Friday, 25 November 2022

Phosphatodraco … Happy Thanksgiving …

 

It was blustery here, overcast and rather dismal while I thought about Thanksgiving times … and that poor turkey – mind you - here they'd only have a few more weeks before Christmas turkeys get into the shops …


Featured yesterday in Wikipedia



I was wondering if this magnificent creature could have been an early progenitor of the turkey -  you are or will be eating?




Apologies – I just was bemused by the image … let alone its name Phosphatodraco … and don't usually get down about 'life' beyond these shores … but it has got to me – I count my blessings, but am inwardly weeping …


Clade of Pterosauria


The vandalism, barbarous demeanour, rude, crude uneducated, uncivilised people of this world – who raid, maim, kill, herd into isolation – has been and is  awful …




yet what has really triggered my mental distress has been the pillaging of all things cultural from Kherson and its Art Museum … I cannot get my head round this dismembering of a country's art collection …



A room in the Kherson Art Museum
prior to the looting

having recently given three 'talks' on Russian art pre 1917 … and following the artistic story on into the early Stalin years to 1932 … I couldn't believe the repeat horrors I heard were happening in Ukraine.



War is not a subject I've been interested in – I intensely dislike it … but this has struck at my heart strings … I so admire the Ukrainians in this instance, and all, particularly refugees, who do not have freedom, yet who strive, hope and expect their worlds to improve …




I know it's Thanksgiving when we count our blessings, while to cheer myself up and get back to simpler things …





These scented narcissi from the Scilly Isles are available for sending out in time for those early parties – just sent some to the family …



The islands about 25 miles from the mainland

The Scilly Isles always remind me of my mother and times in Cornwall … happy memories of earlier times … when our parents had been through World War Two to give us our freedom … that so many of us live today …



Apologies – I'm not usually this morbid, and especially here on the blog – but this once … here's one that's different to my usual posts.



I know this is a wild one - but I'd rather
have this for my Christmas dinner!


I just hope a Phosphatodraco has not landed on your dinner table? I am looking forward to my Christmas turkey a month today!





With thoughts to one and all …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Positive Stories

Saturday, 19 November 2022

PechaKucha presentation ...

 

PechaKucha – ever heard of it … nor had I, until a speaker at a local group I belong to came along to give his talk …


Screen shot from their site

It was eye-opening … such a clever way of presenting an idea to a group … a few slides, pertinent comment on each slide, an easy connection to the next slide …


20 slides ...


auto advance after 20 seconds …


by a presenter who spoke succinctly and clearly …



Then 0ur speaker answered questions on the various subjects he'd presented … what more could our audience want …? None - my next post will cover that aspect …


Klein and Kythm



But back to PechaKucha – which means chit-chat – or as we would perhaps understand it:

Talk Less: Show More




This story-telling format was created in 2003 by the two founders of Tokyo's Klein-Dythm Architectural Practice: Astrid Klein and Mark Dythm, as a way of succinctly promoting their designs, ideas and concepts.



Rappongo at night with Tokyo Tower

The architectural practice had an experimental event space in Roppongi – an affluent Roppongi Hills development area and popular night club scene in Tokyo – also there are also a few foreign embassies located near-by.



Having heard the presentation … I wanted to know more – which the online architecture, interiors and design magazine, Dezeen, based in London introduced me to and to the founders … but


Fear of Public Speaking - love the image,
but the video is 8+ minutes

here the PechaKucha website lets us see various presentations … on a number of subjects: including the 'how to … Get Creating ...'



The part I can't get my head round, but that's my age – I suspect, and hope! - are the evenings of PechaKucha presentations … I'm afraid I'm thinking of a Karaoke type-evening where 'a singer' is selected for some award … however the presentation we were given has excited me, not to say I do that many presentations.



Paper Birds

The website shows some of these … longer than I'd expected … but cover these and other subjects: paper birds, paper models, fear of public speaking, world record painting in support of rhinoceroses … showing the opportunities …


A speaker at a PechaKucha
event in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

This image shows a speaker at a PechaKucha night in Cluj-Napoca, Romania … in the heart of the Transylvania region – it is home to universities, a vibrant night life and landmarks dating back to Saxon and Hungarian eras.





