Friday, 29 June 2012

A lunch break boost

It's funny how days can unexpectedly blossom even when it does not seen to be a day for anything out of the ordinary. Take the other day...I had a long, most of the day, meeting in the city of London...near Old Street to anyone who knows the capital. I arrived having had the singing "Why aren't you all smiling?" train attendant on the way down.

Zebra burger anyone?
painted street furniture
I like going to new parts of London and this is a business area by day and an upwardly mobile residential area - on the whole - by night. So cut to lunch break and I was excited to see we were in a food market, but not just any old market....such lunch time choice. Not just a cheese sandwich for me...what about zebra burgers? or wildebeest? Mine's a Turkish wrap to be eaten at our rendezvous - a shady park cum grave yard where the last remains of William Blake lie. On the way there I was excited to see street art on a gable end and then another of my favourites - a series of dull old grey electrical boxes enlivened with an amusing painted illustration telling a story. I had left my camera and iPad behind but colleagues had their faithful smartphones so these shots are thanks to them.

Once in the park I stopped again to look at an insect hotel thoughtfully placed there for our tiniest London residents and surrounded by ancient gravestones! Everything seemed designed to amuse me!

Finally I was making my way back to the station when I wish I could have snapped the concentration on the face of an orange clad, shaven monk choosing a mobile phone in a shop. I could go on... but this is a note to self - never go anywhere without some kind of camera!
insect heaven

Saturday, 16 June 2012

iPad drawing heaven

I am not any sort of artist but I enjoy the idea of being able to sketch and every time I go on holiday I pack a sketch book and a selection of pencils believing that this time I will fit in a bit of drawing. It is a vain hope as  usually I manage very little in the end.

Having just been loaned an iPad as part of my digital inclusion work and I have to report that I am really excited! I have discovered Penultimate, a drawing app that means not only do you have your games, books to read, music, cameras, the news, shops, maps  and all the information you would like, you also have the chance to sketch without all the palava of the equipment. First off, this time round, whilst waiting for the Eurostar train I was able to sketch these two gentlemen - and the joy of it is that no one suspects you are sketching them...well you could be playing Sudoku couldn't you, like my partner was on his tablet?
Waiting for the Eurostar

This is certainly providing new exercise for my little finger since for me that is what works the best!
self portrait sketch

On the train I started drawing a Chinese man asleep across the aisle but then I decided to try importing a photo of myself [that I took using the reverse mirror on the iPad] and sketching that - a lightning sketch you understand and not really a likeness. Then I thought about the photos stored already on the iPad and decided to try sketching my Mum - having run out of inspiration on the train - backs of heads being the main view.
Quick sketch 

Back home now what am I up to? [ as my son would say!] - well exploring the delights of combining drawing and photos some more, and playing Draw Something - that great virtual pictionary game - with a couple of friends almost as addictively. I love it, and so does my little finger!!
on the iPad

Saturday, 2 June 2012

I'll just get my cardy

The great thing about blogging is that sometimes it forces you to look at a subject in a bit more detail and in this case helps to clear up a niggling unexplained difference between men and women.

All my life I have had a sense of being patronised for being just that bit colder than my male partner. Mostly this manifests itself when on daily walks for which I might don three or four layers to a male equivalent of one. Or on coming down from a few hours at the computer and shivering in the kitchen as I eat a meal. The ever present riposte about “learned response” - one jibe - or the non verbal eye rolling at the sight of the cardy. The sense that it is wimpishness or a “weakness” [my word] or even for some the female equivalent of “man flu”. It is so irritating. So what is going on here??
male/female responses to temperature cartoon

Perhaps if I had read more magazines in my life I might have picked up that this is a classic relationship battleground. I would have read that science offers a simple physiological explanation and that there is a well researched set of differences between men and women that affect the way we regulate our body temperatures. More than one factor is involved here:

·         It seems that women conserve more heat around their core organs, which means less heat circulates throughout the rest of their body.
·         Women generally have a higher percentage of fatty tissue than men, and although fat tends to preserve heat well this is offset by the fact that women are also generally less muscular than men. Muscle creates body heat during exercise.
·        The blood vessels in women appear to constrict as a result of temperature sooner, and to a higher degree than men.
·         Women’s temperature regulation fluctuates enormously during the menstrual cycle.
·         Women are generally smaller than men. With a smaller size but a consequential larger surface area, women lose heat more quickly than men.

So I hope in my household I have put to bed the learned response theory and we can carry on with our individually regulated electric blankets and mismatched walking gear without further comment. Yes? Thought not!!