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Saturday, 28 April 2012

The winding down of the most resilent machines ever made.

It's a shame really we have learned a great deal from the NASA Space
Program .I am only grateful  NASA  deemed It right to do a last fly over NewYork.
I can only hope they have something planed in the bag.


Monday, 23 April 2012

A Spontaneous Day Trip to Liverpool

I've done my fair share of in-land travelling. I've seen a quite a bit of the UK: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Brighton, Southampton, Isle of Wight, Lancaster, Blackpool, even Scotland! Figured it was about time I ventured to Liverpool. And I've got a friend up there I haven't seen in years so it was about time I paid him a visit. Thursday night I was umm-ing and ahh-ing over whether it was worth going all the way up there just for a day and then worrying about the weather but before I knew it, my computer screen was showing 'Your Virgin Train tickets will be ready for collection in 2 hours'. Oops. That's what you get for registering to One-Click ordering. 

Friday morning, armed with my camera, extra batteries for my mobile, and a packet of Jaffa cakes (we were late for the train so we had to skip breakfast), we were off. Even if the weather sucked, there was no way I wasn't gonna enjoy the train journey. 2 hours and 8 mins on the Virgin Pendolino Train. Who doesn't love those trains? Yeah, I'm weird like that.

There were three of us going and luckily we had managed to get table seats so we spent the time goofing around and taking photos. The guy who was sharing the booth with us wasn't so amused. Within about 20mins, he'd had about s much as he could take and he moved to sit somewhere else. By midday, we were at Liverpool Lime Street. I didn't think it was the greatest of stations but just outside the station doors, we were greeted by a grand building that was the Liverpool museum on the right, the giant radio tower on the left and somewhere in the middle an old church tower building. The architecture had me captivated. I was in love with this city already. I couldn't help but ask myself why it had taken me so long to see this city! No wonder it was the European City of Culture 2008.

There was a lot to see but our time was limited and the weather soon changed. Within a couple of hours, the clouds reared their ugly heads and the rain was showing no mercy. Before too long, it was time to get back on the train and head home, but not before a helping of Nandos. Nandos is just something else. I honestly don't think it's over-hyped. It doesn't matter where you go, there's always a 20-30min queue, but people will always wait rather than dive into the Pizza Express or Frankie & Bennys or whatever next door. 

I'm sure it won't be long before I head back to Liverpool, but next time I'll definitely give myself a couple of days to look around. Liverpudlians and visitors of Liverpool, what do you think?


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Death of Ambitions?

Image from: Link

So it's a pretty ominous post title this time and you might be wondering what I'm on about. Well today I'm chatting about the Cold War and how it drove us to advance. The history books and TV can make this topic seem incredibly boring. But instead, try to think of it this way. The USA and Russia: two rivalling beefy dudes at the gym, both as built as each other but not wanting to throw the first punch (or nuclear bomb) because it will only end destruction. Ok, so maybe I'm stretching the analogy a little far but you know what I mean :). Now to make things worse, each muscle man (we're still talking about the USA and Russia here) has their own circle of smaller skinnier men who hang onto their every word (these are the smaller countries who got sucked into the Cold War).

Sputnik 1. Image From: Link

Surprise surprise, this intense rivalry between the USA and Russia sparked unparalleled technological advancements. Yep, even if we're talking on the scale of country vs. country, the same macho male attitude comes into play! From this, the world saw the birth of the Atomic Bomb, X-Rays, power stations, nuclear weaponry. Then came the space race. Each superpower poured resources into their space programs hoping to be the first to access the potential of outer space. Sputnik was the first success, followed by the first man on the moon and now we have the International Space Station. Achievements that were all fuelled by the competition between the USA and Russia to be the ruling power of the world! It might appear to be nothing more than a pissing contest but ultimately, it forced the world to recognise the importance of technology on an international level: the advancement of super planes, the Shuttle Discovery, the building of super cities and the discovery of the DNA structure.

Supercity Shanghai. Image from: Link
The breakup of the USSR (Russia today) marked the end of the Cold War and in some ways, I feel man's hunger to exceed previous technology has slowed. We have since seen the shelving of many great technologies like the Concorde, the space exploration and just yesterday we saw the last flight of the Shuttle Discovery. You can read more bout this on the BBC News by clicking here.

Or for my people who aren't big readers :) watch this Youtube video below.

What does anyone else think?


Monday, 9 April 2012

Archaeology Either Love it or Hate it

Image From: Link

So I was parked in front of the TV at 4am (as usual) and I came across this advert which got me thinking. I forget now what the advert actually was except that it was advertising some archaeology documentary starting up next week. So let’s talk. Archaeology?!  Don’t really know what to think about it! I’m not gonna completely dismiss it because it maps the origins of the world we live in today. It’s all very important I’m sure.

Image from: Link

But sometimes it’s like, seriously?!?! My problem with archaeology is two-fold:
  1. Are you actually trying to tell me that some scratches you found in some old bone show you how people lived like a million years ago?
  2. Does anyone really care what the great pharaohs or Shaka Zulu drank their tea in?

Image From: Link

I’m not trying to hate on history. Far from it. But anything before 200 years ago and I’m not bothered. It’s not that archaeology is completely useless. I’m sure there is some stuff to learn from old bones and pottery and scraps. But my point is, how much can it really tell you? I kid you not, I’ve seen documentaries where the experts go into some in-depth analysis on a single bone. What’s wrong with that I hear you say? Nothing. But then when you try and make farfetched claims about how these small indentations are probably signposts for cannibalism, that’s where you’ve lost me. How in the hell can you look at a miniscule little mark and tell me a human bit into it??

I love science but I’m much more in favour of anything current and futuristic. Go back too far and you’ve lost me. Sure, at times I’m curious – I was all up for watching The Da Vinci Code (lol) – but for the most part I’m best left to watching Megastructures. I know that science needs history to move forward but I think archaeologists take it a bit far! I mean think of the millions spent on them dudes with the shovels!  Money that could definitely be better spent what with the recession and world hunger and all.

Image From: Link

Haha maybe I’m a bit of a hypocrite ‘cause I buried a time capsule back home in Zimbabwe when I was a kid. I guess at that age, the idea of people finding your photos hundreds of years from when you put them in the ground seems so cool.

Anyone else think like me? Or maybe some of you can change my mind?


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Hosepipe Ban, What Hosepipe Ban?

Mint (left). Spinach (Right).

Yeah I you an update so soon! The pics I posted yesterday were from last week, so I thought I'd show you a few pics I took today. This time I got my camera out so hopefully the quality will be better than my phone pics.

Check out the mint and the spinach above. Would you believe these survived the icy winds and the frost of the winter? ...And they're still going strong!

As of next month, Thames Water is implementing its annual hosepipe ban (Link to a BBC article). Strange 'cause I swear this country is known as the land of rain?! Here's my makeshift solution. I actually rerouted the rainwater that passes through the gutter and the kitchen waste water to my garden. Figured I'd do my bit to conserve water this summer :).

Watering my garden with rainwater (left). Watering my garden with kitchen waste water (right).

Below are a few shots of my fruit trees. Sure, they've seen better days but they're still going! So many apples last year meant a lot of pie. Can't say I'm complaining!

Compost heap (top-left), progress of my potted plants shown in my last blog post (top-right),
apple tree (bottom-left), plum tree (bottom-right).

Guys, I know gardening looks daunting. I mean I know I said I grew up on a farm and all that but getting your hands dirty isn't always fun! Fear is at hand. I've found a video which some of you might find useful. Check it out and let me know what you think :)


Grow Your Own Five a Day

image on the right from: Link

For the last few years, at the start of every spring season, I like to do a bit of gardening. That’s a lie. I like to do a lot of gardening. I’m always giving some of my produce to friends and neighbours, and if I do say so myself, I’m kinda the Monty Don of my neighbourhood. For those of you who don’t know, he is to gardening what Mohammed Ali is to boxing. I’ve got a reasonably sized garden and the minute I see a little sun I can’t wait to get outside and start rearranging every summer. I grow a variety of vegetables – spinach being my favourite. Guess my mum’s to blame for that – bribing me to eat a little bit more of my greens with an episode of Popeye the Sailor Man. What kid needed any more incentive than that? I wanted to be just as strong.

So every season I get down to B&Q or Home Base, my local DIY megastores to pick up some seeds: spinach, tomatoes, salad leaves, lettuce, green beans,  courgette, cabbage, and few herb varieties – coriander, of course. Being an impatient kinda guy, I need to see results. Fast. I usually get a few pots of vegetable seedlings - usually tomatoes and peppers which start coming out after 7 to 10 days. This keeps me busy while I wait for the other seeds to germinate.

I guess the outdoors is in my blood. I grew up in a family of commercial farmers. All my grandparents were farmers and I’ve got a handful of uncles, aunties and cousin-brothers in Chipinge, Zimbabwe who are farmers too. For a while I was convinced that all this outdoors, green, self-sufficient stuff wasn’t my thing but as I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to love it. My mum always grew her own vegetables her back yard and she had a small chicken run. Our family didn’t go to the local shop for greens. My mum used to grow this leafy vegetable called covo (Brassica oleracea) which is very resilient and grows through all year round. My mum passed away almost two years ago now and I miss the talks we had about the gardening among other things too. Can’t help but think of her when I look out and spot a few of my plants.

image from: Link

I guess what I’m really trying to say is, be inspired! It’s so relaxing and you’ll keep reaping the rewards. I rarely buy vegetables anymore and I’m even branching out (no pun intended lol) into fruit – pears, apples and plums. Needless to say, my avocado tree is still struggling due to the extreme cold and frost in winter!

My blog is still in its early stages but you can be sure that I’ll keep uploading pictures with my progress. I’d love to hear about your gardening efforts! Anyone else with green fingers?

Selby Blog Pinger