Friday, 19 February 2016
Yesterday evening (Thursday 18th February) the International Space Station was to be over head at 6.30pm, when according to NASA it would be visible for three minutes...exciting!
The space station, with British astronaut Tim Peake on board, has been orbiting the globe since 1998.
The ISS orbits at approximately 220 miles above the earth and it travels at an average speed of 27,724 kilometres (17,227 miles) per hour. The ISS makes multiple orbits around the earth every day.
But every so often, the ISS becomes visible in the night sky to us on earth, appearing as a bright star moving quickly above the horizon.
It was expected to appear from 16 degrees above south-west and disappear 10 degrees above south, so out came my compass to make sure I was looking in the right direction
Well, I was outside at the allotted time...but what did I see?....all these clouds, not a star or anything else in sight apart from the glorious moon. Tim Peake made a wonderful video though of the UK.
There is another chance to see the ISS - but only briefly - on Saturday, February 20, 10 degrees above south-west - but for less than a minute.It might be a clear night then.
Friday, 12 February 2016
We live in a tiny, mid terrace house in the suburbs of a large town...this is what my back garden looks like. The photo was taken as I stood at the back gate so you can see how spacious it is!
Please note..this is important, you will see why in a moment..... we are separated from our neighbour to the far right of the picture by a red brick wall. This wall is six feet tall for a short span by the back door but then drops down to three feet six inches for the rest of the garden. This photo was taken in full summer so is not too clear.
At the beginning of December the neighbours on the right of picture got a puppy.
This puppy is now seven months old......
..................this is what she looks like now!
Yes...she really is that large!
Her name is 'Bella' and she is a pedigree Newfoundland with a very long 'official' name.
At first we though she was a Spaniel but realised our mistake when she started growing.
She is so good natured, very inquisitive and 'appears' over the garden wall like this if I go out to potter in the garden and she is out too. We do rather like her.
She is fascinated by our cat, who cheerfully ignores her.
She is being well trained, going to dog training classes each week and training continuing at home and several long walks each day. She loves to be outside, especially in the rain we discovered.
Surprisingly they settle quite happily in a suburban environment so long as they are walked well and have plenty of stimulation. But they do tend to bark..a very deep 'woof' which is not intrusive.
We have now got used to the mad scuffle of squeaky toys and other toys being played with outside at all hours. (The neighbours work for the Post Office so up and out rather early)
Eventually, my neighbours think that they will have to put up a taller fence as when she is full grown and has the ability to just lope over the wall. We will wait and see what happens
Monday, 8 February 2016
What does "let's keep in touch" really mean today?
According to this website for English Language Learners this is what it means:-
"Keep in touch is an idiom. "In touch" means "in or into communication". In business, keep in touch usually means "keep posting information to each other". For close friends, I usually take it as "let's stay close" (as in close friends), by making a call or writing (or tweet, post, etc.) to each other from time to time."
Did you notice that in the definition given above the "keeping in touch by writing" meant posting on Twitter or Facebook or other social media formats?
This prompted me to look for other definitions...like this one from a site called 'English Language and Usage'
"Let's be in touch I say this to someone I've never before met, but during the course of our conversation an important matter emerges which affects us both. It seems important that we maintain contact.
Let's keep in touch I say this to a colleague with whom I have worked for several years, but our future paths are about to divert.
Let's stay in touch I have just attended a conference of people working in the same industry. many of the participants were new faces to me, some were old friends. At the end we all appreciate that we have gained a lot from the meeting, and someone says 'let's stay in touch'
I have exaggerated the differences here and any of the three could easily be interchanged with either of the others. But the beauty of English is that there are always multiple ways of saying almost the same thing. So this gives rise to a potential richness, and possibilities for finely nuanced expression. One can bring joy to ones fellows through sweet words; as long as one never forgets that 'sweet words butter no parsnips'."
I have been 'keeping in touch' with several penfriends since I was eleven...by old fashioned 'snail mail' and it is such a joy. I write letters and emails to my family too. These are the most important people to keep in touch with...just because they need to know that I am here, when needed.
Am not a complete Luddite' and love the immediacy of text messages and share SKYPE interactions with my son and youngest grandchildren.
Give 'Facebook' and 'Twitter' a miss as having tried them found that they are just too inane for me.
Do we really need to keep in touch with old school friends? Haven't we moved one, gone our separate, normally very different ways into adult hood. Do we really want to go back and reconnect?
Personally, I feel no need to keep in touch with school friends or past work colleagues.
Then there are those old neighbours who move away, or we move away. We always say "keep in touch" but do we?...really? In my experience, no. Once you move away a new life starts and the old is just part of the past. I do keep in touch at Christmas and birthdays with three past neighbours, but there have been others who moved away and never kept in touch even though we had been good friends.
"Let's keep in touch" seems to be one of those glib throw away phrases often used with people that you don't have any interest in talking to or who you don't intend to stay in touch with. Which is all rather sad.
Having recently been on the receiving end of a "We'll keep in touch" promise that I believed was genuine and I confess, was rather hurt, when I soon realised that the person who said it had no intention whatsoever of "keeping in touch"
Think I will start a campaign to urge us all to 'think before we pledge to keep in touch' and only say it if it is truly meant.