Monday, May 21, 2018

Texas - The future home

My new neighbor is slowly working on the junk house and barn. He has had power restored to the house and cleared the area around the barn, which he hopes will be his future home.

Originally a horse stable and then a car dealership, it has been derelict for decades

Texas - May flowers

It is now 30C+ every day with little rain. The gardens are at their best this time of year.

Click the picture

Texas - Garage lighting

I need to put lights in the large garage, it is 30ft by 20ft, 56 square meters. To have a well lit garage it needs 500 lumens per square meter. I have to work out how many light bulbs I will need, the concrete floor will reflect light.

35 bulbs at 800 lumens each seems like overkill.  Before I install permanent wiring and outlets I need to run a test.

Texas - Columbus house tour

It was a sweltering afternoon, 34C in the shade, but the town square was filled with activity, people and vendors. There were camel rides, climbing wall, and mini bungy jumping.

The house tour was free, so was the shuttle bus between houses, and when I ask for a bottle of water the seller smiled and said, "no charge."

The Alley Log Cabin, a simple, square-notch structure built in 1836, is a well-preserved, intact pre-statehood pioneer home and a surviving example of the style of architecture known as the Texas Colonial Period.

Dilue Rose was just 11 years old when the Texas Revolution changed her life forever. The massacre at the Alamo and Goliad – and the advancing Mexican Army – caused her family and many others to flee in the mass exodus known as the “Runaway Scrape”. Six decades later, she recounted those harrowing experience in her book “Reminiscences”, a remarkable firsthand account of the Texas Revolution. The house, with a basement, was built in 1858. Dilue married when she was 13 years old, and raised nine children here.

Texas - Two half finished projects, 100 km apart

The update to the Yellow House siding:

The new bricked area by the driveway. The gingers on the left are slowing regrowing after the frost, the aspidistra of the right needs the damaged leaves removing:


Monday, May 14, 2018

Texas - Brick area next to the driveway

Transforming the dirt area now we have a good source of bricks.

About halfway there

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Texas - Summer is here

It is now over 30C most days, and the sprinkler is on twice a week.  The Peacock Gingers have grown and spread.

Click the picture

Monday, May 7, 2018

Art - Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India @ the MFAH

Exhibition hosted at the Houston Museum of fine Arts. An excellent view of a past desert kingdom.

Click the picture

Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Review - À la recherche du temps perdu

A book review from the Economist, it just oozes Frenchness. I do not need to read the book, just the review.

Novel - A Gentleman in Moscow

The first few pages grabbed my interest, I think this could be an interesting read. A novel by Amor Towles, set in a real moment of history.

Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is fictional
A. Y. Vyshinsky was a Soviet politician, jurist and diplomat

Presiding: Comrades V. A. Ignatov, M. S. Zakovsky, A. N. Kosarev
Prosecuting: A. Y. Vyshinsky Prosecutor 

Vyshinsky: State your name.

Rostov: Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt.

Vyshinsky: You may have your titles; they are of no use to anyone else. But for the record, are you not Alexander Rostov, born in St. Petersburg, 24 October 1889?

Rostov: I am he.

Vyshinsky: Before we begin, I must say, I do not think that I have ever seen a jacket festooned with so many buttons.

Rostov: Thank you.

Vyshinsky: It was not meant as a compliment.

Rostov: In that case, I demand satisfaction on the field of honor.


Secretary Ignatov: Silence in the gallery.

Vyshinsky: What is your current address?

Rostov: Suite 317 at the Hotel Metropol, Moscow.

Vyshinsky: How long have you lived there?

Rostov: I have been in residence since the fifth of September 1918. Just under four years.

Vyshinsky: And your occupation?

Rostov: It is not the business of gentlemen to have occupations.

Vyshinsky: Very well then. How do you spend your time?

Rostov: Dining, discussing. Reading, reflecting. The usual rigmarole.

Vyshinsky: And you write poetry?

Rostov: I have been known to fence with a quill.

Vyshinsky: [Holding up a pamphlet] Are you the author of this long poem of 1913: Where Is It Now?

Rostov: It has been attributed to me.

Vyshinsky: Why did you write the poem?

Rostov: It demanded to be written. I simply happened to be sitting at the particular desk on the particular morning when it chose to make its demands.

Vyshinsky: And where was that exactly?

Rostov: In the south parlor at Idlehour.

Vyshinsky: Idlehour?

Rostov: The Rostov estate in Nizhny Novgorod.

Vyshinsky: Ah, yes. Of course. How apt. But let us return our attention to your poem. Coming as it did—in the more subdued years after the failed revolt of 1905—many considered it a call to action. Would you agree with that assessment?

Rostov: All poetry is a call to action.

Vyshinsky: [Checking notes] And it was in the spring of the following year that you left Russia for Paris . . . ?

Rostov: I seem to remember blossoms on the apple trees. So, yes, in all likelihood it was spring.

Vyshinsky: May 16 to be precise. Now, we understand the reasons for your self-imposed exile; and we even have some sympathy with the actions that prompted your flight. What concerns us here is your return in 1918. One wonders if you came back with the intention of taking up arms and, if so, whether for or against the Revolution.

Rostov: By that point, I’m afraid that my days of taking up arms were behind me.

Vyshinsky: Why then did you come back?

Rostov: I missed the climate.


Vyshinsky: Count Rostov, you do not seem to appreciate the gravity of your position. Nor do you show the respect that is due the men convened before you.

Rostov: The Tsarina had the same complaints about me in her day.

Ignatov: Prosecutor Vyshinsky. If I may . . .

Vyshinsky: Secretary Ignatov.

Ignatov: I have no doubt, Count Rostov, that many in the gallery are surprised to find you so charming; but I, for one, am not surprised in the least. History has shown charm to be the final ambition of the leisure class. What I do find surprising is that the author of the poem in question could have become a man so obviously without purpose.

Rostov: I have lived under the impression that a man’s purpose is known only to God.

Ignatov: Indeed. How convenient that must have been for you.

[The Committee recesses for twelve minutes.]

Ignatov: Alexander Ilyich Rostov, taking into full account your own testimony, we can only assume that the clear-eyed spirit who wrote the poem Where Is It Now? has succumbed irrevocably to the corruptions of his class—and now poses a threat to the very ideals he once espoused. On that basis, our inclination would be to have you taken from this chamber and put against the wall. But there are those within the senior ranks of the Party who count you among the heroes of the prerevolutionary cause. Thus, it is the opinion of this committee that you should be returned to that hotel of which you are so fond. But make no mistake: should you ever set foot outside of the Metropol again, you will be shot. Next matter.

Bearing the signatures of V. A. Ignatov M. S. Zakovsky A. N. Kosarev

Towles, Amor (2016-09-05T23:58:59). A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel (Kindle Locations 102-159). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.