Thursday, July 16, 2015

Baaaa!

A sheeps
Lake District Lamb.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lovely James

awww, i'n't 'ee sweeet?


James

In photos on the internets, James makes most things look smaller than they are, because he is larger than you think, but maybe the little hill behind James was once a big mountain, before the glaciers scraped most of it away. It is fun to ride by bicycle as the track starts at a gentle slope and gets gradually steeper and steeper almost all the way up. 


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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Englefield v Myohoji

Englefield seems to date from the mid 1500s, and Myohoji goes back to the 1200s. How much of which buildings may be "original" is another question, of course...


Anyway... in 2010, I blogged the Deva gate and famous moss steps at Myohoji

Both places have a large number of trees, but at Englefield I found no red gate with protective angry monsters - there was just a little metal gate with an "honesty box", into which you are expected to put 6 quid. In November I expect you'd feel more moved to put in about tuppence, and with no red monsters to chase you down, why not? However, to make up for this lack of impressive gate-ness, the main building is very grand and the landscaped garden very large. 


Englefield
Oh look - a Japanese maple!

But the thing that really caused me to think of Myohoji was, of course, the daisy staircase.
daisy steps

Myohoji's moss steps repeated for those who can't click links back as far as 2010
Myohoji moss stairs

Clearly Englefield need to grow more steps to make it proper zen, but there is potential, for example with  the correct ferniness at bottom right hand side.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Parking

I've been missing Starbucks Parking on Sundays. In fact I've been missing all the colourful, shiny, expensive and overpowered cars of Kamakura and Yokohama. Here it is mostly Land Rovers with dogs in the back, Quad Bikes with dogs on the steering wheel, and Caravans full of dogs and holiday makers. But then last Sunday there appeared, just down the road at Falcon Manor... 


woo hoo!

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Our garden

Almost everything in our garden is doing flowering at the moment. It is the British way, to bloom in May and June and hibernate the rest of the year.

garden-1
garden-3
garden-2
garden-4

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Monday, May 11, 2015

The prodigal cat

Oh noes. He's back!

KattyTroubles
Apparently, Riley the cat has too much character, and his new owners gave him back after less than a week. So, on return from Vienna we had to go and pick him up again. However, Riley is so much trouble, that I begged for another cat to distract him. The rescue woman suggested Blackie, a probably older and definitely much calmer creature of similarly large stature. It's worked pretty well so far, although Blackie, a scraggy stray when he arrived with us, seems to be getting rather sleek and fat. He does have a very different temperament to Riley. He does nothing much all day apart from doing purring while being stroked. He also has been trying to teach Riley to be more of a gentleman. While that may not be working our that well, he does at least occupy some of Riley's time, and the two now seem to be quite good friends. So now both cats are advertised together on the rescue website. Hope they find a home soon!

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Vienna

We went to the EGU in Vienna last month. I've already published my photos on postcards to relatives, via Touchnote, so the desire to blog them was less urgent.

Not being anymore bound by Japanese rules, which do not permit one to stay away form work a minute longer than necessary, we had no need to bunk off and go touristing during the conference, and instead took an extra day post-EGU. Having visited quite a few times before, we didn't feel the need to visit lots of museums and galleries, although we did manage a performance of Mozart's Requiem, in the wild vibrational acoustic of Karlskirche. So, on Saturday morning we just wandered around the city.


Stephansdom, the church in the middle of town has been undergoing major works for years. This tower was under wraps when we visited 2 years ago, and even now the lower part of it is still covered.

Stephansdom
After walking around various markets, we ended up at the Belvedere where we enjoyed coffee and cake.
Belvedere
Vienna from Belvedere
Which was followed by more Austrian food at nearby beer restaurant, Salm Brau.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Vienna Market

 Subliminal wise advice for those who have been exercising their brains too hard at the EGU all this week.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter in Scotland

Swans, Skunk Cabbage and Rhododendrons

swans
skunk cabbage
rhododendron

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mountain Biking

Even I, who am not a great fan of running, admit it has certain advantages over mountain biking when the ground is wet and slippery. Round here the mud is mostly not too thick, but it is quite slimy and the limestone is slick. But we thought that it might not have been raining quite as hard recently, so last week we risked a bit of mountain biking: the Whernside Loop. Only sunk the front wheel of the tandem, into mud once. Must have bounced off my handlebar as I still have a huge bruise on my thigh. Then the soles of my shoes fell off. But apart from ha we had an excellent time.


Great Victorian enterprise: Ribble Viaduct, with James for scale.
MTB-1
MTB-2
Great Californian enterprise: the Ventana El Conquistador.
MTB-3


But now poor James has had to go and represent the team in Ringberg, Germany where they are discussing climate sensitivity (See #Ringberg15 on the twitter). What you don't hear about on the twitter is about all official Germanic "fun", eating three very large meals a day, going up mountains, and even, um, singing. Unfortunately I was too busy to attend. My talk was on Wednesday morning which happened to be quite sunny.
MTB-4
MTB-5
MTB-6

Actually, it was't the busy-ness. I am testing a theory about meetings, and it is that it is better if just one of us attends so that we don't spend he whole time conspiring together but instead actually talk to some of the other people. Furthermore, as part time workers without a hoard of postdocs to do our work for us we could easily spend the whole time preparing for, going to and recovering from meetings. And then we'd get no work done at all. And it's slightly less harmful for the planet. Especially this time; James showed not just my slides and his slides but also those from Dan Lunt (Bristol) and Ayako Abe (Japan)!

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