Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni Cheese


Tea tonight 

Macaroni cheese is a classic home-made dish for me.  One thing my mum did was to put slices of tomato on the top among the cheese. As a big fan of tomatoes, I would highly advise this. It gives a light freshness to balance the weight of all that cheese.

Macaroni Cheese Recipe
Heat the oven to 200C. To make the cheese sauce; firstly bring 850ml of whole milk to the boil with 3 bay leaves, 1 sprig of thyme, 3 crushed cloves of garlic, a pinch of nutmeg, 5 whole black peppercorns, 4 cloves and a few slices of onion. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Bring a large pan of salted boiling water to the boil and cook 300g of macaroni. Refresh the pasta under cold water once done. Meanwhile make a roux by melting 50g of butter in a saucepan and adding 50g of plain flour. Once combined, strain the flavoured milk and add to the roux in stages. When all the milk is in, add 150g of full flavoured cheese and 50ml of double cream. Remove from the heat and stir to combine. Taste and add salt if needed. Mix the pasta and the sauce and pour into a suitably sized baking dish. Now for the gratin; sprinkle a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs mixed with finely grated parmesan cheese over the top. Add some slices of tomato, and mozzarella if desired. Place in the oven until lovely and golden on top.

The skies in March 2012

March 2012 guide to the five visible planets

Has there ever been a better month for watching planets? Hard to imagine. March 2012 ranks among the best!

All five visible planets in the March 2012 evening sky: Mercury (early March), Venus, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn (mid to late evening)

Venus, below, moon and Jupiter, above, as seen February 26, 2012 in Manila, Philippines by Jv Noriega. Jupiter and Venus will be closest in mid-March. The moon will sweep near them again in late March 2012.
Wow, March 2012 is about as good as it gets for planet watching! Mercury, the innermost planet, makes its best evening appearance for the year in the Northern Hemisphere. All over the world, Mars shines at its greatest brilliance for the year – and moreover, the red planet stays out all night long. Plus, the brightest and second-brightest planets – Venus and Jupiter, respectively – come together for a stunning conjunction in mid-March. Saturn, the farthest and faintest visible planet, is nonetheless as bright as the brightest stars, and its glorious rings are surprisingly easy to view through a backyard telescope.
Illustrated guide to Venus Jupiter conjunction in March 2012
Great photos of spectacular Venus Jupiter conjunction on EarthSky’s Facebook page
Mars in March 2012
Four of the five visible planets – Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Mars – pop out first thing at dusk. Saturn comes up later in the evening. All of these worlds should be easy to see, with the sole exception of Mercury, the innermost planet of the solar system. As darkness falls, Venus and Jupiter blaze away in the western sky, while fainter Mercury lurks beneath them, near the horizon. The red planet Mars is found low in the east at dusk and nightfall, beaming as the sky’s fourth-brightest “star,” after Sirius. Sirius, the brightest star in the nighttime sky, is only a touch brighter than Mars, and sparkles in the Northern Hemisphere’s southern sky at early evening.

Use the dazzling planets Jupiter and Venus to locate Mercury near the horizon
Make Mercury a priority in early March, for the first week of March will feature the Northern Hemisphere’s best opportunity to catch Mercury in the evening sky until June 2012. First thing, after sunset, look for the dazzling planets Venus and Jupiter to burst into western twilight dusk. Then draw an imaginary line from Jupiter and past Venus to locate Mercury near the sunset point on the horizon.
Mercury at its best, shining below Jupiter and Venus
Given an unobstructed horizon and clear sky, Mercury may become visible to the unaided eye about 45 to 60 minutes after sunset. Binoculars, though, make the search for Mercury so much easier, especially if the sky is murky near the horizon – as is so often the case. Mercury is actually as bright as a first-magnitude star, but the glow of evening twilight tends to subdue its brilliance. With Mercury setting a whopping 90 minutes after the sun at mid-northern latitudes, Mercury may well be yours to behold just before darkness falls in the first week of March.

