Saturday, 21 December 2013


So Thursday's cryptic in the Guardian was a nice effort by Paul celebrating the Centenary of the Crossword. Lots of the greats identified by clue and solution, Araucaria, of course, but also Ximenes, Torquemada, Engma(tist) and others.  All rather jolly.

So, for those in London I'm off to 'Sloggers and Betters' at the Penderel's Oak in Holborn.  Should be fun if rather fannish, I fear.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Poem of the Week

A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy's Day

'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
         The sun is spent, and now his flasks
         Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
                The world's whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar'd with me, who am their epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
         For I am every dead thing,
         In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
                For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.

All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
         I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
         Of all that's nothing. Oft a flood
                Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
         Were I a man, that I were one
         I needs must know; I should prefer,
                If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light and body must be here.

But I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
         At this time to the Goat is run
         To fetch new lust, and give it you,
                Enjoy your summer all;
Since she enjoys her long night's festival,
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's, and the day's deep midnight is.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Shed, Paul and Enigmatist

Today, the these three setters have prepared a tribute crossword to the man.  And it is all about him, and lovely.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Oh My.
Farewell John Graham, our Araucaria.
Unlike the chaste Lord Archer, never vegetating.
Rest in Peace.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Finnamore Crescent

We weren't going to listen to this (things to do). But the great John Finnamore was on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.  Wonderful.  Especially his first go at Mornington Cresecent...


We won't be commenting upon the Dr Who 50th until we've seen it at least twice more..

Saturday, 23 November 2013


This weekend appears to be the time of anniversaries.
CS Lewis, Huxley, Britten, JFK and Doctor Who.
Chener bookshop window is full of Lewis and the Doctor.
JFK specials on the BBC and in the Guardian.
Britten on R3.
Play about Lewis & Tolkien on R4 (not actually that good).
And wall-to-wall Who.  Documentaries (lovely to see Troughton again - our Doctor), minisode, clips, essays, articles, teasers, even a Dr Who Celebrity Pointless.

The main event starts in under half an hour...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Tour: Which Romans?

As mentioned before, we also went to the Museum of Prehistory in Quinson on this tour.

Which seemed - at least at one point - to position the early Romans as a very late Iron Age tribe. Connecting them back to the broad sweep of prehistory.

We couldn't quite square this with the clever builders of the Pont and the Arena.  They seemed to be 'builders' in a more modern sense.

Perhaps this is more about how we partition up the ages of history (and prehistory) rather than anything else.  Change occurs throughout those periods and they bleed into each other. And different geographies will have different pasts, and can be very different, all at the same (historical) time.

And that we like to approach history as history. As Terry Jones pointed out in Barbarians, most of the time we remember the Romans and other peoples through simplified images and stories.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Tour: Paddling

On the day we went to the Pont and the Camargue, we went paddling in two different places.

Firstly the Gard river, beneath the Pont, is a spot for kayaking and swimming.
But we also went to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, in the Camargue, where we could paddle in the Med:-

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Tour: Camargue

We remember with pleasure the Kamarg; the flat marshy lands of black bulls, pink flamingos and white horses.  The home of Count Brass in the stories of the most accessible of the incarnations of the Eternal Champion, Dorian Hawkmoon.  A heavy-metal country, in imagination and our memories.

So it was with some excitement that we drove down from the Pont to the Camargue - the equivalent of Count Brass's domain in our world.

Lying between the Grande Rhône and the Petit Rhône  south of Arles.  Low-lying and very flat; an internationally-recognised wetland, but also  a managed landscape of canals and pumping stations.
The plan below explains one feature of this land management - how fresh ('douce') water from the Rhône is pumped under the canal and roadway to irrigate the fields beyond.  We are back in the world of advanced hydroengineering.  More advanced than the Romans, perhaps, but smaller scale and perhaps less audacious.
Here is the pumping station:
The canals cut long, straight lines across the landscape.  Fringed by reeds and trees.
The whole land is only a few metres at most above see level.

We eventually saw some of the bulls, and Count Brass's horses.  But, sadly, no flamingos.
And then, finally, we stopped for a long look at the Étang de Vaccarès - one of several huge brine lagoons at the heart of the Camargue. Finally, marvellous.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Two Views of Durham

1: The Miner's Gala crowds from Neville St...

2: A collection of Judges on Palace Green...
... both from 2012.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Staying out of the Sun

... we suspect there hasn't been much in The Sun recently about the court case of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson.  Wonder why not?

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Tour: Olive Tree

A lovely, gnarled old olive tree by the Pont.

Friday, 1 November 2013


At London Zoo yesterday.  Fantastic; the Zoo is great. 

We decided that our favourite animals this time all began with A: armadillos, alpacas, anteaters and aardvarks (especially the aardvarks).  But not neglecting the kangaroos, tigers, bearded pigs and seahorses. Etc.

Not that much damage from the storm on Monday, that we could tell.  Except that the 'animals in action' tent/gazebo/auditorium covering had been ripped to shreds and was being taken down.

Fault on Train

So, yesterday on the Jubilee Line (and some of us still want to call it the Fleet Line, I'm afraid), at London Bridge the message came over the speakers: "I'm sorry there is a fault on the train, we have to take it out of service.  Everybody off, please".  OK, not a big problem, those trains are pretty frequent.

But on the platform came "Sorry, there is a fault in the CCTV".

What?  Is the CCTV so crucial now?  At first we thought it was an anti-terrorism rule, then that there was an insurance (passenger protection) issue.

But no explanation of why the CCTV is so crucial on the Jubilee Line. 

Does anyone out there know?

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Sky Saved!

News from a day or two ago, but the BBC have reprieved The Sky At Night.  As we've noted before, it means a lot to us.  And we recognised the seven hundredth episode in these pages.

So Hurrah!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Nunhead Chinese Willow Damaged

The chinese willow by Nunhead Greed - mentioned more than once in these pages, and at different times of year, was damaged in St Judes' storm on Monday morning.
Now, we aren't experts on this sort of thing but the damage, although significant, looks survivable.  Let's hope so!

Tour: Touring

So, to get around we decided to hire a car.  We'd driven in Europe before, but only with our own car - right hand drive.

Suddenly faced with driving on the left, in a car whose controls we weren't familiar with, and which was left hand drive.
And it was that last fact which proved to be the hardest to get used to.  At least the pedals were still the same way around.  But the gear change on the right, and positioning the vehicle in the road were significant challenges.  However, most of all was the continuing temptation to look up and to the left for the rear view mirror, only to see the sky of a bit of a building.

All quite scary.  And this was after practising for around half-an-hour in an underground car park first.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

New Prince

Today Programme: 'A Newly-Christened Prince'.

So what do we call him now?  "The artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as..."?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Bake Off Runner-Up Response

See here.  From The Grauniad.

"I am tired of defending myself against the boring, inevitable accusations of flirting with Paul Hollywood, of emotionally manipulating the judges and of somehow surfing into the final on a tidal wave of tears. I'd rather eat my own foot than attempt to seduce my way to victory, and even if I had any intention playing that card, it's insulting to both the judges to suggest that they'd ever let their professional integrity be undermined in that way."

"It's a culture of frilly baking versus macho Michelin stars, of real chefs versus domestic goddesses. Food has become divided and gendered, torn between the serious sport of haute cuisine and the supposedly antithetical world of women pottering around in home kitchens."
"If a show as gentle as Bake Off can stir up such a sludge of lazy misogyny in the murky waters of the internet, I hate to imagine the full scale of the problem. But it's not something I'm willing to tolerate. Sod the haters. I'm going to have my cupcake and eat it, too." 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Crikey Penfold!

... and now a programme about Cosgrove Hall and Danger Mouse!
Jamie and the Magic Torch, Chorlton and the Wheelies!
And Captain Kremmin!

Gaiman Live

On the Execrable Saturday Live this morning, Neil Gaiman as studio guest and the man who played the chief Yeti in the recently recovered tapes.  So they say.

I may have to stop hating it.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Newspaper that Hates Britain

"The immigrant-bashing, woman-hating, Moslem-smearing, NHS-undermining, gay-baiting Daily Mail." Huge round of applause.

So now we know. They should put it on their masthead.

See here...

Sunday, 6 October 2013

IT Overheard

Early last week, overheard during the morning rush hour at the excellent Blackbird Bakery/Café in East Dulwich, where we were paused for coffee and a danish.  One of the staff explaining to the other a mightily complex story about some people behaving very strangely, whose names she couldn't recall.  We earwigged of course.

And then it struck us.  She was recounting the entire plot of the last episode of the IT Crowd...

A café with class.

Going the Rounds

How much are YOU hated by the Daily Mail?  Try this free online quiz...

Friday, 4 October 2013


Going the rounds on social networks currently, reflecting the budget arguments in America and close down of Government services:-

"America has shut down in an uncontrolled manner. We should reboot in safe mode.  No guns and free healthcare!"

"NASA is closed at the moment.  So if the aliens do get in touch mankind's first response may be an out-of-office message..."

Monday, 30 September 2013

Poem of the Week

Easter Wings
George Herbert

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store, Though foolishly he lost the same, Decaying more and more, Till he became Most poore: With thee Oh let me rise As larks, harmoniously, And sing this day  thy victories: Then shall the fall further the flight in me. My  tender  age  in  sorrow   did   beginne: And still with sicknesses and shame Thou  didst  so  punish  sinne, That  I  became Most thinne. With  thee Let me combine And feel this day thy victorie: For,  if  I  imp  my  wing  on  thine Affliction shall  advance the  flight in  me.

- But actually, it should look like this on the page:-
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
   Though foolishly he lost the same,
      Decaying more and more,
        Till he became
           Most poore:
           With  thee
        Oh let me rise
   As larks, harmoniously,
  And sing this day  thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My  tender  age  in  sorrow   did   beginne:
   And still with sicknesses and shame
      Thou  didst  so  punish  sinne,
         That  I  became
           Most thinne.
           With  thee
        Let me combine
      And feel this day thy victorie:
   For,  if  I  imp  my  wing  on  thine
Affliction shall  advance the  flight in  me.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Tour: Pont

North of Nîmes, we were told, is a huge Roman aqueduct: the Pont du Gard.  So we went to see it.
It really is huge.  A massive, impressive piece of engineered stonework - 49 metres high and 275 metres across - spanning the Gardon river near Remoulins.
Let us say again, it is shockingly large, and well preserved.

Planned to carry water across the river and its softly shelving banks.   People swam and kayaked underneath.
We were very impressed.  It equalled in amazingness the Arena at Nîmes   Another mammoth Roman engineering work.

It was a hot, hot day.  In fact it was very warm the whole time we were in the South of France.  A wall of heat that struck us as we emerged from the TGV and never let up.

So hot that we almost skipped the Visitor Centre a few hundred metres along on the other side of the river, and just headed back to town after our paddle.  But there was a cafe there, so after a brief internal tussle we went on.

And the Visitor Centre was very good, and comprehensive.  With lots about how Roman homes used water, and how the Pont du Gard was built, and -


There is a Bob Shaw short story, called The Giaconda Caper, about the discovery that the Mona Lisa is just one of very many similar paintings by da Vinci, which he painted and placed together in an early-Renaissance zeotrope. to make a What The Butler Saw Machine.  The Mona Lisa is a renowned piece of art, of course, but Shaw's conceit it is just one small part of a much larger piece of original engineering.  Does this diminish the painting in the Louvre or does it make the engineering more marvellous? (Actually, Shaw doesn't really ask that question, instead he mostly plays the idea for laughs).

Anyway, the Pont du Gard is a bit like that.

Again, Oh.

Because what the Visitor Centre showed was that the Pont du Gard was just one of many bridges - admittedly the largest - that carried the aqueduct 50 km from the spring at  Uzès to Nîmes. There were long tunnels along the route as well.

An aqueduct is a built watercourse, taking water to where it is needed (in this case the castellum divisorium at Nîmes).

For the Pont du Gard to work at all the entry and exit points had to be perfectly adjusted, and the gradient maintained correctly from one end to the other.  But the engineering challenge was much more complex than that:-
The only suitable source that the engineers could find for the water supply of Nîmes was at Uzés, 25 km to the north at 72 m altitude. The problem was that the source was at only 11.8 m above the site of the future castellum divisorium (the water distribution basin) at Nîmes at 60 m altitude. It was therefore necessary to make the aqueduct as short as possible. A direct straight connection was not possible since the high hills of the garrigue de Nîmes, 200 m high, blocked the way. A 10 km long tunnel would have been necessary to overcome these hills. The only workable solution was a trajectory around these hills to the east, lengthening the aqueduct to 50 km. Here, there were two other major difficulties; first of all the Gardon river, which runs in a deep gorge, would have to be bridged. Upstream this could be done with a low bridge, but this would lengthen the trajectory. A choice was therefore made to bridge the gorge along the most direct route, and where the gorge was relatively narrow. As a consequence the bridge, the future Pont du Gard, had to be higher than anything previously built, nearly 50 metres high and 300m long. A siphon, known from other aqueducts, could not be used here since it needs a sizeable difference in altitude between abutments to create sufficient water flow through the pipes, and this was not possible here. 
A second problem was a lake on the trajectory which was at 67 metres, 3 metres ABOVE the projected level of the aqueduct. To circumvent this lake, another 20 km had to be added to the trajectory and this was out of the question; this lake therefore had to be emptied and drained before the aqueduct could be built. Finally, to make the trajectory as short as possible, a large number of minor bridges had to be built and several tunnels, up to 400 m long had to be dug. The result is an aqueduct of 50 km long with a mean gradient of 34-25 cm/km (about 0,03%), with a maximum of 45 cm/km near the source and near Nîmes, and only 8 cm/km in the long central section! To build an aqueduct in rough hilly, forested terrain without GPS or modern measuring equipment with such a low gradient is one of the greatest feats of Roman engineering recorded to date. (Roman Aqueducts Web site)
And they made it work. It kept the city in water.  And when it went wrong (and it did), they fixed it, adjusting the engineering and the technology.  They were clearly good at public administration too.

The Pont du Gard is an impressive monument, even now.  A World Heritage Site.  But it was just part of a much larger, elegant, complex and adventurous civil engineering masterpiece.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Goodbye, Cousin IT

Well, we enjoyed that.

Friday night heroes on C4.

No, not the Marvel SHIELD spinoff thing, but the final IT Crowd. ...

A post/hyper/ultra modern episode, with the usual scruffy amateur aesthetic. And the Internet turned up again!

 The Final One of all (just like Breaking Bad, maybe. Except we at TANH have no interest in BB).

It all ended happily, and with so much love.

So good...
Bye, bye


A new Google search algorithm? See - the new search thing for longer queries...

But "We are at the cutting edge of language understanding"? 

We wouldn't have phrased it quite like that...

Friday, 20 September 2013

Bohemian Gravity

Have to mention this.  I've just stumbled across it and it is wonderful...

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Tour: Nimes Centre

The centre of Nimes is mostly pedestrianised; a network of squares containing restaurants, cafes, interesting shops, and so forth. 
In the evenings small groups of musicians would appear.
 We loved it.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Tour: Paella

One of the aspects of Nimes which may have been apparent from our earlier mention of bullfighting is its Spanish influences. 
And that isn't the only one. This may be called the Cafe Latin (it is outside the Maison Carre after all)...
 ...but le patron spent a goodly long time (and no little street theatre) preparing a huge dish of paella.
As you can see, he advertised the time it would be ready for eating, and just let the tension build.

We had our own paella later that same day...

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Poem of the Week

21st Century Schizoid Man
King Crimson

Cat's foot iron claw
Neurosurgeons scream for more
At paranoia's poison door.
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Blood rack barbed wire
Politicians' funeral pyre
Innocents raped with napalm fire
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Death seed blind man's greed
Poets' starving children bleed
Nothing he's got he really needs
Twenty first century schizoid man.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Oh my

After Seamus Heaney and David Frost, we lose David Jacobs and Frederick Pohl. 
Oh my.

Monday, 2 September 2013

That was...

So, farewell David Frost.

I still (just) remember TW3 on the family's old black and white TV.  And the Frost Report was in hindsight a brilliant incubator (and gave us the 'I look down on him...' British class sketch).

Lots in the press of course about Frost as a TV man, presenter, producer, entrepreneur, etc, who lead the way in terms of how the business of telly is done.  'Own the format'.  And the Nixon interviews.

But I remember TW3 most.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Tour: Foster

Opposite the Temple in Nimes, the Maison Carrée, is a gallery given over to contemporary art, the Carré d'Art.
As can easily be seen, the gallery has been designed (by Norman Foster) as Architecture with a capital A, intending to echo the Roman temple opposite.And as the modest poster indicates, they were mounting a retrospective on Foster's architecture and Art (another big A) while we were there.

We didn't like the building.   To us it came across as the worst kind of sub-modernism; rather old-fashioned in the same way that a 1960s municipal civic centre is now old-fashioned.  Lots of glass and concrete and cantilevered stairs over voids.  A focus on Spaces (capital S) but with little real joy.  We would hate to work there.

This wasn't the only Foster gallery we encountered on the Tour.  We also visited the Museum of Prehistory of the Gorges du Verdun, in Quinson.  This had the great virtue of having real content, of course.

However, and again, the much vaunted Foster architecture, all sweeping concrete curved walls, did little for us at TANH.  It reminded us of some of those parts of Foster's Great Court, in the British Museum, that are somewhat behind the scenes and less-commonly seen.  The Education Centre in the basement beneath the main courtyard, for example, has the same love of roughened concrete and transitioning curves.  Exciting in theory perhaps, but cold and inhuman in practice.

The weekend before the Great Court was due to be opened by the Queen, we were working on some final IT stuff, and spotted some of the Foster's staff on one of the balconies.  They got some workmen together, and set them to work breaking up the stone slabs in front of the Reading Room.  They were quickly stopped by Museum senior management of course, before too much damage was done, but some slabs were broken and had to be replaced.

Their reasons were aesthetic, and about the look of things: the slabs they wanted to remove were a slightly different colour from the others, and they needed replacing with stone which was a better match.  The offending slabs were damaged, of course, before the workmen were stopped, so we suspect they got their way.  Apocryphally, we heard that the underflow heating and ducting systems were also damaged and never repaired, as a result of the designers focus on surfaces, but we don't know the truth of that.

It did amuse us, however, to see this just outside Foster's Carré d'Art:
Maybe it has become his new signature?  Along with the brutalist concrete, that is...

Finally, one other apocryphal story.
We heard that when the Chairman of the British Museum (a pompous title for a pompous man at that time) attempted to enter the British Museum for the grand opening of the Great Court by the Queen, with the then Sir Norman Foster, the latter was stopped by the gate guard.

'Do you know who this is?', asked the Chairman.
'Yes', came the reply. 'But he can't come in without a pass.  Temporary passes round the back, tradesmen's entrance.'
'But he's with me!'
'Temporary passes round the back, tradesmen's entrance. But you can come in, sir, you've got your pass.'

So the Chairman rang the duty security manager and complained about the 'jobsworth on the gate'.

'Sorry sir, but he's right.  He's doing his job. Temporary passes round the back, tradesmen's entrance.'
'But he's the architect of the whole scheme!'
'Exactly, sir.  Just a supplier.  Not even a member of staff. Temporary passes round the back, tradesmen's entrance.'

So Sir Norman went round the back to the tradesmen's entrance, and got a temporary pass.

And a couple of people from the Security team got bought free drinks on the strength of the story for weeks afterwards.....

Another Poem of the Week

Seamus Heaney

Between my finger and my thumb   
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound   
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   
My father, digging. I look down
Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds   
Bends low, comes up twenty years away   
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills   
Where he was digging.
The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.
By God, the old man could handle a spade.   
Just like his old man.
My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.
The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Poem of the Week

'pity this busy monster, manunkind'

e.e. cummings

pity this busy monster, manunkind,

not. Progress is a comfortable disease:
your victim (death and life safely beyond)

plays with the bigness of his littleness
--- electrons deify one razorblade
into a mountainrange; lenses extend
unwish through curving wherewhen till unwish
returns on its unself.

                 A world of made
is not a world of born --- pity poor flesh

and trees, poor stars and stones, but never this
fine specimen of hypermagical

ultraomnipotence. We doctors know

a hopeless case if --- listen: there's a hell
of a good universe next door; let's go

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tour: Iconography

The coat-of-arms of Nimes shows a crocodile and a palm tree.  The Office de Tourisme provides a good explanation:
To understand the origin of the town’s coat of arms one has to travel to Egypt. In 31 BC, Octavius defeated Anthony and Cleopatra’s fleet in the battle of Actium, and ensured Roman control of the Empire. Caesar Augustus was born. 
A coin was struck in Nîmes to celebrate the event. On the reverse side was a crocodile chained to a palm tree surmounted by a laurel wreath, symbolizing the conquest of Egypt.
The inscription “Col Nem”, the Colony of Nîmes, suggests that victorious legionaries had been granted land near Nîmes. But in fact Nîmes was simply the place where the coin was minted. Over the centuries, the people of Nîmes became attached to these relatively common coins. 
In 1535 they were authorized by king François 1 to adopt the palm tree and the crocodile as the town’s coat of arms. Since then the inhabitants have been extremely proud of their crest. 
Redesigned in 1986 by Philippe Starck, it can be found all over the town, even in the bronze studs set in the paving of the old town.
This mural is directly above the Lacoste shop in Nimes.

