Sunday, 30 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Stone Cold Sober Road Makers
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Stone Cold Sober Road Makers © Ian Scott ParkerThe Rolling English Road

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.

My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.

G.K. Chesterton

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Saturday, 29 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Bridge Dualling Over The Virgin
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
Thumbnail clicks pop-up larger images.
Hurricane Arch Bridge 1 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Arch Bridge 2 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Arch Bridge 3 © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Arch Bridge 4 © Ian Scott Parker
Construction work on dualling our local Hurricane Arch Bridge over the Virgin River is proceeding satisfactorily. The second arch structure is complete, and almost ready to accept the road decking. The first of the twin bridges to become operational was a brand new structure, whereas the second is an overhaul of the original bridge. The picture on the left shows details on the concrete panels that form the roadway side barriers. These are decorated with embossed figures based on Native American figures from ancient petroglyphs, found in the desert southwest areas of the USA.

The afternoon sunshine throws a double shadow of the new bridges onto the canyon wall. Perhaps, if you are of an imaginative turn of mind, you will be able to see them as Kokopelli, the Hump Backed Flute Player, and his wife Kokopellimana. The portal to the James Q. Jacobs web collection includes one to rock art resources. James has a collection of 2,000 rock art image transparencies, and he has patterns for computer desktops, available for download. The latter are repeating motifs, not full desktop pictures, but there are other interesting image downloads available.

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Friday, 28 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Imagining Cézanne in the Canyons
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/Pishtush.com Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Canyon Cézanne © Ian Scott ParkerYesterday, the last Thursday in November, was Thanksgiving in the USA. Hereabouts, in the very southwest corner of Utah, the day also marked the first real day of the Fall. It is possible to be in the Autumn season with the leaves still on the trees, but by definition the same cannot be said of the Fall. Overnight there was a good nip of frost, and during the morning there were small gusts of wind that were sufficient to bring down the first significant numbers of leaves. These gradually accumulated through the course of the day, so that rustling drifts of them built up against walls and board fences. It is a gentle and progressive Autumn that is taking several weeks to unfold, with many trees just finally beginning to turn their last green leaves to a golden brown or bright yellow.

The afternoons still have sufficient insolation to make outdoor walking enjoyable, with the cool air at 3,000 feet of altitude providing a delightful contrast to the hot sun, like the chilled cream on top of an Irish coffee. On high the breezes are invigorating, while down in the canyons one is either chilly in the shade, or basking like a lizard in the sun. We saw this house at the head of a canyon wash: a delightful semi isolated location, tucked out of the wind, and enjoying the sunshine. Soft and subdued reds, yellows, greens, and blues, illuminated with hard, bright, pellucid sunshine: I am sure Paul Cézanne would have felt moved to do a series.

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Thursday, 27 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Vulcan, Clockwork, Art, & Cheese
CREDITS: © Bruce Henderson/WarrnamboolCAM.com
Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Manifold Clock, Camperdown © Bruce HendersonLike many articles found here, this one began quite differently from its final form. Originally it was to be a piece about frontier architecture, the kind produced during the rapid late nineteenth century expansion in places like the western United States, and Australia. Unlike the 'Very Model of a Modern Major-General', we are not qualified to discourse upon matters architectural, not knowing our atriums from our elbows, so to speak.

Tune courtesy of the Gilbert & Sullivan Archive:

However, we think we can discern a common architectural vocabulary in use at places as far apart as the silver ghost towns of Nevada, USA, and the still thriving sheep towns of Victoria, Australia. To see Camperdown, as an example of what we mean, you might visit Bruce Henderson's postcard page on the WarrnamboolCAM.com web site. There you will see the Hampden Hotel and the Mechanics Institute, the latter now a public library. In Ely or Eureka, Nevada, there are buildings that we think are remarkably similar: perhaps someone qualified will identify the common style, because architecture always has useful labels to attach to any style of building.

We know a town on the Anglo-Scottish border that has a bank in a similar architectural style, which made us wonder if our 'frontier architecture' claim was far fetched; then we remembered that place has been a frontier for 2,000 years, and continues to be so right up to the present day. There are some examples hereabouts in southern Utah that we intend to examine at a later date. While visiting the Camperdown page we were sidetracked by the featured picture of the Manifold clock tower. At that juncture this piece did a hard left turn away from architecture, and became instead a reflection on the characters and lives of those people who lived on the edge.

Camperdown lies at the center of the world's third largest volcanic plain. The area was created about 20,000 years ago, with the last eruption about 11,00 years ago. The plain features many volcanic cones, and crater lakes that are mostly mineralized. The Manifold brothers, John, Peter, and Thomas, came here as settlers from Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen's land) in 1838 to Purrumbete, a fresh water lake at the foot of Mt. Leura. The clock tower was completed in 1897, as a memorial to John's third son, Thomas Peter, who was killed while hunting in 1895. Other families soon established themselves in this area, and for a taste of what their lives might have been like, we visited web sites for the vacation centers based on their former homes.

The Purrumbete Homestead was a Manifold stronghold, and the The Mill was built in 1868 by William Ower. Even taking modern refurbishment into account, these must have been splendid residences in former times. Using those links you will be able to explore a little of the social and economic history of the early settlement of the area. We were drawn to the mention of several historic Walter Withers interior murals at Purrumbete. There are six historical panels [1Landing Of First Sheep At Point Henry 1836 [2Discovery Of Lake Purrumbete [3Tasting The Water. Joy On Finding It Good 1838 [4Journeying Through Stony Rises 1839 [5First Homestead. Attacked By Blacks Whilst Sinking Well [6Building Of Second Homestead 1842. If you scroll to the bottom of the page in the first link of this paragraph, you may catch a glimpse of the panels in situ within the Great Hall at Purrumbete Homestead.

