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)


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