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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Antarctic photo of the day

Black Browed Albatross - West Point Island - West Falkland Islands

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thousands Dead following floods in Somerset and South Wales

Last Saturday afternoon I drove over the Severn Bridge to the Caerleon campus of the University of Wales to a Forum to discuss the possible causes of the disastrous flood which occurred 400 years ago today on both the Welsh and Somerset shores of the Bristol Channel. 2,000 people were reported drowned in that event and it is considered pertinent to consider the possibilities that such an event could happen again with even more loss and damage.
Organised by Bath Spa University Department of Science and the Environment, detailed historical and geological evidence was presented. A most lively debate ensued as to whether the cause was a storm surge aligned to winds and a high spring tide, or alternatively by a tsunami following a landslip off the South West coast of Ireland or even further away. These matters have been presented before but this event was timed to coincide with today’s anniversary. A packed lecture theatre of interested people had very good value from the experts speaking for and against the two propositions. A majority at the end of the debate favoured a storm surge over a tsunami. Whatever it was, it may happen again and the Somerset and Newport Levels remain vulnerable in the future.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Photo of the Day

They will soon be here again!

Monday, January 22, 2007

My Photo of the Day

Allt - y Rhiw [middle of photo] from the South- photo taken last July. There have been many changes since and the new owners, Mr & Mrs Whitthread have now moved in. This picture was taken for comparison purposes as I plan to visit again soon.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My Photo of the Day

Clifton Suspension Bridge from the Leigh Woods side looking towards Clifton Village.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Our Village - by Thomas Hood

Our Village -
"By a Villager"

Our village, that's to say, not Miss Mitford's village, but our village of Bullock Smithy,
Is come into by an avenue of trees, three oak pollards, two elders, and a withy;
And in the middle there's a green, of about not exceeding an acre and a half;
It's common to all and fed off by nineteen cows, six ponies, three horses, five asses, two foals, seven pigs, and a calf!
Besides a pond in the middle, as is held by a similar sort of common law lease,
And contains twenty ducks, six drakes, three ganders, two dead dogs, four drowned kittens, and twelve geese.
Of course the green's cropt very close, and does famous for bowling when the little village boys play at cricket;
Only some horse, or pig, or cow, or great jackass, is sure to come and stand right before the wicket.
There's fifty-five private houses, let alone barns and workshops, and pigsties, and poultry huts, and such-like sheds,
With plenty of public-houses—two Foxes, one Green Man, three Bunch of Grapes, one Crown, and six King's Heads.
The Green Man is reckoned the best, as the only one that for love or money can raise
A postillion, a blue jacket, two deplorable lame white horses, and a ramshackle "neat post-chaise!"
There's one parish church for all the people, whatsoever may be their ranks in life or their degrees,
Except one very damp, small, dark, freezing cold, a little Methodist Chapel of Ease;
And close by the churchyard, there's a stone-mason's yard, that when the time is seasonable
Will furnish with afflictions sore and marble urns and cherubims, very low and reasonable.
There's a cage, comfortable enough; I've been in it with Old Jack Jeffery and Tom Pike;
For the Green Man next door will send you in ale, gin, or anything else you like.
I can't speak of the stocks, as nothing remains of them but the upright post;
But the pound is kept in repair for the sake of Cob's horse as is always there almost.
There's a smithy of course, where that queer sort of a chap in his way, Old Joe Bradley,
Perpetually hammers and stammers, for he stutters and shoes horses very badly.
There's a shop of all sorts that sells everything, kept by the widow of Mr. Task;
But when you go there it's ten to one she's out of everything you ask.
You'll know her house by the swarm of boys, like flies, about the old sugary cask:
There are six empty houses, and not so well papered inside as out,
For bill-stickers won't beware, but stick notices of sales and election placards all about.
That's the Doctor's with a green door, where the garden pots in the window is seen;
A weakly monthly rose that don't blow, and a red geranium, and a teaplant with five black leaves, and one green.
As for hollyhocks at the cottage doors, and honeysuckles and jasmines, you may go and whistle;
But the Tailor's front garden grows two cabbages, a dock, a ha'porth of pennyroyal, two dandelions, and a thistle!
There are three small orchards—Mr. Busby's the school-master's is the chief—
With two pear trees that don't bear; one plum, and an apple that every year is stripped by a thief.
There's another small day-school too, kept by the respectable Mrs. Gaby,
A select establishment for six little boys, and one big, and four little girls and a baby;
There's a rectory with pointed gables and strange odd chimneys that never smokes,
For the Rector don't live on his living like other Christian sort of folks;
There's a barber's once a week well filled with rough black-bearded, shock-headed churls,
And a window with two feminine men's heads, and two masculine ladies in false curls;
There's a butcher's, and a carpenter's, and a plumber's, and a small greengrocer's, and a baker,
But he won't bake on a Sunday; and there's a sexton that's a coal merchant besides, and an undertaker;
And a toyshop, but not a whole one, for a village can't compare with the London shops;
One window sells drums, dolls, kites, carts, bats, Clout's balls, and the other sells malt and hops,
And Mrs. Brown in domestic economy not to be a bit behind her betters,
Lets her house to a milliner, a watchmaker, a rat-catcher, a cobbler, lives in it herself, and it's the post-office for letters.
Now I've gone through all the village—ay, from end to end, save and except one more house,
But I haven't come to that—and I hope I never shall—and that's the Village Poor House!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My Photo of the Day

We need a bright photo today, to make up for the miserable rainy and windy weather outside! Don't ask - I have no idea who the man on the left is, but he seemed lonely and had been sitting there a long time.

Monday, January 08, 2007

My Photo of the Day

Mallard duck and ducklings on the pond behind Dunster beach

Friday, January 05, 2007

My Photo of the Day

The little Norwegian whalers' Church at Grytviken on South Georgia. November 2005

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Photo of the Day

Cader Idris 2006

Someone has left a woolly jumper behind!