Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Bog Oak - Wicken Fen

This wonderful piece of wood, is about 4200 years old. It is slowly disintegrating since coming up out of the preserving peat fen in 1991 (from Adventurer's Fen) in the open air.
I saw a bog oak standing in a field near here about thirty years ago, near where I grew up, and painted a picture of a heron and the bog oak a year or two after that in school. That 'oak' had been stuck upright in the ground (no longer there but it stood for some years near Upware) by a farmer on his land.
Apparently bog oak is as 'hard as iron', so a man who once carved some told me. I can't think of any sculpture from bog oak but I have seen a beautiful wooden bowl made from it.
This 'oak' outside the visitor centre of Wicken Fen is from a forest that was once here which contained a variety of tree species, some of which were oak, ie 'bog oaks' are not necessarily the remains of ancient oak trees.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Greenwich meridian in Royston

Passing through Royston today and I saw this sign for the Greenwich meridian on a road side heading out of the town. What a lot there is in Royston; the cave, the ancient crossroads of Ermine Street and the Icknield Way, the bell barrows and the mysterious mile ditches on the heath. 
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Rufus Stone

The Rufus stone, an interesting stop off of the A31 whilst driving to
the SW last week. I have meant to do so on several such trips but have
never had the nerve (what I mean is I have always missed the
turning.... approaching from the direction of London requires slowing
in the outside lane to turn right, then through the central
reservation and back a short way to the turning).
The stone was erected in the 18th century to commemorate the spot in
which King William the second (nickname Rufus) was shot accidentally
by an arrow in 1100. The stone was encased in a triangular prism of
iron in the 19th century and has the story of the death and
transportation of the body to Winchester in raised lettering on the
three sides. I drove on from there through part of the New Forest
before getting back onto the A31. A quick google search would tell you
much more of the history, the site is interesting more than
atmospheric I thought (the location of the stone is apparently a bit
approximate) but certainly well worth a visit. The iron case has an
historic feel to it, a product of the industrial revolution, a time
when a project could be over-engineered and 'built to last'.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cardington Hangars

On the field outside the R101 (R101 designed by Barnes Wallis) & R102 hangars in Befdordshire today this modern airship was tethered ready for takeoff. I was one of a few people using their camera phone at the time, an impressive sight. Someone told me that the R101 was about four times bigger than this one.
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Where were you when the protons were released? I was approaching the black cat roundabout on the A1, thank you radio 5. I do not understand the science but I have loved the explanations on the tv and radio in the last few days. Maybe some hype, and maybe the data crunching scientists would disagree, but this experiment seems to have profound scale and importance in all kinds of ways (for example listen to the analogies given to help people like me - gcse science 1988, thank you Mr Gower - to grasp the numbers, the complexity, the technical accomplishment as well as the possibility of recreating conditions moments after the beginning of the universe). Apt of course that the countdown was by a Welshman!
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Of course what I meant was...

Regarding the title of the last post, I have just noticed (via google) is that 'faster, higher, stronger' is the motto I should have used.
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Friday, August 8, 2008

Higher, further, faster. 2008 Olympic Games

I have just listened to the fireworks and amazing drumming in the first moments of the opening ceremony on bbc five live (great desriptions from Peter Allan). Good luck Team GB.
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