Vaccinate – Just Vaccinate

On 25 May 2011 the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) made a formal declaration of the global eradication of rinderpest, marking only the second time in history that humanity has wiped out a viral disease. Smallpox (pic above) was wiped out 30 years ago, also thanks to vaccination, in this case of humans, mainly schoolkids. The smallpox vaccine was invented in 1796 by the British physician Edward Jenner and although the same principles had been used years earlier he was the first to publish evidence that it was effective and to provide advice on its production.

We’ve always joked about the rinderpest as in, this or that happened “before the rinderpest” – meaning “long ago”. Now it’s gone. Good riddance. And who do we have to thank? . . .

THANK YOU vaccination.

Rinderpest—which originated in Asia and spread around the world with invaders from Genghis Khan onward—was capable of quickly killing off cattle herds and had caused famines and economic devastation for thousands of years. The virus was wiped out with a campaign of cattle vaccination combined with widespread deployment of a test to quickly identify the disease.

The great Rinderpest epidemic in Southern Africa

In the 1890s, the rinderpest virus struck Africa – “the most devastating epidemic to hit southern Africa in the late nineteenth century”. It killed more than five million cattle south of the Zambezi, as well as domestic oxen, sheep, and goats, and wild populations of buffalo, giraffe and wildebeest. This led to widespread human starvation. The virus is thought to have been introduced into Eritrea in 1887 by Indian cattle brought by the Italians for their campaign against Somalia. It spread throughout the Horn of Africa and then headed south.

In March 1893 it reached Bulawayo. From there the plague was rapidly conveyed southwards by means of transport oxen. The scourge reached Mafeking, some 500 miles south, early in April, and about the same time it crossed the Limpopo into the Transvaal where the cattle population was rapidly decimated. As soon as rinderpest made its appearance at Mafeking every effort was made by the Government of the Cape of Good Hope to confine the infection locally and to prevent its extension further southward. Several herds of cattle were shot; two lines of fences were erected south of the seat of infection; and cordons of mounted police were stationed at various points to prevent movements of cattle from infected areas to parts south of the line. But in spite of the most strenuous precautions, the disease penetrated the barriers, and reached Vryburg in May; Barkly West in September; and Kimberley in October of the same year.

Rinderpest_1896.jpg

A final determined attempt to check the extension of the scourge further southward was then made at the Orange River. A barbed-wire fence, about a thousand miles long, was erected along the northern boundaries of the Cape Colony, about 1,000 yards south of the Orange River. The fence started near the south-western extremity of Bechuanaland and extended eastwards as far as Basutoland; then along the Cape-Basutoland and Cape-Natal boundaries as far as the coast. Police patrols were stationed all along the line, and any communication between the infected country on the north of the line and the Cape Colony was most carefully supervised. European travelers from the Colony was most carefully supervised. European travelers from the north were admitted only after disinfection of their clothes, and the entrance of natives was practically prohibited. As a result of these precautions the invasion of the Cape was delayed, but on March 1897, an outbreak occurred unexpectedly in the Herschel district, south of the line. After an investigation into the possible source of the infection the following information was obtained: The leader of a span of oxen, traveling on a main road near Aliwal North, south of the line, picked up a sack containing, amongst other things, dried meat and a pair of blood-stained trousers. He put on the trousers, and a few days afterwards the leading oxen showed symptoms of rinderpest. But before a diagnosis was made the infection had already spread to other cattle that had been in contact with the infected span of oxen.

The authorities, realising the impossibility of preventing the spread of the disease by means of the measures so far adopted, resorted to other prophylactic methods. Meanwhile Robert Koch, who had been investigating rinderpest at Kimberley on the invitation of the Cape Government, had confirmed the immunizing properties claimed by cattle farmers for the bile of animals that had died of the disease. Thanks to these farmers, Koch propounded the theory that ‘one germ causes one disease- every disease has its specific germ’ and took the first step in vaccine therapy with his rinderpest inoculation. In February 1897, this method of immunization was adopted all over the country, and before the end of 1898 more than two million head of cattle had been successfully inoculated. At the end of 1898 rinderpest was under control and temporarily disappeared from South Africa, the last reported outbreak occurring on the Transvaal-Bechuanaland border in August, 1899. Koch received the Nobel Prize for his work in 1905.

During this virulent epizootic, rinderpest caused ruin and devastation over extensive stretches of country, destroying not only the majority of domestic bovines along its route, but also considerable numbers of indigenous antelopes. It was estimated that more than two-and-a-half million head of cattle succumbed to it in South Africa alone.

During the military operations in East Africa during the First World War, rinderpest was carried southwards by the movements of infected cattle. In 1917 more than 100,000 head of cattle were immunized with the serum-simultaneous method. Again in 1939 the vaccination of approximately one million head of cattle took place, and a solid block of immune animals was thus created.

Vaccination has been among the most amazing medical boons for mankind.

Vaccinate people, just vaccinate.

~~~oo0oo~~~

thanks wikipedia. More here.

A Visit to the Neighbours

The BepiColombo probe used a flyby past our neighbour and ‘Twin Planet’ Venus to slow it down on its way to Mercury. And it took a picture as it whizzed past:

Launched in 2018 the aim is to get it orbiting Mercury by 2025. These are long-term projects! This month it reached its target planet and beamed back its first images of Mercury.

Taken from an altitude of 1000km above Mercury’s surface, this image is way better than what we had before from our only two previous missions to Mercury: NASA’s Mariner 10 in the early 1970s, and Messenger in the early 2000s. But this is just the first encounter. The probe will now take another four years and five flybys to slow down enough so it can get into stable orbit around Mercury, the closest planet in the Solar System to the Sun.

– more here and here

Launched aboard an Ariane rocket, the BepiColombo mission is a joint effort between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). After a three-year-long journey, the probe has finally reached Mercury. Four more years to go.

Once in a stable orbit in 2025, ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, both onboard the probe, will be released. They will eventually study various aspects of Mercury, including its core, magnetic field, exosphere, and surface processes, to better understand the planet’s origins and evolution, according to the ESA.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Chef TomTom

Clearing out old emails

On Mon, Nov 22, 2010, Pete wrote:
I felt a snuggle in bed last night. Wasn’t Aitch. Eight year-old TomTom had come through and was spooned tightly against my back.

Later, when I had to roll over he was wide awake.
“Dad” he whispers close to my ear, scared he’ll wake his Ma.
Mm
“I’m hungry. Can I get up and make myself a snack. I’m really hungry.”
He’s 24 kg wringing wet, and his muti suppresses his appetite by day, so I say:
Mm

I wake again to a feeling that it has been some time. I can hear dishes clanking, so I get up and tiptoe to the kitchen, where the clock shows straight up 4am. Still dark outside, but the kitchen neon is blazing.

Lots of kit has been employed and a good dusting of icing sugar is evident on the chairs and the floor.
What? I ask
“Dad” he says, “I’m icing Marie biscuits.”
Have you eaten? I ask.
“Not yet, Dad, but they’re nearly ready.”

“And” he says, “I’ve made my school lunch.”

I didn’t ask.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Steve replied: Doncha just love it. This young man is not only a problem solver but also aware of the necessity for contingency planning. Hope this does not turn into a regular event though.
Our Neil [24] occasionally mentions he is “off to get some food” at the end of a phone chat to him down in Welly. I imagine this would mean most likely pizza, burger or when he is at his most domesticated, a ready-roasted chicken with some breadrolls.
Like you, I don’t ask. 

Mini Frogs

Meet Mini mum, Mini scule and Mini ature, Three New Frog Species Among the World’s Smallest.

– look carefully for Mini mum –

Isn’t that beautiful? Found in Madagascar in 2019.

Mark D. Scherz, a Ph.D. candidate at Germany’s Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and Technical University of Braunschweig and lead author of the new study published in PLoS ONE, said in a statement that naming the new genus was a thrill. “I have long wanted there to be pun-named reptile or amphibian species in Madagascar,” he says. “It’s great that we were able to find a funny name that is also informative; Mini is not just amusing, but also an accurate descriptor.” Scherz seems a character. Here’s his tweet announcing the publication:

“Just published in @PLOSONE!! Meet Mini, the newest genus of frogs from Madagascar!! With three new species: Mini mum, Mini scule, and Mini ature, because I am HILARIOUS.”

Read more about them at the Smithsonian mag, at mashable and at mongabay.

According to National Geographic’s Michelle Z. Donahue, the world’s smallest known vertebrate is a frog, Paedophryne amauensis, a Papua New Guinean native measuring an average of 7.7 millimeters long, or around the size of a housefly.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Why Do Chillis Burn and Make Us Sweat?

– nobel medal –
(Photo by Niklas HALLE’N / POOL / AFP)

Re-posting this 2015 post after the winners of 2021’s Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine tell how they used the chili pepper’s capsaicin to narrow down the molecule that lets us sense heat and pain (or temperature and touch) – a ground-breaking discovery which is going to lead to advances in medicine). See link at the end. And step up your chili eating!

