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Richard Walker

What I'm Reading

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Edited by Richard Walker, Wednesday, 30 Jun 2021, 22:50

Time for lights out, by Raymond Briggs. Reflections in old age from that creator and illustrator of The Snowman.

Thesnowman.jpg

Lights out is very gentle, reflective, kind, and funny, but also wistful and grumpy. I'm finding it a very calming bedtime read.

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Richard Walker

Prunella

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This plant is prunella, AKA self-heal. I found it growing at the side of a lane and didn't know what it was, but Bing 'Name that plant' came to the rescue.


Apparently the name means 'quinsy" a throat infection, and is derived from brunella, which is a diminuitive of brunus = brown. The plant was a traditional remedy for quinsy.

It's said to be edible and you can add it to salads but I'm not keen.



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Richard Walker

Kimono dragging

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Frankie pulled back her kimono

Pulled out a Colt 44

Rooty-toot-toot three times she shot

Right thru the hardwood door.

He was her man

But he was doing her wrong.

What’s a kimono? It generally seems to mean a loose fitting robe, perhaps of silk, although historically the Japanese word may have just meant ‘clothing’. If anyone can help with this I’d be grateful.

For a livelyvperformance of the song see 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AJAuxRzLM30

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Richard Walker

A Country Cottage

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Richard Walker

Ginger

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My ginger sproured, so I'm going to try and grow it on the windowsill.


I looked ginger up and it turns out to have gorgeous flowers, here is a picture courtesy University of Reading.


More pictures and information here.

http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/tropical-biodiversity/2012/07/ginger/

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Richard Walker

Playground Joke

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This is one they told when my daughter was in primary school.

Why do elephants have big ears?

Because Noddy won’t pay the ransom.

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Richard Walker

White Bryony

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This wild plant is white bryony briona alba, a member of the cucumber family. Its fruits look like tiny gourds. The name bryonia comes via Latin from Greek βρυονια but there doesn't seem to be any information about its ultimate origins.


The plant is quite poisonous and in countries where it it is an introduced species it can be highly invasive, because it is capable of growing as much as 15 cm aday. However in my garden it is fairly harmless and quite decorative.

The plant is mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon medical treatise, the Old English Leechdoms  (ca.1150). There is also a rather unlikely story that Augustus Caesar wore bryony round his neck during thunderstorms to ward off lightening, see  https://www.walkerland.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/The-Old-English-Herbals-Eleanour-Sinclair-Rohde.pdf



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Richard Walker

Sonnet 12

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When I do count the clock that tells the time, 
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night; 
When I behold the violet past prime, 
And sable curls all silver’d o’er with white;

When lofty trees I see barren of leaves 
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves 
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,

Then of thy beauty do I question make, 
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;

   And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
   Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence. 



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Richard Walker

New Reference Book

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Everything there is to know about chickens, all in one place. Welcome the Hencyclopedia.

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Richard Walker

One Liner

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I bet on a pigeon race. No harm in a little flutter.

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Richard Walker

A Marsh Orchid

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 22 Jun 2021, 01:38

A Southern Marsh Orchid I photographed a couple of days ago at a local RSPB reserve. The genus name Dactylorhiza means something like 'finger-roots'.


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Richard Walker

A timely debate

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Edited by Richard Walker, Friday, 18 Jun 2021, 22:10

The committee couldn’t agree how to described it. One camp favoured expressions such as  “A period of 24 hours” or “86400 seconds of elapsed time”. Others argued for an astronomical definition: for example, “The time taken for the earth to rotate once about its axis” or “Approximately 1 over 365.24217 of the earth’s orbital period”. 

The meeting dragged on and on. Eventually we had to call it a day. 

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Richard Walker

Alla Barnen *

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All the kids loved the garden centre.

Except Moses.

He poured weedkiller on the roses.


For those unfamiliar with this genre of Scandi humour, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alla_barnen


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Richard Walker

το λευκό τριαντάφυλλο

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Till the white rose blooms again
You must leave me, leave me lonely
So goodbye my love till then
Till the white rose blooms again.




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Richard Walker

Crossroads

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Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 17 Jun 2021, 00:14
Road 1: I’m so pissed off.

Road 2: I’m fuming!
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Richard Walker

Proposal accepted

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if you were to say

would you marry me I’d reply (gazing into your pale

brown eyes) yes

oh YESSSS

my love my sweet my darling my honey my angel my beloved mi amore

i would, i would

would


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Richard Walker

Heard Down The Pub

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They said, are you choking?

I said no

I’m dead serious.

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Richard Walker

Tom Swifty

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"Your soft toy kept me awake all night", Tom snorted.

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Richard Walker

At dawn

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Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Richard Walker, Saturday, 12 Jun 2021, 01:32)
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Richard Walker

Groaner

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I didn’t used to like French pancakes. But they crept up on me.

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Richard Walker

WYSIWYH

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An experiment you can try at home


A stick figure wonders if they hear the word 'bat'. Meanwhile a bat hovers overhead.

What You See Is What You Hear

Equipment

1. Any sound recorder: phone or computer. Anything that will do the job. You need recording and playback.

2. A mirror to see your lips.

Experiment

Step 1.

Start the recorder. As distinctly as you can, and at short regular intervals, record yourself saying rhythmically, with the emphasis on the ‘B’.

Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, ‘Bat’, …

Do this for 30 seconds or so.

Step 2.

Please read through the steps below before going on.

1. Get the mirror. Look at your lips, as though you were watching the lips of a language teacher.

2. Play back the recording. If you used a smartphone switching to speaker is better than holding the phone up.

As you listen to the playback, silently mouth, rather than speak, the syllables below over and over again, lip-synching with the recording. Try to make very clear lip movements. Imagine you are speaking for an audience who are deaf and rely on lip reading to understand you.

As you mouth the syllables gaze intently at your lips in the mirror. Listen carefully to what you hear. (You’ll find you can do these three things at once quite easily.)

These are the syllables you have to mouth.

That Fat Bat, That Fat Bat, That Fat Bat, …’

You will almost certainly hear ‘that fat bat, that fat bat, …’, and not what you were really saying at all. When you see your lips shaping the consonants Th and F it’s impossible to hear B, whatever your ears pick up. Remember you really just said ‘bat bat bat bat bat…’ and that’s the sound reaching your ears but it’s not what you hear.

Background

This illusion is known as the McGurk effect. There is an excellent Horizon clip about it here.

Notice that it’s immaterial whether you are looking at your own lips or another person’s. Usually people watch a video like the Horizon one but as you’ve seen (or heard) seeing and hearing yourself works equally well.

Reflection

What surprises me even more is this. If I do the experiment a few times running and then only listen to the sound on its own, no lips, I still hear ‘that fat bat…’, so the effect has persistence!

The McGurk effect is all the more remarkable because we process sound quicker than vision. But what we hear – the interpretation we place on the sounds –  can be delayed and modified by related visual information.

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Richard Walker

A Wild Rose

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Richard Walker

Haiku by Issa

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花茨ちよつけいを出す小猫哉
hana ibara chokkei wo dasu ko neko kana

poking her nose
into thorny wild roses...
kitten

From http://haikuguy.com/issa/


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Richard Walker

One Liner

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I went to a trade fair for honey manufacturers. Came home with loads of freebies.

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Richard Walker

Oxalis

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This pretty little wildflower flourishes in my garden. It is a wood sorrel, also called oxalis, which in Ancient Greek was just the name of this and related plants, with nothing known further back. Sorrel is a Germanic word, connected with sour perhaps.



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