Friday, 31 December 2021

I Had A Quiet Day,

in the afternoon Diana returned from work,

so we watched a few quiz shows, in the evening I popped over to the club to meet with Steve, normally we would go on a Friday, but as it will be New Years eve there is a disco taking place, so Thursday it was then, Steve kindly dropped me off at home, where it was one from New Tricks before we were off to bed.

Do Not Mess With Fish 272,

and you thought fish were fun!

well these ones definitely are, and a bit of a business lifesaver,

meet an unlikely marshmallow, the fishmallow, it has proven to be a surprise hit product,

Yachiyodo is a 110-year old snack-maker based in Osaka, Japan, and for the past 80 years they’ve made just one thing: marshmallows, but like many businesses times have been hard, the campfire-friendly confections are still considered 2nd or even 3rd tier snacks, but an unlikely marshmallow–the fishmallow–has proven to be a surprise hit product,

Fishmallows are simply fish-shaped marshmallows, and their popularity can largely be attributed to a resurgence in outdoor barbecues and camping activities in Japan where fish are a common grill item, so the fishmallows, which are made specifically in a way that gives them that beautiful charred look, fishmallows are sold in packs of 4 and retail for 880 yen, at today's rate £5.70 or $7.66, I hate to say it, I guess it must be me, I really do not like marshmallows, but then I am in the minority!

When Ever I Think Of Someone Collecting Shells,

a conchologist to give them their proper name,

I always think of someone collecting seashells, never land shells, until now, photograph James St. John/Flickr,

welcome to the wold of Cuban painted snails, photograph Discovery Channel Australia, out of the roughly 1,400 species of land snails that call Cuba home, the six species of the genus Polymita, fondly known as painted snails are stunningly beautiful,

because their dazzling shells are so sought after by collectors, all six species of the genus Polymita are now critically endangered, and because of many factors including collectors are now exceedingly rare, photograph Sakami Ironoya,

photograph, Bruno D'Amicis/NPL even books about them are in the hundreds pf pounds, Cuban painted snails inhabit a very thin belt of vegetation along Cuba’s eastern coastline, where they feed on lichen and moss full of minerals that give their shells that stunning look, because of their relatively small habitat, the gastropods are particularly vulnerable to land clearing by coffee growers, to predation by native and introduced predators as well as to climate change,

photograph Raff Kestarren, but perhaps the most worrying cause of Polymita snails’ “critically endangered” tag is poaching. There was once a time when locals collected painted snail shells for souvenirs without threatening the existence of the gastropods, but nowadays the global demand by collectors and merchants has become so great that it’s a real problem, collecting Cuban painted snails either for sale in Cuba or trading abroad is strictly prohibited, but while authorities have reportedly been “very effective” at preventing tourists from taking snail shells as souvenirs, their fight against organized illegal trade for the black market has been less successful, “There are indeed organized trafficking networks in Cuba,” Reynaldo Estrada, a researcher with the Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation for Humankind and Nature, told National Geographic. “The true serious illegal trade for the black market is linked to a well-organized team of people.” I have to say I just typed in "Cuban Land Snails" and here is a company with a P.O. Box in Florida selling them and openly advertises the fact that: 

Polymitas are terrestrial mollusks that are EXCLUSIVE of the Cuban eastern province of Oriente. There is no other place in the world blessed with the beauty of these animals.

I guess that they have a special government licence from the Cuban authorities allowing them to be collected and sold on the open market.

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Diana Was At Work,

I had a quiet day,

just watering the plants and watching a few documentaries, in the evening it was time for my read and a sherry, as I mentioned before, 

I have to say I am really enjoying reading a modern reprint of the Journal of the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks: During Captain Cook's First Voyage in H.M.S. Endeavour in 1768-71 to Terra del Fuego, Otahite, New Zealand, Australia, the Dutch East Indies, etc. / edited by Sir Joseph D. Hooker. I should mention that Otahite is now known as Tahiti,

I love the chapter headings,

but is is taking a little longer to read than a 'normal' book, as there are always a couple of Latin names of creatures that I do not know,

just a couple of examples, 

also Banks alludes to all manner of practises, such as Floridian Indians being cannibals, I never knew,

for my evening meal a cheese and tomato sandwich, I decided to not have a big meal after the Christmas celebrations, as I was eating I was listening to the The Buena Vista Social Club, it is sometimes a term used to describe Cuban music from the 1920s to the 1940s, it was in fact a members club in Havana, Cuba, which closed in the 1940s, 

the CD we have is the one titled Buena Vista Social Club At Carnegie Hall, for more detailed information about the group have a look here,

for dessert nectarines, plums and apricots, shortly after I had finished Diana arrived home, so it was feet up for a Midsomer Murder and a New Tricks before we were off to bed.