Sheep's milk cheese was the finishing touch to this fascinating visit. An English cheese, Lancashire, is one of our favorites. We have been led to believe that in former times it was made with sheep's milk, though like so many other types such as feta, modern production methods have allowed it to be made with cows' milk, which is more plentiful and more suited to agribusiness scale production. Mount Emu Creek Sheep Milk Dairies is now the largest dairy to table sheep farm in Australia: Robert Manifold sends his milk there to make the traditional product. He also makes lavender cheese! We have tasted lavender beef stew, prepared by the NBA chef, which was like manna from heaven, and can hardly wait to taste lavender cheese. Mmmmm…

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Wednesday, 26 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Red Barn Murder & Pink Cock Inn
CREDITS: © Ian Davey/SuffolkCAM.co.uk
MAP: Polstead, Suffolk, and crime scene. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Cock Inn, Polstead © Ian DaveyVisitors to Polstead in Suffolk may no longer be able to visit the Red Barn, but the pink Cock Inn looks a good second best. The barn was the site of an infamous murder, which was the progenitor of many Victorian melodramas. Indeed there were also much later versions, and amateur thespians in addition to us must remember wicked squire Corder, with his curly circus strongman black moustache, and wicked cachinnation… nyahahah! The true story is rather different.

Ian Davey's SuffolkCAM.co.uk visited the village for a tour: content may change by the time you visit, but the feature will be available in the archive section. Ian has a brief version of the Red Barn Murder story, and pictures from around this pretty East Anglian village. Pink wash certainly seems to be a local favorite.

The St. Edmundsbury Borough Council have created a succinct and informative Red Barn Murder web site. After following the story you may also enjoy other links on the main web site: we enjoyed the world's first Internet Bench, if you have to run Windoze there is no better place; the American connection, identify the mystery wedding couple; details of the 1602 exploration of America by Bartholomew Gosnold from Otley, near Ipswich in Suffolk, who named Martha's Vineyard, either after his wife's mother or his recently deceased daughter; visits to local towns and villages; and a local history page. Sadly the tour of the Abbey of St. Edmund was broken.

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Tuesday, 25 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Cloud Inversions
CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org
MAP: walk route map. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Grisedale Tarn Cloud Inversion © Andrew LeaneyAndrew Leaney's last two lakeland walks have featured cloud inversions in the mountains around Bowfell, and Helvellyn. Shown here is Grisedale Tarn, lying at the southern foot of Helvellyn's sibling, Dollywagon Pike, and wreathed in spectacular cloud swirls. Go to Andrew's web site to see many other cloud inversion pictures, and one of a Brocken Spectre. Alternative views of the tarn are to be had from Alfred Heaton Cooper, and Ann Bowker, who shows the Dollywagon wiggles from where Andrew's picture was taken.

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Monday, 24 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Lakes Desktops Bonus Destination
CREDITS: © Andy Bannister/LakeDistrictDesktops.com
Thumbnail clicks pop-up larger images.
Arnison Crag & Ullswater © Andy BannisterBleatarn & Wetherlam © Andy BannisterCadmore End Common © Andy BannisterTo Cadmore End Common © Andy Bannister
We checked back on Andy Bannister's LakeDistrictDesktops.com web site to see how the updating was going. As good as his word, there is a new picture every other day. Not that we were ever in any doubt there would be, but we have bitter personal experience of how difficult it can be to keep to a promised schedule. Ahem… now you know why the time stamps are often well after the midnight GMT deadline.

Not only has Andy kept to his upload schedule, he has managed to add a new feature, bonus galleries. The first one is available for this month, and features pictures from the Chilterns. Clearly this supports the 'Tumpline Growth Hypothesis'. First, a web site. Second, world domination! We have seen it happen so often, but usually the rate of growth declines in the third week. It looks as though there might be a winner emerging here. Perhaps the bonus gallery will even travel abroad.

With that sense of fairness and balance that characterizes all our endeavors, we have selected two pictures from the Chiltern bonus gallery, and two from the ever expanding Lakeland gallery that gives the site its name. Left to right Ullswater from Arnison Crag; Blea Tarn with Wetherlam beyond; a road on Cadmore End Common, and a ridge towards Cadmore End Common.

Map links in the same order: [1] Arnison Crag; [2] Wetherlam; [3 & 4] Cadmore End.

All this is to tempt you to go elsewhere: log onto LakeDistrictDesktops.com and snag yourself a much larger version of an image that takes your fancy. Then install the picture as desktop wallpaper or a screen saver. These were our four new selections, and Blea Tarn with Wetherlam in the background looks very fetching. We particularly like the play of light and shadow across the middle ground.

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Sunday, 23 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Brittany & Barcelona Culturefest
CREDITS: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM.co.uk Thumbnail clicks pop-up larger images.
White Cliffs of Dover © Peter TurnerBarcelona Rooftops © Peter TurnerLovers © Peter TurnerBarcelona Sunset © Peter Turner
Peter Turner has now completed all eight [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] parts of his Brittany travels. Hot on their heels comes a three [1] [2] [3] part travelogue for his latest trip to Barcelona! We are trying hard not to let it show that we are green with envy. If we fail, we ask you to show a little understanding.

We were hard pressed to make a selection from the MaccCAM.co.uk galleries. Finally we decided to show you a picture taken at Dover, England, when Peter & Nic returned to Old Blighty's shores after their first jaunt, and leave you to explore using the links we have given. Whenever we see, or especially whenever we hear, a mention of the White Cliffs of Dover, in our mind's ear Vera Lynn, the 'Forces Sweetheart', starts to sing the 1942 wartime hit song. Because reminiscences are not what they used to be, we then remember that as Baby Boomers we were not around for WWII, and the authors of the song were Americans who had never seen the White Cliffs! Nat Burton wrote the words in 1941. Walter Kent, who wrote the melody, first saw the White Cliffs in 1989 when he was eighty two years old.
Sample courtesy of Hot House MIDI from BCK Products:
The remaining three thumbnails show scenes of Barcelona that caught our eye, but we were careful to avoid giving you the real jewels: for those you will have to use the links to pay MaccCAM.co.uk a visit. If you do, you will find pictures of Antoni Gaudi's awesome Sagrada Familia (including one of the best close ups of the carved detail we have see, and the less familiar west façade), and some Miro works that may also be unfamiliar. If all that culture is a bit overwhelming you can kick back, let your hair down, and sample the delights of a 'tapas' bar. Strange that the 'tapa' is a cover to keep flies out of the glass, so naturally its second use is to hold food. Hmmm 

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Saturday, 22 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Earth Moving Behemoths Graveyard
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Behomeths Graveyard © Ian Scott ParkerWhile taking pictures of the concrete pipe and mineral extraction plants located in the Virgin River valley near Hurricane, UT, we spotted an interesting collection of redundant earth moving plant. If you click on the thumbnail to pop-up the larger image, you will see a power line pole on the horizon, at the extreme right hand of the picture: that was the vantage point for those pictures of the industrial installations. Cursed with insatiable curiosities, we descended into the Geneva Pipe works for a closer look.

