North-West? North by North-West? North-North-West?

My brain goes into a bit of a spiral when I try to remember the finer points of the compass. The first principles are easy; North, South, East and West (incidentally, should they be capitalised? I’m never quite sure) and if you bisect those you get North-West, North-East, South-West, South-East and so on. It’s when you bisect each of those that I get confused; I know that half of North-West and North is North-north-west (I’m getting tired of doing capitals so I shall stop) but after that I’m a bit hazy on it. There’s a thing called north by north west (not to mention a film) but I’m not sure where exactly it lies. Sure, I could always google it but where’s the fun in that? Besides, I’m sure OH will enlighten us all later.

Anyway, having reorganised the study over the weekend I am now, my phone compass informs me, facing almost exactly north-east. This house faces North-north-east (I think) so we get the sunrise through our bedroom window, and in the evening I can sit at the study window and watch the sunset (weather permitting.) It’s important to take time in the day to notice the coming and going of the sun, to reflect, to watch the moon rise and notice its fullness, to observe the clouds and the winds. So whether it’s the direction I’m facing or whether it’s the desk at which I am sitting I don’t know, but it feels sooooooooo much better to be here. The desk is old, made of solid wood and until the weekend covered with dust and layers of abandoned papers not to mention desk paraphernalia; but these have now been swept into a box and the desk dusted. After this I went to Sainsbury’s intending to buy Pledge * but found instead some proper beeswax and turps-based polish, which I proceeded to lovingly apply with a soft cloth until I could see my reflection in the surface. It’s very satisfying. Like sunsets, wood should be cherished and appreciated (*other brands are available.)

I don’t know about you but I actually had a brilliant weekend. Nothing much happened: I ‘attended’ a Quaker meeting and a Quaker Meeting, both on zoom; I carried on knitting my latest project, a purple jumper, and I watched the launch of Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice project which featured Noam Chomsky, Yannis Varoufakis and of course the man himself. It seems a worthwhile project so I’ve signed up to it. It’s idealistic of course, but so am I – I subscribe to Henry David Thoreau’s philosophy: ‘build your castles in the air where they belong, then build the foundations under them.’

Have a good Monday and stay safe out there.

Kirk out

6 thoughts on “North-West? North by North-West? North-North-West?

  1. My own take on north by north west, without any nautical and/or navigational knowledge, is that it’s simply an arcane way of saying north-north-west; perhaps the cardinal compass points assumed some sort of precedence, so it was customary to refer to the ‘in-between’ points by reference to the nearest cardinal point?

    I think what you’re talking about with your office reorganisation is a basic element of what is also referred to as feng shui; I’m no expert, I hasten to add, but I think we generally instinctively know when an interior arrangement is conducive to tranquility. Unfortunately, I don’t get the effect of the sun in the morning in my bedroom, but I do in the afternoon, so I do sometimes use the window seat there; the living room faces the same way, also has a window seat, but the elevated aspect of the bedroom gives a better view of the surroundings.

    I also had a lovely weekend 😀 Cheers, Jon.

  2. Living most of my life in London, it was always easy to know north, south, east and west. The river Thames divides the city north and south, and there is also the handy clue in the postal districts, such as SE1 and W9. Then I moved to East Anglia, so the clue is in the name. The clue is also in the name of Norfolk, as the northernmost county of this region.
    Anyone driving into Norwich in the morning sun knows they must be heading east, and the main A47 only runs east-west anyway.
    But I made the mistake of telling my wife that the front of this house faces south-east, hence the too-bright sun in the living room during winter. What followed was a debate about whether or not she needed to know anything about points of the compass, as she has a Satvnav on her phone. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. You’re right, it is easier in London. I grew up in Hounslow which is way out to the West, and the tube map is sort of oriented according to the points of the compass too. I knew that central London was East and Bath and Cornwall were West; Sussex was South and pretty much everything else was North. But here in Loughborough it’s not so simple

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