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C’est un cygne

1 Apr

Pour faire la paix avec nos amis européens, la ville de la culture a décidé de ne parler que le français. Je sais que c‘est très étrange mais, malheureusement, c’est officiel. On pense qu’il aidera le Brexit …
Alors, le thème du 1er avril est «humide». Allez voir ce que d’autres poissons ont fait de cela …
Salut! À demain mis amigos …oops!  

Carry on up the Khyber Pass

26 Feb

Details, details … This little putto romping around with a sickle is according everything I can find an allegory of plenty or of Summer; take your pick. (I’m guessing that there are more similar putti in this series representing the other seasons but we only have the one that I know of.) It is situated in East Park’s Khyber Pass where a bright stainless steel plaque close by informs us that “This “Folly” was originally the site of a copy of an Arab doorway from Zanzibar, used at the entrance to the East African Pavilion at the British Empire Exhibition held in 1928, and later erected in East Park in 1930.” Which is all fine except the the British Empire Exhibition was held in 1924 but that’s a mere detail compared to the claim that the folly was actually built in 1885-88 to commemorate the ‘capture’ (I use the word loosely) of the Khyber Pass by the British Army in the second Afghan War (see here for example). Now I have written in the past that the folly was built from bits of the old Tudor garrison that stood at the mouth of the river Hull. So what’s going on? Well I think there’s a pinch of truth in all these tales. Certainly a turret from the garrison was part of the folly but was moved to Victoria dock. The original Victorian folly must have been added to in the late 1920’s as there was an Arab doorway in the past which has gone who knows where?
Anyhow here’s what that East African Pavilion looked like back in 1924 in Wembley when the sun did not set on the British Folly, sorry Empire.

And here’s the informative plaque

Ooopsy by Hull City Council
The weekend in black and white is here.

I must have told you about …

24 Feb

You all remember the kiddies’ water play area I showed, ooh ages ago. The one that shuts in Autumn? Yeah that’s the one. Did I ever tell you about the clever guy who designed the sanitation units you see in the background so that they could (and did) leak sewage into the water that Hull’s kiddies were merrily splashing about in? The human waste was then added to by generous contributions from the local bird life that abounds in the canopies of the trees, this is all news to you? Surely I must have told you how dozens were affected by Cryptosporidia? No? I didn’t mention the thousands of pounds of compo the Council have had to pay out? Gosh I can’t think why I haven’t; I must be getting old and forgetful. Oh before I forget even more; the place is now shut down permanently and only the geese and crows play there now. Now, I know for sure I’ve told you how crap the Council is, haven’t I?

I’m ready for my close-up …

23 Feb

Readers with fantastic memories may recall my pathetic attempts to photograph the Goosanders that visit East Park most Winters. Usually they stay out of range of my camera. This time they were practically waiting to have their portraits taken. Only too happy to oblige.

The RSPB claims there are 12,000 pairs of these birds in the UK in Winter. This guy however was more like the MC in Cabaret with his two ladies … Und he’s the only man. Beedle dee, dee dee dee

Reflecting on the Anser

7 Feb

There are those who think that Grey Lag Geese get their name from their habit of being the last to migrate in Winter, in other words they lag behind. This makes no sense to this poor fool as other European languages simply call this bird ‘grey goose’ (Grauwe Gans, Graugans, Grågås, Oie Cendrée and so on). So a little bit of detective work pulled out another derivation that says that ‘lag’ is an ancient word for goose, a 13th century text refers to ‘redlag’ which is supposed to translate as ‘reed goose’, and the lag part reflecting in some way the noise made by these birds. Scientists with no sense of romance simply call them Anser anser or goosey goose if you like. 

Weekend Reflections are here.

Pochard Confusion

6 Feb
Common Pochard ♂

I know you will have been worrying about this all day long and so, by way of clarification, Pochards in this country come in two varieties, common and red crested. In France however pochards are not ducks at all which reminds me à propos de rien that in the Lake District there’s a pub called the Drunken Duck. I think that’s enough ducks for one day.

Red Crested Pochard ♂ & ♀

Mute Swan

5 Feb

Here’s a few swan photos for no reason, who needs a reason?