Saturday, April 29, 2017

Bluebell woods in black and white

I'm sure this barn wasn't derelict last time I was here.

We met a horse here.

The woods are full of branches.

Real bluebells.

Tree trunks echo.

We walked along this fallen tree and it felt like we were surfing.

The final forks in the road, ho ho.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

RSS shenanigans

Fixed the insecure Javascript element over at after moving to HTTPS and noticed that certain RSS feeds aren't currently coming through. If you're reading this through the feed, then note that you may be missing Disposable Evidence posts, at the least. Don't worry, it's low traffic.
Given seems to have stopped letting me access anything at all (?), maybe it's finally time to spend an evening doing my own custom aggregation service...

Update: So doesn't mean, I always forget that. Disposable Evidence was disabled in feedinformer because something-something-something. Looks like it's back now - RSS / Atom.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Kew and Kandor, and the mirror of the Empire

Kew Gardens, founded in 1840. Today it houses over 30,000 kinds of plant and 750,000 books. The forecast is rain, but we've been lucky perhaps - more sun than precipitation, jumpers more off than on. 

Kew is a living museum. Somewhere in between the dullness of my feet, the wonder of the architecture's scale, and the raw pink of Kew Palace, I realise I'm in a curation. It's hard to see at first, because I grew up in a curation, and the history and existence of Kew matches my own history and existence that unpicking the two is near impossible. But here it is, a mirror within a mirror. 

There is everything at Kew. South American cacti, a Japanese gatehouse and assorted bonsai, a Chinese pagoda and dog statues, Alpine flowerlets, a high-ceilinged Orangery, rainforest fish, palm trees. Within the huge walled garden, the world. 

It is a curation of the world beyond these walls and beyond these seas, a gathering of flora derived from our civilization's ability to travel and to explore. It is like and unlike Brighton's Booth Museum, which has a stronger sense of focus on the British Isles, and yet still on collection and curation of The Wild. In Kew, a micro cosmos, a botanical Kandor. 

And all the while that we're there, planes fly overhead, one every 60 to 90 seconds, spat out from Heathrow Airport like laser tracer bullets, undercarriage still lucidly displayed. A constant reminder of how the world has got smaller in only a few hundred years. I never adjust to the sound for the whole day. 

Exploration is in the British blood. We think of ourselves as traders, but really we have always been importers - of ideas and cultures as much as plants and people. We crave styles other than our own. We look elsewhere for a sense of adventure, especially so from the age of the Victorians right up to our own cruise- or Lonely-Planet-besotted generations. We thrive on novelty and otherness and escape, and the things we bring back are our badges of freedom, power and superiority. 

So what are we escaping from?