I have been in France

I have indeed. Been in France. I didn’t tell you, my readers, because I did not wish London’s criminal community to be aware that, if they wished to plunder my home, the last week would have been the week to have been doing it. Silly I know, but I actually have been robbed, or at any rate attempted robbed. He climbed the stairs, knocked on the door, but I was slow to answer and he broke the door down. When I finally gave the guy my attention he fled, but I don’t want anything like that happening again, I can tell you. That is, I can tell you now.

So yes, I have been in France. I took many photos, as you would expect, but here’s a France related photo I took just now, in my very own kitchen, here in my very own London:

I bought this bottle of grapefruit Volvic at Carcassonne Airport this afternoon. I sipped it during the flight home, and finished it here. Delicious. Yet, I have never come across grapefruit Volvic in London. In London, Volvic is mostly a particularly disgusting and pointless sort of fruit flavoured sugar water, but made with fake sugar, which tastes like something concocted in a laboratory by mad scientists hellbent on killing every human now alive with extreme obesity. British Volvic used to do orange, and I still encounter that from time to time. Also delicious. But, grapefruit Volvic, in London, does not happen. I googled “volvic grapefruit”, and Google, which knows I am a English, spontaneously changed the subject entirely to foreign parts. It had nothing English to tell me about this subject.

This is terrible. I hereby protest. (See this posting for why I like to complain about capitalism from time to time, even though capitalism is obviously superior to all known alternatives.)

Possible interruptions of service

For the next week or so I will enthusiastically be doing something else, which means that there may be interruptions to blogging here. The something-each-day rule may be set aside. It may not be. But, it may be. Since I have been sticking up something here every day since I can’t remember when, I thought it necessary to say, just in case my regular readers start suspecting that I have died and am being devoured by my cats. This will not be the case, not least because I have no cats. I will be alive, but otherwise occupied.

Churchill War Rooms gallery

One of the nice things about people coming to stay is that you often find yourself visiting touristy but interesting things that you’d never quite get around to seeing on your own. Later, maybe, but not today. It’ll always be there won’t it?

Touristy things like: the Churchill War Rooms. In February of last year, nearly two years ago now, GodDaughter2’s Dad was in town, and that’s one of the places we went.

And I took the odd photo or two. Well, more like 350, of which here are 84:

A big spread of photos like that would have been an impossibly tedious operation to stick up at Brian Micklethwait’s Previous Blog, and an equally tedious business for you to be scrutinising. But now, here they all are, and you can do the usual, clicking through as quickly or as slowly as you like. Enjoy. Especially if you rarely or never visit London, and have no plans to see this place for real.

There’s a million things I could say about it. One of the more striking of the photos above is photo 33, which shows how thick the concrete was protecting everything, from all but the most direct of direct hits, that passage that you see having been drilled through afterwards, when they were turning these working spaces into a place people could visit and circulate around.

Other talking points? Well, lots of signs and souvenirs, often signs made into souvenirs, for sale in the inevitable gift shop. And also: signs that are not Original but Modern. Signs with lots of words. Which is appropriate, given how important Churchill knew words (see photo 80) to be.

Most of the human figures that you see are not real; they’re sculpted. And “Other creatures” is in the category list because, inevitably, there are bulldogs.

I did all the bard work for this posting before I got ill, and I’m still not fully recovered. So, please continue to wish me well.

Misery me

I don’t have many engagements, but I had a couple lined up for tomorrow, and I just cancelled both.

Flu, I think. Worse, that particular sort of flu that means that when I cough, the whole of my head and half my neck hurts horribly, in a great self-induced surge. Normally my head only hurts a bit. So there’s that, my head hurting a bit, and in addition to that, I mustn’t cough, even though I really want to, all the time. (“Healthcare” is the nearest category I can find in my list to: being ill, and just waiting for it to stop. Which fellow sufferers tell me it eventually will, in about a fortnight.)

I am also inclined to cancel this engagement, the one that says I have to blog here today. I couldn’t go that far, but the above is why I am confining today’s blogging to this perfunctory piece of self-pity. However, at various times for the next few days, things might go silent here. You have been warned. (Although, they may not. I promise nothing.)

Tomorrow, I do want to vote, beacause things in my constituency could get close, and because I am very clear in my mind which of the two potential winners I detest a bit less than the other. It isn’t far to go, thank goodness.

Wish me well.

Photo-uploading problems

For some mysterious reason, I am having problems uploading photos. Have I reached some sort of limit? One of the photos I tried to upload was a photo of a famous painting. Did WordPress recognise the famous painting, and get angry with me for some sort of copyright violation? Did I change a “setting” to something silly, that won’t work? I don’t know, but this posting is just me posting pure text, to see if that is misbehaving also.

Well that worked well enough when I pressed “Save Draft”. Let’s see if “Publish” now works. Yes it did, or it did from where I sit.

