I had a friend Rudolph who was a fervent communist but worked during the day selling umbrellas, macs, Wellington boots and other stuff designed to keep you dry. He was a real expert and would tell customers “Rudolph the Red knows rain gear”.
This pretty flower has appeared in our wildflower patch.
I think it’s a telesperma in the sunflower family apparently some telespermas produce flavonoids and are used by Navajo and Hopi Native Americans to make a herbal tea.
Don't cry-ee! Don't sigh-ee!
There's a silver lining in the sky-ee
Bon soir old thing! Cheerio, chin-chin!
Nahpoo! Toodleoo! Goodbye-ee!
From the popular WW1 song Good-bye-ee, by Weston and Lee. Look out for it in Oh What A Lovely War.
What does chin-chin mean though? I always vaguely imagined it was an English-Languge expression for "cheers" and to do with two people holding glasses to their chins to toast one another.
But no! It seems to have come into English and many other languages from Italian cincin (pronounced the same). I found several explanations, such as it being derived for the name of the famous vermouth, or the sharp sound made when two drinking glasses gently collide.
But these informal etymologies, though appealing, are almost certainly wrong. The word appears to be from a Europeanised version of Chinese quing-quing,請請, which means something like "please, welcome". Why it came first into Italian I don't know.
Napoo is for another day.
You with the broken National Health specs
Patched up with sticking plaster.
And your minuscule handwriting
Micrographia it’s called.
In the summer we’d escape through your bedroom window
Onto the flat roof beyond.
And talk there for ages.
But now I shall never see you again.
My gardening companion was recently donated a garden bench which may have woodworm, so I looked up The Common Furniture Beetle. Turns out the woodworm is almost certainly not active and if it were then the wood can be treated in an ecologically friendly (except to woodworms) way.
Woodworms are larva of the CF beetle and spend three to four years eating their way through wood in a fairly haphazard way. They then come close to the wood surface (how do they know where it is?) and become a pupa for some weeks, finally emerging as adult beetles. From then on they don't eat, just mate if they can, and then the females lay their eggs in any cranny she can find in the wood, and the cycle starts again. Like many insects the adult we see is just a final short-lived phase at the end of a much longer life as a larva.
That's fascinating, that such a life-style has emerged, and in fact there are a fair bunch of other wood-borer insects apart for the CFB.
This all set me thinking about beetles. Famously there are many different kinds, about 400,000 known to date, and they constitute 40% of insect species and 25% of all animal species. Think of that; pick a random animal and there is 1 in 4 chance it will be a beetle.
A note to end on (The American Naturalist, 1959):
There is a story, possibly apocryphal, of the distinguished British biologist, J.B.S. Haldane, who found himself in the company of a group of theologians. On being asked what one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of his creation, Haldane is said to have answered, “An inordinate fondness for beetles.”
Graffiti. It could be on its way out. I can see the writing on the wall.
For years I was just an amateur crastinator. I knew I ought to turn pro but kept putting it off.
UK Weather had this to say for 18 July
“The UK heatwave is set to continue after England and Wales recorded their hottest day of the year so far on Sunday.
Highs of 31.6C (88.9F) were recorded at Heathrow and 30.2C (86.4F) in Cardiff, according to the Met Office.”
In our garden it was 33C at 3 pm. What temperature did others record, interested to hear.
Being a mapmaker is an easy job. You always know where you are with it.
Out on a job but no hurry to get back
We parked up and bunked off in a cornfield
A good spot for setting the world to rights.
New Scientist 10 July 2021 has a cover story Consciousness. Item 1 begins
“IN ESSENCE consciousness is any kind of subjective experience.”
Maybe not meant to be a definition but I still found it horribly weak. Sorry NS.
There’s a legendary story of a question in a philosophy exam
Is this a question?
To which the top-scoring student simply replied
If it is, then this is an answer.
Irrefutable, if you think about it.
A funnier but less deep variant is
From the Wikipedia Anti-Humor article
A: What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor?
B: I don't know, what did the farmer say when he lost his tractor?
A: "Where's my tractor?"
You get the idea. It made me laugh 😂
Climbing the stairs at night
An old loose floorboard
Groans like a ghost.
In the first episode, someone cheerfully asks Murphy [character] “Why don’t you look blind?” This is something Bernson [actor], and many blind people, get all the time. In real life, Bernson usually keeps her mouth shut, but she delights in the snarky comebacks that Murphy gets to make onscreen. With her mouth full of food, she snarls at the woman: “Same reason you probably don’t look stupid.”
Goodbye, old friend
We, the living, are the losers
Who must learn to bear that loss.
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.
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.
For a livelyvperformance of the song see
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.
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.
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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