despite appearances to the contrary…

…the jovial chap in the photo below, who looks a bit like Santa Claus on his summer holidays, is in fact supposed to be Hércules en la nave de los argonautas – Hercules in (on?) the Argonauts’ ship.

I had forgotten that Hercules accompanied Jason and his merry men on the Argo, although I must have watched the 1963 film a score of times.
Continue reading “despite appearances to the contrary…”


Well, no, not a bobcat, a tricolour cat.

Perhaps a tortoiseshell, or perhaps a calico; it probably depends on which side of the Atlantic you live. And if you live in Spain, you might call it a gato mariposa – a butterfly.
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The lady in the photo is, of course, Europa. She’s sitting outside Madrid’s main airport, clearly enjoying the sunshine.

Botero's Rapto de Europa statue; Madrid Airport
She gives me an excuse to revisit a poem-in-progress – The three body problem – from which this phrase is taken:

[…] You’ll find persuasion – just

a little gentle bull – can found a continent

of opportunity. […]

It probably helps if the gentle bull is ruler of the gods on Mount Olympus.


This picture was irresistible as it seems clear that each narciso (as they are called in Spanish) is enamoured of its own reflection.

Daffodils in a flooded flower bed

Looking for an apt poetical quotation, I find that Sir Aubrey de Vere described the daffodil as “Love-star of the unbeloved March”.

Well, it’s certainly March, and the weather here is undoubtedly unlovely. (That flower bed is at least two inches deep in water at the moment, and it’s at the top of the garden; I dare not venture down to see if the trees in the orchard are knee deep, but I suspect they must be.)

small worlds

Reading about Makemake on the BBC reminded me of a poem I wrote back in 2006 when they demoted Pluto from planet to dwarf planet.

In the dog house

My Very Excellent Mother used to be
the soul of generosity, and her beneficence
a universally-acknowledged truth.
Around the world, students rejoiced
when they recalled that she
Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas.

But as time passes, so it seems, the universe
contracts; mom’s liberality is capped
and scientists decree that students
will make do with

I’m banished to my room. I must redo
my fourth grade science project.

Continue reading “small worlds”