Saturday, 22 December 2012

Beautiful Numbers

On 20 Dec, or rather 20/12/2012, we came to the end of a lovely run of beautiful numbers seen through dates.

I was on a car journey on 12 Dec and at 1210 my colleague left me in the car at our coffee stop so I could photograph this.
12 12 12 12 12
You can imagine my interest on 20 Dec to come across a radio interview on beautiful dates.  I think the interviewee said we have 68 in the 21st century of which we've already had 43; you know, 01/01/01, 02/02/02, 01/02/03 etc.  I've tried to find the interview to no avail, but I did find this article. 

Apparently we don't have much to look forward to in the next decade except next year at 2:15pm on 11 Dec.  Or rather, 11/12/13 14:15.  The Radio 4 presenter was a tad scoffing questioning how a number can be beautiful.  "And anyway," he said, "it's all very well if you believe in the 24 hour clock.   Believe in the 24 hour clock?  That's like saying I don't believe in Celsius, or inches or some other measurement system.  Honestly.

Mind you, I reckon if you switch the time and date around you could have 09:10 on 11/12/13 which is also quite neat.  Two in one day ;-)

Friday, 23 November 2012

Which Way Mecca?

Following on from my fascinating (sic) post on churches facing east last month, a colleague e-mailed me this link.  It's a discussion on the alignment of graves to Mecca and how this can be measured.  In there is a statement regarding the direction of churches in the UK and there is a somewhat sweeping (but probably true) statement saying they face any which way: OK, but mainly east.

An interesting article.  And it makes me wonder if some church alignment is sort of towards the Holy Land rather than east?

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Trig by Night

Have recently been up in Edinburgh for the RICS General Assembly and Governing Council.  I was only able to attend one day as I had to fly back to run a series of meetings and therefore missed the celebration of Robert Burns being awarded FRICS - posthumously of course.  In between finishing the General Assembly (1655) and leaving for the airport (1715) I was filmed for an RICS podcast. If it's any good I may even blog it.

I took the opportunity to fly up a day early and see a few sights, most notably the Royal Yacht Britannia and Edinburgh Castle.
 12 11 17 Britannia at Leith
Had a good loiter on their bridge.  Fascinated by the fading to this chart.  I've never seen that before but then you're not meant to leave a chart in the same place on a bridge for years.
 12 11 17 Britannia at Leith
A busman's holiday.
 12 11 17 Britannia at Leith
12 11 17 Britannia at Leith
A beautiful ship.
12 11 17 Britannia at Leith
It wouldn't be right, though, if I didn't bag a trig and this was the first one I've ever collected in the dark.  It's on a lovely wee hill (Calton) just off the main shopping thoroughfare surrounded by a canon, observatory and a monument which looks half built.  A quick google search shows that indeed it really is only half built - the National Monument.
12 11 17 TP1881 - Calton Hill Trig
The next day, enroute to the Castle, espied this little beauty.  One of those rare BMs with bolt which looked a bit like a lump of chewing gum until I investigated further.
12 11 18 BM near Edinburgh Castle

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Sun, Sea and Bike Wheels

Dragged my husband out for a trip to Teignmouth today.  The bribe, apart from spending time with me of course, was coffee by the sea.  He's been quite poorly recently and I suspect his defences were down.  He doesn't usually trig bag with me.

First off then was a surface block near Teignmouth Golf course.  Roger found it first (grrr).  They really aren't much to look at but as they are so much harder to find than trig pillars I get my kicks from the discovery.
12 11 10 TP0342 - Haldon Car Park Bolt
Next was Teignmouth Lighthouse - an intersected point.  It's only 6m high and has never had a keeper.  "So how can it be called a Lighthouse then?" queried Rog, "if no-one has ever lived in it".  Ah, trig hunting with a scientist.  I knew I should have left him at home.
12 11 10 TP9881 - Teignmouth Lighthouse (2)
He quite liked the bike wheel arty things though.
12 11 10 TP9881 - Teignmouth Lighthouse Bike Art
We headed off to find a surface bolt, literally tripping over an EA Benchmark in the process.
12 11 10 EA BM at Teignmouth
These surface bolts really aren't things of beauty are they?
12 11 10 TP7704 - The Point Bolt
After coffee we headed to the Parson and Clerk.  A very squelchy looking surface block.
12 11 10 TP7817 - The Parson and Clerk Bolt
12 11 10 TP7817 - The Parson and Clerk Bolt
But truly wonderful views across to the Exe Estuary.
12 11 10 TP7817 - The Parson and Clerk View
And, Ken, this is for you.
12 11 10 Hall Lane in Holcombe
We then had an abortive attempt to find a trig at Burrows Reservoir near Dawlish (gates locked) and an unsuccessful surface block hunt on a hill.  Stunning views again mind you.
12 11 10 View from Dawlish Hill
Rog is out all day tomorrow.  Looks like I'm going to harrass teenagers if I want trig pillar hunt company.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Which Way East?

