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England

Monday, 28 August 2006
Selfish taxi driver

Selfish taxi driver at Gatwick

This is the selfish taxi driver at Gatwick Airport (South Terminal) the other morning when I went to fetch Scarlett on her return from Brazil. He stopped in the parking garage, blocking the traffic behind him, while he loaded his passengers and their baggage into his vehicle in the most leisurely fashion. He then drove off without so much as an apologetic glance.

If the airport was busy, or there was an unusual amount of congestion I would have been prepared to shrug and make allowances. However this was not the case and there were bays nearby that he could have pulled into in order to let us past. And of course there are the stop-and-drop and stop-and-pick-up areas designed for this kind of thing.

Posted by bigblue on 28/08/2006 at 11:22 PM
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Sunday, 27 August 2006
Yo Sushi at Bluewater

Yo Sushi at Bluewater

I took Scarlett and Pinkie to Bluewater this afternoon to get some things they needed. I was pleasantly suprised to see the Yo Sushi bar installed in the concourse, outside House of Fraser. After a bit of reflection I decided this was not such a great thing. I have enjoyed going to Yo Sushi in the past, but:

Yesterday Scarlett arrived back from her Cross Cultural Solutions trip to Salvador in Brazil. As she walked into the arrivals terminal at Gatwick, a strange thing happened: I looked at her and saw a young Brazilian woman. It was only after she phoned to see where I was, and I was walking across the building to her, that I saw she had had her hair braided and realised my mistake. It was like one of those puzzles that contain two images.

There’s an article in the Independent yesterday about Sevenoaks School and how it has the best results of all independent schools in the country. The success is linked to the International Baccaulaureate They interviewed Dr Greenhalgh who is now a Deputy Head.

Posted by bigblue on 27/08/2006 at 10:17 PM
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Saturday, 26 August 2006
Lorimers of Oxted

Oxted News

I meant to post this photograph last week, but forgot about it until today when I was going through the pics on my mobile phone.  The story behind the photo is that on 10 August 2006 I read on Kipperfrog how Sainsburys is to open in Oxted. Six days later I saw the news on a newspaper billboard (which was advertising a local paper which was due out the following day).

There is probably nothing faster, or more efficient, as a medium of spreading news than word-of-mouth (even if you take into account the broken telephone) effect.

Posted by bigblue on 26/08/2006 at 10:54 PM
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Friday, 25 August 2006
Circle

tactile

Submitted for Photo Friday: Circles.

My previous posts on circles have been:

Posted by bigblue on 25/08/2006 at 08:26 PM
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Thursday, 24 August 2006
The MI6 Cleaners

notice

I spotted another one. The question still remains: Exactly what kind of organisation refers to its employees as operatives?.

Posted by bigblue on 24/08/2006 at 10:27 PM
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Wednesday, 23 August 2006
Bigblue’s celebrity look-alikes

My Celebrity Look-likes

At My Heritage you can upload a photograph of yourself and let their facial recognition software compare you to 4,000 celebrities. I got this from Chicken Yoghurt, who comments:

If the ID card facial recognition software works like this we’re in for some hilarity at the airports in a year or two.

I generally agree, although 4,000 is not a very large database for a subject such as this, plus the percentage matches are quite low (nobody over 66% in my case).  It would be interesting to load a photo of someone like Andre Aggasi and see how well they map it to their own image of him.

Posted by bigblue on 23/08/2006 at 11:35 PM
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Medieval building

Medieval Building Biddenden

This is a detail of two of the doors of the medieval building in Biddenden that I posted on yesterday.  Click on the picture to show further the detail of the carving above the doors. I suspected that the head was a likeness of Edward III of England who reigned (for over 50 years) during the cloth-making heyday of this village.  However, further searching informs that:

Biddenden is a quiet, typical Wealden village with one of the prettiest un spoilt main streets in England and a wealth of genuine examples of mediaeval to 17th century architecture. The first recorded mention is a 10th century charter quoting Biddenden as a ‘‘Den” belonging to Brabourne. During the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, when the cloth trade was flourishing in this part of Kent, Biddenden grew in prosperity and as a result many buildings of significant architectural importance were built. The weavers’ houses on the south side of the High Street are fine examples of Kentish half-timbered buildings The first floors were once continuous workrooms, built like this so the looms could be placed next to the broad windows so the craftsmen had enough light. There is a carved head from a wrecked ship of the Armada over one of the doors.

So perhaps the head is Spanish? Then again I seem to recall that a number of different nationalities sailed in the Armada, not just the Spanish.

Posted by bigblue on 23/08/2006 at 08:32 PM
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Tuesday, 22 August 2006
Biddenden made

Biddenden medieval building

This medieval building was once the Cloth House of Biddenden.  It now contains a row of cottages, shops and restaurants in Biddenden. In times past Biddenden was the centre of the iron industry in these parts (as well as cloth-making).  It was for this reason that Flemish cloth-workers settled here during the reign of Edward III of England. 

These days the largest wave of immigration is of workers from Poland, taking advantage of the Free European Market. There are 3,000 Poles in Crewe and probably more than 20,000 Poles in Southhampton. Last week the local paper even published a special edition in Polish.  Nationally, 228,235 Poles registered for work between May 2004 and tMarch his year. This does not take account of self-employed workers and others who did not register.

Posted by bigblue on 22/08/2006 at 11:49 PM
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