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Saturday, 13 January 2007
Train derailed at Hooley

derailed train

This is the derailed train at Hooley - the 1059 GMT Southern service from Bognor Regis to London Victoria.  It is stuck between Merstham and Coulsdon South as the front carriage derailed when it hit what was described on the radio as “an avalanche”.  As you can see the train is in a fairly deep cutting (there are two parallel cuttings at this point) and there is no sign of an avalanche.  A police officer told me that there was a mudslide about 500 metres back on the track.  The BBC reports that

Passenger Adrian Webb, 41, from Reigate, said: “There was an enormous noise of rubble hitting the train.

“The front carriage then started churning up the sidings and rocks were thrown up.”

Mr Webb, who was in the train’s third carriage, said windows were smashed and thick smoke billowed up.

As you can see - in comparison the scene looked pretty boring when I got there this afternoon.  Today is 13th January, a day considered unlucky by triskaidekaphobes. (The paraskavedekatriaphobes are only one day out).

Posted by bigblue on 13/01/2007 at 05:55 PM
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Friday, 12 January 2007
Charity Shop

Charity Shop

I spotted this charity shop selling odds and ends including the bust of a woman who looks remarkably like the Queen after having spent too long under a sunlamp. Not that I would know of course. Oh dear, I had better stop right there before I dig myself into a hole.

Posted by bigblue on 12/01/2007 at 10:07 PM
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Thursday, 11 January 2007
Accidents on the M25

Accident on M25

There has been a surge back to work this week after the holiday period, resulting in increased traffic congestion in the mornings and evenings. And with the increase in traffic come the accidents and breakdowns, such as this one two days ago. I tend to see at least 2 or 3 breakdowns or accidents every day along the 50 miles of road that I negotiate twice daily. In addition to the increase in traffic there has been the stormy weather.

Posted by bigblue on 11/01/2007 at 09:01 PM
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Wednesday, 10 January 2007
Contains nuts

Gianduja Chocolate

Unfortunately I took this photograph from too close a distance using my mobile phone and the quality is poor.  It shows a display of Gianduja chocolates in the local coffee house. These are

a sweet chocolate containing about 50% hazelnut and almond paste. The chocolate hazelnut gelato of the same name originates in Switzerland, as does Gianduia fondue. A related product from Ferrero is Nutella, which was originally called Pasta Gianduja.

What struck me was the wording on the sign advertising these chocolates for 25p each:

Gianduja chocolate: hazelnuts, chocolate. Contains nuts.

It makes you wonder. Essentially the message to customers with a nut allergy is stated twice, which means that they suspect that not all customers will get the clue in the last four letters of “hazelnuts”.

Posted by bigblue on 10/01/2007 at 09:36 PM
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Tuesday, 09 January 2007
Another lucky day


This is a friend’s cat - quite shy.

Today was another lucky day. I received an email advising me that I have won the lottery:

The Lottery Company
P.O Box 789
Harrogate HG1 2YR England


Our Dear Winner,

You have won the sum of £1,500,000 (one million five hundred thousand great British pounds sterling) from BRITISH LOTTERY on our 2007 new year charity

The winning ticket was selected from a Data Base of Internet Email Users,from which your Address came out as the winning coupon.

We hereby urge you to claim the winning amount quickly as this is a monthly lottery. Failure to claim your win will result into the reversion of the fund to our following month.

You are therefore requested to contact immediately out Claims Department below quoting winning number: WINNING NUMER-06010110.

Barrister. Luis Santiago
Alpha Consultants Lawfirm & Schmidtz Associates
(Solicitors Advocates & Arbitrators)

Official Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Provide the following information needed to process your winning claim.

(a) Your full Name
(b) Your full Address
(c) Your Telephone and fax numbers
(d) Your Age
(e) Your occupation
(f) Your country of origin

Congratulations once again.

please quote your winning number.

Mrs. Susan Moore

I have highlighted the suspicious sentence in bold above. Since when is the British lottery chosen from a database of internet email users?  Anyway it seems that Susan Moore has been up to her tricks for a while. Click here for another example of here work.

Posted by bigblue on 09/01/2007 at 10:03 PM
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Monday, 08 January 2007
Red deer


A deer in the 1000 acre park at Knole, in Sevenoaks, Kent.  I wrote last week (see comment) about a succession of black men named “John Morockoe” working at this estate. The Wikipedia article linked to above has some further information about the estate:

The house was built by Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, between 1456 and 1486. On Bourchier’s death, the house was bequeathed to the See of Canterbury — Sir Thomas More appeared in revels there at the court of John Morton — but in 1538 it was taken from Archbishop Thomas Cranmer — and enlarged — by King Henry VIII. It is reputed to be a ‘calendar house’, having 365 rooms, 52 staircases and 7 courtyards.

In 1566, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, it was presented to her cousin Thomas Sackville whose descendants the earls of Dorset have lived there ever since. Most notably, these include writer Vita Sackville-West (her Knole and the Sackvilles (1922) is regarded as a classic in the literature of English country houses); her friend Virginia Woolf wrote Orlando based on the history of the house and the Sackville family.

The many state rooms open to the public contain a superb collection of 17th century royal Stuart furniture, hand me downs from the earls’ service in high office in the royal court, including three state beds, silver furniture and the prototype of the famous Knole Settee, outstanding tapestries and textiles, portraits by Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Sir Peter Lely, Sir Godfrey Kneller and Joshua Reynolds (the last being a personal friend of the 3rd Earl), and a copy of the Raphael Cartoons. The eye is especially drawn to some of Reynolds’ portraits in the house: a self portrait and the depictions of Samuel Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith and a Chinese page boy who was taken into the Sackville household have particular character and force.


Posted by bigblue on 08/01/2007 at 07:59 PM
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Sunday, 07 January 2007
Graffiti tag

graffiti tag

This is a graffiti tag I found in Oxted the other night. Wikipedia states that:

Some of the most common styles of graffiti have their own names. A “tag” is the most basic writing of an artist’s name in either spray paint or marker. “Tagging” is often the example given when opponents of graffiti refer to vandalism, as the artistic form is lacking and style of penmanship is highlighted more. Another form is “throw-ups” which are normally quickly done pieces featuring very simple pieces using few colors, sacrificing aesthetics for speed. Throw-ups are usually only a few letters and often incorporate exclamation marks. A throw up can also be done using a marker and not just spray paint. A “fill-in” or “piece” is a more elaborate throw-up incorporating more stylized “block” or “bubble” letters, using three or more colors. This of course is done at the expense of timeliness and increases the likelihood of the artist getting caught. A more complex style is “wildstyle” or “wickedstyle”, a form of graffiti involving interlocking letters, arrows, and connecting points. These pieces are often harder to read by non graffiti artists as the letters merge into one another in an often undecipherable manner. A “blockbuster” is a “fill-in” that intentionally takes up an entire wall, sometimes with the whole purpose of blocking other “taggers” from painting on the same wall. Some artists also use stickers as a quick way to “get-up”. While its critics consider this as lazy and a form of cheating, others find that 5 to 10 minutes spent on a detailed sticker is in no way lazy, especially when used with other methods. Sticker tags are commonly done on blank postage stickers, or really anything with an adhesive side to it. “Stencils” are made by drawing an image onto a piece of cardboard or tougher versions of paper, then cut with a razor blade. What is left is then just simply sprayed-over, and if done correctly, a perfect image is left.

I have posted some other photographs of graffiti in Oxted:

In looking around to see what others have written about graffiti writers/artists/vandals in Oxted I came across the following:

Our local council has an online Graffiti reporting facility. They offer rewards of £500 for information leading to a succesful prosecution.

The webpage of our local MP Peter Ainsworth (Conservative) states that:

The Cross - Party Environmental Audit Committee, chaired by Peter Ainsworth, has urged the Government, the police, Local Authorities and the Environment Agency to do more to tackle litter, graffiti, fly-tipping, fly-posting and noise. The Committee’s latest report urges much tougher sentences for offenders found guilty of these crimes.

Commenting on the Report, Peter Ainsworth said: “Law abiding citizens in East Surrey are, like people across the country, fed up with the squalor created by an inconsiderate minority. I have held discussions with the local police and with councillors on this issue, and am very encouraged by their positive response. But the truth is that even when offenders are caught and prosecuted the penalties handed out are often derisory. This has to change.

“There is clear evidence that environmental crimes contribute to a downward spiral which leads to more serious crime. Drug pushers and muggers follow graffiti and litter like night follows day”.

Steady on - you might be exaggerating a bit there old chap -  without denying the problem of graffiti in any way - about drugs and muggings following graffiti like night and day. For example for graffiti that is linked to a drug culture, do you think that perhaps it’s the graffiti and muggings that follow the drugs rather than the other way around?

Posted by bigblue on 07/01/2007 at 10:01 PM
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Saturday, 06 January 2007
Living Stoned

Living Stoned Road Graffiti

Spotted in Caterham-on-the-hill when I was collecting something from a Free cycler recently.

Posted by bigblue on 06/01/2007 at 06:10 AM
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