~~~oo0oo~~~

I love hot food so I looked into the whole effect-of-chilis thing a couple years ago and was really intrigued and pleased at what I discovered.

nsmail

  Good stuff

Tongue
– human tongue up close –

If you could watch cells and nerves on your tongue through a powerful microscope as someone burnt them with a flame you would actually see them get physically damaged as they sent a mad “heat and pain!” signal to your brain. If you watched them as you ate a habanero chili the same urgent message would be sent, but NO HARM would be happening to the cells! No harm whatsoever.

Once you process this info you can really start to relax and enjoy hot food. It’s “capsaicin” that’s responsible for that burn and pain sensation. Marvellous stuff! Capsaicin selectively binds to a protein known as TRPV1 that resides on the membranes of pain and heat-sensing neurons. TRPV1 is a heat-activated calcium channel that usually opens between 37 and 45°C. When capsaicin binds to TRPV1, it causes the channel to open at or below normal human body temperature, which is why capsaicin is linked to the sensation of heat. Glorious heat! So what happens when you add chillis to your grub is your body thinks it is being exposed to heat. Your tolerance for heat in the exposed tissues goes so low that the temperature of your own body is mistaken for a serious burn. Your brain says ouch! and eina! at first, but once you know what’s happening you learn to say Ooh! and Aah! and you get to LURV that sensation and the feeling of well-being that follows.

So: You can go on a long boring run for your endorphin pleasure, or you can sit and enjoy a delicious meal for the same effect!

That’s the brain’s response. Meantime, your body responds to this heat like it would normally by trying to cool you. Capillaries expand in the area of contact and redness and swelling begin so the blood can carry heat away and bring in healing factors to fix the injury (in this case: “injury”). The chemical only works locally on the tissues it directly touches (on nerve endings). This is why your tongue and lips will burn, as they have lots of nerve endings close to the surface. But the pain may also cause general stress sweating as your body is chemically reacting to pain and trying to counteract it. Your body thinks it is in the presence of a dangerous level of heat and responds with the sensation of pain even though there is no danger.

Incidentally, your body’s ability to feel temperature is a separate sense. TPRV1 receptors are an “Ouch! that’s hot” sense not a “Hmm, this is hot or cold” sense. Normally heat only begins to generate pain if it goes over about 37°C and the pain climbs as the heat does!

You get used to (and learn to love) the effect of chillis. Repeated exposure to capsaicin causes the chemicals that communicate pain to be depleted from your nerve endings, making you tougher and less of a ninny. Did I mention: Marvellous stuff!?

Aside: Chillies originally come from South and Central America, and were taken to Europe first and then to India and Asia, where they became an integral part of Asian cuisine.

