A few things

Firstly, go and play Puzzgrid. It’s like the wall on Only Connect, but online.

And if you want a 4-star difficulty challenge to begin with, try this one that I made earlier. I’m planning on making a few more (mainly they’re stored in my head at the moment, and quite honestly, I need the space.)


Next up, remember this quote?

Well, my rule of thumb is going to be a bit broken if this happens

Wait… Watt*?!?
But that would mean 32 hours… and there are only 24…

Wow. Who would have thought that the straw that finally broke the network’s back was simply running out of enough hours to shed in a day?


Then: Was Eyjafjallajökull the final volcano?

Year 9 iGCSE Geography dictates that one must do a class presentation on a volcanic event. And additionally, that one must build a model of said volcano to demonstrate your knowledge thereof.
I helped transport a model of Eyjafjallajökull (remember him?) into the school today, and was asked by the principal, who we saw along the way, if this was the final volcano project for our family.

I hadn’t really thought about it. But just maybe it was.

Volcano models are a rite of passage throughout your school years. You can learn more, and more, and more about them, depending on how far you want to go. You can do loads of geography, sociology, history, English, art and science about them. And yes, you can build models, from the super simple, through the vinegar and bicarb stage, and onto geographically and morphologically accurate representations, including glaciers, treelines, and – somewhat inexplicably in this case – a café.

And we’ve done them all. Twice over.

In total, our kids have over 24 years at that school.
And yes, this might well have been our family’s final volcano project. That’s actually rather sad.


Also: Qatar Airways unilaterally cancelled several of our flights this morning without any explanation. And then emailed me and asked me to “Acknowledge the changes” or “Request a refund”. I think I’m going to have to click both buttons there, aren’t I? I don’t think it’s quite enough for me to choose between the two, given how much COLD HARD CASH has gone into buying the tickets, and the CONTINUING NEED to be in certain places at certain times – with accommodation and car hire and connecting flights already booked. Because of many reasons (but mainly because of emigrating nearly 20 years ago), I have done a lot of international flying. This is the first time that I have used Qatar Airways. And this really is the first problem I’ve ever had.

Sadly, we’re kind of tied in with them now, so we need to rearrange another lot of flights with them, and hope that these ones actually exist when we try to fly on them.


And finally – in the style of Trevor MacDonald – this:

I mean, if even he is saying it, then it must be true, right?
Full marks for whoever cropped this meme (it wasn’t me) so that we were spared a sight of the offensive (and sinful) footwear.


* so many apologies for this

Massively disappointing volcano

Yeah – after this, that might come as a surprise. But wait, there’s more. This massively disappointing volcano is also in Iceland, home of exciting stuff like whale-hunting tourism, puffin pie and the Best Landscapes In The World™.
Iceland doesn’t do “massively disappointing”. Or rather, it didn’t, until now.

Imagine my excitement upon reading this headline:

The view from inside Iceland’s Thrihnukagigur volcano

Thrihnukagigur – still way up in the top 50% of Icelandic volcanoes listed by ease of pronunciation. And now they’re going inside it:

I’m being lowered through the dome of a subterranean cathedral-like space. Above me, the volcanic crater is a small bright circle in a thin tube. Beside me rainwater runs down ripples of frozen lava and cascades into the quiet depths.

OMG! How cool? How HOT? But then anticipated amazement turns into that crushing, massive disappointment.
Because what it turns out to be is just a big cave.


And I’m not alone in thinking this way; even its discoverer – a local opthalmologist – was rather unimpressed:

On Midsummer Eve 1974 Mr Stefánsson was lowered down into it with the help of nine friends. He was really disappointed.”I dreamt about finding a drainage channel with lava falls, lava pits and formations, never seen by a human eye before,” he says.
Instead he found an expanse of bare rock with a pile of rubble at the bottom, “like a stone quarry”, he said.

And, over the intervening 41 years, bugger all has changed.

Still, there’s a video of this expanse of bare rock with a pile of rubble at the bottom, so click that link above and go and play.

Just don’t expect to be impressed.

Volcano photos

More great photography from someone else. Previously, we have deduced that to take great landscape photos, you need to be in Iceland. Now we learn that to take great volcano photos, you need to be in Guatemala, more specifically 3600m up the side of Volcano Acatenango, overlooking Volcano Fuego, and you need to have your:

trusty (and well-loved) gaffer-taped Nikon Df hooked up to a 21mm Zeiss 2.8 and Gitzo 1542T tripod.

and also:

a Nikon 35mm 1.4, and an old Nikkor 55mm 1.2 in case [you] need something tighter.

Those old Nikkor 55mm 1.2’s eh? So much tighter.

I’m no expert on the field on photography, but I think that those are mainly camera things.
But the trivial details of what they are rapidly vanish when they produce stuff like this:


And this:

v1Sorry for leaving them so very big. I think they need to be big.

These are the work of “photographer and traveler” Andy Shepard, and I think that they’re quite superb. If you want to learn more about how he got to take them, the full story is here on the 500px blog. (Does not include map of Guatemala.)