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Wednesday, 15 October 2003
una fetta di pizza con il prosciutto affumicati e l’ananas per favore

White Stork of Alsace

These creatures, the white stork of Alsace nest on the chimney pots. In our winter, they fly south to North Africa, returning in spring when they deliver little babies to pregnant Alsatians. 

On the theme of voyages, I heard from dylan again today. You hear nothing in 5 days and then you get 3 emails in the space of an hour. Regarding my question the other day about the woman in a red rain coat he tells us:

VERY GOOD WEBSITE! I FEATURE I SEE! MOVIE I’M TALKING OF IS “DONT LOOK NOW”, BUT YES ALSO THOUGHT OF HANNIBAL WHEN I WAS THERE AND NOW IN ROME.

He is having a ball. The pizza and ice-cream sound delicious, and he is telling us all kinds of interesting facts, such as:

that st peters is so big (biggest church in the world) that the next 28 biggest churches in the world could fit inside it!

and so much more. dylan is half-way through his European tour. Next up he is off to Switzerland and the Cote d’Azure.

Clarification: flank has pointed out that the significance about that story of the mercury in fish is that

after the first research on lead someone else came out and said that lead in fish was not too bad as it was in a different form.  This piece is a rejoinder to that.

flank had pointed me to another article about this issue back in April 2003.

Posted by bigblue on 15/10/2003 at 12:45 AM
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Monday, 13 October 2003
Peter idit vo sxkoluf

Peter and Sophie

This is a picture of my colleagues peter and sophie taken at le clou restaurant in Strasbourg earlier this year.

Today I have been thinking about peter quite a bit. He is now actually an ex-colleague, since he gave up the world of consulting at the end of last month, having decided to do something useful with his life.  First step: join a culte.

I learned lots of interesting things from peter during our 27-month working relationship, including Erich Fromme, the film Götterdammerung, fuel/motor alternatives such as Biodiesel and Elsbett.  We discussed why and how Father Christmas got his red robes in 1931. peter was the one who reassured me that the magnetic poles were going to flip over, not earth itself, which was naturally quite a relief.  He “introduced” me to his famous compatriot Danielapeter told us all who paid for the first Gulf War.  He introduced me to the delights of swimming in lakes in this region, to some local organic food shops and markets and to Slovio (the 2nd or 3rd most widely understood language in the world!). His partner eva introduced me to eurithmy and showed me how to write with my left and right feet!  I miss our many discussions on all the above, and more: peter and eva are now studying together at Dornuch in Switzerland, about 2 hours drive away from here (Haguenau).

St Jean's fire

Talking about cults, here’s a picture peter sent me some time ago of his friends celebrating St Jean’s fire back home (in Slovakia).

Au revoir!

Posted by bigblue on 13/10/2003 at 08:48 PM
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Sunday, 12 October 2003
le lit avec les draps satin

brass bed

This picture of dylan and bluemeanie enjoying beezie’s sumptuous bed was taken on 9 September, before dylan left on his busabout.  dylan was reading Our Generation while bluemeanie was reading The Age of Innocence.

Last night bluemeanie, lil blue meanie and I went to brenda and davidm’s for supper. It turns out davidm and alex were on Master Park yesterday when I took that photo.  davidm made a Thai green curry, and I made a fresh pesto. Interesting combination. At one stage we were discussing the Nobel Prize for literature that was awarded to JM Coetzee this week, and holly asked brenda:

Why do you always discuss things that I can’t talk about?

Why indeed?

This morning at church I noticed she was still wearing her fairy dress, and asked her if she had slept in it. She looked at me as if I was an idiot, and said

No, I put it on again this morning.

Tomorrow morning I leave Oxted at 4am for Stanstead Airport. This will get me to Baden-Baden by 9:15am, and to work by 10.  When travelling from the UK, Mondays are a long day.

Anyway I had a wonderful weekend with the girls while their mother was away in Wales.

Posted by bigblue on 12/10/2003 at 07:59 PM
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Saturday, 11 October 2003
Les feuillage jaunissent

Master Park, Oxted

It was a pleasant autumn day in Oxted today. I took this photo on Master Park at about 15:30, facing north towards the church.  lil blue meanie went to a birthday party today - involving bowling and lunch. Afterwards she went to hang out in Master Park with her mates.  I was nagging her about going in warm clothes, etc. but really it was quite warm. It was about 18C at that time.

bluemeanie tells me she has been elected to the Surrey Youth Forum, as a representative of the Tandridge district. I think the forum consists of about 15 - 20 young people from across Surrey. Her first meeting is on Wednesday evening so perhaps we will hear more in due course.

flank sent me the following link which says that Mercury in fish is more dangerous than has recently been reported.  If you read to near the end of the article you will also see an interesting comment on the recent deaths during the heatwave in Europe.  Apparently air pollution is a big factor: this is noticable on a day-to-day, and city-to-city basis.

