Space/time glitch on Seattle skyline

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

The picture below shows the Seattle skyline, as seen from the top of Smith Tower. The TC, bless her cotton socks, says that the light-coloured angular shape on the left half of the image looks to her like a glitch in the space time continuum. We more sober souls know it’s more likely to be yet another a skyscraper plated in reflective glass.

Word of the day

Glitch is the word of the day. This worm is surprised to learn that it’s a relatively new term, originating among space scientists in the 1960s. The word glitch first meant a sudden surge in current, which often was the cause of a malfunction. Later the word’s meaning broadened to mean a short-lived fault that’s difficult to track down.

The book I’m in

The Hunter’s Oath, by Jason Dean. Yes, I’m still stuck in the same book as I was in the previous two posts. It’s a good read, featuring action hero James Bishop. The hero is a little like Jack Reacher, only meaner.

That’s all for today, folks.

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Published in: on 30 March 2018 at 5:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Distinctive motorcycle repair shop in Seattle

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

This atmospheric motorcycle repair shop is on Aurora Ave N in Fremont, Seattle:

Click on the picture to zoom in, and take a look all the bikes and flags behind the windows.

The business is Vallantine Motor Works. This worm likes the combination of gothic styling and beautiful machines. It quite makes me want to wander in and see what’s going on.

The book I’m in

The Hunter’s Oath, by Jason Dean. A good, fast read with action hero James Bishop. The hero is a little like Jack Reacher, only meaner.

That’s all for today, folks.

Mt Rainier view from Fremont

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

The TC, bless her cotton socks, has visited Seattle a few times, but without seeing the renowned Mt Rainier. Friends and colleagues assured her it was a spectacular sight, but often hidden by cloud.

On this visit, suddenly, there it was. As if someone had dropped a great big mountain out of the sky.

Here’s Mt Rainier, seen from the bridge on Aurora Ave N in Fremont, Seattle:

The Fremont Troll lurks under the same bridge. I posted a couple of pictures of the troll and the underneath of the bridge.

Mt Rainer lies 87 kilometres south east of Seattle. It’s an active volcano. Although it’s currently dormant, it’s considered one of the 16 most dangerous in the world because of the large amount of damage an eruption would cause to living creatures and property.

Word of the day

On-premise is the word of the day, used in phrases like “on-premise software/services,” to compare such services with those in the cloud. “On-premise” is a malapropism for “on-premises”. The question is whether the malapropism is now in sufficient common use for us to start using it without feeling uncomfortable. The TC, bless her cotton socks, still feels uncomfortable with such use of “on premise” or “on-premise”.

Here’s what the TC says:

I first read the term “on-premise software” about 5 years ago. I was completely flummoxed. “What? Is this software that’s offered under the assumption I’ve accepted some premise or other? Where’s that premise written?” Now, 5 years is a long time in the tech world, but perhaps not outside our industry. As a tech writer, I want to avoid giving people that unpleasant brain-bump of “that breaks my language parser”. What’s the harm in getting it right, and saying “on premises”? I guess someone else’s answer may be: the docs sound old and fuddy-duddy.

The book I’m in

The Hunter’s Oath, by Jason Dean. A good, fast read with action hero James Bishop. The hero is a little like Jack Reacher, only meaner.

That’s all for today, folks.

Harlequin bugs on NSW Central Coast

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC spent a couple of days on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. This was a while ago. Now I’m on another trip to somewhere else, and thus finding the time to publish some words.

My impressions? Restful prettiness with enough history and natural beauty to occupy the mind.

Word of the day

Bug is the word of the day.  According to the Australian Museum, bugs and beetles are different groups of creatures. They have different mouthparts (beetles chew, bugs don’t),  different lifecycles (beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis from larval stage, bugs don’t), different food choices (beetles eat solids, bugs don’t), and different wings (beetles have two pairs, bugs don’t).

This worm concludes there’s a lot that beetles do and bugs don’t. Never mind, the bugs in this post are pretty. At least they have that going for them.

Travel tip

Look before you sit. The colourful bugs pictured below were roaming around on a park bench. A careless sitter would have squished them.

The book I’m in

Infinity Born, by Douglas E. Richards. Artificial intelligence runs wild in this action-packed, thought-provoking book.

The photos

Me and the rising sun, at the window of the Crowne Plaza hotel in Terrigal:

These two bugs roamed around a park bench. Luckily the TC spotted them before sitting down. I think they’re Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs. Almost as attractive as your faithful bookworm!

The bugs are reasonably large, certainly much bigger than a ladybird. For scale, the TC put her finger next to them on the park bench:

Methinks they’re in love, or one of them is. Play the video to see how one follows the other, occasionally bumping into it by mistake or perhaps on purpose:

Now for a complete change of subject, just because I can. Contrary to appearances, this is not a monster’s gullet. It’s a hollow tree trunk:

That’s all for today, folks.

