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Wednesday, 07 April 2004
le grand chêne

le grand chene

Recently this “add-on” road sign pointing to the large oak (tree) appeared in South East Surrey, near Godstone.  To what does this refer?

I imagined the following: (i) a delicate red wine; (ii) a new brasserie; (iii) a conference centre or marriage venue, or (iv) a large old oak tree, notable for its place in local history.  I actually took a little drive to try to find the answer. However the signs (although they consist of arrows) are hard to follow because the arrows do not all point in the correct direction. They are to be found mainly at intersections, often pointing down the wrong road. Over the next day or two I will reveal where the signs end up.

What I will mention now is that I was somewhat disappointed with my discovery.

Edit: I made a small correction: North East Surrey instead of South East Surrey.

Posted by bigblue on 07/04/2004 at 11:58 PM
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Spring blossoms


This is another view of the Spring blossoms in Haguenau along the rue de la Redoute.

I got back to work today, and it will be a short week as Friday is a public holiday in Alsace. It’s welcome, although I have a lot of work to finish this week. I missed my Alliance Française course last night, and will miss Thursday night’s too. This evening after work we went to a bar-resto for something to eat and to watch the Real Madrid/Monacco match. Exciting stuff too - well done to Monacco who were the better team on the night.

Excuse me, what’s this? Americans trying to teach us how to Chernobyl.

This hellish inferno became a sort of paradise for wild animals - at least on the surface. They thrive with no humans to prey upon them, but nobody fully understands how the nuclear poisons have altered their genetic makeup, the extent of their migration or their interactions with the adjacent “safe” areas. Grotesque mutations have been reported, but zoologists deny that.

They must build a new sarcophagus soon, because the original one was hastily constructed and is disintegrating.

From: Elena’s very eery site, with her amazing photos that for me have a very futuristic feel.

Posted by bigblue on 07/04/2004 at 01:28 AM
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Tuesday, 06 April 2004
Wrong sort of trees?

falling trees

The first time I drove past this sign (near Reigate in Surrey) I thought it said Risk of falling leaves. Big relief then when I stopped on the way back to read it more carefully!

Last night we went to Rotary Youth Makes Music festival at the Fairfield Hall in Croydon. There were about 18 different groups and soloists performing, including SESAW (the South East Surrey Area Windband) which Pinkie and Scarlett play for, and SESAW Jazz, which Scarlett is a member of. The programme for the evening covered a wide range of musical styles: classical to modern and of Sri Lankan, Irish and New Orleans origins. Besides for Scarlett’s solo (on the bari), and for SESAW’s two sets, naturally, I particularly enjoyed the performances of Brindigana, the St Catherine’s School Irish Group, and Eloisa-Fleur Thom (violin soloist).  Unfortunately I didn’t film any of the performances as Scarlett had insisted that this was forbidden. I notice that it didn’t stop some of the other parents.

Posted by bigblue on 06/04/2004 at 12:32 AM
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Sunday, 04 April 2004
un cure dents

giant toothpick

Somebody planted this giant toothpick on the A22, near Godstone in Surrey. There is no indication of what it is or what it represents. When I first saw it, I thought of the Posted by bigblue on 04/04/2004 at 01:08 AM
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Saturday, 03 April 2004
Haguenau in the Springtime

rue de la Redoute

The above photograph shows the spring blossoms lining the cycle path alongside the rue de la Redoute in Haguenau taken at about 7:30 one morning this week.

proud pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing.

(William Shakespeare, Sonnet 98)

This has been a busy week, and due to a server migration, and various problems on the part of my webhost, my site has not always been available and maintainable. We seem to have resumed normal service, but it is a bit frustrating not having been able to post entries when I wanted. Thanks to Richard for finally (cross fingers) sorting everything out. I notice from our support forums that quite a few other customers are looking at moving to different providers after the experience of the past week. Personally I feel that we got very good service until now, and as we get very good value for money I will monitor the situation carefully. If this is going to become a regular occurance then I will also probably have to move. I will do nothing in a rush, not least because I am also in the process of “upgrading” this blog. So, dear reader, watch this space.

This week I wanted to wish Rumanie Happy Birthday, to say bienvenue to Gogo, Popple, Kyle and Liam. and adiós to Miguel. It was also a busy week work-wise, on top of which we had two farewell parties and I skipped one of my Alliance Françe evening sessions as well as the conversation circles session on Wednesday. Perhaps the warmer Spring weather is also contributing to a feeling of tiredness.

Finally, thanks to Dorothy and Selenne for the bottle of wine. I am happy to have been able to help them out with their weekend trip to London last week.

Posted by bigblue on 03/04/2004 at 11:49 AM
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Friday, 02 April 2004
Ciao Miguel!

Miguel Party

This week we said goodbye to Miguel, whose contract came to an end. It should not be goodbye but of course see you, especially as he will probably not be leaving Strasbourg very soon.  We had two farewell parties - one official (see photo collage above) and another unofficial. The official party was also a (premature) farewell to Carles who has one more month with us.

Who could have thought three years ago that I would come to the town of Haguenau in Alsace, to meet a Peruvian-born Canadian-citizen who lives in Florida. Miguel brought a lot of qualities to our team that the others didn’t have, and I feel that we all learned a lot working with him both on the work and personal levels. As Posted by bigblue on 02/04/2004 at 11:52 PM
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