Showing posts from May, 2024

Albert Lee

His name, for me, has been associated with great guitarists from the moment I started to learn about rock music in my early teens. Specifically Albert Lee had played alongside my hero Ritchie Blackmore on an anonymous LP called Green Bullfrog released in 1971 (I think mine was the 1980 reissue). I love it! I'd also read that other musicians, especially guitarists, rated him as the best, a unique player with a tone and technique unequaled. Imagine my happiness when I saw he was playing Monmouth's most excellent Savoy Theatre ! In fact he's a local lad (an 80 year-old lad tbf) living just over the border in Herefordshire. Enjoy .

My Favourite Hedge + Postbox + Bin Combo

What? You don't have a favourite hedge + postbox + bin combo. Oh, ok, you can like mine as well then.

I Own A House In Monmouth

Obviously I don't really own a house, I will never ever* own a house again and certainly not one on the other side of the planet. But still, this one does have my name on it 😁 * Never say never ever, who knows, one day I might.

Crash Course Pods: The Universe

This is my current go to #podcast , The Universe . John Green is awesome at expressing the awe and asking all the questions that you and I would. From the first pecoseconds to billions of years it might seem daunting at first but it's not, it's gorgeously signposted, explained by Katie Mack, and summarized so no-one is left behind. Dr. Katie Mack , a theoretical astrophysicist, walks #1 New York Times bestselling author John Green through the history of the entire universe - including the parts that haven’t been written yet. Episodes are released every two weeks, starting April 24, 2024.

Ours podcast

Been a while for a #podcast post, time to amend that. Ours from Te Papa + RNZ is a glorious set of 2018 small podcast episodes. With 20 x 7 minute shows from Noelle McCarthy , a museum curator, and an NZ famous person we are taken through specific items held in Te Papa , it's history, why it means what it means to the 'famous person', and how it makes a different to Kiwis. They are awesome Kiwia snippets that you can pop on during the commute and you'll learn, love, and share! Jody Wyllie and Te Hau ki Tūranga Lady Pippa Blake and NZL32 Ema Tavola and the Isa Lei song The Topp Twins and the dolls Pauline Cowens and the Snell Shoe Ngila Dickson and the Xena costume Googie Tapsell and the Patu Parāoa Leah McFall and the Suffragette medal Jamie Tuuta and the Strutt Painting Sir Richard Taylor and the wētā Elisapeta Fononga and the fish shop uniform Eric London and the first ever dinosaur tooth Anthony Byrt and Colin McCahon's 'I am scared' Sam and the colossa

Caption That

So, why are there steps leading up to the wall? Answer in the comments tomorrow.

Stay On The Path

Lord's Woods at the end of Wyesham is a glorious walk at any time of the year. The straight, gently inclining, path follows the old railway track and looks out across the Wye Valley. Of course autumn is especially gorgeous as the leaves start to change colour.

The Shambles, Monmouth

The " shambles ", as a name for an area, seems to be quite common on the UK with the most famous  in York. I believe the York Shambles was an inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter (or not ), maybe just the movie versions. And now that I've read what "shambles" actually means my photo and the naming of The Shambles makes sooooo much more sense: "Shambles" is an obsolete term for an open-air slaughterhouse and meat market. Streets of that name were so called from having been the sites on which butchers killed and dressed animals for consumption (One source suggests that the term derives from "Shammel", an Anglo-Saxon word for shelves that stores used to display their wares, while another indicates that by AD 971 "shamble" meant a 'bench for the sale of goods' and by 1305, a 'stall for the sale of meat'.). As you may remember from yesterday I was wandering around the back of Market Hall and headed down to Monmou

To / From The Bridge

On Tibbs Bridge looking up to the back of Market Hall on Priory Street. And then on Priory Street look back down to the bridge. And then on the bridge looking up. And then looking down. Up. Down. To reach Monmouth's pleasure gardens [1780s] you had to cross Tibbs' Bridge, built on the foundations of the medieval castle bridge. (British Museum) Er mwyn mynd i erddi pleser Trefynwy, rhaid oedd i chi groesi Pont Tibbs a oedd wedi ei hadeiladu ar sylfeini pont y castell canoloesol. (Amgueddfa Prydain)

