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Saturday, 15 November 2003
Brigada Internacional

international brigade statue

Jubilee Gardens and Jubilee Walk on the South Bank of the Thames, London, were opened in 1977 to celebrate the 25th Jubilee of the British Monarch. In more recent times it has become home to the London Eye. One revolution of this giant ferris wheel takes half an hour, taking you one and a third times higher than New York’s Statue of Liberty, at a cost of 11 pounds.

Apparently there are plans to develop the South Bank, in which case the Gardens would make way for buildings.

The photo above is a memorial to the International Brigade who fought in the Spanish Civil War from 1936-39. It is one of several statues in Jubilee Gardens.  I quite like the photo of this statue by ArtoftheState here.

Are you a Matrix fan? You may enjoy The Meatrix, which is an activist site that makes use of the theme of the Matrix quite cleverly.

As I welcome my mother today as the newest member of this blog, I leave you to think about poor old Kevin Widmar.

Posted by bigblue on 15/11/2003 at 10:27 PM
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Strange Church Sign

Church sign

I see that we have fallen out of favour with the local Baptist Church. Oh well, I for one am flattered by their attention.

Had a terrible flight from Strasbourg back to the UK this afternoon. Left work at 3:30 pm, but when I got to Strasbourg airport I discovered that my direct flight to Gatwick had been cancelled due to “technical problems”. I remembered a few years ago when I was doing this flight regularly I got the distinct impression that they (Air France) cancelled the flights if there was a low turnout. Later on we heard that the “technical problems” were that it was too windy for the small aircraft to land at Gatwick.  (Is that too windy, or just the wrong type of wind?)

So I had to take a plane to Paris, then fly on to Heathrow. Air France then laid on taxis to Gatwick. There were a few martians in the same situation as me, including Domonique who (while unhappy with the delay of 4 hours) was happier ending up at Heathrow than Gatwick.  In fact only 6 passengers made use of the taxis from Heathrow to Gatwick. Of course those going on by train into London wouldn’t have needed to transfer to Gatwick to do so… and those who had missed connecting flights to Edinburgh, the far East, etc. had to delay their departures by a day.

Posted by bigblue on 15/11/2003 at 12:32 AM
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Thursday, 13 November 2003
le rugby

Telerama Rugby

Somebody sent me the above, which is an exerpt from a French TV guide (supposedly). I suspect that it goes back to the Six Nations, but I thought it was appropriate given the match on Sunday morning. It contains a lot of slang, which I won’t pretend to understand, but I get the general gist that French national pride is on the line. Of course English national pride is at stake too. However I suspect that if England lose, there will be a lot of brow beating and angst, but that if the French lose this will be accompanied by a Gallic shrug (meaning life has moved on ).

This week feels very short - of course it must be the public holiday we had on Tuesday.  No badminton this week, as a few people are away. We went to Charlies un pub anglais in Haguenau.  Ashley’s friend the red-haired waitress no longer works there (we discovered).  A previous time we were there, Stuart (who is English) argued that the pub doesn’t look English at all. However the rest of us - a German, a Spaniard, an Australian and myself - all feel that it has the decor of an English pub.  If you follow the link above, you can see some still clips of the inside and outside of the place.

Posted by bigblue on 13/11/2003 at 12:21 AM
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Wednesday, 12 November 2003
Master Park in the Mist

Master Park, Oxted

I took this photo on 11 November 2003, at the same time of day as the picture that I took last month. You can compare it here

Please note that I have added an About Us and Privacy statement here.

Posted by bigblue on 12/11/2003 at 11:22 PM
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Tuesday, 11 November 2003
Did they beat the drums slowly, did they play the pipes lowly?

poppy field

The sun now it shines on the Green Fields of France,
As a warm summer breeze makes the red poppies dance.
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds,
There’s no gas, no barbed wire, there’s no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard, it’s still no-mans land,
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand.
To mans blind indifference to his fellow man,
To a whole generation that was butchered and damned.

Now young Willie McBride, I can�t help wonder why
Do all those who lie here know why did they die.
And did they believe when they answered the call
Did they really believe that this war would end wars.
Well the sorrow, the suffering, the glory the pain,
The killing, the dying they were all done in vain
For young Willie McBride it all happened again
And again and again and again and again.

(from Green Fields of France by Eric Bogle)

And this is a good day to reflect on Le Monument au Mort de la Place de la Republique, in Strasbourg.  The monument shows an Alsacian mother cradling her two dead sons, one a German soldier and the other a French soldier.  It was created by the artist Drivier in 1936, was inspired by the First World War and was supposed to symbolise the end of the tragic conflicts of this region over the previous centuries. Of course, being 1936, this was only the beginning of the end.  The monument was inaugurated in the Place de la Republique by the Grand Rabbi of France, Isa�e SCHWARTZ in 1951.  See picture of this here.

Last week mewn took a photo of this statue, and dedicated it to me (!) see here.

Posted by bigblue on 11/11/2003 at 12:00 PM
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Monday, 10 November 2003
feu d’artifice


Here’s another picture from the fireworks in Edenbridge the other night.

I had a bit of a lazy day today - watched The Office Series 2, which is brilliant btw if you haven’t seen it. I haven’t cringed so much in a long time. Pity about Dawn and Tim though.  Other than that I did a small amount of work from home.

This morning, at breakfast, bluemeanie and I enjoyed a discussion about the joys and merits of cheese.  It was interesting to watch the expressions on pinkie’s face as she worked out what we were referring to.

Posted by bigblue on 10/11/2003 at 09:56 PM
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Bon Anniversaire Spenks!

Edenbridge Tank

The above picture shows the militaristic fireworks display in Edenbridge last night (which had nothing to do with Rememberance Sunday), but was a belated Bonfire Night. More about the fireworks below.

Today is Spenker’s birthday.  Congratulations, but remember that the best years of your life are now behind you.  Actually, I think you know this already - is that why you didn’t have a party this year?

Last night Pinkie, Pinkie’s friend M and I went to watch the fireworks in Edenbridge with Spenkers and her family.  It was pretty cold (although not as much as previous years).  We got there in time for the tail-end of the street procession and a mere 45 minute wait for the firework’s to start.  Then it was time for the Bonfire Bishop to appear, to recite the poem Remember, remember, and kick off the grisly proceedings.  This year they had a traditional-looking Guy Fawkes, and thereafter a mystery guy to burn (Saddam Hussein).  There was even a real tank on the field, to help set fire to him.  When the Bishop called out to the crowd:

What shall we do with this traitor [Saddam Hussein/Guy Fawkes]:

and the crowd (mostly) responded with shouts of:

Burn him!

one remembers what a violent celebration Bonfire Night is. Well the fireworks were pretty.  Holly fell asleep on DavidM�s back on the (long) walk back to the car.  By then it was approaching 11pm.

Rugby World Cup:
Watched the rugby on Saturday morning. It reminded me of one of Popple’s legal stories:

A seven year old boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him.

The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge awarded custody to his aunt.

The boy confirmed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and refused to live there.

When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents the boy cried out that they beat him more than anyone.

The judge dramatically allowed the boy to chose who should have custody of him.

Custody was then granted to the Springbok rugby team as the boy firmly believed that they were not capable of beating anyone.

A reminder to you, if you have not yet done so, to check out Scarlett and Pinkie
And here’s a photo of the guy the local Bonfire Bishop, called a traitor. Alex suggested that perhaps he is a traitor - to the human race.
Edenbridge Saddam

Say chaps, how about we don’t burn him? We could take him to the International Court of Justice in the Hague?

Posted by bigblue on 10/11/2003 at 03:09 AM
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Friday, 07 November 2003
feuilles d’automne

autumn trees

I took this picture today at the Forest of Haguenau. As the days shorten, the green chlorophyll disapears from the leaves, and we begin to see the yellow and orange colours that had been ‘masked’ up until now.  Bright reds and purples occur when glucose has been trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops. Browns occur from other wastes left behind in the leaves.

Driving to work this morning I noticed the Haguenau council workers on one side of the town with large petrol-driven “blowers”, blasting the leaves out of the bushes and onto the road.  On the other end of town their co-workers were blasting leaves out of the road and into the bushes on the verge of the road. They all seemed cheerful and to be enjoying their work (of which there will no doubt be plenty until the snow arrives).

Last night we went to L’Hippocampe for Khalid’s farewell. A good time was had by all. Lots of good music and dancing.

I spoke yesterday about the fog on Wednesday night. Today I shared a taxi with a Martian whose plane had been unable to land at Strasbourg on Wednesday night. They were diverted to Paris, and he had to take the first flight from Paris on Thursday morning. Apparently a plane has to be a category three to land in fog.

Posted by bigblue on 07/11/2003 at 09:18 PM
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