30 September 2008

Calendar Meme 29/09/2008


Calendar Meme 29/09/2008, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr photo meme. This hasn't really worked how I thought it would, but interesting to do, and surprisingly hard.

1. polesden avenue, 2. Frost February morning on field work, 3. The Mighty Daffodil, 4. Spring Greens, 5. Bluebell Woods, 6. Village Cricket 2, 7. SUFFOLK: BUSY-BEE, 8. Summer Around Old Arley Warwickshire, 9. Spider Web, 10. Rishbeth Wood dressed up for Autumn, 11. Bolton Abbey Leaves on sidewalk after rain, 12. Nottingham Christmas lights, 2006

Please pick a favorite photo for each of the 12 months, something that brings that month to mind . . . starting with January and ending with December.

1. January
2. February
3. March
4. April
5. May
6. June
7. July
8. August
9. September
10. October
11. November
12. December

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

28 September 2008

Midweek Meme 26/09/2008


Midweek Meme 26/09/2008, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. Austin 7 Box Saloon, 2. January moon, 3. Wicken Manor & Time Team, 4. 0930 Blue Eye, 5. A dance to the music of time, 6. Cat Conspiracy, 7. Christmas Day 2007, 8. Shopping for Saturday, 9. June Lake Fire In The Sky 2, 10. Sea lace, 11. Anyone for Fennel Tea?, 12. "WHY MEN LOVE US"

Questions and Answers:
1. What's your lucky/favorite number? 7
2. In what month were you born? January
3. Favorite tv show/movie? Time Team
4. What time did you wake up today? 0930
5. Favorite book? A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
6. Favorite animal? Cats
7. An important date to you? Christmas Day
8. Favorite day of the week? Saturday
9. Favorite month? June
10. Favorite sound? The Sea
11. One thing in your refrigerator right now. Fennel
12. You write your own question here! Why?

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

27 September 2008

Deep Thought from Osho

I've recently picked up a couple of books by the mystic teacher Osho* and have been flicking through them. This is from his volume Intimacy; it seems strangely relevant:

This society is a power-oriented society. This society is still utterly primitive, utterly barbarian. A few people – politicians, priests, professors – are dominating millions. And this society is run in such a way that no child is allowed to have intelligence. It is a sheer accident that once in a while a Buddha arrives on the earth [...] Somehow, once in a while a person escapes from the clutches of society. Once in a while a person remains unpoisoned by society. That must be because of some error, some mistake of society. Otherwise society succeeds [...] in destroying your trust in yourself. And once that is done, you will never be able to trust anybody.

* Better known to those of us brought up on a diet of 60s/70s culture as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

26 September 2008

The Atheist's Prayer

I found this somewhere on the intertubes the other day and thought it should be more widely known.

The Atheist's Prayer

Our brains, which art in our heads,
treasured be thy name.
Thy reasoning come.
Thy best you can do be done on earth as it is.
Give us this day new insight to help us
resolve conflicts and ease pain.
And lead us not into supernatural explanations;
deliver us from denial of logic.
For thine is the kingdom of reason,
and even though thy powers are limited,
and you're not always glorious,
you are the best evolutionary adaptation
we have for helping this earth now and
for ever and ever.
So be it.

24 September 2008

Pieces of Me


Pieces of Me, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 31/52 (2008 week 39).

This is the collection of metal I wear permenantly; this scan was the first time they have all been removed in years -- even the last couple of times I've had operations I've kept my wedding ring (middle right) on (but taped over).

23 September 2008

Just for Fun Meme


Just for Fun Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. Project Manager Pig, 2. (another kind of) self-portrait, post (flesh/blue) self, 3. Music to My Ears, 4. EthnicRR India, 5. 365.153 - looking glass, 6. My Swearing Fridge, 7. one cherry, 8. WHY I LOVE MOM, 9. Persian Carpets, 10. I'm not just a music freak. I can read too!, 11. Tomatoes, 12. Rosa Tuscany - Old Velvet Rose

This turned out, quite unexpectedly, as an interesting colour progression!