(Thanks to Ariel Williams on quora for a lot of this!)

Remember: 'Tis a boring man who can only spell a word one way.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Read how the chili pepper helped us find out more about how heat and pain works.

Miss Universal Joints

Met a lovely new friend Rory this week. He knows what happens under the bonnets of motorcars, so a thoroughly useful chap. I was introduced to Rory by Geoffrey, a British monarchy supporter but otherwise a decent sort.

Geoffrey not only solved my dilemma of how and when to have my fine 14yr-old vehicle serviced, but offered to take me home after I dropped off the old Ford – and bought me coffee and a muffin on the way home! We drank the delicious brew (brewed by a local KZN boykie) sitting outside and solving a few of the world’s problems. Which I told him would only really be solved when the last king was strangled by the entrails of the last priest*. I hope he took notes.

I asked Rory to give the Ford a test drive as somethin’ was ridin’ rough. He said it was something called Miss Universal Joints and that he replaced two of them like a good orthopedic surgeon. Shows how little I know: I didn’t even know the ole Ford had entered the Miss Universe competition.

~~~oo0oo~~~

*Good thinking, Denis Diderot

Mtentu Paradise

Friend Rohan owns Detour Trails and arranges the most amazing bespoke mountain bike holidays all over Africa. We joined him Easter 2010 on a ride from the Mtamvuna River to the Mtentu River. At least I did. Aitch drove the kids to Mtentu in the kombi (or maybe in friend Craig’s Colt 4X4 – not sure).

Both hands on the handlebar, so no pics of the ride. I only fell off once, and no-one saw. On the way we stopped for a refreshing swim in a clear deep pool in a steep valley.

Once we got to the magnificent Mtentu River mouth (see the feature pic above) I abandoned my bike and joined the family for lazy hiking, while the keen MTB’ers rode out and back each day.

An easy stroll across pristine coastal grasslands took us to where the Mkambathi River drops straight into the sea at high tide.

At low tide the falls (very low flow here) drop onto the sand of a beautiful beach. Tommy knows there’s bait under here somewhere for his fishing!

– the little bay half full – at Spring low tide the whole bay is beach –
– the falls at high tide – another time – also low-flow winter –

Everyone loves this little bay. Aitch, Jess and Tom each had a spell where they had the whole beach to themselves: (click on pics for detail)

– our Jessie really knows how to baljaar!

Upstream along the Mkambathi River you find Strandloper Falls. The last time we’d been we said ‘Must Bring Our Diving Masks And Snorkels Next Time!’ – and we remembered.

– smaller falls on the way upstream –
– Strandloper Falls –

Then we strolled back:

Back on the Mtentu River, Rohan had kayaks for us to paddle upstream in search of another waterfall

Then back downstream to the Mtentu mouth

Paradise – three hours south of Durban. There’s a lodge there now, so it’s even easier to stay.

~~~oo0oo~~~

baljaar – frolic

Late Lunch?

That’s different, I thought. Something had zoomed into the Albizia at speed and the birds had scattered.

A juvenile Little Sparrowhawk. She sat for a while peering around and up and down intently. To me it looked like she was on the hunt. Then she darted off in a flash. I hope she got something to eat.

Meanwhile the Hadeda was unfazed, gathering nesting material.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Spring Sprung

Spring birding has been great. Some poor but fun pics of what’s been buzzing about.

– Cardinal Woodpecker – only one, but I inserted him three more times using FastStone –
– three birds in one shot! – top Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Spectacled Weaver and female Black Cuckooshrike bottom – I added in a clearer pic of the cuckooshrike –
– Yellow-bellied Greenbul – left one is same bird added in (a bit small!) – insert was nearby – there were three of them –

Above: Cape White-eye and African Firefinch – Spectacled Weaver – Olive Thrush

– the Lodders came to visit and Louis casually shot a Grey Waxbill while we were talking – see in the inset how she flashed her scarlet rump lingerie at Louis –

Below: A Pegesimallus robber fly; The tail hanging down from the branch? A vervet monkey; Temnora marginata (a sphinx moth); Ceryx fulvescens (yellow sleeved maiden moth); and – the white moth possibly a citrus looper? Thanks, iNaturalist.org for help with identification.

