Back home

Returned with the Young Lady of the House, last night, after spending a week in Cyprus, from Boxing Day (a very-early start!), an uneventful (but boring) flight to Paphos, and a week of over-eating, walking, reading, and generally lazing about, in the heat. Only in the last couple of days did we feel a slight ‘coolth’ (my word….opposite of warmth!) in the breeze.

A small amount of rain broke the clear sky one night, and, boy, they were glad to see it! They had had no rain from March to September, and since then, nothing worthwhile. So they have problems with availability of potable water, and yet there are obviously plans afoot to add even more complexes, resorts, hotels etc round Paphos. Can they not see that it is un-sustainable!

We did what we could to minimise our ‘water footprint’, and felt we were quite good, but what were we amongst so many?

Guilt about using water has disappeared now that we are home to the cold and wet, as we are having a snowstorm, but we still feel it is our duty to help the environment by wasting as little as possible.

We often wonder whether we would like to live in such an equitable climate, but there is something to be said for the large differences we see in our climate…..but maybe I could be pursuaded to stay in a warmer area just a little longer each year!

Starry, starry, night….

One of the joys of this time of year, and living where we live, is the clear, crisp air and the cloudless evening sky which is the fore-runner of frost. We can take the chance of looking over the Campsie Fells and seeing the glory of the heavens… the stars, constellations and the moon…. and ask the fundamental questions of existence (or maybe not!).

When studing optics, I was intrigued with the fact that two instruments, the telescope and microscope, (which use the same basic components) had extended man’s observational possibilities in opposite directions.

The only problem is that as the technologies have improved, and extended the observable data, we constantly see something just out of focus…now if only the lenses were more powerful, or the images were a little sharper, then we might make out more details….

It’s an impossible dream….the laws of physics forbid it, so the chance to see the ultimate particles of matter, or the edges of the universe is not to be ours.

Meanwhile I think there is plenty to see and wonder at, even without the help of curved bits of glass…..

A Dynamic World!

Strange how things sometimes come together in an  interesting and satisfying conjunction!

There has been a lot of talk over the last few years, about the environment and global warming…..if you haven’t noticed, where have you been? Shots of Mr Cameron advising us to take to our bicycles, abounded on the small (and not-so-small) screen…..good political capital!

I remember as a child, that those of us with a bicycle, always aspired to have a lamp powered by a dynamo…do you remember?….it fitted on the rear forks, rested on the back wheel, and spun round with a very-satisfying ‘whirr’. Enough electricity was generated to power the front and back lights….which was great, until you stopped, and, since there was no power storage, the light faded.

 So……where is this leading? Well, we have always had a small radio in the bathroom, and the last one eventually packed-in, so we needed another one. Batteries were always a pain, as no matter how many you buy to keep for such eventualities, you can never find them when you need them!

Ah….now you are catching-on!……yes,…..we were in Tesco shopping  one night, and I spotted a perfectly-suitable little radio. Imagine my un-bounded JOY when I discovered that, although there is a space for batteries, it had a little crank to generate, and store power….so reducing the need for batteries, and preserving the environment!

The only downside is that the racket which the crank makes when being turned, is unbelievable! It is much noisier than the dynamo of 50 years ago! I suppose that if one’s hearing has deteriorated over the years, then it might just not sound so bad!

However, for £7.50….what can one expect!