Questions & Answers:
1. What is your occupation right now? IT Project Manager
2. What color are your socks right now? Flesh, 'cos I ain't wearing any
3. What are you listening to right now? My ears
4. Who is the last person you talked to on the phone? Robin in India
5. What is the last movie you watched? I don't do films, so I don't have a clue
6. How do you vent anger? By swearing
7. Cherries or Blueberries? Cherries, every time
8. When was the last time you cried? When the Floss cat died
9. What is on the floor of your closet? Carpet
10. What did you do last night? Read
11. What are you most afraid of? Not having money and health
12. What is your favorite flower? Old roses

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Beliefs Meme


Beliefs Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. on earth all things are connected, 2. "Nothing Is True. Everything Is Possible.", 3. religion, 4. Pick a god, any god, 5. Daily Paint 5/21: Yeti!, 6. Puff is Still The Magic Dragon, 7. DSCN3611, 8. Summer Time, 9. Dust to Dust, 10. 'SIGNS OF RELGION AND BELIEFS FROM ABOUT 6500 B.C.' - 'FROM NOW WHAT IS MODERN TURKEY' - 'AT THE TOWN 'CATAL HUYUK'' - Best viewed large !, 11. Miles Levin's memorial service, 12. Nut

As I thought up this subject I thought I'd better do it. :-)

The Questions & Answers:
1. Something or somebody you believe in All things are connected
2. Descreibe your god in three words Everything and nothing
3. Something evil you believe exists Religion
4. Something you are totally unable to believe in God, any god
5. A conspiracy theory you believe is possible The yeti
6. A mythical animal you believe in? Dragons
7. What religion do you profess? Non-deism
8. Your favourite "holy" place Haven't got one
9. What do you believe happens when we die? Dust to dust, ashes to ashes
10. Something everyday and ordinary that you find incredible Belief
11. What was the last religious event that you attended? Memorial service
12. Your favourite ancient god (Greek, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Egyptian, etc.) Nut, Egyptian goddess of the sky

Oh and there isn't a single animate object in the images!

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

20 September 2008

London Bridge Sheep


All dressed up and ..., originally uploaded by cliffpatte.

Earlier in the week around 500 Liverymen and Freemen of the City of London, many dressed in their royal blue robes and straw boaters, exercised their 11th century right to herd their sheep across London Bridge into the City without paying the bridge toll.

The procession was lead by Lord Mayor of the City of London, and part-time sheep farmer, David Lewis. He was accompanied by his official bodyguards, the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers, in their uniform which dates from the time of King Charles I.

While I was aware of this ancient right, I was not aware that it was ever exercised, and I'm delighted it is! It is these strange and ancient rights which add so much of the colour and eccentricity to English (British) life and sadly too many are being abandoned.

Further reports at, inter alia, Times Online and Daily Telegraph.
And further photos from cliffpatte at Flickr.

Hat tip Jilly at jillysheep.

Quote of the Day

Today's Quotation of the Day:

It seems that the Republican Party in the United States has made an audacious bid to retain power by running Mr Burns and Marge Simpson as candidates for president and vice-president.
[John Doyle, TV critic, in his 2 September 2008 column]

Well it cracked me up, anyway.

19 September 2008

In the Chapter House Mirror


In the Chapter House Mirror, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 30/52 (2008 week 38).

Taken in Rochester Cathedral Tea Rooms.

18 September 2008

Zen Mischievous Moments #145

Misty over at Momentary lapses of insanity has come up with some absolute gems of proofreading errors, all of which are perfectly OK according to Microdaft’s spellchecker. Her list includes these classics:

Mrs X lived in a charming country cottage, almost completely covered in hysteria.

Paul was overjoyed at the opportunity to be reunited with his long lost brothel.

Her train of thought was cuddled to say the least.

A large croup had gathered by the monument.

They managed to get themselves the lead prat in the play.

Alice somehow managed to get her knickers in a twit.

The farmer won the prize with his fine new bollocks.

Poof reader required, contact ...

