Offbeat: A painting for every meal

A graphic designer has kept a record of everything he has eaten for a year by painting every meal.

June 27, 2011

All that I ate!

A graphic designer has kept a record of everything he has eaten for a year — by painting every meal.

David Meldrum, 48, from Great Bardfield in Essex, decided to illustrate everything he consumed from June 15 last year. The newly-completed project has seen him depict a cuisine ranging from TV dinners in plastic trays to food from a Vietnamese restaurant. Meldrum used acrylic, water colour, collage, pen and ink to make the pictures, which also include desserts and everything he drank with his meals.

And the results are a shockingly honest portrait of his diet, with 305 pints of Peroni lager, 1,360 cups of coffee and a sweet-toothed 122 Freddo chocolate bars consumed. He said, “I have always kept a sketchbook as a way of making a personal record of life around me. Food and the way it is presented through advertising, signage and packaging fascinates me, as does typography. I take a digital photo of everything and keep any packaging. The illustration takes anything from one-and-a-half to two hours, depending on the quantity of subject matter.” He added, “I never missed a day as I would only have been cheating myself. It’s very easy to get behind with work and on occasions when there’s a backlog it’s difficult and very time consuming to catch up. “Now the project is over and I will have time to assess and reflect on my diet!”

All his works are for sale and are exhibited at Arch 402 Gallery in Hoxton, London until June 26.


Lizard love

They claim you should say it with flowers, and it seems the advice is catching on — for loved-up sand lizards at least! This couple prove even cold-blooded reptiles can have a warm heart as the male perches on top of a plant with a bouquet to catch the eye of a potential mate.

When she climbs up to accept the flower, the protected lizards form a heart shape. But romance was almost dead for the pair when the female lost her footing — only for her new love to dive down and catch her.

The drama was captured by Alexey Tymoshenko, 19, in Ukraine. He said, “I never thought they could be so passionate and helpful to each other. It was amazing watching one drop and the male dive to catch her. It was just lucky I had my camera with me and could quickly capture it. And I was especially surprised by the scene with the flower — I’m not a specialist and don’t know what it means but it really looked like one lizard is proposing.”


Hidden sweet treats

A 51-year-old man’s visit to the BBC “Antiques Roadshow” has revealed he was given two books as an 11-year-old that had treats hidden inside, including old-style Mars bars.

When Mark James was given two books by a teacher for some holiday reading, he did what most youngsters might do and put them away, never to be picked up again. But fast forward 40 years, and a visit to the BBC’s popular antiques programme revealed what he had missed out on.

The heart of the books had been cut out and filled with chocolate bars. His wife, Alexandra, found the books, still tied together and tossed away in a cupboard, and their hidden treats — two Mars bars, two Bounty bars, chocolate creams and two Turkish Delight bars.

She had opened the books in 1985 shortly after she and James had married. Then the couple moved house and they were only re-discovered when they moved again last year.

When Alexandra first opened the parcel she tracked down the retired English teacher, Steven Baines, who had taught James at Edgeborough prep school in Farnham, Surrey. When she gave her name and said who she was married to, the former master eerily stated: “I’ve been waiting a long time for this call.”

The sweets were revealed on the TV show. James, now 55, of Hereford, said, “I had some memory of being given the books, but I wasn’t very interested and never opened them.” He was 11 and at a prep school when his English master handed him the books.


Dry run

If you think your fast food deliveries take an age to arrive, you should try living at the top of a mountain in the Himalayas.

Margheritas and meat feasts may soon be on the menu at a peak in Kashmir, only if Britain’s ‘daftest motoring club’ can break the world record for the highest ever pizza delivery.

Six members of the Extreme Trifle group will attempt to climb more than 5,400m (18,000ft) on their 40-year-old Royal Enfield motorcycles, and serve up a surprise meal to the Indian Army at Marsimek La, in the world’s highest mountain pass.

A club member Paul Osborne said, “The first trip was from London to Siberia, except we fell a bit short — about 10,000 miles short — after we got arrested and had our bikes confiscated for entering Transnistria illegally.” Another mission across the Sahara was abandoned when one rider suffered heat exhaustion. The next trip begins in Manali, India, on July 10. Dangers include stumbling on to the front line between India and Pakistan or wandering into China and facing ten years hard labour for spying.


Deer with wings

A US utility company has identified the cause of a brief power outage in Montana as a ‘deer with wings’. NorthWestern Energy, the company responsible for the electricity supply in the area, blamed the 30-minute blackout on a bald eagle dropping its prey — a baby fawn — onto power lines.

Lee Bridges, who lives in the area affected by the power outage, was outside taking photos of an eagle, which had decided to perch on a tree near her home. “They never come over here and when it perched up on that tree, I thought, I should get pictures or nobody’s going to believe me,” Bridges said. When she returned to her house she noticed that the power was down and a NorthWestern Energy crew was already working in the alley nearby to restore the electricity supply. She asked the workers what the problem was and they jokingly pointed to the power lines above her head and said, “You see that? You’ve got a deer with wings.”

It is thought that the eagle had bitten off more than it could chew and dropped the baby fawn shortly after swooping on it, remaining nearby to try and retrieve its prey. The worker who removed the carcass from the power line said he’d never seen anything like it.


Fishy business

You’d need a big portion of chips to go with this. A gigantic sea beast measuring 55 feet has been washed up on a beach in Guangdong, China.

It was found wrapped in fishing lines, leading locals to suspect that fishermen cut it free from their nets because it was too big to haul in. The creature is badly decomposed to be positively identified by sight, but it’s thought to have weighed around 4.5tons.

Despite the carcass’s extraordinary smell, it’s proved to be quite a big draw for people living in the area. Three marine biology experts — Scott Baker of Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute, Bill Perrin, from the National Marine Fisheries Service, and Bob Brownell, from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration’s Fisheries Service — were all shown photographs of the creature by Live Science. Their conclusion is that, based on its throat grooves, the creature is a whale.

Baker said, “Judging from the reported size of 55 ft, it’s maybe a fin whale. From the photo, however, it does not really look to be 55 ft, and so might be a smaller balaenopterid, like one of the ‘Bryde’s’ whales.” He added, “We all hope somebody collects the bones and a tissue sample for genetic analysis as recovery of whale carcasses is rare along the coast of China.”


World’s scariest job!

If you suffer from vertigo, look away now.

While some people would find it unbearable to go anywhere near the edge of a cliff, these Chinese workers are building a three-feet-wide road made of wooden planks on the face of one that’s thousands of feet high.

Once finished, it is hoped sightseers will flock here to edge along and admire the views. The ‘road’ — the width of a dinner table — they’re assembling is on Shifou Mountain in Hunan Province, China and stands vertical at 90 degrees without any slopes or alcoves.

The scene is a terrifying one for those from health and safety conscious nations. The planks look distinctly thin and rickety and a fall to certain death is just inches away — but this doesn’t appear to faze the workers who toil away fearlessly every day. When finished the road will stretch for 1.8 miles, making it China’s longest sightseeing path.

The question that many people will be asking is: Who will be brave enough to walk around it once it’s finished?


Wrong order … dial 911

So, have you ever felt like calling for the police in response to poor service? More to the point — do you feel that people complain too much nowadays for silly things?

Recently, a woman in the US called 911 to report she’d received the wrong order from a Chinese takeaway. The police were shocked. The officials have now released the audio of the call in a bid to highlight the type of calls people should not be making to the emergency number. During the two minute call, the woman asks for police officers to be dispatched to the restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. “I need the police. It’s this Hong Kong type restaurant to go,” the woman said when asked what was the emergency. “I ordered food and they brought the wrong food. I brought it outside and they aren’t going to give me my money and I need my money. Uh-uh, I need someone to handle this.”

Officers were eventually dispatched — but only to give the woman a caution for wasting police time.


The gorilla grooves

Who needs to be king of the jungle when you can be king of the b-boys? Nine-year-old Zola, one of eight Western lowland gorillas currently living at the Calgary Zoo in Canada, has become the latest Internet video star, thanks to a YouTube clip that shows him stomping and spinning, as if he were break-dancing.

This break-dancing gorilla must have learned his slick moves in New York. Zola was moved to the Calgary Zoo two years ago along with three other young gorillas from the Bronx Zoo in New York City. New York, of course, is where breakdancing or b-boying, as it is often popularly known, was born.

According to his current keepers, “Zola loves to play in water and keepers regularly give him the opportunity to do so as part of the enrichment activities they plan and vary on a daily basis.” Senior zookeeper Garth Irvine said, “When he first received Zola, he was told the young animal liked to splash around.” Speaking of the gorilla groves, Irvine said, “He’s way more talented than I am. But he’s got all day to practice.”

On Friday, June 17 at about 3.30pm, the Calgary Zoo posted a short video on YouTube and their Facebook page of Zola playing in a puddle of water. Within 72 hours, the video had been viewed more than 15,000 times.


Better late than never

Staff at an Australia library have been stunned after first edition copy of Charles Darwin’s Insectivorous Plants book was returned 122 years late.

A stamp inside the first edition copy showed that the book had been borrowed more than a century ago, on January 30, 1889.  Investigations have found that the book had been in a private collection for 50 years before being handed to a local university, whose employees passed it back to the library.

Staff at the Camden Library in Sydney’s southwest have estimated that the late fees for the book was about $35,000 (Rs3 million). Linda Campbell, the library’s manager of community services, said it was wonderful to have the book back. “It has obviously had an interesting journey in that time from what we can tell it ended up in the private collection of an elderly gentleman who gave it to the University of Sydney Farms library when he moved out of the area,” she said.

Campbell said the book would not attract a fine because it was the library’s ‘fine amnesty month’, when borrowers could bring back late books in exchange for a donation to charity.  However, the book would never be lent out again, she said.  SOURCE: TELEGRAPH.CO.UK

Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2011.


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