The weekend has been stolen from me by marking.  It has sucked the joy and life out of things, but geekness calms me.  It is a distraction.

And so when I saw the latest Mournes map on sale I ended up sitting down and comparing it to the older map.  The new map has a new cover but I had been told that it was the same as the old one with a few minor changes.  This is not the case, it seems different to me.

The new map has lost its coloured contouring showing high and low contours.  The old map had a gradient of bold colour showing the highs and lows.  At first you would think the bold colour on the old map is good and tells you where the mountains and valleys are.  However, map readers tend to be able to see this straight away without the colour.  The colour is a distraction like trying to embed yourself in a good novel which someone has used a highlighter pen and wrote revision notes on.  So this new, more sober, map is a welcome improvment.  It is an echo of the really old map of the Mournes which had no colour, a map that is rare and cherished.

The new map advertises; “digitally derived contours”.  This could be good or bad.  To most people digital means new and improved; modern.  To music lovers it means awful quality, degradation and a step backwards.  Digital music compresses the sound by simplifying it, by slicing it up and throwing the details away.  It seems that these digitally derived contours have stripped the details away the contours seem regular.  The mountains seem perfectly formed as if by a childish drawing.  They have lost their raw roughness, their organic quality.  The details have been dropped.  That is unless the OSNI have taken some steam rollers to the sides of the Mountains and made them look like their new map.


An unwelcome distraction this weekend has been my car failing to start on the way home today.  As we left, it failed to turnover and had to be push started.  The starter motor is failing, everything else was fine so it started with a little push and a little speed.   That was until we made a little stop in the town city of Lisburn.  This time I pushed it on my own as the lovely Sharon was at the wheel.  She needs no instruction on these matters as we both have driven many bangers old cars that needed plenty of loving care and encouragement in the past.  This time I pushed it to speed and it refused to start.  I pushed it back and tried again, faster.  No joy.  I pushed it back and tried again.  No joy.    I pushed it back and tried again, faster.  No joy.  I should point out that we were in the middle of a main street in the centre and I did not look the part dressed in a suit.  Why won’t it start?  The electrics are fine ( apart from the starter).  I tried again as two friendly guys ran up and asked if I needed a hand.  It was a rhetorical question as they asked it while pushing, this is the behaviour that unites blokes everywhere.  The car started.

As I got back in the car I thanked them and we sped off.  I was exhausted and sweating from all the pushing and was out of breath as I turned to the lovely sharon.  She had a look of guilt mixed with mischievousness mixed with worry and embarrassment.  She asked if it was a bad thing that she forgot to turn the ignition on until the very last attempt?  I did not speak to her for 10 minutes.  I did not say a word.  She did not deserve conversation.