Nearly (nearly) lost

As the nights are drawing in (winter draw(er)s on), I am running short on time to get a run in somewhere interesting on the way home after a bit of ethnobiologicality. So I went for a bit closer to the university this afternoon.

Less than a mile away I think, well about 5-10mins on a bike, so poss a bit more) is the car park for Blean Woods, which is a National Nature reserve. I should have gone for a day trip as part of the induction process, but it was on a working day, so I didn’t. Turns out it is a really nice place to run, and a really interesting woodland. Now I would have taken photos but it was really dull, drizzly and dark was approaching; and I left my phone in the car.

So, saved by Flickr  the photos here are roughly the right time of year, and on a slightly nicer day. Did I get lost? only a little bit. I was trying to run from one of those dog walk type maps you get in a dispenser, and I was trying to combine two of the longer walks and what looked like a forest ride or road. It did work, I just mis-judged one corner and thought I was at 3 miles (on map) when I was by the scribbly blob (this is a real scribble, not me running). Still it worked out perfectly in terms of time. You can see the proximity of the campus on the map.

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And anyone really geeky with good nosiness skills will notice that I have upgraded to Yosemite.

If you want truly lost – the map below shows the A-B of Crawley to Horsham, and the horrible fight between miles 3 and 6 that I had to leave the outskirts of Crawley- I was getting quite sniffly at one point.

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2014-10-23 15.47.13

What did we do in school today? Sorting.

If you are away in a different land, with a different language and culture, they may not use Linnean binomials or even (heavens forfend) have one of the many possible concepts of a species. One of the most interesting ways we have learned of discovering similarities and differences is by pile sorting. And this is the pile sort that I and two of my class-mates did this afternoon. Created from what I suspect was a bag of ‘soup mix’; you can see the remains of bits of rice and ?grains at the side. The general idea is to put like things together, and group like things in overall groups. So we came up with seeds as an overall grouping (our neighbours rather sensibly went for ‘soup mix’), and within seeds we found: beans, lentils/peas, grains, fennel seeds; and as sub-categories of grains, rice and ?barley.

So in theory you could create a hierarchy of things by asking people to do this, even if you had slim knowledge of the use of things, and their names. This would allow you to be able to work out the names for lentils, rice, seeds, beans. Though it would give you pause when two sets identify the same items as ‘soup mix’, a culinary term, and ‘seeds’ an agri/horti/botanical term. Have you asked two groups of people with different jobs? A bunch of cooks and a bunch of farmers? Why does one set of people give every bean a name, and one set separates them out, but gives them no names? Is it ignorance, lack of interest, or do they think you are too stupid or too nosy to give all this information to? All food for thought.

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