In the year 2016

27 November
A winter walk.

Met up with Terry for a little walk and a pub lunch. We rendezvoused at the Natural History Museum in Tring, we have met here before, see theBloG entry for 2014, then car shuffled to Cowroast and Berkhamstead. Our plan being to walk to The Rising Sun in Berkhamstead along the canal towpath.

tring_114215.jpg  We started from Cowroast lock.

tring_135400.jpg  Walked along the towpath toThe Rising Sun.

tring_125836.jpg  Where we soon settled in

tring_130520.jpg  and tucked into a good ploughman's lunch.


After lunch we had to find the car which we had parked right next to the pub according to the sat nav but was in fact off the high street and on the other side of the canal. There was some debate in the bar as to where we might have left it, smart phones were drawn, and a route suggested. Then someone said 'are the stepping stones still there?' turned out that if we crossed the lock we could then get across the bywash on stepping stones....if they were still there... so across the lock we went and sure enough the stepping stones were still there though one was under water [quite a lot of water in the cut after the rains] anyway we reckoned we could use them and Terry stepped forward with confidence, balanced easily on the first stone and took a large stride for the steep bank and then fell back into the bywash and landed up to his knees in water.

He helped me to cross safely and then we had a squelshy walk back to the car.

So back to meet up with Rosemary at the Natural History Museum's temporary exhibition of prize winners from the 'Wildlife photographer of the year award'. We always tease Rosemary that it is her ambition to gain this award for her famous pics of fuzzy ducks.

A typical entry from Rosemary for the competition.

The Wildlife photographer of the year photographs were stunning, and thought provoking and the picture of the pangolin pit especially so. It was of a pit dug to dispose of the contents of a shipping container that had been full of pangolin, part of an intercept of a small part of the illegal wildlife trade.

Paul Hilton's photograph of the pangolin pit.

After this I decided I wanted a little light relief, if that is what one can call looking at more stuffed and dead animals, and went in search of rock hyrax. I wanted to see these as tw had enjoyed their companionship when he had seen them on Table Mountain in Cape Town. [Where they are known as dassie. Apparently, the African elephant is their closest living relative, though they are about as big as a cat.]


They are to be found on the top floor in Gallery 6, in Case 18 which, by co-incidence, they share with pangolin. Seeing the pangolin brought home to me the enormity of that container of rotting ones, which lacked scale, those curled up little bodies are not little trilobites, they are kittens and their mothers.

The scale of that pit, from Paul Hilton's National Geographic article.

The same seizure also contained crated live pangolin some of which survived to be released back into the wild by Sharon Kwok, the Mission Blue Board Director, Founder and Executive Director of Aqua Meridian Conservation & Education Foundation.

They are prized for their scales which are made of the protein keratin, as is rhino horn, finger nails and hair. Apparently, this material has very beneficial properties in so-called alternate medicine as amongst other things it is said to be an aphrodisiac.

A few years ago, a popular measure of Bill Gates wealth was the value of just one of his eyelashes. I've just worked it out to-day and you can check my arithmetic if you like.
Bill Gates is worth approximately £90 billion that is $90x10⁹
I'm told that he weighs 64Kg.
An eyelash weighs 40x10⁻⁶g
So Bill Gates has the same weight as 64000/40x10⁻⁶=1.6x10⁹ eyelashes
So one of his eyelashes is worth $90x10⁹/1.6x10⁹ = $6

Pangolin scales sell for £3000 per kg, Bill Gates is worth $1.6 million per kg. oh well

Please contact me if you would like to buy my finger nail clippings, these have a rarity value being already reduced in the wild by 10%.

Other links to things pangolin:

 World Wildlife Fund
Article from the Independent by Lizzie Dearden

16 May
Alex's birthday weekend in Hastings.

  Happy Birthday Alex.

Had a great weekend down in St Leonards and Hastings with sister Alex , Jim ,Liz, Mark and Peter when he could escape from entertaining folk at the Ritz.

Apart from a lot [I mean a lot] of walking along the prom and round the second hand, charity and err antique shops, [there is nowhere else that I know of that can compare to these I think], buying wet fish off the beach and then barbequing it on the beach, what more could one want?

IMG_9661.JPG  Our first task, investigate the Airbnb where Jim, Liz and Mark were to stay.

IMG_9662.JPG  Very nice it was too.

IMG_9667.JPG  Right on the prom.

IMG_9669.JPG  Alex and Liz well settled in.

WP_20160514_15_33_25_Pro.jpg  Walking the prom.

WP_20160514_15_46_17_Pro.jpg  Bottle alley, all the glass is from 1920s bottles set in cement.

WP_20160514_15_46_49_Pro.jpg  The re-built and re-furbished pier.