The moon, Jupiter and Venus as seen from North America on Saturday, March 24
Venus blazes like a lighthouse in the west at dusk in March 2012, as seen from all parts of Earth. In fact, all through March 2012, Venus and Jupiter – the sky’s two most brilliant planets – are the first “stars” to pop out at evening dusk, with Venus being the lower planet and Jupiter the higher in the first half of the month. After Venus and Jupiter have their conjunction at mid-month, Venus will become the higher planet and Jupiter the lower.
Best Jupiter-Venus conjunction in years in mid-March 2012
At mid-northern latitudes, Venus follows the sun beneath the western horizon about four hours after sunset all through March. Day by day, you’ll be able to watch Venus climb a little closer to Jupiter into the evening sky. It’ll finally meet up with Jupiter around mid-March 2012, when Jupiter and Venus will stage an amazing conjunction in the western twilight sky.
Watch the waxing crescent moon swing close to Jupiter and Venus in late March, on the evenings of March 24 and 25 and 26.
At the beginning of the month, Jupiter sets about five hours after the sun and Venus sets about four hours after at mid-northern latitudes. Every evening thereafter, watch for Venus to climb upward while Jupiter falls downward. By the end of the month, Jupiter will set about two and one-half hours after the sun yet Venus will still set a good four hours after sunset.

Jupiter and its moons as seen on August 15, 2009. From left to right, these moons are Europa, Ganymede, Io and Callisto.
Even on a moonlit night, it’s pretty easy to see Jupiter’s four largest moons with a backyard telescope. In their outward order from Jupiter, these moons are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. However, the positions of Jupiter’s moons – as seen from Earth – vary from night to night. Sometimes, a moon may be “missing” because it’s in front of or behind Jupiter. If you want to know which moon is which at a certain date and time, check out this handy almanac.
Jupiter photo credit: Velo Steve

Moon and Mars Feb 9, 2012 via Jack Fusco Photography. Used with permission.
Mars is rising in the east as the sun sets in the west in early March 2012. This is the other planet that will “wow” you on these March evenings. Mars reaches opposition on March 3, at which juncture this brilliant, ruddy world shines all night long, from dusk till dawn. Mars will become extremely noticeable in our sky in March – more noticeable than it’s been for the last two years. Very exciting!
Mars at opposition on March 3, 2012
Mars comes closest to Earth on March 5, 2012
Excitement is reaching to a fever pitch as Mars is now displaying its greatest brilliance in our sky. Mars started to retrograde (move westward) toward the star Regulus in the constellation Leo on January 24. Mars has been brightening ever since retrograde motion began, and its brilliance culminates with the Martian opposition in early March. Mars is now the fourth-brightest “star” in the nighttime sky, after the planets Venus and Jupiter, and the star Sirius, the brightest true star of the nighttime sky.
In early March 2012 – just as Venus and Jupiter are gearing up for their spectacular conjunction – Earth passes in between the sun and Mars. Mars comes closest to Earth for this two-year period and shines most brightly in our sky. This is the wonderful Martian opposition. Although this 2012 opposition will be a rather distant one for Mars, any Martian opposition is a grand event. It’s when we remember why we love this planet! So be sure to watch for Mars.

Look for the star Regulus and the planet Mars by the moon as darkness falls on Monday, April 2
If you missed seeing the moon with Mars on the nights of March 6 and 7, try again on April 2. Mars shines in front of the constellation Leo the Lion, but easily outshines the Lion’s brightest star, Regulus. You can also distinguish Mars from Regulus by color. Mars glowers in a ruddy hue while Regulus sparkles blue-white.
Moon swings close to a Royal Star and Mars on April 2
Waxing moon with planet Mars and star Regulus on April 3
At mid-northern latitudes, Saturn rises in the east around 9 to 10 p.m. local time in early March 2012 – or at about the same time that Venus sets in the west. By the end of the month, Saturn is rising at nightfall – or approximately 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local daylight saving time. Starting around mid-month, you can see Venus sitting low in the west as Saturn is rising in the east. Saturn appears highest in the sky around 3 a.m. local time in early March and about 2 a.m. local daylight saving time by the month’s end.
Give me 5 minutes, and I’ll give you Saturn in 2012

