Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Thought provoking

I hooked into a stream of blogs written by police officers here in the UK, I've added one to the blog roll. I found them all fascinating; stories of the job and the paperwork and the people and the buzz. This post made me think - on one side the latter parts read like a glorification of violence but I also know that there are times when this direct approach is all that works (I haven't always worked in education - I've given people a tap when it was the appropriate way of sorting a situation which might have gone sideways in a heap). Others are poorly written rants against a system we all face in whatever job we do - sorry folks, that's life! Check out this one - a blog stopped by the bosses and this one is about getting kitted up and walking the beat. I think this post should be required reading for everyone who suffers an crime and this one made me laugh out loud.

And then I hit the Police National Memorial and that made me stop. Here are people who we know work in a dangerous environment, many of them face danger daily when they get a call to a pub fight or a domestic situation but look at how many died in road accidents whilst dealing with traffic accidents or responding to emergency calls. That's when I went and signed the petition for Stephen Oakes. DC Oakes was stabbed during a raid in Manchester and died of his injuries, he entered the flat where Kamel Bourgass had already attacked another policeman. Bourgass was used as a political football, he was found guilty and is now serving a life sentence, the Tories suggested that his presence in the UK was a direct result of the UK's screwed up asylum system and while this was happening the government turned down an appeal that Oakes be awarded the George Cross for his actions. Is the George Cross appropriate? I don't know.

I do know that reading those blogs has made me think about my own views and try to assess where I sit in the coarse topography of sentiment - it seems I'm probably a bleeding heart liberal with right wing leanings, sheesh - that's complicated innit? I'm also sure that awarding Oakes the George Cross sends a signal to all those in the police service that they have wider support and that it's not all "Fort Apache - The Bronx". I know some police officers and they are the nicest people you could ever meet, and I know some who shouldn't be allowed out with civil folks - that shouldn't surprise anyone who doesn't live in a bubble believing that the world is made up of polar opposites and if you want to tell HMG that they should reconsider the refusal to award Oakes the GC the petition is on the Government's petitions site.

Monday, 25 December 2006

Tough stuff

Time for some tough decisions but I guess that's what sorts the men from the boys.

The family have been and having dined on fowl from the East (I bought it in Whitfield which is about 8 miles east of here) and choice tubers they have departed. I was the only one drinking and we all went to The Mermaid where I enjoyed a festive pint and I'm just finished a very agreeable claret. I cooked enough spuds but there are none left for bubble & squeak which is a bit of a bugger but not the biggest deal I've ever dealt with.

The kitchen looks like a bomb has exploded and I have enough washing up for a week or so.
How will our hero deal with all this? Easy really - I've closed the blind in the kitchen so anyone walking past won't worry that the house has been ransacked.

The only decision left to make is whether to hit the Port now or open another bottle of red first - it's a tough old world at times isn't it?
I hope your day has been equally fantabulous.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Nearly there..

Almost ready to celebrate the feast of feasting. The sprouts are nearly cooked - I put them on early this year, mid-August, as starting them in September as I did last year meant they were a wee bit crunchier than enjoyed by the British palate. Chesnuts in the oven ready for the traditional juggling while trying to peel them hot, still have 20lbs of potatoes to peel and also sweet potatoes and carrots and broccoli and turnips (they'll be roasted with honey). Got a turkey crown so I won't be putting that in brine and the decorations are ready to go up and the presents are ready to wrap.

All that remains is to wish everyone a happy day, whatever you celebrate, and I hope it's peaceful and calm.

Web 2

You know it makes sense! Web 2 will change how we work and here's an advent calendar with goodies!

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Real people "in world"

Some of you may know that I've been exploring Second Life. It's part work and part because I'm curious about all sorts of social networking and SL looks like the big kid on the block right now. And I'm not alone - in amongst the million or so people already "in world" there have been visits from celebs. Now I'm not talking about Boyzone or Bruce Forsyth but real people who are important. That includes folk like Larry Lessig. Check out the full story on New World Notes - including photos of the people and their avs.


Spotted this on Memex (Thanks John!). It's a guy playing Pachelbel's Canon in D Major on an electric guitar. It's absolutely awesome.

Classic game

Here it is!

Thursday, 21 December 2006

And another Christmas wish

Elsewhere I've been involved in a discussion about the best Christmas song. For me it doesn't happen without this one:

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

For those expecting cards

This year I'll be giving to the Salvation Army rather than sending paper and paying Hallmark and Woolworths and the Post Office to do it.


So Jemma and I are just back from the carol singing. I invested a fiver in the Christmas draw and we return victorious! There were 140 prizes and I guess the highlights were the CD player or the electronic keyboard but I'm now the proud possessor of a box of wine. Now this is a technology of which I am aware but I haven't previously used. According to the instructions it holds 3 litres at 12% and once opened must be consumed within a few hours (my glasses steamed up over the later parts of the instructions so I may have misread it). I'm hoping 3 litres of wine will see me through the tricky period between The Mermaid closing at 14:00 on Cristmas Day and then not reopening until midday on Boxing Day.

As if that wasn't enough we also won a Marks & Spencers "Cheese board selection", no board involved but loads of lovely cheese with exciting names (although Dervla Kerwin in the flesh would have worked even better! (She does the voice-overs for those who are confused (and this won't make sense for those outside the ITV area))) - Jemma is a vegetarian so that's her Christmas lunch done and dusted!


Tonight is the annual carol singing in The Mermaid! I'm sure you all remember last year when I tried the mulled cider? If anyone can make it we'll be starting at 20:00 around the tree.

While looking for that post I saw another with photo of the fireplace. Sad to say nothing has changed, the candles are burnt down and there are some different ones. More photos of the children and different logs in the basket but otherwise no change - and it's probably even the same dust!

Sunday, 17 December 2006


George sent me this. It's a webcam in Fuessen, a lovely town in Bavaria - famous for being near Schloss Neuschwanstein. Check it out and see if you spot something unexpected?


So who shifted Nottingham so far north???

Got the train at 06:17 (after running for it as it was in the station while I was buying the ticket) and then crossed London on the packed tube and grabbed another train at St Pancras (Patron saint of livers) and then another at Grantham - famously voted the most boring town in England and the birthplace of Maggie. Three and a bit hours of really useful meeting and then headed back home.

Train from Nottingham to London died outside Bedford so when it limped into Beds we were all turfed off and told to take the next train - anyone surprised that it was full? 40 minutes standing in very close proximity (any closer and we'd have had to marry) to a guy with a limited grasp of English (it was all F*** this and f*** that and trying to get his lady to go in the toilet for a f***) was great prep for hitting the tube at rush hour. Got home at 20:30 fully fried.

No punchline - just a good day surrounded by 10 hours of travel which was less than useful. I don't want sympathy, just throw money! :-)

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Tres bien excellent!

Got me results and I've now got (subject to graduating in absentia at the end of the month) a Master of Education degree! Am I celebrating tonight? Well no - I'm actually completing an assignment and heading for bed as I've got to get to Nottingham tomorrow but I may crack a beer or two over the wekend :-)

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Mr White?

