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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Odds and Sods November 2021 Part 1

Originally published on Blogspot by Gethin Thomas on the 4th December 2021

It's been an Omicron sort of month so there is quite a variation of different subjects in this selection. This first photo I call Camellia props on Steroids, as it is a handy display of figures on a Totnes market stall that would offer decades of still life possibilities in all their multifarious possible combinations. Some of you will get that reference and some of you won't.😊

Omicron is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet not to be confused with Omega which is the 24th, so we have plenty of variation to come. Omicron means literally little o "O micron" whereas Omega means literally large O or "O mega". The word alphabet is a compound of the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta. (Wikipedia, plus all other info not separately credited)

Omicron is used to designate the fifteenth star in a constellation group, its ordinal placement an irregular function of both magnitude and position. Such stars include Omicron Andromedae, Omicron Ceti, and Omicron Persei.

On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization declared a new variant of concern of COVID-19, named Omicron according to the WHO naming system. The B.1.1.529 variant was first sequenced in South Africa on November 24, 2021.

This stylised image of animals in mural form, below, is new and is on display in Totnes. I rather like it's simplicity. Anyone remembering their school French should be able to work out what a mural is from the word mur. Having said that the word mural itself comes from the Spanish for the same route reason.

Mural - A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent substrate, usually a vertical one, that is to say a wall. Historically, they are especially associated with the fresco technique, where the pigments are applied to a thin layer of wet plaster, into which they sink.

Some wall paintings are painted on large canvases, which are then attached to the wall (e.g., with marouflage). This technique has been in common use in Great Britain since the late 19th century.

Murals are some of the earliest artworks made by man. The earliest known examples in Borneo 40,000 to 52,000 B.P. It seems archaeologists now use the term BP (Before Present) in dating objects, and this is proof that we are regressing to dumber times of ignorance. Why? Because I had to look up what it means and how it works. We used to say B.C.and A.D., and those two terms had a definite meaning, because they were marked by a particular unchangeable year zero, but they were based on the year of the birth of Christ. As Christ is being rapidly cancelled by the wokeists we now use the areligious B.P. So how does it work, because the thinking members of this audience may have instantly twigged a major problem with a system that starts with a base line of the present? The present today is different to the present of tomorrow and that of a hundred years from now. To Twig - If you twig, you suddenly realize or understand something. There is no known official origin suggested for this common phrase. It has been suggested though that it may have an origin in hunting, when the snapping of a twig alerts the hunter to possible prey. Having decided to use the "present", the archaeologists had to come up with an agreed "present", so they had a big party and thousands of archaeologists got a really big hat and threw in all the possible "present" dates. The chief archaeologist stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum which meant that "The Present" is 1950. So archaeology is another once proud science that we now laugh at. It is so richly ironic that woke archaeologists should choose the year 1950 as their baseline for "The Present" when most people who experienced that era of the mid twentieth century view it as the pinnacle of civilisation and human achievement, which the wokeists are trying to reverse. The second half of the twentieth century saw the greatest and fastest technological changes in human history most of which are the root developments of a society that give wokeists today their luxury, work free, lives of virtue and entitlement. Their very existence is born of fossil fuels, economic growth, and capitalism along with many other things they despise and want to destroy. The system they despise has rescued hundreds of millions of people from poverty, more than at any time in human history, but being ignorant of that fact they want to destroy that very system in the name of justice and equality, and they haven't even read Alice in Wonderland. So in practical terms how does this B.P. thing work? Easy. With 1950 as their "present" so, 2000 B.P. is the equivalent of 50 B.C. Told you it was easy. Meanwhile, while there are still churches that haven't been razed to the ground by the new Maoist Red Guards here are some church steps in Chagford that were hewn by hand, by people who worked for a living, and these steps have done their job successfully for a few hundred years.

Also in Chagford is this Farm Shop. I know that at first glance it looks like I need to tweak the lens distortion software, but then as your eye adjusts to the local architecture and you notice that the doorway is perfectly vertical it becomes clear that we are just standing on another steep hill.

I like the simplicity and dedication of the bees in flight, in another mural, all headed to the doorway of The Beehive.

Chagford is a market town on the north-east edge of Dartmoor, in Devon, England, close to the River Teign. The name is derived from chag, meaning gorse or broom, and the ford suffix indicates its importance as a crossing place. At the 2011 Census, it had a population of 1,449.

Archaeological remains confirm that a community has existed here since about 4000 B.P. So that would be about 2050 B.C.

A weekly market was held here from before 1220, and a monthly livestock market in the town survived until the 1980s. In 1305 it was made a stannary town where tin was traded. In an English Civil War skirmish Sidney Godolphin, the poet and Royalist MP for Helston, was shot and killed in the porch of the Three Crowns.

Our lunch table was next to the porch and an excellent lunch it was. At the time of eating the lunch, next to the porch I had not realised that in 299 B.P. the local M.P and poet had perished a couple of yards away.

This is the bakery in Chagford.

In 1987, the New Scientist reported that Chagford contained "the most radioactive loo (toilet) in the world", a reference to the high levels of Radon gas in this granite area. Ironically the offending toilet is in the local health centre and scientists from the National Radiological Protection Board say that if patients were to spend an hour a day in the toilet they would be exposed to more than the annual acceptable level of Radon gas exposure.

The gas percolates up from the ground and accumulates inside buildings, in particular, modern, airtight, draughtproof, environmentally friendly, cheap to heat homes. The survey which revealed this fact suggests that hundreds of thousands of British people are exposed to more radioactivity while watching TV with their feet up snacking on Doritos, than would be tolerated in the average nuclear power station.

So if you want to safely watch TV with your feet up while eating Doritos, make sure you do so inside your local nuclear facility.

And if you use the local health centre in Chagford, don't hang around, point, shoot, and leave.

Radon is the sixth Noble Gas and the only radioactive one. The 7th Noble Gas is a synthetic element called Oganesson, by synthetic it means it does not occur naturally on earth but has to be made by scientists. Oganesson is one of only two elements named after a person, in this case the Russian scientist Yuri Oganessian.

In the photo below is a traditional chimney in Chagford, I need to check this out but I suspect that the ledges are connected in some way with thatch, so this may originally have had a thatched roof, through which Radon would happily have escaped.

My suspicions of the purpose of ledges in chimneys were raised when I saw the detail on this chimney of a nearby thatched building which burned down. The downside of thatch is it's habit of catching fire so you take your choice, like most things in life.

I couldn't get too close to this elaborately decorated building so nearly missed the little face, just visible on the bottom edge.

I never get bored of photographing this view of Start Bay, below. It is our go to place for a quick stroll, about two miles from home. On this day my "Present" as it was back then in the past, the air was fairly clear so there was a nice silhouette of the Start Point Lighthouse. On some days the entire headland including lighthouse disappear completely. I would show you what that looks like but there's not much point unless you particularly like grey.

These sea defences, below, were erected in the 1970's which raises a major problem with the new archaeological dating system. If the "present" starts in 1950 and these were built twenty years later, they must still be in the future which means as well as B.P there would have to be an A.P. for after the "present" that was 1950. Either way it's looking seriously like my past has become the future, and these archaeologists are supposed to be clever? I suppose they have mastered time travel without a phone box or a sonic screwdriver so that is impressive.

I just liked this collection of shapes and textures, below, all of which are sun and sea bleached. It has a very end of season feel to it.

This is our local Egret, it's a Little Egret, as Little Egrets go it isn't little, it's only little if it stands next to a Great Egret. The Little Egret is littler than the Great Egret and just so you can be sure, it has a black beak. The Great Egret is bigger than the Little Egret and has a yellow beak. Some Great Egrets are littler than others, but all are bigger than the biggest Little Egrets.

This is just an example of symmetry, apart from the drainpipe, and if you're really being picky the shadows.

This is one of the stalls at the local market. I just liked the camouflage netting and the light and shadows. I also like the Hi-Vis tabard inside, only just visible, which is not a great result for something Hi-Vis, echoing the autumn yellows of the tree which are very Hi-Vis.

Tabard - A tabard is a type of short coat that was commonly worn by men during the late Middle Ages and early modern period in Europe. Generally worn outdoors, the coat was either sleeveless or had short sleeves or shoulder pieces. In its more developed form it was open at the sides, and it could be worn with or without a belt.

In modern British usage, the term has been revived for what is known in American English as a cobbler apron: a lightweight open-sided upper overgarment, of similar design to its medieval and heraldic counterpart, worn in particular by workers in the catering, cleaning and healthcare industries as protective clothing, or outdoors by those requiring high-visibility clothing.

The 11th day of the 11th month.

I can only suppose that these steps at the quayside, below, were built in 1880, when Kingsbridge was still a thriving port, and not run by lunatics.

This week Kingsbridge Town Council were awarded along with South Hams Council £250,000 to plant "urban trees", this is a sum they have to match to qualify for the gift. So that's half a million in total. The money is to be spent on planting thousands of trees in urban areas, which will be interesting as the largest town in the South Hams is about a quarter of a mile across and even that has a park in the middle, full of trees already. There probably isn't a single inhabitant in the whole of the South Hams that does not see a tree from one of their windows, apart from those hiding in cellars, while probably as many as half the population can see miles of countryside from their windows absolutely stuffed with trees. I would not be surprised if they have to uproot a lot of trees to make way for all the new ones.

But such is the insanity of public bodies today. Kingsbridge Town Council only announced two weeks ago that there would be no Christmas tree in the town centre this year. After a Facebook storm, they quickly changed their minds, but the question remains, who thought back in June it would be a good idea to cancel the town Christmas tree and keep that a secret until the end of November?

A classic view from Fore Street in Kingsbridge below. This is roughly the centre of town. A quick estimate says 600 trees in this view. The urban area is that bit just in front of you.

This is a bakery, below, an early 19th century bakery about 120 B.P. You'll have to work it out yourself.

It is at the Royal William Yard in Plymouth. In the film Crocodile Dundee a mugger in New York pulls a knife on the hero, the hero pulls out his machete and utters the immortal line "that's not a knife,THIS is a knife". Well in this instance the bakery in Chagford is the mugger and the immortal line here is "that's not a bakery, THIS is a bakery".

Constructed between 1825 and 1831, Royal William Yard is steeped in history and considered to be one of the most important groups of historic military buildings in Britain and the largest collection of Grade I Listed military buildings in Europe. It was the major victualling depot of the Royal Navy and an important adjunct of Devonport Dockyard. It was designed by the architect Sir John Rennie and was named after King William IV. It was built between 1826 and 1835 and occupies a site of approximately 16 acres.

The southern range contained the bakery, with two sets of six ovens, back-to-back either side of the central spine wall. There was a central boiler house with a chimney, with one engine to the north and the other to the south (the engines also powered biscuit-making equipment). The biscuits were dried on the upper floors of the side ranges; there was also a drying kiln above the boiler house. Although fully equipped as a biscuit and bread factory when opened in 1834, it was initially given only one full production run; then in 1839 the equipment was removed and installed instead in the Victualling Yard at Deptford. There was no more baking here until 1843 when, newly equipped, the complex again began to be used for its original purpose (which it continued to fulfil until 1925). It subsequently became a clothing and equipment store. The building was damaged by a fire in 1929, and again in 1960. The building is now known as Mills Bakery and includes 86 apartments, commercial and office space.

I leave this post with a suitable and seasonal extract from a hymn by Sidney Godolphin who died at Chagford in the porch of The Three Crowns Inn which seems an appropriate spot for a Royalist soldier to meet his end.

Lord when the wise men came from farr, Led to thy Cradle by a Starr, Then did the shepherds too rejoyce, Instructed by thy Angells voyce: Blest were the wisemen in their skill, And shepherds in their harmlesse will.

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