Showing posts from April, 2024

Who Is This Entertaining Head?

I know who it looks like, but who is it really? You can see who it looks like, can't you? One of the many stone heads around the Bodleian Old Library court  (Oxford, England) that watch from beside the doors. This one, come on you can see who it looks like surely, is to the right of the door that leads to/from the Clarendon Quad. I'd love to know when it was carved and who it really is, coz it can't be ... well, it can't be can it!

Oxford Public Telephone Box

Hmmm, this phone box  is not the best look for a visitor to the city of Oxford.

Huh? Telling Us What We Can Read Is A Problem?

Nah, surely having personal results is a good thing, it helps us manage the information overload ... no? Well, yes, if it's done with transparency ... big "if". The key is to know on what basis item A is allowed into your view and why item B isn't. Actually, even knowing item B exists is probably the first step. Back in 2011 Eli Pariser talks directly to the Larry, Sergey, and Zuckerberg's of the world asking for them to give us the control and transparency that we need to enjoy what the Internet/Web promised. We never got it eh, and look what happened, we all chose sides and it's messy, dangerous, and very very siloed. As Siouxsie Wiles asked back in 2020: So please, before sharing something, ask yourself these questions: How does this make me feel? Why am I sharing this? Do I know if it’s true? Where did it come from? Whose agenda might I be supporting by sharing it? Yup, this post came out of a historical Pocket save of a Siouxsie Wiles post,  Now let’s

Blowing Virtual Bubbles

A software engineer in Japan who sometimes makes fun stuff at has indeed made fun with Bubbles .

Finally, The Muse Alights

Took my bloody ages farting around with the colours, definition, blur, and all manner of editing malarkey before Miss Muse finally whispered in my ear, "It's another book cover ". Spare a thought to my poor girlfriend who is subjected to, "This one?" after each edit, how annoying for her.

What Does A Language Mean To People

I have called two countries home, Wales and New Zealand. I have called two countries home, Cymru and Aotearoa. Whilst I can only converse with one language and therefore possess one overriding world view I am deeply aware that this is just one of many many ways of viewing the human experience. Language is everything. Your language is everything, all languages are everything. Languages also convey unique cultures. Cherokee, for example, has no word for goodbye, only “I will see you again”. Likewise, no phrase exists for “I’m sorry”. On the other hand, it has special expressions all its own. One word – oo-kah-huh-sdee –represents the mouth-watering, cheek-pinching delight experienced when seeing an adorable baby or a kitten. “All of these things convey a culture, a way of interpreting human behaviour and emotion that’s not conveyed the same way as in the English language,” Belt says. Without the language, the culture itself might teeter, or even disappear. “If we are to survive, to conti

UK Population Predictions

In my search for population details for Monmouth (town, not county) I came across On the Increase of Population in England and Wales by R. Price Williams, published in the Journal of the Statistical Society of London, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Sep., 1880), pp. 462-508 (36 pages). A population projection of London and the England and Wales (definitely excluding Scotland and Ireland) takes the last census of 1871 base figure and projects ahead, in ten years increments, to the year 2181. So, the closest to us as I write is 2021. How close was Mr Williams for us right now? Mr Williams has the England and Wales population of 2021 at 91,753,000 (91.7 million) and, at the 2021 census, it was 59,597,542 (59.6 million). You can all do the maths about the percentage difference and where it went wrong for him :) The "immense population" of London in 1871 was 3,254,260 (3.3 million), and was censused in 2021 as 8,799,800 (8.8 million). What did Mr Williams predict it would be, 8 million. Wow, no

Hobbit Pubs Do Exist

The Green Dragon is probably exactly the sort of pub* that Tolkien was imagining and/or remembering when he wrote about the eponymous establishment of Hobbiton . * I say "sort of pub" as quite a few Green Dragon pubs claim to be the one that gave Tolkien inspiration. I'm sure many helped but none are THE one.

What's The Best Conker Tactic?

The game is easy, pop a conker (a horse chestnut) on a piece of string / shoe lace and find someone else who has done the same. Take turns to hold up a conker by the string allowing the opponent to take a swipe at it with theirs. First one to smash the others conker wins. Easy, simple, and yet devilishly difficult to survive a whole conker season. Oh, and scoring for the season. We played the "winner takes the defeated's score". So, if your conker had won 4 games your were a four-er. If you then beat a conker that had won 10 previous games you were now a fifteen-er,  4 (your previous wins), + 10 (defeated conkers wins), + 1 (the game itself) = 15 Tactics that I know of include: Soaking in vinegar Drying using heat (oven/radiator) Wrap the string around your fingers and have a close swing at it Wait until your opponent has had a few battles before going in How would you attempt to survive the intense conker season?

