Monday, 27 October 2008
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Friday, 29 August 2008
My absolute favourite is their millenium garden, designed by Piet Oudolf (www.oudolf.com). Paths wind through enormous borders featuring colourful perennials and grasses. Careful planting has resulted in a most spectacular display from early summer right through the winter. Some of my favourite pictures are below, but see gap photos for more details.
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Both Ian and I will be contributing, but I can't say with what frequency. I feel very inspired to read at the moment, Ian having put up lots of shelving in the lounge. For the first time in a very long time the majority of my books are on a shelf. This has made me realise how many of them I haven't yet read and others that I want to reread. I suspect many will have to wait til winter though as it seems such a shame to stay indoors when the weather is good and the garden needs so much attention.
'When the topic of the sentence is different to the grammatical subject, the grammatical subject is followed by ga (the topic is followed by wa)'
I have an example:
I don't understand English: Eigo ga wakaranai desu (literally, English ga don't understand)
I don't eat Japanese food: Nihonshoku wa tabenai desu (literally, Japanese food wa don't eat)
I'm sure I should be able to figure this out, but I can't seem to. Help please!
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Often I read the comments section at the bottom of BBC articles. I really liked this one...
'The other day someone gave me a helium balloon shaped like a panda, and I had to take it across London. If you want people to talk to you, take a panda! I simply couldn't believe how many people (guys, girls, groups, couples, individuals, young, old) stopped to talk to me, to ask the panda's name, to ask if he was dangerous, what he ate... In a city where usually no one speaks to anyone, an anthropomorphic balloon is an instant bond with - apparently - everyone!'
So now you know what to do if you're bored and have no one to talk to!
Thursday, 17 July 2008
As you'll no doubt know the oil does indeed come from the seeds, or rather what we refer to as the seeds. In fact these are actually the fruit of the sunflower, the true seeds being encased in an inedible husk. I guess the fact that we call it olive oil and not olive fruit oil means that sunflower oil does follow the same pattern. In addition to the seed not being a seed, nor is the flower actually a flower - it is a head of numerous flowers crowded together.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Through reading these two books I've learned lots of new Japanese words and lots of Japanese history. The trouble is that I've no idea what is and isn't history. Like the Bernard Cornwell books they contain information on a number of major events and characters and are very well researched. Unfortunately whilst it is generally easy to determine who is and isn't 'made up' in the Cornwell books my lack of knowledge of Japan makes this much more difficult.
The primary rivalries among the samurai in the 19th century result from the outcome of the battle of Sekigahara in 1600. This is commonly known as the Realm Divide and cleared the path to the shogunate for the Tokugawa clan, the last shogunate to control Japan.
James Clavell's Shogun is also a fictionalized account of the rise to fame of the first Tokugawa shogun (thinly disguised as "Toranaga"), culminating in the Battle of Sekigahara.
These days one of Sekigahara's few non-martial attractions is the profusion of fireflies in the area. Lake Mishima is home to a particularly famous firefly spot housing hundreds if not thousands on a good day. A Firefly Festival is held there in the early summer.
Friday, 9 May 2008
Sunday, 4 May 2008
Sunday, 20 April 2008
Having got back from California yesterday I was having a lovely relaxing lunch outside with Ian and william when I noticed that in fact there were four of us sitting on the gravel. Master slow worm was so still that we both feared he was dead. He even let ants run over him, but upon close inspection (and a little encouragement with a twig) he turned out to be very much alive.
This is the second baby slow worm we've had now; I uncovered the first last year, but it wriggled into the grass so quickly I could barely be sure that it was indeed a slow worm. This one was much less interested in getting away and actually stayed where we placed him in the undergrowth for over half an hour.
Thursday, 10 April 2008
I spent many happy times playing happy families in my grandparents lounge. Having looked the card game up on Wikipedia I've found that there were many versions, with different families, but some of the other families I remember are Chop, the Butcher, and Sole, the Fisherman/Fishmonger?
Unfortunately I can't find a picture on the internet of the set we used to have, but the daily mail has made a set for the modern age, which is similar in style to the cards that we had.
Sunday, 6 April 2008
Biloba (pronounced by-LOH-ba) comes from the Latin for two-lobed (bi from Latin "bis" meaning double, loba meaning lobes), the leaf being fan-shaped with a split in the middle.
Sunday, 20 January 2008
Thursday, 10 January 2008
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Cashew nuts themselves are surrounded by a double shell. The nut is found on the end closest to the cashew apple. The other end is honeycombed with cells that contain a toxic fluid called cardol that blisters the mouth. For many years, the cashew was referred to as the blister nut.
Friday, 4 January 2008
Having watched I, Robot last night I thought I'd put these up on the blog today.
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Thursday, 3 January 2008
- Vladimir Lenin (really Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) (1922-1924)
- Josef Stalin (really Joseph Vissarionovich Jugashvili ) (1927-1953)
- Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkof (Chairman of the council of ministers under Krushchev from 1953-1955)
- Nikita Sergeyevitch Krushchev (1953-1964)
- Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (1964-1982)
- Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov (1982-1984)
- Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko (1984-1985)
- Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (1985-1991)