Outdoors

The Ha-Ha

What am I laughing at?

Well, nothing. It’s a different ha-ha I’m talking about today.

A ha-ha is a type of a wall (keeping the theme here) that keeps livestock out but doesn’t ruin the view.

ha-ha definition
Sign in Heaton Park

Heaton Park in Manchester has them and here I give you some pictures:

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ha-ha1

Naturally, the first question one asks is, how the hell did they get that name? From Wikipedia:

The unusual name “ha-ha” is thought to have stemmed from the exclamations of surprise by those coming across them as the walls were designed to be invisible.

It’s a good job those coming across weren’t swearing. Otherwise we’d have to call them fuck-where-did-this-come-from.

Outdoors

Bratislava Castle

So I was scrolling through my blog the other day and saw a post where I said I should post pictures of Bratislava Castle one of these days. The post was from July 2016. I don’t know if the present day counts as “one of these days” in relation to July 2016, but I guess late is better than never.

Bratislava Castle 1

These were taken with my old compact Fujifilm. I’ve not actually been to Bratislava since I got the Canon.

Bratislava Castle 2

The castle has a long history; there have been settlements of sorts ever since any people lived in this part of the world. It has been converted numerous times, at one point even burned down. Here’s the Wikipedia article.

Bratislava castle hill

The castle is on a hill as well–here you see the towers just poking out from the trees.

For all other pics of my hometown, check out my Bratislava tag.

And if you want to see more castles, here’s my Pinterest board.

To blog or not to blog?

As I bring my blog back to life, aside from my Gloomscapes series, I still intend to be posting nice things. There was a time in the second half of 2017 when I wasn’t sure what to do with the blog, I felt it lost direction. Even the Weekly Photo Challenge wasn’t doing anything for me.

Well, not only have I got over that, I’m more excited than ever about blog and can’t wait to post more!

Some Song

One the topic of castles on hills:

 

Miscellaneous

I Heart EU

25 March 2017 marks 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome – which eventually led to the formation of European Union

This entry is unapologetically Eurocentric.

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Construction of a new Metrolink line in Manchester, which has now completed

EU has always meant a lot to me. I was born on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, in former Czechoslovakia. I was nine when Velvet Revolution that overthrew the Communists happened. I still remember bits of it; my mum taking me with her out to the streets, the banners, the slogans. This was 1989. Mere fifteen years later, both Slovakia and Czech Republic joined the EU–an astonishing achievement. It enabled me to make something of myself in UK, where I first came to in 2003 as an au pair. As 2003 was before we joined EU, I still had to wait a line outside the British Embassy early in the morning to obtain a visa.

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Development in Manchester – Allied London

I’ve never been patriotic, I’m just not wired that way. I’m a European. I am fiercely loyal to my home city of Bratislava (don’t let me hear anyone badmouthing it!) but that’s about it. People usually call me Eastern European, however I reject that label because that’s not what I am.

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Side of a bench on Market Street, Manchester

Bratislava sits on the border of both Austria and Hungary, the only capital city in the world located at a tripoint. You can easily walk between the three countries as you would in your favourite park. Some people even pass the border twice a day on their commute to work.

blava map

I came across this article by Guy Verhofstadt published in Guardian. Guy Verhofstadt is a former Prime Minister of Belgium, a Member of European Parliament and the leader of Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

In the decades since [the Treaty of Rome] was signed, European countries have worked successfully to fight against the return of the rampant nationalism that led to two world wars and the slaughter of millions of Europeans, finding a way to work together to create a largely peaceful, free and prosperous continent.

In 2017, the EU stands at a crossroads. Our common project is consistently attacked and denigrated by nationalists, often working with authoritarian regimes outside the EU, who wish to destroy the EU and once again set our communities and societies against each other.

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Sign at Victoria Station, Manchester

It is ironic that, as we saw in the Brexit referendum, the postwar generation that benefited so much from European integration is now driving an explosion of Eurosceptic nationalism. Young people, a majority of whom deeply value their European citizenship, too often face barriers to full political participation.

Ah, but Brussels demanded they use low-energy light bulbs… or something.

Manchester Midland Hotel
EU flag above the Midland Hotel entrance, Manchester

Nationalists tell us that the nation state is best placed to deal with common challenges, but their argument fails the test of reason and ignores the nature of the trans-national threats we face. Climate change, international terrorism and the negative consequences of globalisation cannot be tackled by individual countries acting independently. If the European Union of today did not exist, we would have to create it.

And you know what’s funny? You can argue that UK is NOT a nation state. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.

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Media City, Salford Quays, Salford

Ultimately, nationalism will be rejected because its politicians are incapable of resolving the challenges we face. It is time for those who believe in a united Europe to stand up and be counted.

Beautifully put. I hope he’s right.

28 Members of EU

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • UK (for now)

eu flag dwf

I love you all.

Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, an Anthem of Europe, performed by Banco Sabadell Flashmob:

Miscellaneous

Numbers

Let me tell you about number Four.

4

Why do I think number 4 is significant?

Firstly, it’s nicely symmetrical. 2+2 and 2×2 and 2^2. Human beings like symmetry. Symmetrical objects are usually considered beautiful and symmetrical features attractive.

Now let’s have a look at how many things there are four of:

Four seasons

| spring | summer | autumn | winter |

4seasons

Four cardinal directions

| north | south | east | west |

Four elements

| air | water | earth | fire |

Four states of matter

| solid | liquid | gas | plasma |

Four arithmetic operators

| addition | subtraction | multiplication | division |

Four card suits

| hearts | spades | diamonds | clubs |
4_playing_cards

And corresponding tarot versions

| cups | swords | pentacles | wands |

Four basic tastes

| bitter | sour | salty | sweet |

Google always uses the same four colours in their logo – red, blue, yellow and green

4colours

Four Renaissance artists (or Ninja turtles if you wish)

| Leonardo | Michelangelo | Donatello | Raphael |

Examples from pop culture include Fantastic Four, the four hobbits from Lord of the Rings, four members of Beatles, four women on Sex and the City and four Hogwarts houses.

Examples from sports are the four tennis grand slams and the big four sports in America.

Also, every four years we get an extra day. The leap year, such as this year for example, is dividable by four.

Every four years, on a leap year, we get Olympic Games.

And every four years, also in the same year, a US Presidential election takes place. Better not talk about the current one… anyway, I only realised about two weeks ago that not only was I born in the leap year, my brother was too and so were my two nephews by marriage, whom I love very much.

So that’s it.

And here are four red tealights.

 

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Bonus: the main male character in the Divergent series, Tobias Eaton, is nicknamed Four, because he only has four fears (whereas average is between ten and fifteen).  Played by Theo James in the movies.

4tobias

Numbers

Indoors

Red Yellow Green

I thought we could use some warming-up now right in the middle of winter and a cold spell.

I don’t remember how exactly I got the idea for this photoshoot but I have always liked this colour combination. Of course, the Pan-African colours are red, gold and green, not red, yellow, green. But in my pictures, it’s very much yellow.

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Red, gold and green can be seen on flags of many African countries today. The inspiration came from the flag of Ethiopia (the country which was not colonised by Europeans except the short period of Italian occupation) and the first country to adopt these colours was Ghana in 1957. Ghana was the first colonised country in Africa to gain independence.

I thought I’d throw a bit of knowledge in there, though flags are not something that interests me very much. Maps, on the other hand, I love. I can stare at maps for hours. Almost.

I think that’s enough rambling for one post, so I hope all of you in Northern Hemisphere are keeping warm!