Down on the alluvial flats beside the river there was a surprising amount of space, and lots of activity. The yellow behemoths looked to be in remarkably good condition, though in the dry desert air rusting is not much of a problem. Wedged together among the rabbit grass, which is also yellow when in full bloom, the giant machines seemed to be jostling each other at the shoulder, as though ready to do some serious work. From the evidence we saw, the best they can hope for is that they might be used as backup for younger, more active models. Ah… we know that feeling!

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Friday, 21 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Another Side Of A Material Girl
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com. The material girl is the Virgin River.

Dedicated to Rebecca Manson, who grew from being a little girl into a beautiful young woman, just when I was looking the other way! Thank you for the email. What will the world be like when the time comes for you to pass it on to your own grandchildren?

Thumbnail clicks, and text links except the obvious movie links, pop-up larger images.

Saw Toothed Virgin © Ian Scott ParkerWithin the sights and sounds of the material side of the Virgin River, there exists another environment, which must be much as it was before the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) Pioneers began their policy of expansion, hell bent on creating an earthly heaven. For 150 years the hand, and foot and wheel, of man has left an imprint on the surface of the land, but in between the marks not much has changed. Walking a few hundred feet one may traverse several thousand years.

The desert floor is only lightly trodden in most places, and the desert plants, some of whose family members are the oldest living things on the planet, refuse to acknowledge man's supremacy. Travelling from Interstate I-15 eastwards along State Route SR-9, the road parallels a saw tooth ridge of rocks, which although colorful is almost ugly in its nakedness. It is the feature that most makes the town of Hurricane, UT, look as though it was built in the midst of a rock quarry. Like so many places in this geological province of Basin & Range, finding a viewpoint is sometimes a frustrating task. The features retreat behind other features, and where one might imagine a clear view to be had, little can be seen. Finding a high viewpoint often means that the feature is far away, too far to be properly appreciated.

The viewpoint for today's featured pictures is reached by taking a back road, then walking across the desert floor, actually part of the lava bluff where yesterday's picture was taken, on an unmade access track. Those man made tracks are still much in evidence, and one needs to pass over a gurgling sewage pipe, going left at a fork in the track at the anticipated dump of freezers, washing machines, beer cans, and the spent shells from gunning them all into the hereafter of trash. In the distance irrigation sprays arc over the golf links, the desert's transpiration rates making the water usage profligate even if this was a wet maritime climate. Jack rabbits bound away in the eerie silence, which is only broken when a slight shift in the air movement brings industrial sounds, clanking from far away downstream.

Yawning Void © Ian Scott ParkerA slight selection of viewpoint, to exclude the more obvious signs of modern life, and in the silence between the breezes, one might be standing in the ancient landscape. Even here the retreating feature effect is maintained until the final few seconds. The track ends in a turning circle, and walking beyond that the view suddenly begins to open up, culminating in a Thelma & Louise moment over a yawning void to the river far below. Like that fearless pair Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, one is tempted to estimate the trajectory necessary to reach the water at the base of the cliff. However, sensible souls will quickly recall that falling humans plummet vertically, rather than describing the elegant parabolas lovingly calculated by ordnance engineers.

The landscape looks raw, timeless, and immune to civilization. This is far from the case: it is a delicate, fragile ecosystem that is damaged every time a faucet is opened, and every time a brick is laid for a new home, mall, or factory. In 1969 Butch sang Hal David's 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' during the bicycling scene, which was filmed further upriver at the ghost town of Grafton. At that time the towns hereabouts were just small townships, almost villages. The raindrops, or more accurately the snowpacks on the Colorado Plateaus, have been less reliable in recent years. Vandals have since burned down the house where the character Etta Place lived in a movie based on the lives of real people from Utah's past. The availability of water can be measured with some accuracy, but deciding who are the vandals as the pace of development increases, is a much more imprecise science.

On the bluff above the river there is a rock sprouting an aluminum mushroom. The surveyors from the US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, planted this record of their passage in 1997, during the execution of a cadastral survey. Cadastral means 'a public record, survey, or map of the value, extent, and ownership of land as a basis of taxation. Let us hope that 'value' means something different from 'price' in this context, and that the power to raise tax monies does not commoditize the land at the expense of any sense of stewardship. The aluminum mushroom is sternly marked, "UNLAWFUL TO DISTURB": one wonders if the same federal protection will be extended to the land in which it is embedded.

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Thursday, 20 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Crossed Wires Over The Virgin
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Crossed Wires Above The Virgin © Ian Scott ParkerThe Virgin River has carved out Zion Canyon, which many people think is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Here are three separate quotations from that link, to an article on the GrandCanyonTrust.org web site:

'The Virgin and its watershed represent the biologically diverse convergence of the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert. The river's riparian system is one of the least disturbed arid ecosystems of its size in the Southwest.'

'The watershed provides habitat for more than 350 species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Eighty-one of those species are listed as sensitive, threatened or endangered, an indication that things are out of balance.'

'This is exacerbated by a pattern of wasteful consumption of water. Washington County residents use more than double the per capita consumption of Tucson, where effective water conservation programs serve to accommodate life in a desert environment.
'

The towns of Hurricane, Utah, and St. George, UT, lie on that section of the river where it flows off the Colorado Plateaus and into the Great Basin geological province. Today's picture was taken on a lava bluff that stands over the river. Round about are the signs of industrial activity [1] [2], water management, power generation, and all the other things that have concerned environmentally aware people from John Wesley Powell onwards. Also round about are wild, unspoiled features that we will show tomorrow. Standing there, it feels like the front line of a battle, if that is not too fanciful. The balance between these two environments is beginning to tip in favor of the industrial and residential developers. Here is another quotation, a demographic statistic this time, taken from the same Grand Canyon Trust article:

'The human community within the watershed is growing dramatically. The population of Washington County has grown from 5,000 to 70,000 over the past three decades. A pleasant climate and development of the river's water resources fuel this growth.'

Powell tried to bring attention to the long term costs of developing the arid west. The debate, between those who favor environmentally sensitive growth and those who just favor growth, is taking shape along the banks of the rivers. A person's certified per capita water consumption figure might be a good way to determine on which bank of the river the proponent really stands.

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Wednesday, 19 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Getting High On Wide Perspective
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Brentwood Perspective © Ian Scott ParkerWhile we were experimenting over the last few days with the Surrealist and Metaphysical aspects of the current lighting conditions, we also went looking for some exaggerated perspectives to accompany the lighting. This is Brentwood, a 'suburb' of Hurricane, Utah. To perform the next stage of the experiment requires people to wrap their heads in cloths, and stare * meaninglessly at Apple Cartes suspended in the middle distance of vast mountain panoramas. Ahem…

We think this has gone far enough: tomorrow we return to less bizarre endeavors.

* My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question 'What does that mean'? It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable. René Magritte (1898-1967).

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Tuesday, 18 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Well Being Love Life 2/3 Is Good
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Triptych 2/3 © Ian Scott ParkerWe sent a camera crew to the open day for our new local hospital in St. George, Utah. Apart from the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table, hospitals generally do not provide rich photo opportunities. For that reason we asked the crew for a picture of the triptych at the entrance.

They returned with a diptych picture. Unlike the old joke, "I'm over twenty one, white, but morally decadent: still, two outa three ain't bad!" they were unable to report what was on the third panel. This enigma must be resolved, so at a better time we will send the crew back to get a better picture. It is so hard to get good staff.

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Monday, 17 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Metaphysics Of Pretentious Light
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com. Thumbnail clicks pop-up larger images.

Sky Mountain © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Cottonwoods © Ian Scott ParkerHurricane Cottonwoods 2 © Ian Scott ParkerSky Mountain 2 © Ian Scott Parker
We indicated in our previous item that today we would feature some surreal landscape lighting images, so here they are. We make little or no claim of artistry for these snaps, while admitting to being heavily influenced in our attitudinal pretensions by the exaggerated landscape lighting of Giorgio de Chirico, used in early career paintings such as 'The Disturbing Muses', 'Montparnasse Station', and 'Piazza'.

The reconfigurations [1] [2], required to achieve the common format for this feature, introduce other significant distortions. Another part of the effect we ascribe to images of these places, apart from the quality and direction of the light, is the presence of the green sward of the golf courses. Dropped into a desert landscape, they look as out of place as the bunch of bananas before Montparnasse Station.

De Chirico is usually catalogued as a 'Metaphysical' rather than a 'Surrealist', but the notes for an exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi help to clarify the distinctions, and the congruences. A piece written by Lucy Flint, available from the Guggenheim Museum, explains how the lighting effects are achieved. The Allen Memorial Art Museum shows 'La Solitudine', which illustrates these points. The Philadelphia Museum of Art online exhibition 'Giorgio de Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne', brings together for the first time a series of paintings and related works covering the artist's most significant and repeated theme (Flash viewing software required). There are accompanying notes (PDF viewing software required) with a quotation from Marcel Duchamp "posterity may have a word to say", about the reviled later works such as Gladiators

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Sunday, 16 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Balance & Correct v. Manipulate
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

REPEATHereabouts in recent weeks, the weather has been somewhat unusual: clouds do not appear much in southern Utah, and overcast dull grey days are even more infrequent. The smoke from the California wild fires filled the valleys round about for a few days, and vast weather systems moved in from the Pacific. Despite all of this we are still wandering about during the daylight hours in shorts, shirts, and sandals, though the night time temperatures have on occasion fallen almost low enough to give a nip of frost.

The conditions have produced atmospheric effects that make sunset sky pictures in particular look manipulated. Today's feature picture is an example: the blues and pinks have a surreal appearance, though you have our reassurance that there has been no manipulation. However, the image has been rebalanced and color corrected to remove an over saturated appearance produced by the digital camera. A second example should at least demonstrate that results were consistent. Processing these images does raise the question: when does balancing and correcting become manipulation? Insofar as these pictures are concerned - not until we say so!

The season and weather conditions have persuaded the trees to perform their annual magic. Cottonwoods in the more exposed areas out in the desert have turned to a shimmering gold color that also looks almost fake. The more sheltered trees here in town are just beginning to turn. Tomorrow we will feature some surreal landscape lighting pictures that are as close as we were able to achieve in representing what we thought we saw: sometimes it is hard to be sure what is real and what is not.

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Saturday, 15 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Wood & Stone 100 Years Reminder
CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org © David Robinson/DaveRob.org.uk
MAP: High Spy and Brandelhow. Thumbnail clicks pop-up larger images.

Brandelhow Hands © Andrew LeaneyThe National Trust was formed to protect the nation's heritage of coastlines, landscapes, & buildings. The official site will give interested visitors plenty of information about the Trust's history and activities. Julian Thurgood's unofficial, but non the less valuable, VisitCumbria.com provides information and links specific to the Trust's formation and presence in the English Lake District: even more specifically it provides details about Brandelhow, which is somewhere very special for the Trust. Andrew Leaney took today's featured picture, on the return leg along the valley after traversing the High Spy ridge. The sculpture came as a surprise to us. Obviously we have not been keeping abreast of developments in the old country, so we just repeat Andrew's caption. Entrust - Celebrating 100 years of The National Trust caring for your countryside at Brandelhow, 2002, for ever for everyone.