I Do Not Like Battery Powered Electric Cars,

they are environmentally unsound on so many fronts,

but I just had to mention this car, why? the car could produce up to 3,200 horsepower! thanks to a total of four electric motors each producing around 800 horsepower, these are powered by a 100 kWh battery, which weighs approximately 992 pounds, the curb weight of the Arash AFX is said to be in the 2,000 to 2,500 pounds range, all of the above means it is going to be fast, very fast! image source: Arash,

You have probably never heard of Arash Motor Company, based in the UK, the supercar startup was founded in 1999 back when it was known as Farboud before being renamed Arash in 2016,

the companies first car launched under the Arash name was the AF10, a totally mad hypercar powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 and four electric motors producing a combined 2,800 horsepower,

on social media, Arash has shared photos previewing its first electric hypercar dubbed the AFX, 

a look inside the interior, which has room for two occupants who sit in racing seats fitted with harnesses, there are also two screens mounted on both sides of the cabin in place of traditional side mirrors, will the car ever be produced? well Arash can deliver, as the company has been building absurdly-powerful supercars for over 20 years, would I like one? How on earth could I charge it? We live on the top floor at the rear of a huge Victorian building, we would need a 150 foot + charging cable to reach the car, and let’s face it, with our green government's huge U turn on charging points just 2 days ago,

photograph: Geoffrey Swaine/REX/Shutterstock, where the government backtracked on proposals to require every shop, office or factory in England to install at least one electric car charger, prompting criticism by environmental campaigners, the original plan required every new and existing non-residential building with parking for 20 cars or more to install a charger, however, wait for it! the Department for Transport (DfT) has now revealed it will only require chargers be installed in new or refurbished commercial premises amid fears over the cost for businesses, I wonder if someone, somewhere said hydrogen cars could be the future? Go green, go clean, go hydrogen!

NASA Touches The Sun,

and returns!

NASA marked an impressive milestone when its Parker Solar Probe was the first ever to touch the sun and return earlier this year, and footage from its historic mission offers a stunning glimpse at the massive star’s upper atmosphere,

the black-and-white time lapse shows a view from the probe as it hurls through a flurry of glowing bands and sparks that dart across the frame with celestial bodies panning in the background. These structures, known as coronal streamers, are part of the magnetic field surrounding the star, it does not have a solid surface,

during its travel, the probe also captured the Milky Way, Earth, and other planets from a rare angle, which astrophysicist Grant Tremblay, labeled in the screenshots, this was the satellite’s eighth attempt to permeate the sun’s atmosphere since it launched in 2018,

NASA shares:

At closest approach, Parker Solar Probe hurtles around the sun at approximately 430,000 mph (700,000 kph). That’s fast enough to get from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., in one second… At closest approach to the Sun, the front of Parker Solar Probe’s solar shield faces temperatures approaching 2,500 F (1,377 C). The spacecraft’s payload will be near room temperature.

how amazing is all of that?

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

What A Great Start To The Day,

a couple of giant crumpets dripping in butter and a mug of tea,


it was Diana's day off,

so we decided on a walk in Kelsey Park, first as we walked past the green, we could not help but notice today, there were a few more skaters than usual on the rink,

checking Diana's bank balance she commented that if the keypad was much higher, she would have to stand on tip-toe!

into the park,

a bit of work going on at the gate house,

a quick pose,

before we started our walk along the River Beck,

and the waterfall,

that exits the lake,

walking by the side of the lake,

we noticed these Mandarin ducks, (Aix galericulata), this time there were only three of them here, unlike way back in February in 2019,

when there were so many of them,

this Egyptian goose, (Alopochen aegyptiaca), not in the slightest bit shy about approaching us,

the same for the squirrels,

who were always on the lookout for peanuts,

in just a few months time this flower bed will be in full bloom,

we were soon approaching heron island,

just a couple in one of the trees today,

I could have done with a telephoto lens today, but there it is,

the rose bed, again in a few months growth will start for the summer display,

on the left, the bridge over the far end of the lake, still not repaired,

so we walked around the start of the lake,

and started on our way back,

stopping for a pose from Diana,

and from myself,

feeding the ducks and other waterfowl,

there you go!

in the summer there will be a giant rhubarb, (Gunnera manicata), in all of its glory here,

back across the footpath over the River Beck,

and into town, Diana wanted to stop off into Boots the pharmacist,

which was opposite The Crown public house,

up the hill and past the church opposite which is Marks & Spencer's, where we called in for a few bits and pieces,

the skating rink now doing a roaring trade,

into the park,

and a pose by Rudolph,

not long now and we will be home, where it was feet up for our evening meal and a film, 

 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, directed by Guy Ritchie, what could possibly go wrong? absolutely nothing! a real treat to watch, we followed that with a Midsomer Murder and a New Tricks before we were off to bed.