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Thursday, 31 August 2006
Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves of Horse Chestnut

I took this photo in Richmond this afternoon, next to the Thames River.  It shows a Horse Chestnut tree infected with the Horse chestnut leaf miner or Cameraria ohridella:

Larvae of C. ohridella mine within the leaves of horse chestnut, and the damage caused by large numbers of larvae can be striking. Up to 700 leaf mines have been recorded on a single leaf under favourable conditions. Severely damaged leaves shrivel and turn brown by late summer and fall early, well before normal leaf fall in the autumn.

The spread and establishment of Cameraria ohridella is of particular concern because once established, the moth appears always to maintain exceptionally high rates of infestation without any evidence of decline. In European towns and cities there has been no decrease in populations even after many years, and severe damage to horse chestnuts has occurred on an annual basis, greatly impairing the visual appearance of the trees.

There is no evidence from Europe that trees have died or shown a progressive decline in health as a direct consequence of attack by Cameraria ohridella. However, it is possible that differences in climate or interactions with other pests and diseases might lead to greater impact on horse chestnut in Great Britain.

The second last sentence (“Don’t Panic”) is probably the most significant.

Posted by bigblue on 31/08/2006 at 10:06 PM
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Wednesday, 30 August 2006
Hidden charges

Hidden Bank Charges

I took this photograph of a notice that someone had hand-written and propped on top of a cash machine. It warns of a £1.85 “hidden” withdrawal fee for using the machine.  The problem is that banks have made effective use of modern technology in order to reduce the need (and inconvenience) of branches. However they now only want to maintain cash machines in the most profitable sites. In less profitable sites, they allow third parties to run machines that charge exhorbitant fees. They started charging fees themselves, but there was an outcry and they have almost all stopped. This hasn’t stopped them tapping into other sources of hidden charges.

Posted by bigblue on 30/08/2006 at 10:18 PM
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Tuesday, 29 August 2006
Accident on the M25

M25 Accident

It had to happen: things had been too good lately what with the school holidays and all. At the beginning of summer there had been a spate of accidents on the M25. I have mentioned the major ones before. At this time it was not uncommon to pass 8 cars broken down at the side of the motorway when driving from Junction 16 to Junction 6 (coming back from work). Then everyone went on holiday and things improved. There were less cars, and when there was a bit of congestion one still moved along merrily like a queue in Disneyland: optimistically.

This evening it came crashing to an end. There was another major accident between Junctions 8 and 7 on the anti-clockwise stretch. I took the photograph above at 7:30 pm, after eventually clearing it. Two lanes were still blocked off, but they had started cleaning up and it was difficult to see what had happened or how many cars had been involved: possibly four of those pictured.  What was most annoying about the experience was hitting the gridlock an hour earlier at Junction 10, but hearing on the radio traffic bulletin that two lanes were clear and that the jam was only back as far as Junction 8. I could have adjusted my route earlier to avoid some of the worst bits, if the bozos had looked a bit better through the cameras.

Posted by bigblue on 29/08/2006 at 10:16 PM
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Monday, 28 August 2006
Selfish taxi driver

Selfish taxi driver at Gatwick

This is the selfish taxi driver at Gatwick Airport (South Terminal) the other morning when I went to fetch Scarlett on her return from Brazil. He stopped in the parking garage, blocking the traffic behind him, while he loaded his passengers and their baggage into his vehicle in the most leisurely fashion. He then drove off without so much as an apologetic glance.

If the airport was busy, or there was an unusual amount of congestion I would have been prepared to shrug and make allowances. However this was not the case and there were bays nearby that he could have pulled into in order to let us past. And of course there are the stop-and-drop and stop-and-pick-up areas designed for this kind of thing.

Posted by bigblue on 28/08/2006 at 11:22 PM
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Sunday, 27 August 2006
Yo Sushi at Bluewater

Yo Sushi at Bluewater

I took Scarlett and Pinkie to Bluewater this afternoon to get some things they needed. I was pleasantly suprised to see the Yo Sushi bar installed in the concourse, outside House of Fraser. After a bit of reflection I decided this was not such a great thing. I have enjoyed going to Yo Sushi in the past, but:

Yesterday Scarlett arrived back from her Cross Cultural Solutions trip to Salvador in Brazil. As she walked into the arrivals terminal at Gatwick, a strange thing happened: I looked at her and saw a young Brazilian woman. It was only after she phoned to see where I was, and I was walking across the building to her, that I saw she had had her hair braided and realised my mistake. It was like one of those puzzles that contain two images.

There’s an article in the Independent yesterday about Sevenoaks School and how it has the best results of all independent schools in the country. The success is linked to the International Baccaulaureate They interviewed Dr Greenhalgh who is now a Deputy Head.

Posted by bigblue on 27/08/2006 at 10:17 PM
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Saturday, 26 August 2006
Lorimers of Oxted

Oxted News

I meant to post this photograph last week, but forgot about it until today when I was going through the pics on my mobile phone.  The story behind the photo is that on 10 August 2006 I read on Kipperfrog how Sainsburys is to open in Oxted. Six days later I saw the news on a newspaper billboard (which was advertising a local paper which was due out the following day).

There is probably nothing faster, or more efficient, as a medium of spreading news than word-of-mouth (even if you take into account the broken telephone) effect.

Posted by bigblue on 26/08/2006 at 10:54 PM
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Friday, 25 August 2006


Submitted for Photo Friday: Circles.

My previous posts on circles have been:

Posted by bigblue on 25/08/2006 at 08:26 PM
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Thursday, 24 August 2006
The MI6 Cleaners


I spotted another one. The question still remains: Exactly what kind of organisation refers to its employees as operatives?.

Posted by bigblue on 24/08/2006 at 10:27 PM
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