Zen Mischievous Moments #144

Yesterday we were briefly in Rochester and stopped to have afternoon tea (well, tea and cake, not the full works with cucumber sandwiches, scones and jam, vicars, etc.) in the cathedral tea shop. I ordered a coffee for Noreen and a large pot of tea for me only to be told:

I can’t do you a large pot of tea, but I can do you a pot of tea for two.
Duh?!

16 September 2008

Another Quote

Another wonderful quote from a correspondent just now on the BBC News Channel, vis-á-vis some political tribulation or other:
[The Labour Party] conference will be an extremely febrile week.

Quote of the Day

I heard this on today's BBC Lunchtime News from Rt Hon. Keith Vaz MP:

There is an economic tsunami coming over the Atlantic.

An interestingly picturesque, if apposite, way of expressing the current economic difficulties.

Noreen Marshall, Her Book

After something like 2 years in gestation Noreen's book, Dictionary of Children's Clothes, finally appears in early-October. Here's what the V&A's blurb for the book says:

Over the last 300 years, children’s clothing has witnessed a gradual shift from dressing children to adult requirements, in multiple layers and formal styles, to the booming designer childrenswear market of today. This accessible and well-illustrated dictionary features over 300 garments, from air-raid suits to zouave jackets, with specially commissioned photographs from the world’s largest and most diverse collection at the V&A Museum of Childhood. A fully illustrated timeline and introduction offer an at-a-glance understanding of the changes in children’s fashions and a rich selection of line drawings and illustrations from sewing and knitting patterns, to catalogues, dolls, fashion plates, photographs, paintings and children’s fiction put the garments in context. Noreen Marshall is Curator of the Dress, Doll and Childcare Collections at the V&A Museum of Childhood. She has worked on a number of V&A exhibitions, including Stile Liberty, Jolly Hockey Sticks, The Pack Age, and a series of Christmas exhibitions.

Despite having been married to Noreen for most of the 30-odd years she's worked at the Museum of Childhood, I have seen relatively little of this book during its birth traumas; it's been a closely guarded secret. Until now, that is! I have now seen an early-released copy and, as can be seen from the dust-jacket (above), it's a sumptuous volume illustrated with specially commissioned colour photographs on every page of the dictionary section. As well as the dictionary there is an extended essay by way of introduction, a 300-year timeline and several appendixes which enhance the main content. The book isn't cheaply produced, something which is reflected in the cover price of £30, but this is excellent value considering the quality and the work which has gone into the production.

This book is a real treasure for anyone interested in costume or childhood. It may be pre-ordered from Amazon UK or from the V&A Online Shop.

Dictionary of Children's Clothes, 1700 to the Present, by Noreen Marshall, is published on 06 October by the Victoria & Albert Museum at £30; ISBN 9781851775477.

Alternate Meme


Alternate Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. black.sky, 2. Blue Ocean, 3. Glass House Mountains, 4. Sun Moon Venus Mercury, 5. Perseid Meteor Night Shoot • Milky-way and 2 Meteors, 6. Vanilla Sky, 7. swimming to the Moks, 8. China Beach Sunrise, 9. Find a bird, 10. Spooky, Flying Space-Cat, 11. a good wine, 12. Luna and the Evening Star

This is for the alternative meme made available for anyone who doesn't have a car and so didn't want to do this week's main meme. Many of us have of course chosen to do both! I deceided to do this with two extra rules: (a) the pictures must come from the first two pages of results and (b) each would be a skyscape. The latter was surprisingly easy; number 10 being the biggest challenge. Enjoy!

The Questions & Answers:
You're given 2 words and choose the word that you associate with the most ... your first thought:
1. black / white
2. ocean / river
3. desert / mountains
4. sun / moon
5. day / night
6. chocolate / vanilla
7. swim / ski
8. beach / pool
9. birds / butterflies
10. cat / dog
11. wine / beer
12. even / odd

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

15 September 2008

Car Meme


Car Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. white and blue 68, 2. The Magic Flying Carpet, 3. Blue Heron Rayon Metallic (Blue Violet), 4. Supersonic Doubledek, 5. campus, early morning, snow, 6. frogish robot drives monster truck, 7. Tandem Flight into the Night, 8. tourist 4018, 9. IHC Hospital thru Main Rotor, 10. MGA through a river, 11. White Pegasus, 12. Spread your wings and fly away...

