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Sunday, 26 October 2008
Heaven knows I’m miserable now

London Bus

Sunset was at 16:44 today (yesterday it was at 17:46), so it’s now dark outside. Moreover the day was wet and grey and I had to trudge around Hounslow this afternoon collecting photographic evidence for my dispute with the London Borough of Hounslow, Street Services department. Yesterday and today I neglected to use my Lumie bodyclock to wake up with, and that could have affected my mood. Although the clocks moved back 1 hour last night (meaning I gained an extra hour of sleep) I my body felt like I had lost one hour both yesterday and today.

Posted by bigblue on 26/10/2008 at 05:24 PM
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Saturday, 25 October 2008
World War 1.0


My personal observation notes more interest in France in World War 1.0 than in the UK, while the UK seems to have more of an obsession with Nazis and things World War 2.0.

On the other hand Poppy Day is always big in the UK. As Rachel Clarke noticed this morning the BBC TV presenters (and all their guests) have even started wearing their paper buttonhole poppies already, even though they aren’t generally available in the shops. Perhaps the BBC gets a special early delivery?

I’ve also been thinking about the fact that the World War 1.0 centenary is coming up in just over 5 years. There are very few known surviving veterans from that conflict, and all are over 100 years of age. Nine million are believed to have died in the conflict itself, the war to end all wars.

Posted by bigblue on 25/10/2008 at 11:49 PM
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Friday, 24 October 2008
Ghostly graveyard


Preparing for my trip this week I created a couple of post-dated blog posts taking a light-hearted look at a couple of “haunted” inns of Surrey.

The next evening I went on a cycle ride, returning through a field where I collected local wild flower seeds. As I climbed on my bike and started to peddle away I heard a baby cry out behind me.  I hesitated because it was already getting dark but after a moment I decided to turn around and look for the source as it was a deserted place with nobody around.

Looking over the fence at the end of the field I discovered that the place where I heard the cry coming from was a children’s graveyard. Mmm. I don’t consider myself superstitious. I wonder if it was a trick of sound and the cry came from far away. Or perhaps it was the sound of a cat.

I mentioned this story to my fellow traveller on the train to Paris and she suggested that I go and see who is buried there. I might just do that tomorrow, during daylight.

Posted by bigblue on 24/10/2008 at 09:08 PM
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Thursday, 23 October 2008
Scum by any other name


Spotted in Hounslow last night. I wonder how effective these stickers are. Well I didn’t tread in any squishy stuff, but I’m wondering whether these stickers foster a spirit of community and solidarity? Do they encourage civic mindedness, or do they just discourage bad behaviour in one area?

Posted by bigblue on 23/10/2008 at 06:16 PM
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Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Grey and Wet


Paris seemed as cold and grey as London yesterday and this worker in Neuilly was incongrusely cleaning out the water fountain.

Posted by bigblue on 22/10/2008 at 07:14 PM
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Bicycle security in Berlin


One has to think that the determined bicycle thief will simply lift the chain and bicycle over the pole…

Posted by bigblue on 22/10/2008 at 11:38 AM
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Bicycle parking at Ebbsfleet


There are plenty of parking places provided for cyclists, but they are always underutilised. Here’s a clue: perhaps safe cycle routes need to be provided for cyclists to get to Ebbsfleet in the first place.

Ebbsfleet is in Kent and the (missing) cycle lanes are the responsibility of the Kent County Council.

Posted by bigblue on 22/10/2008 at 12:29 AM
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Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Haunted Inns of Surrey: The Crown in Oxted


I live close to the Crown, which is situated close to three other ancient public houses.  It is not the oldest, but it is possibly the prettiest, and quietest. According to Roger Long’s book Haunted Inns of Surrey the cold room in this building is suspected of being haunted. One landlord

reported that the atmosphere was so physically chilling that his breath could be seen leaving his mouth. There would seem to be no substantiated story here, no slayings, buried alive nuns or distraught madmen. I did enquire as to why The Crown was called ‘The Original Treehouse’ but the barmaid didn’t seem to know that it was. However the sudden drop in temperature seems well attested to; as do the heavy footsteps that reverberate to the cottage next door. That’s about it.

Well well Sherlock: a cold room that is physically cold, and where vapour forms where you breath out?  Some enterprising landlord seemed to be lacking imagination in this particular case.  The bit about ‘The Original Treehouse’ is interesting (as it alludes to a type of horror story). I do know that another (noisy) pub in the area is known locally as The Pond due to the type of creatures that can be found in it.

Posted by bigblue on 21/10/2008 at 09:03 AM
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