Outdoors

Does This Tree Look Like Yggdrasil?

Let me just start with saying I know very little of Norse mythology and what I do know comes from either Marvel Cinematic Universe or the TV show Vikings. But at least I’m aware that Yggdrasil is a mythical tree that connects the different realms, or worlds.

So obviously I don’t walk around looking for trees that look like Yggdrasil. I do, however, photograph trees and it was this one that reminded me of something.

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This tree grows in Abney Hall Park. As I said in before, Agatha Christie used to spend time there, visiting her sister and brother-in-law. Now, on first sight, the Queen of Crime doesn’t appear to have much in common with Norse mythology, but bear with me.

This a page from the novel The Hollow. (no spoilers ahead)

agathachristie the hollow

In this scene, Henrietta is reminiscing about a country house, Ainswick, where she used to stay during school holidays. She’s talking to her second cousin Edward, who is now the owner of Ainswick. And she remembers there was a big oak tree that she named Ygdrasil!

When first reading The Hollow, it was actually the very first time I have come across the name Yggdrasil, though I had no idea what it was. I thought Agatha made the word up–I suppose she presumed her readers would know–but for some reason the name stuck in my memory. Until I finally learnt what Yggdrasil was and I was like, ooooh, so that’s why Agatha Christie named that tree in The Hollow that!

It’s so sad that the tree in the book was struck by lightning. [Insert teary emoji. Or Chris Hemsworth.]

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Look what you’ve done now!

So, if Agatha Christie drew inspiration for her books from Abney Park, could she have been thinking of this very tree?

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Like, it looks pretty old. It was probably there when she was there. I know when I saw it I immediately thought of Henrietta in The Hollow.

Of course, there are millions of trees like this all over the world and Agatha travelled a lot and it may not have been an actual tree that inspired her, she just needed a sentimental moment between Henrietta and Edward. I realise all of that. It’s fun to think about though.

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Little Bjorn from Vikings is not having it

 

Okay, Bjorn, I just said it looks like Yggdrasil, not that it is Yggdrasil.

What do you think? Tell me in the comments!

One more thing…

The mythical Yggdrasil was an ash tree, the tree in Agatha Christie book was an oak. I don’t know, botany not being my subject, what kind of tree the one in my photos is. If you do, I would be much thankful if you could let me know in the comments box.

Skol! *drinks water

 

 

 

Animals, Outdoors

Bee-live It!

So, as usual I went to Heaton Park with my camera. And would you bee-lieve my luck, this is what I got:

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I was taking a landscape shot when this wonderful bee-ing landed in the flower. I’ve bee-n (okay, I stop now) seeing headlines and articles about decline of bee numbers lately; this is worrying–without bees, the humans can pack it. So here is a list of 20 facts about bees and how we can protect them.

Bee is also a symbol of the city of Manchester. This comes from 19th century and the Industrial Revolution, with the hard workers of the city, the “worker bees”, being a sort of a “hive” of activity. After the Arena attack last year, it also became a symbol of unity.

From the memorial at St Ann’s Square, shortly after the attack:

manchester bee memorial

If you visit Manchester now, don’t be surprised to see an image of a bee in shop windows and on buildings.

Street art in Northern Quarter:

manchester bees streetart

Since I’m on the topic of bees, I have just remembered a favourite TV show from my childhood–Maya the Bee. I’m talking about the 1975 anime version (obviously, not the new series on Netflix). I don’t know how well the series is known in the Anglosphere, if at all. It was German-Japanese co-production and managed to break through the thick Iron Curtain and get broadcasted in several Communist-bloc countries, including former Czechoslovakia (there is both Slovak and Czech version). We used to watch it like mad, I recall they used to show it as part of the Sunday morning kids’ TV slot and on Monday morning at school we would ask each other “did you watch Maya the Bee yesterday?”

Maja the bee old
screenshot from YouTube

She meant a lot to all of us.

Gloomscapes, Outdoors

Gloomscapes #15

Time’s running when you’re having fun! For Number Fifteen in Gloomscapes, I offer you something I knew was going to be part of the series as soon as I learnt of its existence.

I’m talking about a line from a song called Thought Contagion by the brilliant Muse, of course:

muse thought contagion

It’s too late for a revolution
Brace for the final solution

From an interview published in NME magazine, Matt Bellamy got the idea for the song by watching American news: “well, that’s were the first part of the song came from really. It’s kinda like some strange bubble where they’re all living up Trump’s bum, basically… It gets inside your mind. I think that’s where the song came from really. You start walking round worrying about things that you wouldn’t normally think about and so the song came from that. How other people’s ideas can kinda take over your own if you’re not careful

Says it all.

#KeepOnGloomin’

Miscellaneous

Super Special Random Phone Shot Because I Have Just Seen Avengers Infinity War…

And I know this is not what I normally do on my blog but this time, I have to share. Spoiler free!

This is my Instagram story, which I have saved.

Infinity war IG story.jpg

You can’t be serious! A superhero movie starring more than 20 characters! It’s gonna be too packed! No way you can pull it off!!!

But they did!

Directors Anthony and Joe Russo are the true cinema heroes we need!

joe_and_anthony_russo

 

Gloomscapes, Outdoors

Gloomscapes #13

Hello world, it’s Sunday again, which means Gloomscapes.

Lucky number thirteen it is today and so it has to be, of course, District 13 from the Hunger Games trilogy.

glimpse of a bird flying

A mockingjay. Just a glimpse of it as it flies by. The same one every time.

~Susan Collins, Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2)

Mockingjay is, in the Hunger Games universe, a fictional hybrid bird, which becomes a symbol of Resistance. It’s also the title of the third book. When I viewed this picture on my computer and saw the flying bird, I was immediately reminded of the above quote from Catching Fire. I’m glad I got a chance to post it on the blog finally!

#KeepOnGloomin’

Gloomscapes, Outdoors

Gloomscapes #9

Without further ado, here is Number Nine in the Gloomscapes series.

Today it’s abandoned shopping trolleys–or shopping carts if you prefer.

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The clocks stopped at one seventeen. There was a long shear of bright light, then a series of low concussions. I think it’s October but I can’t be sure. I haven’t kept a calendar for years. Each day is more grey than the one before. It is cold and growing colder as the world slowly dies. No animals have survived, and all the crops are long gone. Someday all the trees in the world will fall. The roads are peopled by refugees towing carts, and gangs carrying weapons, looking for fuel and food.

~from the movie The Road

And now, all that is left is empty shopping carts.

~me

#KeepOnGloomin’

Miscellaneous

Everything is Connected

everything is connected

This sign is outside one of the many University buildings on Oxford Road in Manchester.

Why have I taken a picture of such a random thing? Because 1. that’s what I do and 2. it reminded me of something.

If you’ve watched Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, then you will recognise “Everything is connected” as a sort of tagline of the show. (If you haven’t watched it, then I highly recommend it–it’s funny and clever and has amazing characters, so basically everything a good TV series should be.)

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Image credit: IMDb, caption mine. Samuel Barnett is Dirk Gently, Elijah Wood his sidekick Todd Brotzman

It also reminded me of another thing, non-fictional.

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Image credit: Guardian, Illustration: James Melaugh

.

.

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End of blog post.

Random and Weird Phone Shots

Random and Weird Phone Shots – Black Pant(her)

What are you wearing today? Chances are, if you work in a standard office:

blackpanther

Obviously, it’s a cinema ticket for Black Panther (which I saw a week ago, but it was too late to post it on that day and dammit, I said Random and Weird Phone Shots are a Thursday thing). See what I have become? This shit post proves I have completely lost it.

Black Panther might be a candidate for the movie of the year and it’s only February. I just want to mention something that occurs, well, something he says at the end, so here is when I say spoiler, if you haven’t seen it and want to–stop reading now.

In the first post-credits scene T’Challa (aka Black Panther) speaks at the United Nations and has this to say–paraphrasing here, so it’s not 100% exact: “Wise man builds bridges, fool builds barriers.”

I am in agreement, Your Highness.

Now, let’s get hyped for Infinity War!

Miscellaneous

How Is 2018 Treating You?

I haven’t seen much difference yet myself, have you? But it’s still early, after all, as Neil DeGrasse Tyson never fails to tweet every New Year’s Day, the first day of January has no astronomical significance whatsoever.

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Sunset in inner city

At least I’m back at the gym… sometimes.

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This is after I finished, I wasn’t going 2 km/h for 31 minutes!

I know that I haven’t been updating this blog much lately and to be very honest, I don’t really know what to do with it. I paid for the domain for another year but that’s about it. I feel like Phoebe here:

do-you-have-a-plan-i-dont-even-have-a-pla-quote-1
Friends has been made available to watch on Netflix this January, so you can guess what I’ve been doing.

Okay, maybe I have more than a “pla”. I just like that quote 🙂 Hear me out:

I’ve been thinking about doing a series. In some of my past posts, I have mentioned I’m somewhat of a fan of dystopian fiction. In the last year I took some pictures that–in my imagination at least–could represent a setting of such fiction. I would like to get this out there, once I figure out a way to do it. So, yeah, watch this space.

 

Miscellaneous, Outdoors

Be Your Own Hero

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Because the others are not all that.

If you disappoint yourself, you change it and un-disappoint yourself. If someone else disappoints you, well, it’s… disappointing.

So, be yourself. And every once in a while, if you’re unsure how to carry on or you feel somehow hopeless, take inspiration from the fictional ones. Be Xena Warrior Princess. Be Tony Stark. Be Hercule Poirot. Be Brienne of Tarth. Be someone amazing.

I’m not saying that holding up two autumn leaves and taking a picture of them with your smartphone is being a hero but hey, it’s a start. #IHeartMe