Life, photos but not the universe

Not that I’m claiming to be a wizard or anything

But I can see in the dark.  In a relative sort of way that is. I mean I can’t read in the dark or see pictures or things like that.  But I can walk along the path that crosses the field and see if the dog has stopped to do something useful or just for a sniff.  And I can see the cat following us.  And the treeline and the mist rising across the valley.  It’s all a question of accepting how little sight  you really need in order to get around.  And of course there’s really very little darkness in England at night.  One thing I didn’t see in Skye, which I was hoping for, was true darkness.  In Summer, in the far North of Scotland it just doesn’t get dark!

Remember being little and trying to find out how blind people manage by wearing blindfolds and trying to find your way round a room?  It’s different.  For one thing, in the dark, you can’t cheat (as indeed blind people can’t).  For another thing, if your blindfold worked, it stopped all information coming from the marvellously complex structure of nerves and lenses and little chemical receptors that give you sight.  In the dark, they still work and they still give you information.  The popular theory is that blind people have enhanced other senses that compensate for lack of sight and that’s why they can do clever things like looking at a person they can’t see and finding their way along crowded streets and round cluttered rooms.  My own theory is that they pay more attention to a wider range of stimuli and accept information in a wider range of forms.  And that they increase their memory skills enormously.

Anyway, in the dark the other night*, Nutcase (who can probably ‘see’ more with his nose at night than I can see in broad daylight) and I, ambled darkly across the field, followed by a small black and white silence (little cat, who probably can see a lot better than either of us).  There was a dim and ghostly moon, drifting through misty clouds.   Suddenly I noticed a lot of noise.  Cocks crowing (at 2 in the morning???) Muntjac barking in chorus across fields from one copse to another, a couple of angry crows croaking.  Two pheasants, whirring and thumping around in the undergrowth with loud ratchety squawks.

The last time I had noticed this kind of disturbance in the middle of the night I thought to myself, “how odd, it’s what you’d expect if there was an earthquake”  and lo and behold, next day I learnt that there had been an earthquake in Doncaster.  At that very time.  The last time I actually experienced an earthquake it was a lot bigger and nearer and altogether more personal,  my chair and floors and furniture rumbled and rattled and quivered!  But I didn’t notice what them outside were doing because I was getting ready to squawk and take flight myself!

So the other night, as soon as I got back I rushed to the internet to check up on earthquakes and found a ‘real time’ date chart from some useful scientific earthquake site.  And there, on a little scritchy line across a graph, was a tiny little scritchy peak!  Very tiny indeed.  But evidence to support a theory that cocks and pheasants and even the loathsome muntjac, can tell if there’s any quivering going on in the earth under their feet.  It turns out that there was a very small earthquake in Scotland somewhere round about then.

Apparently there are an average of two earthquakes, of a scale wotrth mentioning, in the UK every year.  It’s funny that I never noticed them until two or three years ago.

I guess, like seeing in the dark, at’s all about paying attention and gathering information from all sources instead of just the obvious ones.

Now I’m going to take the dog out.  We might see a bit of darkness.  Now the camera can see a lot more in the dark than I can if it’s allowed to stand very still for a long time.  But it’s raining so I’m not taking it with us : (

*This was actually written some months ago, so if you look up very tiny earthquakes in the UK, you won’t find any a couple of nights ago.  Unless I missed it : )

August 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

So everything is rosy

Well not quite.

While my computer (mrrrrrmmmm) is gorgeous and my email is working fine,  Barney’s business website appears to have vanished off the face of the (virtual) earth and his email remains unsorted.

I spent most of today rooting around in every virtual corner of the universe and every account I could think of without discovering a way to access the vanished website.  I do have a screen print of a message which suggests that the server associated with it is – um – not well?  It’s just a bit suspicious that I can’t find the thing immediately after setting up a new machine.  But it can’t be connected?  Can it?  I just don’t see how.  I mean even if I can’t get into (as in edit) the website, it must still be sitting out there somewhere and typing it’s name into a web browser ought to reveal it?  No?

Yes damnit!  It ought.

Tomorow (Or monday) I shall ring some people and ask them what our account name/passwords are. They ought to be able to find us since they send us an invoice for the website hosting and we give them money every month?

Computers are as bad as children.

When I went to Brighton I saw this



and I thought, when I was very small, I dreamed of flying down the stairs.  Next morning I tried it.  Mmm.  Not well thought out but gave me a useful lesson in distinguishing dreams from reality and in losing faith in dreams.  Also gave me a slightly sore backside.

Then, also, I imagined a web that covered the world and through which people of all kinds and in all places could instantly communicate.  (I had a bit of help with that one since it’s been a staple Sci Fi / Fantasy theme since long before I was born).  And now – look at us all – typing away all over the globe to each other.

Then, again, I dreamed of making music.  This was very very hard when I was about five and couldn’t read or write music.  I imagined a machine that would listen to me singing (tunelessly and repetitively down on my knees with a sheet of paper, on the floor) and write all the notes down for me.  Now I have Sibelius on my computer and with a little more effort (and a lot of money) I could make it do that for me though of course, now I can read and write music as well.

So what do our children learn about dreams and reality?  Sometimes it seems that whatever we dream of, can be made very nearly real.  Not quite but nearly flying, not telepathy but nearly instantaneous communication, not exactly listening to me but setting out my music ready for anyone to read and playing it back to me so I can hear what I’ve written (even when its written for a whole orchestra)

And as for children,their dreams can be made perhaps a little less real.  Think of  Barbie and the endless, unreal magic of Disney films.  All those little doll figures with houses and furniture and pets and grooming parlours and hair you can restyle yourself and *shudder* baby dolls that even wee!

A child dreams of a furry fourlegged friend and gets a barbie dog.

A child dreams of a baby and gets a floppy thing with a horrifically realistic head which she can then dangle alarmingly over the handle of her horribly realistic pram.

A child dreams of winning the fights in his head and gets any number of things that shoot stuff out of the ends.  Including water.

A child dreams of being one of the best and gets to play killing games online with amazing reality effects.

A child dreams of driving Dad’s car and gets to hurl a super car round a super track in a super cityscape on a super wide HD Screen.

Reality becomes relative doesn’t it.  Dreams metamorphise into something virtual.

Phew!  I’m going back into the virtual world.  Real life is far too ambiguous for me.  At least in here I know where I’m not.

Marmite, hoping and praying for cheese on toast.  Dream on Marmite.



Youngest, with a child.  Nearly all the photos of her at the party showed her with a child, usually on a hip.  Unusually, this is one of her children.


I don’t know what they were looking at.  Probably a child : )  Hopefully, at some stage I’ll see a photo : )


Cheeky boys


At last – all my wires tidied up and completely rationalised.

(What d’you mean not tidy?  You should have seen them before!)



After the party



Now I have to go and minister to He W ho Has Had a Tooth Out.  He is sad.  He forgot that, though the removal of bad teeth relieves pain, there is a lot of pain involved in the removal and the subsequent recovery.  I Remember this Experience Well so I have Sympathy.   I have just read Music and Silence by Rose Tremain and so I am Strongly Tempted to Capitalise Everything as one of her best and naughtiest characters did.  It’s a very good read.

(It seems like not all the photos have arrived properly.  If they still haven’t arrived later, I’ll repost them)

August 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments