Category Archives: Architecture

Scotland trip 2017

The world may be your oyster, but Scotland is a pearl.

Inveraray, Oban, The Trossachs, Speyside, Loch Fyne, Loch Awe, Lock Tay, The Spey, The Tay, Loch Long, Dunbar…

Scotland is awesome.

All pictures in this blog article are Copyright 2017 by me, except two, which are Copyright 2017 by my Wife, which said exceptional photographs I use here with her permission. None of the images in this article/webpage/blog post may be used without our respective permissions. All Rights Reserved.

One picture is from Yorkshire, England (The 1930’s “No Parking” sign).

 

Arrow of Time

Space is multi-dimensional, unlike the two-dimensional trees in the brand new district of Cambridge, UK known as Eddington.

Space is expanding because the universe is expanding.

It is expanding away from every point in itself equally like every point on the surface of an inflating balloon. It started at zero size and now it is about 30 billion light years across.

You are such a point. You are on that surface of the space balloon. It is where you are and moving makes no difference as wherever you go it is the same for you. You cannot be on a different place relative to the whole universe because you are in the universe.

Everything is getting further away from you in space.

Now what about time?

It is just another dimension. It is expanding. It started at no seconds and now it is about 15 billion years in duration.

Just as you are at the expanding edge of the universe on space (the point on the balloon that you cannot get off) so you are at the expanding edge of time. Look anywhere and you look back in time. The further away that star is, the longer it took for its light to reach you.

You can only look backwards in space and time. You must travel forwards as the edge of space time expands with you stuck on it. You cannot see the forwards (future) space time as it has not yet been created, you are stuck in the here and now, only able to look back and see and remember the past.

That is the arrow of time. Simple. Easy. A child of five with a toy balloon could get it. Nothing to see here, move along. Little joke there of course. God bless.

What if reality is really a giant pinball game?

Never mind the matrix, if you can get security clearance (you will need a genuine reason like attending some sort of event there) take a walk through the Genome Campus at Hinxton, Cambridge, England.

There are numerous chromed spheres, each slightly tweaked to represent various stages of life. The one with a hole represents the stage at which it becomes apparent that we are coelenterates, a biological taxonomical classification meaning we have a gut that opens at the mouth and exits the other end.

The effect of this tableau of embryonic development is to make the long slopes, interspersed by post-modernist buildings, appear as a giant pinball machine, giving a slightly science-fiction sense of unease that things might just roll down and bowl one over or a huge flipper whack out of the sides.

Oldies like me will remember the blob thing in “The Prisoner” TV series. Well here in Hinxton Big brother definitely is watching and don’t even think what escaped chimera might just be lurking up the next level. Best enjoyed at dusk when it becomes eerily empty.

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Eltham Palace, London, England

Eltham Palace was a Royal Palace that fell out of use and into ruin. The very wealthy (and nice – I know as I happen to have met one of them) Courtauld family completely renovated it in the 1930’s. So here is what you could achieve if you were incredibly wealthy and had impeccable taste in the 1930’s. If you love 30’s style and are ever in London, England this house is a must see. You may feel that entrance charges to attractions are a bit expensive, and often I would agree. However in this case the interior is so wonderful I really think it is worth it. A visit here is an education for anyone who seriously loves architectural interiors. Take heed however it is NOT open on Saturdays. Link here http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/eltham-palace-and-gardens/

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Ely Cathedral Octagonal Lantern

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In church architecture, the circle represents Heaven and the square represents Earth. Thus many steeples on churches are octagonal, representing that the church is midway between Earth and Heaven, pointing the way for the believer to follow. Ely Cathedral has an octagonal lantern atop its transept for a similar reason. A very good book about the symbolism and meaning of church architecture by the way is called “How to read a church” by Dr.Richard Taylor.

I consider Ely to be one of the finest Cathedrals in the world, having visited about 40 of them. Here is my somewhat abstract photograph of Ely’s lantern and a view of the nave, which I consider to have at each end the two finest Norman arches in Europe.

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Here are three nice movies about this ancient building, an edifice which I am blessed to see every day as the view from my home.

 

Lighthouse mystery

No-one has ever been able to tell me definitively what was the function of the mysterious “Lighthouse” on top of the very narrow and old “flat iron”-shaped building on the corner of Pentonville Road in London England, opposite Kings Cross rail station. I have done a little research but have always drawn a blank.

There is an internet article (here <–click) that suggests the structure was some kind of an advert for an Oyster House – a place where people went to eat oysters. the building was built in 1888 and it’s unclear how long the lighthouse-shaped tower has been on top of it. The oldest picture they could come up with was 1955 from the background of the film “The Ladykillers.”

Here’s the lighthouse thing inset in my little montage of photos I took maybe about 5 to 7  years ago.

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So I was delighted to spot a frame of film from 1948 (so says the BBC in their documentary about the Flying Scotsman train (that was based at Kings Cross rail station) that clearly shows the structure was there in 1948. Sadly it is no clearer what it’s purpose was from the old still than my more recent photo. Stills below ↓

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Christians in Construction

Construction is a rough and tumble industry. On a building site you will hear plenty of bad language, you will encounter primitive working conditions, poor education and illiteracy

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Construction is a rough and tumble industry. On a building site you will hear plenty of bad language, you will encounter primitive working conditions, poor education and illiteracy, occasionally appalling health and safety (seldom great health and safety), racism, sexism and every other kind of unpleasant ism – by no means from all people or everywhere, but nonetheless frequently and in varying degrees that adds up to an awful lot. You will also find believers of all the false religions, modern occult and paganism, vague don’t-knows, and hardline atheists. Preacher, expect a rough ride.

Construction, lets be honest, has a terrible image. There have been many campaigns such as in the UK the Considerate Constructors Scheme to try and fix that. It is improving, but it is still painfully slow.

And yet, construction employs millions of (mostly) men who at the less skilled end might struggle to find work. Also, because of construction’s image, some people who are highly skilled in construction get looked down upon as if they have low skills a – bricklayer who can build a vault, a carpenter who can make beautiful roofs doors and gates, and an electrician who understands the voltages Z-values, phases etc. There are also many highly qualified roles in and around construction – architects, structural engineers. Despite its image construction is not for dummies. And we need it – look around you – someone built the structure you are in (unless you live in a cave!). The roads, shops, schools, homes, hospitals, offices, factories. It was all constructed.

There is loads of construction in the Bible, including detailed descriptions and specifications – the temple, the ark etc.

I know, after 9 years in the construction industry, and as a Christian working most days in the construction industry with a different two or three of over 50 companies each day, visiting two or three construction sites each week, that the environment can usually feel very intimidating to revealing anything about one’s Christian beliefs, let alone spreading the gospel.

However, do you think it was more or less easy to talk about the truth about God to builders 2000 years ago? Do you not think that back then construction was a dirty hard brutish endeavour that nevertheless employed all sorts of people – that it would not have been perhaps even a lot harder back then to talk about souls and heaven and angels and miracles to the men on a construction site?

Jesus Christ Himself had a background as a carpenter.

Jesus collected followers from every walk of life. Manual workers from hard dangerous industries like fishing, and educated people such as tax collectors. Jesus walked and talked and helped diseased and outcast people. He helped hated Roman soldiers, he loved convicted criminals even as He was dying with them on the cross.

So if you are a Christian in Construction, don’t be too shy. Sure it will be a rough ride sometimes. Being mocked for Jesus sake. However, I’d chalk that one up as a victory and a signal that maybe you are onto something with that person, you obviously said something that touched a nerve enough that it wasn’t just ignored.

Most important. As you set out each day, pray.

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Brest – Own work The Millennium Cross on Mt. Vodno in Skopje CC BY 3.0 File:Милениумски крст на Водно крај Скопје.JPG Uploaded: 31 October 2008

There is an interesting group of Christians working in construction in the UK. They are called the Corinthian Network. I don’t know much about them (yet?) so cannot recommend, but here is a link to them. Corinthian Network <– click