Heating Your Greenhouse in Europe This Winter

Started by Bern, September 03, 2022, 09:59:17 AM

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David Pilling

Quote from: Bern on April 27, 2023, 01:46:22 PMAs of today there are 3 peregrine falcon chicks that have hatched.

I drove past some black text on yellow background signs yesterday that said "Foulshaw Moss Ospreys", they're on TV too:



Hey David,

Thanks for the link to the osprey nest cam.  It looks like the nest is in a remote and inhospitable place with lots of wind and rain now.

Ospreys are very common where I live.  They can always be seen at Jamestown settlement on the river or marsh, except when they leave for a few months for their winter migration. 

Are you going to be out mafficking next weekend for the big coronation ceremony?  It should be quite a display for sure.

Thanks again,


David Pilling

Hi Bern

Quote from: Bern on April 30, 2023, 06:33:27 AMa remote and inhospitable place with lots of wind and rain

Some of us would like to call it home. Probly 5 minutes bird flight time from the City of Lancaster.

Quote from: Bern on April 30, 2023, 06:33:27 AMAre you going to be out mafficking next weekend for the big coronation ceremony?

Good word:

"to celebrate with boisterous rejoicing and hilarious behavior"

It feels like it will be quite low key. The King is trying to make himself appear relevant and the people are feeling poor at the moment.

No street party in my avenue.

The Queen's coronation in 1952 was a big deal, because it was just after the war and TV had become a possibility for the masses. Anyone with a TV gathered a crowd.

In my time, the Silver Jubilee (1977) was something everyone got involved with - I still have the memorabilia. Didn't seem as much involvement with Golden etc celebrations.

There is some coronation stuff in the shops, but nothing like as much stuff as for Halloween.

As an ex-naval officer one might expect the King to give the order "Splice the mainbrace" (issue the crew with an alcoholic drink) - but you can imagine the problems with that these days.


Quote from: David Pilling on April 30, 2023, 05:11:54 PMGood word: Mafficking -
"to celebrate with boisterous rejoicing and hilarious behavior"

Mafficking is a really cool word. I first encountered it when I read a history of the Boer War.  It's named after the town of Mafeking, in South Africa.  This town had a British garrison that was besieged for 217 days during the Boer War and whose relief on May 17, 1900 was celebrated in London. Eventually, this type of boisterous celebration was referred to as Mafficking. 

Quote from: David Pilling on April 30, 2023, 05:11:54 PMthe people are feeling poor at the moment

Here's another good word: Mulcted.

verb: past tense: mulcted; past participle: mulcted

  • extract money from (someone) by fine or taxation.
"they have turned mulcting taxpayers into an art form"

    2.  deprive someone of (money or possessions) by fraudulent means.
      • "He mulcted Shelly of $75,000"

    I know a lot of people who are feeling mulcted at the moment.

David Pilling

I like the derivation of Mafeking - I wish I'd guessed that. As for mulcted, milked or the gardening mulched. Seemingly not:

"Mulct was borrowed from the Latin word for a fine, which is multa or mulcta. The "fine" sense is still in use, mostly in legal contexts ("the court mulcted the defendant for punitive damages"), but these days mulct is more often used for an illegal act".


Quote from: David Pilling on April 30, 2023, 05:11:54 PM"Splice the mainbrace" (issue the crew with an alcoholic drink) - but you can imagine the problems with that these days.

The US Centers for Disease Control's most reported alcohol related deaths to be in excess of 140,000 per year here.  Their most recent data for drug overdose deaths in the US is about 107,000 per year.  Rounding up to 250,000 deaths per year, or 1,000,000 every four years is, to me, an amazingly large toll upon the people of a nation.

What kind of toll does alcohol and drugs take on the people of the UK and countries in Europe? 

Here's how The Lancet has summarized problem drinking worldwide.

The Lancet: Volume 392, Issue 10152, P1015 – P1035, September 22, 2018; Alcohol Use and Burden for 195 Countries and Territories, 1990 – 2016: A Systemic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

Conclusion: "Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for disease burden worldwide, accounting for nearly 10% of global deaths among populations aged 15–49 years, and poses dire ramifications for future population health in the absence of policy action today. The widely held view of the health benefits of alcohol needs revising, particularly as improved methods and analyses continue to show how much alcohol use contributes to global death and disability. Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none. This level is in conflict with most health guidelines, which espouse health benefits associated with consuming up to two drinks per day. Alcohol use contributes to health loss from many causes and exacts its toll across the lifespan, particularly among men. Policies that focus on reducing population-level consumption will be most effective in reducing the health loss from alcohol use."

