after the Big Buddha, a nunnery

Aug. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] lamentables
It was largely deserted at the nunnery, because most of its residents were at the festival we'd just left. There was one nun just outside the gate pounding corn with a very large pestle. Inside the monastery complex water ran down the hillside, through wooden pipes, to a collection point.

water pipes

The prayer hall was small but charming, with pictures of the Dalai Lama.

As ever, everything was colourful and full of pleasing light and shadows.

nuns' colours

grille

nuns and roses )

excitement on the beach

Aug. 23rd, 2017 10:45 am
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[personal profile] lamentables
Beach #oftheday #airambulancenotpictured #tywyn

Due to the vagaries of teenagers, we didn't get a family outing on the steam train yesterday afternoon, but we did manage a family walk to the beach and back.

The weather was warm and quite sunny, though there were lots of clouds, so many other families were at the beach. But it's a big beach so there was plenty of room for everyone. I went for maximum Englishness and rolled up my trousers for a paddle. Afterwards we found signs warning of lesser weaver fish which bury themselves in the sand and sting unsuspecting bare feet with spines along their backs. Fortunately, no stinging happened in the making of this story.

What did happen was the arrival of an air ambulance. There were a couple of ambulances up on the esplanade, lights flashing, but no great fuss (at least not visible from the beach). Then a helicopter flew over the beach, and of course everyone stopped to stare. Not being from around these parts, it was not obvious to us that the livery was air ambulance, but the clues started when it slowly got lower and lower and looked distinctly like it was going to land not far from us on the sand. And it did. No fuss. Everyone standing watching, but everything seeming calm and like this happens all the time. Two paramedics got out and, once the helicopter had taken off again, walked up the beach and up the steps to the esplanade.

Of course I know that helicopters take off vertically, of course I've seen it on TV, but I've never stood so close and watched it happen in real life. It's like magic. As soon as it was a safe distance away a group of small boys rushed over to examine the tracks its feet (what are those things called?) had left in the sand. I was charmed by their mix of playfulness and curiosity.

abrinsky's photo:

Today on #tywyn beach: shore view

Wednesday is looking autumnal again

Aug. 23rd, 2017 10:00 am
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Private Patient, which was readable enough, I suppose, but felt not exactly as if PDJ was phoning it in, just proceeding along well-worn ruts. Found it hard to believe in the characters. Also, while PDJ does have a sense that there is Modern Life, and makes a nod to it in Miskin, she still feels in a bit of a time-warp (unlike Rendell/Vine)

Read Ginger Frost's Illegitimacy in English Law and Society, 1860-1930 (2016), which was a freebie for reading a book proposal and I have been trying to get to for months, because Frost's work is always good and going into areas very under-explored. This one looks at illegitimacy from the angle of the illegitimate children (rather than the fallen mother) and is densely researched. Also more than a little depressing - illegitimate children had a very high mortality rate, if they weren't the victims of infanticide by desperate mothers they were subject to neglect or the general problems of poverty. Also the cruelty of the laws took so very long to change. But Frost does get the ambivalances: courts and local officials being sympathetic to the plight of unwed mothers and thus giving merciful judgments in infanticide cases, giving mothers out-relief rather than obliging them to go into the workhouse, demonstrating a certain flexibility; while thinking actually changing the rules would lead to the downfall of morality.

Also finished one of two books I have for a joint review, which also deal with a rather depressing topic.

On the go

Tanith Lee, Nightshades: Thirteen Journeys into Shadow (1993, and collecting some much earlier material). Some of these have been in other collections of hers I've read recently. Very good, if creepy.

Also, have started second book for the joint review.

Up next

If it ever arrives, the new Barbara Hambly Benjamin January mystery.

(no subject)

Aug. 23rd, 2017 09:20 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] natlyn!

Fig and Ibid

Aug. 22nd, 2017 02:40 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Are surrounded by cats used to other cats and thus not necessarily alarmed to see new ones. Ibid is content to sniff noses with the bolder of his new housemates, whereas I think Fig is affronted by their lack of timidity.

I still have not seen the orange kitten I was warned could be an issue. It's afraid of people but likes to tussle with older cats. I expect Ibid will like this and Fig will not.

If you go down to the woods today...

