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Thursday, 19 April 2007
Another accident in Oxted


About an hour ago there was a loud bang outside, followed eventually by the wail of sirens as the police, fire brigade and ambulance services arrived to assist.  This is the same location where a pedestrian was knocked down earlier this year.

This time it looks like a car turning right out of Church Lane onto the A25 was struck by a heavy truck coming down West Hill. What I said last time was:

this is where the speed limit drops from 50mph to 40mph although motor vehicles also tend to ignore the speed limit at this spot.  It is a fairly busy intersection but, because it is in a dip between two hills, cars and trucks tend to speed up in order to keep their momentum for the upcoming hill.

I have been thinking for some time that the speed should be reduced here to 30 mph, not just for safety but because:

  • It will reduce noise pollution;
  • It will be consistent with the speed limit of 30mph on the A25 through other villages such as Godstone, Nutfield, Westerham and Brasted; and
  • It is a tricky stretch for road-users who are not motorists to negotiate because it is where the bicycle lane suddenly disappears!
The Surrey Green Party Manifesto calls for speed limits to be reduced from 30mph to 20mph in residential and shopping areas and by schools.  In principle I support this. In addition, reducing the speed of the A25 from 40 to 30 mph as it goes through Oxted won’t ensure that drivers always keep below this limit, but it will slow them down and improve safety (and noise levels).

What I should have pointed out is that it is also a tricky area for motorists - even at the best of times! This morning the traffic is not particularly heavy on the road and conditions are excellent.

I hope that nobody was seriously injured in the accident. The ambulance was parked at the scene for some time so presumably the patient did not need immediate relocation to the hospital.  Here is a similar view of the scene. Both photos are from my mobile phone, hence the (poor) quality:


Posted by bigblue on 19/04/2007 at 11:05 AM
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Militant Green

It seems that if I were voting in this weekend’s Presidential Elections in France I should be voting for a “militant green”, Dominique Voynet. Quel surprise!

Posted by bigblue on 19/04/2007 at 10:20 AM
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Wednesday, 18 April 2007
Where the sea meets the chalk

Chalk Sea Cliff

This is where the sea meets shore and cliff on the Southern England coast.  The chalk layer which is visible here was laid down over most of the earth during the Cretaceous Period (144 to 66.4 million years ago).  In this chalk layer fossils of crocodiles have been found. Then again they have been found in the older layers below the chalk too.  85 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period this part of the world (Sussex) was covered by a warm sea inhabited by ammonites.  The ammonites became extinct about 65 million years ago with the dinosaurs.

Posted by bigblue on 18/04/2007 at 01:29 PM
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Monday, 16 April 2007
Hayfever Season Commences

Rapeseed field

This field of yellow Rapeseed marks the start of the hayfever season. They say that to minimise one’s hayfever one should partake of local honey, and this seems to have worked well for me for the past two or three years. According to a BBC programme:

  • Allergy cases are increasing by 5% each year.
  • Colder dry spells tend to make atopic eczema worse.
  • Allergic asthma is a condition associated with changing weather conditions.
Posted by bigblue on 16/04/2007 at 10:31 PM
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Sunday, 15 April 2007
Toy’s Hill

Bluebells in Toy's Hill

This afternoon I had lunch with Tessa and Jim then we went for a walk near Toy’s Hill in Kent. It was very dry and although we saw the bluebells in the woods they looked a bit limp. The photograph below shows how the path at one point is hollowed out, perhaps being an ancient walkway or road. (Probably too narrow to be a Drover’s Road).

Toy's Hill path

On returning to the parking area we found a young boy who had found a “lost dog”. The boy was very concerned, but the dog seem pretty relaxed. After leaving the dog at the local pub for the night we headed home. I have subsequently discovered that the dog is a local one called Kiwi who regularly wanders off to the walking areas to get attention and to scavenge for left-over picnic food. Also the boy had last year received a handsome cash reward for finding a “real” lost dog and returning it to its owners. This would explain his eagerness to help this animal.

Posted by bigblue on 15/04/2007 at 08:33 PM
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Saturday, 14 April 2007
Special Day

Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel

Yesterday Mandla Mandela, grandson of the more famous Nelson, graduated from Grahamstown University. According to the news reports he is to take up a position as a traditional leader in the Eastern Cape on Monday.  Today Graça Machel receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the same University and also delivers a keynote address.

A Mandela graduates from University, another receives an honorary doctorate: not very newsworthy events in the grand scheme of things. Madiba himself has received over a hundred awards, including honorary doctorates and a Nobel Peace Prize. However Scarlett and Pinkie have travelled to South Africa to attend the events as guests of the University Vice-Chancellor so it is a noteworthy day chez bigblue.

Posted by bigblue on 14/04/2007 at 10:38 PM
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Friday, 13 April 2007
China in London 2006

China in London 2006

The China in London 2006 event trundles on into 2007. I took this photograph of the lanterns in Regents Street, London, last month. The event was launched in January 2006 by the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, and the “Chinese pop phenomenon” Li Yuchun.  There were reports of the event at that time on the Chinese government’s official web portal and on the People’s Daily Online (which appears to be another version of the same thing).

Posted by bigblue on 13/04/2007 at 01:31 PM
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Thursday, 12 April 2007


This is my normal view on the way home from work.  However this evening I parked my car securely on my client’s premises and took the train into central London for another work function.  Besides for meeting with colleagues and the normal blah about company strategy and project updates, the highlight for me was a presentation on Org Plus, a handy tool that plugs a gap in the enterprise software market: a graphic view of the company’s “telephone directory” with photos.  (OK, only joking, it’s a bit more than that).

Tomorrow I am getting a lift back to work (and my car) with a colleague. The lowlight of the evening was dashing to miss my train home by 30 seconds. The lesson of the evening was to keep the goodbyes short.

Posted by bigblue on 12/04/2007 at 11:11 PM
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