Soppy Sunday

Image result for baby orangutans
What do you think will happen if I pull this?
n ti
Sometimes I sit and think… and sometimes I just sit.
n Þingvellir
Þingvellir, Iceland.
Image result for goose
Mother Goose?
n adelie
Munguin’s Auntie Adelie.
n blaze
Blaze from Skye (with his dad’s permission).
n bellagio ita;ly
Bellagio, Italy.
n antarctica
I bet you didn’t think that Antarctica was that green.
n autumn
It’s that time of the year again… sigh.
n only ca
Only in California… and it’s a great place for wildlife to cross the road.
n huang shan ch
That really is someplace for a tree to grow. Huang Shan, China.
n baby wolf
Do you think I look frightening enough?
n el
Family Outing.
n grey heron
Shhh. I’m fishing.
n buter
Oh, hello.
n south greenland
Nice garden.
n cloudy
Cloudy today.
n learning
I think I’m getting the hang of this swimming thing.
n cuddles2
Who likes a cuddle then?
Image result for baby orang
Look… I’ve cleaned my teeth… more or less. Anyway, see you next week.


64 thoughts on “Soppy Sunday”

  1. Life reaffirmed – it’s been an exhausting week, hasn’t it? I love the orangutans, as always, and am happy to see some – I have no idea where that photo was taken, but here’s one from the web of some elephants at Amboseli, which lies just north of Kilimanjaro, on the Kenyan side. I used to go there pretty pretty often on the weekends… I can’t describe my feelings about it, really – to say I loved the place seem inadequate somehow.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There’s a long-term research project on the elephants of Amboseli, which I knew about – their identity seems to be in a bit of flux, though, since my time, but it looks like the work is being carried on. Another place I loved was the Maasai Mara – especially since I could take a couple of the guys who worked for me and actually talk to the local Maasai and hear what they had to say.

      The beer of choice was Tusker Lager, whose slogan is “Bia Yangu, Nchi Yangu” – “My Beer, My Country”. Pronounce “bia” as in Spanish or Italian, and you will hear what it means even if you can’t see it in the word. It’s sold throughout East Africa, meaning you can get it in Tanzania and Uganda as well.

      You can also get the Tanzanian-made Ndovu beer. “Ndovu” is Swahili for elephant… Thirst-quenching. What you need after a day in the East African sun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve had Tusker here and it’s very tasty.

        Ndovu are a bit fussy about who they let into their site… You have to “prove” that you are old enough to drink.

        Munguin said I should switch on my webcam…they’d only have to take one look…

        Cheeky wee sod.


    2. Ed……..Beautiful picture! Elephants and mountain! “Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The leopard was stalking an elephant. Obviously.

        Or one of the local Maasai morans parked it up there on a dare from his age-group. Betcha no one’s asked them.

        I read a story, I don’t think apocryphal, many years back now – a quick google just now didn’t turn it up, alas – of an archæologist who was searching for the location of an ancient city mentioned in the record somewhere but without any other details, useful ones, anyway. My memory tells me it was on Rhodes, but – heh – my memory is like nostalgia, it just ain’t what it used to be.

        Archæologist, having had no success whatsoever, not even a potsherd, had just about given up on the deal and his research grant when a wizened old farmer, gnarled as an olive tree, holding up the traffic with his ox-cart, clopped by. In a fit of whimsy, or desperation, desperate archæologist says “Do you know where the old city of X was?” Wizened old farmer: “Αμέ! It’s that hill over there.” And it was.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. When I was in Amboseli, we all wanted a photo of Kilimanjaro with a giraffe in front because it was in the brochure. Elephants are better. I’ve also been on the top of Kilimanjaro looking down but the elephants don’t show up in the photos.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dave……I’ve read that climbing Kilimanjaro has great risks due to altitude sickness. Must be a great view from the top.

        Al Gore apparently said in his movie that the glaciation on Kilimanjaro would be gone by 2015. The climate scientist who made that prediction now says he was wrong, and gives the ice on Kilimanjaro
        another 50 years or so. One view is that the peak is too high for the glaciers to melt to liquid water due to air temperature. In which case glacier shrinkage is not a current temperature change effect, and the glaciers may have disappeared from the mountain previously over geologic history for other reasons.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I had experience of altitude sickness in the Himalaya and, sensibly, decided to descend only 3 hours walk from our objective. We acclimatised on Mt Kenya before Kilimanjaro and I was aware of some symptoms of altitude sickness on a high pass but we descended to camp and next day I was fine and reached the summit. For some reason, the Japanese party that were there at the same time were badly affected. On the stretch up to the crater rim we saw several of them being hurried back down by their guides.

