Sunday, August 21, 2016

Raindrops on Grass, Marks on China

It was supposed to rain yesterday, and we briefly got a little spattering, but it wasn't much -- certainly not by English standards. So what I'd expected to be a leisurely day indoors turned into a long outdoor walk with Olga on Hampstead Heath.

We found some interesting stuff, like pearls of rain on grass blades...

...and more discarded shards of china. You can see the manufacturer's stamps on the piece on the left -- it's Ridgway china, which was manufactured in Stoke-on-Trent until the mid-20th century. The diamond-shaped mark is known as a "kite mark" and in the Victorian era, it indicated specifics about each piece's manufacture, like date and batch number. (Unfortunately this mark is broken so the details aren't all there.)

I picked up these shards and added them to my collection.

Olga and I also discovered patches of orange crocosmia, a common garden flower, on the Heath. I didn't know it grew wild, but apparently it can be an invasive species. At least it's pretty! (Olga was retrieving her Kong toy from that muddy ditch.)

Although it wasn't very rainy yesterday, it was super-windy. This guy was flying one of those high-performance speed kites on Parliament Hill. I was scared to get near him, that thing was moving so fast. Then he sat down for a brief moment and the kite crashed seconds later.

By the end of our walk, Olga was worn out, and happy to find the shade of this tree. As I write this, the following morning, she's still asleep at the foot of our bed!

Last night, Dave and I went to dinner with our friends Chris and Linda, the Brexiteers. We had another lively conversation about Brexit and -- from my perspective -- how short-sighted and damaging the vote to leave the EU was. I think we'll probably never stop debating this issue!

At one point, Chris was talking about the possibility that former Prime Minister Tony Blair could face judicial proceedings in The Hague as a result of the British participation in the Iraq war. And I said, "In an international court of justice! Imagine that!"

"Touché," he replied.

I was proud of myself.

Fortunately Chris, like me, is an old journalist and we can debate the issues without taking it all too personally. We both agreed that having a newsroom background helps in that regard!


  1. Why is the word "international" in italics? I don't get it and I don't see why the use of that word attracted the "touche" reaction. If Blair was to be tried in The Hague, it would be a very long and very costly process. Would it be worth it?

  2. Chris was speaking favorably about the prospect of Blair being tried. Meanwhile, his argument for Brexit stems from a nationalist desire for greater sovereignty for the UK. My point was, his interest in seeing Blair tried at the ICJ would seem to contradict his nationalism.

    I was basically extending my argument that international institutions are valuable and that we should participate in them, rather than shrinking back from them and drawing into ourselves. Granted, the ICJ is part of the UN, not the EU -- but Chris is no fan of the UN either.

  3. I just read your comment on my blog post and all I can say is that if the individual were living his life honestly and intended to pay back the rest of what he owes, he would not have done as he has. He worked in banking for several years and knew what he was doing would cost me, which it has.

  4. I have those flowers all in my yard. Yes. They are somewhat invasive. Mine rarely bloom due to lack of sun. I've always thought they were a wild gladiola.

  5. A good walk gives you interesting photos and a good post. The Brexit discussion is not over. for that matter the decision may not be over either.

  6. I have the crocosmia. my friend who gave me the original bulbs called them montbrecia. which I what I always called them until I found out just recently that they are crocosmia. I haven't found them to be invasive but maybe they just haven't been planted in the right spot. I recently put them in a sunnier place so we'll see.

  7. The raindrops look huge up close!

    Is Olga made of teflon? She looks completely clean coming out of that ditch. Maybe it wasn't very deep. But I seem to remember this capability of hers from other posts :)

    You collect china shards like we collect sea glass on the beach. We used to collect coal in the same way when we spent summers there at our cottage. There was a layer of coal just off the shoreline and bits kept washing up. The bank at that point in the shoreline will probably be coal in the very VERY distant future - it's a thick layer of black peat under the grass and trees; a depth of about six feet is visible. It may wash away by the action of the ocean before it every gets a chance to be coal, though, as the shoreline is eroding steadily.

  8. You and Olga find lots of interesting things up on the Heath.
    i believe Hatch Chilies are called that because they are grown around the town of Hatch New Mexico. However, most of the growing is done south of there, near the border with Mexico. They would probably be better described as New Mexican chilies.

  9. Gosh, Sharon I must have missed the whole Hatch chile debate? My husband grew up on southern NM eating Hatch chilies which are grown in between Las Cruces NM and Truth or Consequences NM in at the Hatch valley. They are not New Mexican chilies, they are Hatch chilies.

    Steve, the grass pearls : cool.

    The kite photo: Wonderful! It tells a story.

    And your pottery "collection" is kind of like my decorative wood obsession, yes?

  10. E: Well, it's appalling behavior on his part!

    Ms Moon: Apparently they even come in a range of colors, though most of the ones I see are orange. I like them a lot.

    Red: Yes, it's an evolving situation, for sure!

    Ellen: Montbretia is indeed another name for the same flower. Hope they prosper in the sun!

    Jenny-O: Yes, Olga has amazing dirt-repellent properties! Which is a good thing!

    Sharon: OK, that makes sense! I was trying to figure out where that Hatch name came from.

    Lynne: I think it's a positive trait to be able to find beauty in objects that others would find merely useless or utilitarian. :)

    37P: Thanks! :)

  11. The Kite photo is worthy of it's own book!

  12. I agree about how fabulous the kite photo is - made me stop in my tracks.