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Thursday, 16 December 2004
Rip off Britain

Master Park

The above photo is the latest in my series on Master Park. Some schoolboys are kicking a ball around in the photo, and as I took it at 13:00 yesterday afternoon I guess that they were writing their Mock GCSE’s this week and had the afternoon off (as bluemeanie did).  The weather has been misty and mild lately, with a bit of sun this afternoon. The photo could have been taken any day this week and it would look the same.

Today I was looking for a fast SanDisk compact flash card (a form of digital memory used in cameras, etc).  What amazed me is the range of prices.  The popular high-street electronics firm Dixons sells a SanDisk 512MB card at their stores for over £90.  On the Internet,  FotoSense as an example, is selling the very same card for £53.51, and a card with double the capacity (1GB) for £88.51 including postage and delivery.  Delivery is the next day.

Posted by bigblue on 16/12/2004 at 11:35 PM
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Wednesday, 15 December 2004
Lincoln Christmas Market III

Lincoln Christmas Market

My last two posts on the Lincoln Christmas Market were negative. Here’s a more balanced perspective of a stall that is actually selling traditional crafts.

While chosing this photo, I realised that in all my ‘stall photos’ the stallholders seemed to turn and face their back to me when I stood in front of their stall to take a photograph. I don’t know why they did this, it’s not as if I had bought any dodgy goods from them (ha, ha).  However it means that in the above photo you cannot see that both the man and woman are wearing historical costumes. 

This was a nice touch: a number of the stall-holders were dressed in olden-day clothes and this added to the pleasant atmosphere.

Posted by bigblue on 15/12/2004 at 11:22 PM
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Tuesday, 14 December 2004
Lincoln Christmas Market II

Lincoln Christmas Market

Or not.  In fine form at the Lincoln Christmas Market was a quintessentially English funfair, you know the kind with the cough! tacky cough! rides and amusements.

Some of the highlights of the above show are apparently:

Remo: the two-headed boy from Brazil;
The Russian Alma: part man, part beast;
The giant bee: as big as a bird;
Indian elephant boy: he has a trunk for a nose;
Vampire Bat;
Fox with three eyes;
Capella: the two-headed giant (this man is incredible);
Chinese lady: the smallest in the world;
Japanese octopus; and
Pig with six legs (from Germany).

Guaranteed to raise the cultural and intellectual standing of Lincoln.

Posted by bigblue on 14/12/2004 at 04:09 PM
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Monday, 13 December 2004
Lincoln Christmas Market I

Lincoln Christmas Market

The city of Lincoln claims to have the largest Christmas Market in Europe with over 300 stalls.  I had read that the market also is German-themed. However, my experience is that while there are some German stalls, most of them were typically English, or of English crafts.

Cousin Ruth and I didn’t see all 300 stalls, but of those we saw around the Cathedral and castle area, a mere handful were selling German spiced biscuits, gluhwein, or some other such thing.  Furthermore, some of the stalls just entailed a local shop selling all their regular stuff outside in the streets under a tarpaulin, rather than speciality Christmas products and fare.  A stall that may fall under this category is in the photograph above.  It shows a stall of clothes, with not one related to the theme of Christmas. 

My final gripe is that the Lincoln Christmas Market was only open from 2 to 5 December, whereas I feel it should have been open for the entire advent period.

Come on Lincoln, you can do better than that!

Posted by bigblue on 13/12/2004 at 08:53 PM
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Sunday, 12 December 2004
Oxted Christmas Lights

Oxted Christmas lights

These are the official Christmas lights in Station Road West, Oxted. There is no change in the design from last year, (or for at least the last 5 years).

Friday was my last day of work this year, and I have been busy packing the last few days (hence no posts). This weekend pinkie and her mother flew to Cape Town, and came down to stay with bluemeanie in Oxted.  We plan to drive to Strasbourg after Christmas, and who-knows-where-else. bluemeanie has some GCSE mock exams this week, but is at a friend’s house (for an Absolutely Fabulous themed party tonight).  Tomorrow she doesn’t go to school, so we’ll probably catch some more films. Today was a lazy day and we spent most of it watching DVD’s.  I couldn’t persuade bluemeanie to do any studying, but I managed to put on some of my French-language DVD’s so it might help prepare her for the French Oral on Tuesday.

Posted by bigblue on 12/12/2004 at 09:17 PM
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Wednesday, 08 December 2004
Another day in Ashby

Ashby-de-la-Zouch

At lunchtime we had our work Christmas lunch. This was an “unofficial” affair to which we each contributed £14 plus the cost of drinks, which a colleague in the office arranged.  So at lunchtime 52 of us traipsed to our cars and drove down the road to The Ferrer’s Arms in Lount.  The meal was a 3-course affair, but not particularly outstanding.

I couldn’t find the Ferrers Arms website this afternoon, but I found details of a court case in which the company that owns the pub was fined for discharging sewage into a watercourse.

A few months ago I thought that a ferrer was a type of artisan or craftsperson.  However I have since found out that it is a family name, associated with this area ever since William the Conqueror gave nearby land to Henry de Ferrers in the late 11th Century.  The name has today been made more famous by the Afro-Cuban AllStars Ibrahim Ferrer.

After lunch another colleague organised a quick whip-around to raise some money for Christmas decorations for the office. I declined to contribute. In any case in two days I am going on holiday for three weeks.

Posted by bigblue on 08/12/2004 at 10:56 PM
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Tuesday, 07 December 2004
Thai Rainbow

Thai Rainbow Restaurant

This evening after work I went for a meal and drinks at the Thai Rainbow restaurant (above) in Ashby-de-la-Zouch with Steve, Martin, Rory, Mark and Ricardo.  I think I heard more information in the way of gossip than I have heard in the past 5 months here.

The food is genuine and good. I didn’t eat much as I had some fruit in the late afternoon at work. I had a Broccoli stir-fry (and a taste of Martin and Steve’s dishes). As Martin pointed out, the broccoli was cooked perfectly. I would definitely go back again.

Posted by bigblue on 07/12/2004 at 11:29 PM
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Monday, 06 December 2004
Ashby Market Street

image

Here’s another photo of the Ashby Christmas lights in Market Street, which I took from outside the Bulls Head pub.

Today we had some interesting news on my project at work. It looks like the client might rewind the project, so that we start again with blueprinting and design of the system. We were busy building the solution to go live globally in April, but the directors would like to take more time to consult with all the countries involved.  The good news is that they want me to be involved in that process. However other people will be let go. I am hoping to be able to influence some key decisions so that we don’t repeat mistakes that had been made previously in this project.

Posted by bigblue on 06/12/2004 at 11:55 PM
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