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Thursday, April 23, 2015

National Pride

Flag of St George
There was a time when one of the most defining identities people had was their nationality. For king, for country. Under the flag.

This island, Great Britain, has been a melting pot of identities as far back as history is recorded.

Angles, Saxons, Romans, Vikings, French and many more besides.

After the Battle of Hastings in 1066 national identities began to coalesce and merge. Wales became part of the United Kingdom first in 1536, then Scotland in 1707, and finally Northern Ireland in 1922 (although previously the Kingdom of Ireland had been part of the Union since 1800).

Union Flag
We fly the Union Flag; which combines the flags of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland; at the time of the design Wales had been unified with England for long enough that St David didn't get a look in.

The Sovereign nation (which issues our passports) is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Dragon
Nationality seems to undergo waves of expansion and contraction. There are distinct trends of coming together (Nineteenth/Twentieth Centuries) and pulling apart (Twentieth/Twenty-first Centuries).

St George
The bigger the world gets with fast, efficient transportation and free flow of information the  less national identity seems to matter to most people.

Once a year we still celebrate our national identity. For sovereign nations that is often the Country's saints day and for Republics it is the anniversary of the independence (either from Monarch or Empire) of that Country.

So in England we celebrate St George; installed as the Patron Saint of the Nation by Edward III St George isn't English (born in Palestine) and he never killed a dragon (he was a Roman soldier who was martyred).

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gin Festival

Yesterday I took a trip to Milton Keynes to go to a Gin Festival. Anyone who is fond of particular tipples may have been to one of these festivals. 

Having bought your ticket you arrive at the venue and buy tokens which enable you to try different brands at various bars around the room. There were also some sponsors/exhibitors giving talks (and free samples) and an off licence selling gin and souvenirs ("Life's too short for single gins").

I went with a similarly gin inclined friend and we had huge fun trying different gins and planning our future excursion to Sipsmiths London distillery!

Tone of the day for public transport

Street art caught my eye

Start the day with great coffee

Gin #1 (Rock Rose)

Gin #2 (Batch Premium)


Sipsmith's Swan (Graham?)

Unusual hygiene notice!

Time to shop?

Fever-tree tonic (lots of it - Elderflower & Mediterranean are great) 

Some much gin, so little time

Gin #3 (Steam Punk)

Gin #4 (Elderflower Warner Edwards)

Gin #5 (Sipsmith V.J.O.P)

Lecture Theatre (really!)

Shopping time!

Walt behaving himself on the train

My gin collection (middle bottle bought yesterday)

Attendance badge

Tote to bring home swag

Gin literature

I had a fantastic day out, tried some really great gin (and one that I didn't like so much) and even learned a few things about both gin and tonic.

I'd go again, although possibly be more organised and not go all the way to Milton Keynes!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Photo fun

I own a lot of cameras. There is one on my cell phone (which as it is made by Samsung is a pretty good camera), there is my Samsung compact and there is my Sony DSLR.

Original photo
Edited photo
It's not just making my cat's eyes greener and glow brighter; there is making a good photo better and more compelling.

Original photo
Edited photo
I had a lot of great photography tips today from a chap I met whilst buying a photography magazine in WHSmiths. Hints and tips on what to buy, how to compose photos and apps for my phone. One of the better monthly shop experiences.

Used to edit the above photos

Skywatch Friday (69)

Shining clouds

A week in London


Me and Casper
Casper selfie
Having a nap (on me)
Take control of the bed!


Danny and Alicia
Danny whilst friends hide
Carey and Danny
Casper attempting to watch 'Fish TV'


Breezy day from inside the house

Snuggled up watching TV on the Sofa of Sloth


One of the many building site I pass on my way to work
View from the Bridge (Westminster of course)
Roadworks (everywhere)
Cold weather sunrise


Said the raven "Nevermore"
Another wet day
Flowers found in a cupboard at work!


Grey day in Greenwich Park
Another damp morning on the Bridge
Hot coffee all morning
Traffic, traffic everywhere


Monthly shop day
Specially wrapped squirrel doorstop
Cool new shopping bag, make me smile