Remembrance Sunday

Poppy Day

 

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

Poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Robert Laurence Binyon.

 

November 11th was Armistice Day and today is Remembrance Sunday.

Traditionally red poppies are worn to symbolise those that grew on battle fields such as in Flanders Fields. Here I have a photo of my own little yellow poppy that survived itself against all odds.

A two minute silence is held to mark the end of the First World War, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Because we should remember all those fallen in all wars.

And make sure that some day it stops.

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As a young kid I used to buy a poppy each year at school and when older, go round selling them to the other kids.

I used to observe the two minutes’ silence while watching the poppies fall in a remembrance service on TV, at 11 o’clock on the 11th November. They just kept on falling.

So    Many    Poppies.

So    Many    Lives.

And still we go on killing each other.

When will we stop?

 

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Shimmering Reflections

Reflections 1

I have always been fascinated by reflections in water. I can stare for ages transfixed by the rippling images, as one would do a flickering campfire flame.

Reflections 2

Here you see buildings mirrored in the glossy Water of Leith, the main river running through Edinburgh, Scotland, for 35 km, till it flows into the Firth of Forth at Leith and thence into the sea.

Reflections 3

It was a little windier on our return trip walking back up the river, as can be seen by the cloudy appearance of the water closest to us; the surface whipped up by the strong Scottish wind.

 

Dogs Around the World: Greyfriars Bobby

Bobby 1

Meet Greyfriars Bobby; a little Skye Terrier, famous for guarding his master’s grave in the Greyfriars Churchyard for 14 years. He is immortalised here in a bronze statue mounted on a granite plinth, which was originally a drinking fountain for both people and dogs.

I had always intended to visit the little statue of Greyfriars Bobby, when I was in Scotland, but hadn’t managed it and my holiday was nearly over. Quite by chance, I found myself very close to his statue one morning, when I had been wandering round Edinburgh Old Town with my daughter Pix and her husband.

So we finished our croissants at the outside cafe on a narrow cobbled street and wandered over to the statue.

Bobby 2

There were many people congregated around the little dog, posing for their photos to be taken alongside. It is supposed to be good luck to touch his little nose; which explains why it is golden and not black like the rest of his old bronze statue.

Bobby 3

We didn’t have to wait long for a gap in the crowd and duly took our photos with Bobby too.

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A funny incident happened while we were waiting for our turn. A man came marching towards the crowd, with a large black Rottweiler. He stormed straight through the middle of everyone, shouting loudly and aggressively, “Excuse Me!” as he barged his way through, barely giving anyone time to get out of his way.

My daughter explained that many Scots people hate the Edinburgh Festival in August, as the streets are thronged with happy tourists. Well I understand that, but really, all the angry man had to do was walk on the other side of the street to Bobby’s statue. That side was empty!

Bobby 4

Of course there are going to be crowds round every tourist spot during the Edinburgh Festival!

It is similar here in Cape Town during the long summer school holidays in December and January. We are over-run by tourists from other parts of South Africa, such as Jo’burg, and also from overseas. So we locals avoid the tourist spots during these months, or we go very early in the morning, before the tourists have finished their breakfasts!

Sorted! No need to get all grouchy and barge through the poor visitors!

 

Under Pressure

Under Pressure 1

This is what my water bottle from the plane looked like when I got back to Cape Town, after my month away in the UK.

Generally speaking, a large plane flying at high altitudes, like my Boeing 747-400 cruising at 12,200 m (40,000 ft), has to pressurise the air inside the cabin, because the outside air at that altitude is at a much lower pressure than is good for you!

Even so, they don’t quite match the pressures you might experience down on the ground; cabin pressure is usually set to that which you would experience at 1500 m to 2440 m (5000 ft to 8000 ft).

Under Pressure 2

When I got back to my house and took out my water bottle (that had been opened and resealed while up in the air on the plane) the increase in atmospheric pressure here in Cape Town at sea level was enough to squish the plastic bottle.

 

In fact, the pressure that day, according to the barometer in my lounge, was a whopping 104 kPa (780 mm Hg).

No wonder I had a headache!

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And how could I have a post with this title and not mention  David Bowie and Queen Under Pressure.

 

post script: It has taken me a while (9 drafts) to put this post together, with all the reference material. And though I know that a post like this will not be generally popular, I find it interesting.

In case you’re also interested, here are a whole lot of links so you can read up on this subject. You’re welcome!

cabin pressure  versus air pressure   and cabin altitude

Physics experiment of a plastic bottle on a plane.

Table of atmospheric pressure at different altitudes.

Diagram of how cold it is at different altitudes.

Health advice before you travel by air.

 

Apple Blossom

Apple Blossom

High up at the top of my ancient tree I spotted the first apple blossom of spring.

To snap the photo, I had to stretch my arm right up above my head and hope I was aiming my little point and click Canon camera in the right general direction.

I could have done with a selfie stick!