I'm currently reading a novel which centres around building a cathedral.  They have just set the centre aisle of the nave by sunrise which made me wonder, do all cathedrals face east? Or, rather, do they face true east?  True in this sense being as near as damn it geographical (ie true) east.
12 03 29 Beijing Old Observatory - Theodolite
It occured to me that if they didn't bag their sunrise during an equinox then it was either going to be too far north/south depending on the time of the year.

A google search found me this interesting article from British Archaeology (I must be getting old if I'm finding this a good read).  It concurs with my thoughts, as in the 'easts' vary and, as you'd probably except, quite randomly.   There is certainly no link with the alignment of the church and the point of east during the saints day.  However this apparent trend towards more northerly easts in the west side of the country is interesting.

I'm now on the hunt for more info...

Sunday, 14 October 2012


It was a beautiful day in Devon today and, as I'm feeling fitter, decided to take advantage of it. My daughter, Riona, was less impressed at being hauled out for 'Mummy time' but I think she secretly likes it.

Anyway, first off we headed for the day mark in south Kingswear. Delighted that I could simply pass the OS map to my daughter and say 'navigate me there'. "Mum," she said slightly rolling her eyes, "with parents like mine how can I NOT be able to read a map?".

TP8772, Day Beacon, is massive. It's impossible to miss and we sauntered up to it for photos etc .
12 10 14 Day Beacon TP8772
What a gorgeous day to be by the coast.
12 10 14 Day Beacon TP8772
12 10 14 Day Beacon TP8772
With an opening like this I wonder if it was ever a night beacon too?
12 10 14 Day Beacon TP8772
12 10 14 Day Beacon TP8772
Riona climbing - tut tut.
12 10 14 Day Beacon TP8772
We then drove up to TP3276 Furland. Riona decided that she needed to look after the car so I headed off alone. First thing I stumbled across was a trig-like object in the middle of the field.
12 10 14 TP3276 Furland Random Trig Like Object
No idea what it is but it has a screw in the top. And it's leaning at an angle over 80 deg so can't be good for much now. I would have headed straight up to the trig but was deflected by a field of bullocks, so skirted to the west and found it.
12 10 14 TP3276 Furland Trig
You can't knock views like this can you?

Riona and I then attempted to find a passive trig by a roundabout. It was well and truely hidden so next time I'll be there armed with tape measure, spade and - I highly suspect - no children.

Our next trig before lunch (I work these children hard at 1400 hrs) was Grattery pillar.

Not an easy find as it was on a single track road with privately owned land (and passing places?). I parked in a gateway and wandered off to find the trig. I was then passed by a horsey lady who asked if that was my Citroen in the layby. I pointed out that I was after a trig. And even when I explained what a trig pillar was, and how important they are, she thought it really funny that I was bagging them. I left her laughing to herself about me. She really should get out and meet more surveyors.

I re-parked the car where I was unlikely to be shot by a local farmer and walked back up to the trig zone. Riona had given up on me by now and was installed in the car writting the next chapter of her fanfiction. I bumped into a friendly chap who wasn't "local" (as in, I think he lived a few fields down) but knew where the trig was. He thought me far too young to be a chartered surveyor (hello?) then allowed me to jump a 'private' gate and bag the trig.
12 10 14 TP3441 Grattery
Not an easy one to find and I drew blood in the process. To be fair I'd already drawn blood on barbed wire bagging Furland but this time it was a gash to the head. I knew I'd done some damage as my head hurt but, since the farmer was watching, I kept going. I showed him my photos - nods from him - and he then proceeded to tell me about the trig pillar he had outside his back door. Which turned out, on discussion, to be a benchmark.

A slight pause in proceeding as Riona and I drove to the next trig whilst she daubed blood out of my hair as we headed for Berry Head.

