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Thursday, 29 September 2005
PDA in Paris


I used to think that PDA only stood for personal digital assistant, but Parisist advises that Paris est romantique (et tactile), or in English Paris is, guess what ... romantic. Their attention was grabbed by this article and how Parisians are

described as having very little taboos when it comes to showing the loved one how deep is your love, your love, how deep. And in public.

I undertook a long drive by car this afternoon from the Midlands to the South of England. En route I had the misfortune of stopping at a service station on the motorway. I remember as a child hearing fantasies of cars that could drive on water, and how wonderful this would be because it would lessen our dependence on that expensive commodity, oil.  Even some of my teachers repeated this poppycock, and it struck me when I noticed the price of the water in a motorway service station, just what poppycock this fantasy was.

Posted by bigblue on 29/09/2005 at 06:10 PM
Filed under: France • (1) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Wednesday, 28 September 2005
Where can you?

Christmas fare

Christmas puddings, Christmas cake, stollen, mince pies, and other Christmas fare on sale in my local superstore, as reported yesterday.

Earlier this month Annie Mole, of the London Underground blog, asked the question:

What’s your favourite tube song?

See 6 September 2005 post. In the comments I recounted my favourite tube song, performed on the Picaddily Line to Hammersmith one night as we were going with my visiting American cousins to see a show

My favourite tube song was perfomed by some buskers on the Picadilly Line about 5 years ago. They lasted about 2 stops around about Shepherds Bush while performing several numbers before being arrested by the transport police. The whole event, being somewhat unusual, was enjoyed by all present especially my two American cousins who were on a tourist visit.

These two homeless-looking guys got on the train and sat down on the one end of the carriage. The one guy strumbs his guitar (pling pling) the other guy slaps his drum a few times with his hand (plump plump). The one with the longer beard then announces: “Our next song is a protest against the rules introduced by the london underground which prohibit people from washing and shaving in their public toilets. These regulations are discriminate against homeless people. The song is called ‘If you can’t shave in a public toilet, then where can you shave’”. (pling pling, plumb plumb plump). And they were off for about 3 minutes singing (I use the term loosely) this song, the lyrics of which are simply “If you can’t shave in a public toilet, then where can you shave?” (repeated many times).

Later one of my American cousins told me that she hadn’t understood the song. I repeated the lyrics, but she still looked confused, and asked “But why would anyone want to shave in the toilet?”. The penny dropped, I explained that they were referring to the restrooms, which contain hand basins, and not the actual toilet bowl!

It turned out that I wasn’t the only one in the room who recalled these home-challenged roving performing artists, and Annie pointed me to her lyrics page where she had the (nearly complete) lyrics of the famous If you can’t shave in a public toilet ... song as well as some more information about the musicians.

Posted by bigblue on 28/09/2005 at 08:43 PM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (1) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Seasons Greetings!

Edit: I refer to this post in another post of today. I wote it yesterday but simply saved it as a draft, so it never appeared.  I have updated the date to today so that it appears with the relevant photograph.

In recent years the festive season has been commencing in early November, just after Halloween ends. However we are clearly in a state of flux this year. The seasons are not as clearly defined as they used to be. Global Warming has wrecked havoc upon the usual seasonal patterns, and we find ourselves hit by extreme or unseasonal hurricanes, tornados, floods, drought, fires, snow, and other evidence of climate change.

Today in my local supermarket I noticed another seasonal change. This supermarket, which made record profits of over 1 billion pounds in the last financial year, recently announced record profits of over 900 thousand pounds in the past six months.  Some time since last week they whipped all the barbecue and gardening items out of the aisle labelled seasonal and replaced it with Christmas products: puddings, mince pies and chocolates.  In so doing they have broken another record: that of bringing the Christmas season forward to September.

Posted by bigblue on 28/09/2005 at 06:02 PM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Tuesday, 27 September 2005
Ashby canal

Ashby canal

This is another view of the Moira furnace, showing the Ashby canal which runs alongside it.

This evening Kate joined Mart and I for our evening jog along the canal. Besides for the one time in the rain, the weather was much cooler than ever before. It was quite pleasant, there’s something to be said for exercising in sharp and crisp rather than hot, humid air. About this time of the year one might wonder what winter has in store: are we in for a mild or severe one?  Rising Slowly - the UK Weather Blog - uncovers the contradictory messages.

This week I discovered that Laura K. Lawless my French Tutor is also running a website and mailing list about vegetarianism and healthy eating, The Veggie Table.

Posted by bigblue on 27/09/2005 at 10:10 PM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (2) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Monday, 26 September 2005
The blast furnace

Moira furnace

This is the Moira furnace a Napoleonic era iron furnace which serviced the local Rawdon Colliery.  Having had a relatively short working life, it is now a well preserved museum, housing

touchscreens, hands-on interactives and displays showing how the furnace worked and the history of the buildings on the site. A visit includes a tour of the museum, on your own or in a group, as well as the Limekilns, tramways and towpaths which cross the site. There are also craft workshops on the site, where craftsmen produce pottery, soap, and stoneware. The newly-opened section of the Ashby canal runs alongside the furnace, and visitors can take a furnace boat trip in the summer, travelling along the canal from Donisthorpe Park to the national forest visitor centre. The site has a woodland area, Little Smelters adventure playground an under 5’s area, which are accessible to people of all abilities.

Moira has been described recently by Andrew Hedgecock as:

the heart of post-industrial Leicestershire.

Coal mining has been superceded in the area by various other industries, from food distribution to high tech manufacturing. There are links to various unemployment statistics at the Government Office for the East Midlands website.

Posted by bigblue on 26/09/2005 at 10:21 PM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share


This sculpture of a bird of prey is situated at the Moira furnace. Its relevance to the furnace is not clear, although there is a small wooded area adjacent to the furnace and canal. The bird is appropriate to the theme of the poems that flank posted.  Last night I went to see Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed the film but feel it has certain weaknesses. According to the IMDB link above Emma Thompson did a complete rewrite of the script of the movie, which she is not credited for (but for which she gets special thanks in the end credits of the film. It would be good now to watch the more substantial 1995 version by the BBC.

Posted by bigblue on 26/09/2005 at 01:04 AM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (6) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Sunday, 25 September 2005
Before the Storm


Last night, before the rain, I went for a walk along the canal at Moira where we normally go jogging. I left just before the heavens broke, at sunset.

Posted by bigblue on 25/09/2005 at 12:04 AM
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Friday, 23 September 2005
circles in the mud

yin yang

One of these days I’m going to end up with a stooped back from all this looking at the ground.  It is officially autumn and I am reminiscing about finding puddles of foggy ice on muddy country paths.

Meanwhile James Torio, a student at Syracuse University wrote a Masters Thesis on blogging, and has made it available on the Internet.

Posted by bigblue on 23/09/2005 at 09:20 PM
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