[UPDATE] Mayor 1883

[UPDATED 25-May-2024] How wrong could I be! It's NOT about who I thought it was at all but the mayor BEFORE the one I wrote about. Thanks so much Anonymous in the post comments for outlining it all. I will copy their most excellent words here but also leave my research on the wrong Mayor below 😁 Sorry Mike, the plaque isn't anything to do with Champney Powell. The initials on the plaque are GPT - George Porter Tippins, who was Mayor of Monmouth from 1880 to 1883. The plaque commemorates the widening of the top of Monnow street in 1883/84, and the first shop in the new building (nos 8-10) was Kennington Hall, outfitters. GP Tippins owned the malthouse and brewery on St Mary's street. The ship is the 1675 official seal of Monmouth which is encircled by the insignia “Sigilium Nouvvm Ville de Monmouth Asoni 75” ( New Sign of The Town of Monmouth in the year of our Lord (16) 75 ). Once again, thanks Anonymous, you're a star! And now, onto the original but wrong words ... Le

Bird Waiting For God

Outside the church I spotted this pigeon waiting inside for something, it's God perhaps?

Uncle Neil Is Still At The Somerset Arms

Every Sunday Ken would meet up with Neil at the Somerset Arms and have a Sunday lunch. This had been going on for decades, but then Uncle Neil died. The Somerset Arms , via Neil's daughter (my cousin) asked for a photo, and I am nothing if not stacked full of photos . It's glorious that Uncle Neil is still present at the pub welcoming Ken to their table, who taps the photo and says hi, before enjoying another Sunday lunch.

"Let's have a look at what you could have won .."

A plethora of catchphrases from Jim Bowen on Bullseye (1982 - 1995) are still popular in the UK, and I'm trying to share them here in AoNZ. 'You can't beat a bit of Bully!'  'Stay out of the black and into the red, Nothing in this game for two in a bed.'  'Let's have a look at what you could have won.'  'Now the cash you won for charity earlier... that's safe.'  'Super, smashing, great.'  'You win nothing but your BFH... Bus Fare Home'  'I've got £100 here and it'll take me two minutes to count out.' 'All for the throw of a dart'  'You've got the time it takes for the board to revolve...' (to decide if the contestants were going to gamble their prizes)  'Up to the oche - and listen to Tony!' (a reference to show co-host Tony Green)

An Unconventional Approach

"So, what's Mike actually like then?" If a person were about to meet me and that person were to ask my friends or family this question I would suspect the answer would be along the lines of, "He definitely has an unconventional approach to life." There's a stubbornness to my unconventionality. A place of solidity upon which my self image feels safe, secure, and permanent. A place that may have served me well up until these changing times but no further . I've had an extremely lucky life, I've been blessed with happy times, abundant times, loving times, and when the times don't fit with those I have always known within my core they will come back. Those times will return but my core isn't so certain that the rock I have stood up on before will be that useful. A change is needed.  A change in what I hold dear. Being the stone that skips along the surface, flying from one thing to another worked from the moment I was thrown into life, but I am n

Are Chemtrails Real?

No. Chemtrails are not real. But, people buy into any old made up stuff eh. I love the reply, genius.

A Rose For You

It's been a month eh, but new week so have a great Monday. This rose is for you.

Call 159 To Stop Phone Scams

Call 159 is an excellent idea from, and for, the UK which I would like to see spread to Aotearoa New Zealand some day soon. How it works 159 works in the same way as 101 for the police or 111 for the NHS. It’s the number you can trust to get you through to your bank safely and securely, every time. So if you think someone is trying to trick you into handing over money or personal details - stop, hang up and call 159 to speak directly to your bank. There's more here: Also the BBC in 2023 had Be Scam Safe , a: .. joint effort between BBC programmes, Stop Scams UK, and major UK organisations, in an attempt to provide you with advice to spot, and avoid scams. We believe that empowering everybody with the tools to help identify scams, will help avoid the financial and emotional damage caused by this kind of fraud. Tonnes a useful links and info.

1346, Excuse Me!?

In 1346 the Vicar of Dixton, a parish in Monmouth, was a WHAT?

Straight Through The Deep Blue Yonder

A plane flew across the blue sky and I took this photo of the chemtrail being purposely spilled out across the sky to stop the sun, turning our children into corporate zombies, causing it to rain, changing our taste buds, and ensuring compliance with the latest drug testing by the deep state global government.  A plane flew across the blue sky and I took this photo of the contrail. Nice isn't it.

Mark Watson

The first of my Savoy Theatre evenings in Monmouth, what an amazing venue with so many top acts appearing on stage! Mark Watson was very late for this gig , about 2 hours. Totally not his fault, he caught a train in plenty of time but it then got to Swindon and stopped, permanently. There was no way to get him, and his kids, to Monmouth. But hang on, the manager of the Savoy hopped into the car and drove to get him, at speeds that would make ya hair go curly. Mark then dived in stage and did a most excellent and somewhat improvised (discussing his travel woes) show. It was a tour de force, going with the flow and turning lemons into sparkling lemonade. Incidentally, Mark Watson is a fine author and his book Contacts is a must read, I adore it.

