy Monday - The Memory Man

A scouser (for my friends abroad that is someone from Liverpool!) is on holiday in Arizona USA. He's staying in a remote frontier type town and walks into a bar .

He orders his drink and sits down at the bar when he notices a native American Indian, dressed in full regalia, feathered head dress, tomahawk, spear, the lot, sitting in the corner under a sign saying 'Ask me anything'

The scouser is intrigued and asks the barman about him.

'Oh, we call him the memory man, He knows everything.' says the barman.

'What do you mean he knows everything?' asks the scouser.

'Well, he knows every fact there is to know and he never, ever forgets anything'

'Yeah right' says the scouser.

'If you don't believe me, try him out. Ask him anything, and he'll know the answer'

'Alright' says the Scouser and walks up to the Memory Man.

'Where am I from ?'

'Knotty Ash, Liverpool , England ' says the Red Indian. And he was right.

'Alright' says the scouser, 'that was easy you probably recognised my accent. Who won the 1965 FA Cup Final?'

' Liverpool ' says the memory man quick as a flash.

'Yes and who did they play?'

'Leeds United' again without blinking

'And the score?'

'2-1' says the memory man without hesitation.

'Pretty good, but I bet you don't know who scored the winning goal?'

'Ian St John' says the Indian in an instant.

Flabbergasted the tourist continues on his holiday and on his return to Liverpool tells all and sundry about the amazing Memory Man. He just can't get him out of his mind and so he vows to return and find him again and pay him his due respect .

He saves his dole money for years and finally twelve years later he has saved enough and returns to the states in search of the memory man.

He searches high and low for him. And after two weeks of trying virtually every bar and town in Arizona he finds him sitting in a cave in the mountains, older, greyer and more wrinkled than before but still resplendent in his warpaint and full regalia.

The scouser, duly humbled approaches him and decides to greet him in the traditional manner..


The memory man squints at the scouser.

'Flying header in the six yard box.'

Sunday 10 October 2010

Odd and Trivial Facts

The wingspan of the Wandering Albatross is 3.5m (11 foot 6 inches). That of the Andean Condor is 32.m (10 foot 6 inches) and of the Mute Swan 2.3m (7 feet 6 inches). The Golden Eagle's wingspan is 2.2m (7 foot 3 inches) and the Grey Heron 1.9m (6 foot 2 inches).

Oscar Wilde's proper name was Final O'Flahertie Wills.

Some long-lived animals include Marion's Tortoise (Geochelone sumeirei) (152 years); another Tortoise (Testudo graeca) (116 years) the Deep Sea Clam (110 years); Killer Whales and Blue Whales (90 years); and Frshwater Oysters (80 years).

The seven virtues are prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice, faith, hope and love.

The Agentinosaurus was the largest dinosaur discovered to date. It weighed between 80 and 100 tonnes. (For comparison purposes, an African Elephant weighs 5.9 tonnes.) The Ultrasaurus also weighed over 80 tonnes while the Supersaurus was anywhere between 50 and 100 tonnes as was the Seismosaurus. The Brachiosaurus was 45 to 50 tonnes and the Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus) 30 to 35 tonnes.

An early advocate of recycling was Gioachino Rossini, the composer. He used the overture for his opera Aureliano in Palmira again as the overture to Elizabeth, Queen of England. Even then he had no pangs of conscience when he decided to use it again as the overture to The Barber of Seville.

Saturday 9 October 2010

'Twould ring the bells of Heaven

'Twould ring the bells of Heaven
The wildest peal for years,
If Parson lost his senses
And people came to theirs,
And he and they together
Knelt down with angry prayers
For tamed and shabby tigers
And dancing dogs and bears,
And wretched, blind, pit ponies,
And little hunted hares.

Ralph Hodgson "The Bells of Heaven" 1917

This moving poem was one which Mum used to quote, giving particular force to the next to last line because she had seen pit ponies in her youth when she had been down a coal mine in Derbyshire - A remarkable thing for a young girl to have done in the 1910s.    At their peak in 1913, there were 70,000 ponies underground in Britain. Almost unbelievably, there were still pit ponies in use in the 1980s and in 1984 there were said to be 55, many of them at Ellington in Northumberland. The last surviving pit pony is thought to have died in 2009 at the age of 35.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Liverpool Biennial - Temple of a Thousand Bells

Laura Belém’s ‘Temple of a Thousand Bells’ is one of the many works in the Liverpool Biennial – International Festival of Contemporary Art.

This work, in the Oratory of Liverpool Cathedral, is described as an installation with sound, glass bells, nylon string. 5.1 sound system, lighting. The audio presentation is 8 minutes long and the music is by Fernando Rocha.

The work is a free adaptation of an ancient legend, the story of an island temple whose most remarkable and distinctive feature was its endowment of a thousand bells. Allegedly the sound of these bells could be heard by travellers crossing the sea, even at great distances.

Over the centuries the island sank into the ocean but a sailor continues a quest to hear the sound of the bells.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Wednesday Wildlife - The Camberwell Beauty

This is one of the British butterflies that I have never seen and can hardly expect to since it is a migrant from continental Europe and is most frequently seen in the Eastern counties. Of all the species I haven’t seen it is the one I would most like to – beating even the Large Blue and Swallowtail into a far flung second place.

“The German word gestalt means something which appears to be more than the sum of its parts. Surely a term that can be applied to the enigmatic Camberwell Beauty Nymphalis antiopa. Our fascination with this species seems more than the facts alone can explain. It is beautiful (with velvety wings that glow with iridescent hues, as it fidgets them open and closed, straw coloured borders and dazzling blue spots)l but then so is the Peacock Inachis io. It is large, rare and an evidently powerful insect, but others are larger, rarer, etc. While scarcity always adds an extra appeal, the Camberwell Beauty is not as rare as some people assume. Several arrive most years (since 1850 only 13 years have no records) and it has been recorded in every single month.... I have yet to meet a single person who says, ‘I saw one of those. I’m looking for something else now.’ Rather than reducing the urge to see another, that magical first encounter seems to strengthen the desire."
Nick Bowles
Butterfly Conservation magazine c 1995

(Photo from Butterfly Conservation site)

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