As I don't drive (I never have and probably now never will) a slightly wacky, fantasy-esque, contribution this week. :-)

The Questions & Answers:
1. What make or model was your first car? Pale blue Alfa Romeo Formula 1, circa 1960
2. What would be your dream vehicle? Magic carpet
3. What is your favorite color for a car? Metallic blue
4. What is your favorite speed to drive? Supersonic
5. Where is the stupidest place you've ever parked your car? In the village of War Drobe
6. Stick or Automatic? Robot-drive
7. What has been your favorite vehicle that you've owned? Tandem
8. How old were you when you got your drivers license? 4018
9. What is your favorite feature on a car/vehicle? Rotor blades
10. You're going on a road trip - what vehicle would you rent if anything was available for you? MGA; and yes they did exist, quite some while before the much more famous MGB
11. Does your car have a name, if so what is it? Pegasus, unless you can think of a better name for a magic carpet!!
12. What one feature is a deal breaker in buying a car, ie: if the car doesn't have it you won't buy it? Wings; to go with the rotor-blades of course!

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

14 September 2008

Quote: Bicycles

Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.

[Bill Nye, The Science Guy]

Ten Commandments

I recently came across ten commandments suggested by Osho, aka. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Indian “Holy Man” of many Rolls-Royces. Although he professed to be against any kind of commandment, "just for fun" he set out the following:

1. Never obey anyone's command unless it is coming from within you also.
2. There is no God other than life itself.
3. Truth is within you, do not search for it elsewhere.
4. Love is prayer.
5. To become a nothingness is the door to truth. Nothingness itself is the means, the goal and attainment.
6. Life is now and here.
7. Live wakefully.
8. Do not swim – float.
9. Die each moment so that you can be new each moment.
10. Do not search. That which is, is. Stop and see.

While they are very “new age” what interested me was how different they are from the original Ten Commandments dictated to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21). Although they vary in detail between different Christian and Judaic sects they are in essence:

1. I am the Lord thy God … Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image …
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother
6. Thou shalt not murder.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet …

What I find interesting, although maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise, is that the Old Testament version, for all its negativity, is about two things: what to believe and how to live in society. By contrast Rajneesh’s version is all about one’s internal conduct (as a means to attain enlightenment). But what struck me is that although these are two very different sets of “instructions”, and leaving apart structures to about a God-being, both essentially boil down to one thing: “Do as you would be done by” or in Wicca as “An it harm none, do what ye will”. Although with the Rajneesh version one has to interpret this between the lines. Which just supports my view that all religious belief boils down to this one thing: treat others as you would wish them to treat you. And indeed all seven of the major world religions do have such a tenet embedded within them.

By contrast the often though to be religious “smash the infidel” commandment is a purely militaristic and political mindset of “my tribe is better than your tribe” and seldom anything to do with true religion and philosophical belief systems.

13 September 2008

Medicated Scan


Medicated Scan, originally uploaded by kcm76.

Just for fun I took the scan I used for this week's self-portrait and mucked about with it in Photoshop and PaintShop Pro. Result: one sea blue, dis-armed hand.

12 September 2008

Wrist Scan


Wrist Scan, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 29/52 (2008 week 37).

10 September 2008

LHC Turned On -- Earth Survives

So this morning scientists turned on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. And Earth has survived. Of course it bloody has! The flaming machine hasn't done anything yet!

As I understand it all the scientists have done so far is to turn on the power and inject the first packet of protons into the collider ring. That was never going to do any damage, even supposing damage is likely.

So what happened to these oh so destructive black holes the naysayers think the LHC will produce? Well before that might happen, the scientists have to get a proton beam circulating in both directions (not just one as they've done today); then focus the beams so they collide; and then do it at a high enough energy. That is many weeks, even months, away. This is a gradual process if doing things one step at a time and gradually ramping up the power. To quote CERN's press release:

Starting up a major new particle accelerator takes much more than flipping a switch. Thousands of individual elements have to work in harmony, timings have to be synchronized to under a billionth of a second, and beams finer than a human hair have to be brought into head-on collision. Today’s success puts a tick next to the first of those steps, and over the next few weeks, as the LHC’s operators gain experience and confidence with the new machine, the machine’s acceleration systems will be brought into play, and the beams will be brought into collision to allow the research programme to begin.