Aug. 22nd, 2017 06:38 pm
oursin: image of hedgehogs having sex (bonking hedgehogs)
[personal profile] oursin

Spotted this the other day and then forgot to mention it:

Sex Festival in Tunbridge Wells.

Actually, not in Tunbridge Wells, which evokes images of orgiastic goings on in the Pantiles amidst a crowd of the local denizens being Disgusted.

In fact, in a wood nearby.

'People living in the area have expressed concern over noise, parking and decency': which is almost in the fine tradition of the inhabitants of Hampstead not minding so much about the actual cruising taking place at the famed gay cruising grounds of the Heath, but that they were leaving litter.

A local farmer reported 'Locals that hadn't bought tickets posed the biggest problem for event organisers, with hundreds of people trying to get in on the action'.

A man was found dead and a woman unconscious at the campsite this morning: while all the reports namecheck the festival, it sounds as if it was over by then. The report in the Telegraph suggests that it is possible that fumes from a barbecue were to blame, and the death is so far described as unexplained. But obviously, all reports are going to mention the kinky sex party.

big buddha

Aug. 22nd, 2017 12:38 pm
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[personal profile] lamentables
After the festival we went to visit the big Buddha statue near the police station. It had only been there for six months.

not for the first time

consecrated by H.E. Thegtse Rinpoche )

beach and trains

Aug. 22nd, 2017 12:11 pm
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[personal profile] lamentables
I spent a large part of yesterday writing a letter. I love writing letters to friends, but I suck at sitting down and starting to write letters to friends. In the brave new, post-charity world that starts on 1st September, I hope to do better on this front.

When I wasn't writing a letter I was taking a walk through town, along the beach and back via the station.

Beach colours #oftheday

It was threatening rain as we walked down to the beach, but when we arrived there we were able to turn our backs on the gloom and damp and walk towards the blue and the light. Of course, I picked up pebbles and worn pieces of shell as I went.

Horizontals #oftheday #tywyn #beach

It wasn't the day for a ride on the Talyllyn Railway, but we stopped at the station for coffee and cake and to ogle the steam train. We also had the chance to ogle vintage cars parked at the station. We talked to one of the owners who had been participating in the rally: 2,500 miles and their engine failed just 8 miles from home.

What a difference 43 years makes #tywyn #talyllynrailway #oldperson

We're hoping for a family outing on the train this afternoon, but it all depends on the young people...

This morning we have been shopping. We bought:
a greeting card
a DIY mega robot
a cross stitch kit (of the Talyllyn Railway)
some sewing thread
a fat quarter of fabric for abrinsky (no, he doesn't know what for; yes, I may have infected him)
two pairs of boot laces

(no subject)

Aug. 22nd, 2017 09:13 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] elisem!

Totality!

Aug. 21st, 2017 10:10 pm
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[personal profile] oracne
I'm in Tennessee at the moment. Two friends and I sat out and viewed the entirety of the solar eclipse. The totality was so beautiful; so awesome in the original sense of the word.

It took us about four hours to return when it had taken us maybe an hour to get to our viewing spot, but we had plenty of snacks and the new Kesha album to keep us happy. We ate peach pie for dinner, because we are grownups.

Happy Eclipse Day!

Aug. 21st, 2017 07:35 pm
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[personal profile] jimhines

We didn’t make it down to see totality, but my part of Michigan got about 80% eclipse coverage today, which was still pretty sweet. My son and I went to a library presentation this morning, where I was reminded about pinhole viewing, which led to this:

Pinhole Eclipse Projection

I’d ordered a solar filter for the 100-400mm lens on the camera. We also had some eclipse glasses from Amazon from a few weeks back.

I took a little over a hundred pictures, and was able to stitch some of the best into an animation.

Solar Eclipse Animation

Those black spots are sunspots. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out!

I also stitched together a static time-lapse, and added back a bit of color the filter stripped out. (Click to enlarge this one for a much better view.)

Eclipse - Time Lapse

Didn’t get much else done today, but I’m okay with that. And maybe for the 2024, we’ll be able to make it down to see the total eclipse!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Flat, and flat, for evermore

Aug. 21st, 2017 07:29 pm
oursin: George Beresford photograph of Marie of Roumania, overwritten 'And I AM Marie of Roumania' (Marie of Roumania)
[personal profile] oursin

Actually it was yesterday, rather than today, that I spotted this work recently made available through the good offices of Project Gutenberg:

William Carpenter, One Hundred Proofs that the Earth is Not a Globe (1885) -

- and I can't see that he entirely manages to give a plausible explanation for eclipses, but then he does think that the sun is a lot smaller than those there astronomers declare, and goes round the earth...