          I have heard that Kilimanjaro may not be entirely extinct. Maybe movements of magma down below are affecting the snow cover.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Dave….I’ve read that due to relatively minimum erosion on the mountain compared with some others, not much is known about the interior structure of the volcano.

            With no acclimatization at all from the low plains, I was a little short of breath walking across a gentle slope in the parking lot at the exit of the Eisenhower tunnel at about 11,000 ft on Interstate-70 west of Denver. A friend of mine felt physically ill and gasped for breath at the top of Pike’s Peak, after a quick drive from Colorado Springs up to the top at 14,100 ft. I guess if we need oxygen driving the highways of Colorado, then a Kilimanjaro climb is probably not for us. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I hear that it is quite serious. I’ve never suffered myself but had a mate who had a series of meetings and a convention in Colorado. Even in Denver, which is pretty much at the bottom scale of sickness, it took him a few days to acclimatise.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. There are no significant signs of volcanic activity that I know of from Kilimanjaro, or signs that heat from below is affecting the snow cover generally. The mountain is in fact heavily eroded (so presumably it used to be even higher), which shows that it has been a very long time since new material was added to it from below – with one possible exception. Here’s what the Global Volcanism Program of the Smithsonian Institute have to to say about it:

            The exception is, as the GVP notes, that there is some localized fumarolic activity. That is why Kilimanjaro has to be described as dormant rather than extinct, but there are, as I said, no signs of significant activity. If there were any signs of that, it would certainly make the news in the region and, I suspect, worldwide.

            There has indeed been a significant decrease in the snow and ice cover in recent decades, but my reading of the balance of opinion – I delved into this quite extensively during my years in Kenya – is that the reduction is the result of a decrease in precipitation plus an increase in sublimation of the ice directly into water vapour with the slightly increased temperature. You don’t need to be above freezing point for ice to disappear – anyone who’s ever left ice cubes in a freezer bag for long enough has seen that; and the lower the air pressure, as at the top of stonking great mountains, the faster it goes. And don’t forget the tropical sun.

            I saw the reduction in ice and snow cover with my own eyes over a period of just a few years – first, you could look at the postcards on display at the lodges, then look outside and see the difference; and then I observed the difference over time as well, on repeat visits.

            Here’s a few (stock) photos.,,, Note the cinder cone in the background of that last one – what doesn’t stand out in all the descriptions you read of the area is that there are volcanic features all over the place. I can’t actually guarantee that those photos are in order; there are seasonal variations, naturally enough, but the trend is as clear as the nose on your face.

            East Africa has two (monsoon-driven) rainy seasons, by the way: the short rains in November / December; and the long rains from late March to early May. More or less. The amount of rainfall is of course critical not just for high-altitude snow cover but, more importantly, for agriculture and human survival as well: people, livestock and wildlife can and do starve to death in drought years. If you’re in a mood for boredom, here’s what this year’s official assessment of the long rains looks like:

            Another thing that affects the rains in East Africa is El Niño. I don’t know exactly how close the correlation is, but generally speaking, El Niño in the Pacific brings heavier rain and more flooding to East Africa.

            The volcanic activity around Kilimanjaro may simply have moved its focus a bit; Mt Meru, 69km / 43 miles to the south-westish of Kilimanjaro, last erupted in 1910 (, i.e., when mainland Tanzania (Tanganyika) was still a German colony, and Arusha was a military base.

            If you look closely at a map of the area and, in particular, the line the border takes, you may wonder why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania and not Kenya. The reason for that, apparently, was that Queen Victoria thought it would upset her bonkers and incredibly touchy grandson Kaiser Wilhelm II if the British Empire got the three largest volcanoes in East Africa and Germany didn’t get even one – so the border line was drawn to put Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Not that the Maasai ever paid any attention to the border anyway, and not that it was ever the right of anyone in Europe to draw borders in other peoples’ lands without so much as a by-your-leave.

            The other two great volcanoes of Kenya, Kirinyaga (Mount Kenya) ( itself and Elgon (shared with Uganda) (, are definitely extinct. There is no question about that. That’s why they’re not on the Smithsonian GVP list, which goes back to only 2.5 million years BP. Kilimanjaro itself… well, minor fumarolic activity apart – there is very little doubt in my mind about this – Kilimanjaro is not known for certain to have erupted within the last 150,000 years.