Other Info from Lancet Article: "The authors found that there was only a protective effect between alcohol and ischemic heart disease, and there were possible protective effects for diabetes and ischemic stroke but these were not statistically significant. The risk of developing all other health problems increased with the number of alcoholic drinks consumed each day, particularly cancers.  Combining these findings, the protective effect of alcohol was offset by the risks and overall the health risks associated with alcohol rose in line with the amount consumed each day. Therefore, the authors conclude that there is no safe level of alcohol."

"Harm due to alcohol use occurs by multiple mechanisms through which alcohol use affects health: through cumulative consumption leading to adverse effects on organs and tissues; by acute intoxication leading to injuries or poisoning; and by dependent drinking leading to impairments and potentially self-harm or violence. These effects are also influenced by an individual's consumption volume and pattern of drinking."

David Pilling

I don't drink or smoke, modern medicine can do little for me - I was making the comment about "splicing the mainbrace" in jest. However it turns out that the order was actually given to the entire Royal Navy for the Queen's coronation 70 years ago.

As for King Charles's coronation I can find no mention of it - which may show how things have changed in 70 years.

He did apparently make reference to "splicing the mainbrace" in a recent light hearted letter to his former crew.

Nelson's Navy was by all accounts in a state of permanent intoxication, they probably would not have put up with the conditions otherwise. At the same time civilians were drinking beer because it was safer than water. Between then and now, the UK would have had nuclear submarines crewed by sailors given a daily rum ration.

Looking at the stats the UK drinks more than the USA. Drug abuse seems worse in the USA.


"Splice the Mainbrace"

Braces are the lines that control the angle of the yards. On square-rigged ships, the mainbrace was the longest line in of all the running rigging. It was common to aim for the ship's rigging during naval battles. If the mainbrace was shot away, it was usually necessary to repair it during the engagement; the ship was unmaneuverable without it and would have to stay on the same tack. Even repairing it after the battle was a difficult job; the mainbrace ran through blocks, so it could not be repaired with a short splice or a knot. Splicing in a large run of hemp was strenuous work, and generally the ship's best Able Seaman were chosen to carry out the task under the supervision of the Boatswain ("bosun"). On completion of the task, it was customary for the men to be rewarded with an extra ration of rum. The Boatswain would take a sip from the ration of each of the men he had selected for the task. Eventually the order to "splice the mainbrace" came to mean that the crew would receive an extra ration of rum, and was issued on special occasions: after victory in battle, the change of a monarch, a royal birth, a royal wedding or an inspection of the fleet.  In cases where the whole fleet was to receive the signal, it would be run up with a lift of flags or signalled by semaphore.

David Pilling

There are a lot of nautical terms in everyday language - talking of drink:

"three sheets to the wind", "Dutch courage", "groggy"

Gen Z probably wouldn't understand.


T.S. Eliot was a Nobel Prize winning poet and is considered by many to be one of the most influential poets of the 20th century.  He is definitely a "heavy" poet and it's a slog getting through some of his works. He was born in Missouri, my home state, in the late 1800s, was educated at Harvard, Oxford, and the Sorbonne. He moved to England, renounced his US citizenship, and became a British citizen in 1927. 

Anyway, here's one of his poems that is enjoyable and easy to read.

Macavity: The Mystery Cat

Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw—
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law...

Full version here:



Oops! Not fair use to quote an entire poem that is probably still protected by copyright. Hope PBS doesn't get in trouble for this.

David Pilling

Good poem - inspiration for the very popular musical Cats.

It says elsewhere:

"From Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Copyright © 1939 by T. S. Eliot, renewed © 1967 by Esme Valerie Eliot. Used with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt."

As they say Mickey Mouse will never be in the public domain, because the copyright keeps getting extended.


Copyright Disclaimer: under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.  Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

David Pilling

Ode to the Scoundrel Cat

There once was a cat named Scoundrel,
Whose ways were most foul and unkind.
He'd eat all the food,
And then scratch the new wood,
And leave hairballs all over the mind.

Scoundrel was a master of stealth,
He'd sneak in and out without fail.
He'd steal all the treats,
And then sleep on your sheets,
And make you go crazy with wail.

Scoundrel was a creature of habit,
He'd wake you up at the crack of dawn.
He'd meow and he'd purr,
And then scratch at your door,
And demand that you feed him right now.

Scoundrel was a terrible creature,
But he was also kind of cute.
So you'd let him stay,
Even though he made you crazy,
And you'd love him despite all his flaws.


Sorry, Bern, I worked in the publishing industry for many years, mostly for Oxford UP, and I know the rules. PBS should not post an entire work, even on this forum.