I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
and all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by…..
At 05:20 each morning the haunting notes of Lillibullero announce the beginning of the shipping forecast on my wireless. Weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the coasts of the British Isles, it’s as reliable as Death and Taxes, and as accurate as an atomic clock. The shipping forecast has to be accurate, sailors lives depend upon it. It’s all about the wind, the sea, the sky, and the clouds.
The shipping forecast has been made available to sailors for the past 151 years, (except during wartime when weather was a military secret), and has been broadcast on the wireless since 1911. In more than 100 years the BBC has only failed to broadcast the forecast once, on 30 May 2014, when due to a technical fault listeners heard the BBC’s World Service instead.
The 31 sea areas reported always come in exactly the same order. Mostly I mentally tune out the reports and forecasts for such places as Southeast Iceland, Faeroes, Fair Isle, Viking….. But I really listen up when the announcer intones Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger….. because that includes ‘my’ sea area, and as my garret is just 100 yards from the sea I get whatever weather the shipping forecast says is expected.
Utterly reliable, honest, dependable, accurate, and a little old-fashioned, the Shipping Forecast is a rock of stability in an ever-changing world, and I’m probably the only person I actually know that listens to it.
I should learn from the Shipping Forecast. I firmly believe that what women want most in a long-term partner are exemplified by the qualities of that daily radio broadcast; reliability, honesty, dependability, accuracy in thought, word, and deed ~ and maybe a little sense of old-fashioned style.
Some say that women want spontaneity, excitement, adventure, really cool things. And, that most women want guys who pick up the restaurant bill, arrange the vacations and buy the tickets, and who will go to wild parties and pretend to enjoy them. All I know is that when the shit hits the fan women want a guy they can rely on to keep them safe, a guy as dependable as the Shipping Forecast.
the cold grey North Sea is often a very dangerous place to be
Walking in clean, virginal snow makes me feel really special.
Where I live, in very temperate England, close to the sea, I don’t see a lot of snow. Well, today it’s pretty cold here ~ just below freezing. There’s been a little snow in the night, maybe 3 or 4 inches. Snow and England are not natural soul-mates.
One snowflake in Central London and the meteorologists warn of climatological Armageddon ~ and so it was yesterday. This particular cold-snap is being called ‘The Beast From The East’, and the weather men are saying this will be the worst cold weather in England since 1991, with ‘up to’ six inches of snow covering most of the country.
Thousands of London commuters were told they must complete their journeys by 6pm to ensure they would actually get home, and local authorities declared snow emergencies. Hundreds of trains and dozens of flights were cancelled last evening, and allegedly the major roads are in chaos.
Social media, women’s pages in the newspapers, and posters in doctors’ surgeries are full of advice on how to cope with the cold weather. Some of this advice sounds stupid; iced tea will warm you up more than hot chocolate, hug a hot water bottle between your thighs, stick your socks in the microwave, and think like a monk to get warm.
And, the ‘Met Office’ warns that the worst is yet to come… You’d think the English didn’t know about snow… Have you never heard of Scot of the Antarctic?
It’s not like we’ve never had snow here before. Back in the day, when I was nobbut a lad in short trousers, and central heating was something only the Queen had, we had some brutal winters. Whole trains were stranded in the middle of nowhere, Royal Air Force helicopters airlifted fodder to sheep starving in the hills, and the army was called in to keep major roads open. The wind cut like a knife, the ice was on the inside of my bedroom window, and my spit froze before it hit the ground. (Being young boys it wasn’t just our spit we tested to see how fast it froze.)
Although the Met Boys feign surprise, it’s not like here in England we don’t get a nasty cold snap in late February or early March. It happens most years, and it’s called the Buchan Cold Spell. Jeez the Taiwan Weather Girls might be better at forecasting English weather than our Meteorological Office.
The weather here is just a little inclement, so I will not be going far today.
due to the snow, today is cancelled
Amidst the latest brouhaha and persecution of ‘climate change deniers’ there’s one good reason I can’t get at all excited about catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, (man-made global warming), and ‘green energy’. The fact is that the Northern Hemisphere is still in the last hurrah of the last ice age.
Some 10,500 years ago, (the blink of an eye in cosmic and geological time), most of the people on Earth lived in Africa because everywhere else was too damn cold. In fact, the last ice age hasn’t yet really ended, so any time in the next few hundred or few thousand years Europe, North America, and Northern Asia could be again covered by sheets of ice miles thick.
