Tuesday, 31 March 2020

The Day Started With A Nice Surprise,

the chocolate arrived,

 having tried and enjoyed their chocolate before, last week we had ordered some more from Ocelot, which is a small business, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is owned and run by Matt and Ish, they make speciality chocolates, which are just so nice,

the chocolate with a cocoa percentage of 70%, is made from beans which are grown in Virunga National park, Africa's oldest nature reserve, and the home of the last Mountain Gorilla, You can keep up with news and offers on their twitter and instagram pages, later today the ducks made an appearance, so I threw some peanuts out for them, just as I found the camera something must have spooked them and they were off, hopefully they will be back tomorrow, in the afternoon couple of games of Monopoly, the score one all, 

after our evening meal it was feet up for We're No Angels, a sweet comedy, taking place on Devils Island, set at Christmas, a great cast and performance, especially from Adolf, next a Poirot, rounding off the evening with a New Tricks, and with the end of that we were off to bed.

I Remember A Simpson's Character,

the Crazy Cat Lady,

well here is the UK's answer to her, the self confessed Crazy Snail Lady, 

 40-year-old Pepper Apollo has been fascinated with snails ever since she saw some outside her workplace, 10 years ago, today she is a self-described “crazy snail lady” with 150 shelled gastropods in her care, photographs Crazy Snail Lady,

  “When, you’ve got 150 snails, that puts you into the crazy snail lady category,” Pepper laughingly told 60 Second Docs in the video below, “I started collecting snails about 10 years ago, I found some outside of work, then it kind of snowballed.” 

Pepper Apollo keeps her 150 snails of different breeds in stacked glass terrariums and prepares delicious meals for them every day. She claims that looking after her pets is not labor intensive at all, but that may be because it’s all a labor of love, if you want to see just how obsessed Pepper is with snails, just check out, her Instagram and Facebook, You’ll see nothing but snails, snail eggs and snail keeping guides and like any self-respecting crazy snail lady, she is also very active on snail keeping groups and forums, I doubt that Pepper goes to French restaurants.

I Guess We Have All Heard Of The Phrase,

'smoke and mirrors',

 well here is another one, 'string and nails', London-based Ben Koracevic is a young, self-taught string artist, photographs The String Art Guy,

 using thousands of nails carefully positioned on a blank white canvas, and pieces of string with a collective length of over one kilometer, 

 Ben is the talented artist behind London-based Stringometry Art Studio, where his works are listed for sale for anywhere between £900 ($1,115) and £4,000 ($5,000), depending on their complexity and the time and effort that went into them,

 for example, the portraits of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, required 6,000 nails, 1,200 meters of string and 250 hours of painstaking work, while that detailed string portrait of an elephant took the artist “only” 80 hours to complete,

 “I am a self taught string artist with a driven passion to push the boundaries of my imagination through the use of nails and string,” Ben Koracevic said. “Creating emotion and expression from this rare art form is a constant challenge. It motivates me to produce uniquely detailed art pieces that are consumed with hours of pride and enjoyment.”

 Ben’s portfolio currently numbers eight stunning string artworks, but he’s already working on more complex pieces,

He already has over 10,000 fans on his Instagram page, a number that I am sure is going to increase, very soon!

I Can Not Remember What I Ate Last Week,

but here is one man that can remember what he ate,

every day for the past 30 years! all images © Kushino Terrace, self-taught artist Itsuo Kobayashi memorized every meal he ate, using a combination of illustration, collage and text descriptions, 

 Kobayashi has been creating a food diary of the last 30 years of his life,

 his artistic endeavors began when he was 18, and to-date has produced over 1000 illustrations,

 the artist makes sure to include the date, price detailed ingredients and a short emotional response, 

in the seafood bowl pictured above from September 18, 2011, Kobayashi explains that he splurged on an expensive 900-yen bowl but that the soft and delicious squid made it worth it!

Itsuo Kobayashi is represented by Kushino Terrace, a Hiroshima-based art gallery founded by curator Nobumasa Kushino, whose mission is to represent outsider artists, His works can be purchased through the gallery, what a Herculean effort to make such detailed accounts after every meal.

Monday, 30 March 2020

First Thing In The Morning,

I threw a few peanut outside for the birds,

 normally cows and magpies appear, but today a pair of ducks were waiting,

 so now we have quacks as well as the crows and magpies making their presence known,

on to Sunday lunch, for today a starter of vegetable soup,


 for the wine, 

 a few Fridays ago Steve very kindly brought a nice bottle of red around, 

 which went so nicely with our main course,

 of roast pork, lots of gravy for Diana,

 none for myself,

 another quick 'Cheers!', we decided against a dessert, we were both full to bursting, we spent the afternoon at the table chatting away and listening to music, late in afternoon we had a game of Monopoly, I will not say who won, but Diana lost, just after that looking out of the window, I noticed something I thought was slightly strange,

 as far as I was concerned ducks fly, swim and walk, they do not perch on trees,

 or on the tops of roofs, but here they were, the pair of ducks were back,

so a handful of peanuts out of the window,

 and down they flew, 

I zoomed in,

 having eaten all of the ones on the gravel, 

 it was on to the grass,

I wonder if they will be back tomorrow? in the evening we watched Have I Got News For You and a couple from the Poirot Box, and with end of those we were off to bed.

