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Sunday, 30 April 2006
A coach


I was out walking with Miney and Meanie this evening when we saw this coach from Skinners of Oxted come past.  It reminded me of one of those caterpillars with the eyebrows.  Skinners is a family-run coach business, based in Oxted.

Posted by bigblue on 30/04/2006 at 10:37 PM
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Grace Barand

Grace Barrand

Another photograph from the By Design exhibition at the Grace Barrand Design Centre. This is where I normally get my caffeine fix on a Saturday morning while Miney is down the road at SESAY rehersals.  And lately I have been using shots from my mobile phone to build up composite “panoramas”, with mixed results. 

I think one of the problems with the above shot is that I moved around a bit too much while composing its parts.

Posted by bigblue on 30/04/2006 at 02:51 AM
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Saturday, 29 April 2006
Berry & Sons in 1904

Oxted Corn Stores

This is the photograph of the Oxted Corn Stores building taken from The Homeland Handbook for Oxted, Limpsfield and Edenbridge (1st Edition, 1904), which I referred to yesterday.

Posted by bigblue on 29/04/2006 at 01:21 AM
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Thursday, 27 April 2006
Oxted Corn Stores

Oxted Corn Stores

This is the former Oxted Corn Stores building in Station Road West, Oxted, Surrey.  Another name on the building is Berry & Sons who may have been the original owners.

According to The Homeland Handbook for Oxted, Limpsfield and Edenbridge (1st Edition, 1904) Berry & Sons were corn, coal and flour merchants, railway carriers and contractors.  This was their building next to Oxted Station.  They sold anthracite pea nuts for radiant stoves, linseed and cotton cakes, artificial manures, hay and straw, peat moss litter, dog biscuits, linseed, birdseed, poultry food, game meal, silver and other sands, manure, wood, gravel, peat, rock and agricultural salt.  At their premises at the Post Office, Limpsfield, they advertise themselves as Bakers and Confectioners.  Their full-page advertisement has a photograph of this building with a horse cart and a carriage outside.

Today the building is occupied by several tenants:

  1. The French confectioner L’Orme de Gisors (this roughly translates as the Gisors Elm Tree, Gisors is a town in Upper Normandy, France.  Her products are flown in from France.
  2. The Oxted Design Studio, which seems to sell kitchen units
  3. Finishing Touch, a dry cleaning business which has recently moved out leaving only a We Have Moved sign in the window
  4. The dental surgery (upstairs) which has likewise recently moved to bigger and better premises, leaving their old sign behind them.
Posted by bigblue on 27/04/2006 at 10:58 PM
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Wednesday, 26 April 2006
Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf

This is a photo I took in Canary Wharf in London this morning.

Wikipedia has some interesting information about Canary Wharf. This includes:

Posted by bigblue on 26/04/2006 at 10:39 PM
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Tuesday, 25 April 2006
From far

Just Bikes in Ashby

This is the Just Bikes shop in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. What caught my eye was the metal plaque on the wall between the windows.

Posted by bigblue on 25/04/2006 at 09:56 PM
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from near

Health Foods plaque

This is the plaque I found on the wall in front of the Just Bikes shop in The Green Ashby-de-la-Zouch.  There must be some mistake: Janes Health Foods is some way away in Rushton’s Yard.

I also looked around and didn’t see any green. Perhaps it is behind the shop.

Posted by bigblue on 25/04/2006 at 09:55 PM
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Monday, 24 April 2006
Dog in van

dog in van

Continuing the dog theme of yesterday, although there is no lost dog in this photograph.

I spotted this dog in a van in the road outside my workplace this evening. I stopped and took two photographs, and was lamenting the fact that I only had my mobile phone and couldn’t do the scene justice, when the owner of the white van returned. He was an ugly man with lank and greasy hair, and looked at me shiftily as he climbed in next to rover.  I was happy to get back in my car and drive home. As I accelerated away I glanced in my rearview mirror: he did not look like the kind of person I would like to follow me.

We tend to blame the media such as magazines, films and books, for cultivating prejudices based on looks. And yet if I know this is unfair, can I as an adult continue to blame my socialization?

This month, according to The Times the author JK Rowling wrote on her website

that she had become irritated while “reading a magazine that featured several glossy photographs of a very young woman who is either seriously ill or suffering from an eating disorder”. The writer added: “She can talk about eating absolutely loads, being terribly busy and having the world�s fastest metabolism until her tongue drops off (hooray! Another couple of ounces gone!), but her concave stomach, protruding ribs and stick-like arms tell a different story.

“This girl needs help, but, the world being what it is, they�re sticking her on magazine covers instead.

“I don’t want [my daughters] to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I�d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny - a thousand things before ‘thin’.”

The Telegraph also had a detailed report on Rowling’s pronouncements.

Louisa O’Conner of Kent wrote in to the Telegraph that Rowling

does not help matters by the way in which characters are portrayed in her own books.

Unattractive characters in the Hogwarts series are almost always physically unattractive as well. Harry’s horrible cousin, Dudley, is routinely described as fat, and his eating habits are criticised.

Most of the members of Slytherin house are described as ugly, Pansy is said to have a face like a pug, and ugliness and evil are clearly linked together. It would be more interesting if Pansy was stunningly beautiful, to contrast with her nasty character.

If Ms Rowling is really concerned that children should value personality above looks, then perhaps it would be more helpful if she did not consistently make most of her bad characters physically repulsive, and if she didn’t dwell so much on Dudley’s fatness, as if that were the worst thing about him.

The next day another Telegraph reader, Madeleine Hurd, responded that this was unfair:

although Dudley Dursley of the Harry Potter books is portrayed as being both cruel and overweight, the two female Death Eaters, Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy, are both thin, beautiful women, Harry Potter’s friend Neville Longbottom has been described as plump, the bigoted Draco Malfoy has a skinny face, and Lord Voldemort himself is first seen when he is completely bodiless and later remains no more than cadaverously thin.

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days. I discussed the matter with the biggest Rowling fan that I know, Miney. She put forward the same arguements to me as Madeleine. However I still tend to think it is a touch hypocritical of Rowling to make such a big issue of her character’s looks and link it to their personalities and then complain at the way other writers and journalists do something similar. At the same time I would like to be the last pot to call the kettle black.

Posted by bigblue on 24/04/2006 at 08:59 PM
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