do not let it land.
The shape of salt in mid air
do not let it land.
The shape of salt in mid air
There was an interesting short “Points of View” programme by Mary Beard on Radio 4 this morning about the attitude of people towards the displays of dead bodies from Pompeii at the exhibitions. She explained how the casts are made by pouring plaster of paris into the cavities in the lava rock left by decayed real bodies which were originally captured and buried by the molten lava flow from the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. So in a very real sense, these are not bodies but casts, reproductions of the shape of the bodies, and in some cases they are in fact modern recasts made from the original 19th century casts.
There is no doubt though, that they do impart a strong emotional reaction in people when confronted by the postures adopted by families about to be engulfed by hot lava together. There’s also a dog which evidently died still tied up, straining at the leash in a vain attempt to escape. Her point was that plaster casts of people who died 2000 years ago don’t inherit some kind of right to privacy, which is probably not contentious now, but was an idea that was knocked about when these kinds of exhibitions were first put on show.
It’s no so much a point of view as a kind of trailer for the British Museum exhibition which is coming in March 2013 until September called “Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum”. If the publicity is starting already, and it is, then this is going to an event that everybody gets to know about, and therefore quite a lot of people will want to go and see. So I suppose there will be queuing around the block again for timed entrance tickets, as happens with any major exhibition in London these days. Some people will even make a point of visiting London especially for the purpose of going to see the Pompeii exhibition as the highlight of their weekend break, by coach or train usually. Londoners themselves will mostly assume it’s too busy and not worth queuing up for, unless there is some kind of “speedy boarding” pass they can wangle through corporate entertainment expenses or something like that. Mary Beard herself had been to a similar but no doubt smaller show of artefacts from Pompeii in Malibu California and observed some reactions from visiting families, presumably Americans. When the children cried “erghh!! are these dead bodies real?” they were told variations of “Yes but they died a very long time ago so it’s alright” or “No, they are just models” which Mary argued were both true.
Then she went on to talk about the reaction to much earlier displays of the casts from Pompeii in the previous two centuries, and some interesting anecdotes about the state of the archeological buildings at Pompeii itself, which had been rebuilt twice, once after second world war bombing by the British, and therefore are kind of models or reconstructions themselves. Why did the British bomb Pompeii in World War 2? Was it because the enemy were hiding munitions there as a kind of cultural shield, and therefore it became a valid military target, or was it part of the strategy of demoralisation of the population that was adopted by both sides during the conflict ever since it had been proven to work in Guernica in 1937, but that’s another story, a song that has been sung. The exhibition of Life And Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum is still to come, roll on the summer!
BBC R4 A POint of View : Mary Beard On Pompeii : www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ny0fr
British Museum : Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/pompeii_and_herculaneum.aspx
TBM London Breaks : Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum theatrebreaks.reader.travel/subcat.php?d=0&c=29&s=191
I tell myself that writing is not hard work. Bending over in a field picking potatoes all day in the wind and rain, that’s hard work. Trying to sell altruistic ideas to tired commuters outside the tube at rush hour, that’s hard work. Washing, cleaning up, caring and providing for two young children on your own, that’s hard work. Catering for a hundred or so hungry souls with the sun beating down on the marquee and eight gas burners roaring at full throttle, that’s hard work. But sitting down at a keyboard in a warm room with coffee, and a blank screen – that’s just telling stories. Being comfortable with the notion that just maybe, nobody is going to be at all interested in what you have to say – that’s not hard work. It’s just blowing smoke rings at ghosts.
Twixmas – was there really such a great a need to coin a single word phrase to describe the period between Christmas and New Year? Well it’s better than just calling the whole festive season “The Holidays” I suppose like they do in the US. Twixmas is more precise anyway, it’s less than a week long for a start whereas “the season” can go on for months, starting from when all the mad shopping and planning begins and continuing right through the January Sales and pantomime season. I’m not terribly keen on the whole build-up and fuss myself, but I’m not opposed to the idea of taking a holiday at this time of year, if only to get away from all that.
I’ve spent several Christmases, late Decembers or Twixmases in Spain where they don’t make quite such a big deal of it all, or at least didn’t used to, until three Kings on January 6th by which time most of the UK has thrown away the tree and been back at work for a few days, and some have already started booking up next summer! It’s all just about bearable as long as you have somebody to spend the time with, usually. I spent a few festive seasons as a single person alone on alternate years during my kids’ childhood, mercifully not too many though. I hung about with own parents and their friends once, at a bit of a loose end, and I’ve also used the time to throw myself into new work projects with the promise to myself of a better holiday in the springtime. That can work, but one thing I never took advantage of is the opportunity to join a group on a package holiday type thing, to go away with a bunch of strangers where everything is laid on and just take it as it comes. A change of scenery, away from the same old four walls, somebody else doing the cooking and washing up, with a little bit of luxury and cultural interest are what’s on offer with one such North Wales Twixmas 4 day coach holiday offered via Omega Holidays and TBM Readers Offers, which is a new site in addition to our existing Theatre Breaks offers.
The single person supplement is only £40, that’s just £10 per day1 for a single room instead of a double in the 3 star Celtic Royal Hotel, at Caernarfon. I know, it feels a bit like persecution to have to pay any single person supplement at all, especially if it applies to travel – that just doesn’t seem fair – so to find one so low is almost like finding a specially designed single person package – except it isn’t – and that’s probably just as well because you can imagine what some of those might be like. No, on this one there are likely to be mainly couples and small groups as per usual, but with a good smattering of single people taking advantage of the much more single-friendly pricing than that often offered more as a disincentive than an enticement.
