Friday, July 31, 2009

Good news: I did not break my leg!

Bad new: My luggage fell over very gently, and the MacBook's screen broke very daintily. I didn't know it had broken until I took it out at Joy's house in Llanharan.

Good news: It still works.
Bad news: To get a new screen here would take until Monday and cost £450 and take until Monday.

I took a few photos in and from the train. Nothing remarkable yet, but it does look different and greener and hillier than Norfolk. That will surprise no one, I guess, but still it was beautiful for me to see it for the first time.

Joy and I are going to go out for box tape to stabilize the glass in a while, and I might need to upload the other photos later.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bishops Stortford

My friend Carolyn Pihl, whom I first knew years ago as Carrie Braithwaite and have known ever since, is hosting me wonderfully at her place. We walked around town twice today, with a break to come home and rest because I'm old. :-) She showed me her Swedish passport with a cool Egyptian visa sticker/stamp/something, and gave me two BEAUTIFUL photos she took and we've had fun visiting.

There are some problems with this set of photos that I'd like to work on later, but I'm really sleepy so I'm sending the imperfect upload and might get to improving it in a day or two. I quit putting captions because I need to upload the whole set again bigger.

Diss, trainride, catch-up

It's July 30, the sun is shining and I'm cold. Possibly it's because I'm getting old. Maybe it's because I'm not used to my hair not drying in fifteen minutes as it does in New Mexico. Should I buy a shawl? Am I that old? :-)

Yesterday Schuyler, Linnaea and I went to Diss. Why a town around here has a one-syllable name like "Diss" is a mystery. Well, there's "York" (not around here exactly). I will look it up for you (and for me, too). " The town may take its name from the Saxon term for lake, or from an old Viking word meaning 'village of the dancing horse'." Okiedokie then! Someday if I run out of things to think about I'll wonder why there's a one syllable Norse word for "village of the dancing horse," but not today.

One of these panarama photos glitched interestingly. I think it cut Linnaea out because it couldn't make her face right, maybe. They're made with three photos that the camera builds into one. The first one was only two photos, and the third, intentionally three with Linnaea, is ghostly there in the middle.

This is a nice building for the Carphone Warehouse, I thought. I've left both photos because one shows the top and the other shows the neighboring shop, partly.

Diss has a lake, beautiful streets and buildings, and half a dozen charity shops, it seemed. I think we went into four, maybe five.

Later, David made Yorkshire pudding with sausages in it for dinner last night and I wish I had taken a picture. It was beautiful and tasted WONDERFUL. David Waynforth is a great cook. I'll put that here in case anyone's ever googling for David Waynforth. Great cook. Nice man. Good driver. Generous guy. They'll find the other things about him at other links.

Because of the train strike today and tomorrow, I came to Bishops Stortford Wednesday night instead of Thursday, but I'm glad there was a train after dinnertime so I didn't miss the Yorkshire pudding.

Here's a little of the train ride. This was around 8:30 pm I think. It doesn't get dark very early. It was dark by 9:30, though. I didn't notice when it happened.

I'm adding this a few days late. I had meant to upload it and forgot.

Carolyn's home. We're out not to explore and eat. Coming soon: Stuff I Saw in Bishops Stortford

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Movies without plots

From Scientific American, June 1909 (in the "100 years ago" section of a recent issue):
Moving pictures are exhibited in about ten thousand theaters and halls in the United States. With the rapid s[read of this new amusement has also come a marked change in the public taste. Spectators were once quite content with a view of factory employees going to and from their work, the arrival and departure of railway trains, and similar scenes. Nowadays, a more or less coherent story must be unfolded, for which reason the makers of moving pictures have been compelled to write plays 9or at least to conceive them) and to have them acted before the camera.
I have three comments, some more related that others.

Below is a movie without a plot.
The arrival and departure of railway trains is being hampered in the part of the world for the next two days because of a strike. I have tickets for those very two days. So I'm leaving for Bishops Stortford tonight, which was unplanned, and my journey to Wales is not quite as set as it was.