WP_20160514_15_53_46_Pro.jpg  The trompe-l’œil side panelling of the central area. Made with reclaimed boards from the old pier deck.

WP_20160514_15_58_17_Pro.jpg  Fantastic open space when you don't need to have an entertainment centre.

WP_20160514_16_00_03_Pro.jpg  The site of the original we can all try the steps.

WP_20160514_16_00_26_Pro.jpg  Even try to teach a French couple how to do it.

WP_20160514_16_00_26_Pro.jpg  Even try to teach a French couple how to do it.

  Jim shows Liz the steps.




WP_20160514_16_05_32_Pro.jpg  At the end of the pier.

WP_20160514_16_08_20_Pro.jpg  The bitter end even.

IMG_9676.JPG  Trust Alex to notice that people were throwing coins onto the old metalwork.

IMG_9675.JPG  Looking back towards St Leonards

WP_20160514_16_13_16_Pro.jpg  What fun one can have in a polythene bag

WP_20160514_17_38_35_Pro.jpg  The pier conta-jour.

WP_20160514_17_38_57_Pro.jpg  Still some way to go on that promenade.

IMG_9677.JPG  The very end of the promenade.


IMG_9681.JPG  The view from Terry's beach hut, venue for our BBQ

IMG_9679.JPG  Jim fills the Laysack

WP_20160514_19_44_08_Pro.jpg  Viking Jim heading for Valhallah in his [Laysack] longboat.

WP_20160514_19_50_40_Pro.jpg  Alex finds her true vocation.

IMG_0834.JPG  Upwards.


WP_20160514_19_54_24_Pro.jpg  Thanks Terry for the loan of the beach hut.

WP_20160514_22_21_42_Pro.jpg  Keeping warm[ish] round the bbq

IMG_9685.JPG  Maybe warm might not be quite the right word.



    Liz lights the candles on the birthday cake.

IMG_9692.JPG  Sunday morning with Peter back from the Ritz

IMG_9699.JPG  and the sea gulls back for more fish.


IMG_9694.JPG  Now for the 'antique' shops. Reserving a parking slot.

12 May

images16/imagestheblog16/dsc_0045.jpg  Thabo.

Niece Jane is in South Africa at the moment, ostensibly researching the genetic diversity of cheetahs. As you can see from her latest post, not everyone appreciates intrusion into the intimate details of their sex lives.

Those of a nervous disposition might like to note that the vegetable kingdom is just as vicious as the animal.

j-and-tabo2.jpg  Jane and Thabo.

dsc_0023.jpg  Ettienne and Thabo.

7 May

If you have a ship and she seems almost what you want, keep her, there may be a better ship, but there is certainly a worse one.

So I have finally listed Scarab on ebay, she has been a perfect family boat for us and will be much missed although more in prospect than in practice.

Rosemary has never really recovered from being rescued [in an other life] by the inshore lifeboat at Aberdyfi, they rescued her alright but she was hoisted on-board unceremoniously, by a hairy lifeboat crew member, suspended, helpless from her belt. So she has not been keen on sailing ever since.

  Moved her from the boat shed and got her rigged. Sorry about the cross-wrinkles Susan.

  She was keen to be off.

  Ready to sail to the secret beach, or to seal island.

  Fishing with the Godfrey's in Colwyn Bay.

  Now in need of some TLC but still a great boat.

2 May

  The steeple of the Pastafarian church in Bath.

  With collander on its top..

28 April
The great bowl of Oakley        

Tanya's brother is getting married on Friday and tw has come back from the University of Cape Town for the occasion. Trips home during term time have to be short so a lot to do before he goes back, including making a wedding present.

bowl0.jpg  First cut a blank from a large chunk of oak.

bowl_20160426_165300.JPG  Turn the bottom with a recess for the chuck jaws.

bowl_20160426_170540.JPG  Fit the chuck to the recess.

  Remove the faceplate.


bowl_20160426_170939.JPG  Put back on the lathe.

bowl_20160426_170946.JPG  Ready to go.








  Well we all had to have a go.







bowl10.jpg  Better get the dust extractor in place.

bowl11.jpg  For a lot of sanding.




bowl15.jpg  Friction burn the lines.

  Liberal application of finishing oil.

bowl17.jpg  Allow to dry then buff.

bowl18.jpg  Then buff some more.

bowl19.jpg  Bring inside and test with a gooseberry.


bowl1b.jpg  A veritable cornucopia, but that it is round.

20 January
The Cheesists        

Per and Marit in town so a good excuse to convene a meeting of the Cheesists. It was good to meet up with those who could make it and we have resolved to meet up again soon AND to embark on another series of peripatetic meetings along a different underground line, probably the Jubilee Line.

12631410_10153893446448659_6185155811603941900_n.jpg  Well met





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