The female Black Cuckooshrike returned and I got a better view. Pics are poor as I took them through my dirty window rather than open up and spook her. One bird, I compiled this montage with FastStone again.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Rocky Horror in Senekal Vrystaat

Tabs Fyvie called me this morning: Jenny and I are on our way back from Namibia and guess where we spent the night?

I can’t guess.

In Senekal!

NO WAY!! Senekal!? I would have bet money that Tabs Fyvie would never again in his WHOLE LAHF voluntarily spend a night in the dusty and sinister metropolis of Senekal Vrystaat!

And here’s why:

~~~oo0oo~~~

1975: Rugby in Bloemfontein, first test Springboks vs the Frogs, the French. We drove over in Tabs’ car to watch.

– Morne du Plessis the SA captain –
– very boring footage –

One of the teams must have won, but I remember that test for something different than rugby: After the game, Tabs, Des, Raz, Stervis and I are driving back to Harrismith when the beer ran out and a kroeg – no way you would call it a pub – in the dusty metropolis of Senekal beckoned.

Tabs remembers us playing darts and drinking maybe quite a lot. By the time the barman threw us out Des had bonded deeply with one of Senekal’s left-behinds, and when we suggested we leave for home rather than go home with Deliverance for a braai, Des told us in no uncertain terms that WE could go, but HE was not leaving his lifelong mate – of three hours – in the lurch. There would be no abandonment, said Des with his nose in the air and his eyes closed – you know how he gets.

ONE fing we must NOT do, we were told, also in no uncertain terms, by Des’ Brokeback Mountain mate when we got to the small house on the wrong side of Senekal, is wake his wife. Lemme tell you carefully, you must not, no marrer whut you do, wake my wahf, you hear?

Wooden floors, five drunk ous stumbling around, I started to think this goon doesn’t actually have a wife. Conan meanwhile, is scratching around in the chest deep freeze. He hauls out what looks like a roundish, rock-hard lump of blood in a plastic checkers packet, and suddenly I get a clear image: He DOES have a wife and she IS in the house! In that deep freeze! In fact, he’s offering us a piece of her for a braai! I’m tallying you, we’re part of his alibi!

Des, I urge, we should go, this is going to take forever, I’m tallying you. But it’s like Des told us: WE can go, but HE’s not leaving his lifelong mate; his china; his Senekal Soulmate.

It’s midnight in midwinter in Senekal, Vrystaat. It’s not warm. Eventually a fire gets going – sort of – and the icy red lumpy piece of deceased wife sits on it, refusing to melt. Its like ice vs small fire and ice is winning. An alternative hazy recollection is the oven was turned on and the lump placed in there. Exact facts are in dispute among us hostages decades later. Maybe we’re suffering from Stockholm Syndrome?

Meantime, Jack Nicholson has found some dop and we have to drink, and luckily this puts him to sleep and mellows the Glutz, who loves him less sleeping than awake; so we’re able to persuade him to make a bolt for it, hitting the Senekal dirt roads till we find the tar to Harrismith.

Stervis has a hazy recollection of a lump of red meat being put into an oven, not on a braai; and of the Wildman pulling out a gun, Clint Oosthuizen-style, and taking potshots at us as the getaway car spins madly down the driveway, slewing sideways and throwing up stones which put Rambo off his aim. Luckily the resulting dust plume obscures us from view and saves our lives. I like Stervis’ version.

Tabs has a slightly different recollection which the years have not made any less exciting: His version is also wilder than mine: He remembers this Clyde making threats against anyone wanting to pomp his Bonnie, who he thought we may have seen – maybe she was present? Having to protect his wahf’s honour made our Clyde mutter he was going to fetch his gun. We took the break and ran for the car. Out of the corner of his eye Tabs, now the driver of the getaway car, noticed one of us was quite a way behind in this desperate race. As the car peeled out, wheels spinning, Des leapt the fence Olympic hurdler-style. His short cut got him to the moving car, the door was flung open and he dived inside, saving him from a feit worse van deaf.

Bliksem!

To this day I can experience that weird, out-of-body sensation of “WTF are we DOING here? Am I in a bad movie or in a bad dream?!”

