Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for August 13th, 2020

What’s in a name

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In the Guardian yesterday was an article about a writer who has brought out a new book only to be confused with another with the same name.

There are lots of people who share the same name as me. One of them tried to hijack my gmail address a while back, but the spam filters now seem to have worked well enough that it is no longer in my inbox all the time.

What was in my inbox was a reminder from WordPress that I was about to lose stephenrees.blog – which a while back did not seem to be so important to me, but then so did the whole idea of blogging. But in the absence of FaceBook and Instagram I seem to be blogging more often. And this year we have not spent anything like what we usually do on travel. We haven’t been anywhere since January – and there has not been any concerts, plays or even eating out. So the amount to renew did not seem significant.

So https://stephenrees.blog will still be the best way to keep up – unless you might prefer to use the RSS feed. I have also added in the right hand column a link to an explanation of how RSS works. I got NetNewsWire as my RSS reader (because it works on a Mac) – which comes already populated with feeds – and that has also been interesting. I was going to delete them and add my own, but it turned out to be a nice change from my routine.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 13, 2020 at 1:53 pm

Posted in blog update

Borrowed Landscape

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Last night we watched the second episode of Monty Don’s Japanese Gardens on Knowledge TV. These programs can be streamed free for the next month if you live in BC.

I learned a new expression “borrowed landscape“. The gardens tend to be fairly small – but by artful trimming of the trees around the garden the natural landscape beyond it becomes incorporated into the view of the garden. This makes the garden seem larger and more impressive. Many formal Japanese gardens are designed carefully to be most impressive from particular viewpoints which can be found by stone markers placed along the foot path – in fact these are known as “stroll gardens“. This concept is actually quite well understood here by landscape gardeners and is something that I sometimes feel is a bit overdone. If you want to get somewhere you will try to walk in a straight line to your desired destination, and the cunningly curved paths are actually frustrating. Indeed desire lines off the paved paths are a real issue to the maintenance of perfect lawns.

I am much more likely, however, to be strolling with no particular purpose these days. I like to indulge myself by being a flaneur. So stroll gardens would actually be an improvement in some locations such as Trafalgar park which has no paths at all and just relies on the street sidewalks. It is also very much a playing field rather than a garden.

But living in Arbutus Village Park, my greatest desire is that we ought to be making more of the location, and borrowing the view of the North Shore mountains should be part of the park’s design. Of course, this would be of no value at all to people walking through the park. The beneficiaries would be the residents of the buildings – at least the taller ones, on the north side of the building. Like us.

The view from our window

Apparently in BC topping trees is regarded as a bad practice by arborists. Elsewhere in the world they have a different perspective. And our love for trees doesn’t seem to extend to the real giants in the old growth which are coming down at an increasing rate.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 13, 2020 at 1:30 pm