“Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind.”

 – Seneca

It’s a phenomenal time to be a chess fan

Carlson vs Caruana, London 2018

“Carlsen-Caruana is the matchup that the chess world was hoping for. It’s world No. 1 versus world No. 2—the first World Championship match between the top two since Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov went at it for the fifth and final time in 1990. Caruana only sits three Elo rating points behind Carlsen at 2832 to 2835, both the highest combined rating and the smallest ratings difference in World Championship history.”

‘I don’t see you guys rating
The kind of mate I’m contemplating
I’d let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you”

For Uncle Rodney

Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Rupert Brooke (1887 – 1915)

画龙点睛

Photo taken this week near the Temple of Heaven, Beijing

“Paint a dragon and dot the eye.”

ENGLISHCharacterPĪNYĪN
 to draw, painting huà
 dragon lóng
dot, (o’clock…) diǎn
 eye, eyeball jīng

Crataegus pinnatifida

Commonly known as Snow Hawthorn  these red fruits which grow up to about 35 mm in diameter are now in season.

The ones in this picture, taken yesterday, are from Xiong Xian County in Hebei Province, near the city of Baotou.

Chinese Hawthorn, click for larger image
山楂 (mountain hawthorn) or 大红果 (big, red fruit)

They are used to make a number of deserts and snacks. In Northern China they are often sold dipped in a sugar candy coating on a wooden skewer  much like toffee apples are  in Europe and are called 糖葫芦 (tanghulu).

They have been associated with various medicinal properties especially as a digestive aid.


In case you don’t know the words…

Fightin’ fire with fire

Watch out, you might get what you’re after
Cool babies, strange but not a stranger
I’m an ordinary guy
Burning down the house

Hold tight, wait till the party’s over
Hold tight, We’re in for nasty weather
There has got to be a way
Burning down the house

Here’s your ticket pack your bag
Time for jumpin’ overboard
The transportation is here
Close enough but not too far,
Maybe you know where you are
Fightin’ fire with fire

All wet! Hey you might need a raincoat
Shakedown! Dreams walking in broad daylight
Three hun-dred six-ty five de-grees
Burning down the house

It was once upon a place sometimes I listen to myself
Gonna come in first place
People on their way to work and baby what did you except
Gonna burst into flame

Fightin’ fire with fire, Fightin’ fire with fire, Fightin’ fire with fire

My house! Is out of the ordinary
That’s right! Don’t wanna hurt nobody
Some things sure can sweep me off my feet
Burning down the house

No visible means of support and you have not seen nothin’ yet
Everything’s stuck together
And I don’t know what you expect starring into the TV set
Fighting fire with fire