            If there had been any significant activity at Kilimanjaro within the last few hundred years, people would be sure to remember it – in the oral history, as I ascertained, they remember eruptions at the Chyulu Hills ( dated to 1856. One is called Shaitani – which I don’t think I need to translate.

            Volcano wonks may also like to have a look at Menengai, which has / is a truly gigantic caldera ( a bit to the north of Nakuru. According to Kikuyu-speaking friends of mine, and given the “ngai” is God, it is the “place without God”. In my mind, I dubbed it “Hellsmouth”.

            Contrast that with Kirinyaga (the exact name varies depending on the language you’re speaking; in English it’s “Mount Kenya”); the mountain is / was of great spiritual significance to the Kikuyu and related peoples around there and thought to be the home of God, the striped appearance of the glaciers and rock on its summit representing God’s crown. Local people would build their homes with their doors facing the mountain, apparently. I don’t know if they still do, because no one mentioned it to me when I was there, though I did have the theories about the mountain’s name explained to me.

            The (very small) doubt about volcanic activity at Kilimanjaro, apart from the trivial fumarolic activity and a patch or two of possibly younger-looking rock, arises in my mind because the Maasai have a tale of a Maasai boma destroyed sometime in the 1800s by an eruption involving Lake Chala, which is part of the Kilimanjaro volcanic complex. Here’s a photo: It does look like a caldera lake, doesn’t it? (Alert readers may have noticed that the KE/TZ border jouks at the lakeside in such a way as to give Kaiser Willi half of it.) My guess – and it is just a guess, a speculation, absent any scientific evidence, is that Lake Chala may have destroyed that Maasai village not with an eruption, but by suddenly releasing carbon dioxide and methane, like Lake Nyos (Cameroon) did in 1986 and Lake Kivu (Rwanda / DRC) could easily do at pretty much any moment (

            My guess is not a completely satisfactory solution, though: if you think of it, there’s some guy who comes to the area scouting for a bride or something, and finds a boma full of dead people and livestock, with dead wildlife all through the area except for some birds – it would stick in the minds of every who heard about it. I did ask a rather impressively learnéd Maasai guy about the Lake Chala story, and he too was doubtful too about an actual eruption; he thought my carbon dioxide theory was probably as good as any, and pointed out that from a safe distance the lake would have looked as if it were boiling. Such CO2 eruptions can be triggered by underwater landslides, earthquakes and other disturbances – including, one supposes, episodes of increased volcanism and increased amounts of hot gas coming in from below, even absent an inflow of actual lava: hot volcanic gases would increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the water and also raised its temperature a bit – warming your beer bottle a bit and shaking it a bit harder, if you will.

            How I miss East Africa. No hot springs here in Dundee, no geysers except gas ones, no swimming pools full of nice warm volcanic water, no noticeable earthquakes, no volcanic eruptions, not a single fizzy loch to be found …

            Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s Auntie Adelie’s garden there, Danny.

      Sad about the tree. It seems, though, to my non-scientific mind that putting a tunnel through a living tree is bound to weaken it, especially when it comes to the horrific storms we seem to get these days.

      But what do I know. As the article says, some are still going, even older (much older) than this poor soul.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tris….Adelie has a very nice garden. I didn’t know there was such vegetation in Antarctica. 😉

        No doubt the tunneled trees and logs of the giant California redwoods weakened them. This was done in the nineteenth century, when pleasing the tourists and promoting tourism in the parks took precedence over the health of the trees…..of which there were and are a lot. It’s no longer done. The most famous such live tree was a Sequoia called the “Wawona Tree” which blew over in a storm in 1969. Tourists often ask about it when they visit California’s Sequoia & King’s Canyon National Park, but the Wawona Tree was actually in Yosemite National Park. Apparently there’s still a cut through a standing dead tree in Yosemite.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Massively impressive though they are… I think roads should probably have just gone round the trees.

          But these were done, as you say, in other times, when we had less understanding of the consequences.

          Aren’t these trees magnificent?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Tris……Yes, the California redwoods are magnificent trees. I’ve never gotten over to the east or southeast parts of state from SF to see Yosemite or Sequoia National Parks in the Sierra Nevada Range, where the huge Sequoiadendron giganteum are located. The biggest tree there today is 275 ft tall, but specimens as large as 328 ft tall are known to have existed. A giganteum with an age of 3500 years has been documented. It was 1500 years old when Christ walked the earth.

