Saturday, 6 August 2022

6x6

blue plaque special: a curation of the City of London’s Blue Plaque scheme—via Nag on the Lake (see also)  

harry potter and the chamber of narcissism: McMansion Hell (previously) show a yassified property in the Atlanta suburbs  

warwolf: a closer look at Edward I’s siege machine—via Strange Company 

i² = -1: the fundamental realness of imaginary numbers 

pferd is the word: some AI-generated horse-hybrids from Janelle Shane (previously)  

delft on a shelf: a house on Fournier Street with some animated tiles

Saturday, 30 July 2022

7x7

spectacular vernacular: 99% Invisible celebrates milestone episodes with an exploration of vintage architectural styles, via Pasa Bon!  

conlang: fluency in Esperanto—see previously  

122 CE: a colourful gate house installed at Hadrian’s Wall 

the electric lucifer: the musical stylings of Bruce Haack 

civic duty: a resonant “I Voted” sticker for Ulster County, New York

isochrone: an interactive map illustrates how far one can travel from any European train station in under five hours 

la maison sculptรฉe: Jacques Lucas’ hand-sculpted home in Rennes

Friday, 29 July 2022

arbeia

Though we did not get the chance to survey Hadrian’s Wall this go around, on our way back to the port of Newcastle on Tyne we got to see among other things such as successive traffic roundabouts the ancient Roman garrison which guarded the main sea route to the fortified border near the South Shields docks in Tyne & Wear, so named because originally skilled boatmen from Mesopotamia were stationed there following the conquest of Persia by Septimus Severus (see previously).

Command-and-control for attempted incursions on Scotland, Fort Arbeia ultimately became a logistics base to supply activities along the frontier and preventing Pictish infiltration and once hosted over six hundred troops. The western gate is a modern reconstruction (see also) and contains a museum of artefacts found here and an education centre.



Thursday, 28 July 2022

west lothian (10. 023)

Though certainly the numerous landmarks we saw did not disappoint, quite a few places we visited were closed for access and undergoing repairs, including one of the final stops we made at the royal palace of Linlithgow. We had a nice time touring the grounds, the Peel, and learning about its residents of renown including the Steward line,




James V, his daughter Mary Queen of Scots—subject of royal intrigue and crisis of succession and the first target of the so called Rough Wooing, who found allies in France and the papacy coinciding with Henry VIII’s turning away from the Church in Rome and eventually forced to abdicate herself in favour of her infant son James VI & I, ruling a united England, Scotland and Ireland—but the inter court was closed pending repairs. From a safe distance, H tried launching his drone for a glimpse from above but the gulls tried to hunt it down and had to quickly abort the mission. Linlithgow was originally established as an English fort to disrupt the supply route between Edinburgh and Stirling castles (the baby Mary was spirited away to the more defencible latter), destroyed and rebuilt for the monarchy, embellished over generations until falling into disrepair from disuse as courtly life was now centred in The south. The palace lies on the banks of the eponymous loch in the city centre behind the church of Saint Michael with its modern steel steeple and has a gangway with the dates and reigns of all the Scottish kings and queens. Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, who kept Mary confined to various castles in England after she relinquished her title and claim and eventually had her beheaded—after eighteen years—for conspiring against her majesty, is not referred to by her ordinal designation and rather as Palatine Electoress as she never ruled over Scotland. To this end, after the coronation of the current monarch, some Royal Mail post boxes were vanalised, objecting to Elizabeth II because there never was a first.

eilean donan (10. 022)

In search of coffee and a light lunch and more intent to explore more of the northwest Highlands’ natural beauty, we happened on the small tidal island at the confluence of three sea lochs named for Irish missionary Donnรกn of Eigg—a saint martyred when trying to convert the Picts—with a very spectacular and picturesque castle that was once the stronghold of Clan Mackenzie, demolished for their involvement in the Jacobite rebellion, garrisoning a contingent of Spanish mercenaries and a magazine of gunpowder, prompting the English government to send in three heavily armed frigates to quell the uprising, in the early seventeen hundreds but restored over two decades in the early twentieth century according to its original thirteenth century design. 

Once the focus of clan feuds, the castle and its destruction—and subsequent rebuilding—is seen as a symbol of resistance and loyalty to the House of Stuart. The striking building has had several cameos in film and television, including The Highlander franchise, Braveheart and the 1999 Bond movie The World is Not Enough, as well as the short, once thought lost film Black Angel that features the castle and island prominently and was exclusively screened as a double-feature with The Empire Strikes Back in UK cinemas in 1980.

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

loch monster (10. 020)

(The rhythm from the B-52s Rock Lobster playing throughout) We all know Loch Ness (I conflated the history of the struggle of control for the strategic bulwark with that of the legendary monster—it’s a metaphor), majestic Loch Lomond, Loch Awe but we‘d like to acquaint you with the Loch of Garry which when viewed from Glengarry and from the right angle resembles a map of Scotland.

Or there’s Loch Lochy that’s haunted by a waterhorse, a kelpie who lures mares and stallions into the water and capsises boats. Or there’s Loch Pityoulish in the Cairngorms off the River Spey, whose name means “at the settlement of the bright place” and is popular for wild swimming. More to come. Motion in the ocean—hoorah!

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

inner hebrides ii (10. 019)

More impressions from the Isle of Skye, including some iconic Scottish cows.



inner hebrides i (10. 018)

Nearly completing a circuit of the second largest island of Scotland, we were absolutely enthralled with the Isle of Skye—probably from the Old Norse for the Islands of Mist (though considerably clearer and brighter in relative terms) and found this otherworldly landscape breathtaking.

The northern peninsula of Trotternish with its underlying strata of basalt offers some especially distinctive geographical features like the chromatic sea cliffs faceted with quartz called Kilt Rock whose columnar formations resemble pleats of a skirt, numerous rocky pinnacles and the striking landslip known as the Storr with its thirty meter high pillar known as the Old Man. Storr and its surroundings were stand-ins for the exomoon LV-223 in the 2012 Alien prequel Prometheus (previously)—not to mention a beach called An Corran near Staffin riddled with Jurassic footprints.  Though we did not manage to locate the traces of dinosaurs lumbering along the primordial strand, we have faith the evidence was right under our feet.

Monday, 25 July 2022

supply chain (10. 017)



Perched atop a formerly staffed look-out point above the Wester Ross village of Aultbea on the shores of sea Loch of Ewe, we gained some insight into the present NATO refueling depot, whose depths are accommodating to large maritime vessels coming inland through its history as the base of operations from 1941 until 1944 for the vital but treacherous resupply corridor through the Arctic that kept an otherwise cut-off co-combatant connected to the rest of the Allied powers and furnished fuel and other essentials.


 Aside from the modern station flanked with the platforms a of gunnery emplacements, Aultbea and neighbouring villages host a number of World War II relics as testament to their role in this support effort over the top of the world.

gorgeous on the contrary (10. 016)

Whilst waiting for us as well as our camping kit to hopefully air-dry back at the campgrounds near Ullapool on Broom Loch (Lochbraon, Gaelic for the Loch of Rain Showers—that ought to have been a clue), we hiked down the forested trail to view Corrieshalloch Gorge (Coire Shalach, ironically for unattractive corrie, ravine), hewn out of the monolithic landscape by retreating glaciers and torrents of melt water ten thousand years ago.






The bridge afforded views of the forty meter drop and rushing river below and there was an observation platform further on that extended over the edge. Smallest of Scotland‘s forty three nature preserves supporting populations of ferns, feather mosses and sansicle, the forty six meter cascade has the poetic name Easan na Miasaich, meaning Waterfall at the Place of Platters, for the Onomatopoeia and the plate shape bore holes the falling water forms.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

reluctant spelunking (10. 015)

From the Old Norse smuga for a hidey hole and not be confused wIth the social media mascot Snoo, we hiked down to the not undiscovered but nonetheless spectacular Smoo sea cave.




The large cavern in Sangobeg in the parish of Durness is unique in the British Isles for being a geological formation hewn by freshwater and seawater.






Venturing inside the cave mouth—which was a  bit something out of a dinosaur adventure experience, we decided not to go further inside to get doused by the gushing waterfall from an above ground burn (river) that helped form the cave, having just recently dried off from a soggy start to the day decamping and ready to head towards Cape Wrath and points west.

unthirldom (10. 014)




After six years of heavy battles to establish full dominion over Scotland, the last bastion of resistance to
rule by Edward I of England, Stirling Castle (updated with pictures of ours) finally fell on this day in 1304 after four months of besiegement under attack by a dozen war machines—towers, battering rams and catapults, hails of cannon balls, Greek fire and possibly a primitive form of gunpowder

Impatient with the slow progress though the Scots garrison holding the castle were ready to sue for surrender at this point commissioned a more massive trebuchet from master architecture James of Saint George to be christened the Warwolf. Edward refused the request of William Oliphant, constable and commander, until he got to test his Warwolf. Once the castle was taken, all the land-gentry excepting William Wallace pledged their fealty to King Edward.

Saturday, 23 July 2022

secret spots (10. 012)

Presenting a pair of hidden places that H found—first in our campsite on the beach of Crackaig by Loth that’s buffered from traffic by a long path through the pasture and a rail underpass that keeps the bigger caravans away.





There were very few people, the larger campers perched on the dunes being permanent installations and presently vacant. It took some time to adjust to wind and the facilities were a bit lacking but no matter as we had a nice overnight stay.




The next was a hidden cove down a quite long, unmarked footpath through the heather (see previously) at an unassuming rest stop between Counties Caithness and Sutherland. The trail led by a gradual, rocky natural step descent to a stone and shale beach curtained by a protected cliff face host to hundreds of nesting puffins to observe from a distance. I was unsure whether I had ever seen the bird in flight (certainly not in person) but they were pretty cute and comical with their dangling little legs and deft crash landings.