Thursday, 11 October 2018

A grab bag.

I read Bill Bryson's, A walk in the woods, about his trip up the Appalachian trail. I found it to be a bit of a Parsons Egg, good in parts, excellent in others and tedious beyond any will to live in many places. So much so you began to hope for a bear to enter the lists and lance them with a lodge pole pine. It should not be a book one should carry on the AT.

I also got through Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, Somme. Now this is a true work of Historiographical Art, and perhaps because of that it should be read by dipping into rather than as I did end to end. It took the Battle of the Somme from the years before the war to the day it started. But then, and had too because of the nature of the battle became geographically linier. So if one takes a chess board with the right hand black castle being the south adjoining the French and the left the other end of the battle front to the north. Then he took each regimental position, and its opposite -white piece- German segment by segment.
The only part I found objectionable was his treatment of the Irish regiments where he did that patronising English thing that annoys all Irish of any hue uniting us in a will to pound them into the ground on a playing field.

There's a new odd thing going on here at the moment. Women have taken to wearing skin formed pants. I'm not complaining mind. These are like the yoga pants you see on runners, but these women aren't running, or doing much of anything beyond shopping.

Trump eh ?. Can't write more for the gobshite will have done something that will go beyond anything I've written.

Shed/darkroom almost done. I've just to add the mineral felt. Something I couldn't do for I need a flat calm day and the last few since I bought the stuff has been quite blowy. I have a tarp over the roof to give a measure of protection at the minute. Soon I have to decide if I am going to wire it for electricity or simply run a drum cable as and when.

And in further news I just bought a full wetsuit, and a stunt kite. Mad eh.



  1. I consider "A Walk In the Woods" a classic and always try to keep a copy on my shelves. I've loaned out several over the years and never got them back.

    The skin formed pants have been in here for a half dozen years and is still going strong. Definitely lots of people wearing them that shouldn't and not enough of the ones that should.

    Trump. Thank goodness for Hurricane Michael so we can go a few days listening to something else.

    Wetsuit and stunt kite? Kite surfing in your future?

    1. I think Bryson's book could be a third shorter. There's only so many soliloquises about a 100 yard wide strip before they become identikit. But where he deals with the people then it becomes interesting and his natural wit and wry delivery comes out. Then it's brilliant, better than Garrison Keillor by some distance. And it's good when he delivers the history of the trail and the current pointless lunacy of the agency in charge in DC. The stat about the largest owner and builder of roads is apt with regard to the twin NP's out in Utah that the Tangerine in DC passed over to stripmining.

      No-no, these aren't sweatpants. These are closer to what Olympic swimmers wear, only in bottoms.

      (chuckle) Wetsuit because I've always wanted one ever since Jacques-Yves Cousteau was leaping into the worlds oceans off the Calypso. And the kite for a similar reason.
      I never had a kite as a kid. I lived too far from the nearest kids to make such two person occasions impossible.

    2. We are talking about the same thing although like Kelly said, they are generally referred to as "legging" over here. As a joke, I refer to them as "painted on pants" for obvious reasons. The next phase of the fad here was the printing of words or images on the "seat" of the leggings to further draw your attention to them.

    3. Yes, I remember the Juicy, or Smack It, even Hit It. But these were on sweat pants. I don't know how they could make these less.

  2. It sounds like you're talking about what we call "leggings". They're wonderful worn with tunic tops or dresses (therefore covering the bum), but not something I think looks good with a regular top on anyone - skinny, fit, or otherwise. (especially otherwise)

    1. Oooh these aren't worn under anything. And yes now I googled it that what they are, Leggings Tights.
      And they are a new thing. At least they are new as everyday wear. I've seen them on the hills and mountains these last years, but never otherwise.

  3. I feel that way about most of Bryson's books. They have some great stories, but in between those can just be meh. I can't comment on the other book, but I don't like being patronized, so I can see where that would bother you. :)
    Shopping only needs to be done yoga pants or the like. It's called athleisure and I whole heartedly support it! :) It's not like they're out in the pajamas.
    I'm glad the shed is coming along well. Has it turned into more of a hassle than not or gone fairly smoothly. I say wired is good because I don't think you'd regret it, but I know electrical work isn't easy.
    Are the wetsuit and kite going to be used together? That WOULD be mad. I would imagine you'd need one to go in your ocean most of the year, but what will you be doing there? Swimming, surfing, snorkeling? As a kid we'd go to the beach (even the park) and fly kites in the spring and summer. I haven't been in ages and don't see them as often as I did. When I was traveling down the Oregon Coast I spotted a few. The stunt kite might be fun to photograph!!!
    No comment on 45...I can't even anymore. Beyond conservative policies (which are bad enough imo), he is just so vile and sounds like an idiot. My 3rd graders can speak in complete sentences, why can't he?!?!?

    1. PJ's are loose. These aren't. These are designed to lessen wind and probably water resistance and leave nothing, and I mean nothing to the imagination.

      We are in the middle of a Yellow wind warning and have been since I got the kite, so it's sitting unopened.
      On the wet suit. I've been meaning to get one for years but never did.

      And the shed remained up over the night. There was a possibility it wouldn't. The shed was recycled from a deck.

      Above I mentioned Bryson's book had flashes of pure brilliance. And often enough that it was no accident. There was flow and a clip -pace- to those passages that truly hummed. Other places and it might as well be a textbook on geography.

  4. I would have to agree with you about ‘A Walk in the Woods” even though I enjoyed the book. Maybe he should have taken a bit more time to walk and less to type :). As one who has hiked the trail, there has always been a little rub wtih how he turned a failed attempt into a milti-million dollar empire. As for those leggings, I haven’t seen many of them as it has been to darn hot here... We have blown way past the old record of 80 degree plus days—generally we will have a day or two in September where it doesn’t quite make it to 80, this year we may go into November. Encourage complaining....

    1. There is a life and liveliness to some of the passages and that's why I was disappointed.

  5. I agree that Bryson's book could be shorter--but I think it is still a classic. And a nice dig at the English (like an Irishman, or a Scot, or a Welshman).