Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Loo of the year award (Canterbury, Kent)

I wonder what a Loo has to be like to win a "loo if the year award"? Is the interior sumptious with walnut bog seats instead of plain plastic? Does it sparkle with chrome and porcelain?

Did they get Carol Smilie to come an give it a make-over? Did Gavin install a shark's fin mirror in the stalls where you point the peter? Was there an MTV team involved for a special edition of "Pimp my bog" What did it smell like? No traces of the after effects of the friday night curry, instead Ozzie and Jillie would sniff the air as though it were a fine wine and proclaim it to be positivey redolent with the scent of Zephirine Drouhin the antique climbing rose, with just a hint of 18th century leather saddlebags suffused with the prespiration of a lady out fox-hunting.

And why has it failed to win any rewards in the interveening years? Has it fallen into disrepute? Has there been a scandal because it became such a huge tourist attraction, that long queues of men stood outside waiting to get in, and the police were less than understanding? Has it been overworked and there has been a colossal failure in the plumbing, and it would take a big job to get it fixed and restore its reputation of being the finest loo in Canterbury?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A mother's advice to her son

Sack race at St Mary's
Originally uploaded by HyperBob.
Overheard at school sports day.

Run fast Nathan, just like you do when you want to get away from mummy.

The school sports day was largely a non-competetive affair. Lots of sports where nobody won. Winning only makes the winner happy and everybody else who looses feels like loosers. Apparently last year there was a punch up between a couple of fathers who had a dispute over who won the 50 meters dash, so most of the sports now are non-competetive.

But some kids just don't get the idea they just want to win. It is in their blood.

"I won, I won, I won."
"Sorry Barry, but you didn't win. There was nothing to win"
"But I was first, and I was the fastest"
"No Barry, this was a sports exercise, and it was all about cooperation"
"But I stuck my head through the hole in the big parachute, and I wouldn't let anybody else do it"
"But Barry, there was no point in shoving your head through the hole in the parachute, and it just caused tension in the circle."
"But everybody else was screaming at me, so that they could put their head through the hole in the parachute, so I must have won"
"No Barry, this was a non-competetive exercise"
"I won, I won, I won."

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The garden sings a song

Kohlrabi ready to eat
Originally uploaded by HyperBob.
So I got back to the garden after an absence of two weeks, and it is absolutely singing. Not some soft lullaby, but a full voiced massed male choir from Wales singing "bread of heaven" after winning the six nations Rugby championship. The yellow trumpet flowers on the cucumbers were bold and brassy. The pumpkin flowers were standing upright like a tuba and provided a mighty um-pa-pa. The leaves of the Kohlrabi were swirling in the wind with excitement. The beetroot were puffing out their chests and filling their lungs to hit the high notes. The potatoes were rumbling under the ground, like a run-away train rolling down the track. They were fightenly out of control, and all the better for it. The dill plants were taut as violin strings, and about to break with excitement. The lettuces had exhausted themselves and gone all limp from the fervour of the song. Even the weeds were triumphant and victorious. Redeemed even. The beans were a little bemused by the joyousness of the song, but being overcome by the splendour of the occasion twittered amongst themselves as an apperciative audience. The radishes and rocket had gone to seed and their flowers clapped their hands in delight. It was heavenly. Just as a good garden should be

Monday, July 18, 2005

Cartoon do not have all the answers

No matter how beautiful the world is some people only see the coming apocalypse

The best you can do when you are hungry is to eat what is on offer

Or make a bang loud enough for the world to hear

for people are imprisoned in ways that we can never understand

and pain can strike when you least expect it. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Attitudes to life and death... winning and loosing

Knokke cartoon festival

I went to the cartoon festival in Knokke and snagged a few cartoons. For some strange reason I liked the one with the fish attempting suicide with a ballon. It causes the man with the stone to stop and wonder at the absurdity of his actions. I really wonder if there is such a thing as animal suicides, or is it something that humans reserve for themselves?

3 is a magic number Posted by Picasa

It is all about attitude really. Coming third and acting like a winner. It is wonderful if when you loose or fail, you have that spirit to plough on. A positive attitude that takes you forward no matter what. I could be friends with the man on the number 3 podium. He is giving the victory salute, and is more victorious than the winner who cowers frightened on the number one spot.

He who has ears let him hear.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Onion bed raided, Potatoes up-rooted

So there I was wondering what I was going to do with all my onions and potatoes. It looks like I may not have a problem after all, since someone has raided the garden. Gulam has said that he only grows things that the rabbits don't eat. I wonder if he has any suggestions for plants that don't attract the two legged variety of attacker.

Onion bed raided

I thought that it would be good to weed out all of the onion beds, and as I was doing so a Kurdish woman passed me smiled and shook her finger, and made a motion by putting her forfinger and thumb together and simulating the pulling out of a weed ( at least that is what I think she was doing, it might have been some obscene gesture at the infidel) then she wagged her finger from side to side and shook her head as if to say NO!!! weeding is a bad idea. When I walked around the plots I noticed many of the onion beds were not weeded. Perhaps they were using the weeds as a camoflage to protect their onions from robbers. Perhaps they have learnt from experiance.

But onions were not enough, if you are a robber and need a stew then some nice new potatoes are just the job. But robbers are not gardeners and they don't observe if the potatoes are in flower they have no way of knowing how big the potatoes in the ground are. If the leaves are big and green then there must be potatoes there RIGHT? WRONG!!!

Potatoes up rooted

The potatoes are still very small, I expect it will be the end of the month before they are ready. When I looked at the potato shaws they were still fresh. They had not withered away so my guess is that the raid was made early in the morning. And the small potatoes were just perfect, not a blemish on their skins. If they were not good enough for the robbers, they were certainly good enough for me, so I gathered them up and took them home and I will have them in a soup.

There is one thing to be positive about... they were not destructive. Last year I wrote about the hooliganism and vandalism that resulted in tool boxes being thrown in the ditches. The police can not or will not do anything about it, which makes you wonder about the function of the "law". I took these two snapshots of the damage done. I wonder if God took a snapshot of the culprits and put it in his filing cabinet under the heading "thou shall not steal"

On the subject of stealing I came across a German discussion on Flickr about a man called Werner Wattwurm who copied other peoples photos and passed them off as his own. He would take a misty morning shot from the smokey moutains and flip it over and then call it Brocken the highest mountain in North Germany. He did this with countless photos and gained the praise and admiration of the german community on Flickr, and now it turns out that he was a fraudster. It is quite shattering when hidden things come to the light.

But the strange thing is the man had impeccable taste. It is stupid of me to say this but I once called my wife to come and admire his wonderful pictures. I envied him the sights he had seen. It was as though God had allowed him to capture all the glory of nature, and I felt privileged to be able to see the things he had seen, all of creation singing a song of praise

There was a whole series that he said he had taken when out riding his bike, and I thought to myself, if you don't get out then you don't see the rain or the clouds or the storms or the colours in the sky, so I was inspired to go out into the forest for walks to be surprised by beauty.

From the comments he used to get on his "photos" I am sure lots of people also felt that way, and now it turns out many of his photos he just copied and fliped from webshots. Should I feel cheated by what he did, well no actually it makes me smile.

So for some reason I am in a benevolent mood at the moment, perhaps it is God's grace. So to the person who stole the fruits of my hard labour. I hope you enjoyed those onions. I know I would have.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Glorious summer

There is a lady at the allotments who makes socks and mittens and sells them at a craft market. She has a garden, or lets say a "meddow" and it is covered in wild flowers. In her hand you can see a double headed daisy. What an annomoly, makes you wonder about the genetic makeup of things. We are wonderful and frightfully made.

sock lady with bunch of flowers picked from her garden

It was quite difficult to get a good picture of the double headed flower. Snap it from one side and you miss out on the other face. You have to look at it edge on to see what it really looks like. If I only look at the sock lady face on, what do I see? An old lady who is a bit overweight, who does not have the strength to dig a "proper man's garden". A lady who has difficulty walking, and difficulty breathing.

But if you look at her edge on. She was picking the flowers to take them to a hospital "to brighten up somebodies day" She is a recycler, and uses stuff other people throw away. She travels from Latokaski to Espoonlahti just to be in her garden. She talks to people, and is kind. She enjoys the open air and the sunshine.

double headed flower

The kohlrabbi has succeeded this year, and it looks like I will get a crop. The purple colour of the leaves is beautiful, and goes well with the red and green of the beetroot leaves. I am happy with the way these plants have grown.

Kohlrabbi puttin on some weight

This is the far side of the garden and this photo was taken when the sun was going down. It is buzzing with life. I have come to realize my plot gets the sun both in the morning and in the evening. Things are growing, indeed they seem to be growing too well, I must have made a terrible mistake somewhere. Put on too much manure.

Does green and lovely leaves mean that the crop will be good? You can recognise when things are dying and withering that this is a bad sign, but when there is health and vigour there, why should you be worried? Well with root crops you have to store them and if they have too much nitrogen then they don't keep. I will just have to give stuff away or eat it straight out of the ground.