~~~oo0oo~~~

I had visited Senekal once before under happier circumstances.

Lifer at Home!

Blustery day with a warm wind after the cold of the last few days. Rather unpleasant outside, so I sat in the lounge and re-read my Damon Runyon.

– the view from my couch – thank goodness for Zeiss binnies! –

What’s that in the birdbath copse? Just Cape White-eyes. And that? Ah, a Yellow-bellied Greenbul in the afternoon sunlight. I took a couple shots for the record with my little Canon compact with its lovely 25X zoom.

What’s that behind him? Two canaries, No, next to them. A mannikin. Now two of them. Wait, they look bigger. Thank goodness for my binocs. I’m sure . . . I’m not twitching, am I?

Must take pics. One from the lounge with the little Canon on full zoom:

Then some from much closer, on the cottage deck using my tripod. Upper beak silver, not black? Check. Chest white, less dark below the chin? Check. Dark shoulder flash? Check. That broad orange bar on the flank? It is! It’s a Magpie Mannikin! Bogey bird of mine for decades; and after searching all over for it, up and down the east coast, I nail it in my own front garden!

Luvverly! Lonchura fringilloides

Nailed at Last II

A while ago I spotted an Ashy Flycatcher in my garden and wrote about ‘nailing it at last!’

This morning I got up at 5.40am, made a cup o’ coffee and settled on my lazyboy chair warmly dressed and covered in an old sleeping bag, binocs in hand. Lovely windless, cloudless morning.

And boy, what a parade!

I saw the Tambourine Dove above; More listed below.

Two drongos chased a Mother-of-Pearl butterfly over the grass and meadow, over the pool towards me and then right under my patio roof, where one of the drongos nailed it. It flew off to that same tree you see below and ate it, shedding the wings. Pieces of wing spiralled down slowly in the still air.

– collage of another Mother-of-Pearl I found dead near Durban Botanic Gardens –

And then to top it off, for the first time here, I saw this at last – I’d heard of sightings down the valley, but I hadn’t seen him in my garden yet. Now I have!

– a silhouetted Grey Cuckooshrike, Coracina caesia

Sunrise was behind them, so poor pics but nice and clear in my binoculars.

A Grey Cuckooshrike! Louis in the valley had been crowing and I’d been fuming. Now I’m his equal! Ha!

~~~oo0oo~~~

Saw: Weavers Spectacled and Thick-billed; Starlings Red-winged and Black-bellied; Sunbirds Olive and Amethyst; Greenbuls Sombre and Yellow-bellied; Dark-capped Bulbul; White-eye; Red-eyed Dove; Olive Thrush; Hadeda; Yellow-billed Kite; Purple-crested Turaco; Flycatchers Black and Dusky; Fork-tailed Drongo; Yellow-fronted Canary; Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird; Egyptian Goose; Speckled Mousebird; Barn Swallow; Barbets Black-collared and White-eared; Lesser Honeyguide; Black-backed Puffback; Black-headed Oriole;

Heard: Grey-headed Bush Shrike, Crested Barbet, Southern Boubou, African Firefinch, White-bellied Sunbird, Klaas’ Cuckoo

Yay! and About Time!

Last week, the USA Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a long-anticipated report to Congress examining the repair restrictions facing consumers, along with a summary of arguments for and against those restrictions. Its conclusion was stark: There is “scant evidence” to support manufacturers’ justifications for restricting repair, while the solutions repair advocates have proposed are “well supported” by their testimonials.

Advocates say that compelling disgusting companies like Apple, Tesla and many others (who often told bald-faced lies to the commission) to release parts, manuals, and diagnostic information needed for repair will make fixing broken devices faster and more affordable. Ultimately, this will encourage us to maintain our stuff instead of replacing it, resulting in less environmental harm and electronic waste.

May this spread everywhere.

And it’s coming here! In South Africa from 1 July 2021, new car owners won’t be locked into restrictive embedded motor or service plans and vehicle manufacturers won’t be allowed to void warranties if owners choose to go with an independent service or repair provider. Until now, South Africa has felt trapped by these restrictive embedded motor and service plans. This is why the Competition Commission began a process in 2017 to bring our country more in line with places such as the USA, Europe and Australia.

Yay! Every time companies lose in their lying ‘FTC’ bids, we potentially win. To see how they fight ugly and fight dishonestly for their RIGHT to ‘FTC’ is astonishing!