            I have however seen a growth of coast redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens, in Muir Woods National Monument just north of SF. The coast redwoods grow as tall or taller than the gigantic redwoods, but are more slender and therefore generally less massive. There’s no way for a picture to convey the actual appearance of a tree that’s almost 300 ft tall. All you can do is get a picture of a person standing at the base. And remember, THIS is one of the sempervirens (coast) redwoods that are not so big around, compared with the giganteum. Someday, I’ll get over into eastern California and see some of the BIG sequoias…..LOL.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. I was once taken to visit the Sequoia National Park by a friend of mine in California, and am eternally grateful to her that she did. It was awe-inspiring, like a religious experience, I suppose. Simply unforgettable. So ancient but yet so alive. Cutting them down would be both folly and sacrilege.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Ed…..Fortunately for its survival in large numbers, the giant redwood is a brittle wood that has few commercial uses and is uneconomical in logging operations. Large areas were set aside for protection and it is now illegal to cut a giant redwood. The coastal redwood on the other hand is very useful commercially, and has been commercially harvested. Fewer protected areas exist for the coastal redwoods.

                The General Sherman tree is the largest now in Sequoia National Park. The much larger “Mother of the Forest” sequoia was located in the Calaveras Grove of Big Trees State Park, California. It’s bark was stripped off in 1854 to make a traveling exhibit. The reassembled bark ended up as a permanent exhibit at the Crystal Palace in London, until it was destroyed by fire in 1866. The removal of the bark killed the tree and it was finally largely destroyed by fire.


                The California giant sequoia grows well in other places. Notably in Scotland, where you can go to the Benmore Botanic Garden in Argyllshire and see an avenue of Giant Sequoias that were planted in 1863. They now have a height of 50 meters or more.


                Liked by 2 people

                  1. Tris…..Avenue of Sequoias looks beautiful. Hard to imagine that in time they can grow to almost twice that height.

                    It was the mid-1850’s, the 1849 gold rush was past its prime, and assembling an exhibit to show the world the wonders of California was probably more important to them than whether the tree lived or not. Wiki says the exhibit was titled “Vegetable Wonders of the Gold Regions.”

                    Actually a tree dubbed the “Mammoth Tree” had been entirely cut down for an earlier exhibit. There was a public outcry about the loss of the two great trees that brought attention to the conservation movement and provided public pressure that helped lead to the American National Park System. Yellowstone was named the first national park not many years later (in 1872.) An article in The Guardian tells the story:


                    Liked by 2 people

                  1. Ed…….Calaveras Big Trees State Park is where the Sequoias were discovered in 1852 and became famous as the biggest trees on earth. It’s one of many state parks in California that protect the trees, along with the famous national parks……Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite. Before Yosemite became a National Park in 1890, it was ceded to the State of California as a protected park area by the “Yosemite Grant,” signed into law by Abraham Lincoln in 1864. The efforts of John Muir, a Scottish born naturalist, was instrumental in establishing Yosemite as a National Park. It also includes a stand of the big trees.


                    President Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir at Glacier Point in Yosemite, Bridalveil Falls clearly visible to the left of Teddy in the photograph:

                    Liked by 2 people

          1. “English translation available” – umm… Tris, does Mr. Munguin have me in mind for this?

            I didn’t know that a record temperature of 17.5°C had recently been recorded in the Antarctic. That is really, really scary.

            Liked by 2 people

              1. Sunbathe in Antarctica.

                As the world becomes warmer we may find ourselves drifing towards the poles.

                Imagine Northern Canada, Greenland and Russia being over populated.

                And I guess Antarctica will suffer too.

                Liked by 1 person

            1. LOL… Yes. You could be official translator to Munguin, a prized position I might add. The salary will of course be commensurate with the importance of the position. The usual Czech will be in the post.

              Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah… the Rev Niko has spoke!

      For the benefit of eejit non believers, such as myself, maybe you could specify where in the good book it says we have to reduce annoying critters.

      And, didn’t they mean heartless Tories?


    2. Even vermin can prove useful “… as Shebitku (Sethos according to Herodotus) learned when the Assyrians under Sanherib attacked Egypt and the Egyptian warriors refused to follow him [I have no idea what is supposed to be going on here, or who is supposed to be following whom, but at this remove I doubt it makes any difference either way].

      ‘As the two armies lay here opposite one another, there came in the night, a multitude of field-mice, which devoured all the quivers and bowstrings of the enemy, and ate the thongs by which they managed their shields. Next morning they commenced their fight, and great multitudes fell, as they had no arms with which to defend themselves. There stands to this day in the temple of Vulcan, a stone statue of Sethos, with a mouse in his hand, and an inscription to this effect- “Look on me, and learn to reverence the gods.’