"Mr White? We need to talk!"
If you've seen the film you'll know what that refers to - if you haven't then you have a treat to come.

Calum and I went to the pictures, last time I saw a film on the big screen the acting people didn't speak but there was a jolly nice chap in the corner of the cinema playing the piano to make things more exciting as the girl was tied to the railway line and the baddie twirled his moustache. Imagine my surprise to find that not only do people speak but their lips move in time to the talking! Imagine also my shock to find that our small selection of pick & mix plus a couple of colas cost in excess of GBP14! The tickets were only GBP12.
Damn fine film, high octane, non-stop, lots of twists and action all the way. Enjoyed it greatly.

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

It's nearly Christmas

So it's time for me to post a link to a post I posted last December.

Festive fun for everyone

Except children I guess! Watch out for the rail tracks - I think the game play is probably intuitive.

No comment


Having a chilled day. I'm working at home but I haven't bothered getting dressed yet. Wandering around grabbing cups of tea and pieces of toast and getting crumbs on the keyboard and generally relaxing. The London gig finished on Monday and the projects will start arriving soon, one is already on the web and it's impressive. As the world slows down for the festive season this tasty breakfast snack caught my eye.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Where I am now

Slack blogging or what? Sorry, mea culpa! Right now I'm finishing some work which has to be done in 8 hours time and I'm busier than a one-armed paperhanger. Reason for post (and this won't mean anything outside those parts of the English speaking world which retain some REAL culture):

Aggers and Boycs
Hoggard to Langer
Summer will never be the same again
A real sporting event - possibly the biggest in the developed world

I hope you are all behaving nicely, recent events in my world include a couple of sessions talking to students studying Animal Management (?), more of the New Media stuff in London, getting a contract on a new job (couple of days a week), starting to study a level 1 (UG) course, starting to teach on the October starts on two undergrad course and generally enjoying life!

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Monday, 6 November 2006

Whoops again!

Look, I'm sorry I haven't been around but one thing bashes into another and I'm "time poor" (love that term because it's so naff!) Quick skim over the news. Saddam has been found guilty just in time for the mid-term elections in the States. I'd guess that Bush asked for the Second Coming but Rumsfeld, Cheney and Halliburton couldn't get it arranged in time. It also seems that everyone who has ever dissed gay unions is being popped out of the closet so things are tricky in the US. Here life goes on and the coronation of Brown looks to be going well, the leadership candidates having parted like the Red Sea. Of course there is one fly in the ointment and it's good to see that Hilary is carrying on the family tradition of being both obnoxious and right at inopportune moments. As yet Blair hasn't commented on the Saddam verdict, Beckett managed to support the outcome without mentioning the sentence while Hague managed to stop cheering long enough to support hanging and avoided suggesting that the death penalty might be a better solution to the UK's problems than ASBOs. Menzies Campbell actually made most sense when he questioned the value of making Saddam a martyr but who listens to the Liberals? I'm going to be absent again as I am working a 19 day fortnight - don't ask, it's just that it's often difficult to say "no" when people offer contracts.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

New light through old windows

Started a new gig. Very exciting! I'm doing ten weeks with a group of third year undergrads at LCC and we're talking about new media. For those who don't know about "new media" this includes - blogging. I suppose I'm slightly surprised because I'm an old bloke who blogs yet I think the web (and the net) is "old" media as I've lived here for so long.

Anyways. I found a piece about Internet censorship and I thought you guys may be interested. It's written by a bloke who is an associate professor of such things in the Department of Economics at the University of Texas at Arlington. So I guess we should take some notice but I'm afraid it simply supported what I already thought:
It is found that those with kids, who are married, who are older, who use the internet for religious content, who work in the public sector, and who think pornography or privacy are the predominant issue concerning the Internet tend to favor Internet censorship. On the other hand, those who are male, live in urban environs, use the Internet for political content, have more Internet experience, are more comfortable on the Internet, work in information industries, and who feel government regulation or censorship is the most important issue concerning the Internet tend to be against Internet censorship.
I'm a bloke and I use the Internet and I've worked in the information industries and I'm not at all comfortable with the bunch of numpties we elected last time round.............

Serious point - "What the net will become is still, in large part, up to us" - that's the last line in "The Virtual Community" (2000) by Howard

Monday, 2 October 2006



Final work has gone (ECA to those who know) and the courses I work on start this week and next but I feel flat. I'm cool, I'm not looking for sympathy but wondering if anyone else feels like this after the final bit of a course? I've felt exhausted after exam but this is different, first electronically submitted paper - the others were real paper with all the physical exertion and finality of printing and delivering but this feels somehow incomplete.


Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Elvis has left the building!

Finished! Nine months slog all came to a slight anti-clomax at 10:19 this morning when I submitted the final assignment on this year's course. I even had 101 minutes to spare! Worked late last night and early this morning trying to shoehorn in all the stuff that had suddenly seemed important and stripping out the padding and gumph and then waved it a sad farewell. Normal blogging might have a better chance of happening now that this is out of the way.

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Talk like a pirate

Word is that it's "Talk like a pirate" day today and given all we know about pirates and global warming I think it's the very least we can do isn't it?

I was going to link to a page that had all sorts of pirate phrases but whoever maintains the site has learnt about clever stuff on right-clicks and I hate being treated like a 5 year old so that's not a link I'll be using - he should go out and find out about the Internet and girls and beer rather than sitting at home messing with silly coding stuff that we can all do but chose not to!

And then I find that the link TRT posted is broken! Avast there me hearties this ain't like it was in the good old days of scurvy and rickets!

Check out the world beating prize compo that TRT is running while I grab a beer and reflect on reflection.

Sunday, 17 September 2006

My name in lights

I write the occasional book review for FirstMonday and the latest is now online - am I famous yet?

Friday, 15 September 2006


This piece is loaded with interesting stuff, not least a photo which shows that the current education secretary must have been hit rather robustly with the ugly stick before that shot was taken. Those in traditional education might look at this with some concern. Others amongst us are far more relaxed and can't understand why it's taken so long to get round to this way of thinking.

The death of Tomorrow's World?

Raymond Baxter has died at the age of 84. Baxter had one of the jobs many of us would have loved, introducing new technologies, and a past some of us grew up dreaming about - he flew Spitfires.

To those of us of a certain age his voice was part of growing up.

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Art fer art's sake!

In a desperate attempt to motivate myself to complete and submit the last bit of work on my current course I've registered for a short course as a "treat". And it's an Arts course!!!! "Perspectives on Leonardo da Vinci" is the rascal and the intro reads
Painter, sculptor, musician, poet, architect, engineer, geologist, anatomist, botanist, physiologist, astronomer, philosopher - this course looks at Leonardo da Vinci, an adventurous polymath. It is a multidisciplinary course with contributions from arts, technology, science and maths and computing, and therefore offers a window on study in a wide range of study areas. Leonardo will be examined as inventor, artist and scientist, and in the historical context of Renaissance Italy.

Friday, 8 September 2006

Living history

Love this! Real living history and real heroes in an age which believes that fame is the route to wealth and working hard is something that only idiots might do.
It has taken 10 years and about 60 volunteers to rebuild piece-by-piece a replica of the Turing Bombe - the vital machine which cracked the Nazis' Enigma Code.

Widow Ruth Bourne, 80, had to wait until the 1970s before she could reveal to her husband Stephen Bentall what she had been up to during the war.
There is a clear link, a solid relationship, between the work there and the tool you are using to collect and read this message - and possibly the language you are reading it in too!

Sunday, 3 September 2006

I went on this

The Guys went on four times each except one chap who'd had enough at three so I took his go. This shot is part of the down bit taken from the ride up. It was great fun and they were disappointed that I didn't arrive at the bottom a shivering, screaming wreck :-)
Clicking the track photo should open a bigger version.

Birthday boy

Wicked wikis

Followed this link from the lobster's blog. The stuff below is from an early revision of a DEFRA wiki. I'd guess that the DEFRA admin guys are going to be a tad busy.

To deliver the environmental contract, we believe policy-makers need to use a range of different approaches and tools.

These tools need to:

  • Remove the Thames barrier and put in place a row of coracles
  • Create the right incentive frameworks to shape individual choices
  • Communicate and engage with people effectively
  • Utilise simpilisitude to congruate philiteens
  • Show that government practises what it preaches

Tools that remove barriers include:

  • Providing simple, trustworthy and timely hen attacks.
  • Offering convenient and well targeted personal advice and support for action.
  • Providing essential infrastructure
  • Equipping people with necessary skills
  • Hammer

Tools that create the right incentive frameworks include:

  • Environmental taxes and charges
  • Grant schemes for working towards environmental targets
  • Emissions trading schemes and other market based incentive schemes
  • Product standard regulations -- and a clear forward path
  • Voluntary and negotiated agreements
  • removal of subsidies to environmentally unfriendly behaviour
  • Big Stick
  • Owl magnet

Tools that communicate and engage with people effectively include:

  • Viral marketing
  • Working through NGOs and community based organisations
  • Well targeted advertising campaigns

Tools that show that government practises what it preaches include:

  • Sustainable public procurement
  • Politicians modelling good environmental behaviours such as using public transport rather than ministerial Jaguars, not visiting remote locations purely for PR (such as flying themselves and a load of journalists around the world to look at melting glaciers) etc.
  • Setting high sustainability standards when disposing of land for development
  • Adequate funding for information, advice and support services
  • A clear framework for assessing and improving the sustainability performance of local and central Government
  • Tony Blair mask
  • Full Tony Blair outfit
  • Hammer

Saturday, 2 September 2006


Cal's birthday tomorrow so last night he stayed over and we had a Chinese. Today we've done some boyz stuff. It's cool being a boy at times!

Proud to be a Brit

Some things just fill your heart with pride don't they?

Pride in coming from a country famous for tolerance, a country where all are given an opportunity to flourish, a country where healthcare and general education are free. And then you read crap like this!

I've included the photo (owned by Roger Donovan/PA) so that I'm continuing the religious theme and also so that you can see the face of bigotry in the 21st century. The clown in the fancy dress is a religious zealot called Conti and he belongs to one of the Christian sects. Of course his beliefs are mirrored by many imams so it's good to see at least some agreement between two of the groups who preach peace and love as an excuse for war and hatred. The sect he belongs to is also famously reviled for the number of sexual abuse charges levelled against its clergy around the world. From Boston, US and Scotland as well as further afield legal action has been brought against the group Conti speaks for. I really don't believe he can claim any moral ground from which to comment on the behaviour of others - do you? And even if he does make such a claim were he saying this stuff in the name of some of the other sects in this country he would be facing even more vilification. Conti "has previous" when it comes to gay rights.

Friday, 1 September 2006

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to my aging friend in Bavaria - he's lucky enough to have a young and beautiful wife to look after him as he enters his twilight years :-)

For those with an assignment or revision to be working on - check this out and thank LE2

Thursday, 31 August 2006


Had another day in Canterbury while the garage had the car. They couldn't do the work it was in for because, after spending three hours taking it apart, they found they didn't have the tool they needed to do the task.

Photo taken with the phone - it's a group of monks from the US visiting Canterbury Cathedral.

Just in case.......


Couple of things that have come up today.

Firstly the word is that the photo of me wearing the robe isn't as good as the older one with the red tee shirt so I'll change back to that (it's 20 years old now but flattering...........)

OU people might like to pick up on a discussion about democracy in OUSA that's happening in OUSA Consultation on FC. Sorry for those excluded from this discussion but that's just the bad person I can be at times! :-)

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

This is a new post

This is from the OU Regional Office at East Grinstead

Tuesday, 29 August 2006


Those of us old enough to be able to name both of The Flowerpotmen and also the love interest will know that life is too short for many things and faffing around finding all the bits and pieces needed to tax the car is one of them. Not any more! The tax runs out on 31/08 and the MOT is due early next month. The MOT is booked but because mechanics have a weird sense of humour I now find that there is a one day job that needs doing before the MOT and they only chose to mention this when I rang to book the MOT. Grrrr!

Anyway - now that we live in the wired world it is the work of a moment to plug in the reference number for the new licence and the web site rushes off and checks that the car has a valid MOT certificate and that I have insurance to drive the car and, satisfied that both are in place, it takes my money and I'm promised the tax disc in 5 working days!

BTW - Bill and Ben and Little Weed.

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

The other ones.........

As promised - "Cows with guns" and "The ebay song". I think there is probably a new genre that should be included in the pop charts now that they include downloads, I'd bet good money (but not mine of course) that the ebay song is up there with the Snow Monkeys or Arctic Patrol or any of these other young pop combos.

Monday, 21 August 2006

You have to be special

to have a special marker on your car when you go back to the car park! Yes I stuck the pod on top but that's not special in Cornwall during the summer so having a gull following you around and perching on top of your car whenever you park is really important!

Yes! The children are mine and so is the car and the roof-box. The gull probably claims no master but Falmouth town council take the money for the car park.

Are you alive?

Get to the end of this without moving your foot and/or hand and/or shoulder and you are probably, clinically dead.

Sunday, 20 August 2006


There are 4 Tate galleries in England and this is where one of them is located (it's actually on the other side of the headland). Lovely place and the best way to get there is to park and ride using the train from Lelant Saltings - it runs along the estuary of the river Hayle with lovely views. GBP8 for parking and train travel is a great deal in comparison with parking in the town (which is usually full!)


I don't suppose this will mean much to those outside the UK but this is The Eden Project. Built in a disused quarry the details of the project are here. Anyone who gets a chance to go I'd thoroughly recommend it - a fantastic place!

Saturday, 19 August 2006


...............we don't need words. I took a load of shots like this - we spent two evenings watching the sun go down from above Fistral beach in Newquay.


Drove back from Cornwall today - five hours to get to Bristol from Newquay and then 2.5 hours from there to Maidstone! On a nadgery lane in Devon we were following a very large camper van which had a little car on a towing bracket, probably to use to get into town as the camper wasn't of the size that you'd want to take into most West Country villages! Anyway - on one particular bend they ran a litte wide, the towed car ran up the bank and tipped over. The driver of the camper carried on blissfully unaware that his "runaround" was blocking the road. Nobody was hurt so those of us held up by the obstruction rolled it back onto the round rubbery things and bounced it out of the way. Photo taken by Jemma and the second shot shows one of the shirts (with me in it!) as we surveyed the wreckage prior to rolling it out of the way.

Wednesday, 2 August 2006


Popped into a shop in Canterbury and found some Nepalise shirts. Cheese-cloth, long sleeves, really cool in this weather. They are lovely and cheap! Invested in 4 and they really suit my "born again" hippy lifestyle. And they are sooooooooooo comfy!


Took the old router back, no replacment but they had a better lump of kit for only 30GBP more. Bit of haggling and so forth and paid 3GBP more (ex-30% discount) so I'm online (with broadband) again!

Monday, 31 July 2006


Sorry been quiet - technical issues! I'm on dial-up ATM because the broadband connection has died - again! It was fine when I got back last week (a few days working away) and disappeared folloing heavy rain on Friday! Grrrr!

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Heavy handed plod again

Remember the stories about pensioners being harassed by the police over unpaid council tax? Well the police are at it again. This time the victim is an elderly chap accused of nothing more then offering peerages for some "under the counter" money to support the Labour party. When one of the donors was honest enough, when completing his application for a seat in the House of Lords, to tick the "Yes" box next to "Have you given a quarter of a million quid to the party supporting your application?" this poor old cove rushed round and helpfully suggested that such an admission was not needed.

Of course Lord Levy has a few bob and is now out on bail so I don't suppose we'll see him carted off to see the magistrates just yet but surely the police could be out hassling the real crooks - those who haven't paid the taxes imposed by the very people he is raising money to support.

Iain Dale's Diary

You'll notice that I'm bigging up Iain Dale's blog. The reason is simple - he writes well and looks to have an inside track on what is happening in the Westminster village right now and there is so much going down that it's useful having someone highlighting the bigger tidbits!

Crime and punishment

So now I'm confused. It appears that if I commit a crime in this country I should expect to get my collar felt and carted off to the assizes (but not Bow Street) where I will have my fortune told and, if it's deemed serious enough, I'll be indicted and sent to Crown Court and from there I'll enjoy a stretch at HM's pleasure in one of the increasingly over-crowded facilities run for the sole purpose of keeping miscreants out of circulation. There is a whole separate post about who we do or don't lock up and what we do or don't do with them once there but that's for another day.

As a process this looks okay until I do something to upset Uncle Sam, if I spit on a Ford or use the stars and stripes to light a Marlboro, in which case it seems that I can be extradited (is this in any way link to rendition I wonder?) and held - in a US jail - for up to two years without facing trial. Don't forget that the freedom loving US of A still has a number of people banged up on Cuba some four years after capture and has still to raise charges in a court of law, only this week it was finally agreed that they were subject to the Geneva Convention. So the Natwest Three are believed to have committed financial crimes against their employers (Greenwich Natwest , London) but because a co-defendent is also linked to Enron they are being dragged to Texas tomorrow (Thursday). They are going under the terms of a treaty between the UK and the US which was drawn up to combat terrorism and reduces the burden of proof when asking that a suspect is handed over for trial. The UK has ratified this treaty but our allies across the water, the ones with the rather less than shiny record on human rights of late, haven't.

These three men each made, after tax, 900,000 quid on the strength of the financial transactions and claim that when they heard about the Enron crash they went to the financial authorities and told them about their dealings, perhaps as a smoke-screen or perhaps because they didn't break UK law but whichever it is they are now being taken from the jurisdiction of the country where the alleged offences took place to placate the ongoing Bush/Blair concord. It stinks and I'm not alone in this view - read Iain Dale, Civitas, Liddell in The Sunday Times;
When it came to alleged IRA terrorists, the US judiciary worried that those people we wished to extradite might not receive due process in the British courts, what with us being imperialists and racists. So here's a question: do you think British citizens whom the US believes to be members of Al-Qaeda will get a fair trial in the US? In the state of Texas, which was devastated by the Enron implosion, will there be a fair trial for Messrs Bermingham, Darby and Mulgrew?
As the law stands anyone - "terrorist" or not - can be whisked away to stand trial in the US so be careful who you upset and keep an eye on this and other laws as they get rolled out by Governor Blair.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Two billion quid anyone?

No real surprise that the government has finally woken up to the idea that we really don't have any option but nuclear for power generation. However much people wring their hands over the risks and uncertainty of waste disposal and the desire for renewables the UK is going to be reliant on as many hamsters as we can get into those little wheels unless some investment is made in building power stations. Of course the discussion then revolves around what type to build but the cost of coal and gas is rising and we rely on other countries for both - not a good place to be as was shown when gas prices from Europe were suddenly increased and also when Russia and Ukraine fell out over a bill.

The key part now, of course, will be how successive administrations address the issue of developing energy from renewable sources - something the UK lead the field in until the ill-fated NFFO which was designed to support renewables but, because nuclear is also a non-fossil fuel, supported nuclear power generation.

This country hits the wall in 2023 with regards to power - we need new provision up and running by then, it's when the current nuclear stations will go end of life and they currently provide 20% of our power - and the amount of power needed will only increase because turning equipment off at night won't save enough power to make up for the house building boom.


How cool is this? It's not just your simple "add a flag" - quikmaps allow scribbles and notes and offer images rather than street maps if that's more appropriate. Blame Methel for sending me off on this one!

Monday, 10 July 2006

Golden oldies

I'm not usually a fan of reruns or old stuff being rehashed but this looks like a winner! From the same site - the new system of threat level is revealed, don't go there if easily frightened or offended.

The footy is over and the climax was totally unrelated to football and all to do with thuggery but thankfully it didn't feature English players or English fans. Whatever excuse Zidane rolls out I'm afraid I find it hard to believe it can be used to justify an assault. Anyway, on Memex I found a link to some fantastic portraits of footballers - wonderful stuff.

That's me for now - Test Match starts Thursday :-)

[Current sounds: Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan, "Highway 61 Revisited [Remastered]"]

Sunday, 9 July 2006


Feeling German this evening - not sure why but It may have something to do with some sort of 3 to 1 occurrence.


Not mentioned The Mermaid for a while so I thought I'd big it up as The Mermaid is a super pub. You might have missed the post about it being redecced and now having a large non-smoking room as well as an outstanding range of cask conditioned beers and palatable lagers.The beer garden is beautiful but can get busy at weekends so arrive early to make sure you find a table and well cooked but sensibly priced food is available at lunchtimes Monday to Saturday. Always a warm welcome at The Mermaid.

Hopefully Jackie will let me have photos of the redevelopment work so that I can update The Mermaid page on the website but in the interim you can always get your lazy butts down to The Mermaid and enjoy a traditional, friendly, country pub the likes of which is sadly disappearing in this age of bland commercialism.

Monday, 3 July 2006


Playing with w.bloggar again and the "Insert stuff about what you are playing in Windows Media Player" intrigued me so that's why you may get a wee bit about what I'm listening to every now and again. As a piece of information it's probably as boring as stamp collecting but I like the idea of these connections - media player talks to w.bloggar which talks to Blogspot which publishes the whole shooting match.

[Current sounds: Smile Like You Mean It, The Killers, "Hot Fuss"]

Mozart and I

So. I got a mail from someone who had seen the Bishopsbourne site and wondered whether I had a shot of Bourne Park House. I didn't but I said I'd grab some over the weekend - it's the work of a minute and I took a few. Now I'm famous in the world of Mozart!
[Current sounds: Jenny Was a Friend of Mine, The Killers, Hot Fuss]

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Sad indictment?

Maybe I'm getting old but I find it disturbing that the lead news story is the resignation of the England captain on a day which saw two more soldiers dying in Afghanistan, the discovery of two women murdered in Shrewsbury, the escalation of conflict in the Middle East and four young people dying in a road accident in Northern Ireland.

Beckham is a wealthy man, and good luck to him. He's been very astute in his business dealings and marketed his looks and skills very wisely. I don't doubt he is very upset to give up a job that is the dream of many boys (and girls) but I'm reasonably confident that he and his family will eat tomorrow and the day after that and for many days to come.

By the way - why oh why does anyone think we can control Afghanistan through force of arms? Our own history and, latterly, the history of the Soviet Union show that an indigenous guerilla army can hold off all comers in that difficult terrain.

I think we all know what is meant by "massage parlour" but I don't remember it being used as a euphemism by the police and national news in the way it is with regards the apparent murders in Shrewsbury. The place the bodies of these two unfortunates was found is described as a Health Studio but, and I quote, "police believe it may be a massage parlour". I'm left to wonder where those of us who might need a nice massage can safely go without innuendo.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

It's coming home

England's World Cup excursion is over. £5 Million/annum and the "Golden Generation" of English players didn't get Sven past big Phil, the bloke who should be replacing him. I hope I'm proven wrong but I'm afraid I don't expect great things under McClaren either.

Fiery Fred

Fred Truman has finally succumbed to the lung cancer he's been fighting for a while now. Fred was a fearsome fast bowler but is known to later generations for hosting the lunchtime pub games programme. He was a great speaker on cricket and both brusque and knowledgeable and a great character.


Jemma and her friend are doing their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award hike/camp/hike today so I collected them and Calum last night. Cal has been sleeping in the tent all week and because Jemma is using it this weekend he decided to come over here and use my small tent in the garden - that's where he slept last night.

Dropped the girls off this morning, they are starting out 5 miles from here, and they met up with the others in the group - 30 in all, split into teams of 6. It was already 20 degrees at 08:00 so they've got a nice day for it!

Wednesday, 28 June 2006


Writing this in the car. The M20 is shut and I'm stuck! I can see Germans, Poles, Swiss, Dutch, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Italians, Spanish, UA? and Luxemburgers - a truly European jam!

Monday, 26 June 2006

In the news

Two news items, side by side, on the BBC site this evening.

Charles Clarke has started to explain the steps he took, as Home Secretary, to deal with the thorny issue of foreign nationals being released after serving time in UK prisons.
"As others have already made clear to the committee, it was only in late March 2006 that ministers, including myself, were made aware of the failure to consider for deportation some foreign national prisoners at the end of their sentence, and when we were aware of this action was then taken."
The next item deals with the jailing of 69 year old Miss Josephine Rooney for not paying her council tax. She has withheld it in protest at the conditions in her neighborhood .

I'll let you join the dots.

That the released prisoners are foreign nationals and eligible for deportation isn't racist - the number of UK nationals released on licence after committing serious crimes who then "disappear" is even more worrying but it's great that our over-crowded jails can find space for yet one more "easy target". If only real criminals, the ones who steal or kill or harm people, would be as high profile as those who draw attention to local problems in this way.

Saturday, 24 June 2006


For many years I've clung to the theory that technology will cure itself if enough swearing and sweat is expended. Today my theory is again borne out. Since buying the new router Outlook and Mailwasher have not been able to get out whenever the dodgy connection, it's a "Connect at whim" service, has decided to play out.

This weekend I looked forward to lots more tinkering with settings and spent some time at work printing off the stuff from forums and MSKB and DLink support and such like.

This AM I brewed a cup of tea and started to prepare for battle. The connection worked first time and Mailwasher downloaded the headers for a few hundred emails (I've been relying on webmail) and zapped the spam. I've got 105 emails to read (most I've already dealt with online) and now I don't know if it'll work again in an hour because I don't know why it's working now :-(

I've run "Shields Up" and that suggests that I'm still in stealth mode so I've not killed the firewall so I'm at a loss but hey ho, I'm here again - at least for now!

Friday, 23 June 2006


Connection is still up and down - this from the phone :-( For our friends in the States - Ghana is in Africa.

Saturday, 17 June 2006

Connection problems

Sunday night - Gentle thunderstorm somewhere but not overhead.
Monday morning - no Internet connection but had to swap cars so not fussed. During trip through Canterbury notice lots of traffic lights not working, word of powercuts.
Tuesday - Still no connection, spoke to BT Internet. I imagine that being circumcised without any pain relief would be more fun.
Wednesday - Lack of connection is getting in the way, I had assignments to upload!
Thursday and Friday - Working in the office so able to use connection for other stuff.
Today - shelled out for a new wireless router. All sorted!

Sunday, 11 June 2006

Beyond belief

Sorry but I'm finding it literally incredible that the Bush administration is suggesting that the suicides in Guantanamo are acts of war or a PR stunt - this is just sick! How can it be an act of war when these people aren't prisoners of war? How can it be PR when none of the detainees has been charged with anything let alone proven to be supporters of any form of extremism.

"Detainees had access to lawyers, received mail and had the ability to write to families, so had other means of making protests, she said, and it was hard to see why the men had not protested about their situation."

Shit! It's like a real home from home so if we ignore the fact that these people have been forcibly detained for four years, without charge, in contravention of international law it's hard to see why they might be getting upset isn't it?

Thursday, 8 June 2006


Great joy - kill the fatted calf! The spud-faced one will play!

For anyone living outside these fair shores, and for that alone you have my deepest sympathy, this may not mean much or even anything but this sceptered isle has been holding its collective breath worrying about a metatarsel. In fact we've not had any other events over the last few weeks with which to trouble journalists - even the antics of Pressa (the fifth and X-rated Teletubby) or old "what's his name", Bush's friend, you know - the bloke who smiles and sweats no matter how embarrasing his latest faux pas has been, have been pushed off the front pages or down the news agenda while we all studied the delicate bone structure of a millionaire's foot. But now we have the news we've been waiting for and there will probably be talk of a new Bank Holiday so that generations to come can look back on this day and remember our deliverance. So far Kofi Annan's thought on this haven't been sought but everyone else in the world has been interviewed and their views known.

So, brothers and sisters, remember Agincourt, Waterloo and Trafalgar. Remember Rourke's Drift and the Charge of the Light Brigade and but remember today more than anything - if the news is to be believed this really is a day of great portent.

Monday, 5 June 2006


Shortly the date will be 6/6/06. Not that fussed about the number of the beast but it's Angie's birthday! Happy birthday Angie.


Looks like blogroll has collapsed which is a bugger because I'd just decided to sort out my list - it's very long and I know a few of the links go to blogs that are moribund. D'oh!

Sunday, 4 June 2006

Memory stick

Make sure you read this page rather than just taking it at face value :-)

There is concern over the current driving standards in England, so the Department of Transport have devised a scheme to identify poor and dangerous drivers.

This system will allow all road users to recognise the potentially hazardous and dangerous ones, or those with limited driving skills.

From the middle of May 2006 all those drivers who are found to be a potential hazard to other road users will be issued with a white flag, bearing a red cross.

This flag clearly indicates their inability to drive properly.

These flags must be clipped to a door of the car and be visible to all other drivers and pedestrians.

Those drivers who have shown particularly poor driving skills will have to display two flags, one on each side of the car to indicate an even greater lack of skill and limited driving intelligence.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Department of Transport.

Thursday, 1 June 2006

When two ideas clash

Okay I have to admit that I should be working on a late assignment but I fell asleep reading one of the set texts (gosh but it's dull) and woke with a start to think about turning off the PC and heading to bed. Just afore I did that I checked a few links and found the story of the Wandering Scribe on Ollie's blog (lot of pink happening there Ollie!). Wandering scribe's blog is here.

Got me thinking about some students I've worked with in the past including one who lived in a camper van and split their time between the south coast and Scotland. It made studying an online course a tad difficult but they ploughed on - I don't know if they made it (they weren't in my group but I was roped in to offer additional support). From there it's a short hop to thinking about some of the things we let get in the way of our own success and the idea that fear of success is often a big hurdle for many of us to overcome - that's a technical term a friend shared with me, the friend is a v clever psychologist and therefore to be trusted.

So............ don't keep finding reasons not to do something - just do it! Right, off to me bed for a few hours before whizzing round the M25 for another day of fun for which I get paid :-)

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Cup final tickets!

First come, first served - two tickets for the World Cup final! Click here to see the seats!

Food and HIV

Looking for a special recipe? Got a friend who is lactose or wheat intolerant? Well here's yer answer! My friend Dame Fandango is very close to finishing her website - Dame Fandango's Healthy Inclusive Recipes - selling a book with recipes for people who want dairy and gluten-free food - also some recipes available for free on the site. The link to HIV? Money from each sale is being given to the Ukuthasa charity in South Africa (right now the site doesn't say this as the news has just broken). Check out both and hit the contact link on the Dame's site to wish the team luck!

Monday, 29 May 2006


It's been a year since I started this blog and what a tumbledown, rumbledown rockabilly year it's been! To quote The Beach Boys - "Lenin has lived and Jehovah has died..............", my world has taken a few turns and changes too! People now stop me in the pub and ask why this blog hasn't been updated - hiya JW and Clerky and others!

Right now I'm assailed (good word for this time of night) by the sound of deadlines flying past and I'm wondering when we can adopt the metric week - I really need ten days each week and a hundred hours each day. Tennis elbow restricts the amount of typing I can do and sciatica make life a tad stressful and so I'm trying to concentrate on what I have to do rather than what I want to do. On the upside, I've found another City fan in the village and we're talking about starting a Bishopsbourne City Fan Club!

You'll have noticed a new link on the right, Amnesty International are looking at Internet censorship and it's worth checking out this new initiative - those of us who rely on the web need to make sure that we know who controls it. We've discussed censorship in the classroom but we need to be aware of how it impacts the wider world.

All up things are good in the world of Gibson and the courses I teach are drawing to a close so life should become a little easier soon - I can but hope.

Greetings to everyone and happy anniversary to me :-)

Saturday, 13 May 2006


Yes I'm still alive (I'll reply separately Anne :-)) but it's hectic here at Gibson Towers in bijou Bishopsbourne. The ongoing car saga continues with more exhaust work being needed this week (I'm waiting for the Kwik Fit area manager to investigate my complaint before going into further details but suffice to say I'm not a happy teddy). Work is cool but I still have legacy stuff to sort so I feel as though I'm doing 8 day weeks all the time right now. Things might get calmer once the next assignment is submitted and the courses I'm tutoring are finished for this year (June) but there are a few more mountains to climb before I get there.

Local stuff - this is the school child 2 attends. No end of problems with her tablet PC and I'm on standy-by to pop into the school to have a high level discussion about the technical incompetence of their IT team or a low level discussion where I extend their vocabulary and show them why upsetting stressed Mancunians is a bad plan in the whole scheme of things. For my children I will forget my Buddhist leanings and tear someone a new face.

Many of you know that I host some photos of Bishopsbourne (playground of the glitterati) on my site and that I occasionally attract mails from people who have lived here. The latest has led to a dialogue between Mark and someone who was in the Barnados home during the war. To hack a long story into a manageable size - during the war a Spitfire was shot down near the village and Mark has researched the event so now we have the name and details of the pilot. Eventually I hope to have the details of the discussion and the story of the Spitfire on some web space somewhere.

The new cricket season has started but I still don't have the fixture list so I can't update the site - the first two games were called off, one because the other side couldn't field a team and last weekend the weather conspired against Bish. Maybe this Sunday the bank manager can convene a meeting.

Thursday, 4 May 2006


Loads of stuff to try and cram in so here goes.

Car stuff first - the bodywork will take a week to fix and just to add to the fun the exhaust fell apart on Sunday while driving across a field at Lydden Hill.

England Manager - McClaren got it for one reason and one reason only - my mum is Scottish and was thus disbarred, otherwise she has similar credentials in that she's not won anything as a football manager.

If you want to see what happens when you and yours are out and about, gadding, you need only invest in the Pupillo and a 3G phone. How good is that? Hook your phone up to a webcam, using a video call, to show your empty home and fill those awkward silences between the visit of the waitress while enjoying the latest special at Pizza Express.

Thursday, 27 April 2006

Some thanks

Okay - first up.

Thanks to anyone still hanging around here wondering whether or not I'm ever going to post again.

Thanks to those who have mailed me to ask if I'm okay.

No thanks to the bloke who drove into me on the roundabout on the way home tonight but thanks to Charles Clarke for giving me a giggle while trying to balance the call for biometric ID cards with the idea that, despite having people banged up, he administered a system which failed to deport known criminals.

But the biggest thanks have to go to Two Jags. When those of us who are of a certain age and shape see young, fit guys enjoying the company of ladies we tend to nod and accept that this is the natural order but when we see John Prescott, a man who even he himself wouldn't describe as a young Adonis, being hounded because he's been courting an attractive young lady it gives us all hope - however fleeting and brief. The natural order has been attacked, the fat bloke got the girl - albeit because of power and politics and that should be something we all celebrate shouldn't it?

Sunday, 16 April 2006


The anniversary of Apollo 13 splashing down and a Bank Holiday in the UK this year! Enjoy!

Saturday, 8 April 2006

Slack blogging again

No excuse - just busy.

Degree ceremony today so here's me in the gear - BSc gown from the Open University, all being well I'll be qualified for a different one next year

Saturday, 1 April 2006

Marathon and on and on.

Don't forget to sponsor Gill in the London marathon - the money is for a good cause (great cause actually). If you drink just think of it as the price of a few beers or a few peach martinis. If you smoke donate the price of a day's ciggies. If you work how about an hour's pay and if you drive how about a couple of gallons of petrol. The Children's Society do some amazing things for people who need stuf and help far more than most of us - go on, you know it makes sense and the more good you do in life the more good you get back.

Friday, 24 March 2006

Assignment update!

Two thirds finished with five hours to the cut-off. Amazon order arrived but I've resisted the temptation to watch the DVDs or start the book. Just turned down a plae at the "Wine & Wisdom" tonight, someone has dropped out but it would be terribly irresponsible to go and do that until this assignment is done and dusted and today I'm wearing my "responsible" hat - it gets so little use that it is clean and neat and doesn't fit very well but I'll give it a go. Of course that doesn't mean I'm not involved in other displacement activities of which posting this is one.

In other news; Jackie has printed off the post about The Mermaid so that Steve can read it - he struggles to look at any screen which isn't showing live sport - and she thinks that the part about every 20th customer getting a friendly greeting from Steve is over the top but she's hoping he can aspire to such a high hit rate, it's currently one friendly greetng every 20 days by her estimation. (Seriously - it's a very friendly pub)


Some of you guys were here in October when I celebrated a year here so lets raise a glass to another one (or two?) anniversaries. 23/10 was the anniversary of my wife and I separating and while it's not something I'd count in the great things I've done it means that I can now apply for a "quickie" divorce and move on. So wherever you are - cheers! Here's to the next few years - per ardua ad astra!

Thursday, 23 March 2006

Sold out?

After 11 months without a "go out to work" job I've been offered and accepted a part time (2.5 days/week) job to help deal with the mounting costs associated with my debauched lifestyle. Not negotiated which days and on one each week I'll be working until eight PM - it's also not local but that's no big deal. It's with an organization that I have an emotional link with and I know a lot of the people there so it'll be cooler than a cool thing wearing a cool hat and cool coat and sucking a cool pill after a day at cool school. Because these things always arrive in bunches - rather like bananas - I'm also at the early stages of discussing an idea for a web based business, if that works out my ambition to earn money whilst sleeping is one step closer. Clearly all this activity may curtail my already haphazard blogging but that's part of the price I'll have to pay.

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Child cruelty

I was going to ask which country the following applies to:
A child is killed by a gun every three hours. According to the latest statistics, nearly 1,000 children under 19 are shot dead every year. Another 800 use guns to commit suicide, and more than 160 die in firearm accidents.
But frankly I find it so horrific I don't want to mess about. It's America of course and comes from a piece in The Guardian today. The piece is about a 66 year old man who shot a 19 year old for crossing his lawn. He shot him, with a shotgun, from his house and then walked over to the felled boy and shot him again from close range. That figure of 1,000 under 19s a year is a greater average than the number of US soliders who have died in Iraq in four years (approx 2,500). I'm not going to add anything else - I'm sure there are a range of views on this but gun controls in the States are being eroded so these numbers can only get worse. I'm very glad my children do not live in a country where 40% of the populace own a gun and over 30,000 people were killed by firearms in 2003.

Washes whiter than white!

Cleans better than anything else and still respects you in the morning! Too good to be true? Who cares! I don't have the ASA on my back :-)

The Mermaid is reopened in all its wonderful glory. Those who saw my photo of studying in the pub this time last year will miss that old piece of bar but the new, improved, Mermaid is bigger and boasts a non-smoking area that will be the envy of Kent. It is now posible to get to the terracota rooms from what was "behind the bar" and a pint of the finest Masterbrew in the county is still only GBP 2.20! Parking is still best near the church (rather than outside my house) and coach parties should ring before arriving - well behaved walkers or children are welcome, Steve has promised that every twentieth customer will get a friendly greeting (the other nineteen will be treated like regulars and thus take their chances!). Visit The Mermaid, buy me a beer - you know it makes sense!

Sunday, 19 March 2006


Blogger is wobblier than a wobbly thing with a wobbly hat! Posting this by email to see it works but I can't get into Blogger dashboard to post on the web :-(

Later: Message now tidied up as Blogger is back up

Friday, 17 March 2006

Just what you need!

Of course Nog's Blog is dedicated to delivering solutions to meet your every need (quite in Canada perlease!!!! - We don't need your mucky interventions :-)))). Anyway, in our endless search for good stuff our Bavarian based contributor has offered a "Mission Statement generator" - you know it makes sense! No more wandering the corridors wondering about what it all means, no more endless meetings trying to determine why you were employed by that company. Here is the online answer to organizational blues! Give it a whizz!

Tuesday, 14 March 2006


On Friday I spoke to Stuart who lives in Sheffield, he invited me to his wedding - it's on my birthday! Strange or what? Stuart was heading to his brother's pub to celebrate his brother's 50th birthday. On Sunday evening I was watching Midsomer Murders and Steve's pub was featured throught this episode! Spooky!

Saturday, 11 March 2006

Snow joke!

Grief but it was cold! Not sure if you can see the snow in this photo but it was there! Tough, scrappy game with Canterbury playing uphill in the first half and leading by a couple of points at the turn. In 5 blistering minutes at the start of the second half they scored two tries and the contest was over. Final score: 24 - 7, the Staines number 13 was sin binned twice, Canterbury's Jamie Forsyth carried off with an injury in the final 10 minutes and Calum managed to eat 4 mini pork pies in the first half - a personal record!

But God doesn't think he's Blair

Sorry this is late - the email flagging this up went to an account that seems to redirect some stuff but not all of it. Thanks for the link Bluefluff!

Anyway - this is from the Guardian on Wednesday:
"If Tony Blair thinks his friendship with George W Bush is worth rubbing out a couple of hundred thousand Iraqi men, women and children, then that's something he can talk over with me later," said God. "But when he starts publicly claiming that's the way I do the arithmetic too, it's time I put my foot down!" It is well known that God has a very big foot.
Grab it here

Carpet picnics

Carpet picnics are great aren't they? I've got Calum with me so we decided on a proper boyz night in; beer, pizza, garlic bread and a good film.

The cheapo DVD/TV combo is playing up - DVDs cut out and the football results are variable - so I put the lappy on the floor in front of the fire and we had the pizza and garlic bread there too. Great film - loads of chases, technology, action, love interest and gun fire - I can strongly recommend "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" but Ill have to watch the end again as I dozed off.

Rugby later today. Canterbury are standing proud at the top of London 1 and looking good for promotion, today's opponents are Staines - for those who don't know that's an idyllic little coastal town well away from the hubub of the modern world with it's own rustic charm and rural ambience, those who know it may have a slightly more jaundiced view. 15:00 this afternoon if anyone wants to watch a great game for only a few quid - if you come along say "hello".

Friday, 10 March 2006


Been a busy few days so I apologise for slack blogging.

I like this idea - the British Design Awards are inviting votes for design icons. It's down to the final three so go vote for Concorde, the Spitfire or the London Underground map. An interesting group; Concorde was a truly beautiful piece of engineering and design but is also a political statement - the name symbolised the entent cordiale with our nearest continental neighbours. Concorde flew its maiden test flight within 69 years of the Wright Brothers' efforts at Kittyhawk. Mitchell's Spitfire is also a potent symbol but this time one of war rather than peace. Almost the logo of the Battle of Britain the Spit is still an emotive sight and sound, the RR Merlin engine simply purrs and the aircraft seems at one with the sky - deadly and gorgeous. Beck's map is a different animal completely. It's seeming simplicity hides an awesome achievment, detailing the underground in a diagrammatic map which has now changed the way people think of the geography of London - visitors will often use the tube because distances look greater than they are between some stations.

Get over there and vote!

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Do something good today!

Go over to Bluefluff's blog and remind her that it's her birthday :-)

Monday, 6 March 2006

Blog threats

Bluefluff has this - so read it here. I hope Ang picks up on it too because I can imagine here take on it! Go to Bluefluff's piece and follow the links from there - be prepared to suspend disbelief, this is happening now, today, in the United States.

Saturday, 4 March 2006

Oh Christ!

Sorry - I'm really sorry. I set myself some rules when I started this blog and one was that I would write it assuming that my children read it. This means that I temper my language at all times and this post will be no different but that means it won't say exactly what I want it to say.

Some of you know me online in other places or you've heard my voice or we chat regularly so you can interpret how I might say the following.

Tony Blair has now said that he asked God before taking the UK to war in Iraq.

Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap.
He didn't ask anyone.
He didn't ask parliament, he told them.
He didn't ask the electorate, he told them.

The only earthly body he discussed this with is Bush - and they had already decided that whatever the inspectors said about the search for WMD they were going to commit this country to an unprecedented "pre-emptive" war despite the lack of a UN mandate. Unprecidented in this century and for much of the previous one. Prior to that of course we might send a gunboat and rape a country for its natural resources but we aren't big enough for that anymore so we hold the big guy's coat while he fights but in holding his coat we give him legitimacy - we pretend to other civilised countries that it's "the right thing to do". We even stand by while our neighbours and closest allies are denigrated by the big guy because they stand by their principles and don't join the playground throng chanting "Fight! Fight!" but manage to retain at least a little dignity.

But it's all okay because Blair's imaginary friend said it was fine.

Here's a little trick you might want to try at home boys and girls. Whenever people start saying that "God said this" or "God said that" simply change the name of whichever poor deity is being blamed for the word "Harvey". Those who know this classic will remember that Harvey is the benevolent 6' white rabbit visible only to James Stewart and blamed for all sorts of scrapes throughout the film.

I haven't got a problem with anyone else's beliefs as long as they don't diss mine - Blair and Bush are hiding behind the same bogeyman that Hitler used - but if you decide to take this country to war and kill thousands of Iraqi citizens and (so far) over 100 of our service men then please stand by that decision, we may disagree but you have the honesty and courage of your convictions but please don't start laying the blame off on entities who don't have a right to reply.

Friday, 3 March 2006


I got this from Ang - thanks hon. Click here for a recording made in a classroom in the US. Of course the teacher is getting grief now as un-American but I honestly hope my children are taught by people as passionate as this guy, I hope they are taught critical skills and challenged as part of their education. This guy is excellent whether you agree with him or not.

Thursday, 2 March 2006


First day of spring! Wonderful! This time last year we were snowed in for a few days and the weatherman is threatening snow again. We had some flurries last week but tonight it's very cold and by the weekend we could have the real thing. Where is all this global warming???

Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Good grief!

BlueFluff sent me this - I make no comment other than to remind you that he has the nuclear codes and can, should the whim strike him, decide to invade almost any country on the planet and probably get Blair to support him. I hope Ang shares this with the guys over the water :-)

Monday, 27 February 2006


I can't sleep, past the point of lying in bed wondering why I can't sleep. Read a couple of chapters of a book, wandered round the house trying not to wake up the neighbours and then had a think about today (yesterday as was).

I went and did some training and got incredibly frustrated with myself because I simply wasn't explaining something in a way that the person I was with could understand - my fault not their's. I hate it when that happens because however easy it is to blame the other person we all know, deep down, that it's our fault - we're being paid to help them understand a task and if they "don't get it" whose fault can it be?

Anyway. On the way back I stopped for some logs from a petrol station that I use infrequently (it's on the A2 heading towards Canterbury from the M2 if anyone knows it) and while paying for the logs I noticed that for GBP 4.99 they had my favourite film on DVD and what's more it's the two disk edition so it has all the bonus stuff. It's cheap as it's ex-rental but for a fiver? Has to be worthwhile.

People who know me know that I'm passionate about a lot of things, I'm like a cross between a magpie and a rotweiler - I see something interesting and pick it up and then, no matter how hard you might try to stop me, I will not let it go. The space race is one of those things. On a good day ask me to name the crews of the major US flights and I'll tell you. Ask me to describe the final touchdown of Apollo 11 on the lunar surface and and I can show you how the astronauts were standing, how they were controlling the motion of the lunar module and much of what passed between Houston and the crew. Ask which flight did what from 1 - 13 and I can detail the purpose of most. On a better day ask me to name the twelve men who have walked on the moon and I'll get at least 75% of them. Even on my poorest day I'll tell you who died in the fire on what was later designated Apollo 1 and why the accident happened.

I am forever amazed and in awe that men can get themselves to a position of trust and training where they will overcome the survival instinct and allow themselves to be blasted into space - or fly experimental aircraft (two words you would never wish to see next to each other), and it's not just the astronauts but cosmonauts too - Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, was literally heading into the unknown in 1961 and fuelled the race to the moon. Sputnik, the first artificial satellite was launched the year I was born so I'm a child of the space age (and still only 37!)

On 11th April, 1970 three guys took off in Apollo 13 and that's the film I got today. Of course it's not entirely accurate, Lovell didn't say "We have a problem" he actually said "We've had a prolem", but the film is true in most regads to both Lovell's excellent book and the NASA flight logs (yes I'm that sad!). It's also well acted with Hanks good and Ed Harris excellent as Gene Krantz, a character he seems to get accurately as the other books about the space race all agree with the portrayal of this incredible man who managed a disaster with such skill while facing incredible political pressure as well as the desire to save three lives.

Apollo 13 splashed down on 17th April - the flight lasted just less than 6 days. 29 years later my father died on the same day - another reason Apollo 13 is special to me.

So why karma? Well - it's great karma to simply come across the film like that. It's also good to be reminded that a sense of perspective is needed. The mission gave us "Houston, we've had a problem" but it also gave us "Failure is not an option!"