Centenary&nbspStone © David RobinsonOn the opposite shore of Derwentwater lake, in Calf Close Bay, there is a cloven boulder commemorating the foundation of the Trust, which has become known as the Centenary Stone, or the 100 Year Stone. The split faces are polished and etched with a pattern. David Robinson visited in early 2002, taking pictures to add to his 'Skiddaw, Derwentwater & Borrowdale' gallery, which has a section for each year of the new millennium. It is too much to hope that the wooden hands might last as long as the stone sculpture.

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Friday, 14 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: There Where The River Narrows
CREDITS: © Anton Shevchenko/AntonShevchenko.com
MAP: Quebec Thumbnail clicks pop-up larger images from source web site.
Quebec Moon © Anton ShevchenkoQuebec 12 © Anton ShevchenkoQuebec 26 © Anton ShevchenkoQuebec 15 © Anton Shevchenko
When he was twelve, Anton Shevchenko emigrated with his parents from Kiev, Ukraine, formerly part of the USSR, and fetched up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. After graduating from Cornell University with a Computer Science degree in 1999, he moved to Boston, where he currently lives, working as a software engineer. Anton has a number of passions, including cinematography and photography: the latter is our punning focus for today's feature.

Anton's web site at AntonShevchenko.com features a number of galleries, and we chose Quebec, for today's destination. The gallery contains twenty nine images, taken in early October 2001. The pictures are not captioned with the locations, so visitors of an enquiring mind may like to visit QuebecWeb.com for an introduction, and an answer to the question, "Quebec: Is it a country, a province, a region, a city or a community? " The name 'Quebec', from 'Kebec' in the Algonquian (Native American) language, means: 'There where the river narrows'.

For a quick overview of the site try the Favorites gallery. The index for the Travel section links to galleries for Acadia National Park, Maine; Kyiv, Ukraine; St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Red Rock Canyon, also in Nevada; and Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon, Arizona. The People gallery contains fifteen portraits, though Anton promises that many more are coming when he finds time in his busy leisure schedule, which includes triathalon and movie making, including Director of Photography on an independent movie production entitled Blackout!

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Thursday, 13 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Canon Shot Echoes From Yesterday
CREDITS: © Brian Worley/Benel.com Individual credits (L to R):
© Andrew Davidson; © Susan Craig; © Thomas Mills; © Meztizo
Thumbnail clicks pop-up source pages with larger images.
Lilly © Andrew DavidsonCedar Breaks © Susan CraigRoad to Redrock (Nevada) © Thomas MillsSerene San Jose © Meztizo
Reluctant to abandon the 'non people picture' selections we made for yesterdays feature of POTD (Picture of the Day) at B 'n' L, we decided to run our four best alternative selections today. Two of them are in our own backyard, so to speak, and left to right they are: Lilly [sic]; Cedar Breaks; Road to Redrock (Nevada); and Serene San Jose, shot from top floor of new MLK Jr. Library in San Jose.

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Wednesday, 12 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Silent Daily Canon Shot Resounds
CREDITS: © Brian Worley/Benel.com Individual credits (L to R):
© Gladys Schetrompf; © Dicky Basya; © Margaret Schmidt; © Jeffrey R. Bange
Thumbnail clicks pop-up source pages with larger images.
Tricks © Gladys SchetrompfFace © Dicky BasyaIt's Like This Sis © Margaret SchmidtBright Eyes  © Jeffrey R. Bange
Although ostensibly serving users of Canon's range of digital cameras, the POTD (Picture of the Day) feature at B 'n' L will appeal more widely for a variety of reasons, not least of which will be just to look at some fine photographs.

Every page has a quick link calendar to each of the last twenty eight daily pictures, and there is also a three month archive if you find yourself in a feeding frenzy. We have one visitor who regularly writes email complaints that we do not show enough pictures of people: we trawled every picture on the web site, and just for you, 'Angry of Royal Tunbridge Wells', here is a small selection of people pictures.

The Benel.com site also contains news and information for Canon digital users, with guides to individual models: just use the link in the article heading to go visit.

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Tuesday, 11 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Gearless Why Ask Why We Ask Why?
CREDITS: © Wendell O. Challenger/FearlessGearless.com
MAPS: Kingston region, and Desert Lake location.
Thumbnail clicks pop-up source pages with larger images.
Desert Lake Loop 5180 © Wendell O. ChallengerDesert Lake Loop 5180 © Wendell O. ChallengerDesert Lake Loop 5180 © Wendell O. ChallengerDesert Lake Loop 5180 © Wendell O. Challenger
Canada is a place that makes us feel guilty. We know we have misjudged the place through inexperience and ignorance, but yet the judgments remain in place. Our only experience of the vast country was an Air Canada flight from London to Las Vegas that did a quirky two step between Ottawa and Toronto.

Airport services were almost non existent on a late Sunday evening, and we fell foul of a French speaking baggage handler: neither side being able to understand the other's Franglais, the contretemps almost descended to fisticuffs. More dangerously for our future plans, we almost got on the wrong side of US Immigration, who were unexpectedly doing clearance on the Canadian side of the border. Clearly this experience was no way to judge any nation, but we are also wary of being patronizing in order to be fair and balanced. Perhaps better if we just get on with today's feature!

Kingston is just across the Canadian border with the USA at the head of the Great Lakes. Fifty kilometers north of Kingston lies Desert Lake, where bicyclist Wendell O. Challenger took himself off for a ride among the fall colors.

Wendell is a single gear bicycle enthusiast, so much so that his web site domain has the devilishly clever name of FearlessGearless.com containing a lot of clique-speak for the inner cognoscenti of that section of the bicycling world. Despite Wendell's wholly unproven assertion that "If you have to ask why, this ain't for you", we found deciphering the code entertaining, perversely with assistance from Wendell. Maybe we should have persevered with the baggage handler.

When a push comes to shove, despite what was for us an impenetrably bizarre title, Road Riding Porn, enjoying the twenty eight pictures taken on a bicycle ride around the delightful Autumnal scenery of southern Canada turns out to be a shared joy, which is not in the province of any single constituency.

