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Sunday, 14 November 2004
Royal British Legion in Oxted

Oxted Royal British Legion

Today was Remembrance Sunday, and at 11 am at cenotaphs around the country, short commemorations were held to commemorate Armistice in 1918.  Actually there appears to have been several armistices.

The photograph above is of the British Legion building in Oxted, and apparently of some members leaving the building this afternoon after their commemoration activities.  According to the Tandridge Community Website, they have

4 dart and 4 snookers teams, pool, club functions, bingo and quiz nights.

Posted by bigblue on 14/11/2004 at 11:45 AM
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St Mary’s of Oxted

St Mary's Church Oxted

This is St Mary’s Church in Oxted, by night.  The website of this church can be found here with a link to last week’s sermon. 

There is a photograph taken from the other side of the church, in daylight and in Spring, here, which is a page on the Surrey Choicenet website.

I told bluemeanie and pinkie that I am thinking of not giving anyone Christmas presents this year, and rather donating the money to an Iraqi relief organisation.  I might have to compromise and give small, inexpensive, Christmas gifts.

Posted by bigblue on 14/11/2004 at 12:08 AM
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Saturday, 13 November 2004
le rebord de fenêtre

window sill

This is a study of a windowsill in Church Lane Cottage.  I like Anne’s dragonfly, which is une libellule in French (and I love the sound of that word).

We are coming to the end of the holy month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. The BBC has an explanation of Ramadan here.  My thoughts over this period are with the communities in Falluja. There is little news coming out of Falluja, but for the people living there the news has not been good.  I found another picture from Raed of the cluster bombs being used over Falluja.
Cluster Bomb
 
Is this what we are coming to? Do we have to kill the inhabitants of Falluja in order to liberate them from the terrorists?

An independent journalist who is dispatching reports from Iraq (for various media organisations) is Dahr Jamail. He is not embedded with any troops or insurgents!

Posted by bigblue on 13/11/2004 at 01:00 AM
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Thursday, 11 November 2004
l’Armistice

Poppy field

Last year on Armistice Day I posted a poem reflecting on the human cost of the First World War, which was dubbed the War to end all Wars.

This year, at 11 minutes past 11 on the 11th day of the 11th month, we are again engaged in a war.  It is hard to see how this war (supposedly against terrorism but in itself terrorising the communities in Iraq) could bring us greater peace or security.

Here is an excerpt from a recent interview with a US soldier who was stationed in Iraq

I want to talk about some of the children I saw killed for no reason, maybe it will wake someone up who doesn�t believe it was happening, or that it was very bad. I can tell you I will never forget the screams of the wounded or orphaned kids, or the wailing of the parents who lost their kids. The Iraqis and most Muslims have a very vocal way of mourning the dead by lamenting and wailing for the dead. There is no mistaking a mother or father crying out in pain for the loss of a child. They don�t cry like that unless there has been a death. Sometimes after a bombing raid or an artillery attack you could here hundreds of people wiling and weeping.�

I have several grown children with grand kids about the age of most of the dead children I saw in Iraq. I also have several kids who are about half grown and I saw a lot of Iraqi children that age wandering around in charge of three or four little ones because their parents were dead.�

Let me tell you about the cluster bomb raid we saw wipe out a whole bunch of little kids. It looked like they had already lost their parents and were trying to salvage food from a destroyed Iraqi convoy by the side of the road we were on. The kids were way off to the side about half a mile away by then when we got the word that the Iraqi column was going to be hit with cluster bombs and we had to clear the area. We got on the radio and tried to get the air strike stopped but we were told it was too late to get it stopped.�

We could see the body parts flying up into the air after the bombs hit. It was terrible and we could not do a damn thing but watch it happen and scream into the radio at the dumb sh.t pilot that was dropping the bombs. After the strike was over we went to see if there were any survivors and all we found was bits and pieces of little kids and here and there an arm or leg you could still identify.

