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A Socialist Utopia?

The keener eyed among you will have seen from my side bar that I have just finished reading Chinese SF author Cixin Liu’s collection entitled Hold up the Sky.

In it there were two separate references to characters requiring medical procedures that were too expensive for them to afford.

I also heard on the TV news recently that those receiving a test dose of a vaccine newly produced in China against the Covid-19 causing coronavirus also needed to pay the equivalent of £45 pounds for the privilege.

China is reviled in certain quarters as being a Communist country.

I must say that on the evidence above China must be far from being even a socialist utopia, the minimum requirement for which I would have considered to be medical treatment free at the point of use.

Cockenzie House

Cockenzie House is a mansion House in the town of Cockenzie and Port Seton, East Lothian, which we visited in September last year as they were hosting a small antique Fair in Cockenzie House.

Cockenzie House

In its grounds there is an unusual memorial – to Cockenzie Power Station – which stood in the town and whose twin towers could be seen for miles around and were even prominent from Fife across the Firth of Forth. It was built in 1968 and demolished in 2015.

Cockenzie Power Station Memorial:-

Cockenzie Power Station Memorial

Stoneware, Pitmedden Garden

More photos of Pitmedden Garden.

Gates with steps down to formal garden:-

Gates, Pitmedden

Heart shapes by the gates above:-

Heart Shapes in Stone, Pitmedden

Bottom of steps:-

Below the Gates Pitmedden Garden

Drinking fountain at steps:-

Gates from Formal Garden, Pitmedden

Steps and gates above:-

Gates and Stairs, Pitmedden

Another set of gates. There is a private area beyond:-

Gates, Pitmedden Garden, Second Set

Human sundial:-

Human Sun Dial, Pitmedden

The human acts as the sundial’s gnomon by standing where indicated, according to the month. It obviously matters what the weather is like. I tried it but cast no shadow at all:-

Human Sun Dial Plaque, Pitmedden

Unusual Shop Window, Berwick

A stunning piece of window glazing on The Brewer’s Arms, Berwick-Upon-Tweed. There’s almost a hint of Deco on the building’s upper portions and roofline.

From south(ish):-

Shop Window Glass, Berwick

From north:-

Window Glass in Berwick Shop

Windows close up:-

Shop Window Glass, Berwick

A Rocket Hovering

What a great photograph.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day for 25/7/20.

This is a Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket after taking off with its Tianwen-1 mission payload to Mars.

It looks like it’s hanging in mid-air.

Tianwen-1 in mid-air

Helsinki, Finland

Next stop after St Petersburg was Helsinki, capital of Finland.

A lot of the buidings in the city centre are in the Art Nouveau style. These are the ones I photographed on the way to the Sibelius Monument.

Art Nouveau Building, Helsinki

Helsinki, Art Nouveau Building

Yellow Art Nouveau Building, Helsinki

Another Art Nouveau Building, Helsinki

The one in the centre here shades into Art Deco in the windows:-

Art Nouveau/Art Deco  Building, Helsinki

Note the giraffe figures on the balcony here:-

Giraffes In Helsinki

I have absolutely no idea what these were about:-

Giraffes in Helsinki, Close-up

St Petersburg, Submarines

For some reason St Petersburg has not one, not two, but three submarine museums. (I never saw the last of those, the Submarine Fleet Museum, but passed the first two when travelling into and out of the city by coach.)

Submarine C189. (In English this is submarine S189):-

Submarine C189, St Petersburg

Narodovolets D-2 Submarine:-

Narodovolets D-2 Submarine, St Petersburg

Cowden Japanese Garden, Clackmannanshire

The good lady is a keen gardener and when she heard that the Japanese Garden, at Cowden, Clackmannanshire was reopening after being a long time overgrown, we had to visit. The garden was first opened in 1908, but was closed to the public in 1955 and left to go to ruin. Thankfully the recent restoration is restoring the garden to its former glory.

Japanese gardens are very elegant. Despite the refurbishment still going on Cowden certainly is. There is an air of peace and harmony about the place. Japanese bridges are especially elegant. The first bridge below is by the path near the garden’s entrance. The second spans the garden’s large pond:-

Bridges at Japanese Garden, Cowden, Clackmannanshire

Pagoda and bridge:-

Pagoda and Bridge, Cowden Japanese Garden

Zen garden:-

Dry Garden, Cowden Japanese Garden

Bench:-

Bench, Cowden Japanese Garden

The burn which feeds the pond:-

Burn at Cowden Japanese Garden

Path to bridge:-

Path to Bridge, Cowden Japanese Garden

Stones and ornament with bridge in background:-

Stones, Cowden Japanese Garden

Glebe Park, Brechin, Addendum

From the path to the park which contains Brechin’s War Memorial there is a good view of the reverse of the beech hedge which forms the western boundary of Glebe Park. You can also see the David Will Stand in this photo:-

Beech Hedge, Glebe Park, Brechin

The following two photos were taken of Sons new strip for 2018-19 (now superseded again) at the game on 25/8/18, a game we should have won.

Sons New Strip for Season 2018-19

Sons New Strip 2018-19 Close Up

Dundee, Dùn Dè, or is it Dùn Deagh?

Last summer we were in Dundee and when walking past the Railway Station I spotted this platform sign. It has ‘Dundee’ in both English and Gaelic. I couldn’t tell you when Gaelic was last spoken in Dundee on a daily basis.

Dundee Station Platform Sign

On coming back the other way I noticed that above the entrance to the station the sign has the Gaelic phrase, “Faìlte gu stèisean Dùn Deagh,” under the English, “Welcome to Dundee Station.”

Faìlte gu stèisean Dùn Deagh

My knowledge of Gaelic is not even hazy so is there a reason for there to be two spellings of ‘Dundee’ in Gaelic, Dùn Dè on the platform, Dùn Deagh on the entrance? Or do they just make it up as they go along?

There was an exhibition from the archives of the Dundee Publisher D C Thomson at Dundee’s McManus Galleries on at the time. D C Thomson were/are publishers of the comics The Beezer, The Topper, The Beano and The Dandy as well as Dundee based newspaper The Courier plus The Sunday Post – which gave us Oor Wullie and The Broons. The gallery was temporarily renamed The McMenace in tribute to The Dandy‘s denizen Dennis the Menace.

McMenace Galleries

Dundee is proud of the D C Thomson legacy. There is a statue of Desperate Dan and his dog in the city centre.

One of the exhibits was this montage of comic characters set against the backdrop of the Galleries:-

Bash Street Kids at McMenace Galleries

D C Thomson’s offices overlooked the playground of Dundee High School. The writers and drawers of The Bash Street Kids apprently took inspiration from the goings-on there!

Comic characters and Dundee High School:-

Bash Street Kids Outside Dundee High School

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