Medieval mummery is the latest in home entertainment

 geek  Comments Off on Medieval mummery is the latest in home entertainment
Jan 222012
 
Detail of an illustration from a medieval manuscript held by the Bodleian Library, Oxford

Detail of illustration from Bodleian Alexander (MS Bodl. 264), an early 14th century manuscript. Borrowed from Got Medieval.

After he so kindly threw a hat-tip in my direction, may I please direct you to Got Medieval’s post about an amusing video.****

See the gold details in the image above? There, on the lute, on the deer’s head and antlers and in the vine leaves underfoot. Often scans of old documents reproduce such details as a muddy mustardy yellow color. My colleagues in the Melbourne Uni Digitisation Centre are experts at making the gold bits look properly metallic in their high-res scans. We’re very proud  :-)

**** And, in answer to Carl’s comment at Got Medieval, yes I am foreign. Depending on which continent you are currently standing in.

New road rules

 New road rules  administrivia  Comments Off on New road rules
Jan 212012
 

We are indebted to Mr J Clarke for drawing our attention to several new governance requirements for operating motorised vehicles on public thoroughfares.

“If driving a brand new car, the way to indicate you are turning right is to sound the horn and turn the windscreen wipers on very rapidly. If turning left, activate the hazard lights, pop the petrol cap open and squirt some water on the back window.”

Spring plantings

 garden  Comments Off on Spring plantings
Oct 082011
 
Photo of pink boronia by mrpbps, published on Flickr.com with a Creative Commons licence - click to see original

Photo of pink boronia by mrpbps, published on Flickr.com with a Creative Commons licence - click image to see original

You can tell it’s spring by the madding crowd at the local bulk-buy plant nursery. Also daylight savings started this week.

Monday:  filled a terracotta urn with potting mix and poked four varieties of strawberry into its exterior pockets. A couple of the seedlings already have flowers and small, unripe fruits.

Tuesday: dug a trench between the olive tree (sapling, really) and the driveway, into which I dropped three Boronia heterophylla — two “Moonglow” (white) and one “Blue Waves” (pale mauve-blue).

I bought these just last weekend from a reputable nursery (not the aforementioned bulk-buy place) but their roots turned out to be terribly pot-bound and one of the Moonglows developed something like dieback the day after I brought it home.

Hoping they’ll recover, settle in and form a nice hedgelet in front of the olive tree (sapling).

A good day in the maternity ward

 garden  Comments Off on A good day in the maternity ward
Aug 272011
 
Masked lapwing (plover) with hatchling in nest. Photo by me, CC licensed.

Masked lapwing (plover) with hatchling in nest. Photo by me, CC licensed. Click to embiggenate.

The masked lapwings have been even more intensely vigilant than ususal in the last few days, and this morning the reason became clear — three chicks hatched just after dawn.

Parent lapwing protects the youngest chick in the next, while keeping an eye on an older chick that's wandered off

Parent lapwing protects the youngest chick in the next, while keeping an eye on an older chick that's wandered off. Photo by me, CC licensed. Click to embiggenate.

Two chicks were born quite early and a third appeared later in the morning. By the time baby sis (or bro) was born, the other two were already waddling around the lawn, pecking at the odd worm — all under the watchful eyes of both parents.

This final photo shows the whole family.

A family of masked lapwings (plovers) - two parents, three chicks.

A family of masked lapwings (plovers) - two parents, three chicks. Photo by me, CC licensed. Click to embiggenate.

I’ve read that plovers have a language of six to eight phrases that they use to manage their families — alert, alarm, go over there, come back to the nest etc. It will be interesting to see whether I can distinguish any of these phrases over the next couple of months as the chicks mature.

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Update Tue 30 August: Back garden has persisted in being  completely ploverless for two days now. I was ill over the weekend, didn’t see what happened. I wonder whether plovers feel grief or regret — and whether they’ll try breeding here again next winter. It might be a good idea to plant some more shrubbery, to persuade them to nest somewhere less cat-ridden.

Terror in the ‘burbs

 garden  Comments Off on Terror in the ‘burbs
Jul 312011
 
Masked lapwing (Vanellus miles, or plover) nesting in my back lawn

Masked lapwing (Vanellis Miles, or plover) nesting in my back lawn. Photo by me, CC licensed. Click to embiggen.

A masked lapwing (plover) family has taken up residence in the back garden.

These birds are insanely protective of their nests. They doze but don’t sleep, so the slightest movement — day or night — provokes an ear-splitting shriek of alarm (MP3).

It’s also a shriek of warning. Approach too close and these fearless basket-cases will swoop and attack with claws, beak and spurs.

Winter pruning and planting will have to wait a few weeks.

Please meet Tiffany

 house  Comments Off on Please meet Tiffany
Mar 112011
 
Introducing Tiffany - photo by me, CC-licensed.

Introducing Tiffany - photo by me, CC-licensed.

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This is Tiffany, a black chenille-covered ‘accent’ chair built in Melbourne.

I had pretty much given up the search for the perfect armchair when, quite by chance, I happened to meet Tiffany in the clearance section at Domayne‘s Melbourne store.

Frankly it was love at first snuggle. We fit perfectly. Utterly compatible. This is the start of a beautiful relationship.

Two days later, Tiffany is now filling the front foyer of my house — she’s not a small lass. Sadly, Cedric (the green Oxford-striped sofa) will have to find a new home so that Tiffany can move into the lounge room.

Harley needed barely five seconds to decide who owns Tiffany.

Mine. Photo by me, CC-licensed.

Mine. Photo by me, CC-licensed.

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Two minutes later, he was curled up and snoring.

A grand day out at Bolobek

 garden  Comments Off on A grand day out at Bolobek
Mar 102011
 
Inside the walled garden at Bolobek - photo by me, CC-licensed. Click for a larger image.

Inside the walled rose garden at Bolobek - photo by me, CC-licensed. Click for a larger image.

The Open Gardens organisation in Victoria hosted a plant fair at Bolobek, a property at Mt Macedon, on 5-6 March 2011.

Oswald Syme, son of The Age editor David Syme, bought the property in 1911 and established its first garden. Many trees and much of the original garden design still survive.

The property has changed hands several times in the last century and for some years fell into disrepair. The current owners, Brigid and Hugh Robertson, are gradually restoring and adding to the 3.6 ha garden.

Helen and I visited on Saturday, spent several hours wandering around and chatting with random strangers, and came away with quite a swag of interesting bits and pieces for our respective gardens.

An eclectic haul - plants we bought at Bolobek. Photo by me, CC-licensed

An eclectic haul - plants we bought at Bolobek. Photo by me, CC-licensed

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TheBlog has moved

 TheBlog has moved  administrivia  Comments Off on TheBlog has moved
Mar 082011
 

A software update went awry today, so I took the opportunity to relocate SneedleFlipsockTheBlog to its own subdomain.

Old links should lead to the new home page at http://blog.sneedleflipsock.com

New posts will appear here shortly. Selected posts from the past will eventually migrate to here or elsewhere in the Flipsock realm.