Friday, 20 January 2017

Maison de Moggy

It was Crafty Green Boyfriend's birthday yesterday and for a vaguely anti-Trump Inauguration themed celebration we went to Edinburgh's cat cafe Maison de Moggy today.

Sebastian was taking his cloakroom duty very seriously

Like many of the cats, Elodie was asleep for much of the time, though she woke at one point and ran around at top speed for a while before getting back into her favourite chair

Guillame was one of three of the cats who lay in the window for most of our visit

as did Pauline

though Jacques preferred the shelf unit

and I enjoyed making friends with Alain!

Crafty Green Boyfriend as usual doesn't want to have his photo on the blog but he also enjoyed meeting all the cats!

We loved meeting the cats and also enjoyed the drinks (Chocolate Abyss tea in my case, hot chocolate for Crafty Green Boyfriend) and the cakes (raspberry cheesecake chocolate brownie for me and salted caramel mud cake for Crafty Green Boyfriend.

It was Crafty Green Boyfriend's first visit to the cafe, but my second (you can read my review of my first visit here) and we hope to go back sometime!

If we had thought about it, we would have continued the anti-Trump theme for the day with a Mexican meal, but we had already booked an Italian!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Don't Frack Sherwood Forest

The UK government has given Ineos licences to explore for shale gas across the country. Ineos wants to carry out seismic imaging surveys at various protected locations including Sherwood Forest, the iconic forest famed for its connection to Robin Hood. Seismic imaging surveys would be the first step in determining whether there is shale gas in rocks under the surface, and whether it would be possible or economical to extract it.

Ineos is quoted as saying that this surveying will not include any form of fracking and therefore people shouldn't worry about it, but why would they do the surveys if they didn't hope to find shale gas and if they did find it then why would they not extract it?

Fracking is a controversial technology to say the least and would have lasting damaging effects on the landscape, as well as potentially causing earthquakes and polluting water supplies. We should at the very least make sure that our precious wild places are not opened up even to seismic imaging surveying.

You can read more about the case here and you can join Friends of the Earth's campaign to protect Sherwood Forest from fracking here.

(The picture is a detail from the Sherwood Forest page of the Stickertopia Forest book, which I reviewed here.)

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Neandertal Enigma by James Shreeve

This is a long and fascinating book about our best known ancient ancestors. Who were the Neandertals? How were they related to other early species of hominids (human-like primates) and how was it that modern humans succeeded where Neandertals died out? When in fact did Neandertals die out?

The early part of the book covers in detail a lot of the academic controversies and arguments in Neandertal research (as in often seemingly verbatim discussions!) and I found it a bit annoying and confusing, though it was certainly fascinating. Later on though there are fewer such discussions and the book becomes more narrative and becomes more fascinating with every page.

Did Neandertals have the capacity to develop societies like those we see in the world today? Were they held back by a lack of language? A lack of higher reasoning capacity? Were the Neandertals actually living in a state of total oneness with nature? What would the world look like today if the Neandertals had prospered and modern humans like us had died out?

This book explores all these issues and more, looking at the traces of Neandertal lives that have been left in caves in southern Europe and beyond. It's out of date (published in 1995, it was one of my recent second hand book finds!) but its still a brilliant and interesting introduction to our ancestors.

The Neandertal Enigma by James Shreeve published by William Morrow and Company

You can read a series of brief articles about Neandertals on the BBC website

a more detailed section on Neandertals on the same website

and a series of videos about Neandertals on the same site.

(The BBC uses the spelling Neanderthal which is the original German spelling, while many authors, including Shreeve, use the spelling Neandertal to avoid confusion in pronunciation - in German the 'th' is pronounced as 't'.)

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Wardrobe Rescue!

The original frills on the cuffs of this top (which were made from the same embroidered fabric as the rest of the top) fell apart and I removed them. But since then the sleeves have always felt too short.

So I finally decided to make some new cuffs (these being easier to make than frills!) I recently found some suitable fabric, a lovely black satin from an old robe that had fallen apart. I cut the fabric from the collar of the robe, which very conveniently included two perfectly shaped pieces with the hemming all sewn and everything (I do like short cuts!).

Here's the first cuff I made and sewed on

and here's the top as it looks now (thanks to Crafty Green Boyfriend for this photo!)

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Arthurs Seat in the Winter

It's very cold today, but bright and clear. An ideal day to walk round Arthur's Seat (though watch out underfoot, as it is icy in places, though not much snow is lying). Actually any day is a good day to walk round Arthur's Seat but it looks particularly wonderful on a day like today

The gorse is in bloom as it is for most of the year

This bunny had the right idea, basking in the sun

though when we walked back along the path later, the bunny had disappeared, probably hiding from the hunting kestrel that we followed right round the hill! It's wonderful to get good views of a kestrel hovering, they hang in the air in a most amazing way.

Thanks Crafty Green Boyfriend for the photos of bunny and kestrel.

Oh and sharing this photo for Weekend Reflections

Friday, 13 January 2017

Squirrel in the Snow!

Some parts of the UK have had very heavy snow in the past few days. But this is what it looks like in Edinburgh - this is the path over Corstorphine Hill

and this is the view from the hill

We saw loads of birds around the hill though only this grey squirrel wanted to pose for the camera