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Europe

Monday, 10 November 2003
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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Monday, 03 November 2003
La Honte des Moutons

cigoyne

I took this picture last year, when bluemeanie and pinkie visited Haguenau. Some of these birds don’t migrate to North Africa any more, because although it gets cold in winter they are very well looked after at the breeding sanctuaries.

Ash tells me that they have finally solved the problem of the ship of sheep.  They are sending the ship to New Zealand and renaming it The Love Boat.

Today the weather cleared up a bit and it is looking pretty mild for the rest of the week.  It’s a pity that it gets dark so early now.

Posted by bigblue on 03/11/2003 at 11:18 PM
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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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Friday, 17 October 2003
du rôti (demain)

Priory Farm mountain boarding

A few weeks ago (when it was still summery) we went to the Priory Farm, had a walk around and watched some heats of a national extreme board competition.

The sport of mountain boarding is described as a cross between skate boarding and snowboarding.  It is certainly not as fast as snowboarding, and a mountain board does not have the same manoeuvrability as a snowboard.  All in all, not quite the same appeal.

I have taken these pictures off a video I took, at one of the main jumps, but not on the main competition slope.

Tomorrow we are going to see Bea Arthur at The Savoy Theatre.  We three meanies went to see it in Cape Town in August at The Theatre on the Bay.  I’m looking forward to see if there are differences between the shows and with the CD, which bluemeanie (who else?) has.  One of the most interesting reviews of the show that I saw was at the blog Zbornak.  See here and here.  The last one has some pictures taken through the window of her dressing room, and some links to two good Bea blog posts.

This is what happened next
Priory Farm mountain boarding

Priory Farm mountain boarding

Priory Farm mountain boarding

Posted by bigblue on 17/10/2003 at 09:45 PM
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Sunday, 12 October 2003
le lit avec les draps satin

brass bed

This picture of dylan and bluemeanie enjoying beezie’s sumptuous bed was taken on 9 September, before dylan left on his busabout.  dylan was reading Our Generation while bluemeanie was reading The Age of Innocence.

Last night bluemeanie, lil blue meanie and I went to brenda and davidm’s for supper. It turns out davidm and alex were on Master Park yesterday when I took that photo.  davidm made a Thai green curry, and I made a fresh pesto. Interesting combination. At one stage we were discussing the Nobel Prize for literature that was awarded to JM Coetzee this week, and holly asked brenda:

Why do you always discuss things that I can’t talk about?

Why indeed?

This morning at church I noticed she was still wearing her fairy dress, and asked her if she had slept in it. She looked at me as if I was an idiot, and said

No, I put it on again this morning.

Tomorrow morning I leave Oxted at 4am for Stanstead Airport. This will get me to Baden-Baden by 9:15am, and to work by 10.  When travelling from the UK, Mondays are a long day.

Anyway I had a wonderful weekend with the girls while their mother was away in Wales.

Posted by bigblue on 12/10/2003 at 07:59 PM
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Saturday, 11 October 2003
Les feuillage jaunissent

Master Park, Oxted

It was a pleasant autumn day in Oxted today. I took this photo on Master Park at about 15:30, facing north towards the church.  lil blue meanie went to a birthday party today - involving bowling and lunch. Afterwards she went to hang out in Master Park with her mates.  I was nagging her about going in warm clothes, etc. but really it was quite warm. It was about 18C at that time.

bluemeanie tells me she has been elected to the Surrey Youth Forum, as a representative of the Tandridge district. I think the forum consists of about 15 - 20 young people from across Surrey. Her first meeting is on Wednesday evening so perhaps we will hear more in due course.

flank sent me the following link which says that Mercury in fish is more dangerous than has recently been reported.  If you read to near the end of the article you will also see an interesting comment on the recent deaths during the heatwave in Europe.  Apparently air pollution is a big factor: this is noticable on a day-to-day, and city-to-city basis.

I spoke to dylan this week while he was in Paris.  He is doing a busabout tour of Europe.  He seems well and is enjoying it. On Thursday he sent a mail from Venice. He says Paris was ok, but got a bit boring after a few days after he had done everything he wanted to. He was raving about his latest stop:

venice however is just about the best place i could be right now and im sure rome will be the same. it is sooooooooooo beautiful here, it actually doesnt feel real walking over bridges and canals and seing the gondalas and being in st marco square with millions of pigeons and the beautiful old buildings and a small orchestra playing classical italian outside a cafe , its too amazing…and the food i cant even describe , but everyone thats been to italy knows

and

just had pistachio and banana ice cream and it was sooooooooooo good. will go on gondala this afternoon. (looking out for the scary little woman in the red rain coat).

I don’t understand this bit about the woman in the red rain coat - perhaps we are watching different movies, because the only one I can think of (the Hannibal Lector one) didn’t have a woman in a red rain coat. Did it?

Posted by bigblue on 11/10/2003 at 08:11 PM
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