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Monday, 25 July 2011


I'd been planning to try out the Ceroc dances at Hammersmith Town Hall for some time and while planning routes and transport I noticed a station called "Kew Gardens". Ding! Why not explore these during the day and then dance the night away?

Kew is a quaint London suburb with lots of small shops gathered round the station and decaying genteelly. A short walk and you're at the gardens. In some ways, they are like an enormous municipal park, the like of which you'd find in any English city. There are lawns, flower beds, lakes, cafés and screaming kids. When you look a bit closer, you spot the differences. For a start, there's no swings or "amusements" which may explain why the kids are screaming. The plants, shall we say have class. Almost immediately I noticed some 6' stalks with large seedpods. A small sign announced Cardiocrinum Giganteum. Hooray! I've read about these giant lilies and considered growing some at home. They were not quite as impressive as I'd expected so I probably won't bother.

I soon find you can't rely on the signs. There's a curiously shaped tree claiming to be "Lillium Regale" but I know better! In one area the Verbena Bonariensis has got everywhere (as it does) but it gets a variety of labels. Nice plant though. Here's one I grew earlier
I am much taken with a bed full of "Impatiens glandulifera" which seems wrong as it's 6' tall. Impatiens=busy lizzie and they're usually quite small. Looked it up at home and it's Himalayan Balsam and an "invasive species weed"! I suppose like lions and tigers in the Zoo, it's safe enough in skilled hands but possibly unsuitable for the home garden.

Another discovery was lemon poppy seed cake (in the café), several huge greenhouses, a treetop walk and a viewing platform for their giant compost heaps.

So, on to the dance. Whenever I go to a dance place out of my normal orbit I tend to arrive early and find the place so quiet that I initially wonder if I've got the date wrong. Next, I discover that it is the right place/time but there are only 10 punters in a huge ballroom. After an hour, it's filled up and looks sensible, two hours and it's heaving. I found some great dancers by my usual method of watching their feet and I'm grateful for the management's bulk purchase of huge electric fans keeping things cool. They even set up one to blow cold air direct from the outside.

Just before midnight, I bail out and catch the underground to Victoria for the "Oxford Tube" that delivers me back to my car. An hour's drive and I'm straight to bed.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Murdoch and News International

As this scandal rumbles on, I'm a little surprised at just how much fuss there is. Sure, it looks like some people have been very naughty. And Murdoch has been unpopular with the Left for a very long time. Still a lot of heat though.

Perhaps I'm over cynical but I wonder if it's being used to bury any bad news? Not that anyone triggered it for that purpose but now it's here I wonder if anyone is making "use" of it?

One way I try and keep a wider view on what's going on in the world is to use Wikipedia's "Current Events" link as this certainly has stories that don't reach the mainstream UK media.

Haven't spotted what "they" are burying yet though!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Cleeve Hill

Went for an evening walk over Cleeve Hill. It's got sheep and golfers - and I suspect that's a relationship that has to be worked at. The sheep get an occasional high-speed golf ball in the ribs. So to protect the greens, the golfers have put up "electric" fences with the insulating poles, etc. but no source of volts. One sheep had sussed this out and was on a green getting her revenge by eating the grass.

Saw a couple of rabbits. Clapped my hands and verified that their ears worked. You know that old Monty Python line about "What did the Romans ever do for us?". One answer is that they brought rabbits to Britain.

Other wildlife included a moth buzzing around at about 25Hz and a murder of crows in the trees near Postlip. Moon came up - see picture.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Gardening Blog

Regular readers will know I'm into gardening. I've started a Garden Blog full of tedious detail about what's happening in my garden. See here

Important gardening stuff will still be posted here from time to time.