Dancing Ledge

Recently I was on holiday in Dorset on day it poured with rain all day long. In the evening I wanted to do for a walk by myself. The rain still hadn’t let up, but at 8.50pm I set off from Tom’s Field anyway, and walked up the hill. I wanted to see the sea.

As I walked the rain and the wind got stronger and stronger and it was getting darker. I reached the top of the hill, but I still couldn’t see the sea, so I kept on walking. the rain was stringing my face so much I had to look down as I walked.

I ran for a bit, but the wind was so strong that I had to stop. My jeans and my boots were now soaked through from the rain so it didn’t matter as I splashed through the deep puddles.

An errant though entered my head – I could go swimming at Dancing Ledge. Conflicting thoughts clashed in my head. It would be pretty cool, but also pretty daft. Swimming in verthat juy bad weather, in the twilight, miles from any other soul. I had an internal battle common sense vs. something else…

I got to the brow of the hill where I could finally see the sea bellow. I still couldn’t see Dancing Ledge, but it was a steep climb of a few hundred feet or so down to the sea. My internal battles continued. I had said I was just nipping out for a quick walk when I left about 20 minutes earlier… so I was aware that time was getting on.

I told myself that I had to at least carry on to stand at the top of the cliff… I had to be as close to the sea as I could. I gingerly made my way down a very dark and very muddy track between Hawthorne hedges and led into a meadow that plunged steeply down to the cliff top.

Conscious of the time, but determined to go on, I started running again until I reached the bottom of the meadow and reached the cliff top – a semi circular ledge taken out of the hillside and floored with naked stone. A series of ledges dropping away to the sea, remnants of the quarrying that made this place.

The sea was roaring and I couldn’t even tell if the swimming hole was already under the tide. If the hole was already submerged there was no way I would be getting into the wild sea. I scrambled down the ledges to get as close to the sea as I could and saw the swimming hole below me on the bottom ledge at the edge of the sea.

I walked along the ledge looking for a way down to the pool, but there was no apparent way down. Eventually I found a kind of narrow crack that I was able to scramble down and then jump left last 3 or 4 feet to the ledge. The pool lay in front of me about 20 feet long a rough rectangle blasted out of the rocks a hundred years ago. A feet passed the pool the ledge ended and the sea began as waves rolled over the ledge and foamed across the surface.

I got undressed and slipped into the water a dart of pain flashed across my shoulders as if all the accumulated tiredness and tension of the year were flushed out of me. I swam a length of the pool and back in the black but surprising warm water. The tide was starting to come in over the ledge and I scrambled out quickly. By the time I got dressed the water was lapping around my boots. I pulled myself back off the ledge and began the long walk back.

Traffic Light Therapy

Just started a new job (so far I’m enjoying it a lot (although it will be even better perfect when I can get a Cake based system (not that what is in place at the moment is bad – on the contrary it is very good – it is just that I am philosophically opposed to it…) in place… (although I really want to use a bit of Django sometime))). What comes with this is much longer walk to the office from where I park the car. My walk involves crossing some very busy and very inconveniently placed roads.

These roads have crossing points and if you are a pedestrian you get to press a button to let you cross, but the buttons do nothing – they have no effect on the traffic flow at all. All I can surmise is that the buttons are put in place purely to give pedestrians a something to do purely so they don’t scream in impotent fury at the traffic.

I know (in my heart) this to be the case, but I push the buttons anyway… out of some faint hope…

I am right aren’t I? The buttons really don’t do a thing?

Brutalism, Architecture, Cars and Batman

Yesterday I saw the new Batman film the Dark Knight. All in all I was pretty impressed and I enjoyed it a lot (like my opinion matters…). I was wonderfully old fashioned in many ways epic and operatic, dark and intelligent. I thought that it was very interesting film in a lot of ways, of course there was the whole morality theme, but if you want to find out about that, pick up a paper and read a review; However I am a visual person, so it was the visual aspects that interested me most.

I thought that it was a particularly ‘tight’ film in terms of the design and feel, clearly a lot of thought had gone into this and it hadn’t been wasted. Gotham city is brutal. It is the dark side of the Modernist Project, Post Modernism and wherever we are now haven’t got a look in. Can you imagine a curvey building by Frank Gehry or Richard Rogers (actually not very curvey but full of light and weightlessness)? I can’t. Gotham is a city where the concrete and the grid rule, this is not to say that some of the buildings are not beautiful, because many are.

I’ve noticed a few years ago that as the new model cars appeared they were all more hard edged, straight lined and less curvey than their predecessors, particularly the more expensive vehicles – think Landrovers or BMWs – in short more militaristic, more hard edged designs. I think what makes it more interesting is that for a very long time prior to this, on the whole cars had been gaining curves. Clearly though people right now are in the mood to buy brutal looking cars. Some of the designs are wonderful (at least from a purely aesthetic point of view) – I think some of the smaller BMWs are sublime.

I think these hard edged designs are a direct response to fear and unease in society at large. People want to buy harder looking vehicles because they are fearful and therefore feel the need to project strength, of course good designers produce what thier customers and clients want, and the best the designers do this before their customers know what they want. Of course the biggest, hardest most brutal vehicle of all is the Batmobile.

Back to the film. I remember going to see Starship Troopers at the cinema when it came out, I went along with all my house mates and we illicitly necked a load of beers (or possibly a bottle of vodka (shudder)) and whooped and screamed as we watched the film. I remember the film because it was the first film I consciously saw where you couldn’t tell where the cgi began, of course ten years latter it almost tame. Special effects have just got bigger and better and they have got so big that they don’t really make any impact at all anymore because there is too much to take in.

So does he deserve an Oscar or not?

Set CakePHP layouts in app_controller

Fed up of writing $this->layout = ‘admin’ in all the admin methods of your controllers? Me too.

I realised that instead you could automatically set them in the beforeFilter() of your app_controller instead.

function beforeFilter(){

  if(isset($this->params['prefix'])) {
    //read the admin prefix set in core.php
    $admin = Configure::read('Routing.admin'); 

    if($this->params['prefix'] == $admin){
      $this->layout = $admin;

If you need to over-ride this, you can just do so as normal in individual methods.