Have you eaten all your bananas?

On my non-working days, I spend my breakfast time catching up with news (okay, I start with sports news before hitting the serious stuff) and I came across an article on the good old BBC website.

The title of the article grabbed me straight away: Bananas on the brink.

Brink of what? Global domination?

Now, I like my bananas. I like them when there is the merest hint of green left on their skin. When they are firm and definitely not when they look like they’ve gone 10 rounds with a prize-fighter. Not battered, bruised or mushy. No thank you!

Over 100 billion are consumed each year so it sounds like the whole world likes a banana. Some like them more than others as the little fella below demonstrates. (Apologies for not keeping my blog a minions free zone. They are everywhere and I buckled.)

minions-love-bananas

Image taken from http://detechter.com/

You don’t know the history on your own doorstep sometimes. As the article starts:

Buy a banana and it will almost certainly be descended from one plant grown at an English stately home. But now we face losing one of the world’s best-loved fruits.

Sitting in picture-perfect Peak District grounds, Chatsworth House seems an unlikely birthplace for today’s global banana industry.

But practically every banana consumed in the western world is directly descended from a plant grown in the Derbyshire estate’s hothouse 180 years ago.

chatsworth

Chatsworth House – image courtesy of http://www.chatsworth.org/

No. This is not a picture of our house!

We don’t live too far away from Chatsworth and I drive through their estate half a dozen times a year. I had no idea the history of my breakfast accompaniment linked so close to home.

Tangent time, if you are ever in England and near Derbyshire then this is a great place to spend the day. Lovely historic house. Very nice gardens and estate to wander around. Once you’ve paid your entrance fee, obviously.

Back to bananas.

In the 1830s, the head gardener, Joseph Paxton, managed to grow a banana plant brought over from Mauritius. Then the missionary, John Williams, exported them over to Samoa. Others introduced the Cavendish banana across the Pacific and Canary Islands. Soon they were everywhere!

Now the Cavendish banana faces a fight against a new strain of Panama disease also known as banana wilt. They wiped out the popular Gros Michel variety in the 50s. Time for the scientists to save the day and our bananas.

You weren’t expecting a history lesson today were you? :)

They will not disappear tomorrow, or even next week or month. NO PANIC BUYING!

So, make sure you eat up your bananas while you can. The world would seem a strange place without them!

Do you like your bananas?

 

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Space. The Final Obsession …

If you’ve been here a while then you know I have an obsession a fascination with space.

Whether it be the Mars One project, which my wife would probably still like me to try to gatecrash or the current fascination amongst the British media: The International Space Station.

38271_earth_night_earth_view_from_iss

Not sure who to credit for this image. It is from http://www.blastr.com/2015-5-25/nasa-astronaut-films-breathtaking-view-night-sky-iss and photo is possibly from Terry W. Virts during his time on ISS

You see, we have a British Astronaut – Major Tim Peake – on board and it’s created a bit of a buzz over here in UK’land. The first time we’ve had a UK funded astronaut in space.

Our news programmes and papers are reporting on everything and anything that seems to be going on whether it be his arrival, yesterday’s spacewalk or even when he rang the wrong number from space and said, “hello, is this planet Earth?”.

After his spacewalk yesterday, he tweeted a selfie (as you do) taken while waiting to do the planned repairs.

You would think that being interested in Science Fact as well as Science Fiction, I would read or write in that genre. At least write the odd short story, or have plans for an epic series of novels based on the happenings in a galaxy far, far, far, far away…

For some reason, I don’t have ANY plans to do either.

I last read a science fiction book about 4 years ago. I’ve never written anything in the genre and doubt that I ever will. I prefer my science fiction feasting to be in televisual format.

Is there a particular interest/obsession in your life that would neatly suit a particular genre that you don’t either read in or write on? Or is it just me that’s weird?

Btw, three Saturdays into 2016 and I’ve managed to post on each of them so far. Go me :)

As always, thanks for reading.

Posted in General, Reading, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Out with the old …

You might think, who has this shiny new blog?

You might not!

When I started blogging back in 2011 I asked my writing group which platform I should choose. A couple of them had been with blogger, didn’t like it and recommended the big W.

W

I feel like an old man when I type this, but back in the day (you know, when I was a young lad back in 2011) you picked your theme and everything updated.

If you wanted to change your existing theme you didn’t know how things would look. You had to commit fully as the big W changed everything as soon as you clicked the button.

There was no middle ground or testing zone. After changing the theme you’d then have to fiddle about with the widgets, what was available, what to include, what to ditch. Only to decide you didn’t like the new theme and then take another hour to switch things back.

old blog

That’s my excuse for not updating the theme for the last few years anyway :)

I’m no technophobe. I fully embrace technology as my wife often comments on the amount of gadgets I have on the go at any one time. When I started afresh this month I thought a shiny new blog would help me forge ahead and not look back.

Imagine my surprise when I saw you could now do a “Live Preview” of how your blog, with your widgets, and menus and whatever would look like. There were 304 themes (I’m cheap so only looked at the free ones) and I took about 35 out for a test-drive.

There’s two hours I can never get back :)

I narrowed it down to a couple and I’ve picked the Twenty Ten theme. I know that it is not exactly new, but it was the best one I viewed that gave me everything I wanted.

I’ve finally been able to add an image to the top of the blog though I’m still deciding whether I like it or not. It also felt like the right time to remove much of the clutter.

Let me know what you think? Particularly if you find it too difficult to read or navigate.

How did you pick your blog theme? Any itchy feet to swap things around?

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So, what did I do in 2015?

To be honest, the title of this post should be ”what did I do in 2014 & 2015”.

Unfortunately, the answer is Nothing. Writing wise at least.

I tinkered around the edges of I Can See You, but nothing more than that. I did manage to fill a couple of note books with random ramblings. I even organised these notes into my Scrivener file so I can work through them and tick them off when they are complete. Yeah, right!

To complete them you actually need to write.

Making notes and organising them is one thing. I need to transfer the thoughts to the page.

I’ve discussed this before, but I need a plan!

ID-10075926

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fresh New Year equals a fresh new start.

Sounds simple.

Read more. Write more. (I know, I know.  I’ve said this before, many times!)

So I will make more of an effort to blog once a week on Saturdays. I will read more blogs and books in 2016. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t read a single book in 2015.

Small steps.

Get back into the writing habit and fall in love with my stories again. Make it part of my routine and maybe even refresh my blog theme as it hasn’t changed since I started blogging back in 2011.

Small, small steps. If I stick to the simple plan then even I have a chance. :)

Thanks for reading.

What are your plans for the year ahead?

Posted in General, Novel In Progress, Writing | 24 Comments

2016 – Happy New Year!

New Year

I would like to wish everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, a very Happy New Year!

2015 has gone by in a blur and I managed to post ONCE during its 365 days. I plan on doing more in 2016 so posting on New Year’s Day is a step in the right direction.

I hope you’ve all had a great Christmas and I will be back soon.

Honest :)

 

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