This prompts an interesting question: what percentage of the 1,000 or so people who will read this piece, have never ridden a bicycle? If not, please raise your feet.

UPDATE: within minutes of uploading today's update we received an antipodean email answer to our rhetorical question. We are working overtime on our own memories.

When I went to school in Christchurch, New Zealand, there were 700 pupils and 500 bikes, which were stored in a great shed, where they (the bikes, not the students) were hung from hooks. Both my sister and I rode bikes, as did both our parents. You can travel 100 miles from Christchurch across the Canterbury plains (where Canterbury lamb comes from) without striking a hill. Country kids used to skin rabbits, turn the skins inside out, tan them, and then use them to cover the handlebars of their bikes to form warm gloves for frosty mornings. Ah, memories!

Memories indeed. We think we may have stumbled upon a potentially rich seam of nostalgia. We wonder if Eric Irving is ever going to return that set of aluminium rims we loaned him in his hour of need before a bicycle race.

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Monday, 10 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Rebirth Of An Industrial Titan
CREDITS: © Garth & Sandra Newton/IlkCAM.com
MAPS: Stanton-by-Dale town, HQ office (PDF file), Erewash area interactive.
Thumbnail clicks pop-up source pages with larger images.
Village Cross © Garth NewtonStanton Hall © Garth NewtonAlmshouses © Garth NewtonSchool Lane © Garth Newton
The urban landscape of the UK, below as well as above ground, bears the indelible stamp of 'Stanton & Staveley'. It was an industrial titan in its day, named after two villages where the company began operations, manufacturing water distribution pipes, access covers, rainwater collection ironmongery, and later concrete street lighting columns. The S&S name was a familiar site to those of us who examine the names, insignia, and descriptions emblazoned on everyday utilitarian objects. The local administrative authority, the Erewash Borough Council has a brief history of the area. The following succinct industrial history comes from the University of Nottingham 'Manuscripts and Special Collections' introduction to 'Copies of records of the Stanton Ironworks Co. Ltd and the Staveley Coal and Iron Co. Ltd, 1863-1939':

Stanton-by-Dale and Staveley are two villages near Ilkeston, Derbyshire in an area rich in ironstone. In the 1780s, quarrying began and ironworks were set up on Stanton Moor between the villages of Stanton-by-Dale and Dale Abbey by Charles, the third Earl Stanhope. The first blast furnace plant at Stanton was completed and prepared for use in 1846 and this was followed by further furnaces constructed to meet the demands of the boom in the iron and coal trade. Production at Stanton increased from 500 tons of pig iron a month in the mid nineteenth century to 7,000 tons at the close of the century. Iron pipe manufacture began at Stanton in 1919 and concrete pipe production followed a year later. The Stanton Company acquired the share capital of Holwell Iron Co. Ltd near Melton Mowbray in 1918, the Oakwell Red and Blue Brick Co. Ltd near Ilkeston in 1919, Riddings Ironworks near Alfreton in 1920, and the Wellingborough Iron Co. Ltd in 1932 as well as the blast furnace and pipe foundry businesses of several other conglomerates. The Stanton Company merged with Stewarts and Lloyds Ltd, pipe manufacturers in 1939.

Quarrying for iron ore took place on the Duke of Devonshire's land at Staveley from the 17th century and an iron foundry and furnace was established there. The Staveley Coal and Iron Company became a public limited company in 1863-1864 at a time when the ironworks was producing 20,000 tons of iron castings per year. Charles Markham (1823-1888) took over as managing director and chief engineer in 1863 overseeing a massive expansion in the company, particularly in iron pipe production and coal mining. His elder son, Charles Paxton Markham held the chairmanship from 1894 to 1926 with cast iron production increasing from 700,000 tons a year at the start of his tenure to 2.5 million tons by 1905. The coal industry was nationalised in 1946 and the Staveley Iron and Chemical Company was sold to Stewarts and Lloyds Ltd for six million pounds in 1960.


Stanton PLC was acquired in 1985 by the French Saint-Gobain Group, one of the largest industrial holdings in the world, which operates as Saint-Gobain Pipelines from several sites in the UK. Today, there are over 40 UK and Irish subsidiaries, spread over more than 800 sites. Total annual sales exceed £2.4 billion and the Group employs over 18,000 people in the region.

We expected to find vast tranches of information about the industrial history of the company from its formation in the second half of the 19th century, to its break up and sell off in the second half of the 21st century. We thought after a hundred years of operation there would be as much evidence on the web as there is on and under the streets of the UK. We have not so far found much. Things look a bit brighter on the social history side of the area: the featured pictures you see at the head of today's item come from the IlkCAM.com web site, where there is an eight part [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [latest] (the latter link probably becoming [8] at the time of the next site update) photo investigation of the village of Stanton-by-Dale, where it all began.

We found this in-depth coverage of one small location very interesting. All we need now is to find the on line history of the Stanton & Staveley company. The featured pictures are (left to right): the octagonal shaft of the village cross dating from medieval times with the fleur-de-lys at the head dating from 1632; Stanton Hall, home to Benjamin Smith 'The Ironmaster', and later the Crompton family; the Middlemore Almshouses built between 1711 and 1904; and properties at the end of the village on School Lane. We are inspired to undertake a similar project.

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Sunday, 09 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Intercontinental Wallpaper Chase
CREDITS: © Gordon Richardson/CapeTownSkies.com Individual picture credits:
© Kevin Richardson (left), © Mike Herbig (centre), © Gordon Richardson (right).
Thumbnail clicks pop-up source pages with a larger image.
Moonrise Over Capetown © Kevin RichardsonLions Head and Table Cloth © Mike HerbigHout Bay © Mike HerbigDevil's Peak © Gordon Richardson
The intercontinental wallpaper chase reached Africa today. Specifically we fetched up on the silicon beach of Gordon Richardson and his CapeTownSkies.com web site. The site has over 2,000 photos, some of them taken by brother Kevin Richardson, or Mike Herbig. A good number have been specifically sized for use as desktop wallpaper, under a generous user agreement. There is a lot to look at on this site, which is an excellent introduction to the pointed end of the Dark Continent.