A Good Way To Start The Day,

a bacon sandwich, what could be better? 

 how about a pre-breakfast bacon shower? I kid you not! the soap smelling of bacon is on sale at this Amazon site, and great news for vegetarians, the soap is vegetarian, so no worries for you as you smell the bacon!

Found Only In Cuba,

this is the world's smallest hummingbird,

known as the Bee Hummingbird, (Mellisuga helenae), it also has another claim to fame, it is an example of a phenomenon scientists call “island dwarfism”, where certain species have problems competing against larger species for resources, so they get smaller and smaller over evolutionary time to avoid running out of food and start competing against other categories of organisms, photograph Sharp Photography/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0),

Bo Dalsgaard, an ecologist at the University of Copenhagen, explains the size of the Bee Hummingbird as a consequence of island dwarfism. Apparently, most Caribbean islands always have two or three hummingbird species, one large and one small, and Cuba is no different, it just happens to be home to world’s smallest hummingbird. It shares this habitat with the emerald hummingbird, which grows to more than twice its size, “Later, the ancestor of the bee hummingbird arrived on Cuba and took up the role as the smaller of the two hummingbirds,” Dalsgaard told Wired Magazine. “To avoid feeding competition with the Cuban emerald, it had to evolve to be an even smaller hummingbird, competing more with insects for nectar.”

being a tiny organism costs a lot of energy, because the metabolic rate and body heat loss is much higher, and because the bee hummingbird is an exceptionally fast flier (25 – 30 mph) and spends more time flying than any other hummingbird species, it needs a lot of food. It is estimated that one bee hummingbird needs to feed on at last 1,500 flowers a day just to survive, even with plenty of nectar and mosquitoes in its daily diet, the world’s tiniest bird cannot maintain its body heat during the night. To survive, it goes into a state known as “torpor”, a kind of semi-hibernation that reduces both bodily functions and energy needs, according to Wikipedia, male bee hummingbirds are 5.5-cm-long on average, while females only slightly larger. These birds weigh less than a dime and build nests roughly the size of a quarter. Their tiny eggs are the size of coffee beans. When nesting, females keep the males away from the eggs, as their bright feathers may attack predators. Even the females are known to first stop somewhere near the nest, wait for a few moments to make sure there is no threat, and only then return to the eggs, what an amazing creature.

We Are Going Through Some Tough Times,

with us and ankle biters, if you have any, suffering from cabin fever,

 so here is an idea that might help, adult colouring books, which the kids can use as well, one hundred museums and libraries worldwide provided free coloring pages for download, this is thanks to the New York Academy of Medicine’s #ColorOurCollections initiative,

the two example above are from Kansai University Open Research Center for Asian Studies (Japan), you can choose from hundreds of coloring pages at colormycollections.org, as Book Riot details: 

Each winter, the NYAM holds a week-long online festival where museums, libraries, and other institutions provide black-and-white downloadable PDFs for coloring and education. This year, the event ran from February 3–7. There were over 100 participating institutions, although you can still download coloring pages from past years’ participants, some of this year’s participants include  the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg (USA), Trinity Hall at Cambridge University (UK), and Bibliothèque nationale de France (France), Memoria Chilena (Chile),

and as they are for adults, I thought I would post 'Whoa Emma!' from Nickels and Dimes, Northern Illinois University Coloring Book 2020, have fun!

Sunday, 29 March 2020

I Forgot To Mention,

a couple of days ago we played Monopoly, 

 but on that occasion I was soundly thrashed, any way on to Saturday, we watched television during the day, and we had another game of Monopoly, again I was thrashed, Diana had 8 hotels in a line starting with the Old Kent Road and ending at Northumberland Avenue, plus all of the stations, I did not even own a set! then for our evening meal, lamb kebabs,

 'Cheers!', with a sherry, which is not quite correct, as I am the only person drinking, but there it is,

 our main course, baked salmon with peas and mash,

 and a glass of wine, or three!

 for dessert Steve and Kai knowing that Diana likes peppermint and chocolate some time ago bought Diana some peppermint and chocolate Poppets, which were very nice indeed, many thanks Steve and Kai,

naturally I had to have a Jamaican coffee, we chatted most of the evening away listening to music, then rounded off with one from the Poirot box, we had decided to start with the first and work our way through them, and with the end of that we were off to bed.

Just As Samsung,

starts advertising its new telephone,

the Samsung Galaxy S20,what does Huawei do? bring out the P40 Pro 5G

and does it offer a lot! the new phone has a 10x optical zoom capability, 20x hybrid zoom, and a ridiculous 100x max zoom that still has stunning quality, click on the link for the full size video, the video is a must see, even if you are not thinking of a new telephone, it is worth a look just to see the leaps that Huawei has made, do I want one? yes please!

There Are Good, Bad, And Ugly Cars,

whilst most car post are about the good looking cars,

 this one is about the bad and ugly ones, take the Mini two-seat Cooper Coupe, above, with little headroom, no usable rear seats and a miniscule rear view, it was no wonder that BMW killed it off in 2015, from the article, ‘and it has been missed by exactly no one’, for more of the bad and ugly cars that consumers have been asked to buy, have a look here, at what made these cars ugly at Automobile magazine