Monthly Archives: January 2013

Developing a flora


Today was milder (a whole 10° C!) and the sun came out.  The films of algae which have been growing here began to bubble happily.           (click for full size image)


The thing is, this is not a pool or pond.  It is a well-used pavement.  And that just about sums up the last eight months’ weather.

Sewing buttons on the car


… feels curiously intimate, especially after rummaging through the button tin for an appropriate object.

The one I chose was subfusc but smooth and tactile

The one I chose was subfusc but smooth and tactile

It reminded me of someone’s grandma, who once made him a set of car seat covers from flowered upholstery linen.  Not only was it much more comfortable to sit on than the nasty plastic seats; it also looked so peculiar and un-cool that the very dull bottom-of-the-range Escort became a personal statement about the young man who drove it.  Still not entirely sure what it said, though.

Sermons in stones ...

Sermons in stones …

Hiding behind the sofa


– only I couldn’t as we were in the cinema.

We have all seen the phone camera recordings a dozen times:  the 2004 tsunami crashing through the trees and obliterating the peaceful poolside morning.  This familiarity is given a tweak by showing the wave without warning, and from a much lower and nearer viewpoint than was (obviously) possible for the original footage.  That, and the underwater scenes which follow, in which human bodies, cars and debris churn as in a giant washing machine, were gruesomely convincing.

Other parts of The Impossible felt more exploitative, manipulative, more sanitized even (in spite of the smashed-up scene and extras).  And of course this family’s ordeal has an impossible ending – even if it really happened.  The film was probably made as authentic as audiences would find acceptable; but I do feel a squeamish unease, wondering if it should have been made at all.

Flowering for fifteen years


Birdsong for the first time since I can’t remember.  Sparrows squabbled in their roost, falling silent at some signal and beginning again, louder; a few depressed-looking starlings perched up against a cold sky; a blackbird uttered a few sweet phrases from somewhere; a robin swooped twittering across the grass, with another in pursuit.

1 birds

I plotched round the ravaged garden, contemplating the unpruned shrubs, lank grass, sodden shed, neglected vegetable patch.  The birch tree developed a huge rotten cavity during the autumn, and to make it safe for the gales it had to be brutally truncated.  Drainage channels were drilled into the hole, but I think it is still getting bigger.

2 birch

The early daffs are trying, but usually get beaten down before they flower.  The stems are too tall for this time of year.

3 buds

The rhubarb is convinced that spring is coming, and a few leeks and a solitary kale plant are still standing.

4 rhubarb

At least the lichen is happy.  It’s always worth taking a photo to see the tiny cups and fronds which are difficult to pick out with naked eye.

6 lichen

The grevillea has been in this pot for twelve of its sixteen years.  It went in as a few sticks and is now as tall as I am.   I’m afraid to repot in case the shock kills it outright.

7 grevillea

It has been flowering for fifteen years.  Continuously.  Summer and winter.  Sometimes it looks hearty and active, sometimes yellow and malnourished, sometimes pinched with cold, but always a few buds and flowers can be found along its sparse branches.

8 grevillea flower

Something and nothing


textiles in archaeo

I’ve come across bits of information about ancient textiles in miscellaneous archaeology reading, and as a knitter, sempstress and embroiderer I have a some practical knowledge too.  So I already knew a good deal of the information in here, and the information I didn’t know was given so briefly that I found myself waving my arms at the book and saying “And?  So how can you tell??  And how did they do it????”

The little Shire books are a good introduction to unfamilar topics, but they can be frustrating.  Moral: spend more and buy a much fatter book.