Change of direction

Zayn Malik has left One Direction!


(No, me neither.)


Unfortunately, I didn't have a hat to hand to help capture some photos of this morning's partial solar eclipse. So I just had to improvise and use a camera with a telephoto lens. I attached two polariser filters, set at right angles, to make everything went really dark.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse through sycamore.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse.

Solar eclipse

Solar eclipse ruining my excellent jackdaw photo.

You can see larger versions of the above photos here.

Ten years ago today…

…I wrote a Gruts post entitled It was twenty years ago today…, in which I described an event that happened thirty years ago this very day.

When did I start reckoning time in decades?

(At least a decade ago, by the sound of it.)


Conversation at Jen's work last week:

“That [female colleague] is on the game.”
“I think you mean ‘on the ball’.”

Glancing in the bark

Move over, Jesus, it's time to make way for BRUUUUUUUUUUUUCE!

Compare and contrast:


An artsy B&W photo I took of some silver birch bark yesterday.

Silver birch bark

Bruce Springsteen.

I hope you'll understand why I can't reveal the precise location of the holy silver birch. We don't want middle-aged stadium rock fans turning up and hanging their bandannas from its branches in tribute to the Boss.

Scents deprivation

My car started pestering me to replenish its screenwash fluid last week. So I used what I had, then went to Halfords to buy some more. A helpful shop assistant helped and assisted me to locate the screenwash, then asked which scent I preferred: berry or citrus.

Screen wash

Halfords berry- and citrus-scented screen wash.

I asked if they did a screenwash-scented screenwash. They didn't. So I asked what type of berries the berry-scented screenwash was supposed to smell like. He didn't know. Ditto the citrus-scented screenwash.

According to their bottles, the citrus-scented screenwash stays liquid down to -20°C, whereas the berry-scented screenwash only stays liquid down to -10°C. So I went for the citrus-scented screenwash—even though the temperature almost never drops below -10°C in this part of the world. Isn't science wonderful? Who would have thought that the choice of scent of screenwash fluid would make such a huge difference to its thermal properties?

I've been thinking about this episode on and off ever since. The thing is, I don't think it's at all important what my car's screenwash fluid smells like. OK, granted, I would prefer it not to smell like dog shit or earwax. But, given that the smell of screenwash before they add a fancy scent to it is, I presume, nothing like dog shit or earwax, I can't see the point of actually going to the trouble of giving it a different scent, to wit: unspecified berry or unspecified citrus fruit. Call me old-fashioned, but I really don't want that level of choice. What a particular brand of screenwash fluid smells like is not going to affect my decision whether to buy it or not. “What? You're all out of citrus? This is unacceptable. Fetch me the manager... No, I don't want any of your nasty, berry-scented rubbish, thank you very much. You leave me no choice but to take my custom elsewhere.” Such a conversation is never going to happen.

Like I say, I've been thinking about this quite a bit, and I've come to the conclusion that, when it comes to consumer choice, there is an ideal number of options for car screenwash scent. And that number is one.

Cue, cue, Barney McGrew...

BBC: Can robots replace firefighters?

It depends on how good they are at snooker.