Troll encounter in Fremont, Seattle

The TC caught this troll by surprise as it emerged from its den under the Aurora bridge in Fremont, Seattle.

I think the troll caught the TC by surprise too, but she had enough composure to snap the picture of the troll, and to turn her back on it to snap the view of the bridge from underneath.

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 16 October 2017 at 5:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Imposing and peaceful Tintern Abbey, Wales

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC travelled from Bristol to the Wye Valley in Wales to see Tintern Abbey, on the recommendation of a coffee vendor we met at the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

My impressions? The mix of fallen and still-standing walls is strangely effective in conveying the grandeur and peace of the place.

Word of the day

Abbey is the word of the day. The word stems from the same root as the Aramaic אבא (‘abbā), the Hindi abbā, and the Arabic ab, all of which mean “father”. An abbey is where the abbot lives, the abbot being the head of a group of monks. ABBA is also the name of a rather well known Swedish pop group. The group’s name is formed from the first letters of the singers’ names.

Travel tip

Pay heed to coffee vendors and other wise folks.

The book I’m in

Alaskan Fire, by Sara King. A good read, although slightly less sophisticated than this author’s other works.

The photos

Me taking in the sights from a window at Tintern Abbey:

The Welsh name for the abbey is Abaty Tyndyrn. The tourist brochure says Tintern Abbey is Wales’s best-preserved abbey. In Welsh, that’s “Yr Abaty sydd yn y cyflwr gorau yng Nghymru”:

Play this video to hear the sounds of Tintern Abbey:

The first buildings that formed the abbey were built in 1130s. Most of the original structure has disappeared, and what we see now was built in the 400-year period leading up to 1536. Then King Henry VIII passed a number of laws that put a stop to monasteries and the monastic life in England, Ireland, and Wales. The abbey fell to ruin:

Flowers and poetry grow from its walls:

Symmetry and sky greet you as you enter:

The pantry has an imposing ceiling:

Do not climb on the walls, written in English and Welsh:

This worm has noticed that the plumbing is often a high point in ruins. The abbey is no exception – the drainage system is lauded in the tourist information:

Me and Peg checked out the bathing facilities:

The view of the hills probably hasn’t changed much in the 850+ years since the abbey was built:

Farewell gracious abbey:

That’s all for today, folks.

Clifton Suspension Bridge thrice crossed

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC crossed the Clifton Suspension Bridge in three ways yesterday. We strolled across it, drove over it, and drove under it. The bridge spans the River Avon near Bristol, UK, and offers heart-stopping views of the city and the river.

My impressions? An impressive work of engineering, surrounded by beauty.

Word of the day

Suspense is the word of the day. Dangling from a suspension bridge makes for a suspenseful day’s work.

Travel tip

If you’re driving, stop the car well short of the bridge and stroll down for a leisurely look.

Recommended coffee cart

A friendly, knowledgeable person offered us a cup of Union Direct Trade coffee and a chat at the Bristol end of the bridge. He’s fun to talk to, and the coffee is good.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. I’m still munching my way through the same book as in my previous few posts. A good Lee Child is a good place to be.

The photos

Me snuggling up to one of the 3,500 load-bearing bolts that hold the Clifton Suspension Bridge together:

This worm does not envy these workers dangling from a maintenance cage under the bridge, more than 245 feet above the river:

On one side of the bridge is a view of the River Avon with the city of Bristol in the distance:

On the other side of the bridge, the river stretches out its muddy banks:

A sobering sign hints of people less happy than we:

Crossing the bridge:

Flowers of the Bristol onion decorate the bridge’s sides:

The Clifton Suspension Bridge spand 702 feet and weighs 1,500 tonnes. The chains that support the bridge stretch 20 miles underground. Here’s a parting shot from the road below the bridge:

That’s all for today, folks.

In search of the Grim Reaper

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC found ourselves in Bristol and went in search of the Grim Reaper by Banksy. This is the tale of our quest from the Thekla to Spike Island in search of the artwork.

My impressions? A vibrant, thoughtful area of Bristol.

Word of the day

Graffito is the word of the day. It’s the little-known singular form of graffiti, and comes from the Italian word graffiato, meaning scratched. In the most common usage, graffiti are words, signs, drawings, or paintings that someone has put on a wall without permission. In art history, graffiti are works of art produced by scratching the surface. Another meaning of graffito is a deliberate mark or sign, such as a mason’s mark.

Travel tip

A good quest is a fine excuse to explore your surrounds.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. I’m still munching my way through the same book as in my previous two posts. A good Lee Child is a good place to be.