Full moon by the star Spica and planet Saturn on Friday, April 6
Saturn isn’t as dazzling as Venus or Jupiter. It’s not as exciting as Mars or Mercury. It’s the least conspicuous of the visible planets. In fact, early stargazers used to call Saturn “the oldest of the old sheep.” Thank goodness Saturn is fairly close to Virgo’s brightest star, Spica now. If you see two bright objects close together on the sky’s dome, one of them might be Saturn!
If you missed the beautiful pairing of the waning gibbous moon with Saturn and Spica on the night of March 10, watch as the first full moon of spring joins up with Saturn and Spica on April 6.
April full moon near Spica and Saturn on April 6
Morning planets in February 2012: Mars and Saturn
Although Mars appears in the evening sky and Saturn at mid-evening, these two worlds light up the morning hours after midnight all the way till dawn throughout March 2012.
Bottom line: Excitement is building with respect to planets in Earth’s sky. Jupiter and Venus are edging toward a spectacular conjunction in March 2012. Mars is at its brightest and shines opposite of Jupiter and Venus as soon as darkness falls! This month, three planets – Venus, Jupiter and Mars – conspicuously stage themselves in the March 2012 evening sky, while Saturn more modestly displays itself from mid-evening until dawn. Mercury, the shyest of the five visible planets, will put on a good showing after sunset during the first week of March.

AbeBooks' Most Expensive Sales in February 2012

AbeBooks' Most Expensive Sales in February 2012

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The Day of the Triffids
by John Wyndham
Green-fingered gardeners and fans of post-apocalyptic science fiction will enjoy seeing The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham on AbeBooks’ list of February’s most expensive sales.  A first edition of the 1951 novel sold for £9,130 – a price that illustrates the significance of this book in science fiction circles.

British author John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris (1903-1969) wrote as John Wyndham for obvious reasons.  He is also well known for The Kraken Wakes (published in the US as Out of the Deep), The Chrysalids (published in the US as Re-Birth) and The Midwich Cuckoos.

The Day of the Triffids is a horror story where mobile, murderous plants take over the world. Most humans have been blinded by a bizarre meteor storm, handing the Triffids their opportunity to seize power. Wyndham always acknowledged by H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds was a massive influence on The Day of the Triffids (even the titles are very similar).

The novel’s protagonist is Bill Masen, who avoids blindness because he is in hospital with bandaged eyes.  The story sees society break down without vision with sighted survivors struggling to get along in a chaotic new order filled with killer plants.

Although the idea of rampaging plants is hard to grasp, The Day of the Triffids stands the test of time and will appear on many lists of all-time best science fiction books. The BBC has twice adapted the book into serials and also into several radio dramas.

Top 10 Most Expensive Sales in February 2012

War and Peace: Before Tilsit, 1805-1807 Vol. I & II; The Invasion, 1807-1812 Vol I & II; Borodino, The French at Moscow, Epilogue, 1812-1820 Vol I & II. By Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace 1812-1820 Vol I & II. By Leo Tolstoy

1. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham - £9,130
First impression of the first British edition published in 1951 and inscribed ‘Yours, John Wyndham / (John Benyon Harris) 22-8-51.’  Presented in a custom clamshell case designed by binder James Tapley.
2. Die Zukunft Einer Illusion by Sigmund Freud - £6,687
Second German edition published in 1928 by Psychoanalytischer, this copy was signed by the author on the front free endpaper and includes a typed letter in German which has been laid in, from Dr. R. Luzzatto presenting the book to an associate.
3. War and Peace 1812-1820 Vol I & II. By Leo Tolstoy - £5,585
Published in six volumes in 1886, this first printing of the first American edition and first English edition was translated from French by Clara Bell. 
4. Erlkonig by Franz Schubert - £5,035
First edition of Schubert’s first published work and most famous lied (German for song), fully engraved, inscribed by Schubert on the final leaf.  Presented in custom half morocco clamshell box, published 1821.
5. African Game Trails by Theodore Roosevelt -£4,720
Published in 1910, this first trade edition was inscribed by Roosevelt “Mr. L. DeSales Casey/with the best wishes of/Theodore Roosevelt/Oct. 18th 1918."
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
6. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - £4,530
Limited to 2,500 copies (this # 37) and published in 1969, this edition includes 12 original illustrations by Salvador Dali, and also features the artist’s signature.
7. Historia Naturale by Ferrante Imperato - £3,989
Ferrante Imperato was an apothecary in Naples who created this book to present his natural history research, or cabinet of curiosities.  It includes what were the first illustrations (engravings) of this type of collection.  This, the second edition, was published in Venice in 1672.

8 . Reports of Cases Relating to Maritime Law by J.P. Aspinall - £3,980

Published in 19 volumes, without the index volume between 1870 and 1949.  Reports include the full text of numerous court cases.  Subject matter includes abandonment, arbitration, bankruptcy, carriage of goods and passengers, conflict of laws, enemy ships, loss, insurance, negligence, perils of the sea, personal injury, sale of goods, salvage, war and a host of other seafaring topics.
9. Persian Gulf and Red Sea Naval Reports 1820-1960 - £3,707
Published in 1993 by Cambridge University Press, this 15-volume set details material previously scattered through two government archives into a concise and convenient format. The Naval Reports cover the activities of the Royal Navy, and the Indian Navy until its dissolution in 1863.
10. How to Make Profits Trading in Commodities by W.D. Gann - £3,555
One of many books on trading written by Gann, in this one he discusses the cyclical nature of commodities as well as some of the basic rules of successful trading in commodities. Published in 1941, this edition contains W.D. Gann’s signature in blue ink.

The benefits of owning a dog

Is there anything here you don’t already know? Perhaps, perhaps not – but this entertaining infographic is packed with fun facts about our best friends.

Dog slide

That's not meant for YOU! Adorable dog goes on the slide of a jungle gym

By Daily Mail Reporter

Though jungle gyms are typically used by toddlers, one adorable golden retriever proved that they can be fun for all species.
A recently-uploaded YouTube video shows a dog excitedly waiting for his owner’s approval before he goes to play on the children’s slide.
‘Tom, would you like to play on the slide?’ the owner instructs the energetic dog.
True climber: The golden retriever, named Tom, is clearly a fan of the slide
True climber: The golden retriever, named Tom, is clearly a fan of the slide

Heading up: After getting the go-ahead from his master, the dog starts climbing the stairs of the jungle gym, typically used by humans
Heading up: After getting the go-ahead from his master, the dog starts climbing the stairs of the jungle gym, typically used by humans
Heading up: After getting the go-ahead from his master, the dog starts climbing the stairs of the jungle gym, typically used by humans
‘One go, mind,’ he says as the dog pauses to listen.
After getting the go-ahead, the dog carefully climbs up the winding staircase to the top of the slide before sliding down.

‘Good boy! Good boy!’ the owner says.
The video was uploaded by YouTube user buoyinaband who identifies as a comedian named Steve C.
Now the fun part: The video was posted by the nephew of the owner who commented that the dog went down the slide 'like a boss'
Now the fun part: The video was posted by the nephew of the owner who commented that the dog went down the slide 'like a boss'

Victory: Though Tom went down without any issues, his owner said he was only allowed to do the stunt once
Victory: Though Tom went down without any issues, his owner said he was only allowed to do the stunt once
In the caption, Steve writes ‘My uncles dog using a slide :) like a boss’.
The video was uploaded on Sunday and has already been viewed nearly 20,500 times.
Aside from the occasional funny animal video- like the one of a woman getting hit by a sleeping cow-the majority of Steve C’s posts are rants on different subjects he feels serve as comedic fodder.
On his Facebook page, he told one commenter that he uses the money he makes from the ads on his videos to help pay for university.

Dog mess could be subjected to DNA testing under plans being considered by a council


Dog mess could be subjected to DNA testing under plans being considered by a council

Dog mess could be subjected to DNA testing to identify the pets and owners responsible, under plans being considered by a council.

Officials in Lancashire are in discussions with a forensic vet over plans to analyse dog dirt found on pavements and in parks.
The scheme has been used effectively in Europe and the United States and is seen as an option to help tackle the growing problem of dog fouling.

Last year, Hyndburn borough council voted to call on the Government to increase the maximum fixed penalty notices for dog fouling from £75 to £1,000.

Ken Moss, a councillor who proposed the scheme, said talks about DNA testing are at an “early stage”.
If it goes ahead, it would be one of the first schemes of its kind in the country.

Mr Moss, who is chairman of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, said: “I am led to believe there are only two of these vets in Britain and they work by analysing the samples and identifying the dog by DNA. It’s something that has been used in tourism hot spots on the Continent and is something they are looking to get a foot hold of here in England.

He added that he did not know what the project would cost. “It would probably rely on some database,” he said. “It might be that it’s unrealistic and cost too much or rely too much on voluntary information from the public.”

Similar schemes in the US and Germany have relied on a DNA database with either fur or saliva samples being taken from dogs in a local area. Any dog faeces found in public places are then tested and checked against the DNA database to identify the offenders.

Harvey Locke, the former president of the British Veterinary Association and a practising vet, said current legislation would make it difficult to introduce a dog DNA database.
He said: “It is possible to identify dogs from a faeces sample, but you need to have a database with all the dogs in the area to identify a particular dog.”

He added that there were legal issues to be taken into account. “If somebody has seen a dog fouling and wants to report a particular dog, you would need to take a sample and that would require the owner’s consent,” said Mr Locke. “I am not aware of any legal framework that would allow this to happen.”

The proposals are the latest in a series of measures being taken by the council to help tackle the amount of dog mess in the streets. Police community support officers are being urged to issue dog fouling fines and extra dog warden patrols have been arranged.

Sunday, 4 March 2012


A photo from Crufts in 1962.   The scene from Crufts in 1962 – exhibitors names suggested are Quita Youatt, Edie Micklethwaite and possibly Albert Harwood and Dot Vick, with Eva Weatherill sitting ringside. 

 All this years action starts on the 8th March 2012.  Here is the website for all the information.


The Worlds Most Unusual Bridges

The World's Strangest Bridges: Gallery

By Chris Sweeney

Some bridges are engineered with nothing but utility in mind -- for these, aesthetic design is secondary to safety and longevity. And given that San Francisco's Bay Bridge was just closed for six days, this makes sense. But advances in design software and construction materials have given bridge architects opportunities to focus on original, striking and sometimes whimsical designs that impress, while keeping function in mind. Here are some of our favorite unusual bridges and why they're architecturally striking.

Rolling Bridge
Background: UK-based design firm Heatherwick Studio created this 39-foot timber and steel bridge in 2004 to act as a walkway over a small section of London's Grand Union Canal.

Why It's Innovative: A hydraulic system built into the bridge's handrail allows it to retract and curl into an octagon. The retractable design allows for boats to cruise through the canal unobstructed, and the bridge rolls up every Friday at noon.

Donald MacDonald, an architect with more than 40 years of experience who has worked on over a dozen bridges, tells PM that, "this bridge represents an experimental gesture, and it's really complicated for what it does."

Henderson Waves

Background: The 118-foot tall Henderson Waves is Singapore's tallest pedestrian bridge, linking Mount Faber Park with Telok Blangah Hill Park.

Why It's Innovative: Pedestrian bridges allow for a certain amount of creativity that's not possible with structures that need to support heavy- duty use. The undulating outer shell of the Henderson Waves is striking, and the inside is shaped into benches where tourists can sit and gaze at nature or the nearby skyline of Singapore City. The bridge, which is about 900 feet long, is illuminated by an array of LED lights each night to bolster its snake-like presence in the midst of two national parks.

Sundial Bridge

Background: Renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed this cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge to be made from a combination of steel, glass and granite. Completed in 2004, the pedestrian bridge crosses the Sacramento River in the Turtle Bay Exploration Park.

Why It's Innovative: As its name implies, the bridge's 217-foot-tall support tower acts as a giant sundial. The deck of this pedestrian bridge is made from nonskid glass panels to give walkers a greater sense of the river. MacDonald notes that the deck's truss bears the bulk of the bridge's load, while the cables appear slack compared with those of other bridges.

Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge

Background: Completed in 2002, this asymmetrical bridge crosses Lake Paranoa. Its name pays homage to former Brazilian president Juscelino Kubitschek, who established Brasilia as the nation's capital in the 1950s.

Why It's Innovative: Three steel arches that jump from side to side support the deck of the 3900-foot-long bridge. Architect Alexandre Chan, who designed the bridge, has said that he wanted to avoid straight lines on the deck in order to accentuate Brasilia's striking sunsets.

Millau Viaduct

Background: English architect Norman Foster designed this massive cable-stayed bridge to carry travelers over the valley of the Tarn River. It opened in 2004 with a final price tag of nearly $600 million.

Why It's Innovative: With its apex at 1125 feet, the Millau Viaduct is one of the world's tallest bridges. Despite its huge size, the construction period lasted only three years thanks to the use of GPS guidance systems, self-climbing formwork and prefabricated materials. "What is unusual is to have the towers taper in both directions as they rise," Macdonald says.

More than 1500 tons of cables support the 1.5-mile structure. Because its deck is 885 feet above sea level, drivers often find themselves above the clouds on foggy days.

Langkawi Sky Bridge

Background: This curved pedestrian bridge is 2000 feet above sea level at the top of Mount Mat Cincang in Malaysia. Tourists who want to walk across the 400-foot long structure must ride up to it in a cable car.

Why It's Innovative: Set above the treetops, the Langkawi Sky Bridge is one of the highest elevated single-stay bridges in the world. The deck is less than 6 feet wide and its curved shape gives travelers a panoramic view of Langkawi, an archipelago of 99 islands. Each end is fitted with triangular observation decks.

Da Vinci Bridge

Background: Leonardo Da Vinci sketched plans for this bridge in 1502 for Sultan Bajazet II of Constantinople, but it wasn't until 500 years later that the design was brought to life by Norweigan artist Vebjørn Sand. The pedestrian bridge opened in 2001 and crosses the E18 highway.

Why It's Innovative: For centuries it was thought that Da Vinci's sketch of the bridge was implausible. The bowed arches of the single-span design are dramatically thin where they connect with the walkway, but they flare out as they approach the ground. Da Vinci's original plan called for the span to be 720 feet long, but Sand and colleagues scaled it down to 300 feet and built the walkway from Norwegian pine.

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Background: This award-winning tilt-bridge is the brainchild of Wilkinson Eyre, a London-based architecture firm. It crosses the River Tyne, connecting Gateshead and New Castle.

Why It's Innovative: A system of six hydraulic rams can pivot the bridge's walkway at a 40-degree angle in order to let boats pass. Wilkinson Eyre describes the bridge's movement as looking like a "slowly opening eyelid" when it raises, a process that takes fewer than 5 minutes. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that the bridge was fully constructed before being installed as a single piece by Europe's largest floating crane, Asian Hercules II.

Oresund Bridge

Background: The Oresund Bridge crosses the Oresund strait and joins Sweden with Denmark. This marvel of ingenuity has a total length of 4.8 miles and was completed in 2000.

Why It's Innovative: The Oresund Bridge is an incredibly complex structure that begins as a cable-stayed bridge in Sweden and ends as a tunnel in Denmark. A small artificial island was built around the tunnel's entrance to keep water from creeping in. Not only is the bridge equipped to handle four lanes of traffic; it also has a double-track railway. Creating the tunnel was likely the best and cheapest solution to completing the crossing without impeding boat traffic, MacDonald says.

Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge

Background: This mammoth, x-shaped, cable-stayed bridge was completed in 2008 over the Pinheiros River in São Paulo. The peak of its pylon is 452 feet high, while the bridge's total length is just shy of a mile.

Why It's Innovative: The most noticeable attribute of the bridge is how its two levels of traffic cross one another as they pass through the pylon. A series of 144 steel cables were used to support the structure. Brazil spared no expense on this masterpiece; Philips was contracted to develop an energy-efficient system of LED lights that showers the bridge in changing colors and patterns, which the company says consumes 53 percent less energy compared to lighting on other bridges.

More libraries

The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

1-Abbey Library St. Gall in Saint Gallen, Switzerland

2-The Astronomy Library of the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands

3-Bristol Central Library

4-The British Library reading room at the centre of the Great Court of the British Museum in London, England.

