Egyptian (Virtual) Holiday

Admin1 has been playing Assassin’s Creed Origins, a vast open-world game set in Egypt, circa 57BC. Some effort has gone into making it accurate, with consultant historians and linguists, and it’s undeniably impressive.
Here’s an eagle’s-eye view of Alexandria at sunset, taking in the Hippodrome, the museum, the famous library, the theatre, docks and ending up at the Ancient Wonder Pharos lighthouse, rediscovered in 1968.

There are also pyramids and the Sphinx…
…and, of course, cats:

 
Meanwhile, Admin1 is reading The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas and Admin2 is reading The Other Mother by Michel Bussi.

Scarborough (reasonably) Fair

Our trip to (occasionally) sunny Scarborough involved pirate ships:
Donkeys (go, Audrey!):
Many, many seagulls (and distant dolphins leaping above the waves but too far away to photograph):
Scrumptious fish and chips from Winking Willy’s famous emporium with its amusing signage:
And finally, let’s all go down the…
A wonderful 20th wedding anniversary trip was had by all! Well, apart from Dave and Bob, the latter of whom had his bubble burst at primary school and they have to isolate 🙁
We stayed again at the Green Gables hotel (great breakfasts, but it bears more than a passing resemblance to Hilbert’s Hotel), and again failed to photograph its magnificent but elusive cat. Next time…

Batting for Africa

One of the questions in yesterday’s Guardian quiz prompted a family discussion about the Kasanka National Park in Zambia and its enormous colony of bats. Admins 1 and 2 paid a visit there in 2010, which involved getting up in the middle of the night, trekking through a swampy jungle with some armed guards and climbing rickety wooden towers to view the bats flying around. It was spectacular. Here’s another shot we took:
Anyway, in a weird coincidence the Park turned up in today’s Guardian. Apparently some company wants to open a huge commercial farm which would have a catastrophic effect on the wildlife. The paper also has a nice photo essay on the Park’s bats.
Admin1 is reading The Special Dead by Lin Anderson. Admin2 is rereading The Second Sleep by Robert Harris.

Crescent Sun

Today’s solar eclipse, partial from the UK and annular in parts of Canada/US. We were lucky with the weather — totally overcast at 9am but it cleared up somewhat in time for maximum eclipse at about 11am, giving us some atmospheric shots through the cloud cover, which then rolled in completely.
Admin1 is reading A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee, and Admin2 is reading, rather aptly, Black Sun by Owen Matthews; a KGB agent investigates a suspicious death in the run-up to the real-life biggest nuclear test ever.

The Jab-berwock

Admin1’s second jab today, and a lovely day for it too. Here’s the traditional shot of Scott Hall Road … and here’s some graffiti with the Jab-berwock seen on the way back :

Today we reached 1,000,000 points for our BOINC research into COVID-19, various cancers and Asteroid hunting:
BOINC statsWe also have a brand-new weather station to set up over the next few days, and we both celebrated by visiting newly reopened charity shops, and bought some books!

Curiosity…

The Mars rover Curiosity looks curiously at its little baby, the drone Ingenuity, due to take its first flight on 10 or 11 April if all pre-flight checks go well.
The most recent weather report from Mars is from 29 March, with a daytime maximum of -20°C and night-time minimum of -73°C. Brrr! At least it’s sunny…
Meanwhile on Earth, last night was our coldest-ever April night at -2.1°C. Brrr again!

An Unexpected Visitor

This morning Admin1 was disturbed by a cacophony of rawk-rawk sounds from a squadron of magpies in the garden. And looking out of the window he saw why…

…a sparrowhawk, feasting on one of their brethren (presumably). There wasn’t much left to identify the victim apart from feathers.
Admin1 is reading Perfect Death by Helen Fields, which was soapily melodramatic and only borderline readable. Admin2 is reading The Ottoman Secret by Raymond Khoury.

Shadows and Light

We noticed that the output of our solar panels had suddenly dropped over the last couple of very sunny days, from a maximum of about 1.3kW to a maximum of 900 watts. We sent the drone up for a look and saw this at around midday: the outlined area is now in shadow as the sun gets lower, and just that tiny amount of shading cuts nearly half a kilowatt from the output.
Admin1 is reading A Shot in the Dark by Lynne Truss (daft, and not as amusing as it thinks it is). Admin2 is reading The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup. We scored 9.5 on the GWQ.

RIP Titan


We called him Titan because we thought he was going to be big but he was tiny and died of gut trouble before he was two years old. We will miss his calm nature, friendliness and lovely soft fur xxx

Two Stews to View

On the top, Red Dead Redemption 2 stew … on the bottom, Leeds stew. We have dumplings!
RDR2 also has coffee, but we have Leeds coffee: a shot of Tia Maria and a double espresso topped with double cream. Yum!
Admin1 is reading Slow Horses by Mick Herron. Admin2 is reading Bryant & May and the Invisble Code by Christopher Fowler.

Teleman…

…at the Brudenell Social Club. Terrific!
We love this band — try this — but by the time we found out they were playing here the tickets were sold out. Gez put out feelers and today some fans from the Netherlands arrived with spare tickets. We got there just in time and enjoyed every minute. Thanks Gez, thanks Doyles, sorry people who tried to get in touch and thanks Teleman for a great show.
Admin1 is reading The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek, a very stupid book. Admin2 is reading The American by Nadia Dalbueno.

In the Air Tonight

Our new toy tool: a drone with a movie camera, bought to look at the solar panels to see if they need a clean (and definitely not to have fun with). It’s pretty difficult to control in small spaces, but Admin1 is slowly improving with practice. This is the highest we’ve taken it so far.
Admin1 is rereading The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.
Coffee of the day: Costa Rica Montanas del Diamante Tarrazu; smooth and citric.