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England

Saturday, 15 November 2003
Brigada Internacional

international brigade statue

Jubilee Gardens and Jubilee Walk on the South Bank of the Thames, London, were opened in 1977 to celebrate the 25th Jubilee of the British Monarch. In more recent times it has become home to the London Eye. One revolution of this giant ferris wheel takes half an hour, taking you one and a third times higher than New York’s Statue of Liberty, at a cost of 11 pounds.

Apparently there are plans to develop the South Bank, in which case the Gardens would make way for buildings.

The photo above is a memorial to the International Brigade who fought in the Spanish Civil War from 1936-39. It is one of several statues in Jubilee Gardens.  I quite like the photo of this statue by ArtoftheState here.

Are you a Matrix fan? You may enjoy The Meatrix, which is an activist site that makes use of the theme of the Matrix quite cleverly.

As I welcome my mother today as the newest member of this blog, I leave you to think about poor old Kevin Widmar.

Posted by bigblue on 15/11/2003 at 10:27 PM
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Strange Church Sign

Church sign

I see that we have fallen out of favour with the local Baptist Church. Oh well, I for one am flattered by their attention.

Had a terrible flight from Strasbourg back to the UK this afternoon. Left work at 3:30 pm, but when I got to Strasbourg airport I discovered that my direct flight to Gatwick had been cancelled due to “technical problems”. I remembered a few years ago when I was doing this flight regularly I got the distinct impression that they (Air France) cancelled the flights if there was a low turnout. Later on we heard that the “technical problems” were that it was too windy for the small aircraft to land at Gatwick.  (Is that too windy, or just the wrong type of wind?)

So I had to take a plane to Paris, then fly on to Heathrow. Air France then laid on taxis to Gatwick. There were a few martians in the same situation as me, including Domonique who (while unhappy with the delay of 4 hours) was happier ending up at Heathrow than Gatwick.  In fact only 6 passengers made use of the taxis from Heathrow to Gatwick. Of course those going on by train into London wouldn’t have needed to transfer to Gatwick to do so… and those who had missed connecting flights to Edinburgh, the far East, etc. had to delay their departures by a day.

Posted by bigblue on 15/11/2003 at 12:32 AM
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Wednesday, 12 November 2003
Master Park in the Mist

Master Park, Oxted

I took this photo on 11 November 2003, at the same time of day as the picture that I took last month. You can compare it here

Please note that I have added an About Us and Privacy statement here.

Posted by bigblue on 12/11/2003 at 11:22 PM
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Monday, 10 November 2003
feu d’artifice

firework

Here’s another picture from the fireworks in Edenbridge the other night.

I had a bit of a lazy day today - watched The Office Series 2, which is brilliant btw if you haven’t seen it. I haven’t cringed so much in a long time. Pity about Dawn and Tim though.  Other than that I did a small amount of work from home.

This morning, at breakfast, bluemeanie and I enjoyed a discussion about the joys and merits of cheese.  It was interesting to watch the expressions on pinkie’s face as she worked out what we were referring to.

Posted by bigblue on 10/11/2003 at 09:56 PM
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Bon Anniversaire Spenks!

Edenbridge Tank

The above picture shows the militaristic fireworks display in Edenbridge last night (which had nothing to do with Rememberance Sunday), but was a belated Bonfire Night. More about the fireworks below.

Today is Spenker’s birthday.  Congratulations, but remember that the best years of your life are now behind you.  Actually, I think you know this already - is that why you didn’t have a party this year?

Last night Pinkie, Pinkie’s friend M and I went to watch the fireworks in Edenbridge with Spenkers and her family.  It was pretty cold (although not as much as previous years).  We got there in time for the tail-end of the street procession and a mere 45 minute wait for the firework’s to start.  Then it was time for the Bonfire Bishop to appear, to recite the poem Remember, remember, and kick off the grisly proceedings.  This year they had a traditional-looking Guy Fawkes, and thereafter a mystery guy to burn (Saddam Hussein).  There was even a real tank on the field, to help set fire to him.  When the Bishop called out to the crowd:

What shall we do with this traitor [Saddam Hussein/Guy Fawkes]:

and the crowd (mostly) responded with shouts of:

Burn him!

one remembers what a violent celebration Bonfire Night is. Well the fireworks were pretty.  Holly fell asleep on DavidM�s back on the (long) walk back to the car.  By then it was approaching 11pm.

Rugby World Cup:
Watched the rugby on Saturday morning. It reminded me of one of Popple’s legal stories:

A seven year old boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him.

The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge awarded custody to his aunt.

The boy confirmed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and refused to live there.

When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents the boy cried out that they beat him more than anyone.

The judge dramatically allowed the boy to chose who should have custody of him.

Custody was then granted to the Springbok rugby team as the boy firmly believed that they were not capable of beating anyone.

A reminder to you, if you have not yet done so, to check out Scarlett and Pinkie
And here’s a photo of the guy the local Bonfire Bishop, called a traitor. Alex suggested that perhaps he is a traitor - to the human race.
Edenbridge Saddam

Say chaps, how about we don’t burn him? We could take him to the International Court of Justice in the Hague?

Posted by bigblue on 10/11/2003 at 03:09 AM
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Sunday, 02 November 2003
Bienvenue Scarlett!

Jazz Jam

I got back to Haguenau this evening and found that bluemeanie had already started posting to her new weblog. By the way, if you are a member here, then you are also a member of her weblog, so please mosey over there, see what she has to say, and post some comments!

As she says, today Pinkie went to a Jazz Jam workshop organised by the Surrey County Arts.  At the end of the session this afternoon they put on a concent (see picture above). They had split up into three groups during the day. At the concert, each group performed a piece or two, and then they had a final� at the end where all the groups came together. The emphasis on these sessions is improvisation and each child gets a turn to improvise a solo.  Earlier this year bluemeanie participated in a Jazz Jam workshops and Granny Ruth and I attended the final concert.

I enjoyed the Wales/All Blacks match this morning.  Talking of rugby, are you a kicking king?

Posted by bigblue on 02/11/2003 at 11:47 PM
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Monday, 20 October 2003
Les nouvelles choquant

The Meanies

This picture was taken exactly a year ago today, after bluemeanie’s confirmation. Amazing how a year flies. Yesterday afternoon I took bluemeanie to this year’s confirmation ceremony (in Hurst Green) as she was singing in the choir. It was an interesting service, and the Bishop spoke very movingly - about what it means to take a spiritual journey. Refreshingly he spoke ‘out of the (traditional) box’, with humour, feeling and depth. He even had a Zen Buddhist quote about walking the path.

lil blue meanie is well, but we had a little ‘fight’ yesterday. I don’t like her using tic-tac (press stick) on her walls.  A weird experience: did you ever feel worried that you were turning into your own parents?

brenda, davidm and holly are in Spain for the week. They left alex behind with dana. Well he spent the weekend with petite maman’s family.  I spoke to brenda before she left (on Saturday) and of course she asked me what the shocking news of Thursday 16 October was.  I didn’t have time to explain this yesterday, so here goes.

I have mentioned that dylan was busabouting in Europe. Well, he had a night of debauchery in Rome on Wednesday and overslept the next morning, thereby missing his bus. To catch up on his itinery he decided to catch the train to Florence that day, rather than spending extra time in Rome. He would have had to wait 2 days for the next bus.

To cut a long story short, he was robbed on the train: some thieves, whom he did not see, made off with his luggage. Fortunately he had his day-pack with him so didn’t lose his camera, passport, etc. However he lost all his toiletries, the clothes that he wasn’t wearing, his traveller’s cheques, some books, etc. On top of that, he had the hassle of getting to his campsite for the night, reporting the incident to the police, etc.  After some thought, dylan decided to return back to the UK (which he did on Friday evening).  At least this will give him more time to organise his trip to North America.

The Meanies

Posted by bigblue on 20/10/2003 at 09:16 PM
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Sunday, 19 October 2003
du rôti (l’agneau)

The London Eye

So yesterday we made it into London and caught Bea Arthur’s penultimate show at the Savoy Theatre. During the show she tells jokes, chats about her experiences in show business, and sings songs accompanied by her friend Billy Goldenburg. It is well worth seeing but, naturally, seeing it twice destroys some of the intimacy that she creates through the format of the show.  For example at the start of the show she gives a lamb recipe, and along the way she gives the appearance of just chatting away, sometimes suddenly remembering details. So you can lose a little ‘magic’ the second time round, when you see how perfectly repeated it is.

Bea appeared to be suffering from a cold, and used paper tissues from time to time during the performance. If I hadn’t read that she had been sick over the past couple of weeks and had cancelled some performances I would have thought this was also part of the act as she had the same relationship with the tissue box in Cape Town.  Apparently she is about 81, so doing the show every day must be quite a strain.

I was interested in whether there would be any ‘local flavour’ to the show in London.  At the show in Cape Town, Bea had spoken about how South Africa was the first country to legalise gay marriage - when mentioning that Canada proposes to be the third.  That was kind of a local touch.  In the London version, she made a joke about Loiners.  Basically she spoke about Maude, and mentioned the fact that it had never been shown in the UK.  Billy piped in

Didn’t they get it in Leeds?

to which Bea replied

It was broadcast in Leeds, but I don’t know if they got it.

Other than that she forgot to tell the story about Tony Curtis at drama school, but came back after the interval and acknowledged this and told the story.  This was not an obvious “fault” in the show, because it fitted in just as well there as anywhere.  bluemeanie reminded me after the show that she had also not mentioned the bit about her drama training covering strong Shakespearean roles.

bluemeanie criticised me for buying tickets for the matine�.  Fair enough - the atmosphere would probably have been better in the evening. 
The only other highlight of the outing was when bluemeanie and I found the dressing-room window where Zbornak had taken the picture of Bea.  It was closed.  Not that we wanted to spy on her (cough cough).

For most of yesterday I was trying to fix the girls’ desktop computer. It is still not running, despite the valiant efforts of pcfixer last night. Still we have a good idea of what the problem is now, and thankfully he was able to back up all stored work/documents.

Posted by bigblue on 19/10/2003 at 04:39 PM
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