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Saturday, 08 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Community Spirit Among Strangers
CREDITS: © Liz Lemal and © Barrie Fearnley
Thumbnail clicks will load the source web site home pages.

Toast To 214 © Liz LemalGreat Gable © Barrie FearnleyLangdale Pikes © Barrie FearnleyHigh Point © Liz Lemal
Today's item is not so much about pictures per se, than about the people behind the pictures. At this point it is worth noting that until today we did not know of the existence of the two folks featured, nor indeed have we made contact with them in any way. Reading the webcentric advice sites we have become inured to the latest flavor of the month: portals; content is king; and communities.

That last one was a little irksome. We think a community is a place where there is a perceivable working system of responsibilities and rewards, whereas on the web it seems to mean targeting a group of people with a common interest to send money. We have become a little less critical after researching this piece, because there is nothing like a stranger extending a friendly hand to break down the barriers of reserve. We visited, and felt some sense of community in the broadest sense.

Liz Lemal and Barrie Fearnley are close friends. They each have their own separate web sites, which is probably a good way to remain friends. Both enjoy walking, and in particular they visit the English lake District to do so, amongst other places naturally. The photographs are from Liz's site, and the drawings from Barrie's. The picture on the left shows the couple toasting Liz's completion of a round of all 214 Wainwright fell tops. There should be a special word for ordinary people who do exceptional things. Hmmm&hellip perhaps extra-ordinary is the word we need, and most ordinary people are extra-ordinary after getting to know them only a little.

Liz is studying for professional qualifications as an indexer, after once spending a year as landlady of Britain's loneliest pub on Knoydart. She offers proof reading services, gulp, so we hope she never reads this weblog. Barrie's talents are here on the page, and much larger for you to enjoy on his webpage. See what we mean about extra-ordinary? The picture on the right shows Liz on Mungrisdale Common with Barrie's dog Sam we guess. The fell may be the lowest point in some people's lives, but we think it never looked better than in this picture.

Do call on Liz and Barrie; we are sure you will be made welcome, and that you will enjoy your visit. Whatever you do, please do not say we sent you.

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Friday, 07 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Three Continents And Antarctica
CREDITS: © Kat/Kat's Free Australian Landscape Wallpaper Photographs
Thumbnail click pops-up source web page with a larger image.
Australia Wallpaper 1 © KatAustralia Wallpaper 2 © KatAustralia Wallpaper 3 © KatAustralia Wallpaper 4 © Kat
Crowd pleasing is not something we have habitually practised here, but when the crowds are continent sized, how can we resist? In the last two days we featured a desktop wallpaper web site for the English Lake District, granted that is not Europe, and another for the US part of north America, which is getting closer to continent size. Today we feature a desktop wallpaper site for Australia.

Once again the pictures are 800x600 pixels (1:1.33). We are unsure just how much of the Island Continent is covered by the more than fifty images in the galleries of Kat's Free Australian Landscape Wallpaper Photographs, because the pictures are not captioned, though even we recognized Ayers Rock.

That leaves three continents and Antarctica…

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Thursday, 06 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: American Desktop Wallpaper FREE!
CREDITS: © Dave Dennis/WallpaperDave.com
Thumbnail clicks pop-up larger images.
Yellowstone NP © Dave DennisWildcat Hills SP © Dave DennisPeak to Peak Scenic Byway © Dave DennisRocky Mountain NP © Dave Dennis
Dave Dennis is Wallpaper Dave! Trying to strike a Transatlantic balance after yesterday's partisan feature, we fetched up on Dave's galleries containing over 1,100 images. That figure does not include the special patriotic and devotional galleries. We think there must surely be something here to please everyone. The later images recorded with a digital camera are of better quality than the earlier ones, which were presumably scanned from hard copy pictures. This is no reflection on Dave's abilities, just a reminder that technology marches onward.

The choices of pictures for the feature was randomly made as we browsed through the galleries. Only afterwards did we realise, that by shuffling the prairie schooners from fourth position to second position, we had something close to the four seasons. Time to dig out the Vivaldi for an audio accompaniment to the slide show.

You may download the pictures (left to right) as 800x600 (1:1.33) pixel desktop wallpaper images, and others taken in the same geographical areas, from the following WallpaperDave.com galleries: [1] Yellowstone [info] National Park, Wyoming; [2] Wildcat Hills [info] State Park, Nebraska, near the Scott's Bluff National Monument; [3] Peak to Peak [info] Scenic Byway, Estes Park, Colorado to Central City, sections of Colorado Highways 7, 72 & 119; [4] Rocky Mountain [info] National Park, mostly from Trail Ridge Road or Fall River Road. If we were to pick one of the info links worthy of closer examination, then it would be the Peak to Peak link, which has a very rich supporting web site with fascinating items of historical interest.

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Wednesday, 05 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Lakeland Desktop Wallpaper FREE!
CREDITS: © Andy Bannister/LakeDistrictDesktops.com
Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
St. Sunday Crag © Andy BannisterDeepdale © Andy BannisterLangdale Pikes © Andy BannisterPikeawassa, Steel Knotts © Andy Bannister
Andy Bannister's LakeDistrictDesktops.com is a new destination for us: for your future convenience, we have added it to the 'UK CAM links' pulldown menu in the page sidebar. The site has been running for just over a month at its present address, but already there are twenty two desktop pictures for you to choose from, with more promised as the site develops. It is good to see that all the site features are in place with a pleasing absence of 'under construction' notices.

The desktop wallpapers files are generally 1280x960 pixels (1:1.333) with a few close exceptions: sign up for email notification (once weekly maximum) to be informed when new images are added, which is scheduled for alternate days. The images we chose for the thumbnail samples were mainly places that brought back fond memories. Left to right [map links]: [1] St. Sunday Crag; [2] Deepdale; [3] Langdale Pikes; and Pikeawassa, the summit of [4] Steel Knotts.