~~~oo0oo~~~

FTC – Fuck The Customer – coincidentally could also mean the Federal Trade Commission in the USA!

~~~oo0oo~~~

OK, so it is Schadenfreude

You can’t fix stupid. Trump’s racist wall ‘to keep rapists out’ has had its first flood season and guess what . . ?

Well, who could have predicted that a wall, a ‘very beautiful wall, not a fence, a real wall’ would be toppled by a flood?

Not the Orange Liar; Not his sycophants; But everyone who knows anything about water could have told him- and did tell him.

Besides being inhuman, this is also an environmental crime. Read here how a beautiful river has been compromised by this Orange Liar’s fence, plus how people who live right on the border feel about it.

See: Trump’s Border Wall Torn Apart by Arizona Monsoon Rains

~~~oo0oo~~~

Turkey 1998

We went to Istanbul and Antalya in 1998. Aitch kept a diary. I have posted some pages. Sometimes I’m the villain in the diary! Sometimes I’m a correspondent.

One day the two of us meandered off on a trip up the western side, or right bank, of the Golden Horn, reaching the Pierre Loti cafe up on a hill by land, then returning by water taxi.

Pierre Loti Cafe –

Aziyadé (also known as Constantinople) is a novel by author Pierre Loti. Semi-autobiographical, it is based on a diary Loti kept during a three-month period as a French Naval officer in Greece and Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the fall and winter of 1876. It tells the story of the 27-year-old Loti’s illicit love affair with an 18-year-old “Circassian” harem girl named Aziyadé. Although Aziyadé was one of many conquests in the exotic romantic’s life, she was his greatest love, and he would wear a gold ring with her name on it for the rest of his life. The book also describes Loti’s “friendship” with a Spanish manservant named Samuel, suggesting a love triangle. Most critics believe, based on Loti’s diary entries, that some sort of homosexual affair occurred (indeed some believe Aziyadé never existed and the entire work is a cover for a homosexual love story). It also describes Loti’s love affair with Turkish culture which became a central part of his “exotica” persona.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Sailing ship trip along the Antalya Mediterranean coast line:

Turkey fun:

Ancient places:

~~~oo0oo~~~

Map by Kaidor – thank you

Clumsy!

Walking back from clearing up my birdbath I spotted a strikingly blue butterfly. WoW! I thought, Must get a picture of that and get it ID’d on iNaturalist.

Sprinting swiftly past the beauty into the house I deftly grabbed my net and nimbly darted back to where it now sat at the pool edge. A dextrous swish and I had it! You know how sprightly us butterfly-netting lepidoptometrists are.

Butterfly Lepidoptometrist Nimble Stalker

Well, it got away! So who knows what it was. Paging through the blues in Woodhall’s field guide my guess would be one of the hairtails in the pics above, but this is a very dodgy way of trying to ID a butterfly. Next time.