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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Up the garden path

garden path
This is the view up the garden path (not mine).  It’s now less than a month till Bob Sutton’s book comes out, and it is number 2 on the Amazon pre-order list (probably the US one).

Posted by bigblue on 31/01/2007 at 06:19 AM
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Tuesday, 30 January 2007

sunset train

Traicycling is a word I have invented (and a search on this word should point to this website, and this website only, very soon). The meaning of this word is as follows:

An excursion or outing involving the use of a train for part of the journey and a bicyle for the rest. This can be a group or solo activity. The train can be used to convey the cyclist/s to a good cycling location, or to remove the need for the cyclists to complete a circular journey solely by bicycle.

Ok, the definition needs a bit more work. Once I have improved it I might try and put it on Wiktionary.

Here are some examples of real-life traicycling:

Trains and bicycles articulate well as forms of transport. That is why it is such a pity that Southern Trains have removed the facilities for cyclists on their trains and now disallow cyclists to travel on their trains in peak hour:

Passengers on Southern trains are only allowed to take folding bikes on board.

The move has been criticised by councillors in Brighton and Hove, a city named as a “cycling demonstration town” to promote the mode of transport.

Members of the Cycle Train Commuter Group voiced their opposition at Brighton station on Monday morning.

Spokeswoman Gaynor Hartnell said: “The way the trains are designed doesn’t really accommodate bicycles.

“When we had the slam-door trains there were many bicycles and there was absolutely no problem, so better design of trains could accommodate many more bicycles.”

Adding insult to injury there is very little information for cyclists on the Southern Trains website.  There is more information at the UK Bike/Rail website, and it covers other operators too. 

Here are some additional links:

A neologism is an invented or artificial word to fulfil a particular purpose. In the case of traicycling there is no obvious purpose.

Posted by bigblue on 30/01/2007 at 05:42 AM
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Monday, 29 January 2007
Under the boulevard

M23 Motorway

The English word boulevard derives from the French word boulevard which in turn derives from the Medieval Dutch bolwerk (meaning bulwark, bastion).  In English it means “a broad, well paved and landscaped thoroughfare”.  This photo is not strictly of a boulevard: it’s the M23 Motorway.  According to Wikipedia,

The M23 was planned as a means of relieving congestion on the A23 through Streatham, Thornton Heath, Purley and Coulsdon in south London.

which is unfortunate because of course the M23 never made it that far North.

And while I was wandering around scouting under bridges on the North Downs I missed The Big Story. Then again, so did Howard.

Posted by bigblue on 29/01/2007 at 06:55 AM
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Sunday, 28 January 2007
Brick bridge

victorian brick bridge

This brick bridge is part of the Redhill to Tonbridge railway line which opened as the Redhill to Ashford line. See Steve’s page (although his dates are somewhat confusing).

The bridge is a good example of Victorian brick architecture. Presumably the bridge has been renovated as the road was widened over the years, although it still bears the scars of the tall vehicles whose drivers have tried to navigate under it.

Posted by bigblue on 28/01/2007 at 08:55 PM
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Saturday, 27 January 2007
Pain au chocolat

Pain au chocolat

Bigblue likes his German rye bread or pumpernickel, which is not available in all supermarkets. He spotted it in the large supermarket this week next to this pack of pain au chocolat but was taken aback to see these referred to as chocolatines. Bigblue thinks of chocolatines as something altogether different.  So it was with surprise that he found that, according to Wikipedia, a pain au chocolat is also called a chocolatine in certain regions of France.  Bigblue doesn’t like the usage of chocolatine as with this version of the name all the consonents are pronounced.

Posted by bigblue on 27/01/2007 at 09:54 PM
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Friday, 26 January 2007
Dusting of Snow

dusting of snow

Did I mention that we had some snow this week? Apparently it wasn’t only me that bunked off work on the “snowday”, the dusting of snow brought chaos to our travel network.

Posted by bigblue on 26/01/2007 at 10:32 PM
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Thursday, 25 January 2007
Bizarre combination

chinese horse

Spotted on the roads in Kent, the back of this horse truck warns that live horses are being transported, contains the picture of a dragon, and then advertises itself as an importer of fine foods from China.  I have seen horse meat for sale in supermarkets and restaurants in France and Switzerland but I don’t think it will take off in this country.  It’s a strange combination of words and image, but as far as I know Ginger Dragon don’t sell horse meat anyway.

In unrelated news, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje (who currently resides at Gyuto Monastery in India) has issued instructions to his followers not to eat meat.

Several options were made available and we were asked to raise our hands to indicate our choice of commitment and to witness each others’ decisions.  His wish for each of us to make an individual vow was clear and decisive.  It applied just as much to the Tibetans who historically had little else available to eat.  His Holiness said that now “thanks to the kindness of the Chinese” (this is an exact quote) the Tibetans have vegetables and other food available.  The choices offered were:

  • Eating no meat one day per week
  • Eating no meat one day per month
  • Eating no meat on special days such as moon days, Guru Rinpoche and Tara days
  • Eating meat for only one meal per day
  • Give up eating meat for ever
  • Give up eating meat for a specified period of time such as one, two or three years.
  • Reduce eating meat with a view to giving up completely.
Posted by bigblue on 25/01/2007 at 09:52 PM
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Wednesday, 24 January 2007


The song History by The Verve starts:

I wandered lonely streets
Behind where the old Thames does flow,
And in every face I meet
Reminds me of what I have run from.

In every man, in every hand,
In every kiss you understand
That living is for other men.
I hope you do understand:

I’ve gotta tell you my tale
Of how I loved and how I failed.
I hope you understand,
These feelings should not be in the man.

These lyrics are loosely based on William Blake’s London:

I wandered through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear

Martyn Smith of Old Roads writes of a literary trip to London: which he has entitled Traveling with Henry James: Consciousness and Association. Smith seems to see the history of London, lurking in the present and makes some some interesting comparisons with other writers, besides for Henry James and Blake, such as Wordsworth.

Posted by bigblue on 24/01/2007 at 05:24 AM
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