The photos

Me at the Thekla. I’d heard Banksy’s Grim Reaper was on the Thekla, so that’s where I started my quest:

At the start of the quest I didn’t know what a “Thekla” was. Then I found the boat. Next, look for the painting. I examined the river walls, the sides of the boat, the nearby buildings. No Grim Reaper.

However, I did come across this striking picture on a window near Welsh Back:

Here’s a closer look. This worm thinks it’s an impressive work of art:

Still, not a Banksy. A quick internet search yielded the vital clue. Banksy’s Grim Reaper had indeed originally been painted on the Thekla in 2003, but it was moved to the M Shed, a nearby museum, in 2015. The water and weather had damaged the work of art, and the owners were afraid it would disappear entirely. They cut out the piece of the boat that contained the Grim Reaper, and presented it to the M Shed as a long-term loan.

So, off to the M Shed we go. First, a pretty view across the River Avon:

The TC found this no-nonsense sign post amusing, particularly as the bridge does indeed present itself as a “weak bridge”:

Wend your way past the evidence of a good night out:

And there’s the M Shed:

Inside, the Grim Reaper at last:

This worm does find it a little ironic that a stencilled graffito, surely expected to be temporary, should be behind glass and locked doors. On the other hand, I’m very glad that I managed to see this work, and that other people will be able to find it too.

That’s all for today, folks.

Winchester Cathedral an unexpected pleasure

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC had a few hours to spare in Hampshire, England, before catching up with some friends. We spotted Winchester on the map, and came across the cathedral almost by accident.

My impressions? An awe-inspiring building with gracious hosts.

Word of the day

Knapping is the word of the day. It’s what you do to shape a piece of flint into a tool or an ornament, by tapping and chiselling until the stone has the shape you need. You can therefore refer to knapped or unknapped flint. The word knapping is related to the Germanic root knopp, meaning to strike.

Travel tip

Chat to the guides in the cathedral, even if you don’t take a guided tour. The guides are kind, enthusiastic and knowledgable.

Recommended restaurant

The Stable, 31b The Square, Winchester SO23 9EX, UK. Excellent pizza, catering also for vegan and gluten free diets. Good cider and friendly staff.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. The story follows on directly from Tripwire and features the same hero, Jack Reacher. The TC is on holiday and happened to have both books in her bag. I wiggled easily from the one to the other, and am experiencing that rare pleasure of reading two sequential books in sequence.

The photos

Me and William Walker, the diver who saved Winchester Cathedral in the early 1900s. William dressed in heavy diving gear and went into the water under the building every day for six long years, shoring up the foundations. He saved the cathedral from collapse.

Being short in stature, I appreciate a good floor. Winchester Cathedral has a good floor:

This heart-breaking memorial for a six-week old baby caught my eye:

Also on the floor is the tomb of Jane Austen, beloved author. It’s interesting to note that the inscription makes no mention of her fame as a writer:

Raising your eyes to the TC’s level rather than this worms, you’d see the thoughtful gaze of Jane Austen:

Here lies Godfrey de Lucy, bishop of Winchester from 1189 to 1204:

The positioning of the three moons is interesting on this memorial stone. To a modern eye, they seem to form a smiley face. This worm wonders what folks thought of them in 1700:

The large book below is a roll of honour to the Rifle Brigade in World War I (1914-1918). The page turner shown in the display is a thin, engraved and shaped piece of wood, for use only with this roll of honour:

Inside the cathedral are a number of inner walls, enclosing tombs and sanctuaries. Many of them are intricately carved, like the one below. There are also caskets atop the wall:

Symmetry in the crypt below the cathedral:

The shot below is taken from the back of the cathedral, looking down the main hall (the nave) towards the altar:

Construction of the cathedral started in 1079. The main hall was built later, in the years between 1350 and 1525.

The stained glass window at the back of the church was rebuilt from pieces of shattered glass in 1660, after English Parliamentary troops (the so-called Roundheads led by Cromwell) destroyed the original window:

The west face of Winchester Cathedral:

Walking down to the right of the west face, you’ll see this view of the building:

Four Norman arches stretch away from the main building:

Pieces of flint embedded in the walls around the cathedral:

That’s all for today, folks.

Grenfell Tower fire tribute in Winchester Cathedral

I was at Winchester Cathedral yesterday, and saw this beautiful, heartfelt tribute to those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire:

Visitors can pick up a pebble from the bowl on the right, and drop it into the pool of water in the left-hand bowl, as a way of showing support. Shared thoughts spread like ripples moving across the water.

During our visit to the cathedral, we were struck by the sincere warmth of the guides and the restful beauty of the building. The Grenfell Tower tribute has the same gracious, simple warmth.

Published in: on 21 June 2017 at 5:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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