Tuesday 31 October 2017

Happy Hallowe'en Everyone.

Sunday 29 October 2017

King Penguins

The king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is a large species of penguin, second only to the emperor penguin in size.

King penguins eat small fish, mainly lanternfish, and squid. They are less reliant on krill and other crustaceans than most Southern Ocean predators. On foraging trips king penguins repeatedly dive to over 100 metres (300 ft), and have been recorded at depths greater than 300 metres (1,000 ft).

King penguins breed on the subantarctic islands at the northern reaches of Antarctica, South Georgia, and other temperate islands of the region.

The king penguin is the emblem of Edinburgh Zoo.

Saturday 28 October 2017

Mersey Tunnel

At the time of its opening The Queensway Tunnel linking Liverpool and Birkenhead under the river Mersey was the longest road tunnel in the world, a title it held for 14 years until the opening of the Vielha Tunnel in Spain in 1948, though it remained the longest underwater tunnel as of 1955. The tunnel, which cost a total of £8 million, was opened on 18 July 1934 by king George V, the opening ceremony was watched by 200,000 people. 

There were also dock exits and entrances at both ends, controlled by traffic lights..

In those days the tunnel had green toll booths at the ends, manned by attendants who handed out tickets.  

This ticket was among the possessions of my Uncle Eric.  He retained it because it was a memento of the day he came through the tunnel to Liverpool to get married at Liverpool Registry Office.

Friday 27 October 2017

The Avocet

Partner-who-loves-tea and I have just had a week away and one of the places we visited was Birdland at Bourton-on-the-Water.  One of the birds we saw there was the Pied Avocet.  The four species of avocets are a genus, Recurvirostra, of waders in the same avian family as the stilts. The genus name is from Latin recurvus, "curved backwards" and rostrum, "bill".  The common name is thought to be derived from the Italian (Ferrarese) word avosetta.   Francis Willughby in 1678 noted it as the "Avosetta of the Italians".   

Avocets have long legs and they sweep their long, thin, upcurved bills from side to side when feeding in the brackish or saline wetlands they prefer.

The Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta ) is a distinctively-patterned black and white wader with a long up-curved beak. It is the emblem of the RSPB and symbolises the bird protection movement in the UK more than any other species.

They had been extinct in Britain for a long time because of land reclamation of their habitat and persecution by skin and egg collectors, but during or soon after World War II started breeding on reclaimed land near the Wash which was returned to salt marsh to make difficulties for any landing German invaders.  Its return in the 1940s and subsequent increase in numbers represents one of the most successful conservation and protection projects.

Avocets are found along the east coast of England in summer and in the Exe estuary in winter. 


Do you remember

Do you remember taking the primus stove on your picnics?

Thursday 26 October 2017

Do you remember?

Sunday 22 October 2017

Birthday card

Do you recall my post about the name of our house a fewposts ago?

I received this card today!

Thank you Friend-uber-special.

Saturday 21 October 2017

What happens?

Thursday 19 October 2017

If Literature's Great Characters Could Text

Here is a book I just have to read...

Here, for example, is Gone with the Wind...

Scarlett O'Hara:
ashley r u there
(i'm DRUNK (from brandy))
remember that time we made out in the barn

Ashley Wilkes:
Scarlett, it's four in the morning and I have to get up in two hours to run your mill
Please don't text me this late

Scarlett O'Hara:
oh i sold the mill
did i not tell you that

Ashley Wilkes:

Scarlett O'Hara:
did you know that pantalets are out this year
that's why im not wearing any :)

Ashley Wilkes:

Wednesday 18 October 2017

What now?

I believe this is the 3,000th post on this blog.  Wow!

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Do you remember

Do you remember taking the primus stove on your picnics?

Hooded Crow

The hooded crow (Corvus cornix) (also called hoodie in Scotland) is a Eurasian bird species in the Corvus genus. Widely distributed, it is also known locally as Scotch crow and Danish crow. In Ireland it is called caróg liath or grey crow, just as in the Slavic languages and in Danish. In German it is called "mist crow" ("Nebelkrähe"). Found across Northern, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, as well as parts of the Middle East, it is an ashy grey bird with black head, throat, wings, tail, and thigh feathers, as well as a black bill, eyes, and feet. Like other corvids, it is an omnivorous and opportunistic forager and feeder.

It is so similar in morphology and habits to the carrion crow (Corvus corone), for many years they were considered by most authorities to be geographical races of one species. Hybridization observed where their ranges overlapped added weight to this view. However, since 2002, the hooded crow has been elevated to full species status after closer observation; the hybridisation was less than expected and hybrids had decreased vigour. Within the hooded crow species, four subspecies are recognized, with one, the Mesopotamian crow, possibly distinct enough to warrant species status itself.

Sunday 15 October 2017


I recognise this varnish - it's Ron Seal

Tuesday 3 October 2017

The Willows

When we moved into our house it had no name, only a confusing number – 1A.
Confusing because 1A would normally come after no 1.  Ours is the first house in th road and therefore comes before no 1.  And on the electoral register it comes after all the other numbers, right at the other end of the road, so no one can ever find it.

So we gave it a name.  There was a medium sized (now huge) Weeping Willow in the front garden and we planted another there and a Corkscrew Willow in the back garden.  And we called the house The Willows.

What we did not know was that in Chinese a ‘House of Willow’ is a brothel.  I wonder what our Chinese neighbours thought of the name?  Perhaps we should have put up a notice like this one that I found on the Internet!

In traditional Chinese symbolism, a young girl is a 'Tender willow and fresh flower'.  

And there are lots of traditions concerning the ability of the willow to repel ghosts and the giving of a willow branch to encourage someone to stay.

The Dictionary of Chinese Symbols: Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought (Routledge) also informs one that “The willow, much valued as firewood, is a symbol of spring.  As spring is the season of erotic awakenings, the phrase ‘Willow feelings and flower wishes’ means sexual desire;  Looking for flowers and buying willows’ means visiting a prostitute; ‘Flowers and willows by the wayside’ are prostitutes; and ‘Sleeping among flowers and reposing beneath willows’ is a term for visiting a brothel.  

My Facebook friend, author Ann Chin, points out that since we are not in China it doesn’t matter that we live at The Willows but I still find it most amusing!

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