Thursday 17 June 2010

More experiments with light and glass

Some time ago a sunset inspired me to play with light and glass. A beautiful sunny afternoon yesterday inspired some more shots of light caught by the crystals.

Alpine garden

Our garden is mostly shrubs... what with the bugs that eat things and the wildlife that digs things up small plants don't fare very well.

One exception is rockery type plants... low level plants that go for maximum coverage. My alpine garden has been establishing itself for several years in a stony bit of soil where the patio, lawn and rockery meet.

This year, for the first time, everything has flowered.

Next generation ladybugs!

Regular readers will know that every winter the ladybug population of SE7 moves into my bedroom for the duration of the cold weather.

This afternoon in the garden I came across some fierce looking black and orange bugs... a veritable plague of them - and after half an hour of scouring the internet it turns out that they are the larvae of the Multicoloured Asian Lady Beetle.

I guess I'll be throwing him out of my bedroom window next spring!

Saturday 12 June 2010

London (1927)

London as it was... the most amazing thing is that apart from the buses and the cars... it really hasn't changed that much in 83 years!

All change...

If you're reading this from an RSS reader you won't realise it but we've had a face-lift!

It all started when I wanted to edit one of the widgets I'd added and couldn't find it... at this point I discovered that Blogger's design area had evolved since last I'd seen it. I couldn't help but play with it... and gave the blog a whole new look.

Then I had to make a new banner as Blogger and I had a fight about sizes and screen space - and as usual I couldn't find the artwork for the old banner.

I've also added a few extra tabs (just under the banner) including an 'About Me' page and a much expanded and improved blog-roll.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Why I'm backing the foxes

If it there is one thing the newspapers leap upon it is a terrible tragedy with a villainous scapegoat. There has been so much to keep them going as we enter the so-called 'silly-season' where the press are left with nothing to occupy them as Parliament goes on recess.

First there was the BP oil disaster (post of scapegoat unfilled), then there was the Cumbria shootings (scapegoat identified and knee-jerk calls for gun control outlined) and the latest story the two babies attacked by a fox.

It isn't that these aren't awful stories, they are... these sorts of tragedies need press coverage. The problem is the immediate need of the press to find someone to blame and before being in possession of full facts start putting forwards solutions (sensible or otherwise). A little restraint and measure is needed in the reporting by the press and the reactions from, well, just about everybody.

This fox attack, for example. Even the press was hard-pushed to find many other examples of such a thing, two I think they managed. It is rare. So rare that after initially reported it turns out to be something else. Foxes are shy and timid animals.

I know because as long as I have lived at my present address (in the suburbs of London) I have shared my garden with foxes. A family of foxes, in fact. They enjoy playing in the garden at dusk and after dark; and raiding bin bags foolishly not put in bins. When they see a person though they freeze... and won't tolerate less than a good few feet between you and them. Startle them and they vanish.

Now Boris is calling for a cull of urban foxes. Please don't! These creatures have been forced into their urban habitats as they countryside homes are destroyed as hedges are ripped out and copses and similar destroyed.

Yes they are pests sometimes - the ones that live in our garden are in disgrace for their enthusiastic excavation of my flower box; they are also beautiful and elegant creatures.

Tube strike dates announced

Photo credit: hotblack from
There will be not one but two tube strikes over the next month as RMT announce the dates for the strikes.

Each will be a 48hr strike starting at 19:00 BST - the first will take place on 23rd June and the second on 7th July.

The extent of the disruption isn't yet known - but if previous industrial action is anything to go by it will be fairly horrendous trying to use the tubes on those days.

The Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee Lines (those formerly operated by Tube Lines) are expected to be worst hit.

The first date also coincides with England's final World Cup group match against Slovenia.. although that will be over by 7pm.

Monday 7 June 2010

Free ice cream

Photo credit: kevinrosseel
Bing have an ice cream van out and about in London this summer offering demonstrations of the search engine and free ice lolly's. See a map here.

Let's hope the weather co-operates and it is an ice-cream summer!

More tube strikes

Travelling around London in the summer months is never a happy experience. 
If you're on the buses then you face sweltering with insufficient ventilation as sun pours in through the windows whilst you get stuck in traffic.

If you're on foot then you have to battle the tourist laden streets.

If you're on the tube then apparently you might as well give up now. RMT voted this morning with an overwhelming 90% in favour to go on strike this summer. The options of walking or taking a bus are about to get more popular.

The date (and the extent) of the strike have yet to be announced, but anyone who remembers last June's walkouts will be aiming to make sure that they don't need to be in the office on strike days!