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Wednesday, 17 December 2003


This afternoon Fabienne invited me to meet up in Strasbourg this evening and visit the Christmas market with some friends. I had no other plans, except to rest, so agreed. Then at 6:30 p.m. she phoned to cancel the arrangement, and make another for Friday. So I immediately called Carles who had mentioned he was going to Karlsrue, Germany, with some other guys and ended up tagging along.

The above photo is where we had varying degrees of hot spicy chicken, bread and beer. The restaurant was packed, and one of the guys had booked last Friday. After that we went to another pub/brasserie in Karlsrue.

As it is late, I will not be posting the story I mentioned yesterday about Denise.  I’ll do so tomorrow.

Posted by bigblue on 17/12/2003 at 12:58 AM
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Saturday, 13 December 2003
bon anniversaire dylan

Tulsi Restaurant

Today is Dylan’s birthday… and we got up at 4:30 this morning to catch the train (from Ashford International Terminal in Kent) to Disneyland.  Last night Dylan, bluemeanie, pinkie and I took Beezy to the Tulsi restaurant in Westerham to celebrate her birthday, which was on Thursday. One of the waiters took the above picture.

I don’t think we will see much of Paris itself, from Disneyland.  But my favourite book on Paris is The Insider’s Guide to Paris

I’m posting this at 9 am from the Eurostar train which is hurtling towards Paris at 130 km per hour. I’ll try and post again later tonight, once we manage to hit The Magic.

Posted by bigblue on 13/12/2003 at 10:02 AM
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Wednesday, 10 December 2003
bon anniversaire aaron

Christmas Bling

The above picture is of the Christmas lights installed on the house, garage, car-port, trees, etc. at a house in nearby Limpsfield.

Today there was pea-soup fog the whole day, so the traffic was a bit hectic driving to work and back. I should have had my camera on me… then again it might have been difficult to drive and take photos. It can’t be legal - you aren’t allowed to hold a phone now when driving.

Ash sent me a tip recently: Go to Google. Type in “miserable failure”. Then click on “I’m feeling lucky”.  The term for this is googlebombed.  Supporters of Bush are now trying to Googlebomb the words “great president”.

And for those who are interested in this kind of thing, I found some hardcore pron here

Today is Aaron’s 16th birthday. And if flank sends me the photo he took of the chef who looks like he’s smelling his armpits (from the Teppanyaki restaurant) I will post it here!

Posted by bigblue on 10/12/2003 at 11:23 PM
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Monday, 08 December 2003
machine de ramsden

Leonie Anderson

This is a picture from Pinkie’s concert last Saturday, showing the conductor Leonie Anderson getting into the full swing of things.

Today flank sent a cool picture, apparently an engraving from an old book, which is now the wallpaper on my phone.  The caption, Machine de Ramsden was rather intriguing, so I did a bit of websearch (as opposed to research). There is an article about this machine, here. If you are linguistically challenged, the Franglish version, courtesy of Babelfish is here.

So, today was my first day at my client’s site in the UK. It was a 1.5 hour drive there this morning, so I got in just before 8 am. Fortunately it was only 1 hour return.  And only 2 hours to get the laptop they gave me in Haguenau to connect to the network at the new site. Just as well I will be there for a week, otherwise it would have been quite a waste.

The girls, Dylan and I will take Beezy to The Tulsi Restaurant to celebrate her birthday.  I made the booking today. I couldn’t find a website for them, but I did find this site which has photos of margie and niggle’s farewell. Whoever these brave people are, they seem to have had fun. So what if you spill red wine down a white top?

Posted by bigblue on 08/12/2003 at 11:05 PM
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Sunday, 07 December 2003
respectez la propreté des lieux


I intend to post a picture from Pinkie’s concert on Saturday night. However today it was sunny (but cold) so I explored the bushes at the bottom of the garden. The above items were found. Perhaps I should write a letter to the local pubs and shops asking them what they intend to do to ensure that their customers are not responsible for such litter. Unfortunately one doesn’t have time. Today was hectic: I dropped bluemeanie at church to sing in the choir, dropped Dylan at the station (he went to Camden with a friend), then went to the local supermarket to buy our provisions for the week, came back and unpacked them, then Pinkie and I dashed back to fetch bluemeanie, and we picked up Beezy (their aunt), then we all went to Bluewater. Bluemeanie and pinkie wanted to buy Christmas presents. Beezy (and Pinkie also) wanted some clothes. I needed a pair of jeans. We all spit up. Ten minutes later I had my jeans, but we had arranged to meet in one hour for lunch at Pr�t � Manger, so I arbed around for another 50 minutes. I went to a bookshop, walked around the outside ice-rink, and stood under the snow-machines, which were creating the appropriate backdrop to the skating and the performance of a local choir. I was on time for lunch; the others were all late. After lunch we all split up again, but pinkie and I arranged to meet after 30 minutes, so that I could pay for some clothes she had chosen. In the meantime she was going to buy some other stuff she had seen, but not had time to queue for before lunch to pay for. After 30 minutes I was in the appointed spot. Pinkie arrived 15 minutes later. We bought her a pair of trainers - sort-of retro tennis shoes. Bluemeanie arrived to join us, then pinkie led us the wrong way around Bluewater to get: pyjamas, a jacket and some sunglasses.  Pinkie paid for the sunglasses herself. Then it was back to the exit, where Beezy had just arrived, and then back to Oxted.

This afternoon I tidied the kitchen, fetched Dyl from the station, cooked this evenings meal, cooked tomorrow evening’s meal (but this was not one and the same thing!), did all the washing up (assisted by the dishwasher), did all the laundry (assisted by the, um, whatchamacallit), hung out all the laundry, folded away all of yesterdays, and ironed bluemeanie and pinkie’s skirts and shirts for school tomorrow.

Bluemeanie was upstairs working on her essay. She says she has been having writers’ block the past two days. But I notice that she doesn’t seem to have much writers’ block here. Pinkie did her nails and tidied her room. Her nails look cool, but I can’t notice any difference with her room - it still looks like un vrai bordel.  Tomorrow I will post a picture from Pinkie’s concert.  I am tempted to post a picture of her room. She says she is aiming to have it clean and tidy by Wednesday.

Dyl was the first to bed tonight. I noticed that he has been very tired lately - he is still jetlagged from his recent trip to Canada. He says he wakes in the middle of the night too.

Posted by bigblue on 07/12/2003 at 11:55 PM
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Saturday, 06 December 2003
After Study (Oxted)

Oxted High Street

Here’s the “after” study of the photograph that I posted on 23 Nov 2003. The Christmas lights of the Oxted High Street.

Today is St Nicolas day, an important day in certain circles.  I bought some spicy biscuits in Strasbourg yesterday to celebrate. Pinkie had a (presumably belated) Autumn Concert for SESAY (South East Surrey Area Youth Symphony Orchestra). I got most of it on video, including that bit at the beginning (in close up) of Pinkie shaking her head at me and going “No, no! Turn it off!.

This coming week I will be working in the UK, and looking after bluemeanie and pinkie as their mom will be in Geneva preparing for the World Summit of the Information Society.  I am looking forward to seeing them every day, as well as Dylan who is back from Canada.  Next weekend the four of us are going to Disneyland to celebrate Dylan’s birthday! We will go by Eurostar, leaving on Saturday morning and returning on Sunday afternoon.

Posted by bigblue on 06/12/2003 at 10:09 PM
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Tuesday, 02 December 2003
la tortue marine

une tortue marine

Continuing the sea theme, here is a turtle from the Brighton Sea Life Centre as requested by Brenda.  One has to feel sorry for these creatures.  It�s all very well that they let the dolphins go, but what about the other animals who are used to large oceans to roam in.  They even have a loggerhead turtle in the main tank. 

About the dolphins: I used the term “let go” figuratively: I doubt that they really freed the dolphins that they used to hold in captivity. They simply don’t keep dolphins any more.  Tessa and I were discussing the turtles’ situation and she reminded me of that film, Turtle Diary (1986).  I told her that I hadn’t seen it, but now I think that I did.  It has mixed reviews, but I think I would agree with the description of it as a “quiet, moving film”.

Ash sent me a link to this news item, concerning fragile national pride, dented by the cultural insensitivity of certain Australians.

Today at lunchtime that solitary protester that I mentioned was standing outside the company across the road again, with his banner

La cantine a Denise.

  I walked over and asked him about it. He said it was a long story that he didn�t have time to explain today, but he gave me a pamphlet: a one sheet document entitled Un trois etoiles a Schweighouse?, signed by Denise et Roland Schoenn .  Schweighouse is a local village next to Haguenau, close to where we work.  He agreed that I can take his photo - he says he is there every Monday at lunchtime.  But he is only there on Mondays because he works every other weekday.  Next week I am working in the UK, but will ask Carles to take a photo of him for me.  I will translate his pamphlet, so I can let you know what this is about.

gogo asked me for some more information about bluemeanie’s school production of Cabaret. Tomorrow…

Posted by bigblue on 02/12/2003 at 02:06 AM
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Monday, 01 December 2003
les hippocampe et une anémone

les hippocampes

I took the photo of les hippocampes and une anémone at the Brighton Aquarium yesterday. According to the spiel at the aquarium this is the oldest aquarium in the world, except now they call it a sea life centre.  The demonstrator who gave our party a tour around the centre is taking a gap year. Next year she intends to commence veterinary studies.

une anémone de mer

This is a picture of une an�mone, from one of the touch pools.  Le os de seiche (cuttlebone) next to the anemone is used as a tool by the demonstrator to taunt the crabs into putting on a display for the visitors.  She also picks them (the crabs) up in her hands and allows the children to touch them.  There are two crabs in that pool - one “friendly” and the other “not friendly” (as the demonstrator put it).  After taking the photo, I put my finger on the anemone and it closed.  As one of Holly’s friends put it, it was “sticky”.

Posted by bigblue on 01/12/2003 at 01:04 AM
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