[from: Not in Our Name]

Here is a photo of a cluster bomb exploding. These bombs are currently being used against the city of Falluja in Iraq. They were also dropped on Falluja in April this year.
cluster bomb

I got the image from Raed who describes the photo as follows:

Notice how the containers explode in the air, then the dozens of small “smart” packets fall down like rain, they have the capability of tracing heat sources (i.e. cars, men, etc.), then they open and spread hundreds of small submunitions that are enough to kill and injure people in a diameter of 500 feet. More than 25% of the submunations don’t explode immediately, they cause post-war civilian casualties. Human Rights Watch estimated that thousands of Iraqis were killed and injured after the 1991 and the occupation war because of cluster bombs.

I find this war in Iraq very depressing. But I think we have to read as much about what is going on as possible, from as many informed sources as possible. A good starting point, with links to other articles is Informed Comment - Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion by Juan Cole - Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

Posted by bigblue on 11/11/2004 at 01:11 PM
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A chequered evening

Chequers Pub Ticknall

This evening about 16 of us from work had a night-out. It was originally advertised as a pub-crawl by our newish project secretary (who has show herself to be zealous in the social activities department if not in others). In the end she and her husband pulled out at the last minute, and a couple of others didn’t make it.

We started in The Bull’s Head in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.  We then moved on to Chequers, one of three pubs in Ticknall.  It was only after we left this establishment that I realised the significance of the animated discussion two couples were having at the bar about a recent chess game they had played in Turkey.

From Ticknall we moved on to the Melbourne Arms in Melbourne for a delicious Indian supper.  My colleague, who slept there one night, does not recommend it as a hotel though.  By this stage the conversation was flowing freely.  After the meal, at about 11 pm I proceeded home. I had very little to drink, as I was driving.

Most of the others moved on to the Thai Rainbow Restaurant in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, where I suspect the excursion will come to a finale.

Posted by bigblue on 11/11/2004 at 12:38 AM
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Tuesday, 09 November 2004
URL Meme

Alsace Farm

The photo above is of an Alsatian farmer’s field (taken in the summer).  The text below is a URL meme which I picked up at Enovy:

Press each letter in the address bar of your browser and list what the auto-complete function jumps to first.

A - a family in baghdad
B - bluemeanie
C - Cambridge
D - Daily Kos
E - English Al Jazeera
F - Feeling Listless
G - Google
H - h-net
I - Independent newspaper
J - Juan Cole - Informed Comment
K - Kevin Sites
L - Lost frog
M - Mosh
N - News from BBC
O - Oxted
P - PMachine
Q - Quotations page
R - Raed in the middle
S - Streetmap
T - The Meatrix
U - UK Yahoo
V - Visualfuturist - Bush is Wired
W - US Election Maps
X - xtreme fishing
Y - Yell
Z - Zooish

Regarding W: Yes, I know, but I followed the rules.

Posted by bigblue on 09/11/2004 at 10:53 PM
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Monday, 08 November 2004
Twenty Good Reasons

Pic a Chic

This is a sign behind a service station in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.  Pic-a-chic appears to be a food business, based in Ashby. I had to google it, because I assumed it had something to do with fashion, or partners in crime.

Last week I was posting about the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. Today I found a nice panorama of the version of Liberty in Paris on the Seine. Have a look here (needs Quicktime, I guess). 

I have been blogging now for over a year. With each post I try to include a recent photograph.  Now I finally found 20 reasons why you shouldn’t put your photo on the Internet (link via Girlie). Oh well.

This past weekend the non-Catholics in England celebrated Guy Fawkes day with fireworks celebrations all over the country. No doubt Diwali will follow in some places next week.  Leicester is famous for having the biggest Diwali light installation outside the Indian sub-continent.  You can see last years pictures here and this years programme here

The US had some natural light shows this week.

Posted by bigblue on 08/11/2004 at 07:16 PM
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Sunday, 07 November 2004
Hopkin, the green frog.

Hopkin Green Frog

Young person out there lost frog. Name of Hopkin Green Frog.  Read about it at Boing Boing. Then follow link.

Don’t worry Terry. I’m on the trail of your Hopkin Green Frog!

Posted by bigblue on 07/11/2004 at 06:43 PM
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