I spoke to dylan this week while he was in Paris.  He is doing a busabout tour of Europe.  He seems well and is enjoying it. On Thursday he sent a mail from Venice. He says Paris was ok, but got a bit boring after a few days after he had done everything he wanted to. He was raving about his latest stop:

venice however is just about the best place i could be right now and im sure rome will be the same. it is sooooooooooo beautiful here, it actually doesnt feel real walking over bridges and canals and seing the gondalas and being in st marco square with millions of pigeons and the beautiful old buildings and a small orchestra playing classical italian outside a cafe , its too amazing…and the food i cant even describe , but everyone thats been to italy knows

and

just had pistachio and banana ice cream and it was sooooooooooo good. will go on gondala this afternoon. (looking out for the scary little woman in the red rain coat).

I don’t understand this bit about the woman in the red rain coat - perhaps we are watching different movies, because the only one I can think of (the Hannibal Lector one) didn’t have a woman in a red rain coat. Did it?

Posted by bigblue on 11/10/2003 at 08:11 PM
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Friday, 10 October 2003
Petite maman s’intèresse beaucoup au RWC

Rhine River

Bon anniversaire!  This week my house-mate anna-sofia celebrated her 22nd birthday.  Here she is (white cap) with her friend erieka, also from Sweden, crossing the Rhine into Germany [taken in July 2003].

Last night I travelled back from France to the UK. Therefore I spent most of the evening just across the border, at Baden-Baden airport, waiting for the other passengers (and airplane) to arrive, and listening to announcements like

Will all passengers for flight FR 9775 make
their way through passport control.

  The airport is so small it would be a disaster if everyone left it to the last minute.  There doesn�t seem to be much chance of that though � the enthusiasm and punctuality of the German passengers seems to match the anality of the announcers.  The other aspect of airports is of course listening to the conversations of your fellow travellers.  stuart brought along his laptop to play pinball and solitaire. In between we laugh and talk a bit.  The guy on the right says loudly into his phone:

I am actually at a place called Baden-Baden.

stuart laughs and looks at me. His response:

It is a bit like that. The other person says �Where�s that?� or you have to say �Nah, it�s not sarf ovva river�.

As stuart gave me a lift to Oxted from Stanstead Airport (1 hour drive), and he was travelling light (hand luggage only) I didn�t bring a suitcase. This saved us half an hour getting through Stanstead.  So I packed some dirty laundry into a small over-shoulder suitcase with my laptop.  Apparently the limit for hand luggage is 7 kgs. Mine weighed 10,5 kgs but they let me through. It can be a problem with these cheap (20 Euro) flights � they get pretty sticky with the rules and regulations.  Coming back they may not be so lenient, because they are pretty �jobsworth� in Stanstead. 

So today is the start of the RWC.  Can�t say that I�m particularly excited though. petite maman is of course, and she sent me a link to a TV schedule giving times and channels for a number of countries.

I was at her house-warming last weekend and must have said something because I had seen a print-out of the schedule on her TV. In the office today ashley, who is from Melbourne, was surprised when I mentioned the RWC. He didn�t know it was on, and isn�t interested in rugby at all.  Apparently they aren�t very big on the game down there.  I laugh Australia wins. His disinterest in this won�t go down very well in our international (though largely French) office.

Posted by bigblue on 10/10/2003 at 03:00 AM
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Wednesday, 08 October 2003
J’habite

Chateau Fleckenstein, Alsace

So, where am I now? Above is a picture I took at (nearby) Chateau Fleckenstein.

I am posting from Haguenau, which Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described as:

“.... A quiet, quaint and ancient town
Among the green Alsatian hills,
A place of valleys, streams and mills,
Where Barbarossa’s castle, brown
With rust of centuries still looks down
On the broad, drowsy land below .... “

Posted by bigblue on 08/10/2003 at 06:20 PM
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Tuesday, 07 October 2003
La verité, si je mens!

Vianden, Luxembourg

Here we go ... and here’s a recent photo from a day-trip to Vianden in Luxembourg.

Got this weblog up and running tonight.  Had a few problems. First I installed B2.  I didn’t like it too much - the look and feel was wrong, and I couldn’t easily delete my test posts.  This system should be better.  I’ll get around to enhancing the layout over time, but this is something that I can live with for now.

I don’t want to say much about the problems I have had with my webhost at this stage. Perhaps they were just teething problems.  If not, you will hear more from me about them in due course.

Posted by bigblue on 07/10/2003 at 11:47 PM
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