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Favorite Photos of 2014


It’s been an odd year, what with the flooding of our house at the beginning. Things are much better at the end. I seem to have taken a lot of shots this year, perhaps because of the flooding, and the need to itemize the damage, or perhaps because of our big trips to Israel and Disney World.

Continuing my tradition, here are my favorite shots of 2014. Looking back at 2013, I took twice as many shots but am half as happy.

Favorite Photos of 2013


It’s taken me a while to put together my favorite shots on Flickr that I posted in 2013. This is an annual tradition that I’ve had going for a decade now, which I guess makes Flickr one of the longer-running services that I still use.

I’m not sure what I can learn last year’s photos. I only took 4,788 shots, which compared to 2012’s high of 7,472 doesn’t seem that impressive. But 2012 was the year of the Olympics. 2013 did feel a little more sporadic, though, in terms of my photo taking, and in terms of my photo posting. I lost track a little of what I’d posted throughout the year. I’m not sure why. I’ve already taken 1,982 shots this year, so maybe I’m rectifying that, although many of those are of the after-effects of flooding. Those are still about preserving memory, but perhaps not in the same uplifting way that last year’s shots of our family reunion are.

2014.01.23 Nail

Today we lost the beautiful European oak floorboards from downstairs. Each was torn up, then the panels and styrene were taken out to leave just the sub floor. All the nails holding the floorboards down seemed to have reacted to the water from the Thames, producing a black residue.

2014.01.23 Nail by rbanks.

The Greenbelt

Many cities in the UK are surrounded by acres of protected land that form Greenbelts. They are what makes my house feel almost like it’s in the countryside, although it’s actually only 15 miles as the crow flies from the bustle of Trafalgar Square.

Greenbelts are the result of policies created in the 1930s to help combat urban sprawl. I believe in them strongly. They make rural experiences so much more accessible to urban dwellers. They help protect countryside that might otherwise go under tarmac, and that in a lot of ways is quintessentially English.

This is the first map I’ve seen that shows how green and belt-like the Greenbelts are.


LONDON / » The End of the Green Belt?

Airliner crash lands at Heathrow

Bit unnerving to find this in amongst my RSS feeds. Here’s a map of where the incident happened. I’ve circled in red where my Dad used to work, and where we’d park our car before heading into London at the weekends. This is still not far from where we live. Planes taking off from Heathrow go over our house every day.


Amazing that there were no fatalities. Sounds like they basically lost power and the pilot had to glide the plane in. It may have been safer that he touched down on grass, since there were less sparks than there would have been on the runway.

Cats need to navigate an obstacle to remember it

Cool! A little home experimentation with our cat, Sidney, seems in order…

” In their experiment — pictured below — they had a cat step halfway over a small barrier, at which point they distracted it with food. They lowered the barrier while it was eating, but when the cat moved on, it still raised its hind legs, believing the barrier to still be there. This is the sort of behavior you’d expect, of course.

But then they repeated the experiment with a twist. This time, the cat was stopped at the point when it had seen the barrier — but before it had stepped its front paws over it. Again, they lowered the barrier while the cat ate the food. But when the cat moved onwards, it didn’t raise its hind legs high enough the clear the now-removed barrier.”
Cats need to navigate an obstacle to remember it