And it's Kirby's birthday, so I have been a mother for twenty-three years.

This car was in London. It kept changing color as I was walking by, from a goldish metallic yellow to green and blue and purple. The movie won't really show it. But it definitely doesn't have a plot.

If anyone knows I would be curious: What color would be on the automobile registration forms? It's a Cooper.

Ghost sign in Newbuckenham, Norwich, American food

I first thought this say Holly, but I think it says "Boll's," maybe. Veterinary something or other.
It was on building to the left of this sign:
Just past that, this wall, which was twice as long as shows. Very nice. Simple. Just a wall between a house and the street, but I really liked it.
Ghost signs collected by various people. I think one certain blogger created that term but I don't have her blog address on this computer. I had another one, in Socorro, New Mexico here, and three in Bemidji (or another town near there) here, from when the Traaseths still lived in Minnesota and Kelli took me sightseeing. In Schuyler's yard I found two odd things. No leaves, just a long, strong stalk. I showed the photos to a plant guy at the Norwich Castle museum and he said wild arum or jack in the pulpit, and that the flower is like a leaf and it was gone already, and these were the seeds. And poisonous.
The trip to Norwich: Some interesting museum bits. We were in on the "Pop in for a Pound" rate. If you go an hour before closing, they let you in for a pound, but you can't do dungeon or ramparts. American food with commentary:
We didn't go in. I was curious, but we were trekking with a schedule.
They also had "Lemon meringue with a ribbon of lemon curd." There weren't 31 flavors. I think there were twelve, and two of them particularly English. Didn't taste. Sorry, can't report. I bet the lemon one was really good. Tea and scones doesn't sound good to me.
Between the McDonald's sign and the mall entrance where I was standing is a church and a graveyard.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

birds, flint mine, Schuyler's house, stuff

This first thing is a question about a bird song. I could hear it but you can't, so I sang it just in case. Good thing.

It's a woodpigeon. Thank you Alison for knowing, and for the link. Yesterday near Norwich Cathedral I heard one in a tree and David recognized it.

Yesterday David took me to see Grime's Graves, a neolithic flint mining area that was in use for a thousand years, and then became a mystery when people would guess what they thought all those holes were. It's interesting.

[There was once a slide show of the photos of that day, but it's obsolete.]

"Grime's Graves is the only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain. A grassy lunar landscape of over 400 shafts, pits, quarries and spoil dumps, they were first named Grim's Graves - meaning the pagan god Grim's quarries, or 'the Devil's holes' - by the Anglo- Saxons. It was not until one of them was excavated in 1870 that they were found to be flint mines dug over 5,000 years ago, during the later Neolithic and early Bronze Ages."

"Grimes" would've been the possessive form of "Grim," the pagan god in question, but it wasn't a grammar museum. When there's an apostrophe to show possessive, the letter that's left out is the "e" of that once-pronounced syllable, so it would've been, to the Anglo Saxons, the holes belonging to Grim, or Grimes (two syllables) holes. Few people care, I know.

Wikipedia sez...

English Heritage site

More of Schuyler's house and garden, cat, flowers, neighbors to the left (hay barn) and right (formerly low-income housing the term for which I have forgotten [Estate flats?]). This property, Fornost, is built into a corner between those. Only the driveway touches the road, at a bend in the road, and behind the house is wheat.

[Another slide show bit the dust, but the gallery below will have all that and (maybe too much) more.]

Sorry my camera isn't great with close-ups of flowers, unlike Holly's she's been taking photos of the false sea onion as it blossoms at home. I put the new ones here: 100 species challenge

I have some more I haven't put up yet, from London on Sunday, but I'm hungry and I smell food.

* Click here to see photos, and click the "x" in the upper right to escape them. *

That includes a trip to London (we stayed in Kensington), then I went to Llanharan in Wales to stay with Joy K's family, then to Julie's (and Windsor) before coming home. These photos were added in 2023 to make up for the loss of those slideshows.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Holly sent the back cover for the book!

Usually I get to see her art as it's happening, but this time I only got the finished version. I know this was quite a bit of work, to take out all the backgrounds from the chat icon and such. I'm so glad Holly knows how to do these things.

Thanks, Holly!!!!

The lower right corner is empty because that's where the publishing info and ISBN go.

The front cover is here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

London to Norfolk day

I'm up early because I slept enough, and because I want to go to church. I haven't found Jesus; I've found medieval buildings that let you in to do real things. They have art, bells, architecture, music. (Not medieval music, but I'll take pipe organ and 19th century hymns as an alternative.)

The nearest church doesn't have a Sunday service. The next-nearest church is about five blocks away into a rich neighborhood.

I found the photo on the internet. I'm surprised I didn't find more or better. It's in between streets when Bolton splits, near the bottom of the map. The church that's close is in the upper rightLEFT (sorry), and we're halfway up Harrington Gardens about the center top of this map, on the north side.

The alley in back of the hotels is perfect cobblestone, and nobody sees it. It's like sexy cobblestone underwear.


The church was less than 200 years old but beautiful roof and awesome ceiling. There were only seven people there. NO MUSIC. But that made the service short, so I made it back to the hotel in time for breakfast.

We're going to Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park now. We're in Kensington—Wendy and Peter Pan land.


We're back, I'm tired, I slept most of the way home in the train.
Later, photos...
There was only one guy at speaker's corner. Talking about religion. Said let God be your steering wheel, not your spare wheel. I guess in the U.S. "speaker's corner" is the "low church" protestant pulpit. And in the world in general, maybe speaker's corner is moving onto the internet.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"the 1st Annual London Unschooling Conference"

I had nothing on July 25, 2009; I had posted the day before (Learn Nothing Day and my birthday) and the day after. So this post is actually being created April 30, 2012, to fill in some notes for the record.
Friday and Saturday nights I stayed with Schuyler, David, Simon and Linnaea at 38 Harrington Gardens, a hotel built of a townhouse. We were in half of what had once been a big drawing room, probably, with fancy moulding and floor to ceiling windows that opened onto balconies. It had been chopped into two two-story (loft on one side) apartments, with assorted beds to sleep three (two singles downstairs, a full and a single up on the loft, up some wooden 1970's stairs that went up in the corner near the window. Quite funky. I think we paid £300 for two nights; if I find a receipt or notes I'll bring that.

We spoke at "The Music Room" at 26 South Molton Lane, Mayfair London W1K 5LF26, owned by the family of the event organizer--a couple who lived half time in New England and knew Dayna from there. She was their keynote speaker. The event was not well organized, and one speaker didn't show up. Talks were recorded, but I never heard anything about the recordings later, and the site was taken down fairly quickly, as was the discussion list (on which there had been some mysteriously false reports about how big and broad the event had been). Some of the notes from that day:

Follow-up notes
Schuyler's talk: The Wonderful World of Television
The event announcement is archived at The Wayback Machine here:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Spooky early morning

Not too spooky.
I couldn't sleep anymore, so at 6:00 a.m. came downstairs where the internet is strong. I wanted to show you the stairwell, which is pretty, but as with many things, you had to be there. Still, a peek.

The lobby is decorated with maps from the 1960s, it seems. And there's a certificate that says they're members of the London Tourist Board, 1972. Only the name of the hotel is stuck over whatever old name there was, printed out on computer sticky-paper. White paper, stuck on a big cream-colored certificate. I like it.

There's a pretty vase on one of the mismatched tables here by the front door, and the flowers are mostly dried up.

There was a guy sleeping in a corner at the top of the stairs. When I came out he pulled his mobile phone out to check the time, and I said softly "Six o'clock."

Photos from yesterday, from the train station in Diss, Liverpool Station, and the Museum of Childhood, the hotel's neighborhood and our five-bed, no-chairs room, and my birthday cake, a gift from my host family The Waynforths. (All clickable thumbnails; no time this morning to make a slide show.)

Or if you'd rather, go here and click slide show to see the whole dump of my camera: