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England

Friday, 10 February 2006
Without grace

Grace Barrand Design Centre

This photograph is taken from the parking area at the Grace Barrand Design Centre in Nutfield, Surrey.

The current exhibition at the centre is called Select and comprises an eclectic mix of objects and materials.

Posted by bigblue on 10/02/2006 at 10:03 PM
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Faust

The Old Bakery in Nutfield

The photograph is of The Old Bakery in Nutfield, Surrey, now somebody’s home.

I recently saw a production of Faust, Part I at bluemeanie’s school.  It was performed in German (possibly modern German, I couldn’t tell) with surtitles.  I have written before about Faust, the enduring story and myth.  The link to the Radio 4 discussion about Faust

tracing his history from a malicious magician playing tricks on innkeepers in the 15th Century, through Marlow and Goethe through to Coleridge and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

is still available here. I strongly commend this programme.

Posted by bigblue on 10/02/2006 at 12:34 AM
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Wednesday, 08 February 2006
Keep me hanging

telephone booths

Still nothing from BT Yahoo about my broadbank going down on 1st February.  It is seven days since I reported the problem, and five days since they promised to fix it in five days, and one day since I wrote to them and reminded them of this undertaking.

Posted by bigblue on 08/02/2006 at 11:43 PM
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Tuesday, 07 February 2006
Puna Mask

Puna Mask

This is a Puna mask from Gabon.  The man that sold it to me see it was very old. I think that they are made to look old, and that he always says that.

I don?t have many words at the moment because BT Yahoo have broken my broadband connection and have been unable to fix it for the past seven days. I think that the perfect hell would involve having to phone a number of different helpdesks (technical, accounts, BT, Yahoo). You would have to wait for an eternity to get through to people who would fob you off with inconsistent stories and tell you to contact one of the other helpdesks.  The whole process would be in an endless loop that repeats every three days or so.  You would remember all your dealings with the helpdesks so would know that you are iterating, however the people at the helpdesks would retain no memory of previous dealings with you.

Posted by bigblue on 07/02/2006 at 10:35 PM
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Sunday, 05 February 2006
Spring is imminent

tree at night

I took this photograph the other night shortly after taking the one of the Ashby Garden Decorations.  I love trees and I see in this one the signs that spring is around the corner.  I follow quite a few blogs and other news feeds.  I use Bloglines as a tool to view these all in one place.  I am currently monitoring 379 feeds using Bloglines. Obviously I can’t keep up with all this information, so I prioritise what I follow.  A nice feature of Bloglines is that you can see how many other people subscribe to the same feed as you. This doesn’t mean that they are reading it - for example I cannot bother to keep up with many of the high volume blogs - but it does give some idea of relative popularity.  And I do not believe that popularity is neccesarily an indication of quality.  There are some real gems out there that do not have many subscribers. For example, one of my favourites described the imminent arrival of spring in London thus:

At this time of year, with the daylight seeping back, slowly at first, unnoticed, like a washing machine flooding the downstairs neighbour, extending the days in miniscule amounts, the birds start to sing and preen and nest build, and in particular my friends the blackbirds, fiercely territorial beings who thrive in these city spaces, fanfare the imminence of Spring more effectively than snowdrops, crocusses or the annual tax return.

I am always surprised that the Blog of Funk has only a handful of Bloglines subscribers (5 as at today) whereas far less talented writers and observers can have hundreds.

Posted by bigblue on 05/02/2006 at 12:18 AM
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Friday, 03 February 2006
Birds of Ashby-de-la-Zouch

Birds of Ashby

This shop with the Richard Scarry name is Birds (th)e Confectioners of Market Street, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, purveyors of sticky jam doughnuts, pies and pasties, cheap breadrolls and baps.  It is barely a confectioner in the English sense of the word.  (Even less so in the French sense, as confection is one of those pesky faux amis (false cognates).

One lunchtime this week Mr Blue went into Birds to buy a sandwich. The shop assistants were intrigued by his accent and started having an argument about his accent, with one of them insisting that he was South African and the other insisting he was French. Mr Blue didn’t resolve the argument for them. The incident reminded him of another similar experience.

As today’s post seems to be about all matters Ashby-de-la-Zouch it is worth linking to the latest a storm in a teacup.

Posted by bigblue on 03/02/2006 at 11:45 PM
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Ashby-de-la-Zouch in the Year of the Dog

Ashby-de-la-Zouch Garden Decorations

I accidentally slouched towards this display of garden decorations on the Moira Road of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. As spring is only slowly creeping into our mornings and evenings, I couldn’t get a daytime shot, but will try again over the coming week.  One wonders what type of person decorates their garden like this, and what does this have in common with examples of French bad taste?

The overwhelming theme of the above picture is that of dalmation dogs, with some toadstools, gnomes, tortoise, a young girl and a wishing well thrown in.  There are a large number (101?) dalmations in the windows and doorways too.  All this is under the watchful eye of a CCTV camera which implies that the garden is a target for local delinquents.

What can all these dogs symbolise (besides for general tackiness and bad taste):

Dog: symbol of Loyalty and Love

One of the domesticated dog’s greatest attribute is the capacity for unconditional love. He helps protect the family from bad feelings toward one another. Dogs have long served as guardians for man. They are infinitely loyal and steadfast in loving kindness, service and protection.

One can learn many things from the dog:

  * The joy of service
  * Loyalty
  * Sensitivity to “sniffing out” dangerous situations
  * Faithful companionship
  * The true meaning of unconditional love

I cannot argue with any of the above, except to point out that a dalmation is a carriage dog which is bred for its decorative value rather than its intelligence or utilitarian value. 

Despite the heading of this post I do not think that these decorations are related to the Chinese Year of the Dog.

Posted by bigblue on 03/02/2006 at 12:40 AM
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Wednesday, 01 February 2006
Masala Club

Masala Club - Ashby-de-la-Zouch

This evening five of us from work (four thorns and a rose) went to the Masala Club, on Market Street in Ashby-de-la-Zouch for supper.  This is where James Ots went last year in March. (I don’t know why I am mentioning that except that James Ots seems so desperate for google to rank him highly, that I feel I should help out by linking to his site.  (I checked and he is ninth at the moment in Google, although his blogger profile comes up first).  According to Thumbshots (IE required) he is better off in Yahoo, although their data is a bit out of date.

Anyway the meal was good. We had a starter and a main each, although Andy had a dessert too. Afterall he’s still a growing lad! I had a vegetarian samoosa starter, and a vegetable briyani for my main. I may have made a mistake in bragging that my own briyani is better than the Masala Cafe’s: it looks like I will now have to prove it!

Posted by bigblue on 01/02/2006 at 10:05 PM
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