Dusky Agincourt Square

What a glorious colour is the civil dusk sky. The sky blue that fades to the darkest of blues, I adore it.

Even An Incoming Storm Is Glorious

Yes the rain will make you wet, the wind blow your hat off, and the cold make you hunt for your wooly socks. But hey, doesn't it look lahverly!

Diabetes, Type 2

Being diagnosed with a disease is quite the ride, I can tell you. It's been a while since I noticed something not quite correct, sweating for no apparent reason . I left it until I had my checkup before heading to Wales for a few months.  Before the checkup I had got a bunch of blood tests done, as always. The doctor let me know that I was moving closer and closer to being in the diabetic range. He and I agreed that whilst it had been building slowly over a year or so I should not worry, go travelling, and on my return get some more blood tests and we'll take it from there. [.. Flight out. Wales Trip. Flight back ..] Back at the doctor's in February, yeah, definitely have diabetes, type 2. Diabetes is a chronic disease as a result of the body not creating enough insulin to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels in the normal range. Everyone needs some glucose in their blood, but if it’s too high it can damage your body over time [source: Diabetes NZ: Understanding Type 2 Diabete

1 New Fiery Album And Some Bridges

Wow eh, just wow! The May 2024 solar flare certainly caused some spectacular views for those at the top (South) and bottom (North) of the planet! 2024 aurora australis The Iron Bridge and The Viaduct (Trefynwy, Cymru)

The Old Monmouth Bridges

As the River Wye leaves Monmouth heading into the Wye Valley it passes under and by two old bridges . The Iron Bridge as it's known locally, the  R&MR Duke of Beaufort Bridge * as it would like to be known, is now a local path across the Wye, lovely wee walk. The large stone viaduct is the more impressive and photogenic, with it's girder crossing removed it looks all ruin-y and poetic against the valley hills. * I have an ongoing to and fro with Google Maps as they refuse to accept my English name of "R&MR Duke of Beaufort Bridge" against the Hungarian one, "Beaufort herceg híd", that's been plonked on. I've managed to get the marker moved to the correct place but still that name fight continues ...

Not All Connections Fade Over Time

Some connections are so deep that they are always there, synapses holding on with grim determination to each other just waiting for that time when they are needed. Years can go by and then you meet that person again, after all that distance you're back with them and it comes flooding back as the electricity and chemicals flow down that long forgotten but ready path. Artist Marina Abramovic was doing a live art performance that consisted of spending one minute of silence with a complete stranger. Many people showed up, but her response to one person in particular gave me the goosebumps, and you’ll soon see why. At the 1:30 mark, Ulay, her former lover for many years sits down across from her. Marina and Ulay broke up more than 30 years ago and this is the first time that they have seen each other again since then. This was obviously an emotional and shocking moment for her, and as you can see, she tries to carry on until the end, but seems almost unable to. I was fighting back tears

No Longer The Myth

Dr Lewis was less surprised and more relieved when the machete finally revealed the ancient spine.

Statue of Charles Rolls, Monmouth

The statue of Charles Rolls  is as ignored by locals as it is photographed by the tourists, it's the way of the world eh.                

St. Thomas's Church And It's Font Bowl

The sign outside says: DATING FROM C.1180, IT HAS A FINE NORMAN CHANCEL ARCH AND AN EARLY FONT WITH AN UNUSUAL BOWL DESIGN. Shame I couldn't see it coz of it's pointy hat!

Best Ever Dr Watson Is Not Who You Think

There are so so many (81) more Dr John Watson's to choose between compared the five Detective Sergeant's being ordered around by one or other Barnaby - go vote for yours , Midsomer Murders fans will thank you. Back to Sherlock Holmes and his offsider, should I spoil the Dr Watson surprise from the article and give you the top 3, hmmm, no here's mine though ... 3: Nigel Bruce, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), etc. He is so far from the canon it's astounding. His Watson is a bumbling fool, he is astounded by the smallest of insights, and he mumbles along with his given orders.  I love him though, as I've would a favourite uncle. He's a terrible Watson but he'll always be there for me. 2: Martin Freeman, Sherlock (2010-2017) I can't tell you how much I hated the idea of Sherlock when I heard about it. I can't get close to telling you how much the first episode blew me away, and astounding piece of writing and TV production. Martin Freeman is proba

Why Can't We Watch The Watchers?

