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Tuesday, 31 October 2006
The Forest Floor

forest floor

I spotted this pollyp-like growth on the trunk of a tree in a wood at the bottom of Emmetts Garden. I have no idea what it is, but assume that it some kind of mushroom.  Talking of which I have been getting a lot of hits from people looking (on google) for magic mushrooms in Wales, since February this year.

Posted by bigblue on 31/10/2006 at 06:44 AM
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Sunday, 29 October 2006
The Weald of Kent

Weald of Kent

This is the Weald of Kent as viewed on a hazy autumn morning from Emmetts Garden.  Click on the photograph to embiggen, or here to see the uncropped original in all its hazy glory with points of interest highlighted.

This morning I had coffee at Emmetts Garden followed by a brisk walk around the gardens enjoying the sunshine and warmth. According to About Britain:

This charming and informal garden at the highest point in Kent was laid out in the late 19th Century, with many exotic and rare trees and shrubs from across the world. There are glorious shows of daffodils, bluebells and azaleas in spring, roses in summer and the glowing autumnal foliage of acers and cornus in September and October.

The area was transformed by the 1987 storm [link added by bigblue] and dramatic new vistas opened up, which can be enjoyed from the hilltop tea-garden.

Posted by bigblue on 29/10/2006 at 05:15 PM
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Saturday, 28 October 2006
The best red wine in the world


Wine Spectator magazine named the 1990 vintage Grange The Best Red Wine in the World. This accolade has sent the price of both the 1990 and subsequent vintage releases soaring at auction. The above photograph shows the 1999 vintage available at the largest wine retailer in the UK for 99 pounds sterling. They do not put the real wine on display - the above are display bottles that can be exchanged at the check-out till for the real thing. I believe that this is the cheapest you will get this particular wine, anywhere in the world.  The experts at EveryWine have the following to say:

Considered an outstanding vintage in Penfolds Rewards of Patience (4th edition, 2000).‘Very good. I like this, it’s just about perfect!’, said Tim White, at the Rewards of Patience tastings in September 1999.
‘Very big-boned and just starting to ease into a long final straight. I suspect this is - will be - a classic,’ said Anthony Rose at the same tasting.

Vintage Conditions
Generally good growing season with fine and warm conditions followed by a cool vintage. Another unusual vintage in that the grapes ripened late, but were very full.

Maturation Eighteen months in new American oak hogsheads. The nose has intense, fragrant chocolate/cherry/prune/dried fig aromas. Leading to a palate full of dense and chewy, generously ripe, prune/chocolate fruit flavours, pronounced grainy tannins and superb length. Peak drinking is Now - 2015

Posted by bigblue on 28/10/2006 at 11:11 PM
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Friday, 27 October 2006
The Night Drive

Night Drive

Tonight Raghs and I went out with Shyam and his crew to the Indian Gymkhana Club in London. It was a good evening out - we first sat in the restaurant/bar, then a function room at the back.

I see now that the Indian Gymkhana 1st team hockey play Oxted in the Slazenger England Hockey League Men’s National South Division.

Posted by bigblue on 27/10/2006 at 11:12 PM
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Thursday, 26 October 2006
Countdown Calendar

Ramadan Countdown Calendar

One month ago, at the end of September, I spotted shelves of Christmas goodies - decorations and lights - for sale. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera (or mobile phone) on me because I think this was a personal record for spotting of inappropriately early Christmas marketting.

Anyhow it was Eid ul-Fitr, the Islamic holiday at the end of Ramadan this week and I spotted these countdown calendars on sale. This is something I would have thought was inappropriate for a month of fasting: every day you open a window and help yourself to a chocolate.  What next? A countdown calendar for Christians to have a choc-a-day while fasting over Lent?

Posted by bigblue on 26/10/2006 at 10:30 PM
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Wednesday, 25 October 2006
Talk to Frank

Talk to Frank

I spotted this poster in the window of a shop in Oxted.  It’s a Surrey Police poster, advertising the Talk to Frank website which provides free confidential drugs information and advice.  According to Frank’s A to Z of drugs there is no drug beginning with the letter U. Obviously there are, but I guess these ones aren’t taken as recreational drugs.

Posted by bigblue on 25/10/2006 at 07:42 AM
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Tuesday, 24 October 2006
The Screen at Oxted

Screen Cinema Oxted

This is my night-shot of the Screen Cinema in Oxted (previously known as The Plaza). It’s really a useful little bug-house: it gets current movies, and although it only has one screen it has a new film every week or so. In fact I don’t get there as often as I would like. Compare my photo with that of Loutoo and RogerGW.

Posted by bigblue on 24/10/2006 at 07:37 AM
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Monday, 23 October 2006
Phophonyane falls


I spent a bit of time over the weekend browsing through the flickr photo pool of Swaziland and was struck by chancer’s photos of Phophonyane. I remember spending many happy hours here as a child fishing for tadpoles, both in the pools at the top and at the bottom of the falls. I also recall being responsible for sending some of the tadpoles on the journey from the top pools to the bottom pools.  I was also interested in the Execution Rock, which gave me the heebie-jeebies as a young child. I was told that the ground below the rock is littered with old skeletons and bones.
Credit: the photo is from Chancer!

Posted by bigblue on 23/10/2006 at 07:30 AM
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