Garden at sunset

Monday, July 04, 2005

Kirsti (pregnant) in her garden

Kirsti (pregnant) in her garden
Originally uploaded by HyperBob.
Knowing that the Espoonlahti allotments are scheduled to become a "culture centre" I cylced around the area looking for some new allotments and I found an area in Soukka which is in a lovely area down by the sea. Evern though the day was hot there was a fresh breeze blowing from the sea, so it felt lovely.

The area is surrounded on all sides by trees, just a magical clearing in the forest. I stoped and talked to Kirsti, she was tying up some bunches of "Karjalan minttu" to be used for making tea. Her garden was not regimented in any way. The plants looked like they were at a party, each forming their own little social groups and talking about the weather . Around the edge she had Siberian pea trees growing and when I talked to her she was making notes in her diary. I thought it might be about the conversations the plants were having, but she told me the notes were about the bump in her belly. She was pregnant.

What a wondeful woman to be digging and working and weeding, being out in the open air , enjoying the sun, and taking notes about the bump in her belly. She gave me the name and telephone number of te man responsible for these allotments, and apparently he will come and till the area for you with a rotavator and they have water laid on as well. We talked about the movement of the sun and she said the clearing got sun most of the day, but her plot was best for working in the mornings, whereas the plots on the farside from her were best if you wanted to worki in the evenings.

I am trying to think of something profound to say about the fact that she is surrounded by all that good greeness, the singing sap in all the leaves of all the plants she has planted. The sunshine on her belly, but there is nothing to say except that it is good... extremely good.

And the peak of her cap was turned backwards Rambo style. You know in all the Rambo movies he is the gardener leading the quite life and he is living with the peak of his baseball cap pointing forward, then he gets called on a mission and when he decides to kick ass he always turns the peak of his cap backwards. It is like a switch. It is a signal that he means business. I get the feeling it is the same for Kirsti

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Hating it again

- When you have your arms full and a mosquito is sucking blood from your ear lobe and you can do nothing about it.

Feeling bound and abused

- When it the dark you put on your pyjama top back to front and it feels like it does not fit properly, and when you take it off and put it on again it is still wrong.

Darknes bringing confusion

- When you are going up stairs and you step up a stair that is not there.

confronted by the unexpected

- When your hands are full of shopping and your car keys are in your pocket.

Struggling to put things in order.

- When there are lots of doors to open to get to where you want to go

Barred from going where you want to go.

- When a door has three handles or locks on it and it needs two people to open it and you are there by yourself.

Stones on the pathway, barriers

- When the bottom is about to fall out of the paper shopping bag

Let down by the weekness of material things

- When radishes go to seed and you have not eaten any of them.

Regretting the passage of time

- When the bus driver moves away from the bus stop, and no matter how hard you bang on the door he will not open it up and let you in.

Obstructed by officialdom

- When you are a second late for a train and it pulls away from the platform.

Missing out on your journey because you have not planned ahead.

- When the car runs out of petrol and there is not a garage in sight, and when you try to call for help on the phone the battery goes dead.

Inconvenienced by modern convenieces

- When directory of inquiries can find a phone number for you when you know it exists. When they don't even recognise your own name.

Never in the book when you need it to be there. Always in the book when you don't want it to be there. The records are either lost or against us.

- When you have done the shopping only to discover you have left your wallet in the car.

The dilema of what to to next.

- When you can't find your car in the airport parking lot.


- When sombody wags their finger at you, beeps their horn, and flashes their lights, and you have no idea why they are doing it or if it is really directed at you.

Officialdom sanctioning you for breaking rules that you did not know existed.

- When nails keep bending over when you try to hammer them in.

Trying you best and not getting things right.

- When nails refuse to come out of wood no matter how hard you pull.

Trying even harder but getting nowhere.

- When you crack your head on the door lintel because the door is too small

Trying to get into places that you should not go and suffering for it.

- When in the pitch black with arms outstreached you inch your way to where you think the open door is, only to have both arms go on opposite sides of the door, with the end result that you crack your head on the edge of the door.

Pain inflicted because you choose to walk in the dark

- When the chain comes off you bike when you are going uphill and changing gears.

The worst things happen at the most inappropriate times

- When you are positive that you right and it turns out that you are wrong.

Stupidity and stuborness a deadly combination.

- When you say something to a group of people and realise nobody is listening.

Ignored for what you want to say.

- When your soup is too salty.

Never put salt on your food before tasting it. More of the same does not make it better.

- When the bit of cheese you ave been saving for later has turned mouldy.

Things go bad if not kept properly.

- When you realise the things that you don't want to happen are going to happen anyway.

Fate is a bad concept and needs to be fought against