Last Of The Summer Wine

Early October as the autumnal machlud slowly pops himself off to bed after a day of forcing light through the high cloud. Cheers Sun, you done good.

Symond, Don't Jump

At the main Symonds Yat viewing place, walking towards the wall. Back in the day there was no wall, imagine that!

Kymin Views

Smack bang on the border of England and Wales, look one way and it's the Forest of Dean , look the other it's the hills of Wales. The top of the Kymin is a classic place to take all your visitors to Monmouth, if you're from Wellington think Mt Vic lookout .

Gay On Wye

Who doesn't love a big pink pun!

The Places You're Looking For

'Ye olde worlde' of Wales, and many parts of the UK, holds a special place in the tourism industry. Of course it does, it's what people like you and me are after. It conjures up solidity, mystery, simpleness, history, and a certain book/movie feel that fits in with our internal images of what 'ye olde worlde' should look like - we really are in Diagon Alley, this really is Robin Hood land, this is actually where Holmes lived.  Wales does not let you down, it has tonnes of places like this just waiting for you to photograph. But if that's too difficult to make happen then be happy in the knowledge that I have done it for you ( inland and coastal ). For the next few months (I suspect) you're gonna see a lot of 'ye olde worlde' Wales. btw: I remember when Church Street had a tarmac covering and they dug it up to lay down the 'olde worlde' paving stones to give it more of the feeling we all crave.

[Updated] Pubs of 2024 Monmouth

"Back in the day", yada yada yada, yes we all know there were more pubs than people, there was a pub every two houses, the largest number of pubs per square mile than anywhere in the known universe, there was a pub named after each and every one of us, and yet, YET we only ever went to same one every time. Monmouth has changed, it now only has 10 pubs.  "Ten! Ten? It used to be ten pubs just in the top of town. There were ten pubs I'd walk past to get to my local." Yes, yes ... times change, we now have 10 pubs in Monmouth . Oh, and the Mayhill but that seems to be more a ghost pub, it can be seen but only in the dark and no-one will believe if you say you went in. Monmouth, a town in Wales (YES, it is in Wales ), a town that has a population of around 10,317 (as at 2021). A town who's 1980's population was, well, I don't know, despite a century of censuses being taken, it's impossible to find (1991: 8,206 | 2001: 8,877 | 2011: 10,508 | 2021: 1

Who Lives In A House Like This

The Old Tree of St Thomas House in Monmouth begs the Loyd Grossman question , "Who lives in a house like this?"

Cleaner Required, Raglan Castle

Can you imagine having to vacuum the whole castle , it would take bloody ages!

Sneaking Out

Easiest castle escape ever, sneak out the backdoor when no-one is looking, LOL.

The Invention Of Brass, Or Was It?

Weird to think the invention of brass can be placed at an exact year and in an area. Weird, but true as this plaque on the outer walls of Tintern Abbey claims it to be. NEAR THIS PLACE, IN THE YEAR 1568 BRASS WAS FIRST MADE BY ALLOYING COPPER WITH ZINC. TO COMMEMORATE THE EVENT AND ON THE OCCASION OF THE DIAMOND JUBILEE OF THE NATIONAL BRASSFOUNDRY ASSOCIATION, THIS PLAQUE WAS ERECTED IN 1957 Now, the plaque says that but a quick visit to Wikipedia and it all falls apart, little did the 1957 National Brassfoundry fellas realise just how quickly we could find out the actual info ... except about themselves, a tantalising sniff of info but nothing concrete. Brass has been around since the BCs, but calamine brass does mention Tintern Abbey and the village is proud of how they kicked off the Industrial Revolution .

Can YOU, "Spot The People"?

Who remembers Spot The Ball, that thing from the 1970, 80s, and 90s, that joined your Nan's Littlewood's football pool entry in her weekly ritual of newspapers, pen, and quiet time. If you're craving the fun of bygone times I am here for you: Download the photo, Place your cross on the spot where you think two people were*,  Upload your choice somewhere, Pop a link in the comments  WIN! Spot The Ball - The Story! is a grand short history of Spot The Ball with this shocker but if info: It’s not where the ball ‘really’ is! Many people aren’t aware that the ball they were trying to pinpoint was not the actual ball from the image. A group of experts decided where they judged the ball to be, and it was this location that players were trying to locate with their X’s. Using the ball from the original image made cheating possible as people could track down the photograph to find its correct position. Of course, all the Spot the Ball experts worked independently of each other and t

Zoom In For The Shocking Detail

It's not often one comes across a blue plaque that sums up town life quite so aptly. I'm afraid you'll have to zoom in to get the full measure of the writing.

