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Monday, 22 May 2006
Junk shop

junk attic

This is a photo I took in the attic of a junk shop in Hay Castle earlier this year.

Today I have been occupied with preparing for the migration of the bluemeanie blogs from the current software (PMachine) to the new software (Expression Engine). I have been working on this project for some time, but hopefully things will come together in the next couple of weeks.  Everything is under wraps, but the bluemeanie home page is now run by the new software package.  It’s a “site offline” message in disguise.

Posted by bigblue on 22/05/2006 at 09:43 PM
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Saturday, 20 May 2006
The drought continues

flooded road

Here in the South East of England our water shortage continues: this morning we had a bit of sunshine, followed by: a thunderstorm, a downpour, hail, more rain, and flooded roads (see above). Due to water restrictions we have a hose-pipe ban, so this is good news for the gardeners. Also one can only hope that the rain has fallen in the right places to help top-up our reservoirs.

Last night the three meanies (Eany, Meanie and Miney) went to the Rocky Horror Sing-Along at the Prince Charles Theatre in Leicester Square, with various extended family members. Great fun was had by all. The three of us dressed in costumes: I dressed as an “early Brad” (i.e. before he stripped down to Y-fronts, vest and socks) while the other two dressed as Magenta, in French maids outfits.  The only scary thing about my outfit was that I only had to organise three items of clothing: nerd spectacles, a white shirt and a red bow tie. The rest was my own. Besides for singing along to the songs (using the lyrics projected onto the bottom of the screen) the audience can participate in the dialogue (see for example the various audience participation scripts available).

Posted by bigblue on 20/05/2006 at 01:01 PM
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Friday, 19 May 2006
Yeah butt, yeah butt, no butt…

Water Butts

This is the latest craze in the South East of England:

Call off your search for the Fendi spy bag, the Burberry trapeze coat and that pair of Prada patent bamboo wedges. There is only one must-have accessory this season that’s worth fighting for, and that’s the garden water butt. So acute is demand, given the water shortages being experienced in the south-east and the nation’s low “butt-making capacity”, that there is now said to be an eight-week waiting list for this once deeply unfashionable plastic barrel. But fashion is cyclical and, according to the experts, should you live in a drought-stricken area the very future of your garden depends on you securing this prized asset. But how?

So middle-class families across the South East are going to resort to catching their own rain, since:

  1. There hasn’t been enough recently;
  2. The rain that has fallen arrived too late;
  3. The water companies didn’t catch enough of it; and/or
  4. They have wasted what they did catch.

On a brighter note they have been able to fulfil their responsibilities to shareholders by making 2 billion pounds worth of profits this year.

Incidentally, the irony in the above photograph is that this was the road that was innundated by a sudden thunderstorm less than a week ago. The advertising board has even been leaned against the roadsign which warns of a flooded road ahead. 

Entry submitted for this week’s Photo Friday, The Road.

Posted by bigblue on 19/05/2006 at 11:16 AM
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Thursday, 18 May 2006
Road Liable to Flooding

road liable to flooding

According to this roadsign, near Chiddingstone Causeway in Kent, this road is liable to flooding. There might be a clue in that word causeway.

Chiddingstone Causeway is not far from the town of Chiddingstone. According to the Chiddingstone website:

Chiddingstone Causeway often confuses visitors since it is a village built around a railway station called Penshurst, which is a village three miles away. It is also now a much bigger village that Chiddingstone itself and sited on the main road between Tonbridge and Edenbridge. This confounds taxi drivers - even if they are equiped with the latest car based satellite navigation systems.
There is much debate over the location of the ‘Causeway’ that gives it its name. Some contend that references to the causeway predate the building of the railway line, in the hope that this will clothe their home in the respectability of a premodern age. Since I live in Chiddingstone Village and not ‘The Causeway’ , let me confess my bias now and offer my personal explaination:
‘Chiddingstone Causeway’ is a shortened form of ‘Chidingstone over the Causeway’ meaning the Hamlet in Chiddingstone parish that is on the other side of the road that crosses the watermeadows near Vexour Bridge that was banked up and straightened in the 1840s by the Irish labourours that were building the railway.
There .... I have said it .... now let a thousand flowers bloom and a thousand ways of thought contend.

There you have it: Chiddingstone is uptown, Chiddingstone Causeway is downtown.

Posted by bigblue on 18/05/2006 at 10:26 AM
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Wednesday, 17 May 2006
Real People

Real People

These are real people? As opposed to? Celebrities? Characters in movies, books and soap operas?

David Kramer, South African musician, toured South Africa recently and produced a documentary Karoo Kitaar. In it there is the amazing Hannes Coetzee (YouTube video link), guitar spoon player.  He’s a real person:

aloe tapper and self-taught musician from Herbertsdale in the Klein Karoo. He plays traditional and original compositions using a teaspoon in his mouth to slide the melody on his guitar. The only known practioner of this style, he is able to play the melody and the accompanying chords at the same time creating the sound of two guitars with one.

The movie Karoo Kitaar, subtitled Saving an Almost Forgotten Folk Music was shown on the ArtsWorld channel last night:

Karoo Kitaar Blues follows South African songwriter David Kramer and slide guitarist Hannes Coetzee into remote regions of South Africa on their quest to find musicians who play an almost forgotten folk music. The film documents their journey into the harsh and arid landscape of Namaqualand and the Great Karoo interweaving musical performance and interviews with violinists, guitarists, piano accordionists and mouth organ players who play what Kramer describes as Karoo Blues.

Little is known of the origins of this music. It is the music of shepherds and sheep shearers who are descendents of the original inhabitants of these semi -desert areas. This music has probably evolved in much the same way as the Afrikaans language that the musicians speak ­ a blend of indigenous and colonial influences.

By the end of the journey nine musicians are invited to Cape Town where they record some of their songs and perform to packed houses and great acclaim. An endangered culture has been given a new breath of life.

From Filmakers Library Africa.

Posted by bigblue on 17/05/2006 at 10:27 AM
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Tuesday, 16 May 2006
County lengthsmen

county lengthsmen

The meanies were driving around Kent this afternoon when they noticed the truck ahead of them with a strange sign on the back. Whatever could it mean?

According to an article dated 21 June 2005 on the Kent County Council website:

Kent County Council is reviving an old idea to send out a mini army of road workers this summer. Their mission? To restore and maintain highways around Kent.

Armed with shovels, brooms and shears, they will be going out to repair potholes and carry out other highway maintenance work.

The County Lengthsmen will be dispatched in small teams of two or three on a fleet of 20 identifiable lorries. They will patch and repair roads, cut back overhanging trees and hedges, replace and repaint signs and clear gullies.

Until now road workers have been sent out following highway inspectors’ reports. But under the new arrangements County Lengthsmen will also be relying on residents, parish and town councils to report problems.

The aim is to develop stronger links between the workforce and the local communities which they serve. In this way the scheme will revive the old idea of men being responsible for a specific length of road where they work.

Kent Highway Services is expanding the task force after a successful trial in Tunbridge Wells. The crews will begin operating from depots around the county between June and September.

Kent has some quaint traditions and laws. Calling a gang of road maintenance people, some of whom may be women, lengthsmen seems just daft.

Posted by bigblue on 16/05/2006 at 07:45 AM
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Monday, 15 May 2006
Another curse

come on England

Another curse for an English sporting summer, this time from a local supermarket.

Posted by bigblue on 15/05/2006 at 09:09 AM
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Sunday, 14 May 2006
From the ladies room

poster in ladies room

Bluemeanie found and photographed this poster for me in the ladies toilets at the Odeon Cinema in Guildford.  We went to see Prime.

The words on the above poster read:

To ensure high levels of cleanliness, we would like to make our customers aware that male attendants may be carrying out checks in the female toilets.

It provides a clear example of a fallacy, probably a fallacy of the consequent as one does not need to use male attendants to ensure high levels of cleanliness in toilets.

Posted by bigblue on 14/05/2006 at 12:34 PM
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