Marking time in December 2013
I have been at the Woodford Folk Festival for a couple of days, giving a little presentation about researching environmental issues.
Instead of the usual bring-your-own-tent arrangement, I stayed in Tent City. This is an area where somebody else has already put up the tents before you arrive, and has put comfortable beds in them. There is also a communal tent with a cold room, tables, chairs, and boiling water on tap—and a table with mains power where campers can charge their phones. When I looked, the table was covered with a mess of Apple iPhones, and very few other types.
I counted 33 iPhone chargers (89%) and 4 other sorts (11%). The preponderance of iPhones surprised me, so I wondered why:
Do iPhones have weaker batteries and need more frequent charging than other phones?
I doubt the statistical significance of this single observation. A definite conclusion would require more observations. Am I going to do it? No—life’s too short.
Something interesting might be revealed by a comparison with other charging locations at the festival. Am I going to investigate this? See above.
The keeper’s Christmas dinner
I have sent out my email Christmas card for 2013, the third in a series illustrated with a wood engraving. Again, it’s a sentimental subject involving Christmas, a rowing boat, a lighthouse, and a lighthouse keeper.
The picture was drawn by the Scottish-American artist Milton James Burns. Burns was a seaman before he became a professional painter and illustrator. His work reveals an observant eye for maritime subjects, such as the scene in our engraving. All the details of the picture look right—a breaking sea tossing the open boat with its lug-sail furled, the crewmen in oilskins working at their oars, the delicate operation of hoisting the baskets of goodies up to the lighthouse balcony—except for the lighthouse keeper meeting the boat in a boatswain’s chair. That looks wrong to me—a gratuitous risk that a real lightkeeper would avoid.
I guess that the lighthouse in the scene is meant to be the one on Minot’s Ledge near Boston harbour—one of the few American offshore towers built of stone.