Friday, 16 December 2011

Reverse cone planter

Reverse cone planter: 430 dia x 830 tall with an opening of 280mm

Going global

Recent additions to the enormous selection of planter shapes: large globes.  There have been some globe shaped planters around for a while although none quite so purely spherical as these.  The coloured globes are 500mm dia and 450mm tall with an opening of 280mm.   These are suitable for smaller floor standing plants or a large statement desk bowl.   The brushed aluminium globes come in three sizes as shown:

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Artificial Christmas trees don't smell of pine.

Yes, unsurprisingly, artificial Christmas trees don't smell of pine.   For years I would insist on a real tree at home.   As the children grew older my wife asked that the Christmas tree be installed on the 1st of December. 'For the children', she said.   Three weeks of central heating makes a real tree dry out somewhat and despite what people say, placing the tree in a watertight container and topping up with water doesn't make the trees last a lot longer.
A dried out tree looks quite sad on Christmas morning.   The only thing that reduces drying out is having hardly any heating in the room in which the tree is placed.   Not usually a viable option unless you want to ensure that everyone wears the dressing gowns and slippers that you bought.  And the night cap.

On the last occasion we had a real tree indoors, I planned ahead.   I had a second tree waiting on standby outside and on Christmas Eve I removed all the decorations from the first tree, cut it up in to pieces ( to avoid needles dropping as I squeezed it through the doorways) and installed and decorated the second tree.   It looked lovely and fresh for Christmas day but I thought "I'm not doing that again!"

The following year we had a very realistic artificial tree but of course there was no pine smell.   The central heating that played a part in the downfall of our earlier Christmases actually now comes to our aid with the artificial tree.   Every year I buy a bunch of pine branches and cut it up in to small sections.   Every couple of days I put a little branch on the radiator and the lovely pine smell radiates throughout the house.   The fragrance doesn't last long, however, and the branches need to be replaced quite frequently.   Extra branches are added just before guests arrive and our artificial tree fools them all!

Above: is it or isn't it?

Fake rocks and BAe Mars rover

An autonomous navigation system that will enable a future planetary rover vehicle to be in complete control of its own actions as it explores the surface of Mars has been designed by top-calibre scientists and engineers at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.   Earlier this year a courtyard garden at the laboratories was converted to resemble a Martian landscape and to aid testing of the rover, a large number of our artificial rocks were used.   As the rocks were lightweight, they were easily moved to make different configurations.   The courtyard garden was little used and staff have plenty of other spaces to relax.   The only regular user of the courtyard was an owl that perched in the same tree in the same spot.   That was obvious as a mini 'volcano' of detritus could be seen at the base of the tree.   That was the only one tree in the courtyard and it was thought that the tree would remain in place as the artificial Mars landscape was created.   This could have lead to some confusion had a journalist left out the word 'artificial' when writing about the laboratories' Mars landscape.  The rover vehicles and rocks were later packed up and sent off to a quarry in a far off land for further testing.

Above: Rock A1 with Robotic rover "indie" being tested on the simulated Martian landscape.

Right: BAe Robotic rover hogging the limelight on the simulated Martian landscape with boulder E and rock C1 in bit part roles.

Below: boulder A and rock E1 (with the giveaway flat base showing.  Should have put soil around the base!)