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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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Sunday, 30 November 2003
bon anniversaire holly

fish cake

Today we (the parents, the godparents, the brother, Holly, and about 7 of her friends) celebrated her birthday at the Sea Life Centre in Brighton.  I drove two little devils through, and returned with two little angels (one of them being the same person).  The parents and brother made the above cake last night, and brought it with them. It was certainly aquarium weather in the South East of England today - cold and wet.  Then this afternoon, I went to a performance of the South East Surrey Arts Wind Orchestra, with Pinkie performing (excellently). Then this evening was the final� of bluemeanie’s school play, Caberet.  So a very proud day all round.

And I bought nothing today!  (Sorry to all those expecting birthday presents!). 

While on the subject of birthday’s: I missed Kirsten and Tamsin’s on 28th!  This was despite a reminder from their big sis’ and the birthday alarm on my mobile going off at midnight the night before! Well that was probably the cause, as the alarm should have gone off at 9am on 28th itself.  I had better check the upcoming birthdays, because it is not pleasant waking up at that time if you have just fallen asleep.

I came across this really strange story on the internet: “Indian fakir hasn’t eaten or drunk anything for several decades”.  No, it’s not National Enquirer, and it’s not Ananda Marga Publications but the BBC - and they say a hospital is monitoring him - he is 70 and in perfect health, and didn’t eat or drink anything in hospital for 10 days. Most people can only live a few days without liquids.  The story is here. If you look at the second photo of him, it looks like he hasn’t grown very much in 70 years (heh heh!).  Actually, the BBC is a mine of interesting information. For example, if you get past the initial disgust of this article and work your way to the end, you find out that “parasites make up the majority of species on earth”.

Another interesting site I found is Mr Picassohead where you can draw your own Picasso. Give it a go.  They will even email your artwork to you, but beware: I don’t advise this because I saw that the company that developed this “game” is involved in direct-to-consumer email campaigns and online marketing.  Spam no doubt.

Finally, I got to see what this site would look like if I had an Apple Mac.  Courtesy of iCapture.  Seems to work fine!

Posted by bigblue on 30/11/2003 at 12:52 AM
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Saturday, 29 November 2003
postcards from the wardrobe

wardrobe pictures

I took this photo of some postcards on pinkie’s wardrobe. What struck me was how much this nightcrawler of the right hand picture looks like Ross Gellar (actor David Schwimmer) of Friends from the left hand picture. nightcrawler is an X-Man, whose body is covered with tatoos/scars. He is apparently German and religious, although he is a mutant. My information comes from bluemeanie.

This week has flown - it is Friday already, and tomorrow is Holly’s birthday party. In fact this year has flown as it is nearly December. On Monday I heard my first supermarket Christmas Carol (in Auchan in Schweighouse, near to Haguenau).  And it was a Boney M one - so I could award myself double points.  Then I got home to chez Wolff and found my first Christmas card had arrived.  It was from someone who sent me an email, not very long ago, complaining that people are celebrating Christmas too early. She won’t mind that I threw the card in the bin then.

I have to start thinking about Christmas presents. I tend to leave it till the last minute, which ruins Christmas Eve as it introduces too much stress.  Perhaps I will find some things at the Strasbourg Christmas Market, which opens this weekend.  Mewn has posted a photo of last minute preparations here. I am going to see the market for the first time on Tuesday after work - meeting up wtih an ex-colleague for gluwein and a promonade, then perhaps a restaurant somewhere.

My favourite Christmas lights/decorations in Strasbourg are in rue des Hallebardes - Baccarat crystal apparently.  I will try to take a photo of them this year.  The French word hallebarde mean, in English, a halberd, a medieval weapon, as depicted here.

Posted by bigblue on 29/11/2003 at 12:08 AM
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Monday, 24 November 2003
Never mess with a wizard

St Mary's graveyard

The above photo shows what a church graveyard looks like in the middle of the night. I didn’t take it in the middle of the night, but when I fetched bluemeanie from choir practice one evening, at 8pm.

Last week, I mentioned that I ordered the Two Towers extended DVD set. I will watch this before The Return of the King is released this December. As we all know, director Peter Jackson cut some bits out of Tolkien’s books (e.g. Tom Bombadil), and added some characters of his own. Well, the extended version has Denethor, who was missing from the theatrical version (seige of Gondor).

I also recently read that the actor Christopher Lee (Saruman in the movie) is complaining that he was cut from the third movie.  This is inexplicable, as Lee says.  If Saruman doesn’t appear in this movie, then does that mean that the end where the Hobbits rescue the shire is cut? Will we not have a Worm Tongue killing the fallen wizard? Tolkien’s final book returns to the Shire, and the hobbits, where the whole journey began.  As we have seen in the previous two films, director Peter Jackson has turned the story into a bit of an action flick.  I suspect that in the theatrical version of the final film he will continue with this theme and over-focus on Aragorn.  If so, we will have to wait for the next extended DVD set in order to view Tolkien’s ending.

At lunchtime (during our promonade around the car park) we noticed a solitary demonstrator across the road (outside the company opposite). He was holding a banner which read: La Cantine a Denise. I popped off for my camera, but when I returned he had gone. What are we to make of this?

Posted by bigblue on 24/11/2003 at 07:59 PM
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Sunday, 23 November 2003
Before study (Oxted)

Oxted High Street

I took the above picture a while back in the Oxted High Street (Station Road East). It is a “before” study (in Christmas lights).

Today it’s a bon anniversaire to Alex who turns 14. I phoned him this afternoon to wish him a great birthday (I’ll see him next week to give the present, and wish him properly).

I have decided to award the prizes for the halloween caption competition and the winners are: bluemeanie and africanwmn. Surprise gifts are on their way to both of you.

Not much going on here. It’s wet. At least it is not too cold. According to the weather report it is 6 degrees in Oxted (but “feels like 4”). As they get their data from Biggin Hill airport, it is out a bit on the temperatures!  But notice how they predict rain every day now until Monday 1 December! bluemeanie is at rehersals the whole day today. The play is on this week. I will see it on Saturday evening, the finalé.

Posted by bigblue on 23/11/2003 at 04:56 PM
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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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