Another piece of modern life's puzzle for me to get my elderly brain wrapped around … interesting world we live in – I feel very behind the times, yet know I'm probably more aware than many. Funny old world!



Life's Lessons puzzle


Thanks for reading … I do have a presentation to give on Monday on the Foundling Museum – but it will not be one of these … perhaps I'll be brave enough to give the idea a try next year.



Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 11 November 2022

Jacqui Murray's final part of her trilogy on Natural Selection ...

 

Navigating the Landscape by Lucy and her kind


The last in the trilogy, Dawn of Humanity,
'Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray' 

The very early bipedals would have had their senses being evolved over time ... first walking on two legs, which would have let them see further across the landscape ...



... they would have started to become more aware of their surroundings and what they needed to remember ... apart from their natural instincts ...





A possible early landscape

... they would have been aware of their local  topography before venturing further away ... the scope of the hills or mountains, the streams, rivers, wooded areas, forested heights ...



Clade of modern day ungulates

But they also would know about the different animal and bird calls, track marks and their meanings ... a wounded walking ungulate, a smooth swirl in the earth of a reptile, a burrow hiding various rodents ...



The children would from birth have been absorbing the basic needs to be able to survive ... watching and learning ...



This is a typical Gauteng landscape
found near the Sterkfontein cave system
where remnants of early man were found


The tribe would know which herbs were good to eat, to use for healing ... they would know exactly where their nearest water source would be ... and as they scanned the landscape, these senses would over time become more enhanced ...



It is thought that early man, Lucy and her tribe,

would by now have 'the capacity to be aware of

their own existence as an entity of time' ...




The human hippocampus - our memory bank
and its comparison in looks to a Seahorse


... they could imagine on seeing tracks left by a prey animal of what might happen ... the human can almost foretell a happening, if all its senses are fully developed and utilised.



Memory has become an essential to our human life – and these traits would be apparent to Lucy and her tribe – though she would not understand why ...


These two articles will give you further reading ... 


The Landscape Inside Us - Robert MacFarlane: to be found in article written for New York Books ... 


Early humans used their imagination to 'foretell' what was ahead ... allowing us today to be aware of what we might come across - Autonoetic Consciousness ... this article gives an idea about this concept ... 



I cannot applaud Jacqui more highly on bringing Lucy and her tribe to life through these three books - and I encourage everyone to read this very enjoyable series ... 


My first two posts on Jacqui's Natural Selection series -

Part One: Survival of the Fittest

Part Two: Laws of Nature 


Here's another interviewee's post on the subject of early man running to hunt down prey - a very interesting post ... I congratulate Anneli on this thought provoking idea ... as too Jacqui ... Anneli has given all the details re this blog tour ..


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Nothing's Changed: Remembrance

 

Anthem for Doomed Youth



written by

Wilfred Owen – September 1917






       What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

              - Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.

No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;

Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—

The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

And bugles calling for them from sad shires.



What candles may be held to speed them all?

Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes

Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.

The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;

Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,

And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.


Draft of the poem


Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC – he died a week before the war's end at the age of 25

(18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918)






Scabious

He had written home including water colour sketches of places, churches and castles; then also the joys he was able to behold … Poppies, Larkspur, Scabious, Ragged Robin and more – despite the absolute trench horror.



Ragged Robin

There's a very good film – Benediction: which brings to life the poetry of Siegfried Sassoon, who was a mentor to Wilfred Owen who also features in the film.




Some links: The History Girls reminding me about Owen's Anthem …


Sight Lines Magazine – film review of Benediction



While the Military Cross – reminds me of my father's award from WWII


Wilfred Owen is buried with his men in Ors Communal Cemetery, Northern France

Where Owen rests in
Ors Cemetery - with his men


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 31 October 2022

Co-incidence # 2 in life: Brain Forest Quipu – at Tate Modern …


I wrote about the Quipu – an Andean recording device used extensively by the peoples of the Andes pre-colonisation … when I wrote about legs … and how far early peoples could run … the Andeans recording administrative details, including distance, on these quipus.