Much of the geology of these continents was structured by ice ~the Great Lakes in North America were formed 20,000 years ago as a result of the last period of glaciation. Where I live now was covered by a sheet of ice three miles thick only 10,000 years ago ~ and the ice reached as far south in England as where London is now. As I said 10,000 years is but the blink of an eye in terms of geology and the life-cycle of our sun and the planets.
Agriculture has only existed in England for 6,000 years, because before that it was too cold, so Mesolithic Man lived by hunting. Up until 6,200 years ago, so much of the seas’ waters were locked up in ice on the land that you could walk from what is now Germany to England, without getting your feet wet ~ over a stretch of dry land called Doggerland. Where the English Channel is now used to be part of what is now called the River Rhine.
Ice Ages have come and gone over the last 2.4 billion years, starting with Snowball Earth and the Lower Huronian Ice Age. It is thought that Ice Ages are caused by changes in the Earth’s orbit and the amount by which our planet tilts. Typically, a period of extreme glaciation could happen about every 100,000 years or so, (but can last for up to 200 or 300 million years.) The last one has only being running, (on and off), for around 100 million years. The Earth is now in an interglacial period, so we have a lot more worries over freezing to death than we have over global warming.
May I suggest that you don’t worry too much about global warming, but make certain you know how to cope with a hell of a lot of snow and ice.
You can lie around on a rock all day, building up that suntan, hoping good things will happen for you eventually. Or, you can make the good times happen.
Take a road trip, drive the Pacific Coast Highway, (aka State Route 1), stop off in the Pacific Palisades. On the way enjoy the drive, the sunshine, the music, the girl…
When you get to the Palisades, visit the Getty and relax among some beautiful gardens.
There is mucho sunshine in Southern California. Back here in the North of England, in November, it’s cold, windy, and wet. Rain, rain, beautiful rain…
pictures by jack collier
Reality as we each know it may not be as it seems. Our individual realities are mental constructs seen through the lens of our past lives and experiences in this life. Reality is experiential and epistemological ~ my reality is not your reality, and my life is not as you know life. There is no logic in the comparison of my verisimilitude with your plausibility. We each see the dawn differently
Even mine own actuality does not always follow a logical path. There would seem to be an abundance of psychic phenomena interfering with my analytical realities. However, respectable scientists and psychologists consider parapsychology a pseudoscience. One should always begin from the standpoint that respectable scientists don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong. ~ Arthur C. Clarke.
Most scientists are prepared to accept that the lower animals have senses that go far beyond ours, and even beyond the senses we have imagined. How do birds know when it’s about to rain? How are dogs aware that their owner has a cancerous tumor? Come to that, how do dogs know when there’s about to be an earthquake? How do cats know everything about the human they live with?
Memories are not real. Memories are conjured as we require them. Memories change over time and to suit the situation we find ourselves experiencing at a given moment. My memories and physical existence may be coloured by the certainty that a woman I care about has more than a passing acquaintance with the mystical realm. She may well be a witch. I certainly receive her thoughts and feelings over a distance of 5,256 miles. She can instantly wake me from a deep sleep at her will. From the deepest of sleep I am suddenly and instantly awake with the absolute certainty that she is thinking of me. This is known as Telepathic Communication.
Growth of consciousness does not depend on the might of the intellect, but on the conviction of the heart. ~ Wayne Gerard Trotman.
Often I see patterns, (not necessarily familiar patterns), where there are none. I can see form and composition in random things, such as the incoming surf. I am sometimes aware that my higher power, my Goddess Aphrodite, is with me. As you might expect these things often happen when I go down to the sea to pray.
I am perfectly prepared to believe that there are logical explanations behind all of these psychic phenomena. Even the supposed telepathic communication may be explained away. My friend and I could be thinking very similar things at just about the same time, and we could both get an urge to talk about these things at one in the same instant. However, that would raise another intriguing concept ~ that I continue to evaluate, assess and reason when I am asleep.
Thinking during sleep, is an accepted construct. Accessing and developing one’s relational memories, is now considered to occur mostly during sleep. You may think you mind is quiescent during your slumber ~ it seems not.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep. ~ William Shakespeare.