Once colliding beams have been established, there will be a period of measurement and calibration for the LHC’s four major experiments, and new results could start to appear in around a year.

So don't expect Armageddon for a year or so, and only then if the LHC doesn't turn out to be a white elephant!

09 September 2008

09/09/2008 This & That Meme!


This & That Meme!, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. Anyone for Cricket?, 2. Sooty Oystercatcher, 3. Blue Hyacinth, 4. I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, 5. Oz on bookcase 04212006 003, 6. Hoover Factory Greenford London, 7. DSC_2240, 8. Cunt Examination, 9. giving Katie the best there is and hoping she'll be gaining back some weight ..., 10. Jack and Jill Windmills in Sussex, 11. egg custard (gross), 12. Latin

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste the html into your blog or Flickr stream (the easiest way is to copy the URLs and then head over to the fd's flickr toys link above and use the mosaic maker).

The Questions & Answers:
1. What was your favorite summertime activity as a kid? Cricket
2. What was your first pet's name? Sooty
3. What model car did you learn to drive on? I didn't; yes that's right, I never have learnt to drive and I don't want to.
4. What's your proudest moment as an adult? I'm sorry I haven't a clue
5. What are your top 3 hobbies (other than photography)? cats, science, books
6. Where do you call home? Greenford
7. Where did you call home at age 11 (or any age)? Waltham Cross
8. What word do you love to say? C**t
9. Where do you go to relax? Lying in the sun
10. Who was your first kiss? Jill
11. Least favorite food? Egg custard
12. Least favorite subject in school? Latin although it's a close finish with woodwork.

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

07 September 2008

Zen Mischievous Moments #143

Yet another timely contribution from the “Feedback” column in this week’s New Scientist

Saddle saw

MOST surprising paper title of the week has to be "Cutting off the nose to save the penis". This article, by Steven Schrader, Michael Breitenstein and Brian Lowe appears in the August issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. What could it possibly be about? The online journal Physorg.com's report on the article makes things a little clearer: "No-nose bicycle saddles improve penile sensation and erectile function in bicycling police officers."

It transpires that the traditional bicycle saddle, with its protruding nose, can cause deleterious health effects such as erectile dysfunction and groin numbness. A study of 90 bicycling police officers before and after using noseless bicycle saddles for six months found "significant improvements in penile tactile sensation" and "significant increases in erectile function". Irwin Goldstein, editor-in-chief of the journal, found the article so rousing that he wrote an accompanying editorial entitled "The A, B, C's of The Journal of Sexual Medicine: Awareness, Bicycle Seats, and Choices".

You wouldn’t believe it if you hadn’t read it here first.

Homeward Bound


Homeward Bound, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 28/52 (2008 week 36).

Taken in the car by the light of the streetlamps on the way home after a day out. (And no, I wasn't driving!)

In fact we'd been to Lowestoft for the day (long trip!) as Noreen wanted to meet up with one of her aunts and discuss family history. we met Noreen's cousin and her husband for lunch (yummy!) and then the "girls" spent the afternoon with their aunt while Tim and I amused ourselves (separately). I spent most of the afternoon on the seafront (which was cool, dull, intermittently wet and windy; with a good swell running on the outgoing tide) taking equally dull photographs. I know I saw the less interesting bits of Lowestoft, and the weather was against us, but sorry guys, the place is a dive. But it was a good day out and blew away some of the cobwebs.

02 September 2008

Science Catch-up

I originally started off the previous post intending to write this one. So, having been diverted, here is the post I’d intended to write ...

Having been “under the cosh” recently I’ve missed writing about a number of science items which have caught my eye. This is by way of a quick update on some of them.