We had coffee at the Gatehouse Cafe then bagged the trig with minimal hassle and no blood taking. I was somewhat disconcerted, though, that someone has recently painted this trig purple. Now, purple is my favourite colour but there is a time and a place and trig pillars is certainly not one of them! Honestly. I suppose I should be grateful that someone cares enough to paint it.
12 10 14 TP1334 Berry Head
Grinning and bearing it.
12 10 14 TP1334 Berry Head
Being a teenager.
12 10 14 TP1334 Berry Head
We wandered off to Berry Head and lighthouse.

The Trinity House owned light is still going strong.
12 10 14 Berry Head
As is the benchmark on it.
12 10 14 Berry Head BM
Wonderful views.
12 10 14 Berry Head too

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Projections at Boston Logan Airport

Apparently in some lovely corner of Terminal E at Boston Logan Airport one comes across this beautiful bevy of projections.

With much thanks to our roving report Derek Turner who e-mailed me these last night. The only sad thing is that I didn't take them in person!
12 09 24 Sinusoidal Projection
Haven't heard of this one before. 12 09 24 Icosahedron Gnomonic Projection
Nor this one - but what a whacky shape (just a tad impractical for day-to-day use).
12 09 24 Octant Projection
12 09 24 Homolographic Projection
Ah, an old favourite.
12 09 24 Gnomonic Projection
Complete with Derek's feet.
12 09 24 Sinusoidal Projection and Feet

Saturday, 22 September 2012

London Calling

As I have done previously in September, I took a week of to kick around London. First off was a visit to Greenwich to check out the prime meridan. Yup, it's still there.
12 09 17 Greenwich Meridian
As is the FB and other measurement artefacts.
12 09 17 Greenwich Meridian
I'm not sure how reliable this claim is as I suspect that the shop of the National Maritime Museum is closer...
12 09 17 Greenwich Shop
...and that's only considering shops in Greenwich. I wonder if there is a shop somewhere which the Greenwich meridian bisects. And that's without going into the detail of where exactly the meridian is in the first place.

My prime meridian theme happily continued whilst staying with relatives north of London in Stanstead Abbotts. My aunt had spotted a bollard a km or so from their house and took me to see it.
12 09 18 Meridian Bollard - Stanstead Abbotts
This bollard was erected in 1984 during the centenary of the prime meridian. Golly, is it really that young? Now how can I find out where the rest are? Or is it simply a case of walking up the prime meridian on an OS map? Ummm, that sounds like a retirement challenge.

There is a brillaint bit in this website which says "At Greenwich, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and the Astronomer Royal, Arnold Wolfendale, planted a tree on either side of the Line at the Observatory, before joining a crowd of 7,000 children taking part in a wide range of events in the park outside. Neither tree has survived."

Re: the last sentence. I wonder if there was any connection...?

Later in the week I visited the Transport for London Museum at Covent Garden. I'd been looking forward to seeing the Mind the Map exhibition for many months. It was lovely to see a few old favourites, especially after reading the book on Harry Beck, and some new ideas.

12 09 19 Mind the Map - Pre H Beck
And after.
12 09 19 Mind the Map - H Beck Variant
Harry Beck experimenting with the electric circuit and his tube map design.
12 09 19 Mind the Map - H Beck Experiments with Electricity
Remember the time they removed the 'clutter' of the Thames? I'm pleased it has reappeared on Tube maps.
12 09 19 Mind the Map - Without the Thames
I loved this one. An alphabet of tube maps.
12 09 19 Mind the Map - A to Z the Tube Way
All in a lovely relaxing week. Am already scheming my next expedition...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

2 FBMs and a Trig

A glorious day in South Devon for a bit of bagging today.  First off was a treat - a FBM near Beer Quarry.
12 09 16 TP7148 - Beer
I would struggle to find some of these if it weren't for the helpful commentary supplied by other baggers.  It also makes me realise that my alleged eccentricity for needing to find these lumps of concrete pales into insignificance to others.  If you read down the links for this FBM one bagger writes "I walked up from the Youth Hostel where I had stayed the previous night as part of a challenge I have set myself to stay in the Youth Hostels in alphabetical order. Do not ask me why as I have not got an answer for that one."

Next was a forlorn trig in a hedge.  Somewhat damaged at the top and got an extra hug from me for that (OK, perhaps I am slightly nutty).
12 09 16 TP1129 - Beer Head
12 09 16 TP1129 - Beer Head
And the trio finished with a new, to me, FBM, a Berntsen.   Nothing terribly exciting to look at really, but makes me happy.  And the views across to Portland were magnificent.
12 09 16 TP0643 - Beer FBM Aux 1
A peek inside.
12 09 16 TP0643 - Beer FBM Aux 1