So, the council had no intention of growing potatoes in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens (dig for victory + response, here), they have opted for grass instead. I’m impressed by the size of the rolls of turf, they look rather like the wheels of a mobile crane. If only I had known about them when I laid my lawn. ‘How many rolls of turf did you use?’ ‘Well, just the one, actually…‘
I was going to crop the photo right down to the wall, but the skyline was even more impressive than the rolls of turf, so I left it in.
I have just returned from the classic bike show at Stafford. While I was driving past Stafford University I noticed a particularly rare species of fir tree. Pinus Microwavius cellphonii is only ever seen on high ground and always alone, never in copses or clumps. Its fir cones are an unusual shape and grow clustered around the trunk, dispersing seeds over the surrounding ground at ultra high frequency.
I can only assume that whoever designed these these things has never seen a real fir, and played with Lego plastic trees when he (or she) was a child. Click on the image for a slightly larger tree substitute.
Last weekend we took DVDs away with us to keep the kids happy in the evenings. One was ‘Bee Movie’ by Dreamworks. It is well worth watching, if only for the subtle humour. The star of the show (a bee) is a lawyer. Towards the end of the movie a mosquito appears, carrying a briefcase. ‘Are you a lawyer too?’ a voice asks. ‘Yes,‘ says the mosquito. ‘I already was a bloodsucking parasite. All I needed was the briefcase‘.
I have been away, thankfully only as far as Crieff in Perthshire, so I haven’t experienced any ash-related travel problems. The journey was surprisingly relaxing, made more so by A A Milne. Even if Winnie the Pooh isn’t your thing, the giftbox set of 20 stories (produced unexpectedly by my granddaughter from her voluminous travelling bag) really should not be missed.
The stories are read by a star cast of Stephen Fry, Judi Dench, Jane Horrocks, Geoffrey Palmer, Michael Williams et al., and it has to be the best reading ever, the dry humour comes over so well. The star of the show is Jane Horrocks as Piglet, her performance is amazing.
I have been a policeman and an engineering geologist. I never had to deal with anything quite like this. Photo: Adam Chatterton / Yahoo
They have ploughed up some of the grass in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens. It is proper ploughing, the kind with deep furrows. The three-year-old and I even saw the tractor responsible, it was on a trailer being pulled out of the gardens up a near impossible slope near Waverley Station. We were both taking a break from the Edinburgh Science Fair at the City Arts Centre, and walking hand-in-hand in the sun (yes, blazing sun!). The TYO wanted to take a closer look at the furrows and to poke them with a sharp stick. ‘What do you think they are going to plant here?’ I asked. He responded without hesitation: ‘Potatoes!’
So, Albert Bartlett and your Roosters, you may soon have competition. If not from the TYO, then from Edinburgh Council. They need to pay for the trams.
Now I know why we get such high winds and why there are still patches of snow in the fields surrounding my house, despite two days of bright sun with temperatures as high as 18degC (for us that’s a heatwave). What I didn’t realise until yesterday is that I live at an elevation 40 metres higher than Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat (not physically above it because that would require levitation skills that I do not possess, but I’m sure you understood what I mean). Arthur’s Seat is here.
And no, I’m not a drug dealer, they don’t have sidecars attached to theirs (I am probably years out of date anyway with drug dealers and the black BMW thing). My motorbike and sidecar is á la Two Fat Ladies. The sidecars are similar but the bikes are not, mine is a BMW, theirs was a 1996 Triumph (I know I said that in a previous post, but I have found a photo of them, and their bike, here). If the weather improves about 1000% I shall soon be taking mine out for a run. Or a spin, or whatever you do with bikes. If you are much younger than me – and most people are – then you may not know that bikes with sidecars were known as ‘outfits’ (I have no idea why. The term ‘motorcycle combination’ I can understand). Riding an outfit is unlike riding or driving anything else. Until you have mastered the art they are beastly things to control, they pull to the left or right depending on whether you are accelerating or braking. Imagine a boat dragging its anchor on one side only (or in the case of an underpowered bike, a boat with one side still moored against the harbour wall). Riding in a straight line requires arm muscles like Popeye. Mine are not, so they soon get tired. For me, one of the quirkiest things you learn is not to put your feet down when you stop, which I find counterintuitive. Learning not to put your feet down has a downside for those, like me, who also ride solo bikes. I’m sure you can guess what it is.
Ian Rankin has donated to charity the typescript of his first ever published novel. Details are here, on ebay.
The three-year-old was attempting to put toy handcuffs on his family’s dog the other day. Thankfully the animal is fairly small and amazingly tolerant, a King Charles Spaniel, not a rottweiler (a breed unlikely to take kindly to having its paws handcuffed). Years ago I was taught how to apply handcuffs (yes, really, there is a certain art). I was also taught that when you handcuff a suspect to a lamp post you put the handcuffs on afterwards, not before (advice proferred by a training sergeant when he noticed one of the recruits looking up at the top of the lamp post and frowning).
In case you are concerned about the dog it got up and walked away with only one of its legs handcuffed – and not to a lamp post.