It is now two weeks since I went to Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens. Argueably August isn’t the most obvious time to visit because it is an in-between time, when the best of the flowers are fading and the colours of Autumn aren’t yet with us (though judging by our recent Autumnal mornings and evenings they will be with us soon). The reason I went to the Botanics was to look at the animals. No, not the zoo, the Botanic Gardens…, and to prove it I have attached a few examples. Unfortunately the menagerie closed on Sunday, but here is the Jungle City website (I don’t know how long that will be up either, but judging by some of the pages on the web it could be around for years).
Yes, these are steel washers (stainless, I hope), each one welded to the next. Labour of love, or what?
Tag Archives: edinburgh
The new pond at Whitmuir The Organic Place is beginning to look less like a reservoir on a construction site and more like a place to find wildlife. Today, in rare gaps between cloudbursts, we transplanted around seventy clumps of native Scottish wildflowers (Scotia Seeds Pond Edge Mixture, raised from seed). If the young plants manage to survive being planted into what looked to me rather like potters’ clay, they will eventually flower, self-seed and spread. Watch this space. Even better, if you are lucky enough to be anywhere near Edinburgh, Peebles, West Linton or Lamancha, go and see the new pond.
More about Whitmuir Wildlife here
I have heard recently that Edinburgh is the seventh most congested city in Europe. This, as anyone who has attempted to drive through Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol (none of which are in the top six) and several other UK cities will testify, this is complete, unadulterated, arrant nonsense. And what about Madrid? Rome? Paris? They don’t even figure in the top six. If you want traffic jams, try these cities, don’t pick on Edinburgh. Is it possible that these statistics were compiled at some time in the last two years, when Edinburgh’s centre was jammed solid with cars as a result of snarl-ups caused by the tram works?
Ah…! So let’s get it right. Edinburgh is NOT the seventh worst city in Europe for traffic jams. It was for a while, and there was a reason. It is not now. At a guess, it is way down the league table, I’m guessing around number twenty (on a par with Aberdeen and Amsterdam).
Believe me, after having lived in Reading (20 years ago) and having had to commute into London twice a week, Edinburgh is a mere pussy-cat in the cat-house of traffic jams.
A SatNav firm provided these statistics. SatNavs are the things that do this.
My arms ache. I have been painting my hall, the woodwork with a brush and the walls with a roller. Years ago I plastered a wall and I couldn’t believe how anyone with arm muscles any smaller than Popeye’s could do such work professionally. Today I saw these guys, and felt humbled. These are full-length scaffold planks being lowered down the face of a building in Edinburgh’s George Street this lunchtime by sons of Popeye. The speed at which they lowered them was awesome.
I have just watched a Channel 4 Documentary, ‘Birth of Britain’, presented by Tony Robinson of ‘Time Team’ and ‘Blackadder’ fame. To me he makes a passable and often entertaining presenter of archaeological programmes because he surrounds himself with professionals who put him right when he strays from good science. But archaeology is a far cry from geology, as this programme shows. He was aided at the start by a couple of geologists, a quiet one from Edinburgh who stood with him on Salisbury Crags (while he referred to the whole rock mass as Arthur’s Seat) and a very loud one indeed from Cardiff who walked him up a ‘mountain’ in Wales (it wasn’t Snowdon, so which mountain was this?) and shouted geology at him. Robinson was just about passable when he was narrating, presumably from a script, but when extemporising on hillsides he was often at a loss to find the appropriate terminology to describe geological processes. As a result we had the occasional baffling remark such as ‘…imagine that (volcano) richocheting across the Welsh countryside…’.
You have to be very, very good to explain something you don’t really understand. Ideally you shouldn’t even attempt it. ‘Birth’ has the odd random professional helper (including two Roman Centurion re-enactors on Hadrian’s Wall… why are they always Centurions?) but none of them helped to hold the programme – or the geology – together. Birth of Britain is the dumbing-down of science at its worse. You would think, after watching this, that the whole of Britain consists of volcanic rock (some of the graphics are good, though).
Perhaps ‘Birth of Britain’ will get better. For me, the bit I have seen already is dead in the water, and as a programme that attempts to explain the geology of Britain it should sink without trace. Presumably Robinson wouldn’t (I hope) dream of attempting to present a programme on astronomy, physics or chemistry, so why choose geology? It is a complex subject that requires a geologically qualified presenter. If you want to see it done properly, watch ‘Men of Rock’, presented by Iain Stewart. This is how it should be done.
‘Men of Rock’ clips (and some of the programmes – for the next few days at least) are here.
The next time you cross Edinburgh’s Waverley Bridge you might want to do it on tiptoe. If any of my motorbikes were as rusty as this they would fail their MOT. How has it been allowed to get this bad? It looks to me as if some of the steel at road-deck level has been eaten right through. Surely I’m not the only person who’s noticed it?
Click on the picture for a bigger (scarier) image.
It’s a shame the lorry is in the way because otherwise it would have looked more believable – though it looks more like a Himalayan peak than one of our rolling Pentland Hills. It is at Pentland Plants, built from the snow they shifted to clear their car park yesterday.
That really is the sun up there, not the moon. It’s 1030 in the morning, in Edinburgh, looking south. I wondered what people were looking at* and why tourists (Oh yes, we get tourists, especially this time of year!) were taking pictures.
(*I had considered using that old joke and saying ‘then it dawned on me’, but realised that if I did you might never read my blog again)