View my previous blog here:

I reply to all comments except spam, no matter how old!

Please ignore any email address displayed here! My email is shamp123 AT

Monday, 23 June 2014

Spotlight on a Website (9): NASA Astronomical Picture of the day

This occasional series looks at websites that I often visit. NASA's Astronomical Picture of the Day (click to view) is always accompanied by an expert description and features some of the most beautiful and jaw-dropping images to be found on the Internet.
THE SUNFLOWER GALAXY, Image Copyright: Bill Snyder, Sierra Remote Observatories
AURORA OVER NEW ZEALAND, Image Copyright David Weir, Earth & Sky Ltd
Image Copyright: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, NASA

Friday, 13 June 2014

Painting of the Month (46) June 2014: Christian Furr

Queen Elizabeth II. 1995
When he painting this picture of Queen Elizabeth, Christian Furr was the youngest artist ever to have painted her. She was 69 years old and he was a mere 28 year old. The work, commissioned by The Royal Overseas League, hangs in their headquarters in St James, London. Royal portraits
historically told so many stories beyond what the paint on the surface showed. Attributes of power and wealth sent a clear message to the viewer but I really like this picture very much because of the humanity on show.
The Queen looks like she is having to suppress a grin and, correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the artist captured a twinkle in her eye? She choose Furr herself to paint this portrait.
Furr was born in The Wirral, Cheshire, England in 1966 and his art usually looks more like these works:

Saturday, 7 June 2014

London Monopoly (24): Park Lane

I am now looking at the final,two-property Blue set on the London Monopoly board. My journey is almost complete.
Park Lane seen from Hyde Park. Sadly the road now has three lanes in both directions which has turned it into a much less attractive place. You cross the road to the park via an underpass now.
I've just checked on the internet; you can buy a four-bedroom flat/apartment on Park Lane for £16 million ($24m). Hurray, because it's bound to get snapped up quickly at that price. Park Lane runs north-south and forms the western boundary of central London and the eastern boundary of Hyde Park. In former times it had the rural atmosphere of a country lane - now it's one of the busiest thoroughfares in London. At one end it forms a right-angle with Oxford Street at Marble Arch and, three-quarters of a mile away, at the other end it, forms a right-angle with Piccadilly at Hyde Park Corner. 
Park Lane is synonymous with wealth and exclusivity in London but it does not have the allure that it once did; there are very many other places in the capital for multi-billionaires to live so no need to worry about them. Also there are locations with much more charm than Park Lane.
I think this quote from Wikipedia sums it up nicely: "Park Lane owes much of its fame to its being the second most valuable property in the London edition of Monopoly."
The next and final element in the London Monopoly board series will be Mayfair - unique among the other properties on the board in that it is a district not a thoroughfare.