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Tuesday, 21 October 2008
à Paris


So here I am leaving Ebbsfleet International Rail Station, bound for Paris, and remembering that just a few months ago it was light at this hour of the morning. My fellow traveller, is reading Recreations by Yuri Andrukhovych. The cover looks interesting.

Posted by bigblue on 21/10/2008 at 05:51 AM
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Monday, 20 October 2008
Haunted Inns of Surrey: The George in Chertsey


This Inn is haunted by what is known as a grey lady (the Wiki entry on this is disappointing, because they don’t seem to understand it is a generic term).  According to the delightful book Haunted Inns of Surrey by Roger Long it is

a good setting for ghosts, it is ancient and possesses, rumour dictates, at least two priest holes and one secret passage. The building began life as a 14th Century hunting lodge before becoming a fully fledged inn some 100 years later.

He tells us that the spirit is that of a grey lady.

She is seldom seen but often heard walking between the upstairs bedrooms. Swift investigators rushing up the stairway have yet to catch a glimpse of her.

This invisible grey lady is unique among spirits in one respect, she has bulk. The landlady when being interviewed many years ago described how she had seen the centres of several beds show a deep indentation, as if somebody was sitting there. These strange occurrences were always accompanied by a sharp drop in temperature.

A story I heard from one of the locals some time ago, but as yet has no confirmation, is that a lady guest left in the middle of the night because somebody unseen was sitting on her chest, making it difficult to breathe. I know the feeling. My massively overweight tabby has a similar habit.

I suspect that the research of this author involved trawling through the local newspaper archives, and spending hours doing intensive field research and on the spot interviewing.

Posted by bigblue on 20/10/2008 at 10:21 AM
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Sunday, 19 October 2008
Pumpkin season begins chez moi

Here’s a summary of our pumpkin activities for the weekend.  On the way back from fetching my daughter in Tunbridge Wells, we stopped at a farm stall in Penshurst and bought one decorative and one edible pumpkin.

She drew the face on the pumpkin and I tried to cut it out as best as I could. This was the result.

Which when it got dark this evening looked even more impressive.

Meanwhile daughter peeled and steamed the edible pumpkin and made the most delicious pie, using the New Cranks Recipe Book. It’s a nice spicy recipe but I would recommend using a bit less sugar than the recipe stipulates.

Posted by bigblue on 19/10/2008 at 11:59 PM
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Autumn view of Oxted


I’m near the top of the Oxted Down and looking over Oxted from a viewpoint on the North Downs way. The house foreground right is Barrow Green Court, Maison del Fayed, a Grade I listed building.

Posted by bigblue on 19/10/2008 at 05:40 PM
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Saturday, 18 October 2008
Autumn Colours Oxted


From my walk this afternoon.

Master Park was quite busy as it was hosting a football match, which is just visible in the background of this photo.

At the beginning of this month Ian Pearce, who has played for Blackburn, West Ham and Fulham, rejoined his original village team (Oxted and District). This entailed a drop in 11 divisions for the player. If he was playing today I couldn’t make him out from any of the other players.

Posted by bigblue on 18/10/2008 at 04:22 PM
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Rubbing along in Berlin


Further to my last post on cycling in Berlin, here are some cyclists at a traffic light in Berlin. The road is a busy one and the cycle lane here shares the pavement with pedestrians. As Natalie posted recently this is perhaps not ideal but the locals rub along fine. It’s certainly better than the dire situation here in the UK.

One of the best aspects for me is the additional phase on the traffic lights for cyclists. Not only does it ensure safety for cyclists at places that could be dangerous (especially for inexperienced cyclists) but it assists in creating an environment that encourages “good rubbing”.

Posted by bigblue on 18/10/2008 at 08:28 AM
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Thursday, 16 October 2008
Bear bellied Queen Liz


Our Liz made it to Google and it’s doodle today. Our clown prince (the Greek one) accompanied her and, when he met an employee in a hoodie at Google’s London offices, asked him if if had just been jogging.

Anyway, at my hotel in Germany, Liz somehow made it onto this bear belly ornament.

Posted by bigblue on 16/10/2008 at 08:29 PM
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Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Autumn Colours Berlin


I’m back from Berlin where I noticed the leaves on the pavements and other seasonal signals. Brown and orange seemed to be fashionable colours for people to wear too.

Posted by bigblue on 15/10/2008 at 10:29 PM
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