Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Databasing in the Museum World This Week

It has been rather quiet at work lately - lots of databasing so that everything is ready to go online in a couple of weeks. I can't wait, its what we have all been aiming for over the past two years! I shall let you all know when 'Operation St. Aubyn' is complete.

As for Queen Elizabeth and the Plymouth Strawberry... well now I think it was that she used to have one pinned to her dress, rather than embroidered... still looking for the text where I read that. Family tree is going along nicely. My camera is broken however, so I am waiting for my crazy-botanist friend who is never without his. He will be with me introducing Plymouth Strawberries back in to the wild this weekend. What fun!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Verification Vocabulary

Last night I got a very numb bottom while I sat at my computer for hours talking with my mum on Skype. We spoke for such a long time, because we were designing our new blog called Verification Vocabulary. Out in Spain, mum's laptop was getting a bit worn out, and she kept disappearing, but we finally did it!

Verification Vocabulary, expands on our ever evolving langauge, giving us new words to use in everyday life. Each day, a new word will be posted, with its meaning.

Where do the words come from?

All the words used on this blog began their lives as computer generated words, shown in a colourful font. They are mainly shown on blog sites to allow someone to leave a comment on a secure page on the internet. It must be a very clever computer program, because it seems to always put the vowels in the right places, so that you usually end up saying it out loud. Verification Vocabularly is the place where not only are these words recorded, but where they are manufactured into proper words with proper meanings.

Please feel free to visit VV laugh and clap your hands with the amusement!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Sound of Silence

Sometimes I feel I'm gonna break down and cry

Nowhere to go, nothing to do with my time

I get so lonely living on my own.

Sometimes I feel I'm always walking to fast

And everything is coming down on me, down on me, I go crazy

Oh so crazy - living on my own

Well said Freddie, I know what you mean… can get tedious can’t it?! But there is always something to do with your time and it’s better to let that craziness out young man! As you may have guessed, I am getting a bit crazy in my very quite world. I am not lonely though. I said goodbye to that over a month ago. Nope, I’m just living life in silence pretty much – thinking.

I am sorry about that, but it’s just the way it is. Mercury is in retrograde, the moon is in Capricorn and Jupiter is doing silly things in the sky.

However, the good news is that I have started my embroidered family tree this week – photographs to come… See, there is always something to do with time, even if it is a bit crazy!

P.S. Re-introduction of the 'extinct' Plymouth Strawberry (above) next weekend - can't wait!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Prison Cells in Devonport Guildhall

On Monday, my colleague and I visited Devonport Guildhall to meet up with some staff members to talk about the touring exhibition. We needed to find a space to put the panels in, and so we were slowly taken around all the free spaces in the old grandiose building.

In the last part of the building were what the contractors called 'the cells'. To begin with, I had in mind little cubby-holes or a small space which they had called 'cells' as a modern term. However, I was quite mistaken - they really did mean cells! I managed to take a photograph of one of the doors (left) of the room (below). This space had such a dramatic atmosphere and seemed to be such a find, that I thought I'd share it with you all. I don't think many people know about these cells.

Just out of interest, Devonport has the only working gallows in the country.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Ginkgo Biloba

© Goethe Museum, Düsseldorf

I had to put this poem on my blog, because it is really beautiful. My mum found it online and showed it to me, knowing that I would like it very much. The poem was written by Goethe - a German poet, scientist, botanist and philosopher. He dedicated the poem below to his former lover Marianne von Willemer. The Ginkgo leaf symbolizes Goethe's theme, one and double. The Ginkgo tree that was Goethe's inspiration to write the poem in 1815, grew in Heidelberg, Germany. On the picture below you see the poem in Goethe's original handwriting.

© Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery

The twig inside this herbarium sheet is 210 years old. We believe that Sir John St. Aubyn (1758-1839) collected this branch. The tree species would have been relatively new to St. Aubyn, as the tree had only been introduced to England from China a few decades before this specimen was collected.

Ginkgos are large trees from China and they can reach a height of 20 to 35 metres. Ginkgo biloba is called a ‘silver apricot’ by the Chinese and is a living fossil. Its closest relatives can be found in fossils dating back to 270 million years ago.

Ginkgo trees are incredibly enduring and have been planted in towns and cities because they can grow even in the most polluted of places. An extreme example of this trees tenacity can be seen in Hiroshima, Japan, where four trees growing 1 to 2 kilometres from the 1945 atom bomb explosion were among the few living things in the area to survive the blast. While almost all other living things in the area were destroyed, the Ginkgo trees survived and are still alive to this day.