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Friday, 07 July 2006
Speed Cameras

speed camera on M25

Yesterday afternoon after work I spent 2 hours in the perpetual bouchon that is the M25 motorway. For five minutes I was stationary at the place where I snapped the above photograph. It is taken looking across at the roadsign spanning the clockwise carriageway near Junction 10 for Guildford. This is a rear view of the roadsigns showing four speed cameras - one over each lane. Often these cameras have caught my eye when driving in the opposite direction, because if a car in the lane below one of them is speeding, the camera flashes. Until today I didn’t get a good look at them.  I think this is a new kind of speed camera, as it is not listed on the web guide to speed cameras.

Today is the first anniversary of the London Tube bombings. At work aa 2-minute silence at noon has been organised. I will willingly participate, although I hope it doesn’t become an annual event - I sort of feel that there are so many tragedies and atrocities like this, so I don’t agree with elevating one above the rest. I will also be catching up on bombing victim Rachel of North London and her campaign for a full and independent inquiry into the bombing. It’s strange to think about it now, but at the time of the bombings last year (or shortly thereafter) I was on the Metro in Paris.

Posted by bigblue on 07/07/2006 at 07:39 AM
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Thursday, 06 July 2006
Sesaw picnic concert


This evening bluemeanie and I went to a Sesaw “picnic concert” at Reigate College. Pinkie was performing.  Bluemeanie made our supper: pitta, fallafel, and various fillings with a creme sauce. She even made the pitta herself and it was excellent: wholemeal and better quality than a supermarket or bakery even.  Sesaw is raising money for the forthcoming tour of Brittany. Shortly after they get back (in one month’s time) Howard, the conductor in black above, is getting married. The people in the foreground, with their backs to us, are spectators at the concert. We sat at tables, arranged in the sports hall (as there was another function in the main building of the college).

Posted by bigblue on 06/07/2006 at 11:01 PM
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Wednesday, 05 July 2006
PYO Strawberries at Priory Farm


On Saturday mornings I take Pinkie to her SESAY rehersal in Bletchingley. While she is there, and if I don’t have too much else to do, I wash my car and pop in for an espresso at Grace Barrand in nearby Nutfield.

Last Saturday, prompted by reading how Kipperfrog went strawberry picking at Priory Farm in Nutfield, I headed there to check it out. I hadn’t had breakfast, so I breakfasted on the strawberries in the field, and then filled up my little basket and headed to the café in the garden centre for an espresso. Quite a pleasant experience, but I should go back with Pinkie and Bluemeanie to take advantage of the 3-strawberry-baskets-for-the-price-of-one special.

Posted by bigblue on 05/07/2006 at 10:43 PM
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Tuesday, 04 July 2006
Fire Brigade

fire brigade

From the Oxted Pram Race last Friday evening. I can think of very few people with the time and energy on their hands to make a “pram” like this with a working siren, flashing lights, real fire-fighting equipment, and four or five men dressed in real firefighting outfits.

You have to commend the lads for foresaking all those hours of playing pool, darts and poker in order to create this vehicle for this charity event. 
grin Er, only joking - I know that if my house catches fire you will be there like a flash, right?  We meanies really do appreciate our brothers in blue.

Posted by bigblue on 04/07/2006 at 05:55 PM
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Monday, 03 July 2006
The Romans


These stills from my camcorder aren’t the greatest quality, but they hopefully give a feel for the different contestants at the Oxted Pram race last Friday. I am not sure how the race actually works: for example whether the teams are timed between the start and finish lines or whether the prize is for the best costumes.  Anyway, these guys were going great guns. They would surely either be disqualified for having too many people pushing/pulling the “pram” or they would win the timed race.

Posted by bigblue on 03/07/2006 at 05:42 PM
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Sunday, 02 July 2006
The Pirates


This is the pirate entry from the Oxted Pram race on Friday evening. I think this is one of the better entries. They deserve kudus for improvisation alone: the pram has a whiff of boat about it, and that dressing gown with the frilly lace bits is great. I don’t know quite why it works, but it does.

This evening I went with bluemeanie to a concert, organised by her singing teacher. It was sweaty hot, and I had to close my eyes, dip my head, and put on that “don’t disturb me, I’m thinking deeply” look. That’s what I call it anyway.

Look here for the latest Brit Blog Roundup.

Posted by bigblue on 02/07/2006 at 10:11 PM
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Saturday, 01 July 2006
Oxted Pram Race

Oxted Pram Race

Sat outside in the sunshine yesterday evening and watched the Oxted Pram Race pass by.  When these chaps ran past I wondered if Fathers for Justice had entered.  As I understand it, the Pram Race raises money for charity. The entrants run from New Oxted near the station to Old Oxted, stopping for “refreshments” at various establishments along the way. Many of the spectators who line the route carry water pistols which they use to squirt at the competitors. In turn, many of the competitors carry their own water pistols. The entrants from the local Fire Brigade even had some kind of water cannon.

Posted by bigblue on 01/07/2006 at 10:01 PM
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Friday, 30 June 2006
Radioactive Waste


I am currently spending a lot of time driving up and down the M25 every day. Some days, like today, there is gridlock. The truck on the right in the photo above has a notice on the back warning that it contains radioactive materials. One wonders what company would transport hazardous radioactive materials on one of the busiest motorways in the world during rush-hour. I took the photo this afternoon which appears to have been some kind of breakdown day: I counted about seven or eight accidents or breakdowns along my stretch of the M25.

The company that does this is Circle Express:

With global logistics integrators increasingly becoming one-stop-shops for their customers, Circle Express is meeting this need by increasing the number of services it offers. For example, it has established a separate division, Connection Couriers, for the movement of ‘same day’ time sensitive consignments and incorporating radioactive, highly hazardous material and firearms. “It’s specialist, immediate-response work – apart from the distribution side of the business – which is generally overnight. It’s a growing area for us,” said Coffey. “Most of our depots already have a dedicated Connection Courier department and we’ll be extending that service to all of them over the next year. Again, it will benefit from the IT enhancements – in-cab data system, traceability, real-time information and so on.”

They don’t state what the consequences might be if one of their trucks is involved in an accident and some of the radioactive or hazardous materials is released.

Then again, according to GreenPeace,

Every week trains carrying highly radioactive nuclear waste travel on Britain’s outdated public rail network, often during peak hours.

If one of these trains was targetted by terrorists and caught fire while in a tunnel, the radioactive release could spread for over 50 kilometres, spreading cancer-causing radiation in its wake. In a city like London, 350,000 people might have to take shelter or be evacutated and over 8,000 people could die of cancer in the long term.

Yet this deadly cargo routinely passes through more than 20 major cities and towns including Edinburgh, Bristol and London.

Tony Blair wants to build 10 new nuclear reactors, quadrupling the amount of highly radioactive waste already produced - all of which could be transported around the UK. But there is a cleaner, safer and cheaper alternative to nuclear power: decentralised energy.

It takes over 1 million years for the most highly radioactive nuclear waste to become safe, but it only takes one man to make a dangerous decision.  Take action now.

Posted by bigblue on 30/06/2006 at 11:02 PM
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