A Quote from A.A Milne

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Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits

from Winnie the Pooh

by A.A Milne

 

Many thanks to Joshi Daniel for lending me this lovely portrait photograph entitled: Black and white portrait of a sadhu at the Kumbh Mela in Trimbakeshwar. Joshi has an amazing photography blog with some incredible portrait and street photography. Well worth a visit.

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You Can’t Push a Sucker!

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This last week I managed to break the end of the plastic tube on my fifteen plus years old Dyson vacuum cleaner. It was the piece that fits into the metal tube that fits into the head that you push across the floor. With no way to fix it and no spare available we reluctantly went to town to purchase a new machine, having researched styles, performance and price etc beforehand. I wanted the same style as my old Dyson which was bagless. We found a Moulinex machine for a decent price which was the right style and bought it, brought it home and I put it together and plugged it in. And then I could not believe that I couldn’t push it across the carpet!! It sucked so powerfully that you could only move it with brute force! I called my hubby who showed me a little window you can open in the tube to lessen the suction, but even with that fully open he had problems. Then he suddenly said ‘It’s a puller not a pusher’.

‘What!’ says I, as I watched him chuck it forwards and draw it back across the carpet.

‘You need to pull it, then it works,’ he said.

‘But people don’t vacuum like that!’ says me, at which point I demonstrated vacuuming motions. ‘It’s not ergonomic!’

‘Well the suction’s too strong,’ says he, ‘It’s the only way you can use it.’ He then returned to whatever he’d been doing and left me glaring at the idiotic machine that was trying to suck its way to Australia. I switched it off. It had to have been designed by a man I thought – a man who never uses a vacuum cleaner! What is the point of a vacuum cleaner with amazing sucking technology if you can’t push the bloody thing around the room. Bloody hell! I thought for a while and then decided to try the old metal tube from my Dyson with the old Dyson head, and thanks heavens it worked. The head is designed differently and has spaces so the suction can’t glue it to the carpet like a limpet to a rock. So the problem is solved , but only because I had the parts from the Dyson, and some people may not have that option.

So buyers beware! If you want a decent vacuum cleaner don’t buy the Moulinex Compact Power Cyclonic!

I’ve since read some pretty scathing reviews on Amazon (should have read those first!) and now added my own!

Diving St Kilda

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One more diving post, this time July 1997, a live-aboard, ten-day diving holiday to St Kilda aboard the dive boat MV Chalice. We were a party of 12 divers. Bunk beds in tiny cabins and if I remember rightly we were asked not to be extravagant with the water!

The archipelago of St Kilda, the remotest part of the British Isles, lies 41 miles (66 kilometres) west of Benbecula in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. You can read more about St Kilda which is a National Trust site here: http://www.kilda.org.uk/

There was much to see diving St Kilda, and we were extremely lucky with the weather http://www.kilda.org.uk/weekildaguide/guide12.htm which can change very suddenly. Big squally winds can come in and rattle across the islands at all times of the year. Our skipper told us it was most unusual to get the perfect weather window that we did.

The diving itself offered great variety, including scenic dives, wall dives, an arch, a cave, and a number of wrecks. I still have my dive logs and recorded the wrecks of the Chadwick, Doris, Nevada II, Tapti, Aurania, and S.S Breda. I try to picture myself back there in that wonderfully clear water, and imagine some of the scenes from my notes: ‘lots of dogfish and a big blue lobster, lovely anemones with orange centres‘, ‘pretty purple fish sat in my hand‘, ‘spectacular tiny anemones, orange, purple, and blue, crabs in cracks in the cliff, big cave – quite a current‘, ‘crabs caught in fishing nets, freed them with my scissors’. There was much more, but now a few photos from the trip.

Oban, in mainland Scotland, where we pick up our dive boat

Along for the ride

St Kilda in the distance

Getting closer

Looming in the evening mist

Old habitations, no one lives here now

Going in

Coming out

Another in

Another out

You need to be fit to haul yourself up the ladder!

Diver says ‘OK’

A great trip

And as I was putting this post together I suddenly thought to check the date and realised that exactly 20 years ago today I was diving the Tapti and the Aurania at St Kilda! Time has flown far too fast!

Diving the Wrecks of Scapa Flow

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It was about thirty years ago that I took up scuba-diving. I learned with a small British Sub Aqua Club and went on to dive with the club for over ten years. It was all cold water diving around the U.K. so dry suits were essential, especially for Scotland in spring and autumn.

Some people have said to me that there can’t be much to see in the waters around the UK, but they are completely wrong. You only have to look on the seabed, in the rocks, on rock walls, amongst the kelp, and on wrecks to find the most beautiful flora and fauna. You do need a torch at depth because the deeper you go the more light you lose. Sport divers diving on air are limited to an eight minute dive at forty metres, after that, depending how long you stay down, you have to do decompression stops on the way up.

In about 1990 we dived the World War I German wrecks which were scuttled and lie in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, north of Scotland. You can read about the history here: http://www.scapaflowwrecks.com/history/  

It was the best diving ever. I remember so well on the first dive as me and my buddy floated down into the depths how amazingly clear the water was. It felt like flying as we fell further and further down, a wonderful sensation of freedom as the heavy weight of all the diving kit when on board the boat suddenly became weightless.

Unfortunately since moving to France I’ve mislaid all my dive logs and so have no record of which wrecks we dived and when. I do know we dived some of the enormous battleships, some of the cruisers, and one of the block ships. I remember we barely had time to get around some of these wrecks because they were so big. And I also remember peering in to the port holes through the murky gloom – kind of eerie – and imagining the time when the German sailors were living aboard.

Information about the wrecks and diving them can be seen here: http://www.scapaflowwrecks.com

I dug out a few photos of that wonderful week’s diving. Unfortunately underwater cameras weren’t that common back then so no pics of the wrecks beneath the waves.

Kirkwall

On board The Triton

Going In

Coming Out

On One of the Blockships

Keeping Warm

To end this post I must tell you about my little bit of treasure! On one of my dives, I think it may have been the Dresden, I picked something up that was partly hidden in the sand. I have always thought it was a piece of a dish, but when I recently searched the name I found that it’s most likely from a hand-basin.

The company, from Hamburg, used to make sanitaire equipment for ships. So this is my rather special little treasure from my dive in Scapa 1n 1990.