Heir To The Fortune Fortune

Nothing really funny about it, just a slight and silly bit of word play. Move on please, nothing else to see here.

Archway, Henry Burton Court

My daily photo can allow me to lose myself on the web as I try to work out what the photo is actually of and it's specific history. During my London photos this happened frequently, with my Monmouth/Trefynwy and wider Wales snaps I'm gonna need to give myself hours each day. So, this turns out to be an archway (for no apparent reason than it looks good) in Henry Burton Court and Almshouse for the elderly just off Glendower Street . These Grade II listed almshouses were funded by Colonel Henry Burton, V.D., and Mrs S.E. Burton and built in 1928. This almshouse charity caters for: [elderly] persons who have resided for more than 5 years within the Monmouthshire area. Both cats & dogs generally accepted, but not to be replaced. I have spend ages trying to find anything about the Burtons but have returned with nothing. Anyone out there able to point me in any useful direction?

I've Put It On The Internet

Here's a small but powerful way to remember that "online" is not a place you own, it's an ever changing and amorphous mass of other people's computers. Don't say, "I've just shared it on Facebook for you", "I'll tweet that on X/Twitter", "I'm gonna post it on Instagram.", "I'll pop those photographs onto Flickr" ... or any other social media websites and apps you use. Definitely do not say, "I've put it on my Facebook page". This is wrong on so many levels. No, just say, "I've put it on the internet. You can see it at [app|website]" and think, "It's on someone else's computer for you."

The Bridge Home

Despite having a wonderful time in London it was good to be heading west and over the bridge to home, Wales .

AI Generated Images, 2024

The " AI bubble " that we're currently experiencing started on 30th November 2022 (a Wednesday for those asking), the day OpenAI released ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) and everyone and their dog went bonkers for it, AI, and the new world order. As I write this I am yet to experience anything astounding in my life from any "AI" from any tech company of any size. I have noticed that Google Assistant is getting worse, Google Maps is slower, but apart from that (which I assume is "AI" related), nothing. Note: I am yet to work with any organisation that utilises "AI" in anything more than, "Ooh, look, shiny new toy". Generative "AI" is actually what ChatGPT, Gemini, and many other types of "AI" are, systems capable of generating text, images, videos, code, or other data using generative models, often in response to prompts. I am not impressed by text or code, I should be but rarely am. I will alway

9 Lessons From A Dude [video]

Tim Minchin gives some wonderful advice for everyone no matter what stage of life you're in: You don't have to have a dream.  Don't seek happiness.  Remember it's all luck.  Exercise. Be hard on your opinions. Be a teacher! Please! Please! Please be a teacher. Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world. You don't have to do it forever but if you're in doubt about what to do be an amazing teacher. Just for your 20s be a teacher. Be a primary school teacher. Especially if you're a bloke. We need male primary school teachers. Even if you're not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don't take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn and spray it. Define yourself by what you love. Respect people with less power than you. Finally, don't rush.  Thanks Tim Minchin. There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence and that is fill it. Not fillet. Fill it. And in my opinion, until I change it, life

Years Of Me & Sherlock Holmes

Having been a fan of the Sherlock Holmes books (which are a true documentation of actual events, they are) since my early teens imagine my 1987 delight on learning that there is not only the 221B Baker Street museum but a pub just down the street from Trafalgar Square. My girlfriend at the time, Jean, took this snap of 20 year-old me outside the pub. Last year a 56 year-old me asked a fella outside the same pub to take a similar photo. I will always smile when I look at this photo.

Puttin' On ...

🎶 If you're blue, and you don't know where to go to Why don't you go where fashion sits? Puttin' on the Ritz Different types who wear a day coat Pants with stripes and cutaway coat, perfect fits Puttin' on ...

The Pirates! In an Adventure With Vicky, Bert, And Mike

A delightful and funny movie * that has given me a stack of awesome Mr. Bobo monkey butler GIFs . I love the concept of Queen Victoria being part of a society of world leaders that dine on endangered creatures and becomes outraged and murderous on not being able to eat Polly. As for the rest of the Victoria and Albert Museum , hmmm, it's quite the collection of 'stuff' . Rooms packed with statues next to corridors displaying iron gates. There's gold in there however you need both a plan before entering and a focus of need combined with a high level of adventure and a serendipitous loving mind. * such a shame that Sony didn't pick up the next movie , would've been awesome.