I firmly believe that when I am meditating, almost asleep and completely asleep, my unconscious mind is creating idealistic solutions to the troubles, worries and complications which beset my psyche. I do know my anima is strong during my sleeping hours ~ perhaps that is when my soul is restored.
During my waking hours I am extremely practical. When I am fully roused I tend to be aggressive, arrogant, callous, competitive, compulsive, cunning, cynical, impulsive, suspicious…, just add a lot of other very male characteristics here.
During and immediately after sleep, meditation, dozing, I seem to have many more idealistic, caring and nurturing, female characteristics. That makes me believe that the essence of idealistic unconscious runs strong in me.
I am an expert on rain. I live in England, where it rains a lot, and I have studied climatology, (together with a range of other specialities related to geography).
California is not suffering from a natural drought. There has not been a period of abnormally low rainfall. You still get rain clouds over the Yucca Valley. As a whole, over the long-term, California gets an average 20 inches of rain per year. Over the past 3 years an average of 13 inches of rain fell on California each year. That isn’t a drought, it’s a little less rain than the average.
Laguna Beach in Orange County, Southern California, to pick a town at random, has received an average of 12.73 inches of rain a year since 1928. Taken over the last 30 years rainfall at Laguna Beach has averaged 14.38 inches. On average, more rain is falling on California in recent years, not less.
Governor Jerry Brown is oblivious to what is going on outside his window, issuing increasingly draconian executive orders on urban water reduction. He has called for fines of $500 a day for people watering their lawns and taking long showers. As we say in England, ‘what a plonker‘.
The idea of your nice little green grass getting lots of water every day, that’s just going to be a thing of the past. ~ Governor Jerry Brown
Personally, I think grass is a waste of space in the average garden, (yard). There are far better plants for ground cover and landscaping. Many easily available plants are native to California and drought tolerant.
California Poppies and Lupine.
The California climate has always included extended dry periods, therefore California’s water system is specifically designed to withstand a seven-year drought. In 1862 – 1863 less than 4 inches of rain fell, and in 1863 – 1864 less rain than that fell. The California cattle industry was wiped out. But on the whole California survived, thrived, prospered.
The problem in California is not the climate or the weather. The whole crisis has been manufactured by liberal environmentalists. For example, the ‘Green Lobby’ has prevented the building of a single new reservoir or pipeline over decades, during which the population of California has doubled. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that doesn’t work.
The Green Extremists, the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council, (NRDC), have lobbied so effectively that hundreds of billions of gallons of water a year are siphoned off for wildlife refuges and environmental causes. Trillions of gallons of water are just dumped into estuaries and deltas to create the brackish water needed by a 3 inch fish called the delta smelt. A recent survey of the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta found just 8 of these fish. 1.4 trillion gallons of water between 8 fish works out at a hell of a lot of toilet flushes per minnow.
Mother nature is just a scapegoat, not the culprit of California’s water shortage. Environmentalists have carefully orchestrated this crisis. Their goal is to remove 1.3 million acres of California farmland from production. Most farming needs water, although one can farm on dryland if one grows suitable crops. In fact there is a range of drought tolerant fruiting trees, and almonds use 25% less water than other fruiting trees. Or, for another high value crop, lavender is very drought tolerant and California already has a perfume industry.
Even worse. Instead of doing something practical, such as building a reservoir, California politicians are mesmerised by computerisation and advanced technologies such as behavioral sciences monitored using cloud computing. That’s not really as effective as actually extracting and storing more actual water.
High profile environmentalists are dangerous, disingenuous hypocrites ~ flying thousands of miles a year in their executive jets to attend pointless conferences on global carbon reduction, where they stay in upscale hotels with their retinue of press and political retainers. These environmentalists are either fools, poltroons, or cynical liars.
Environmental maniacs supported by State and Federal Government are the cause of the water shortage in California. The weather is not to blame. If you really want to find someone to blame, then blame Al Gore, ably aided and abetted by President Obama and Governor Brown.
Anyhow, if the global warming maniacs were to have been believed, California would have been uninhabitable by now.
Every so often I am struck by idiocy, and being up and about in the middle of the night, worrying, is one of my favourite pieces of stupidity.
As it goes, midnight of February 1st / 2nd, was a perfect time to be up and about, stupidly worrying.