We do feel that Alfred Russel Wallace would have been better employed than debating with members of the Zetetic Society.

One is - a little - intrigued at what was published in Flat Earth journals (o, say, do, that it was Flat Earth hymns such as feature in Kipling's The Village That Voted the Earth Was Flat...)

But I was fascinated by this, in that Wikipedia article on Flat Earth Societies:

In 1969, Shenton persuaded Ellis Hillman, a Polytechnic of East London lecturer, to become president of the Flat Earth Society; but there is little evidence of any activity on his part until after Shenton's death, when he added most of Shenton's library to the archives of the Science Fiction Foundation he helped to establish.
The lengths to which librarians will go to add some particularly rare and choice material to their collection.

political performance

Aug. 21st, 2017 10:18 am
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[personal profile] lamentables
The first of the festival performances was by a cultural troupe that looked very Chinese to us - in their faces, hair, and clothes - and distinct from the locals. The music they were dancing to also sounded very Chinese. D observed that they are clearly happy to be part of India, which is not true of all the tribes in the state. In the Tawang region, however, they are probably very aware of the oppression of Tibet. Until he said this, it had not occurred to me how political this performance was, just by the fact it was happening.

a different dance

After that there were speeches from the monks that went on far too long - the locals were looking pretty bored. (I forgot to mention: we were, as promised, welcomed to the festival as honoured guests in the opening speech.)

faces and schoolgirls and proud fathers, oh my )

After that there was another dance troupe, wearing tentacle hats, and then it was time for us to leave.

yak wool hats

who wouldn't want a crocheted tie?

Aug. 21st, 2017 10:01 am
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[personal profile] lamentables
Yesterday we managed to combine being completely relaxed with starting to explore our environs. After a morning of chilling, and a light lunch, abrinsky and I went out for a walk. Our plan was to go to the local supermarket to buy some kitchen roll, but first we set off in the opposite direction.

Our holiday property, a big square block that was once the police station, is about half way along the high street, so we are surrounded by interesting shops and buildings. There's a fantastic decommissioned chapel with a wonderful wooden door and short-but-commanding turret for sale, but sadly the deadline for offers passed on Friday, so our sudden interest in owning a Welsh chapel was short lived. Then there was a big old building housing an interesting looking café and a couple of shops, one of which was a secondhand bookshop. You will be unsurprised to learn that we went in the bookshop, and bought a couple of books. abrinsky, to our amazement, found a book about Mizoram, an Indian state on which we've found very little published in English. We snapped that up. When we got back we discovered that it's the memoir of a Welsh missionary woman in Mizoram after WW2.

My find was a book of crochet patterns, published by Batsford in 1969. I love Batsford's modern textile books (which tend to have lovely tactile covers), and their older ones are also very desirable. There are lots of patterns for placemats, table cloths, tray covers, pillowcase edgings, and other household items that are very much of their time. There are also some clothes that I would definitely wear:

Fab Batsford book of #crochet patterns from the 60s. Would def wear this. Find #oftheday

I'm seriously thinking of having a go at that or one of the other tops, but they are crocheted in very fine yarn with a 1.25mm hook, so I estimate it will take me around seventeen years to complete. This may be a good thing - a way of filling my need to make, whilst slowing down my rate of acquiring stuff.

abrinsky, however, rejected the opportunity to be a style icon with a crocheted tie:

But @abrinsky has refused the opportunity to become a style icon in a crocheted tie 😂

After the bookshop was St Cadfan's church, which is 1500 years old and very impressive. I haven't uploaded the other photos yet, but this head from one of the pillars intrigued us because it seems to be a woman, where all the others are clearly men. (We could be misreading, but we spent ages comparing faces, facial hair, and apparel.)

Face #oftheday #tywyn #stcadfans

After the church there were derelict buildings, ghost signs, a C20 Catholic Church that we couldn't get into and a plan to go to the beach. But then it started to rain, so we headed back and stopped at Dolly's where they serve delicious gluten free cake and acceptable coffee.

(We didn't actually buy any kitchen roll.)

(no subject)

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:20 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] kerrypolka!
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