Marchfest 2024

Marchfest , NZ's Big Little Craft Beer Festival, ".. a unique craft beer and music festival celebrating it’s 16th year. Held in Nelson, at the top of the South Island, and set in the beautiful, traffic-free environment of Founders Heritage Park." Marchfest 2024

Riverside Temple (sshhhh)

This is the home of James Bond and especially M, Q, and other letters. SIS *, the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6 is housed in quite the building, I admire the sheer confidence of it to be so bold and obvious. * fascinating website, especially the jobs.

The Last 10 UK Thoughts

Having recently(ish) returned from the UK this a final post in a short series of " Things I've noticed whilst being in the UK" posts. There are no groupings as this is the final post and it's just a brain dump of the things left. Let's get into it ... Michael McIntyre is still shit. If you say, "Thank you squire" I will judge, harshly! You're a twat. There are as many alternatives to the word "dead"/"died" as there are for drunk. Just say dead, it's ok The security guard in Waitrose wears a faux flack jacket (with a pen in the pocket). The militarisation of the UK continues. Young men smell nice. Pampering is a thing for them. The river Wye is brown with shit and pollution. There is money, a lot of it, around. Broadcast / terrestrial TV is absolute shite full of reality shows or quizzes with a bit of news thrown in. I can't remember anyone from my home town apart from a few old mates I've stayed in touch with. The ban

Sir Isaac Newtown And Fat Babies

Before entering Westminster Abbey I knew I wanted to see two things, Poets' Corner (a complete dogs body of tombs, plaques, stained glass windows, and statue memorials, loved it) and Newton's memorial .  I found it quite awe inspiring to be finally standing there in front of it, surrounded by all the fancy dancy building twiddles.

All Of God's Mates

We got the whole gamut carved into the side of Westminster Abbey from Mary and the baby Jeebus, up through figures representing music, law, and all the finest of work and values, to the 12 Jesus Gang, angels with wings in hospital gowns, Mickey & Gabs, ending with the white bearded god with a crown, Zeus. I do actually love the work, the craft, the whole archway, it's the subject that makes me giggle.


Motu , (noun), island, country, land, nation, clump of trees, ship - anything separated or isolated. Example: Ko ētahi wāhi atu o te motu nei ka nui te mate i te waipuke, i te tūpuhi. / Some other parts of this island have major problems with floods and storms.

Palace Of Westminster

I thought it was called the Houses of Parliament but apparently it's official given name is the Palace of Westminster which implies that it was built for a King or Queen (which is was until fire in 1512) ... [opens Wikipedia ] The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is located in London, England. It is commonly called the Houses of Parliament after the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two legislative chambers which occupy the building. There ya go. I knew that Big Ben is the name of the bell inside the tower but I didn't know it was called the Elizabeth Tower ... [opens Wikipedia ] The tower was officially called the Clock Tower until 2012, when it was renamed to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. Aha, every day is a school day.

5 UK Culture Thoughts

Having recently(ish) returned from the UK this a continuation of a short series of " Things I've noticed whilst being in the UK" posts. There's loads to love about what the Brits are about and that makes up for what we all also know about them. Old. Old is "weight", it's also what holds the UK down and that's a good thing and a bad thing. Old is the weight of others before you (tradition), it's the weight of expectation (class), it's the sound of the person next to you (judgement), it's why you can't leave and why you should. Good people. The UK people and their values, mostly, are solid, the core is good. When they're not being played by the powerful, they are the best. Like every other landmass on this planet.  Old fashioned views. Women walk on the inside, expect doors to be opened for them, apparently it's "polite". It's true, the Brits say sorry all the time, it's like verbal tourettes. EXCEPT when they

Lateral Palpebral Commissure

Or the external canthus , obvs.

Wake Up And Get Into It!

Like a cold, freshly squeezed orange drink it jumped out at me as I headed off on day 3 of the London walks in order to both stave off the jetlag and see all the things .

5 Bronze Rabbitwoman And Dogman Stories

Quirky, brilliantly detailed, storied, and straight into my heart, went these gorgeous bronze statues from Gillie and Marc on The Queen's Walk . Top left: The Giant Tortoise and Rabbitwoman Loved the Sound of the Wild Top right: The Grevy's Zebra Was on the Move to Safer Ground with Rabbitwoman and Dogman Middle: Rise Up Rhino Bottom left: The African Elephant Never Forgot What He Learned and Neither Did Rabbitwoman Bottom right: The White Rhino Was Thinking Ahead with Dogman's Encouragement

Not London Bridge

Even if this was a photo of London Bridge it wouldn't be but it's not even, it's a photograph of Tower Bridge .