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Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Humour Chart


The WH Smith book “humour chart” is a real bundle of laughs.

The story that unfolds is as dark and cold as Sweden itself

according to one reviewer.

Posted by bigblue on 10/01/2012 at 07:18 AM
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Monday, 09 January 2012
Dim and dimmer


According to the “advertisement-rich” Dictionary.Reference.Com website the word Dim has a number of meanings:

adjective, dim-mer, dim-mest

  • not bright; obscure from lack of light or emitted light: a dimroom; a dim flashlight.
  • not seen clearly or in detail; indistinct: a dim object in thedistance.
  • not clear to the mind; vague: a dim idea.
  • not brilliant; dull in luster: a dim color.
  • not clear or distinct to the senses; faint: a dim sound.
  • not seeing clearly: eyes dim with tears.
  • tending to be unfavorable; not likely to happen, succeed, befavorable, etc.: a dim chance of winning.
  • not understanding clearly..
  • rather stupid; dim-witted.
  • verb, dimmed, dim·ming.
verb, dimmed, dim·ming (used with object).
  • to make dim or dimmer.
  • to switch (the headlights of a vehicle) from the high to the low beam.
verb (used without object)
  • to become or grow dim or dimmer.
Verb phrase
  • dim out, (in wartime) to reduce the night illumination of (a city, ship, etc.) to make it less visible from the air or sea, as a protection from enemy aircraft or ships.
  • take a dim view of, to regard with disapproval, skepticism, or dismay: Her mother takes a dim view of her choice of friends.

The word comes to Modern English from Old English, which in turn inherited it from the Old Norse dimmr (dark).  According to Edenics the words dim and dumb share a common and ancient root. They highlight that in Russian smoke is dim; in Turkish it is duman.

Note: I took the photograph of the building looming over the lamp post in Dublin last year.

Posted by bigblue on 09/01/2012 at 07:17 AM
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Sunday, 08 January 2012
Orange Tree


A lovely colour in nature but not humans. We found these remains of a freshly-felled tree in Ashdown Forest.

Posted by bigblue on 08/01/2012 at 10:30 AM
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Friday, 06 January 2012
Thomas Edward Ellis


The statue of this son of Bala, North Wales, that has featured here previously.

Posted by bigblue on 06/01/2012 at 12:34 PM
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English Mistletoe

It’s a real treat to see English mistletoe, as it’s not as common here and I used to love the way it “decorated” the trees in Alsace when I lived there. As Wikipedia points out:

Mistletoe was often considered a pest that kills trees and devalues natural habitats, but was recently recognized as an ecological keystone species, an organism that has a disproportionately pervasive influence over its community. A broad array of animals depend on mistletoe for food, consuming the leaves and young shoots, transferring pollen between plants, and dispersing the sticky seeds.

The article also describes how some bird species propogate the seeds, after ingesting them with the fruit.  Some claim that the method of propogation is described in the name of the plant: Mistel is the Anglo-Saxon word for dung, and tan is the word for twig, put together the word becomes “dung-on-a-twig”.  However mistel was also the Old English name for the basel plant, so this etymology is somewhat in doubt.

I found a BBC article from last month which highlights the threat to English mistletoe and which mentions that a campaign was started in 2009 to promote this plant in England.

Its disappearance is proving a concern because it helps support wildlife, providing winter food for birds such as the blackcap and mistle thrush.

It also supports six specialist insects, including the scarce mistletoe marble moth, some sap-sucking bugs and the affectionately-named “kiss me slow weevil”.

A project was started two years ago by the National Trust and Natural England to help reverse the loss of the habitat by restoring traditional orchards, supporting small cottage industries producing cider and juices and promoting the growth of community-run orchards.

A National Trust spokesman said: “Orchards remain a key area of work for the trust and mistletoe is a major part of their story and history.

“Across England, orchards have disappeared, so mistletoe has dwindled. It’s important that we support this plant for wildlife reasons.

“It needs to be harvested or will kill off trees, and to support local farmers who sell mistletoe and to maintain this Christmas tradition.

“People can also grow their own mistletoe. The best time is February to graft it on to fruit trees.”

There’s also more over at this Sussex Wildlife Trust article, which also contains an embedded recording/podcast of Jess Price (their “WildCall Information Officer” - what a job title) talking about mistletoe on BBC Radio Sussex. It’s worth a listen, even if it’s headlined (and tail-lined) with the “kissing” tag.

I have posted photos of French mistletoe and wrote about its historical significance previously, see here:

Posted by bigblue on 06/01/2012 at 07:34 AM
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Thursday, 05 January 2012
My bicycle

On Sunday evening on my way home from a ride ... I didn’t want to think what my backside looked like.

Posted by bigblue on 05/01/2012 at 08:02 AM
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Tuesday, 03 January 2012
The Oxted Gasholder


For other photos of this iconic architectural feature, see the Twitter photo challenge.

Posted by bigblue on 03/01/2012 at 08:11 AM
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Monday, 02 January 2012
Worth Way: there & back again


Today’s ride. Lovely clear conditions and lots of families out and about on bicycle, pram and foot.

Posted by bigblue on 02/01/2012 at 07:10 PM
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