dance of death

Despite the supermarket’s conservative estimate of a mere five-day lifetime, the same bunch of tulips has kept me entertained now for a full two weeks.

Last weekend I wrote about how they are more expressive than some cut flowers, struggling to escape captivity in the vase and writhing in torment as they die.

It was a mixed bunch, of which the variegated flowers seemed to be the least repressed, stretching wide open, then folding back on themselves, scattering the sooty powder from their stamens and eventually shedding their petals.
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floral personality

I never used to like tulips. The colours were pretty enough in the park flowerbeds of my childhood, but the neat rows of tight scarlet blooms perched atop rigidly straight stalks reminded me too closely of redcoat soldiers. I was never much of one for the military or for regimented discipline and precision.

Then, some years ago, I read a poem that made me look at tulips afresh and see that they express more personality and attitude than many cut flowers.
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(not very) centred

Apparently today is World Oceans Day, in honour of which, I have spent a stupidly long time researching things online. I started with the innocent question “How far am I from the sea?” and then fell down the rabbit hole of “What’s the centre of England?

The answer to the latter question is by no means clear cut: according to the Wikipedia page on centre points of the UK, depending on the calculation method used, and on how much of Great Britain or the UK is included, you can even find a centre that is in the middle of Morecombe Bay. That would be a centroid point, the calculation of which is described by Rob Andrews from the Ordnance Survey in a BBC article as: “If you imagine cutting out the whole of the UK with a giant pair of scissors and balancing it on a church spire, it’s the balancing point.”
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up and down

At this time of year, there are flowers everywhere.

Whether you look up…

white tumbling rose

Or whether you look down…

purple flowers

Despite the apparent difference in light conditions, those two photos are actually of exactly the same corner. Now I’m wondering whether the two plants will eventually meet in the middle.

correlations

Way back in the distant past, I studied maths. In fact, due to some bad choices early in my life, I actually got as far as starting to study maths at university, although I moved to a less challenging course after the first year.

Despite not completing the maths degree, I remember enjoying the history of maths module and I have fond – though somewhat blurred – memories of learning about relativity through stories of stick figures who chased each other across the blackboard, one of them flashing a torch at the other with the light never arriving as they were travelling so fast.
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hazy memories

According to Google, today is the 971st anniversary of the birth of Omar Khayyam, Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet. It seems slightly strange to me that we would know the exact date of birth of someone born nearly 1000 years ago, and I wonder how eastern and western calendar differences and the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar affect things.

But even if there were good reason to doubt the accuracy of the date, I have no objections to celebrating Khayaam; I may not be able to read the original, but I’ve loved Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat since I first came across it.
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a hazy kind of man

I mentioned yesterday that I’d acquired a new – secondhand – poetry book at the words and music event on Friday night. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled to find it thrust into my hands during the interval just before I was due to read, especially as the accompanying, “You might want to read this,” sounded so like a criticism – as if my upcoming performance was bound to be inadequate as I don’t read enough poetry by other people.

But it’s true that most of my poetry books remain in storage somewhere in central Spain and I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to read them again, so I decided not to take things personally and bought the book.
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