It’s not just about the pricing though, what exactly is there to do in North Wales at the top of the year? Well if it was me I’d be keen to take a ride on the newly restored Welsh Highland Railway which can take you from Caernarfon itself right down alongside Mount Snowdon, through the wonderful Aberglasyn pass all the way down to Porthmadog by the sea. That would make a brilliant day out. You’d have to find a way of fitting it in with the busy itinerary already laid on for you though, with visits to Llandudno, Conwy, Bets-y-Coed and Llanberis. I suppose it all depends how you get on with making new friends quickly in such a conducive environment. There’s nothing to stop you opting out of the coach tour day trip and go off on your own instead. There’s still the evening entertainment to catch up with everybody else on the Twixmas holiday. It’s a lovely part of the word and I think this would make a deeply enjoyable winter holiday break for anybody regardless of family status.
The prestigious Celtic Royal Hotel is a 3 star luxurious hotel in the famous town of Caernarfon, near Bangor in Gwynedd. It’s right in the town, between a nice green open space behind and the little harbour/marina in front and has 110 en-suite bedrooms, a fine dining restaurant, a chic Art Deco bar, conference/meeting facilities, and a superb leisure club. Also:
Forget the trouser press, this is meant to be relaxing! The 4 Day Coach Package designed by Omega Holidays can be joined from any of the following departure points, mostly in East Lancashire, North England:
Accrington, Blackburn,Blackpool, Burnley, Chorley, Clitheroe, Colne, Darwen,
Leigh, Leyland, Nelson, Padiham,
Preston, St Helen’s, Wigan.
There are lots of little theatres and theatre-pubs in London as well as all the well known West End theatres, and this is one of them – the Charing Cross Theatre located under the arches near Embankment tube station.
If you come out of Embankment towards Charing Cross and immediately turn left into the underneath the arches section, then the Theatre is just after the South African shop where I sometimes buy my Laager rooibos (redbush) tea.
It’s a 275 seater theatre with a restaurant and a bar licensed to 2.30am, the current show being a production of “La Boheme” by Puccini.
It takes place every October but this year I won’t be involving myself in Blog Action Day at all.
Blog Action Day is an annual online event that aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of lots of people all blogging about the same topic on the same day. This year 2012, it all happens on the 15th of October.
Previous year’s topics have included:
The topic is chosen each year by an authority who decides what the subject shall be and then informs everyone taking part. This year they have plumped for the headline: “The Power Of We”.
Call me grumpy if you like, but from my point of view this topic is at best ambiguous but more probably meaningless, and what irritates me is that it’s monocultural, devisive and most worryingly of all, totally ungrammatical so for that reason, I’m out.
This is one nice simple way to move a WordPress installation, usually a blog, from one hosting service to another. Web hosting companies can turn flaky anytime, so it’s always good to know your escape route.
1) Login to the CPanel at the existing host. Always keep this login handy, at least be able to find the original welcome message from when you bought the hosting, or do a password reset to your original email address.
2) From the file manager, navigate to public_html, then to the files for the domain name in question, and highlight the wp-content directory. Click on “Compress” , Compress files, then highlight the resulting wp-content.zip file and “download” to download it to your computer.
3) Now go back to the main CPanel tab and scroll down past File, Logs, Security etc to Databases and go into “php MyAdmin”. Select the database that belongs with your site. If you have multiple domains on the one account, created the WordPresses with a script and don’t know which of the many databases it should be then you’ll need to go back into the file manage and view the wp-config file to find out. Select “Export” and “Go”. This will download a file called something like “database_name.sql” in your downloads folder on your computer.
4) Now is a good time to switch over the DNS records for your domain name at your domain registration account so that they point to the dns servers for the new hosting. That’s just like buying a new domain name and pointing it at your own hosting, except that you are amending your existing record there to replace one pair of nameservers with the new set. The exact entry you need to put in for the nameservers will have been sent to you when you purchased the new hosting account.
5) Log into the cPanel for the new hosting and choose “Add On Domains” to set up the transferred domain there.
6) Now use Fantastico or Scriptaculous or SimpleScripts, whichever is provided under Software/Services to set up a brand new WordPress install into the top level directory just created by adding the domain. This will create a new database, database user and WordPress files and directories for a new empty site with just one “Hello World” post.
7) In the File Manager at the new hosting, go into the domain name top level directory and upload the wp-content.zip file from step 2. You should see the wp-content folder created by the script and now the wp-content.zip there as well, a bit further down.
Highlight wp-content.zip and “Extract” to overwrite the contents with the plugins, themes and media files from the old installation.
8) Now go into “php MyAdmin” at the new hosting and find the new database set up by the installation script. You might like to make a backup, but then blank it by choosing operations, Structure, check all and “Drop”. Now select “import”, choose the file created in step 3 and away you go. All the settings and tweaks and options and things will have been duplicated in the new site from the old one, but in a nice and clean new WordPress installation.
9) When the dns changes have propagated through the new version of the site will be visible with very little noticeable changes. There may be a new “Hello World” post at the top of the lastest posts which can be moved to trash.