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Sunday, 17 June 2007
Obligatory cat picture

Museum Cat

It’s been a while since I posted a cat photo, and the above one is a rework of one of my Billie photos. I thought I’d post it to accompany a link to a story about the oldest (living) cat in the world - 37 years old in human years.  I’m not comfortable with the term human years. A year is the time that it takes for the earth to rotate around the sun, so I am referring to planetary years.  Still 37 years in a cat is allegedly equivalent to over 160 in a human, according to Messy Beast who also mention other cases of cats in their twenties, thirties and even forties.  (Although they have not all been verified).

Posted by bigblue on 17/06/2007 at 10:55 PM
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Saturday, 16 June 2007
Green Pond

green pond

Biodiversity is the ‘variety of life’ : “The myriad plant and animal species and the range of habitats in which they live. Biodiversity is all life on the planet, from the insects in the grass of an African savannah, to the ubiquitous and familiar birds which inhabit London’s parks and open spaces; from the clusters of bacteria surrounding a geothermal vent at the bottom of the deepest ocean, to the frog finding refuge in a shallow garden pond.” [From the London Biodiversity Action Plan.]

West London Friends of the Earth

Posted by bigblue on 16/06/2007 at 10:31 PM
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Tuesday, 12 June 2007
The view from Colley Hill

Colley Hill

This is part of the stunning view from Colley Hill.

It’s now summer and yesterday a timely email tip from Friends of the Earth advises:

Help your lawn conserve water by letting it grow longer. Mow less frequently or mow high to encourage root growth - it will also give the grass a chance to self-seed. Leave clippings on the lawn to return nutrients as they decompose.  Alternatively, save yourself the effort of mowing and encourage more meadow species, which are great for attracting insects. Mowing a path through the middle shows it is meant to be that way and is not the result of neglect!

Posted by bigblue on 12/06/2007 at 11:11 PM
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Monday, 11 June 2007
Colley folly

Folly on Colley Hill

This folly can be found at the top of Colley Hill near Reigate in Surrey. When the weather is clear, there are fine views over to Box Hill, Leith Hill and the Weald.  At 230 metres this is the fifth highest point in Surrey.  The inscription on the circular, classical-style pavillion (which is known as Robert’s Pavillion) reads:

Presented to the Corporation of the Borough of Reigate for the benefit of the public by Lieutenant-Colonel Robert William Inglis in 1909

Sir Robert William Inglis was a Scotman, born in Angus, Scotland on 22 July 1843. He died at the age of 79 in Reigate, Surrey.  Here is a beautiful panoramic view of the pavillion, and here’s a photo of Colley Hill with light December snow, both from Flickr.

Posted by bigblue on 11/06/2007 at 11:06 PM
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Sunday, 10 June 2007
North Downs Trail


I did a short stretch of the North Downs Trail today. I’ve been meaning to do bits and pieces of this trail for some time, and have enjoyed Cath Redfern’s photoset of this long-distance walk.

Posted by bigblue on 10/06/2007 at 11:23 PM
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Saturday, 09 June 2007
Life imitating art

East Croydon train station

Watching the people at East Croydon train station I spotted a lookalike for a celebrity comedian.

Posted by bigblue on 09/06/2007 at 11:18 PM
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Friday, 08 June 2007
Event Horizon

Event Horizon

The artist Antony Gormley has placed 30 statues of himself around London, mostly on the skyline. These two are in Moorgate and stare into each other’s faces through the glass wall of a building. The Aesthetic Grounds arts journal inaccurately described the figures as asexual

Event Horizon coincides with Gormley’s exhibition Blind Light at the Hayward Gallery.  Most descriptions of Event Horizon describe the statues as being found on rooftops, and as all facing the Hayward Gallery.  For example this BBC article says

All the figures, which are cast from the sculptor’s body, are planned to be in the eye line of visitors to the exhibition.

The display - Event Horizon - is one of London’s most ambitious public art commissions.

Viewed from the vantage point of the Hayward, the works will be spread over a 1.5 sq km area, with some figures clearly visible and others sensed only as presences on the horizon.

Mr Gormley said it was designed to “get under people’s skin” and make them “feel slightly uncertain about what’s going on in the world that you are living in”.

Which makes me feel uncertain in a different sense: are these two figures part of the Event Horizon exhibition or not?

Posted by bigblue on 08/06/2007 at 10:29 AM
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Thursday, 07 June 2007
Internet on the train


This man was on the train with me the other day, connecting his laptop to the Internet via his mobile telephone.  He had been unable to buy a ticket before boarding the train, and when the ticket collector came around he had to buy a ticket from her. The ticket collectors also have mobile devices that print tickets, and connect to the banking system to collect your fare from a bank card.  The ticket collector had originally quoted a fare of about £14. The man was able to query this and get a fare of just over £4. He had used his laptop to verify the fares available and could therefore confidently query the fare and suggest a different type of ticket/fare.

It makes you wonder why there are such variable fares for set journey and why the ticket collector doesn’t automatically calculate the cheapest available.  My train operator is Southern, and their website’s tickets page lists 12 ticket types and 5 “ticket schemes”. They’re like a bunch of rip-off artists if you ask me…

Posted by bigblue on 07/06/2007 at 11:48 PM
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