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Tuesday, 04 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: French View Of The American West
CREDITS: © Annie et André Molinet/Travels & Photographs
Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
Hole-in-the-Rock Road Devils Garden © Annie & André MolinetArches Delicate Arch © Annie & André MolinetArches Turret Arch from Windows © Annie & André MolinetGlen Canyon Lake Powell The Horse Shoe © Annie & André Molinet
The web site we are featuring today is mainly in French, though the American West gallery that holds these four images has a total of seventy images, each with a translation in English. From the site's homepage (page d'accueil) you will be able to visit galleries for New York & Las Vegas; India; Mexico; Autumn in the Alps; Marais Vernier; and Roussillon. The other galleries do not have caption translations, but we found this of little importance, though anyone wanting a machine translation may use that link: it will give you the gist, but even our rusty French allowed us un sourire at some of the quainter translations.

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Monday, 03 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Pot Of Gold At The Rainbow's End
CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org
MAPS: Cockermouth, and Blake Fell detail. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
Pot Of Gold © Andrew LeaneyBlake Fell © Andrew Leaney
Ian Scott-Parker writes: Please indulge me while I reminisce. These pictures come from Andrew Leaney's walk to the summit of Knock Murton. Looking at these pictures I am inclined to believe that there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. When I lived in Cockermouth, on the northwest corner of England's Lakeland, I often came to this place with my dogs to walk on these hills.

The old Labrador called Ben died before I moved elsewhere, but the little terrier named Barney, who was of unknown provenance but looked like a miniature Alsatian (German Shepherd), was still full of life and fun when I left the UK for a new life in the USA. One of the promises I made was that Barney and his new much loved companion Pippa would not be separated, or put into an animal shelter. I had the great good fortune to be put in contact with a family who took both dogs, and gave them a wonderful life in the country. With luck there will be Christmas pictures.

Although I miss both dogs, often thinking and dreaming about them, sometimes change demands that we change. I have wonderful memories of people and places, too, but all these things are part of my living present, not my already gone past.

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Sunday, 02 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Instantly Recognizable Buildings
CREDITS: © Peter & Jackie Main/PBase personal travel photo galleries.
MAP: New Delhi - Agra - Kanpur, India. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Taj Mahal © Peter & Jackie MainLooking at pictures of the Eiffel Tower, featured in our recent coverage of Gustave Eiffel, we wondered just how recognizable famous city landmarks were in a worldwide context. The Taj Mahal, featured today, is probably familiar to most westerners from books, magazines, and television. Just how many could name the nearest city, or what purpose the building serves, is less certain. A much larger image is also available for those suitably equipped.

We also wondered how many people living near the Taj Mahal would recognize, and be able to identify, pictures of Westminster Palace (Big Ben if you must, but that's really the bell not the clock) in London; the US Capitol in Washington, DC; the Kremlin St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow; or the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

Visitors interested in learning more about the Taj Mahal may enjoy the Agra gallery by Peter & Jackie Main, from where today's feature picture was taken (a wealth of other galleries is available from the link in the heading of this item); one of the Treasures of the World presentations from PBS; or Saumya Lasjkari's project. The building as you will discover is in Agra, State of Uttar Pradesh, India. It was built by Shah Jehan, a Muslim who was the fifth Mughal emperor, as a tomb for his second wife Mumtaz Mahal. She bore fourteen children and died in 1630 during childbirth.

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Saturday, 01 November 2003

Pix Of The Day: Flower Powered B90/3* Heavy Duty
CREDITS: © Terry Smith/Interesting Trekking Scenes
MAPS: regional map; Allendale Town. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Flower Powered Bicycle © Terry SmithThis picture of a repurposed flower powered bicycle gives us an ineffable warm, fuzzy, happy feeling. We wondered if this was a universal phenomenon, or just some offbeat personal imprinting buried deep within our own psyches. At first we thought today's feature picture had been taken somewhere in the south of France. The Brooks B90/3* Heavy Duty saddle will have been instantly spotted by aficionados of vintage two wheeled HPV technology, so it has to be British.

If you were given a map of the North Pennines area (we thought the interactive version was overkill, but enjoyed the Flash dependent technology non the less), then Allendale Town lies just about where you would thumb tack it to your corkboard. In 1842 this place was calculated to be the geographical center of Great Britain, which is the island containing England, Scotland, and Wales. This was derived from taking the latitude and longitude readings on the sundial at Saint Cuthbert's Church in the Market Place. We were unable to determine who made the calculation, so the methodology must remain suspect. Why noon should be important to latitude and longtitude puzzled us: as they say in examination papers, "Discuss."

Visit Terry Smith's Interesting Trekking Scenes web site to see evidence of major industrial activity in the area's past, and to follow links to guisers with flaming tar barrels on their heads. You may think we are making some kind of impenetrable joke here, but out there on those lonely hillsides and in the remote valleys, this is what they do for entertainment. Beats TV hands down in our estimation.

The youth hostel at Ninebanks, near Hexham, has a quick photo tour that will give you a taste of the area. Mentioning tastes, we thought a nice introduction to this area would be Isaac's Tea Trail, a 36 mile circular walk commemorating local worthy Isaac Holden. If you read Isaac's story, it is worth remembering that in this part of the world coffins often had to be carried by men for many miles over rough terrain to be properly buried in consecrated ground.

The management plan for the AONB (Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is a hefty 2.4Mb PDF file, but one of the best of its type we have seen, and well worth the download if you are sufficiently interested, and possess the resources required. The authority for stewardship of any area (the North Pennines Partnership in this case) could look to this document as a model of presentation excellence. professional chutzpah leads us to wish they had gone the last mile and produced a fully screen configured version. If you, or your organization, need this service then please contact us for a quotation. Oops! Rampant commercialism creeping into the weblog for the first time. Hey buddy, can you spare a dime?

*We never let the truth stand in the way of a good headline: alert and knowledgeable visitors will no doubt be horrified that we have deliberately misinformed our loyal readership over the provenance of that saddle. Brooks, of course, used loop springs, not coil springs, for the front suspension of their B90/3 model. We drew the line at identifying the machine as a Pashley Courier.

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