The title says it all. As far as I'm concerned it's not the tech, it's not that the rich corporates or governments have this tech, it's that you and I don't. If we had this tech we'd be fine. Look, we have access to a lot, a LOT, of tech that is astounding, and because we all have it we aren't worried that "they" (I dunno, you fill in your "they"), have it. I don't know of anyone that has access to this sort of tech, that's the bit that sucks. Why can't we also leave look at others from afar, maybe watch the watchers.

Alan Rickman Awaiting Sentence

"Send him down!", the Judge bellowed, a phrase we all know from, um, movies, maybe books. The Shire Hall first floor has a few rooms of museum/art stuff but the majority is the recreation of the court rooms, it's pretty cool. Just behind the dock are stone steps down to the holding cells which have a few mannequins. Obviously this one is closely based on Hans Gruber , one the best movie baddies. Whilst I was taking these photos a woman came down the steps, said, "Hi", turned and shrieked as Alan Rickman stared back out at her. I snorted as I tried to keep the laugh in.

Mike Riversdale Moves

An automatic "cinematic photo" Google Photos creation based on a selfie. I particularly like this one for it's subtle turning of my head. It's based on the following photo, note how the machines have zoomed in so that they can slowly reveal more of the actual background as needed. They still had to turn my head and fill in the background to my right (looking at it) with computer cleverness.

The Other Monnow Bridges

One for the Monmouthians as I stand on THAT bridge and take photos of other bridges going over the River Monnow.

Masturbation And Le Clitoris

History as it was never taught in school. This animated short looks back at the surprising story of our relationship with masturbation—and its repression—from prehistory to today. From the Magical Caresses animated documentary series, in which Lori Malépart-Traversy takes a playful and uninhibited look at solo sexuality - Directed by Lori Malépart-Traversy - 2022 | 4 min The clitoris is the only organ in the human body dedicated exclusively for pleasure! [ Ed: unfortunately not true as per QI ] In this humorous and instructive animated documentary , find out its unrecognized anatomy and its unknown herstory. Technique : gouache on paper / 2D digital | 3 min Graduation film, Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) © Lori Malépart-Traversy 2016 Original music by Eliazer Kramer

The End Of Summer

Nothing lasts for ever, except a higher level of entropy . Sorry, let me start that again. Nothing lasts for ever, seasons come and go, leaves change colour and fall, and butterflies lose their colour and die. This is what makes each and every day that you're unbelievably alive so remarkable , get amongst it before your colours fade and you too die.

We All Agree The Climate Is Changing, But Not Why

It seems to me, talking to my more "climate sceptic" friends that even they now accept that the world's climate is changing and we're all in for a bumpy ride of it. If you're one of the very few that doesn't think it's changing, explain this without resorting to lies: Region:  GLOBE Date Range: 1850-2022 / Data Source: UK Met Office Creator: Ed Hawkins Licensor: University of Reading / License:  Creative Commons Licence And for the Kiwis, this is what we're looking like: Region:  All of New Zealand Date Range: 1853-2022 / Data Source: Berkeley Earth Creator: Ed Hawkins Licensor: University of Reading / License: Creative Commons Licence And finally, here's the news for the Welsh Region: Wales Date Range: 1884-2022 / Data Source: UK Met Office Creator: Ed Hawkins Licensor: University of Reading / License: Creative Commons Licence Ok, so it's as plain as the end of your nose that the climate is warming up, we're starting to see the affects of

The Greatest Gate Of All

Gotta love those that bandy together around nothing/everything as important as "gates" before forming into a self proclaimed society, posting your loves which gets picked up by the Guardian. Name: The world’s best gate. Location: Ynys Môn / Anglesey. Appearance: Wooden, ornate, gorgeous. What is this stupidity? A gate is a gate. This is where you’re wrong. The gate in question is an absolute thing of wondrous beauty . It’s hand-carved, you know. Oh, that does actually sound quite nice. And the top of the gate has magnificent Celtic spirals etched into it, too. I love Celtic spirals. Did I mention that it features a bespoke hand-forged spring fastener latch that has been designed to mimic the look of a shepherd’s crook? I take it all back! I’m in love! Who made this gate? That would be Dafydd Davies-Hughes, a gatemaker whose unmistakable work can be seen throughout north Wales. According to his website, he once made an oak balcony designed to look like a human hand . It

Simple Packaging

I applaud the company, the package designer, and everyone else involved in making this packet of lard a design classic. Apparently it's only sold in Waitrose (an 'up market' UK supermarket chain).