Monday, December 24, 2012

You Spin Me Right Round


There were many before and many after but Emile Berliner, born in 1851 in Hannover, invented the gramophone and the records that were played on it.


In 1877 Thomas Edison invented a tin-foil phonograph. The phonograph played sounds that were recorded onto cylinders. The quality was bad and the cylinders only lasted one play.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Crumpets and Curd

A crumpet is a thick, flat, savory cake with a soft, porous texture, made from a yeast mixture cooked on a griddle and eaten toasted and buttered. Crumpets are generally circular, roughly 7 cm in diameter and roughly 2 cm thick. Their shape comes from being restrained in the pan/griddle by a shallow ring. 

Crumpets and Curd

Typically served with tea, a traditional crumpet is served warm with some butter or jam. The small holes found on the top of the crumpet fill up with the jam and give a little pocket of flavour.

Crumpets and Curd

A British public school tradition generally practised by the upper classes, in which a crumpet is super-heated, covered in butter, and thrust between the buttocks of a chosen schoolboy. Often used as an initiation ritual. The crumpetee is expected to clench the hot crumpet between their buttocks as the butter runs down their backside, burning them. Should they allow the crumpet to fall, a greater punishment is often chosen. Source: Urban Dictionary
"Ah, true, true. When I was at school, education could go hang as long as a boy could hit a six, sing the school song very loud, and take a hot crumpet from behind without blubbing." Blackadder Goes Fourth, Episode One, Captain Cook
Crumpets and Curd

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Do you know there's a piano on my foot?

Grand Piano
Most pianos have 88 keys and between 216 and 250 strings
As Time Goes By
On December 14th, on the 70th anniversary of the premiere of Casablanca, the piano played by Dooley Wilson went under the hammer at Sotheby's in New York. The 58-key piano was used to perform the classic "As Time Goes By", which is a shade of yellow and green, had a pre-sale estimate of $800,000 to $1.2m. In the end it sold for $602,500 to an unnamed buyer.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Down by the Water

Around Leipzig
Blue is scattered more than other colours because it travels as shorter, smaller waves.
This is why we see a blue sky most of the time.

Around Leipzig
As the Sun sets, its light is passing through more of the atmosphere. Even more of the
blue light is scattered, allowing the reds and yellows to pass straight through to your eyes.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Trams of Leipzig

The first trams in Leipzig opened on the 18th May 1872 and were horse-drawn. In 1881 the network was extended due to its popularity with the residents of Leipzig. The next change for the tram system was the introduction of electricity. The Leipziger Elektrische Straßenbahn opened in 1896, with two companies competing against each other, one running Red trams and the other Blue. Within just eighteen months the whole horse-drawn tram network was converted to overhead electric traction. Today, Leipzig's tram network is one of the biggest in Germany, the second biggest after Berlin. In 2011 there were thirteen different routes and the routes spanned 218km. 

Tram Works

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Meringue Kiss


The name meringue first appeared in François Massialot's book "Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liqueurs et les fruits" in 1692.

In the Loire region of France slow baked meringues are nicknamed "pets" ('farts' in French) because of their light and fluffy texture

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The humble photobooth, like red telephone boxes, are getting harder and harder to find, but what do we know of it's history?


A Siberian immigrant named Anatol Josepho invented the automatic photobooth. After being inspired by the legendary Brownie box camera a young Josepho decided that photography was for him so enrolled in a local technical institute to learn. At fifteen he made the decision that Siberia was too small for him and he wanted to see the world. He convinced his father to give him money to get to Berlin and was sent off with these words:
'Life itself, my son, is the supreme teacher. Go. Travel. Work. Study. Listen... Come back when you will. I'll still be waiting for you. And I want to be proud of you when you come back. Remember that, my boy, won't you?'
When in Berlin he happened upon a photo studio, walked in and convinced the owner to hire him and teach him to be a photographer. Here he learnt his trade and first began to develop the idea of creating a faster, more efficient and cheaper way of creating photos and thus making it more widely available for the masses, much in the same way the Brownie cameras had done. At the age of nineteen he began designing a self-operating, coin-operated photo machine. He even built a primitive prototype.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vera Lynn or Britney Spears

Alcohol has been around for a long long time. How it came about was probably down to some serendipitous mistake, but since it's discovery it has been many peoples' party-time necessity.

La fée verte is the French nickname for Absinthe and it is made using the leaves of Artemisia absinthium (grand wormwood), green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs. In the eighteenth century Doctor Ordinaire first patented a drink using aniseed, wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and copper sulphate, which is not very good for you, to make it even greener. He had a cousin, Henry-Louis Pernod, who along with Major Dubied and his son Marcellin, opened the first absinthe distillery, Dubied Père et Fils, in Couvet. Absinthe was banned by the French in 1914. Critics were vocal in their disapproval of the drink, one going as far to say:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Sound of Silence


In response to the question: “Will you marry me?” Silence in English would be interpreted as uncertainty, in Japanese it would be interpreted as acceptance, in Igbo (Southeastern Nigeria) it would be considered as a denial if the woman was to continue to stand there and acceptance if she ran away.”

"Children should be seen and not heard" In the original form of this proverb it was specifically young women who were expected to keep quiet. This opinion is recorded in the 15th century collections of homilies (a commentary that follows a reading of scripture) written by an Augustinian clergyman called [John] Mirk's Festial, circa 1450:

Hyt ys old Englysch sawe: A mayde schuld be seen, but not herd.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gender Differences

Man and Woman

Men and women are different. Always have been always will be. So what are some of those differences?

1. According to data published in December 2011 by the United Nations the country which has the lowest ratio of women to men is Qatar. Out of a population of just 1870 there were a mere 451 women and 1419 men, giving a ratio of 32 women to every 100 men. The bottom of the league is propped up by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia. At the other end of the table are the Ukraine, Latvia and Estonia, which all have a ratio of 117 women to every 100 men. Hovering around the top are Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Armenia and Georgia.

Anyone spotting any patterns emerging? Countries that have an even spread of men and women include; Lao People's Democratic Republic, Tanzania, Ireland, Norway and Djibouti.
study the data

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So Long, Farewell

rest in peace

This little chap was found at the Stadtgarten in Connewitz. 

We all die but how much do we know about it? Here are a few bizarre facts about death and dying.

1. Never say die: There are at least 200 euphemisms for death, 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies!'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! and "sleep with the Tribbles" (a Star Trek favourite).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


The building you can see in the background is called Ring-Messehaus. According to the "internet", so it must be true, "The building was constructed in several phases. It was until 1926 by the ring-Messehaus AG built. The complex extends from Tröndlinring to Humboldt Street, north of the Richard-Wagner-Platz."

well it does if you use Google Translate directly inside Wikipedia. 

The fountain is called Villersbrunnen and was sculpted by Max Unger in 1903 in the image of the late wife of the Leipzig publisher DürrThe statue was melted down in 1942 and used in the German war effort. In the 1950's the fountain was restored to its original state with the help of a replica by sculptor Marcus Gläser, which was then in turn stolen again in 1993 and only replaced in 2003 by another faithful copy.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blind Date

Blind Date

bonus points if you can spot the famous Zanzibar singer...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Unoriginal Autumn Title no.4

This Autumn has been very impressive. Lots of sunny days, loads of colour in the trees and always a chance of a good picture...unless it is too cold to stop.

Autumn Light

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cupcake or Muffin

So what is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? Are they essentially the same thing? Is the only difference between a cupcake and a muffin frosting?


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Morning dew shimmering in the early sunlight,
on the finely laced webs 
spiders have spun,
over the long autumnal night.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Purple Archangel

This is a Purple Archangel plant, also known as Red Deadnettle, Purple Deadnettle, or Purple Archangel (Lamium purpureum). This is why it is so tricky to identify plants, or one of the reasons. Why do there need to be so many names?

Purple Archangel fact:
Though superficially similar to a nettle in appearance, it is not related and does not sting, hence the name "deadnettle".

Other facts about Archangels:
Archangel was the name of a TV movie in 2005 starring Daniel Craig
An archangel is an angel of high rank. 
Metatron (no not Megatron) is an archangel and played by Alan Rickman in the 1999 film Dogma

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Día de los Muertos

Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased. (Source: Wikipedia)

All photographs were taken in Mexico City on one street, Paseo de la Reforma.

Dia del Muerto

Dia del Muerto

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autumn Leaves

Autumn is a time of great beauty with trees turning from a bright green to shades of brown and red, but why do these leaves lose their green color and become the yellow, orange, and red we associate with Autumn?

When the air temperature drops the chlorophyll inside the leaves starts to break down and this reveals the other pigments that also exist naturally within the plant. Some example pigments include carotenoids and xanthophylls which usually give a yellow and or orange colour to the leaves.

At the same time as the chlorophyll breaking down a layer between the leaf and the main stem called the abscission layer also starts to grow which cuts off the water supply to the leaf. This eventually causes the leaf to fall off but before that happens, the sugars within the leaf also break down into anthocyanin which can give leaves that dark red colour.
(source: Science Facts)



Monday, October 29, 2012

Fruits of the Forest

"A berry must be a fruit which contains stones, pips, things . . . there must be more than one."
(Source: Stephen Fry QI Series 3.10)

Blackberry, strawberry, raspberry are all not berries.

But a banana is...



Sunday, October 28, 2012


There is a great advantage to getting up early on a Sunday morning with the sun slowly rising over the horizon. Everything looks awesome. 
View out of Leipzig from the Zeppelin Bridge
View towards the city from the Zeppelin Bridge

The colours of autumn

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Did you know:
Meerkats get up later on cold or rainy days just like humans!
and further more:
Meerkats have ears that can open and close in order for them to keep sand out when they are burrowing.



Anton-Bruckner Allee

A question for you. It is a Sunday morning, around 7.30am. Where would you rather be?
a) In Bed
b) In the park taking photographs

Answers on a postcard to...

Anton-Bruckner Allee
The bridge on Anton-Bruckner-Allee

Anton-Bruckner Allee
Through the railings

Anton-Bruckner Allee
An avenue of autumnal trees along the riverbank

Anton-Bruckner Allee
Off into the distance down Anton-Bruckner-Allee

Friday, October 26, 2012

Catsitting: Wilson

The best thing about cat sitting Wilson was the first morning I went there. I opened the door, attempting to stop him running out. I got in in, he sat down and stared with a look of "Who the FUCK are you?"
Where is she?

Who the hell are you?

Maybe if I sit here she will come back and he will leave me alone...

I can wait all day...

Looking up at the Canopy

What do you get if you stand in a forest, looking up at the canopy with a camera...a very bad panorama. This very bad panorama...but I like is crass and incomplete...and I had no idea if it would even sort of works...

Autumn Forest Panorama

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wildpark to Clara-Zetkin

When the sun is out and the trees are changing it is worth getting out of the house and taking the chance to see it in its full glory. Yes, I left the house...miracles do happen

Wildpark, Leipzig

Wildpark, Leipzig

Wildpark, Leipzig