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Saturday, 14 July 2007
Brazil vs Wales

Wales flag

I managed to catch a full stage of the Tour de France on TV today, which was quite a treat. Before that was the All Blacks / South Africa rugby match. I noticed during both events that spectators love their flags. These are not always the obvious choice: for example what were the South African supporters (if that is indeed what they were) doing waving the Brazilian flag in Christchurch? Are the Springboks the new Brazilians of rugby union - the team everyone wants to win when their own is knocked out.? I always thought that was the All Blacks.

Then during the Tour de France coverage I spotted a Welsh flag along the roadside from time to time. This reminded me that I had seen these during the Grand Départ last week in London. I even photographed one (see above). We have heard in the media of British riders in the race. Could one of these be Welsh, and why has this not been mentioned?

On the other hand there has been lots of mention of a South African team competing in the Tour de France for the first time, and this would explain the ubiquitous SA flag. See the photograph below for an example. These supporters even had a smelly sausage barbecue outside Buckingham Palace, for which they should have been thrown into the tower of London.
South Africa

Posted by bigblue on 14/07/2007 at 10:57 PM
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Friday, 13 July 2007
Legless

Shadows

I took this photograph by accident, but I quite like it. It’s been a rare day over the past couple of days that produces sunshine strong enough to cast such shadows, and the next 5 days look no different.

News today is of the legless South African athlete who competes on artificial legs. He ran today in an official event against able-bodied runners, and may compete in the Olympic Games. Researchers are looking at whether his prosthetic limbs give him an unfair advantage. As the photo on this page shows Pistorius has a separate pair of running legs and normal legs.

I really need to apologise for describing someone with the name Pistorius as “legless”. A name like that sounds like a character from Asterix.  Talking of which, here is a table showing how the characters’ names fare in translation. I was somewhat surprised to see that the names were translated differently into US and standard English.  Then again we have recent examples of such changes in film and book titles.  The author Philip Pullman explains this on on his website. When asked (in a FAQ) why the book Northern Lights was renamed The Golden Compass for the American market, and whether he has a title in mind when starting a story, he replied:

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. The editor who made that change was also responsible for changing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which made sense, into Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which didn’t. At the time, I didn’t have enough clout to resist.

Elsewhere he gives a more detailed answer but suggests that it was the money what did it.  Still, could be worse, eh? (It probably is).

Posted by bigblue on 13/07/2007 at 11:26 PM
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Thursday, 12 July 2007
Social on the River

The Thames

After work last night I took the tube across London to Embankment with some colleagues. We met up with a network of consultants for drinks on a boat in the Thames. It was an atypical summer day of 2007: with warmth and sunshine. After the sun went down, we headed across the river on wobbly legs to Wagamama Restaurant for something to eat. After the meal I had to dash off to get the last train home.

Posted by bigblue on 12/07/2007 at 11:06 PM
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Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Another jam on the M25

Looking West:
Traffic Jam on M25


Looking East:
Traffic Jam on M25


The M25 and A25 between junctions 7 and 5 reverted to a parking lot last night after the anti-clock carriageway was shut due to an accident. I was fortunate to escape the jam just in time and get home via the back routes. I find that in these situations it’s best to avoid the official diversions because of all the diverted traffic.  My Satellite Navigation System doesn’t think so.

The official story on the traffic jam, according to the BBC is that:

A motorcyclist died in an accident involving three vehicles on the M25 on the Kent/Surrey border.

Surrey Police said the accident on the Kent-bound carriageway happened at about 1835 BST.

It took place near Clackett Lane service station, between junctions six and five.

One of the vehicles was believed to be a lorry. Long tailbacks of traffic were reported after the anti-clockwise section of the motorway was closed.

Update: Truck driver arrested.

Posted by bigblue on 11/07/2007 at 02:01 AM
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Tuesday, 10 July 2007
Keep your distance

Jeep

Am I the only one who finds it disturbing that we should not “loiter” within 2 metres of this parked vehicle with the strange antenna? Is this because it’s a military/semi-military vehicle and the public is seen as a potential threat? Is it because the aerial is dangerous? What will be next vehicles with hazardous cargo on our public roads?

Posted by bigblue on 10/07/2007 at 10:41 PM
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Monday, 09 July 2007
Distribution OK

Distribution OK

I spotted this sign opposite Green Park on Saturday, and wondered what kind of distribution it refers to. No doubt it has something to do with the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, although you would think that the organisers of what has been referred to as “the biggest public event on the Narcotics Anonymous calendar” might want to choose their words with more care.

Posted by bigblue on 09/07/2007 at 10:50 PM
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Sunday, 08 July 2007
Tour de France Prologue

Tour de France Prologue

I went into London yesterday morning to see Pinkie off on a trip with friends and walked around looking at the site of the Tour de France Prologue.  I took this photo at 9:20 am outside Buckingham Palace, but I didn’t hang around for the main event (which started at 3 pm).

Today four million people in London and Kent watched the Grand Depart as the tour left London.  In the programme handed out by the tour organisers, they state that they hope the cycle race will help to encourage more Londoners to take up cycling:

As we become more concerned about climate change, cycling has an important part to play in making London more sustainable. It is a quick, healthy, fun affordable and non-polluting form of travel that has the potential to reduce emissions, improve air quality and increase capacity on London’s busy roads.

The Mayor of London’s vision is to see a 400 per cent increase in cycling by 2025. It is a tough target, but Londoners are taking the bike to their hearts and the visit of the world’s greatest cycle race is sure to encourage even more people on to two wheels.

(From the Souvenir Programme).

Bonus link: Tour de France YouTube channel.

Posted by bigblue on 08/07/2007 at 11:23 PM
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Saturday, 07 July 2007
Oxted Pram Race

Oxted pram race

It was the Oxted pram race yesterday evening, but I worked late and only caught the tail-end of the race (pun intended).

Posted by bigblue on 07/07/2007 at 10:14 PM
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