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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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Thursday, 06 November 2003
le brouillard

Hay Bluff neon glow

It was foggy here last night and this morning.  Someone in front of me drove into the back of a car at the railway stopping this morning on the way to work. There was no excuse - the fog wasn’t so bad - they must have been daydreaming.

I got an email from davidm over the weekend saying that he has booked for us to see His Dark Materials Part I on 13 March 2004 and His Dark Materials Part II on 20 March 2004, at the Olivier Theatre.  Yay!  I am a big fan of Phillip Pullman. There is a very interesting Bridge to the Stars site, which I discovered thanks to mewn.

Talking of which mewn has some interesting photos of the brouillard (fog) in Strasbourg last night: here and here. mewn has some very interesting nightshots of Strasbourg. The guy seems to be an insomniac .... like yours truly .... and he seems to suggest that he is a bit obsessive-compulsive…..  (h�, aren’t we all?) .... and he seems to be a bit of a pervert.  Well, I’m not! (cough, cough).  But I had a good look at his postings on the derri�res des femmes, purely for academic purposes of course! (cough, cough).

And today there was a lovely long email from peter. Excellent! I am still reading and re-reading his sage comments on life.

Later: a small correction: I didn’t get the Bridge to the Stars site from mewn, but from Loriel’s Vanadium.

Posted by bigblue on 06/11/2003 at 05:05 PM
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Wednesday, 05 November 2003
Ecosse fait froid


Another lovely sunny (but short) day today, although there was remnants of overnight frost this morning.  You can compare the picture above (taken this morning) with this one (taken in the summer). 

Dylan is up in Edinburgh with some friends, staying with a friend of theirs, until Friday. He’s been a bit quiet, so after his previous bad experience I contacted him to check how things were going. He texted me back

Everything’s really brilliant…does get quite cold, but we’ve survived fine. Haven’t stayed at hotel which has also been nice. Otherwise, all good thanks

Posted by bigblue on 05/11/2003 at 07:02 PM
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La Musica


It’s been a pretty boring week so far. I have been working late because we are busy at work. I got home to chez Wolff this evening, and found Alain and Anna-Sofia in the kitchen: playing guitar and singing songs.  Anna-Sofia and I had a little argument with Alain: he insisted that the tune for House of the Rising Sun was composed by Jonny Halliday. Please. Luckily we found the credits for the tune in Anna-Sofia’s songbook.

According to Oxfam’s Cool Planet this museum piece,

the Belgian Jonny Halliday, who was a famous rock star in the sixties, is still well-loved in France.

The rest of the week is starting to look up. Tomorrow night I am playing badminton, then probably going on to Charlies (a pub anglais in Haguenau, named after Chaplin). On Thursday night we are having a farewell do for Khalid, on a boat which is berthed on the River Ille in Strasbourg.

Posted by bigblue on 05/11/2003 at 12:14 AM
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Monday, 03 November 2003
La Honte des Moutons


I took this picture last year, when bluemeanie and pinkie visited Haguenau. Some of these birds don’t migrate to North Africa any more, because although it gets cold in winter they are very well looked after at the breeding sanctuaries.

Ash tells me that they have finally solved the problem of the ship of sheep.  They are sending the ship to New Zealand and renaming it The Love Boat.

Today the weather cleared up a bit and it is looking pretty mild for the rest of the week.  It’s a pity that it gets dark so early now.

Posted by bigblue on 03/11/2003 at 11:18 PM
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