LATER: All is now well. A temporary back-up file was getting in the way and this has now been deleted, making way for such things as this:

This is what WordPress looks like, when it gets angry with you, which it enjoys doing. No. It’s “Cerberus”, by William Blake. I photoed this yesterday, at the Tate Britain William Blake Exhibition. You see a better version if you go to the Tate Britain website.

Tardy tardigrade posting

Friday is my day for Other creatures postings, and you could hardly get more othery than this:

So, I did a posting about this very othery creature, which is called a “tardigrade”, and I thought I had posted it. On August 16th. But unfortunately, I had only got to the stage of finishing the posting. I neglected to push that vital final button, the one that says “Publish”. With the result that on August 16th there was nothing here. And I only just realised this. This is the one thing I don’t entirely like about this new blog software of mine. It can be hard to see the difference between a posting that’s all ready to go, and a posting that has, so to speak, gone; between a mere “draft” and an actual published posting.

I have now corrected this dreadful circumstance, and have inserted the completed but hitherto unposted tardigrade posting where it should have been all along. Read what I originally said, and quoted someone else saying, about this bizarre creature here, along with a couple of links to further information about it.

Tasting the sunshine out east last August

Yes, last summer I went on several exeditions to such places as the Dome, and beyond. Here is a clutch of photos I photoed in the beyond category. On August 11th, I journeyed to the Dome, then took the Dangleway across the River to the Victoria Docks, and walked along the north side of them, ending my wanderings at the City Airport DLR station:

There are two of these favourite sculptures to be seen, in Photo 7 and Photo 11.

There are 35 photos in all. I think maybe my favourite is 33, which includes an advert that says: “OH REALLY?” I like that, for some reason.

Photo 27 has a sign, on the side of the Tate & Lyle factory, saying “TASTE THE SUNSHINE”. It was a very sunny day. I count three that include shadow selfies (23, 24, 31).

It is so much easier doing this kind of thing than it was at The Old Blog. (My thanks yet again to Michael J, who did this new blog for me.)

Pause over

I am happy to report that the transmigration referred to earlier has now, it would seem, happened. Because, I am now allowed to put stuff up here again.

The pause lasted longer (longer enough to break my rule here about something-every-day-however-insignificant) than had been hoped. Such pauses usually do, in my experience. But it would appear that Civilisation managed to stagger along yesterday in its usual imperfect manner, despite having had no input into into it from BMNB. Now, normal service resumes.

Hope for more stuff here today, if only to make up for yesterday’s silence. But do not assume it.

The other good news is that there was recently a comment here, from “Fred Z” about his preference for watching dogs trying to get big sticks through smaller gaps over the process described in this video, and this comment did not disappear. Comments here are welcome, but rare, so I am glad about this. Fred Z says that such video-caninery is the same but better. I think Fred Z is wrong on both counts, but that’s not the point. I rejoice that Fred Z’s mistaken opinions are still here, for all here to read and to correct.

The soul of this blog will be transmigrating this evening

Yes. Some new sort of payment system means that this blog needs to go to a different server, or something. This shouldn’t affect all of you, but it will mean that this evening I will at some point be advised not to try to add anything to it, until the transmigration has completed itself.

So, to keep me well out of the way of this, and following my something-however-insignificant-every-day rule (which I followed yesterday also, twice), here is a link to one of those optical illusions I like to mention here from time to time, basically whenever I see one I like. This optical illusion, by turning some blue to black next to some white, turns the white yellow. Yellow that is not there but which is plainly visible. Very strange.

It isn’t Friday, which is my usual day for Cats and/or Other Creatures postings, but optical illusions like this make me wonder how the world looks to other creatures. They all see things we don’t, and we presumably see things they don’t. Could a video be made of how some Other Creature sees things, which we could then see?

Drones replacing sheepdogs (and some embedded video about this)

This is the first time I’ve tried embedding a bit of video in this blog. Let’s see how this works:

Seems to have worked. Another major improvement of this blog over the old one, especially important for me at moments like this, is that when I press “Save draft” and them “Preview”, I get a preview of exactly how things will end up looking. The old blog, for some idiot reason, couldn’t or wouldn’t do this. Not exactly. Well, maybe it could have, but I couldn’t make it.

I found this news report, about how drones are replacing sheepdogs on the farms of New Zealand, here. This is definitely the most interesting “other creatures” thing I learned about during the last seven days. I first got a clue about this story when semi-watching a BBC4 TV documentary about the wildlife of New Zealand. They must have digressed into not-so-wild life.

According to the above video, drones haven’t yet learned how to function when it’s raining. So sheepdogs, for the time being, are still useful when it’s wet. But work is surely progressing on that, and the days of sheepdogs as workers on farms are surely numbered. These things can take a long time, so it will be a big number. But, a number.

Sheepdogs will not completely die out. Like horses, they will survive as sporting entertainers. And drones will give viewers a much better view of all the action.

LATER: I just realised it’s Thursday today, rather than Friday, which is the day I usually focus especially on cats, dogs, etc. Well, no matter. I’m probably the only one who noticed, so I’m not even going to apologise.