Today, February 2nd, is Candlemas ~ the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, one of the 12 great Christian feast days. In Britain, Candlemas is also a cross-quarter day, or term day. This is sometimes used as the starting date for school terms and in Scotland as the day on which rents fall due.
Cross quarter days are part of the wheel of the year, and in paganism Candlemas is called Imbolc, (derived from Imbolg, meaning quickening in the belly). This marks the first stirrings of Spring, and is when spring cleaning is supposed to start. This is the time of The White Goddess.
February 2nd; Imbolc, (Imblog, Imbole, Candlemas), is one of the threefold transition points of the Goddess energies from those of the Crone to those of the Maiden. Traditionally this is a Sabbat of Purification, and a festival of Light and Fertility. If you wish good fortune, then just after sunset on Imbolc, one should light every lamp in the house ~ and especially light candles in each room.
If you are either poetical or practical you should really pray to the ancient Goddess Brigid. Especially midwives and metal-smiths wishing good fortune should maybe acknowledge Brighid’s Day / Candlemas (February 1st / 2nd.)
The Americans, who seem to have a talent for forgetting, mark February 2nd as Groundhog Day. This festival originated among the Pennsylvania Germans, and can be traced back to the wheel of the year and Imbolc. Imbolc, being the first quickening of Spring, also involved weather prognostication, but the animal in question was a badger. The Scottish have a poem for it;
If Candlemas be bright and clear
There will be two winters in the year
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain
Winter will not come again
What you really, really want on Groundhog Day / Candlemas / Imbolc is clouds and rain. And candles, don’t forget the candles.
words and pictures by jack collier
Chaos ~ complete disorder and confusion
Chaos in Clouds
Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos. ~ Mary Shelley
As well as disorder and confusion, Chaos also refers to the behaviour of complex systems where outcomes are so unpredictable as to appear random, which they are not. Even chaos is predictable. Hence, the branch of pure mathematics called Chaos Theory has a host of ‘practical applications’. All of these are disciplines where tiny differences in the initial condition of a model produce wildly different outcomes. Sometimes this is called the butterfly effect. One of the major applications of chaos theory and the butterfly effect is in meteorology ~ forecasting the weather. The mathematics of the butterfly effect are mind-bendingly complicated, but an easy to remember illustration is that the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world. This may, or may not, be true. However there is nothing in mathematics or physics that says it is impossible.
There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s eventually going to be a butterfly. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller
Chaos theory differs from probability theory in that one tries to predict the future while the other says that predicting the future is impossible. Both are true in life. Most of life is safe and predictable, but it is as well to remember that Shit Happens. Life has some very predictable things in it, such as gravity and death, but there are also some unexpected events which we should expect to happen from time to time. Unexpected events such as; love, stock market crashes, icebergs…
Life happens. Shit happens. And it happens a lot. To a lot of people. ~ Colleen Hoover
Chaos theory also relies upon the Fractal nature of the universe. Fractal basically means something that cannot be represented by classical geometry, and looks the same whatever size and whatever portion of the whole we are looking at. It becomes really complex when we try to understand a fractal curve. Some say that a fractal curve represents the nature of God. And, that God is part of the infinite cosmos. All I know is that I have to understand that by trying to understand a spiral, which has some very complicated math to explain it. Even a two-dimensional logarithmic spiral, (such as the Nautilus shell illustrated), is quite complex ~ three dimensional spirals even more so.
Fractals and Oneness It would seem that the universe began in a state of oneness, as a singularity. Since the Big Bang, the universe has become incredibly, infinitely labyrinthine and convoluted. There is also a oneness theology which expresses the concept of God as a singularity.
Infinity is almost impossible to comprehend in the mind of man, and therefore so is God. Man quails before the unforgiving infinities. In order to make human sense of God we make him smaller, anthropomorphic… give Him a name. In my own case my higher power is the Goddess Isis ~ understandable, personal, merciful. Isis concerns herself directly with my fate and actions. A long way from the infinity of the cosmos and probably a long way from the true nature of God.
An apocryphal story says that Einstein proved the existance of God by proving that Cold does not exist.
Chaos theory says that I cannot predict the future. Fractals and oneness say that reality is a contradiction of infinite complexity and infinite simplicity. The concept of my personal Higher Power, Isis, helps me make sense of the cosmos.
words and pictures by jack collier