And of course Lacoste logo is a crocodile, and since Lacoste originated in Nimes, it seems reasonable to suggest a connection.

However there is another story, which is that Rene Lacoste, the founder of the company, was nicknamed 'the crocodile' by the American sporting press.   "partly due to his infamous bet with the Captain of the French Davis Cup team. The Captain had promised to give Rene a beautiful crocodile skin suitcase if he wins a very important team match." - at least according to FamousLogos.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Tour: Unfortunately-Named Lemonade

There really isn't much to say about this.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Tour: Temple

Also in Nimes is an incredibly well-preserved Roman temple.
Which is impressive from the outside.  However within the building is one of the clumsiest and most misjudged multimedia presentations it has ever been our misfortune to witness.  In 3D.  And you have to queue to get in.

The inside of the temple is effectively hidden from view, so we would advise having a look around outside, followed by a sirop in a local cafe or a visit to the local new age-y market.

Which only goes to demonstrate how bad the film inside the temple really is, as we at the Trees have very little truck with new age-y markets in the normal run of things...

Monday, 26 August 2013

Tour: In the Arena

So we went to Nimes, in the South of France.  Not Provence, but Languedoc-Roussillon.

One of the most impressive sights in the town is the Roman amphitheatre - the Arenes.  In constant use since it was built - including as a fortress against invading Goths and as the ramparts of the medieval town - it is now used as, well, an amphitheatre again.  For pop shows and bullfighting.

While we were there 'Stars 80' - sounds wonderful - had just been staged.  And we were assured that although some Spanish bullfighting still occurred (where the bull is killed), there was also local Camarguian (sp?) bullfighting (where it isn't).

The Arenes des Nimes isn't the largest remaining Roman amphitheatre - but it is the most complete.
There is a good audio tour which tells you far more than you will ever want to know about the various types of gladiators who fought in Roman times and also about more contemporary bullfighting.

It explained how Roman amphitheatres arose from the combination of two traditional theatres placed face-to-face (which I found a little unlikely as an explanation - although clearly construction techniques and the pattern of ramped seats were common).

We also visited Arles - that strangely pastel-coloured town in Provence, which has a larger but much less-well preserved arena.

But we preferred the one in Nimes.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Summer Tours

We at the Trees Around Nunhead have, yet again, been on Tour. To France, Wales and the North.  So interspersed with our usual content we will feel it necessary to share out summer holidays with you.  

During which time you will find out that:-

- We discovered two very different notions of the Romans

- We compared some amphitheatres

- We criticised Norman Foster

- We went boating

- Some things underwhelmed us

- We were introduced to Barbara

- We turned down a Hamlet shirt - and a black jacket with piping

- We steamed up, and down

- We mountaineered

- We looked at some trees

- And we saw a bunch of old friends

Monday, 5 August 2013

Proposals for the Green

So, the architects had a little marquee on the Green on Saturday - TANH got there just as they were shutting up shop.  Their ideas don't look too bad - although they aren't fully-funded yet.

They said the latest design ideas would be up on the  Love Nunhead website today...

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Nunhead Regenerating Again

This weekend the architects are showing the latest plans for Nunhead Green to locals - check them out on the Green during the day on Saturday. Here is the flyer from Daisy Froud...

Saturday, 20 July 2013

They're Back!!

We sat in The Old Nun's Head Waiting.  The atmosphere was electric...
... and then they arrived! 
There were lots of people, including several famous Nunheadonians...
The Nunhead Community Choir let rip...
...Locals indulged themselves...
(...we noticed a new fashion in Nunhead-themed bags...)
..and the ukeleleista started up again (and as we write, I suspect they haven't stopped).
So, all in all, I think we can safely say that Nunhead's Bounds have been well and truly Beaten.