Quipu in the Museum of Machu Picchu



A Quipu is difficult to imagine … but # 2 is so relevant to our world today …




Cecilia Vicuña is a Chilean poet and artist … who through representation is noted for themes of language, memory, dissolution, extinction and exile … as well as the relevance of her work to the politics of ecological destruction, cultural homogenization, and economic disparity.


Cecilia Vicuña


She has an exhibition in the huge Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern … where her creativity has come to the fore …




Two Quipu work of arts hang 27 metres ( 90 feet!) in the Turbine Hall (gallery height 99 metres (235 feet) ) …



Courtesy of Ian Visits site

Vicuña suggests that we are at the beginning of new time, one where we must first become aware of our collective responsibility in order to change destructiveness, injustices and harm.



Working with some of the material

These two wonderful, very large hanging, artworks made from 'useful detritus and mudlarked objects' are entitled 'Dead Forest Quipu' …






The organic mudlarked items have been collected from the banks of the River Thames by women from local Latin American communities …


A sketch of a Quipucamayoc -
a chronicle of Inca history by
an indigenous early 
historian (c 1535 - 1616)


then with unspun wool, plant fibres, rope and cardboard Vicuña has created these two skeletal forms … which draw attention to the severity of the delicate nature of our ecosystems, as well as the climate crisis.




There's a 'Sound Quipu' …. bringing together indigenous music from several regions, compositional silences, new pieces by Vicuña and like-minded artists, and field recordings from nature …


Also a 'Digital Quipu' … weaves together videos of indigenous activists and land defenders to amplify their calls for us to notice their struggles …


Please read this exhibition guide … it is so informative and valuable – I feel I cannot express it properly here …


Vicuña writes “the Earth is a brain forest, and the Quipu embraces all its interconnections”


This is a thought provoking guide … I encourage you to read … also you will see more of her work and how they are set out in the Turbine Hall – separately, yet joined …


Then I move on to # 3 … which will be my next post … however re # 2 Quipu – I never expected to read about such an amazing exhibit in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern …

Mudlarking in Victorian times



Unfortunately I doubt I'll get up to London to see it … I'm rather avoiding going anywhere out of the Eastbourne area … being lazy, or sensible, or dubious about being amongst masses again …



We are so lucky having the internet to bring us articles of interest, and to have internet friends who enjoy seeing what subjects blogging/social media friends introduce us to …



I hope you appreciate the concept of the Dead Forest Quipu … here's the link to The Tate Modern - with a short 29 second YouTube introduction



It is a new multi-media installation made up of sculpture, sound, music and video, which mourns the destruction of nature and the loss of indigenous history and culture.


Ian Visits - a website I visit ... from where I found out about this amazing exhibition ... 

Tate Modern site ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories




Friday, 28 October 2022

Co-incidence # 1 in life: 'Delizia' Epic History of Italian Food ...

 

Italian food … what's not to like?! - but its history ... now that's an interesting subject …


John DIckie's book


I have two goddaughters – one is 'real', while t'other is 'her twin' – my brother's niece … born on the same day – the year I got back from South Africa – early 1990s.





The honorary goddaughter has recently become engaged and they seem to be spending (short break) time in Italy … so I thought a book on the History of Italian Food for them might be a good idea – which'd also interest me – I can read it before I hand it over!



This is an American film, but
looked a fun run in the kitchen

'Delizia' {The Epic History of Italians and their Food (2007)} by John Dickie looked to be a good choice – however when it arrived it appeared to be of American origin … and I prefer a British outtake (rightly or wrongly!) …




But John Dickie is, as it happens, of British origin – an author, historian and academic, who specialises in Italy. Perfect … except for the mis-spellings throughout the book.


Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci

Anyway forgetting that … I've been watching Stanley Tucci's 'Searching for Italy' on the BBC (originally CNN) … and who did he meet up with in this last programme – yes, you guessed it – but John Dickie – Professor of Italian Studies at University College London. Co-incidence # 1 ….




I had no idea who Stanley Tucci was (bad me!) until I saw the film 'Supernova (2020)' in which he starred with Colin Firth – a very British film … and now I know who Stanley Tucci is …



I think I'll give you co-incidence # 2 next time … it's way off any link I can think of (yes, even me!) … other than 'co-incidence' …


Coat of Arms of the
Order of the Humble Ones

So feast your thoughts on some early ideas of living in Italy way back when … such as you're Bonvesin de ala Riva (c 1240 – c 1313) … a lay well-to-do member of the Ordine degli Umiliati (literally “Order of the Humble Ones”) …




He lived in the marvelliosa city of Milan, waxing lyrical over it while believing it to be 'exalted among cities' … the ideal medieval earthly city – abundantly supplied with meats, poultry … also fish … yet it is the local fruits and vegetables that feed Bonsevin's civic patriotism.



Agricultural Calendar c 1740

Interesting man as you can see from the descriptions above – who, as was the custom in medieval Milan, slept with all his household in one same large (? ginormous) bed … his wife and children, apprentices and servants …


Great Bed of Ware


Thank goodness I have my own bed now – though appreciate many don't!



Back to feasts … I won't go into the how and why … but Dickie mentions Osso Buco – one of my own very early offerings – when I could get the meat (bone with a hole – where the delizia marrow can be found) from Oxford market – a place I miss to this day after 55+ years.



Osso Buco served with risotto

Right I'm off the memories of early days when I loved to entertain – trying all kinds of delicious dishes … so my honorary goddaughter will be getting this 'historio libro Italiano' (I'm sure this is not correct!) … for Christmas …



So that's that for this post … dream Italian food – similar to the one written two years ago for WEP about a tree house restaurant



Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Friday, 21 October 2022

Write ... Edit ... Publish ... Bloghop / IWSG hop: Thriller ...

 

Splurp, Burp, gulp, buccalling … bubble, bubbly boil arising from the primordial mud – cometh 'I' … the thrills and spills of life …


Spluttering into life ... 




The Thriller




Earth, that blue planet we know today … had been bumped and bashed around until we found our rotating space in the unknown interstellar world …


Collage of Prokaryotic
Organisms


this 'I' or 'You' … or 'Us' … started life 3.5 – 3.8 billion years ago from these simple cells (prokaryotes) … Earth had been bumped and bashed into the blue planet of our space era today about 4.6 billion years ago …





Artist's Reconstruction
of Saccorhytus
Coronaris - probably no
more than one mm in size


During which over four billion of those years … cometh 'the human thriller' … watch those images... this was us, then us, then them, then what ….???





Paedomorphic salamander - an Axolotl

... we escaped the primordial soup as complex cells (eukaryotes), these organisms learnt to convert sunlight into energy …



Collage of Eukaryotes
then we had arthropods (ancestors of insects, arachnids and crustaceans); animals appeared; then fish and proto-amphibians: from these plants, insects proper, seeds, amphibians proper!, reptiles … slithery critters …




Did I really become this?


subsequently … the thriller thought about appearing … 



Did I learn to copy myself?


he, she or it started the mammalian journey


Too late for us?


of human life …






Film makers in space


Homo erectus appeared … we changed too – why? … you call these things THRILLER – look at them … what a varied bunch …




Here we are ... still being stirred?

The Thriller 'I' spluttered out, apparently walked on water … before realising there is such a thing as land … then we grew things …



The THRILLER of life …


Life keeps rolling on


I hope you've followed 'our' thrilling development over 3.5 billion years …




Now what does the next – well let's give ourselves- at least half a billion more years on this earth …


Bucalling our very early way to breath


Tagline:

A bucalling blob slurping its way into the thrill of life itself … a time line of bubbling burping life …


Nothing else to be said ... 

Are they coming ... 







Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories