what an excellent idea: atomic clock devices to power church clocks and other hard to get to and difficult or delicate to change timepieces.

also, the summertime change is much easier to deal with mentally when your clocks change automatically. although most of my clocks are still manual it wasn’t until this morning that i had cause to look at one that wasn’t my computer (which performs jiggerypokery by itself) or my alarm clock (which gets timekeeping incantations from rugby). when you just get up and find the time changed it’s much less grinding than when you have to change it yourself.

a second peter rabbit

i’m fairly certain that beatrix potter‘s peter rabbit books (and all of her the other characters) are guarded under some kind of unusual ongoing copyright by her publishers frederick warne and co and although they bring out plenty of new peter rabbit books and merchandise they are all pretty much in character with the original.

so it’s interesting to find these copies of peter rabbit and his ma and peter rabbit and his pa from 1917 and 1916, written by louise a. field and illustrated by virginia albert. peter’s sisters flopsy and mopsy are here but cottontail has expanded into molly cottontail. the style of the book apes the original though the illustrations aren’t a patch on potter’s and the story seems to be independent of potter’s too. peter rabbit and his pa must be a prequel to the original since in the real mccoy (published in 1902) peter is warned:

you may go into
the fields or down the lane, but don’t
go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your
Father had an accident there; he was
put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.

and yet there are so many similar features, the picture of peter squeezing under the gate for instance, that they’ve obviously been written for people who haven’t seen the original peter rabbit.
these books very much look like a rewrite/ripoff for the american market, features like barbed wire and cornfields don’t seem to fit with the english setting. i can’t find anything online about the provenance of the books, but i can’t believe either warne or potter authorised them. and the moral of the original is lost when peter’s gluttony only leads to there not being enough peas to go around for supper rather than peter ending up ill in bed with a cup of camomile tea.

seeing how poorly these stories work only makes me realise all the more how clever beatrix potter really was.

[rosetta project: children’s books online found via dollarshort.org]

moving maps

remember those dead easy 4×4 slidy puzzle things? try this one without playing ‘kim’s game’ on the map before you start. go straight there and shuffle it without looking at the picture. i can’t believe it took me 667 moves to get the picture straight again!

yummy stuff

recipes that i can vouch for:

  • marsala sauce though i added potatoes and cauliflower rather than eggs to it and i didn’t quite have all the spices listed, i was definitely missing fenugreek leaves and something else. it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks and making your own curry paste is very satisfying. i made roughly half the quantity and it wasn’t that hot so i’ll be a bit more generous with the teaspoonfuls next time.
  • white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, one of those types of biscuits they sell at those wickedly expensive cookie places in shopping centres and nowhere else, these aren’t cheap to make because of the nuts and chocolate (though they would have cost ten times as much to buy ready made) but they were divinely delicious and vanished in no time. i cut the recipe in half as i thought four dozen cookies was a bit over the top. the only conversion to uk units i needed was that half a cup of butter is 4oz/100g worth as i’ve got american style measuring cups to cook with. you can get the same recipe in full metricness though.
  • these butternut squash risotto cakes are delish and i need to make some more as we’ve used the ones in the freezer up.

the world of sherlock holmes

although the author claims it’s imcomplete and a work in progress there’s a stunningly large amount of information in the sherlockian atlas. (it also hasn’t been updated for over four years so i’d guess we can presume it’s as complete as it will get.) every geographical place, both real and fictional, that features in the sherlock holmes story is here, with references to where they appear, from the obvious places like 221b baker street and the reichenbach falls to, well, places on every continent and throughout london.

katy did five things

i’ve always thought that susan coolidge’s katy series was a trilogy but i now discover there were five volumes. as well as the popular threesome of what katy did, what katy did at school and what katy did next there are two following stories called clover and in the high valley.

amazon’s isbn’s for the last two books in the series date from a 1965 publication so i don’t expect i’ll have any luck rooting out these two missing tales. and project gutenberg have only got the text to what katy did at school so far.

update: found them.

[found in the middle of a huge old thread on the guardian’s booktalk section about chalet school characters]

rss via nntp

i’ve had an rss feed for centuries and have watched other people talking[*] about how useful rss readers are for keeping up with weblogs but i just couldn’t be bothered to install another piece of software to clutter my desktop up with. i’ve just installed nntp//rss and so far i think it’s ace. it lets you read feeds via your regular usenet newsreader, no need to add another piece of software into your life. great stuff.

[found via dive into mark]

[*]i tried to change that to “listened to other people talking” but for the most part i’ve never heard these people’s voices. i tried to change that to “watched other people writing” but that doesn’t make sense to me either. the act of reading weblogs feels more like “watching people talking” to me than anything else no matter how nonsensical it sounds.

sunny days

i think it’s been sunny every day for a week now. i fully expect to find that this is “the summer” this year.

Candleland by Martyn Waites

Cover of

Where Martyn Waites’s Newcastle overlaps with mine it’s millimetre perfect (though he does manage to avoid the term “coffin like” to describe the Crown Posada so maybe he find more millimetres in that pub than I do) and though I don’t know the bits of London that his character Stephen Larkin gets to in this book the place has the same ultra realistic feel to it. Initially I was disappointed at how fast this story sped down the southbound A1 since the setting was one of the major things I liked about the first book Mary’s Prayer but once I was into the story it really didn’t matter where it was set, only that the setting was superb.

The beginning of the book seemed a bit lacklustre, Larkin agrees to help a drunken detective friend look for his runaway daughter in London but there was little motivation for him to do so and I couldn’t really buy into what he was doing. Once the tale was flowing it poured down easily but it was let down by the poorly set up beginning.

Certainly a series I’ll be persevering with though as it’s got tons going for it, great settings, excellent characters and a good plot that I was only disappointed in for about the first 30 pages. And it looks as if the next book heads back to the north east which is always a good thing.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 6th December 2002.

fruit-eating space monkey

is a
Fruit-Eating Space Monkey

…with a Battle Rating of 7.1

To see if your Food-Eating Battle Monkey can
defeat kirsty’s, just enter your name:

[found via as above where kevan’s brain-eating spider monkey beats me and also has a link to this which might explain what on earth it’s about, or then again, might not.]