22 August 2009

21 August 2009

I am away

picture by Laura Mary
In France, and I don't think we will have internet access, so back in September.
(and no, not it's not me in the picture... think more Bruce Willis, less John Mankowitz)

09 August 2009

Bodging it

OK, so the problem was that the rain didn't actually drip into the gutter - oh no - it was running round the edge of the roof-felt and back along the underside of the roof, through the gap between the gutter and the wall..

(see it?)

and then down the wall.

..making the wall very wet.
Get a man in?

No, sir!
I bodged it...
Good eh?
And this evening I have fixed my computer by taking it apart and hoovering out all the dust. 
Is there anything I can't bodge?
I think not.

07 August 2009

Wine and Cider

picture by vad_levin
Over two weeks at our house, our very big(1) house in the country(2), Mrs Botogol tells me that we have entertained 26 guests, not including the builder(3).  That's a lot of wine and cider drunk (and a lot of tea as well), and plenty of conversation and much opportunity to learn the new and the unexpected.

"No", said one of our guests, "that's not how it works at all - in fact Come By means clockwise and  Away means anti-clockwise"

It made so much sense. I have often wondered how sheep-dogs worked out the problem of my-left versus your-left, and there was my answer: not left and right at all, but clockwise and widdershins.  Because wherever in the field you are standing my clockwise is always your.... clockwise.

Yes, with 26 guests you learn new facts like these, and by way of these facts you learn about people.

In this case about myself: for although I knew our friend was a sheep farmer, and a resourceful and self-reliant entrepreneur, and a person who is often under-estimated, even so it still didn't occur to me that she had actually trained her own sheep dog.

(1) not really....
(2) the nicest thing about our house in the country is that we are in a town.
(3) there is always a builder. If you own a second house, there is always a builder.

05 August 2009

While I am away

It cheers the weary soul.

But reveals the frailty of memory: seeing a haka so timid and self-conscious was a shock. I don't remember it like that, is the haka then, far from being a traditional war-dance, actually a modern phenomenon? And did you notice that in 1973 they performed the dance facing across the pitch - at the cameras

And the sizes of the players, some of the 73 All-Blacks would look small in a modern club U17s (I am not joking)

Here's what the haka looks like today.

(HT: Sackerson)

02 August 2009

On Camber Sands...

picture by Hiddenson
..we could connect nothing with nothing.

Actually, it wasn't that bad: we made a pretty good hash of our Fibonacci spiral.

We had a 30m line and a stick and we worked out an effective MO: one of us at the action end applying a considerable centrifugal force to drag a tethered stick through the heavy, wet sand to mark out the sections of the spiral, the other at the centre playing the important role of 'dead weight' : anchoring the line and encouraging the hapless scribe: "keep it taut! keep it taut!"

We constructed 10  sections, the last with a radius of about 25metres, marking out, then, a pitch of about 500m2
The beach rangers didn't like it all. "We don't like it at all", they said, dismounting from their landrover. "What is this about and can we please see your CRB certificates"

"It's a Fibonacci Spiral", I said, "constrructed from a famous sequence of numbers discovered by Leonardo of Pisa, son of Bonacci, and often, it turns out, found in nature, defined as F(n) = F(n-1) + F(n-2), Pete! Keep it Taut!"

"And with the ratio of successive terms tends toward the Golden Section!", exclaimed the young beach warden, relaxing, "That's OK - we were worried that you were doing something irregular".

01 August 2009

Sam Gribley

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.
I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour. If we refused, or rather used up, such paltry information as we get, the oracles would distinctly inform us how this might be done.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever."

Henry Thoreau - Walden

Botogol is on vacation.
and not doing DIY until Monday.