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Sunday, 20 August 2006
Biddenden Maids


This is the village sign for Biddenden in Kent. The sign (hand-crafted in 1920, and winner of a £50 prize in a competition) depicts two sisters, known as the Biddenden Maids. A notice on the sign states that

Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst the famous twins also known as the Biddenden maids were born in the year 1100 joined together at hips and shoulders. They lived together thus joined for 34 years when one of them was siezed with a fatal illness and died. The other, refusing to be separated, died 6 hours later. By their will they left their property to the poor of Biddenden.

On the reverse side there is another notice, which states:

In commemoration of the Biddenden Maids, an annual distribution of bread and cheese takes place on Easter Monday morning from the old workhouse. Biscuits bearing the impress of the two maids, their names and year of birth, are available at the same time to all who apply: visitor and parishioners.

There’s a stub article about Mary and Eliza at Wikipedia, but it is worth pointing out that much of the story is probably pure local legend.

Posted by bigblue on 20/08/2006 at 09:37 PM
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Saturday, 19 August 2006


I quite like the idea of living in one of these barges on an English canal: hopefully they are not as small, cold and damp as they sometimes appear. OK, let’s be clear: it might make a nice relaxing hidey hole for the occassional weekend break. For nipping over the channel to France, or for mojitos in Havana, I would need something a bit faster and ocean-going. Yes, I saw the movie Miami Vice last week so I know exactly what I’m talking about. The Wikipedia link of the original TV series makes mention of its role in transforming the location in South Beach, Miami. Adam was telling me about this at work too.

Posted by bigblue on 19/08/2006 at 10:31 PM
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Friday, 18 August 2006
Red British Icons

Postbox Telephone Booths

These three red sentries can be found in the centre of Uxbridge, and many other places around the UK. The photograph shows a different angle of the bar/restaurant Baroosh.

Posted by bigblue on 18/08/2006 at 11:36 PM
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Thursday, 17 August 2006
Big Ben

Big Ben in London

This evening after work I drove across London to Covent Garden for a work function - dinner with the big boys of the company at a fancy restaurant. Very pleasant, except that I had to drive home afterwards, something necessitatedby the fact that if I had left my car at work and trained, I would wake up tomorrow morning at home with another long train journey to retrieve my car from work. Fortunately I missed the congestion charge but parking in London is pretty expensive. And I had a one hour drive home after the supper.

Posted by bigblue on 17/08/2006 at 11:59 PM
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Wednesday, 16 August 2006
The Swan and Bottle

The Swan and Bottle in Uxbridge

This is the Swan and Bottle pub in Uxbridge, Greater London.  One can only guess as to the origin of this particular name.

A few us us went here this evening after work to say goodbye to a colleague who is leaving to work for another company. Sometimes when you look around, and consider the companies that one’s various colleagues used to work for, then you wonder if we are on some kind of job merry-go-round.

Posted by bigblue on 16/08/2006 at 10:08 PM
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Tuesday, 15 August 2006
Gas tank in Oxted

Oxted gas tank

This is the landmark gas storage tank in Oxted: the one that is strangely next door to the kindergarten. I believe it is disused and will come down at some stage - hopefully it had already been decommissioned when they put the kindergarten next door.

There has recently been a sharp rise in energy prices, particularly gas and oil. The UK’s North Sea oil fields have already hit peak capacity, and the days of cheap energy (particularly gas) in this country are over.  Now is the time to invest in renewable energy sources.

There has been an interesting economic phenomenon last month: energy prices have risen, but inflation fallen slightly. There are a few theories as to why this is:

I suppose we will have a clearer idea as to what is going on with the economy by the end of the year. As rates have started going up again, it might be a good time to move your mortgage to a deal that is locked in at the (currently) low interest rates for a fixed period.

Posted by bigblue on 15/08/2006 at 09:49 PM
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I took this photograph at Godstone Vineyards on Saturday.  This vineyard is a few hundred metres within the M25 motorway.  Today I spent four hours driving to and from work, mainly along this motorway.

I came home at lunchtime, with the intention of working from home but got held up in a nasty snarl on the M25 which had resulted in total closure of the M25 between Junctions 8 and 7. Following last week’s accident in which four were killed, we had an accident involving a motorcycle and a lorry this morning resulting in the death of the motorcylist

It is worth bearing in mind with the current flight disruptions that last year was a bonanza year for terrorism: 52 people were killed here in the UK.  During the same period, during the same period 3000 people died in road accidents. Hat-tip to Joan Smith, although I guess that the cost of terrorism cannot simplly be counted in human lives.

In other news, summer may now have ended.

Posted by bigblue on 15/08/2006 at 12:06 AM
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Sunday, 13 August 2006
Outage in Oxted


No, this post is not about outage in the gay sense. At some time after 6pm this evening a thunderstorm struck the village of Oxted in Surrey. In St Mary’s Church in Oxted a teenage girl stepped forward in front of the assembled congregation and put her clarinet to her lips. At that moment a bolt of lightning struck a sub-station nearby and the church was plunged into darkness. There was some fumbling about, candles were produced and lit, and the girl continued with her performance.

I had quite a tiring weekend - I spent most of it helping Scarlett with her concert. It was a great success this evening and neither the thunderstorm nor the power outage put a damper on the proceedings. She raised over 300 pounds towards her trip.

Posted by bigblue on 13/08/2006 at 11:08 PM
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