Friday, 22 February 2013

Bramble Bank



The Bramble Bank, otherwise known simply as "The Brambles" is an arrowhead-shaped sandbar in the central Solent which is uncovered at low water spring tides. At other times it presents either a significant navigational hazard or a useful escape from the strong Solent tides. The bank is moving very slowly westward. It is marked at its southeastern limit by the Brambles post sea mark and on its western limit by the West Knoll buoy.

The Brambles post has comprehensive weather and sea state monitoring equipment which is relayed in realtime to a website.The Bramble Bank is renowned as being the location of an annual cricket match between the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club. The match takes place when the bank is exposed but never lasts very long before the tide returns. The undulating surface with large puddles ensures it is more a social occasion than a serious cricket match. The ultimate example of this is the scoring - the victor of the game is pre-determined as the two clubs simply take it in turns to "win" the match, regardless of how the match progresses. The event was last held at about 0630 hrs on 14 August 2010. 

An interesting reference to this practice is found in Hansard, the British parliamentary record, during the debate on the Licensing Bill (Lords) in Standing Committee D, on 8 May 2003. In this debate the Island's MP, Andrew Turner, is discussing the problems of licensing when the event to be licensed falls between two authorities, and in a light-hearted way cites the example of the Bramble Bank cricket match.On Tuesday 11 November 2008, on approaching Southampton Docks for her last visit prior to retirement, the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth 2 ran aground on the Bramble Bank at approximately 0530 hrs. She required 4 tugs to pull her clear on the rising tide and arrived in Southampton approximately 90 minutes late.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Bramble

Bramble in the United Kingdom is any rough, (usually wild) tangled prickly shrub, specifically the blackberry bush (Rubus fruticosa), or any hybrid of similar appearance, with thorny stems. It may also refer to the blackberry fruit or products of its fruit (e.g. bramble jelly).

The shrub grows abundantly in all parts of Great Britain, and harvesting the fruits in late summer and autumn is a favourite pastime. It can also become a nuisance in gardens, sending down its strong suckering roots amongst hedges and shrubs. In the United States (and elsewhere?) the term "bramble" also refers to other members of the Rubus genus, which may or may not have prickly stems - notably the raspberry (Rubus idaeus) or its hybrids. The word comes from Germanic *bram-bezi, whence also German Brombeere, Dutch Braam and French framboise.

Bramble bushes have a distinctive growth form. They send up long, arching canes that do not flower or set fruit until the second year of growth. Brambles usually have trifoliate or palmately-compound leaves.

Bramble fruits are aggregate fruits. Each small unit is called a drupelet. In some, such as blackberry, the flower receptacle is elongate and part of the ripe fruit, making the blackberry an aggregate-accessory fruit.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Antlers


I'm a little disappointed that I didn't see Antlers last night at the Fool's Foundation. I'd considered going, but a little kid had bit me in the arm at work earlier in the day, so I decided I just wanted to watch a movie with my wife and go to bed early. (Parenthetically, the five hours I waited in the Kaiser emergency room to get my arm treated was several degrees more painful than the bite itself).

I've seen Antlers before, at the Delta of Venus. I can't quite hear their music in my head at the moment, but I do remember thinking that they were very creative at building tension. Like melody, tension (and its counterpart, release) is an art unto itself. If you create it using rote methods, its effect quickly goes stale.

If memory serves, Antlers creates tension by balancing their songs atop a taut, if not angular, bass line, so that every shift in the harmony makes one feel like the whole structure is going to shiver apart. Added to this is the music's dreamy overtones and drawn-out resolution. Therefore, the music simultaneously keeps you on the edge of your seat while inviting you to ease back and take another toke.

It is quite an enjoyable contradiction.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

As it stands



If you wake up one morning and, peering through your study window, notice a cockerel strutting in your driveway, it may portend unnatural transformations happening in the neighborhood. For example, the noisy girls who petal their tiny bicycles up and down the sidewalk might turn into the columbines that grow in the side yard. Mangy, ragtag hordes of teenage hobos might finally shower, deodorize and seek gainful employment. Mountains of laundry might evaporate and drift away like motes in a sunbeam.

As it stands, though, you've forgotten your tobacco on the patio table in the backyard. It is going stale. A woman you know naps alone in the back bedroom. Having walked to the bottom of the valley, she can't feel the heat of the afternoon anymore. A pineapple waits on the kitchen counter top. You intend to slice it in two, but you don't know when.