Beanz meanz

Heinz may have coined the famous phrase for their version of canned Navy Beans (haricot beans) stewed in a tomato sauce for advertising campaigns in the US and UK, but to many people worldwide beans have no connection with Heinz whatsoever.

Incidentally the haricot bean is more usually known in the US as the Navy Bean thanks to its use as a staple of United States Navy rations in the 19th century. The haricot bean, which may also be referred to as the pea bean, is the richest source of ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid among the common bean varieties. Haricot beans also contain high levels of saponin; saponins exhibit antibacterial and anti-fungal activity, and have been found to inhibit cancer cell growth… you lives and learns, eh?

But enough talk of the humble bean… in climes somewhat warmer than those found in the UK the uneducated could be excused for believing beans grew in pods on trees like these:

Bean pods? Not likely!

Bean pods? Not likely!

No idea what kind of tree it is, but I do admire the wonderful seed pods it produces and am quite taken with the small bean-like seeds contained within.

Hmmmm… all this talk of beans… I’m tempted to get some dried pulses in to soak now and bake me up a pot of ‘proper‘ baked beans…
Yummy!

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A true Superbuild

There’s a new mosque under construction in the Old Market area of Sharm el-Sheikh that ticks so many boxes I thought it worthy of a mention here. Being a mosque you might expect the building’s primary purpose to be as a place of worship, but in fact it is rather more than that. When completed the building will also house a small hospital, an education centre and a hall for community events; a building for all seasons, so to speak.

New Mosque under construction

New Mosque under construction

It seems almost a shame to have such a magnificent structure squeezed in between shops and other existing buildings. I couldn’t help thinking that had this been in the UK a larger area would have been cleared prior to construction so visitors could enjoy the full effect of the exterior. Truth is of course it’s what will happen inside that is important.

New Mosque under construction

New Mosque under construction

I asked when the build would be complete and was told construction had begun 2 years ago and the expectation was that completion would be mid-2015. There’s no doubt in my mind that this mosque will be a magnificent spectacle once finished, despite its cramped location. The building already dominates the original town and Sharm el-Sheikh’s OId Market and has become a landmark in South Sinai.

New Mosque from across  the bay at Sharm el-Sheikh

New Mosque from across the bay at Sharm el-Sheikh

I may have to re-visit Sharm el-Sheikh in the future, just to see how this modern wonder finally turns out… and so I can enjoy swimming with all the wonderful fishes again too. :)

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

My oh my how things change with the passage of time… to some folk it’s a lifetime ago now I guess, but I had an allotment here where I grew some wonderful fruit and vegetables back in the 1970s an 80s.

Reclaimed by Nature

Reclaimed by Nature

I took Tilly for a walk on the Glebelands in Newport this morning and took a small detour from the open space and sports fields to visit the old allotment site. I was aware the council had reclaimed the allotments years ago, but hadn’t been to the old site myself in what must be 30 years… I was actually quite amazed to find no trace of the extremely productive gardens, which have now been reclaimed by Nature.

It’s sad when allotments fall into disuse or are reclaimed by local authorities, but in many respects to see what has become of the ones on the edge of the Glebelands is a travesty. The soil is wonderfully rich, being alluvial deposits laid down over millennia and the produce grown there was often quite spectacular. Mind you, there was a constant battle to stop the rabbit population from consuming the fruits of your labours before you got to enjoy them! :roll:

Time marches on and change occurs whether we like it or not… David Bowie sang:

Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

How right he is too. Time has certainly changed me and many of the things I used to know… oh well… such is life, eh?

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Hangin’ around

Out walking with Tilly the other day when I stopped to take a look at some wild cherry. Tilly, as is her want, snuffled around the base of the tree before getting bored and wandering off to sit and wait patiently for her Old Fart to satisfy himself and move on… she was definitely just hanging around. :lol:

C'mon Grandad, I'm bored now

C’mon Grandad, I’m bored now

The impatience of youth, eh? Still we did have a good long walk. :)

 

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Misty morning

It may be the middle of March, but it looks and feels more like November out over the flats this morning. There’s a real chill in the air and a cold hanging mist… it’s definitely more like Autumn than Spring.

Mist over the reen

Mist over the reen

But despite the dour weather there are still signs of Spring everywhere you look reminding us Winter is over and Summer will soon be with us.

Pussy Willow

Pussy Willow

I for one am looking forward to the arrival of the warmer weather… especially having recently spent time in Egypt where the daytime temperatures were a very pleasant mid 20s centigrade. Roll on those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer! 

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Spring is definitely in the air

Daffodils have been in bloom here since late December, despite the wet and windy weather, but you know Spring has really arrived when the wild cherry starts to blossom.

Wild Cherry

Wild Cherry

This particular tree is growing on what you might describe as waste ground, or scrub… time was when this was a railway marshalling yard… it has been reclaimed by Nature since it fell into disuse.

Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom

The blossom doesn’t seem to mind though :)

 

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A meeting with Picasso

I never thought I’d come face to face with Picasso… well he did die in 1973! It seems I was wrong about that though because one of my new friends is a Picasso Trigger fish, who lives on the reef at Coral Beach in Sharm el-Sheikh and is particularly friendly.

I’d really like to be able to present an in-depth gallery of the various wonders I experienced while snorkelling… sadly I’m not able to do that. Not being in possession of an underwater camera I’m having to rely on the good services of fellow fish fanciers to bring the marine shots to this blog. This means I am not in a position to share images of all the wonderful fish and corals I saw on my recent trip to the Red Sea, nor do I have control over the composition of the images I am sharing with you today.

Clicking the thumbnails will provide larger versions of the images.

I’m really grateful for the provision of these photographs; they allow me to share with you at least some of the beautiful animals I enjoyed while in Egypt.

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Scary encounters of the aquatic kind

The abundant marine life in the Red Sea includes several species of shark. Both Black tipped and White tipped Reef shark live around the coral reefs and although I didn’t actually see any kind of shark during my visit I frequently saw and swam among, Barracuda… they weren’t exactly big ones I have to say so there was no danger there.

No it has to be said the single most scary thing I experienced was an encounter with Murray the Giant Moray Eel.

'Murray' the Giant Moray Eel

‘Murray’ the Giant Moray Eel

Murray was certainly a big boy at a little over 2 metres in length and it is worth noting he was larger around than my thigh (and I have thighs to kick-start a Jumbo jet!). But in truth it’s not the Giant Moray’s girth that is frightening, but the bit at the sharp end…

Murray's head and mouth

Murray’s head and mouth

Fearsome to look at, but as long as you don’t bother him, Murray won’t bother you… or at least that’s what I was told by a so-called expert, but I didn’t get close enough to test that theory!

I should add I have no idea what the brute’s name was really, but he sure looked like a Murray to me :lol:

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