Archives for the month of: July, 2010

Continuing the potato theme, here are some recent pictures I was sent by Robin


of Muntz.  Robin of Muntz is a medieval-sounding name.

Here he is watching the World Cup.


And being offered more popcorn.


Muntz is really quite slim, as you can see here:


As long as they’re tall enough,

the answer

is an unequivocal

Hell, yes.

Even if

the gates

are closed.

My wife recently bought us these very nice popadum-like crispy things the size of long-playing records.  The peculiar thing is that on the box it says bakt av potet, or “baked by potatoes”.  When I alerted my wife & daughter, they agreed that it was odd.

A week or two earlier, my daughter pointed out to us a farm sign by the side of the road that said “Potato Eggs”.

A new star has been discovered, the biggest one ever found.  It is 265 times the mass of the sun and ten-million times brighter.  The scientists have decided that it should be called R136a1.

Update (from the Guardian “comments”): It is nowhere near the biggest star ever found, yet the front page story says so. Could someone please correct this?  The biggest star known is VY Canis Majoris, which is at least 1,800 solar radii.

I like Goofy as a name for this one, although strictly speaking “the planet Goofy” would sound the best.  What would the goats think of this, I wonder?

Tom Clark writes at least one poem every day.    Today, he wrote one for me.


Looking at this picture I have just lately taken of this waterfall

can’t be compared with looking at my earlier picture

of this waterfall

or with being at the waterfall itself,

the philosopher king mused.

At the bottom, you get covered in spray and the rocks are slippery.

It’s wonderful.

Very loud.

Looking at the picture of the waterfall,

you miss all this,

you miss the rushing sound of the water,

you miss the thunderous reverberation of the torrent through the gorge,

you miss the rainbow colours and halos and the diaphanous light,

you miss the delirious sensation of being enveloped in the cascade,

you miss the vertiginous feeling of being tumbled headfirst into the chasm,

you miss the delicious feeling of the foamy backwash upon your body,

you miss the euphoric impression of a water spirit world whooshing and swooshing about you,

though of course if you’ve actually been there

and experienced all these things

even just the once

you can later summon them up in memory

and while that is not as good as the real thing,

said the philosopher king to himself,

it is something.

ⓒTom Clark

Nobody’s ever dedicated a poem to me before.  I’m very happy about it. Read the rest of this entry »

The first time I came to the Rondane mountains — where we have a cabin — was about fifteen years ago.  My wife showed me a waterfall and  I took some pictures.  Then I lost them.  In my mind they got better and better; the best pictures I’ve ever taken, possibly.  Tragically lost.

Last Saturday, we went back.  To get there, you start at in this valley where some very friendly cows are grazing — the place is called Myeseter (a seter is a summer pasture in the mountains) —

and follow the stream.

After a couple of miles, the stream drops into a deeper valley.  The resulting waterfall (here from the far side of the valley) is called Myfallet:

Quite dramatic, but you have to get much closer.  You have to go to the bottom.  It’s  a hike, the same amount of effort as climbing up and down a slippery irregular firestair in the Empire State Building, probably.

There are wildflowers,

these are larkspur (wild delphiniums):

Half way down the undergrowth disappears and the gorge is revealed:

And then you come upon the falls that you’ve been hearing now for several kilometres:

At the bottom, you get covered in spray and the rocks are slippery.  It’s wonderful.  Very loud.  This is my favourite bit:

And there’s a rainbow where the sunshine is refracted through the spray.

Facing the waterfall is another waterfall, a tiny narrow trickle:

These can’t be compared with my first set of pictures; nor, sadly, with being at the waterfall itself.

I’ve been away for a few days. I’ll post something proper soon. In the meantime, here is an amusing little game at the London Review of Books’ blog.

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Here are some of the wild strawberries in our garden.  They are delicious, they grow all over the place and as far as I can see they have no local predators except me.

As soon as the rain starts, all the snails come dashing out:

They’ve all headed in one direction, down

to the bottom of the garden.  It’s a mad snaily panic, like the Odessa Steps scene in Battleship Potemkin …

… past the lavender…

… to my wife’s strawberry bed, where they eat all the ripe ones:

I’d much rather they didn’t eat the strawberries, but it’s almost worth it just to know that snails prefer the taste of cultivated strawberries to almost anything —  certainly to the wild variety, which has a very different flavour — and that they are so determined that they will go all the way to the other end of the garden to procure them.

You might just be able to see that, I think, a bird  has pecked a hole in the shell of the bottom snail. There’s a pale grey mark on the ridge of its back where it’s been repaired.

They were really just small showers.  I hate rain, but these were rather nice.  This is our garden with the sun setting in the northwest.  It was still raining when I took this picture.  I thought I might be able to get some white streaks of rain, like Tom had in the Berkeley photograph.

I got a few earlier on, when I was with the horses in the meadow and it was lighter:

My daughter had just brought her horse back from a show

where she won the gold medal for being the best Welsh cob.  The horse won, but the daughter got the medal.  She was a lot shinier than usual, and her three white socks were whiter than usual.  The horse looked good too.

The other horses didn’t care.

They were just glad that she was back.

Establishing shot: