Chat perdu :( (et retrouvée)

Those photos of Oscar would appear to have made quite a difference to Oscar’s life, because he went missing last Monday, and three of these photos helped to find him and get him home again:

GodDaughter2 will be telling me more about all this soon. Like: Were there any other recent photos of Oscar that would have worked the same trick? I don’t want to jump to conclusions, as people say when they do want to jump to conclusions, but maybe without my photos, Oscar would have ended up having a totally different life.

The heart of the operation was the much grumbled-about social media. The above poster was concocted in London by a friend of GD2’s, and then socially media-ed all over the local area in France. Facebook, take a bow. In addition to being an actual friend of mine, GD2 is a Facebook “friend”, but I hadn’t been paying attention to her Oscar postings, until she phoned and then emailed me about all this excitement:

About 300 people shared various posts I posted on Facebook to find Oscar. He left Monday, I started looking for him last night and we got him today!

GD2 made all this happen while in London, that email having arrived was yesterday, last night being Wednesday evening. It seems that Oscar, having got lost, was then cared for by another family. But when, thanks to the above social media activity, they got in touch and Oscar got back to his original carers, GD2’s family, he apparently spent many hours sleeping, which is not the routine I recall when I was there. This tells to me that he was very stressed while away, and was relieved to be home. With home needing no sneer quotes, the way it might with some cats.

6k has also been impressed by these Oscar photos, this one in particular …:

…, and he has been making that the basis of various would-be internet memes, of which this one is the latest:

Reuniting lost loved-ones is a classic excuse for the Total Surveillance World we now live in.

And actually (see above (sometimes)) quite a good excuse. If I, or someone, had not been surveilling Oscar, he might still be lost.

I also remember how, in the past, GD2’s parents would grumble about how much time she would spend social-media-ing, instead of doing “real” things, like sleep or homework. But finding Oscar was very real.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Photos of Oscar

My friends in Brittany have a new cat: Oscar. (He replaces this cat.)

I, of course, took many photos. I like these ones:

And I like this one best of all:

Oscar has reached the stage in life where he is still a kitten in his behaviour, but not any longer in his appearance. Sort of a cat teenager.

Oscar has a very short attention span, and is currently programmed to check out everything he sees, like some obsessively exploratory robot. He sees a lot and he keeps on seeing something else.

So, for instance, you click your fingers at him to initiate some sociability, and he sees that, and runs towards you, but then, while still on his way towards you, he sees something else behind you, and carries right on towards that, after only the most perfunctory acknowledgement of your fingers, in which he has already lost interest several tenths of a second earlier. Or he has simply forgotten why he is in motion, and he just carries on. Very strange.

But as he calms down, he will presumably start to treat people more in the way they like to be treated. When I took an afternoon nap, he also fancied a nap and had his on top of me. But, had there been a more satisfactory household appliance, like a warm fire, he might well have preferred that to curl up next to that. It didn’t seem personal, just a matter of comfort.

But I still liked him. Cats are just so likeable, whether they are actually being likeable, in their own minds, or not. All they have to be is non-objectionable and not too scared to check you out.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

The Guy’s Hospital Tower in 2000

I was rootling around in the archives for something interesting, and this time I really went back, to the time of my very first digital camera. And in among lots of photos of my friends and GodDaughters all looking eighteen years younger, I found this photo, taken while on a trip around the Wheel, of the Guy’s Hospital Tower, looking just as brutally (because Brutalist) ugly then as it does now:

That’s right, no Shard.

But more to the point, it shows what a Big Thing that building in the middle there used to be.

And I’ve said it here before. This was London’s Montparnasse Tower. What Paris concluded from the Montparnasse Tower was: never again. But what London concluded from the Guy’s Hospital Tower was: we need to build lots of bigger towers, so that this one won’t be any part of the definition of London. And in particular, we need to put a really big Big Thing, right next to this big old thing.

So, in the photo: Guy’s Hospital, and no Shard.

And: without Guy’s Hospital, also no Shard.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

I came for bridges but mostly what I got was leaves

The pattern with all my best photo-expeditions is that there is an Official Designated Destination, and then there is all the other stuff I get to discover. The principle purpose of the ODD is to get me out of my snug little home and into the big wide world that is Outdoors, to see both the ODD and whatever else I bump into in the vicinity of the ODD.

And the ODD for my recent trip to Brittany via Paris was the top of Quimper Cathedral, from which I hoped to photo the numerous bridges across the river that flows through the middle of Quimper, past the Cathedral. Civilians are only allowed to climb to the top of Quimper Cathedral on very particular and rare days, and you have to book in advance. April 29th was such a day, which is why I journeyed to Quimper on April 28th. (I could not leave home earlier than that because on April 27th I had one of my Last Friday of the Month meetings.)

My Hostess (GodDaughter 2’s Mother) journeyed with me from London to Quimper, via Paris, and my Host (GodDaughter 2’s Father) and I duly presented ourselves at the big front door of the Cathedral, at the appointed hour of 4pm.

As we approached, we had already seen from below where we were presumably headed:

And so it proved.

So, how would all those bridges look?

Until this moment, the best picture of the bridges of Quimper that I had been able to take was this, which I found in a Quimper shop, way back in 2006:

But alas, in April 2018, the trees of Quimper were all covered in leaves, and when I pointed my camera at the bridges, leaves was pretty much all I got:

This was about the best I got of any of those bridges:

I see four bridges there. There are a lot more than four bridges in the middle of Quimper. Trees I like. But, I hate leaves on trees.

Was I upset about this, having come all that way? Not really. I’ve always wanted to see this view, and now I have seen it, along with lots of other things to be viewed from the same spot. This spot turned out, bridge-wise, not to be nearly as good as I had hoped, but at least I now know this. I’m not going to die wondering.

Besides which, the Official Designated Destination is not justified only by how good the thing itself is. At least as important is what else it causes me to encounter, and I encountered plenty. If the ODD is a disappointment, the trip as a whole can still be great, as this one was.

Now that I am home, I did a little further image googling, and in among a mass of photos of the bridges of Quimper from ground level, with the nearest bridge almost entirely blocking the view of all the others, I found this one aerial shot:

I can tell you from the scaffolding that this photo, even though this is the first time I’ve ever seen it, was probably taken in 2006, because all my Quimper Cathedral photos when I went there in 2006 also had one of the Cathedral towers smothered in scaffolding. That was in September. My guess is that the above aerial photo was taken earlier that summer.

Tourisme Bretagne needs to get in touch with 6k. If he’s not free to photo those bridges from above, maybe he could recommend someone. Or maybe they could find a place towards the top of a building closer to the bridges whose owner would be willing to allow bridgists to come and photo all the bridges. Those bridges are a huge tourist asset, and they need to get them seen, and photoed by visitors, in all their glory.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog