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Thursday, 10 November 2005
Let the sun shine

blue sky and clouds

This is photo I took at midday yesterday. It is impossible to see blue skies either before or after work, as the sun is currently rising at 7:20 and setting at 16:20.  The scene is a local building site, which has a layer of water from the recent heavy rains. When I entered the field to take the photograph a flock of seagulls alighted from the water and flew off. I always find it remarkable that these

pests

birds can be found in such numbers in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, because despite the popular wartime song this is probably the farthest point from the sea of anywhere in England.

There is a brief and somewhat favourable report of Ashby-de-la-Zouch at the Wikipedia (I promise I had no hand in this) and a less-favourable but far more entertaining report at The King of Wales (I had no hand in this either).  Another funny site giving information about Ashby is It’s better tinned than fresh.

A well-known fact about Ashby (apparently - bluemeanie pointed this out to me recently) is that it is the home town of Adrian Mole
.

Posted by bigblue on 10/11/2005 at 10:38 PM
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Wednesday, 09 November 2005
Estate agents are not always truthful

truly impressive

The wording on the for sale sign above caught my attention today. Below the standard estate agent poster another strip has been tacked on containing the following words, in red type:

A truly impressive development of apartments, new builds and conversions

In a sense these words imply that the adjective impressive is not always honestly used.

Tomorrow I am considering another ground breaking headline: Birds fly.  I should also add that I have had some dealings in the past with the company responsible for this poster and I am not trying to imply that they are untruthful. I have no knowledge of that.

Talking of people who are not known for their honesty, our Prime Minister lost a vote in Parliament today as 49 of his own MPs rebelled against his attempt to introduce draconian anti-terror legislation.  He argued that the country was behind him, and the Sun Newspaper was his main cheerleader. Yesterday the Sun trumpeted

TORIES out to wreck Tony Blair’s crackdown on terrorists were in turmoil last night - as The Sun’s army of readers rallied behind the PM. A whopping 100,000 of you phoned our hotline to DEMAND 90 days’ detention for terror suspects. Thousands more of you went online - blitzing MPs with emails to SHAME them into backing Mr Blair in tonight’s crunch Commons vote. As you made your voices heard in near-record numbers, senior Tories began to buckle - and Labour rebels started drifting back to the Government side. We urge you to keep the pressure up by phoning the number above. The sensational show of Sun reader power instantly turned the tide in favour of Mr Blair.

Bloggerheads unpacked this cobblers in the following interesting article 97% of Sun readers do not support Blair’s 90-day detention plan.

Edit: Oops, I forgot that my dear friend is an estate agent and that it is not a good idea to generalise. Apologies to Brends!

Posted by bigblue on 09/11/2005 at 11:56 PM
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Tuesday, 08 November 2005
Giclée Prints

image

The above photograph is of Printworks an exhibition of fine art giclée prints by Kim Lane at the Glass Café of the Grace Barrand Design Centre.

According to the brochure I picked up at the exhibition

A Giclée print is a Fine Art reprographic process using the latest digital technology archival quality papers, canvas and inks tested to surpass Fine Art Trade Guild standards. Thus producing the best quality reproduction in print currently available.

Prices for the limited edition of 200 prints on canvas are £260 each, and on paper are £95 each.  My first thoughts were that this seems a tad expensive, for what is essentially an ink-jet print, albeit with artists inks, on artist paper (or canvas) and using a special printer.

Posted by bigblue on 08/11/2005 at 11:59 PM
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Monday, 07 November 2005
Fireworks

fireworks

Here is one of my firework photographs, from Bonfire Night on Saturday.

Meanwhile France enters its twelfth bonfire night with no let-up in sight.  The BBC’s John Simpson says the violence in France is exposing the weaknesses in France’s political leadership, and the BBC reports on differences in the blogosphere over the unrest. At the moment I am attracted to the dispassionate reporting (and even humour) over on the English version of the Parisist blog.

Posted by bigblue on 07/11/2005 at 11:11 PM
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Sunday, 06 November 2005
Richmond

Wagamama Richmond

Last night Bluemeanie and I dropped Pinkie and her mates at a murder mystery party in Ashford and then went on to Richmond for supper. We dined at Wagamama’s (pictured above). After eating we went for a windy walk down on the Thames, from where we caught glimpses of fireworks across the river and caught the fancy of a bevy of swans. Bluemeanie dozed off on the way back and fortunately didn’t notice that the journey back to Ashford was (unintentionally) twice as long as the outbound one.

There was an amazing array of fireworks all along our journey last night. Unfortunately none of my photos were particularly good, but there are some good ones on flikr. I particularly like Annie Mole’s from Ravenscourt Park, West London.  (Annie Mole is responsible for the very entertaining London Underground Blog).  Also recommended are Merialc’s from Kensington Castle.

Posted by bigblue on 06/11/2005 at 11:53 PM
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Saturday, 05 November 2005
Terrorist plot

Guy Fawkes house

The above photograph is of the Guy Fawkes Free House (public house) in York, birthplace of the celebrated terrorist Guy Fawkes in 1570. 

Today is the 400th anniversary of the gunpowder plot, carried out by a group of Catholic conspirators (including Fawkes) who attempted to assassinate King James I of England and King James VI of Scotland (being the same person), and the English Parliament and House of Lords during the opening session of Parliament in 1605.

Posted by bigblue on 05/11/2005 at 11:31 PM
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Friday, 04 November 2005
Traffic

traffic

This afternoon I spent over three hours behind the wheel. My favourite way of monitoring the traffic conditions ahead of me is by phoning the AA roadwatch service before coming up to a place where I have an alternative route. Often an accident occurs ahead of me after I have departed from my starting point, so it is not feasible to simply rely on conditions at the time of departure.

However there are a few internet sites worth checking for live traffic conditions, depending on the nature of your journey.

There is the Highways Agency which can forecast conditions for a particular date and can be used to see the CCTV traffic pictures (in Bristol only).  They are also responsible for Traffic Map.

The AA and the RAC also purport to give live traffic news for England.

Traffic Master is a commercial site with much of the same information.

As far as the provinces go the situation gets a bit confusing:

For those in the North, the Scottish Executive provides a service called NADICS (National Driver Information and Control System).

For those in the West, the Welsh Assembly provides the more humble-sounding Traffic Wales traffic information service.

Across the Irish Sea we have the Traffic Watch Northern Ireland provided by an agency within the Department for Regional Development (four CCTV traffic pictures in Belfast available online).

With a tip of the hat to Ian at work and to Roy’s Journal.

Posted by bigblue on 04/11/2005 at 11:21 PM
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Thursday, 03 November 2005
The kettle is black

greengrocer signs

I was recently feeling bad about the numerous spelling mistakes in this blog, but today I walked past the greengrocer in Ashby-de-la-Zouch and am feeling somewhat smug again.

In a similar vein, the editor of the Sun Rebekah Wade was arrested earlier today for assaulting her husband. Under her leadership the Sun newspaper has run a campaign against domestic violence. And just under a month ago Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that

There is no justification for Iran or any other country interfering in Iraq

Posted by bigblue on 03/11/2005 at 11:20 PM
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