Peleliu layered

19°C, showers later.

Peleliu looks much better in FSX. The island, like most in the Pacific is built on a seamount (a volcano), with some jungle and edged with coral reefs. Waves actually break offshore over the reefs and not so much on the beaches which is the tricky bit in FSX. 

This screenshot shows it from the top, there should be shallow white water with coral to the right (East side). After all these years I have learnt new stuff about the way the sim handles water. The sea surface is generic but tiles placed underneath give the water its colour. FSX documentation is uneven on this, but it claims to cover everything from muddy river deltas to oceanic depths with or without plankton. There are, it’s said, sixty textures to choose from.

Urgent tottering

15°C, sun

The olympic torch procession thing passed through town today, I think. there was a nucleus of noise and crowds which is calming down now. I was out with the dog and could hear music, horns, pea-whistles and amplified voices from a point that audibly moved along at a steady pace. There were small groups of people hurrying towards the nub. They almost broke into a trot, not quite but handbags swung with some urgency. Other people walked quite quickly too, that’s a remarkable thing for a nation that likes to walk veerryy sloowly. Maybe you had to be there to appreciate the point of it all, but the noise was not a attractor for me.

NHS direct

13°C, wind & broken sunshine

Amid furious itching, I used the NHSdirect website to decide whether I have excema or a dermatitis brought on by exposure to some trigger. the webbing bit between my fingers on one hand are ablaze. So, I filled in the questions on the webpages and within 20 mins, they phoned. It may be a reaction to weeding in the garden. Probably the day I pulled ivy off the window-frame here.

Not normally the kind of detail I’d go into here, bit I am rather impressed with nhsdirect.


18°C, wind & sunny bits

Ill and off work but after a monster sleep, you find me feeling better.

Making Scenery for FSX like old times. The default land texture for Peleliu in the Pacific is a joke. It should be all tropical jungle, but MS have put dry farmland on the little coral & volcanic island.

What is should be like is closer to this:
 The island’s shape is still wrong, but I’m not sure how much more I want to do on this one. There is plenty of detail that could be added, there are coral reefs, beaches with black sands and channels in shallow waters (The German Channel) and of course, other small islands slightly to the north. Visually, the result could be rather appealing. All this tropical island paradise conceals a grim human history- The Battle for Peleliu during WW2. The US Marines invaded and forced the Japanese occupying forces out with a huge loss of life to both sides. The jungles now conceal tank wrecks, demolished bunkers and crashed planes. There are, of course, memorials on important sites there.
I’ve been watching a series called Pacific on blu-ray which tells the story from the USA side.

So there is an ugly story hidden under the canopy of palm trees on this beautiful tropical island paradise.

What the end of the world looks like…

18°C, torrential rain followed by nice sun

10am the sky darkened, so dark it looked like 5pm on a late November evening. The difference was, there were no streetlights to cast a dull orange glow onto the undersides of clouds. Traffic lights pierced the gloom with such vivid colour, it was quite hypnotic. Kids at school felt a sense of foreboding, maybe this is the way Armageddon might start.

I’d like to see our cities with streetlights switched off again. Would it be so bad if lights went off every night from, say 01.00 to about 04.30? Some people have said they’d feel less safe (from traffic or muggers?), but society would adjust. We’d adjust to carrying a torch and paying lower local taxes (council tax pays for lighting I believe).


16°C, rain.

This has to be the worst hay-fever since I moved to the Midlands. My eyes are filled with tears that fail to sooth the itching. Each day ends with a mild headache which reminds me of that concussion I had a few years ago. There is pressure inside my head, especially behind ear-nose-throat bits. Another victim would blame that cycling tumble at the weekend, but I know this beast from the past.

Maybe soon I will post a picture of the newest fungus that has sprouted in my garden. It’s somewhere between an oyster mushroom and those bracket fungus that grow on tree-trunks. A fine specimen deserves a worldwide internet stage.

Cold summer- what shall I read?

12°C, cool & wet.

I admit, it’s a nice problem to have- which book shall I read next? Canada has the best reviews, or 1Q84 does.
Stalker would be the easiest to get through though I an quite prepared to feel a bit embarrassed by its presence on my shelves. It could easily denigrate into an action story- all shooting & shouting.

1Q84: I have read the first chapter and it has all the magic- it leaves you with thoughts and ways of looking at things. It’s a bit of a beast though, the whole (bound two volumes) could take ages to read at my pace.


13°C, grey.

Phone rings in the middle of the day- no-one I know & it’s a bank holiday:

“Are you the man of the house?
Me: say again.
Are you the man of the house?
Me: What does that mean?”

To this, she hung up.  Man of the house? – I thought that phrase/concept died out in the 1970s. Still scratching my head.
I helped this little chap cross the road today.

She ended her story.

13°C, grey & cool, CR:53 miles

Dear Bessie finished her story today. A story that spanned 14½ years.

She became ill just over a day ago while I was on my way to the Lake District. Mum called me back home because she knew it was serious this time, “I think she’s dying Mike”. Her last day was painless as her body failed and finished just before 11am by the vet.

She spent most of those years in this house and witnessed all the changes that occurred over those years. The first day when she was tentatively introduced to us, she ran, full of excitement in figure-8s in the garden. She had a bit of a silly poodle haircut, bouffant & bushes. I clipped off most puffy bits fairly quickly. She didn’t like too much physical contact, at first pulling away from a head stroke. She got used to us eventually.

Though she grew old and slowed dramatically in the last few years, she was always the gentlest soul. A good dog to have in a house of boisterous children. She took with her a story of change, human relations, growth and separation. The last four years the house became calm which coincided with her more restful pace. She has also taken the mysterious prologue- the time before she came into our lives. I know very little of this period in 1997. I do know, however, that she recovered from a bout of Parvo’s virus. Other than that, her time before Bessie’s dynasty is blank.

I’m trying to decide, from all the options, where to scatter her ashes.