5-Central Library of Vancouver in Vancouver, Canada

6-Delft University Library in The Netherlands

7-José Vasconcelos Library

8-Klementinum National Library in the Czech Republic

9-The Library of Melk Abbey, in Melk, Austria

10-Library of Parliament (reading room), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

11-The Los Angeles Central Library in Los Angeles, California

12-Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (The Austrian National Library) in Vienna, Austria

13-Philology Library of the University Berlin in Russia

14-Royal Library El Escorial in Spain

15-City Library of Stockholm in Sweden

16-The Suzzallo library of the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington

Unusual libraries

Found on -

Unusual Libraries

Sunday, November 27, 2011

After learning about the Derby Line library, I wondered if there were other unusual libraries. To my delight, there are. This little gem is private, built to house a Tolkien collector’s extensive collection.
Then here’s one of the world’s smallest libraries in the world. When a British phone company wanted to take away the iconic red phone booth in the England town of Westbury-sub-Mendip, the locals rescued the booth by using it as a library.
Open 24 hours a day, the booth has a light inside for midnight browsing of the 100 books, CDs, and DVDs donated from the libraries of the townsfolk. 

I want one! Carol 

Beautiful libraries

Some really beautiful and others a little unusual


Watercress soup a la Raymond Blanc

Watercress soup



Preparation method

  1. In a large saucepan on a medium heat, melt the butter and gently cook the chopped onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until soft and translucent but not coloured. This gentle sweetening of the onion and garlic will transform the natural starches present into sugar giving that lovely sweetened onion flavour as opposed to the harsh raw onion flavour.
  2. Increase the heat to high, add the watercress and a pinch of salt, cover with a lid and cook for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until wilted. The spinach will round up the strong peppery qualities of the watercress.
  3. Pour in the boiling water and simmer for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat and add the ice. This quick cooking of the vegetables and cooling with the ice will not only retain the colour and the flavour, but also maximise the vitamins and minerals.
  4. Pour half the soup into a food processor, and blend until smooth. Transfer the soup into a clean pan, then repeat with the remaining soup.
  5. When ready to serve, reheat the soup and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper if required. Serve the soup in a large tureen with the crème fraîche swirled through.

Reiki for dogs

Reiki for dogs! Spiritual healing sessions allow pampered pooches to find inner peace.

Healing: Jason the pug receives some reiki spiritual treatment from Heather Faye-Rodgers at the unusual dog salon
Healing: Jason the pug receives some reiki spiritual treatment from Heather Faye-Rodgers at the unusual dog salon
It's a form of healing normally reserved for more spiritual people, let alone household animals.
But an unorthodox business has attempted to exploit an apparent gap in the pet market, by offering reiki sessions for dogs.
Businessman Angel Moore helps pampered pooches find inner peace through spiritual healing sessions at his dog-grooming salon in Clayton, Manchester.
Mr Moore launched his service of providing the Buddhist healing practice for dogs in 2009 after winning a grant from the New East Manchester regeneration programme.
His dog-grooming salon Barking Barbers quickly became recognised for being ‘groomers with a conscience’, incorporating Angel’s Buddhist beliefs.
Now Mr Moore has launched a new dog lifestyle store in south Manchester, offering everything from natural shampoos to sessions of Reiki - the art of ‘palm healing’ devised by a Buddhist monk in Japan.
Mr Moore said: 'I didn’t want to be another dog groomer and I wanted to be different.'
Reiki can help calm animals down and control their temperament. It is unusual but it really can go a long way.
'I do get people coming in asking if I do humans as well, and I do, so it’s not exclusively for dogs.'
The new store, called Betty and Butch, will stock more traditional items like toys, leads and bones.
'In its dedicated Reiki room, Angel will see dogs for individual sessions and teach owners how to practise it in their own homes.
Treatment: At the Manchester salon pampered pets are given individual sessions
Treatment: At the Manchester salon pampered pets are given individual sessions

Mr Moore added: 'We had a very positive response from local people and the dogs are really showing a difference in their behaviour.'
He added: 'We’ve had a huge swell in the number of people taking up the service. There is a demand for this sort of welfare which we’ve tapped into.
'People care deeply about their pets and I think it shows.' Angel is also planning to launch a daytime doggysitting service.
Canine exercise: Just last month it was revealed that pet owners in New York are taking part in a new exercise craze of doing yoga with their dogs
Canine exercise: Just last month it was revealed that pet owners in New York are taking part in a new exercise craze of doing yoga with their dogs

The craze of 'Doga' sees participants 'bond' with their pets by including them in stretching routines
The craze of 'Doga' sees participants 'bond' with their pets by including them in stretching routines.