Food Production & Agriculture
I’ve blogged a number of times about the need for a major restructuring of world-wide agriculture (see here, here and here). New Scientist on 14 June carried an article and an editorial on this subject. Sadly, being part of the "mainstream science establishment” (my term)they don’t get the need for restructuring. They see the solution only in terms of improved varieties, increased production and a decrease in food prices, with all the sterility that implies. They’re unable to see the problem in terms of overproduction of animal protein and a reduction in useful farmland due to poor methods and bio-fuel production. All very sad.

Don’t Blame it all on the Gods
The same issue of New Scientist – it was an especially interesting issue – carried a short article with the above title. I’ll let the introduction speak for itself …

Once phenomena that inspired fear and foreboding, lunar and solar eclipses can now be predicted down to the second, forecast centuries into the future, and "hindcast" centuries into the past. The person who started us down the path from superstition to understanding has been called the "Einstein of the 5th century BC", and was known to his contemporaries as "The Mind". He went on trial for his impious notions, was banished from his adopted home, but nevertheless influenced generations of later scholars. He was Anaxagoras, a native of Ionia in what is now Turkey, and the first great philosopher to live in Athens. Now this little-known scholar is being seen by some as the earliest known practitioner of the scientific method.

Worth searching out if you’re interested in the history of science or the Ancient Greeks.

America’s Abortion Scandal
This is the title of the third article I’ve picked from 14 June New Scientist. In the article Pratima Gupta, a (female) practicing obstetrician-gynaecologist, argues against the prevailing belief amongst US medics that abortion is always psychologically damaging for the woman. Gupta sees no evidence for this and rails against “personal moral beliefs trumping scientific evidence [and even] individuals’ personal beliefs”. What’s worse is that there appears to be covert censorship making abortion something which cannot be researched or discussed. All very interesting when put up against the case of Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin whose unmarried 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, being made (as I read it) to have the child and marry the father (see here, for example).

Cut!
Finally, this time from New Scientist of 19 July, which contains an article on male circumcision; again something I’ve blogged about before (see here and here). Quite predictably there is a rumpus brewing about the medical profession’s desire for all males to be circumcised – at least in Africa and by implication world-wide – egged on by the WHO. The studies which showed such huge benefits from circumcision are being criticised for their design, for being stopped early and for their assumptions. Surveys which question people’s experience of circumcision are also highly criticised. And of course being a mainstream science journal, New Scientist totally ignore any question of human rights, abuse and mutilation. It’s about time the medical and scientific professions woke up and smelt the coffee.

And Not a Holiday in Sight

I’ve not been blogging as much as I would have liked over recent weeks. I blame the day job which has been manic especially as I’ve spent a chunk of July and most of August covering for colleagues who are on holiday.

And now summer has gone and, yet again this year, I’ve not had a holiday. Every plan we’ve made to get a break away this year (excepting our 5 days in February) has turned to dust for one reason or another. We had 2 weeks off in early June, but couldn’t get away as we couldn’t get either a cat feeder or get the little buggers into the local cattery. We were planning a trip to Sweden in late-October/early November but our work has scuppered that with important meetings etc. and the friends we were going to see are moving then.

So we’ve had to compromise and are taking a week in mid-September – though having decided where we wanted to go we’ve been unable to book anywhere, so it’s going to be another stay at home break. Still we already have a couple of away-days planned, including a trip to see my favourite aunt who has just come out of hospital after a stroke. The only problem is that if we stay at home we don't relax properly and you always that never-ending list of jobs round your neck like an albatross.

All of which means we’ve had one 5 day break away in the last two years, mostly because of clashes caused by my work and Noreen’s – at any time one or the other of us has been tied to immovable project dates and schedules. And the medics seriously wonder why I get depressed. It’s enough to drive you mad!

Maybe we can get that Swedish break in next Spring. And plans are already afoot for Autumn 2009. By then I might have won the lottery and be retired. Well at least I can dream!

Harvest

Is it my imagination, or is the wheat harvest about a month late this year? There still seem to be farmers bringing in the corn harvest whereas in recent years it seems to have been all over by the end of July. Is it that we've had an especially cool, wet summer. Or that previous tears have been particularly forward because of warmer summers? Have farmers suddenly started planting later-ripening varieties? If so, why? Or is it just me imagining things?