      Hearsay recorded by Herodotus, Histories 2.141.1, tr. George Rawlinson”

      On the other hand, in normal circumstances one should rely on boric acid, mousetraps, Raid and Rentokil.

      Liked by 1 person


    Hard Brexit Tories will use a Commons vote to try to overturn Home Office plans to ban high-powered military-grade rifles in a show of political defiance aimed at Theresa May.

    Police want the .50 calibre or higher weapons – which can immobilise a vehicle or truck from a mile away – banned because they fear a terrorist who got hold of one would be impossible to defend against.

    The Clifton-Brown/ERG amendment also has the support of the Democratic Unionist MP Sammy Wilson, whose party has threatened to vote down the budget, and one Brexit-supporting Labour member
    Kate Hoey.

    She really needs to be booted out of the Labour Party
    A long time ago
    When asked about the possible return of the troubles to N.I
    her Response was to laugh

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree about Hoey. I always wondered why she wasn’t in the Tories. She’s always seemed to me to be suitable for their right wing. Compare her attitudes with, for example, Ken Clarke.

      She has been photographed with the Orange Order, but I’m not sure she understands… or maybe cares… about the consequences of a border in Ireland.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Another Labour (ex-)MP who needs booting out of the Labour Party with great force, preferably yesterday – Pamela Nash of Scotland in Union. SiU are barking right-wing nutters enough, but they are cosily in bed with Alistair McIntosh and his “A Force for Good” (sic). Alistair McIntosh, a Holocaust-denier who was kicked out of UKIP for being too racist… In other words, a fecking fascist and antisemite.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oops – you’re right, Dave! Yet another memory glitch – thanks for pointing it out. My apologies to all McIntoshes, and reassurances to all McConnachies – none of can choose our relatives.

          Gives me the willies, does Alistair of that ilk. Probably be he’s such and enormous [CENSORED] himself.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Those were wonderful. Imagine driving THROUGH a tree, eek. How many little ducklings can one duck look after? A bit envious of those who have seem elephants in the wild. I’ve only seen them in a zoo, though they did have a massive enclosure.

    As for the Autumn leaves, wonderful. It’s may favourite season and not just because I was born in October. The colours are amazing in Scotland and imagine New England in the Fall.

    All topped off with a smashing wee video, thanks Tris.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, PP.

      I think it was 55 little ones there… She must be capable… or the little ones must be very obedient. I wouldn’t like charge of 5 youngsters never mind 55.

      Were you 21 this week?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Well… yeah. Her “understanding” is a bit weird though:

          During an interview on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme, in November 2017, Hoey commented that the Irish border problem – how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, post-Brexit, whilst avoiding a border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK – would be solved if the Republic of Ireland also left the EU. Addressing Senator Neale Richmond, Fine Gael Spokesperson on European Affairs in the Senate of the Republic of Ireland, Hoey said: “We joined the EU together, you joined when we joined, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we leave and when we are very successful that you don’t start thinking about leaving as well”.[25]

          Hoey attracted criticism again from within the Labour Party and from Irish political figures in February 2018 after she described the Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland, as “unsustainable”. These comments followed similar remarks by the Conservative politicians Daniel Hannan and Owen Paterson, who, like Hoey, favour a so-called “Hard Brexit” or “Clean Brexit”. Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Tánaiste (deputy head of government) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade condemned the comments as “not only irresponsible but reckless”. Owen Smith, the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said the remarks by Hannan, Paterson and Hoey were a “concerted, transparent effort to undermine the GFA…driven by their blind, misplaced faith in Brexit” and was “reckless & utterly wrong”.[26]

          I think the last Eire poll showed a 90+% support for the EU. And as of 2016 in her own country 55% support for the EU, which it wouldn’t be surprising to find, has increased as the horrors become evident.

          So her “understanding” is a somewhat biased affair, I reckon.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved seeing the picture of Thingvellir (sorry can’t find out how to do the Icelandic initial character), now v quiet but the site of the mediaeval Icelandic assembly often cited as a precursor of modern democracy. Dingwall and Tingwall (Shetland) presumably come from same root but have never come across any indication of similar origins in terms of historical significance.

    Somewhere in my holiday photos I have one of a cat sleeping in a plant pot in one of the Bellagio streets, neatly arranging itself around the main occupant. Place to experience in a cloudburst, at least if you are at the top…

    Liked by 1 person

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