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Thursday, 16 September 2004
Ashby sunset


This is the kinds of sunset that we are currently seeing here in the middle of the mid-Midlands, as the nights draw in and the evenings get cooler.  And I think fondly of my winter clothes which are packed away in Haguenau. And I curse that at 9:30 pm it is dark when a few weeks ago I was enjoying the light and warm evenings.

When I was young, and we saw red sunsets (I was hardly ever awake early enough to see the sun rise) we used to say

Red at night - shepherd’s delight
Red in the morning - shepherd’s warning,

believing that the colour of the sunset (or rise) could indicate the weather patterns.

These days I simply think about levels of pollution, about the itchiness in the back of my throat, that nagging sniffle and cough, and pray for some strong winds and rains to blow it all away.  (As if).

It’s nice to see our illustrious leader waking up a bit - even if it is a gross attempt at electoral opportunism

Posted by bigblue on 16/09/2004 at 10:25 PM
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Tuesday, 14 September 2004
Survival of the biggest

Oxted traffic circle

The above photo shows what I was saying yesterday: That it is only a motorbike (the smallest vehicle) that can fit comfortably around the traffic saucer.

One of our mates sent us a link to a news article concerning size.  He assures us that he

innocently stumbled across this article, reading about our humble red back spider in Australia…

Now I can appreciate the serendipity in that because personally I have always thought that humble red back spiders were important. Not just because they bring us joy and make us laugh, but because they provide a beautiful example of evolution in action.

The article is too long to quote in full here, but it starts as follows:

Many men dream of having a larger member, and penis envy is at the root of much popular psychology � witness all those unwanted e-mails. But the idea of having a penis so large that it is an encumbrance is horrific. Penis length in humans generally varies from 10-20 cm (erect), but there is a tribe in Africa in which the male member is much longer, and its owners tie it into a loose knot while walking. But for these people, it is big, but not quite an encumbrance �

Choose to read on here (The Age - free subscription required) or here (Independent � paid subscribers only).  Or not.

Posted by bigblue on 14/09/2004 at 07:42 PM
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Monday, 13 September 2004
Oxted Roundabout (again)

Oxted traffic circle

This is a short update on my previous posts on the subject of the new Oxted roundabout, and Flank’s interesting comments.

The saucer is now painted and seems to be working well.  As you can see above, cars turning right into Station Road West still have to traverse the saucer (or cut past it on the right). The only vehicle I saw attempting to go around the saucer was a motorbike. 

I re-contacted the Surrey County Council about the funding of this, and the rumours that the budget of Oxted School had been reduced by £100,000 and received the following clarification

Dear Mark,

Unfortunately I don’t have any information on funding levels for Oxted
School. You may wish to contact the school directly for this information.

  As part of the planning application to redevelop part of the school
grounds, in particular the car parking areas, an agreement was reached with
Surrey County Council Education that £110,000 would be set aside for road
safety improvements in the vacinity of the school.

  I trust that this clarifies the matter

  Kerry Henderson

I spoke to two pupils from the school (no prizes for guessing which ones) and they gave a positive response to the developments.  They mentioned that they felt the railings and zebra crossings will improve the safety of school pupils.

Posted by bigblue on 13/09/2004 at 11:18 PM
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Saturday, 11 September 2004
Ivan the terrible

Cuba Cayo Largo

Over the next few days my thoughts will be in the Carribean, as Ivan continues its path of destruction.  I took the above photo of Scarlett in the sea off Cayo Largo in 2002 when it was still recovering from hurricane Michelle of November 2001.  The resort in the background of the photo was still closed.

Posted by bigblue on 11/09/2004 at 10:38 PM
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Friday, 10 September 2004
un troupeau d’oies

gaggle of geese

I heard a familiar cry from the heavens yesterday evening. I looked up and saw this gaggle pass overhead.  Unfortunately I was in a rush and hence the quality of the shot is not good.  Still I was amazed to see so many birds in one gaggle.  It has been a long time since I have seen more than about ten geese together on the wing like this.

This afternoon the BBC started a serialisation of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, written and dramatised by Alexander McCall Smith.  They are going to broadcast the radio play in 4 episodes, ending on Wednesday next week. After each episode has been broadcast it is available to “listen again” here.

Posted by bigblue on 10/09/2004 at 09:37 PM
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Thursday, 09 September 2004
de cerf


On my way back from the driving range in Snibston this evening I spotted these three deer on the side of the road.  They have something to do with the Snibston Discovery Park.

The golf is coming along well, and today I played around with a 3 wood, after several weeks of concentrating on a 7 iron.  My coach, Mike, is a great inspiration.

Posted by bigblue on 09/09/2004 at 10:10 PM
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This evening I drove up to Belper to see Lynette and Alan who arrived from Australia last week. We had supper at a local restaurant which had been recommended to Alan by a colleague. (Not the restaurant/pub as in the photo above).

Belper is a Doomsday village. According to the late Douglas Adams & John Lloyd in their book The Deeper Meaning of Liff it is also a noun:

A knob of someone else’s chewing gum which you unexpectedly find your hand resting on under a desk top, under the passenger seat of your car or on somebody’s thigh under their skirt.

This reminds me of the good news that this month the last three books of hitchhikers are finally coming to radio. It also reminds me of the bad news that the last three books were pretty dire in comparison to the first two.

Also at the excellent BBC website is the very useful Vogon Poetry Generator.  It is a very useful tool when looking for prose for birthday cards, Christmas cards, weddings, funerals, ....

Here is a sample poem, celebrating Carles’ decision to return to University to complete a Master’s Degree

See, see the short sky
Marvel at its big orange depths.
Tell me, Carles do you
Wonder why the warthog ignores you?
Why its foobly stare
makes you feel tired.
I can tell you, it is
Worried by your agronged facial growth
That looks like
A lettuce.
What’s more, it knows
Your toilet potting shed
Smells of snot.
Everything under the big short sky
Asks why, why do you even bother?
You only charm ****s.

Posted by bigblue on 09/09/2004 at 01:55 AM
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Tuesday, 07 September 2004
Silent thoughts

No photograph today. I have been thinking most of the day about the situation in Beslan. My client is going to be passing the hat around all their offices and sites tomorrow in aid of the Red Cross appeal.  They are very involved in all kinds of relief and charity work. Their big involvement is with the World Food Programme, but they also are involved in all kinds of other activities.  The WFP is of particular interest to me because I did some work for them in Rome for five months in 2001, and I was impressed with their operations.

The Red Cross appeal for Beslan is important. The situation in that region is volatile, and the aim of various groups is to provoke conflict and war. The Red Cross states that

The appeal will address the emergency and long-term medical needs of the affected population in Beslan. It will help children and other people injured or physically disabled with home care and nursing support. It will also fund the cost of support for hostages and their families at psychological/rehabilitation centres.

For more details see here.

Tomorrow night I am seeing Lynette and Alan who have just moved to Belper, north of Derby.

Posted by bigblue on 07/09/2004 at 06:19 PM
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