P is for plane #AtoZChallenge

For the A to Z in April Challenge 2019 I have picked some words, which are connected with physical space.

P is for plane – a flat surface.
It may be horizontal, vertical
Or slanted to provide easy access.
Draw on its two dimensions: try a spiral!

An atlas

People have devised all kinds of ingenious ways of representing 3-dimensional space on flat paper. For example, an atlas has maps of the world flattened out.

I can remember failing to understand a diagram of airline routes across North America. Having travelled from England to Philadelphia and having waited a few hours between flights, I should have been asleep. Instead I was looking at an in-flight magazine. The curved lines representing the routes were flat on the paper. The one from Philadelphia to Portland, Oregon passed through the map of Canada. I was too sleepy to realise that the line should have been in 3-dimensions and had been positioned where it would not cross other routes for clarity! Of course, the plane took the direct route.

There are examples in the Bible of people not understanding immediately. Jesus Christ often told stories with a deeper meaning (parables), some of which he explained to his disciples later.

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What I read in March 2019 (Part 2)

I have not yet finished reading all the books I received at Christmas. The book I am reviewing here is one gift I have read – The Ordnance Survey Puzzle Book: Pit your wits against Britain’s greatest map makers by Ordnance Survey and Dr Gareth Moore.

This is a fascinating book. There are puzzles based on 40 maps. I have attempted all of them and failed to score 100% on any! (I didn’t spend enough time checking and double-checking my answers in some cases. In others my general knowledge was not sufficiently general.) There is history, general knowledge, cryptic clues and obviously geography and map-reading. I looked at the first puzzle with the person, who had chosen it for this keen puzzler. It is possible for two people sitting side-by-side to see the maps. Some of the questions involving counting would make an interesting activity for a grandparent and a child of junior school age, for instance.

I found some of the maps particularly interesting as they are of places I have passed through. The Whipsnade Lion is a landmark I have spotted many times from Virgin Trains West Coast line. Because it intrigued me I found out about it online. I was delighted to see it on one of the maps. The background to each map is very interesting and a history of map-making and of trig points provided me with new information. (I enjoy learning new things.)

This is a book I shall revisit and perhaps introduce to other family members. The kind of questions set in the book could be the basis of family activities using maps they may already have. I remember being introduced to Ordnance Survey maps by my father. One of the things he taught me was how to fold them! Anyhow, I have been interested in maps and puzzles from childhood. A good choice!

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More books I read in February 2019

I have read two more library books (fiction) by authors who live or lived in Cumbria and two slim volumes of poetry by a poet in the North East.

Mother Can You Hear Me?

mother can you hear me? by Margaret Forster is a novel, which explores the relationship between the main character (Angela) and her mother as well as Angela’s relationship with her daughter. Generational differences and changes in attitudes as society changes are well-portrayed. It is not a particularly hopeful book, but is well-written. The settings are London and the West Country. I have enjoyed other books by this author more than this one.

I was rather reluctant to start reading Burning Secrets by Ruth Sutton, which is set in Cumbria at the time of the serious outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Having lived in Cumbria at that time and being aware of the effect of this disease on the farming and wider community, I was concerned that it might be upsetting to read about it. Once I began reading, I could hardly put this book down. The story is fast-paced and exciting. The descriptions of the effects of FMD are fairly low key. The strap line on the cover is A ravaged landscape. A fractured family. A missing child.

This book is well-produced. Another book which includes the FMD outbreak is The Embalmer’s Book of Recipes by Ann Lingard, which I reviewed earlier.

The poetry books I read were Hope in Dark Places and Love in Thin Places by David Grieve. The second of these was published this month. I bought them from the publisher as part of my Christmas present. (A special offer was advertised on Twitter.) Hope in Dark Places includes helpful advice for people suffering from depression and for people, who come into contact with them. As I have suffered from depression in the past I am aware how lacking in understanding some people are.

I enjoyed both books and intend to return to them from time to time. The second had similarities with another book I read and reviewed on this blogSanctuary by Martyn Halsall. Each was inspired by a cathedral in the North of England. I have visited Durham Cathedral twice (once as a child and once as an adult). I have lost count of how many times I have visited Carlisle Cathedral!