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February 2004 Archives

there are lots of mysterious door and buildings in london (as any city). here is one with a door which is extremely well secured shut.

a few minutes before seeing this building, in another part of London, i saw a street paving stone has been lifted up and there was a very long and deep staircase down under the road. i was going to take a photo only there were two security chaps inspecting me inspecting their hole.

i find that kind of thing fascinating.

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amber. the colour or the person ?

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i swapped a photo of some leaves or a photo of some snow drops. i think this picture is superb so was more than happy to let my leaves go !

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it's a lucky bonus leap year day today. i find the whole thing a little puzzling.

one thing that dissappoints me (other than spelling words correctly) is that they chose February as the month to have the extra day.

why didn't they put it in june/july/august ? that would make the summer last longer and may even coincide with prebooked holidays thus giving an extra day.

at the very least it should be a public 'bonus day' holiday.

all it does stuck on the end of february is postpone the summer for an extra day (and lengthens the winter).

who makes up these rules anyway ?

there's an excellent page on leap days and wonky calendars here

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i took the girls to a garden centre this afternoon. we walked past this shed a kezia pointed at it and said "that's a sad one". so we decided to go in and cheer it up.

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it's been a family day. here are kezia and esther playing piano (sort of):
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then esther ran round with my coat on pretending to be a bat:
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my god-daughter made me a lovely card (with integral envelope):
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look ! the first found international american found photo of animals.

thanks to cheryl of batanoir for this.

see it on davescollections !

thanks to my pedometer i can now reveal that i am over halfway to Paris from London. here is the graph to prove it. Total so far is 240km and average weekly distance is 60km.


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can you guess what i've given up for lent ? i've even surprised myself with the randomness of this plan

UPDATE (also redated to reposition it)

here is the item i have snubbed:

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jane (my wife) said "it's just a stupid idea. there's no point. why are you doing it".

i said "it's good to have a challenge".

and she said "well, i think it's just stupid".

i've found a nice pub near St Paul's cathedral (and therefore near where my next meeting is in half an hour) which has free wifi ! And it's a really nice pub which was used in some Gwynth Paltrow movie (changing doors or something i think) and the food's really nice.

lovely.

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here are some tourists standing outside a taxi. they had made the taxi driver get out and take a photo of them. anyone who's ever come in to contact with a london taxi driver will understand the negotiation that probably went in to arranging this.

the funny thing is that behind where i was standing is St Paul's catherdral. If they had taken the photo from the other side of the taxi it would have made a nice photo. oh well.

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so what about the giant cat that is stalking london ? i'm definately on to something here. it's a load of spreaded shredded paper. Exactly the kind of thing that a giant cat would sleep in.

and where is it most apparent ? round man hole covers. the cat is obviously sleeping underground and comes up through these holes to stalk its pray.

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when it lurches and lunges it causes a vortex which spirals the paper pieces in a circle.

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i'm glad this is my last day in london for a week ...

we had a music practice at church last night. the pathway lights made some great grave shadows. here's one.

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what happens in the tower today ?

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i walked along the street briefly with barbara windsor this evening on the way back to paddington station. she got out of a car next to where i was walking and wiggled along to a nail beautification shop.

i asked if i could take her photo as she went in to the shop and she said she'd prefer not so i didn't. the same happened with hugh grant you may remember.

i also didn't mention i saw a two of the guys from a League of Gentlemen outside my office last week but was too slow to get their photo (i was heading off to a meeting in the opposite direction).

i'd never make a proper pap

here is a picture i found on t'internet of barbara windsor. it's from a while back i think.
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i like how these cups blend in with london below:
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they look good out of context too:
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can you see my esteemed colleagues ? they are at the bottom left of my orange and cream office building. click for a big version. this was taken at maximum resolution and zoom. This photo was taken from 158 metres above ground.

here is the shadow of the tower viewed from the tower:
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and here is the inside:
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i may post a couple of ambient view shots later this evening

today, hopefully, i shall be dining up here at lunch time. i'm really hoping the sky will stay as clear and blue as it is right now. unlikely though i think.

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here is something wrapped in tin foil. or is it aluminium foil. if only i had had a magnet. i don't know what is inside.

it's probably a potato but i could be transplant organs as it was just off London's explusive private clinic area - Harley Street. [i accidentally made the word explusive up - i think it's a good one. you can use it if you like]

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i pass a food shop in the morning which sells a wide variety of goods. I noticed last week that they had put up a poster advertising their shop a little further down the street. it's a little strange so i thought i'd share it with you.

a boy with two heads:
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apples apparently smothered in cooking oil:
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esther likes to wear a leotard to do a jigsaw. jane was relegated to the floor.

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here is a teething ring in a tree. ideal for trees to teeth on. trees do have teeth but they aren't very good. usually their bark is worse than their bite.

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so no updates til this evening again. how did you get on with your pancakes by the way ?

it's pancake day today.

esther mixed whilst kezzie watched
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jane enjoyed tossing them (note the psychedelic camera work):
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and everyone enjoyed eating them (with chocolate sauce, lemon and sugar)
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three seperate bulbs have blown in our house in the last 24 hours. very mysterious. one even blew a fuse and i had to do some mending in the fuse box. what does it all mean ?

i'm reminded of The Fall song which repeats "there's no bulbs in the house, the lights have gone out". that was a fantastic song.

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it was raining this afternoon so people were carrying umberellas and wearing hats. this bloke on the tube was obviously worried about getting his hat wet so he had covered it in plastic wrapping. now that is a very good idea.

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it's quite popular when you die to have a bench named after you. i like this idea. it's people can rest on you when you're enjoying your own eternal rest.

this bench in Hyde Park was one of a few which seemed to be dedicated to living people and said things like "to my wife in celebration of our 50th wedding aniversary". i thought this was a great idea.

when you go to some churches it seems that every piece of brass work is 'in memory of' someone or other. it's a kind of eclesiastical individual sponsorship scheme.

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here is a tree which changes colour halfway up its trunk. i thought this was a little strange at the time so i took this photo. perhaps it was grafted.

it reminded me of my old friend who had a false leg and real feet.

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it's pancake day today. my trains are broke and i'm in a conference all day so next update tonight.

send me your pancake throwing pictures

a comedy moment of misery outside the Astoria just now. lots of goths in a row.

sing together now, "100 moody goths sitting in a row ...."

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here is claudia schiffer. i couldn't get any closer because of the paps.

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surprisingly i was able to get a better shot of Alan Yentob once she had glided off !
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(it was some promotional thing to do with painting by numbers and Totally London - no i didn't understand either !)

meercats with cameras

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i found this photo under a lorry by St Paul's Cathedral. i thought it looked like it could be a photo but it was face down. so i knelt down and put my hand under the lorry (hoping it wouldn't drive away). and to my delight it was a passport photo (the purest type of found photo).

best of all was that i was leaving a message on our home answer machine at the time and you can hear my exclamation of delight !

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UPDATE: now added to davescollections

i saw this man walking the streets spraying randomly as he went (he had a little nozzle thing which is hidden by the bus stop). i took his photo in case it turns out he was spraying some deadly poison.

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here is the top of a building at the junction of tottenham court road and oxford street. it's most peculiar and seems to have some kind of ancient chinese gazebo vibe going on.

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here are two polysteyrene packaging things which have holes just wide enough to put your feet in (as demonstrated by my leg here).

i was going to put them on and walk the rest of the way to work, but decided not to when i'd got the first one on. there was a real danger of street fallage.

And jane would skin-me-alive if i went through the knees of my work trousers.

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two phrases from my youth have just sprung to mine.

my dad, a lovely gentle chap would occasionally threaten to "skin us alive" or "have our guts for garters".

before the child protection people move in and have me sent to a children's home he never said these things in anger, just as comedy phrases in play arguments (he's not the arguing type).

As far as i know, he never went through with either of these threats.

here is my dad with kezia:
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i picked up quite a lot of different pieces of paper off the floor this morning, including this, which is a milkman's delivery schedule.

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i was pleased to have found this until i realised there were loads of them all blowing down the street:
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these catkins amuse me. they look like they are scurrying off somewhere. but where ? i think they are acting like paisley with their swirly wirlyness.

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yes sir, yes sir, here are two bags full of bread cakes. or buns. or baps. or cobs. there are so many names for this basic food item.

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today we went to Hampton Court Palace. It's riddled with history. esther and kezia really enjoyed it.

pity it was absolutely freezing and esther forgot her coat ...

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esther guided us to the centre of the famous maze and back out again.

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here is kez and esther next to an oversized cut out of Henry VIII.

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here is liz. she had her birthday party today and we were invited. liz goes to the church we went to before we moved house. so it was great to see her and a number of other families with little children who we hadn't seen for ages.

i know i've said this before, but i'm really looking forward to heaven. it's going to be so cool to meet up with christian friends we've known throughout our lives (and billions others !).

once again i've managed to change the topic from happy stuff to death. but you see where i'm coming from i think.

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leave people alone with kids toys and they create fantastic things.

here is some fuzzy felt art. i was very impressed. whenever i try and create anything it's usually rubbish (often quite literally)

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the artist:
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kezia has teeth coming through. this causes random misery (for all involved). it also makes her cheeks quite rosey and red

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esther took this photo. i was very impressed. esther (age 4) is better at taking photos than kezia (aged 2) is at driving a car with a steering wheel in Midtown Madness 2. both activities are good fun to watch.

it's even funnier when we play a network game with esther and kezia both trying to drive. esther can just reach the foot pedals on my computer and kezia sits on my knee at jane's computer.

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my mum got esther a game for christmas called Ghostly Galleons and it's most excellent. normal kids games are a bit boring or noisey and run out of batteries.

This game is a bit like snakes and ladders but there's an element of skill as well as luck. and it's quite exciting when you move the pirate and the boat spins round and various player's pieces going flying off in to the 'sea.

esther and her friends love it. and kezia likes spinning the little spinner and putting her person on the top of the mast.

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when you've got the game you then need to learn to speak like a pirate

our telly broke. we bought it from ASDA (Walmart) so it's got a three year guarantee on it and a man is coming to look at it tomorrow morning. i'm feeling quite positive about the whole situation.

as a stop gap measure i enjoyed resurrecting an old PC and installing a TV card in it. Once i'd got it up and running and all tuned in we realised there was nothing decent on anyway. oh well.

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i like having a PC in our front room. it somehow speaks of a future world of interactive enjoyment. even if the machine is 5 years old, massively noisey and only boots one in three times.

i suspect it may be sent back to its rightful corner as soon as our telly gets mended.

UPDATE: the telly man came and took it away to be mended and left a loan one for us to watch whilst they are doing the work. So far this has been great post-sale support from Asda !

automatic post updating

If you see the autoblogging sign it means i've set the site up to keep you amused automatically. it usually means i'm not able to access my computer for some reason - perhaps travelling with work or going some place where i don't know if they have internet connectivity.

or maybe i just want some time off.

anyroad, you will be funished with your usually daily funky goodness.

but approving comments might take slightly longer than usual.

enjoy the machine ...

it was a big awards night for the industry i work in last night. my company won two awards, but the real highlight for me was the triangular arctic-roll chocolate cake. i wasn't the only one who was impressed

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i discovered that if you stuck your face against the transparent plastic award you could achieve a highly upleasant effect. It also make an attractive dagger.
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how's this for a celebrity spot - Johnny Vegas on Tottenham Court Road. he was walking towards me and for once i had the presence of mind to react before he'd walked on down the street.

I asked if i could take his photo and he said 'yes of course' and i said "i'm really looking forward to your new film" and he was really chuffed and said "oh, thanks". then my camera was ready and i took my photo and that was that


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a few minutes later i walked past a bus which was advertising his new film which comes out tomorrow (see bus side for details!)


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i tried to produce a boring photo. this isn't bad.

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this is one of my favouritist street signs in london. to me it sums up modern Britain. Britain used to be Great with its mighty empire.

but now it's just Little Britain. and that's fine with me.

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i can see lots of exciting things from my office window:

Continue reading "pollock's toy museum" »

i have one of those annoying bits of flappy skin between my knuckle and finger nail on my middle finger on my right hand. all my other fingers are without blemish.

these little things are annoying as any contact with anything causes a little short stabby pain.

however, it has revealed to me how much daily activity involves very close contact with the back of my fingers. my life must be so finely tuned that even a small blemish less than a milimetre high can break the flow of normal activities.

shoe lace tieing, getting stuff out of my pockets, putting my coat on etc all involve close contact with fingers. usually this goes un-noticed, so i welcome the opportunity to think about them again, and in particular take note of the involvement of the top of the backs of my fingers

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this sign is in a shop next to the local hospital. i'm not sure they should be selling the samples.

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you remove your bike or we remove our railings simple as that.

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one small point is that it mentions railing singular, but the sign is stuck on to two railings. which railing does it apply to ? if i had a bike i could have experimented. but i didn't.

there's been a lot of door talk recently. the green door and the doctor's door. and now we have a door with a kangaroo on it.

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i went out for pizza with Big Eye Tony last night. i opted for the chocolate cake for dessert. i was offered cream or icecream and cheekily asked for both, expecting to get a little of each.

the waitress looked at me like i was insane and worriedly hurried back to the kitchen. this was obviously one scenario she had not been covered by her training.

when it arrived, instead of two half-portions they piled extra portions of both on to the plate. hoorah !

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a seat by the bins so you can sit and wait for the bin men to come

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one of these bollards has magical powers

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i've just finished reading this book which is most excellent. i hadn't a clue what it was going to be about before i read it. but i do now. and it was very good.

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i don't usually go through people's bins, but this bin bag and dustbin were already open. it was outside some posh person's house. they've obviously never heard of charity shops.

however, things like this could help me if i ever decide to do my street clothes challenge.

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here is a good sign. it uses the word prive instead of private to no doubt appear "down with the kids".

but don't even think about setting up a bike park or it'll be removed straight away. i think skateboarding parks would probably be ok, but i'm not entirely sure.

other point to note is that it's been nailed to the wall with cable clip things instead of nails which is a nice touch.

sometimes the sign itself says more than the sign itself.

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jane and i have been married 8 years today. and 8 jolly years it's been too.

this year i've been very uncreative, but last year i made this lovely photo (which i framed):

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and this little card:

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i gave a talk this afternoon as part of a regulatory conference at the Royal Institute of Great Briitian. It's an amazing place bursting full of historical science.

the lecture hall we were in was where faraday first demonstrated electricity (around the mid 1800s). it's also where they do those christmas lectures you see on TV at ... er ... christmas.

Faraday's table (the lecturing desk) has little gas pipes either side of the main desk for bunsen burners (which i didn't use).

and i got to stand and wave my arms around and point at photos i'd taken of street cleaning vehicle to explain the progress of Broadband Internet access in the UK. how bizarre/fantastic is that !

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this door is closed. but why you ask. read the sign.

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it's been temporarily shut since 1st september 1995

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this dinner was empty except for an electric drill and a motorcycle helmet

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loose limbs in a shop window

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how do you make a sausage role ?
take a sausage and wrap it in pastry

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in the world of work it's possible to collect a large number of complimentary pens. occasionally you'll go to a meeting and they'll also provide some paper. even less occasionally you'll be furnished with gratuitous confectionary.

i went to a meeting earlier today, and in addition to free wi-fi access the venue provided little mint sweets which looked just like those Pez sweets which were very popular when i was a little girl.

i only wished i had a funny plastic dispenser thing. perhaps next year they'll provide the dispensers as well. hopefully in the shape of the people who were running the meeting.

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here is brother edd in my office. he popped in for an early morning cuppa.

but the machine didn't vend tea and he didn't want to dunk a tea bag (he has standards) so the tea remained unmade and he sat there quietly.

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here is another psychedelic slick in the same place as i saw the other one. This one looks particularly tie-dye.

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fridge freezer and a sofa.

the fridge freezer is looking rather depressed and may be considering throwing itself off over the railings. i tried talking to it but it wouldn't answer.

the cushion had been moved on the chair so i suspect someone had been looking for lost money and other items down the back of the sofa. i certainly couldn't find anything when i had a look

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from a link on goingunderground: Animals on the Underground

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this morning i saw a bucket. it belonged to a man who was cleaning a street light with a mop on a long stick (like this one and this one).

His bucket contained a liquid which was so black it was almost a mirror. it was very peculiar and was definately haunted.

and just now i went past a bucket next to a drain cleaner van and it contained this mysterious orange substance. again, the colour was unlike any other i'd seen before (in an orangey/goldy glowey kind of way). it reminded me of the wall on the back of the spaceship on blake's 7 (if my remembory serves me well)

what IS going on ?

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remembory is a word i forgot i knew. it's a thing you once knew and know you knew, but can't quite extract it from its storage.

it's on the tip of your mind's tongue (which is located near your mind's eye).

when the thought is locked in the place between your memory and it being remembered, for a short while (sometimes longer) it's a remembory (the thing) which is trapped in your remembory (the place).

a picture showing clearly the location of my remembory:
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there's a recording studio for one of the major record labels near my office. often large lorries full of orchestral instruments get loaded and unloaded outside their doors.

just now there was a tesco's lorry parked up and it got me thinking, what if no-one noticed it was the wrong lorry. the musicians would be playing empty joghurt pots and shaking bags of pasta shapes along to the beat.

there's plenty of room for a whole concept album. i'm also sure there is a host a supermarket/music puns you could insert here.

more generally, wouldn't it be excellent if all the lorries that travelled the country all got mixed up and people had to work through the consequences.

if only i were a lorry driver. i'd have some real fun.

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the modern office is a delicate equilibrium. things are created and destroyed following a careful and seemingly endless pattern.

letters are written on word processors, printed out, put in envelopes, posted, opened, read and destroyed, and/or filed, but whatever, mostly eventually land filled.

each piece of equipment in the office has its nemesis. for the printer, it's legion: the dustbin, the shredder, the recycling bag etc.

for the stapler it's the staple remover (seen here). it could be argued the remover is only needed when mistakes are made.

but i say removing staples is just part of the process.

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i love my stapler. it's grip is great. and you can store it vertically on its nose.

jane and i went to the flicks last night to see big fish. i broke my chocolate drought and ate massives of chocolate and a bucket of pepsi.

the film was good. dodgy ewan mcgregor accent at some points (must have been bad for an englishman to spot a scottish american accent). otherwise most excellent and worth a trip.

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it contained some shoe throwing which i like to see:
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three generations of glove finders out on a walk were bound to find some gloves.

my mum spotted this one first:
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close up view:
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and then i found this in a little stream:
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this is a local dog sign. to my surprise i haven't blogged it before and it is slightly different from other dog signs i've got. specifically the little red cross by its back leg. not to be confused with this one

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spotted this outside our local do it yourself shop.

i assume it's a shopping list and it says '6 large, 2 very small'

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jane poured the water out of the cat glass as she was worried the cat might dissolve. i pointed out that that was the point. (lots of words duplication in that last sentence). so i filled it up again. but i took a photo first


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it took me ages to get jane to pose for this photo.

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here are the fantastic cards i got from my ladies:
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here are two people. one is carrying a giant wheel and the other is mostly belly

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last week i walked 45km

this week so far i've done 55km

Length or Distance Converter

100km is 62 miles. i'm over quarter of the way to paris

this box is outside a hospital i pass on the way to work. it's marked 'outpatients' and has fragile stickers on it.

patients have to be posted back to their homes to avoid having to buy any more patient ambulances

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further random protection items. this time around lampposts. perhaps it's for celebrity dogs.

to my delight a milk float decided to involve itself in the photo

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a complete doctor's room was being thrown out, including the door, which magically was standing on it's own (it's not leaned against the wall)

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this post-it note was stuck on the road in a parking space.

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lolly in exactly the place i saw the marshmallows

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here is a man cleaning high up windows with a brush on the end of a long stick.

you've got to love a man with a really long cleaning brush like this. he obviously loved it too as he was smiling at all the passing ladies.

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hit some penguins: YETISPORTS PART1

buy some clothes for a friend. jane and i might play this whilst on holiday next month: The Plug - Mystery Wardrobe

links from here and there

here's a photo i found in hyde park this evening. but is it a boy or a girl. i have to decide before i post it on davescollections as this is how i categorise them. sister binky says it's a boy. what do you think ?

i'll await some kind of consensus before i post to davescollections.

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here is a photo from brother kev (jane's sister's husband as seen on the blog at christmas with a low hat - we've very informal around here and ignore the traditional 'in-law' thing).

it's a very good picture and would make a terrific background for any desktop.

kev says:

Ive started carrying my camera around and hey presto, in only three days my first glove.

Totally genuine, found on a tree stump beside a path just behind Elm Park in Thame, Oxfordshire, at about 12.30pm on Thursday 12 Feb 04

And here it is all for you


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there's been a few stories in the paper about prince harry going out drinking and smoking and generally gavorting.

i suspect it might have been him and his chums who threw this bench in the lake just next to buck-house.

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thanks to the new turf (i nearly mispelt that) the environs around buckingham palace looks very green.

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here is some turf near buckingham palace. it looked good so i photo'd it for you. my photo inspired others to take a photo and before i knew it i was the official turf photographer.

a french lady with two teenage girls decided i should take photos of them all next to the turf. she handed me a camera and said "i have two machines" and passed me another.

i was going to get a photo of me taking the photo of them but i didn't.

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here are some end bits:
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i've never understood why nature has to cover itself with camouflage. what's it hiding from ? this tree had classic army camo colours (greens/yellow/brown). but i still spotted it.

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i took this photo near buckingham palace. an [bunch] ? of police motorcycles bloked the road to allow this car to pass by. i got my camera out just in time.

it's probably royalty. you can compare to it my previous shot of royalty to be sure.


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i really don't know why, but i'd forgotten all about slicing loaves of bread. i guess it shows how much i get involved in the domesticity at home. we often get sliced bread and french sticks and other stuff which doesn't require chopping in the same way.

however, working from home this morning i decided i needed some toast. and there was the loaf ready to cut. however, i'd forgotten about jane (my wife) and my incompatibility in this area.

She cuts at an angle whilst i go for the straight up and down cut. i think it's to do with how she squashes the loaf with her non chopping hand. to 'right each other's wrongs' we have to chop a wedge shape off, to reset the loaf, and then start our own style

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so, once again i am reminded that there are generally two solutions to potential disharmony:

solution by ommission (i go nowhere near the bread (or have my own bread) and therefore don't cause any trouble)

solution by technology (we buy sliced bread)

but what did you expect for 10.95 ?

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telephone boxes at Embankment. these phone boxes have probably got a BT code name and i'm sure Pete will tell us what it is ...

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in the last few months these funny boards have appeared in most tube stations. they tell you how all the other train lines are doing so you don't feel so bad that the line you are about to travel on is a bit broken too.

occasionally you can even feel smug that your line is ok whilst all the others are broken.

i like how they are written by hand in felt pen. makes them somehow more human.

this one today caught my eye. it uses the words 'normal' and 'good'. standards have fallen so far that normal is bad and good is noteworthy.


click for big version

how often do you see something in a shop window and go inside to buy it only to end up leaving the shop with a watch nearly twice the price of the one in the window (but with more features).

this happened to me today. the watch in the window was 5.99. Admitedly it wasn't all i wanted. once in the shop an extremely nice chap showed me a variety of watches and in the end i bought one for 10.95.

no compass - but i can always use an upturned plate if i want to draw a circle.

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this shop is just off petticoat lane and is excellent. go there and buy a cheap modern digital watch.

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we all love a website that has been designed to look bad. here is a christian version. it's the The First Baptist Church of {unidentified}. Turn your sound up and dance along with Jesus.


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my mum used to tell my brother and i that mushy over ripe bananas were what you got given in hospital to make you well. they became known as hospital bananas.

it never occured to me that maybe the reason we called them hospital bananas is that they could make you ill and you'd end up in hospital.

whatever, nobody likes the brown gloopy bit of a banana do they ?

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i'm usually pretty useless when i arrive home in an evening. my 1hr 45 minutes commute can often be quite miserable (though it's at least more bearable since i dumped the tube for walking).

the best bit about the commute home is the reaction from esther and kezia when i walk through the door. they are (usually) so excited to see me. it's a real ego boost.

today they were even waiting at the window, waving down the street as i approached the house.

hoorah for jolly kids !

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update: ooops, just in case anyone thought otherwise, hoorah for jolly wives too. especially jane who it goes without saying i'm also very glad to see each evening. it went without saying, so i didn't say it. but now i have.

here are two people painted white snogging on paddington station waiting area. i think they were doing something official

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update: having read the comments, i suppose they are trying to recreate 'the snog' as seen in the tate modern

here are some double yellow lines on the road and the curb stone. i thought you'd like it. think of it as an early valentine's present.

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interesting sign next to a bike rack.


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interesting how the door opens on to the road side and that the chair is behind the fridge. makes you think.

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cashback is a brilliant idea and much safer and more convenient than standing in the street taking money out of a cashpoint.

you buy something from a supermarket on your bank card and before you know it you've got your shopping a big wad of notes.

unless you go to the supermarket near my office. in there they haggle.

i asked for 40 cash back today. and they said "how about 20" ?

so i said "no, i'd like 40 please"

and she said "well, i've only got 20"

so i accepted her original offer and received 20 in 2 coins. i thanked her on behalf of my wallet manufacturer.

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i'm looking to buy a watch, but no where seems to sell them these days. i went to Nowhere and even they had ceased selling them.

i went from door to door down tottenham court road saying "do you sell watches" with no success. next time i'll actually go in to the shops.

i want a thermometer and compass on my watch and i only want to spend 20. i suspect my search may take some years.

meanwhile i can take my old watch to the clothes repairers where i saw this sign. they can apparently alter a 24 hour clock and turn it in to a more decimal 10 hour version. possibly.

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here is an upturned jacuzzi in a skip. jacuzzis are just so pass�.

in london the craze is to have your bath replaced with a small pond with actual living fish in it. more posh families have turtles. i even heard of someone having a dwarf alligator in their bathroom.

but where do people wash nowadays you ask ? the answer is in purpose built wash blocks which have been built by the local council on most street corners. they have been sponsored by personal hygiene product manufacturers to reduce the tax burden.

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New photo found for davescollections:

come to london. you're not too late to see the christmas lights.

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here is a skip full of stuff, in the air. but how is it managing to fly ?

i suspect it's got something with crane it was attached to.

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it was dark when i left home this morning (as usual) but it was light by the time i arrived at paddington which is great. summer is on its way.

i was struck this morning by the gradual introduction of colour to the day. it started off black, then came the introduction of dark blue, then some reds were added and before you knew it, colour had stretched down from the sky and lighted up the world.

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oh yes, i forgot to say. this photo is of the moon through the windows (some paneless) at my local train station

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here's an interesting celebrity-interest thing. i feel i know you well enough to share this now.

i'm just 3 people away from Michael Jackson. ie he's a friend of friend's friend's dad.

Michael was once the most famous person on the planet - so in theory i could get a message to anyone in the world.

let me know if you've got anything important to say and i'll pass it on.

there's a thing on every sunday in february in reading called 5:14 and it's run by Reading Vineyard church. it's most excellent.

the band contained a couple of friends and a singer called suzie.

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here is an interesting link to a thing to amuse you for a few seconds (needs sound). probably only makes sense to british viewers.

remember the hairy cat ? If not, familiarise yourself with it first, then come back and see what happened next. Thanks to michelle for urging me to get on and do this.

see how we turned it from hairy back to slippery smooth (some of the photos are clickable):

Continue reading "cat update" »

this is one for all you scottish people who say "wee" rather than "small".

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update: after i posted this kezia did her first 'wee' in the toilet today. it was her idea and we thought we'd just go along with her plan. we thought it was probably just an excuse to extract large quantities of toilet roll and do the flushing.

anyone who's got children will know the implications of this:

good - the end is in sight for nappies

bad - the next few weeks will be quite damp for all involved and going out for day trips will get more tricky.

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here is a sign of death. i like the teeth. i used to be a goth you know.

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the devil might be in the detail, but Jesus is on the sugar.

here is the sugar sachets in a regular cafe we went to today. they are by "Kingdom Coffee International" and contain a Bible verse.

this reminded me of my plan for 'litter evangelism' which involved throwing leaflets explaining about Jesus all over the street so that people might pick them up and read them. this concept remains untested.

i also had a plan for 'whistle evangelism' which involed whistling well known christian songs to subliminally influence members of the public in to believing the truth about Jesus. this wasn't very successful as not many people know christian songs these days.

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i think this sign means this trees days are numbered.

this tree must die so that others near it might live. that's how forests work apparently

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we went to the lookout in bracknell today with our friends Ian and Carolyn. it's a forest and used to be a major Roman settlement and is very nice (if you like trees, which we do).

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and here's a view from the top of the viewing tower:
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The viewing tower told us that Paris was 200 miles away, which is nearer than Lands End. It also told us that Australia was 8,800 miles away and the Great Wall of China was 6,400 miles away.

Ultimately it made no difference as the trees had got too high so you couldn't see Paris, let alone China.

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it's been ages sinces i've found a new sign of a hound. so it gives me great pleasure to present you with one today.

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here is a lad on a bike on a phone box. a bunch of them had their BMXs and were bunny hopping up benches, across flower beds and up walls in the name of fun.

they were wearing crash helmets which was a little dissapointing. if they were in to danger and destruction they should have gone all the way.

the lad in the picture hopped (whilst still on his bike) off the phone box on to the grey box and then on to the black bin before dropping to the floor and cycling off.

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here is a man playing an instrument which just had one string and a funny thing to wiggle to make the note go wobbly.

it was like a theremin without the electronics. i was very impressed. i asked what it was called and he told me. i was none the wiser as it had a chinese name.

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esther and i spent a lot of time looking at the sky this morning. here is a building we saw with a roof like stairs (according to esther). on the ground level it was very boring shops. the downside to our amateur architecture event was that we kept bumping in to each other.

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pound shops were so 1980s. inflation has taken it's toll and nearly a quarter of a century later, we're got 5 shops in the high street.

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here are three photos sent to me from cousin mike.

the chap with kermit is probably my wife's mother's sister's husband. but might not be. spot the china cup which i becoming a regular feature. the other is a dog i think.

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and here are some pebbles. i hope they were shadow-proof.
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if you are in london and want to see some fantastic things for free then go to the british library. it's about 2 minutes walk from Kings Cross / St Pancras Station and 5 minutes from Euston.

Original shakespeares, da vinci notebooks, the magna carta, the original handwritten Alice In Wonderland, original Beatle lyrics etc. All to see and enjoy. and there's some impressive bookshelves too.

there is even a section on stamps which got me thinking. you can stick a stamp on nearly anything and it will travel to nearly anywhere in the world. that's why we have the phrase "philately will get you everywhere". i think

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(the blue dog in the foreground is reminding us to be s@fe on the internet)

i went to a conference today and this chap from CBBC was wandering about. he had an entorage of about 10 school girls (who were also presenting). they were hanging on his every word and giggling furiously. it was most amusing.

i think he's called jake or something

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here are some ladies on the Euston Road making themselves useful

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jane ate a boiled egg last night, but the girls had used the egg cups so she used an austin powers shot glass. i think it works.

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Mr Gilbert, the great wig man, has died. and so it goes.

and all his belonging have been thrown in to the street by a company which does that kind of thing.

he was one of the first people i (tried to) blog and it's the end of an era. i liked walking past his shop door and looking in to see if i could see his bearded head.

i nearly went in last week to ask for a picture. i wish i had now. my last blog of him was in october

i'm blogging this from paddington station, so these photos are but 2 minutes old.

top tip: if you go up to the top floor in paddington station, there is a free wifi hotspot !

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i've noticed my google page rank has dropped from the heady highs of 7/10 to 4/10. have the quality control people moved in ?

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i'm still number one for a google search for 'junior pop idol' which is good. and still the only result if you do a search for "macaroon macaroon macaroon"

i love chalk graffiti as it's so temporary. here is a lovely little alien next to the pub opposite my office.

when i took the photo a baker delivering bread said to me "i'm not a real baker, i'm just the driver", so i said "why are you wearing a bakers hat then matey?" and he couldn't answer

actually that didn't happen. he said "that's not very artistic". and i said "maybe, but it's good enough for me".

because it was and still is.

and it is artistic because of the choice of subject (alien), its style (minimilist) and the choice of media (chalk on pavement by pub)

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here is another fluffy glove. the one on the right looked like it was a glove from a distance so i got my camera out as i approached it.

unfortunately it was not a glove. it was in fact a "doggie-do" which had been deposited in a glove resembling way.

i deliberately didn't use flash. (perhaps i should have used 'flush')

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these things are neither mellow nor marsh like.

they are simply little clouds that the cloud people have packaged up and send down to us.

they aren't even good clouds. they are cloud people rejects (they keep the good clouds to use as real clouds). they are but cheap imitations built and packaged up for the tourists.

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in order to fight the system head on and take matter in to our own hands, i've decided to collect photos of signs saying no photos.

here is my first one courtesy of cousin mike. i spotted the sign in the background of a photo he sent via the method of email. i'm not sure if the sign was in the background when he dispatched it by email, but it was certainly there when i received it.

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here's a really exciting story for you. when we moved in to our house just over 2 years ago we were told we would have to pay 55 a month for our water.

quite a jump from the 16/month in our old house. so we said we wanted to go on a meter and we would jolly well show them how little water we used.

after waiting a couple of months for them to install the meter our bill dropped to 21/month ! And now, a year later, they've dropped the bill even lower to 13/month. hoorah.

so, the lesson to learn is: get a water meter and ban your family from using water. i suggest turning it off at the main as the ultimate deterent.

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one good thing about starting work so early this morning is that i can take a few breaks and enjoy kezia's birthday. she's reached the grand old age of 2.

here is some present opening (kezia is wearing her sleeping attire):
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new sparkly wellies (left) and my (her) little poney and esther
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Continue reading "birthday kez" »

following a request for car information and pictures, here is some useful information and pictures for anyone doing coursework.

here is a drawing of a sports car (thanks cousin mike). this picture captures the mechanics and the spirit of sports cars. you almost imagine it to drive right off the page. and aren't those colours great ?

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sports cars have their spiritual side too. here are three sports cars going to a church (thanks pete's son tim):

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Sports car fact - The addition of a magic tree can increase performance by as much as 8.2% (pete's son's tim's fact).

So there we have it. a comprehensive guide to sports cars.

it's 4am and i'm sitting here working. the early bird catches the worm. but i think even the worms are still asleep.

it's kezia's birthday today and i've got a ton of work to do so this seemed the best plan. we'll see ...

here are some found things. i didn't realise at the time but it's also a self portrait (it proves i'm wearing a synthetic tie today)

also ... doesn't the basin bottom look like a smiley face ?


click for big versions

update1: this isn't me after all ! see comment ...

update2: They were filming the sequel to Bridget Jones' Diary around Borough Market (where i took this photo) so this collection of junk may have been an artfully arranged prop.

here's something you can do in your lunch breaks. tie a pair of your favourite shoes together and throw them over an electricity wire. i imagine it's very satifactory when you get them to stay up there.

probably best to use your own shoes for this.

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i got stopped by the police this morning. sort of. a police van was reversing out of an alley way and i had to stop walking for about 30 seconds so i didn't get run over.

but it just goes to show how close i am to the edge of the law most of the time.

a few minutes later i saw this sign.

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here are four dictionaries in a bookshop window. the spanish one had faded to be nearly unreadable. the german and the french one were a little better but still looking a big dog-eared. the english one looked fine. makes you think.

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Brother edd pointed me to this: Web of Lies

i get some great comments from people on the blog and i thank you all (except the spammers).

i occasionally get comments which should read "i've been given some homework by my teacher. can you do it for me please".

one such appeared today here. Poor Nishan obviously just googled for "car show rooms" (i'm the second and third choice!).

So, if you are willing, could you all draw me a picture of a car, together with some random sports car facts and i'll compile a dossier for him.

let's harvest the power of the Internet together.

send them to the following email address homeworkhelp@funkypancake.com

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update: results here

i have a new device to bore you with. not a drill (that would bore you in a more literal sense). no. i have a pedometer to so i can see how far i walk.

and so we learn that from my home door to my office door is 4.976 km (3 miles) and i walked at 5.34 km/hr (3.3 mph).

52 minutes of my journey this morning was spent walking and i took 6144 steps. (this obviously excludes the 50 minute train journey and time waiting for the train to turn up). Oh, and i may have burnt 232 Kcal, but i don't know what that means (i need a measure in Mars Bars)

This is a walk i do twice a day. my new boots are still giving me blisters

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but what about the science of walking speed ? try here.

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today was jane's granny's thanksgiving service. they have a tradition in her family of holding the funeral on a different day from the thanksgiving which i think works really well.

we met up in a supermarket prior to the service. one of jane's distant relatives asked her "is this your first funeral ?". he then said "oops, that wasn't a very good chat up line was it"

There then followed a moment or two of silence and then he said to himself rather gravely: "death ... the great leveller"

here is a photo of jane's granny taken last summer:
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Continue reading "thanksgiving for jane's granny" »

here is a sign we pass every week on the way to church. it's a sign saying 'no dumping' and a crossed out christmas tree. the thing i like about this sign is that, even though it's hand made, it remains up all year round.

i wished i had taken a photo of it in the middle of summer, but i didn't because it's in a tricky place to stop. but today we stopped anyway.

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is your money dirty ? well, you should go to this money launderer. you may even get to meet the speed queen.

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i'm working from home, starting at 6am this morning so i can get stuff done before i go to something at 11am. It occured to me, sitting in a cold room, repeatedly trying to boot my poorly laptop that mornings are a difficult concept for most people.

i'm a morning person, but i don't like getting up. So maybe there is a market for a Home Start option for people at home. You could phone someone up and they'd come round with a pre-warmed dressing gown, a warm beverage and some soothing words.

They could perhaps even offer breakdown cover in case you were heading for a breakdown by massages and (once again) soothing words.

The car breakdown people, AA, would be ideal people to offer this kind of service. I may email them to suggest it.

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the wimpy burger is something very british. wimpy restaurants were the forerunners to McDonalds/Burger King in the UK and no town was without one.

their beauty was that they didn't put gerkhins in their burgers and they had proper chips (not fries). Best of all though was that you got given a knife and fork to eat your burger.

wimpy's still exist (looking at the wimp website there are still quite a few about) - mostly in motorway service stations, which is where we found one today.

service was dreadfully slow and totally lacking in interest. but i did manage to find a knife and fork and happily ate my not-too-pleasantly tasting burger in a peculiarly british way.

i left feeling strangely satisfied that the US influence has even now failed to reach some of our darkest corners.

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i've talked about scarey dolls before. here is another one which has very strange eyes, mouth, eyebrows and a very high forehead. generally very scarey.

Pam had knitted and crochetted this doll's dress, gloves, shoes and even nappy especially for our visit !


click to view in its awful entirety

we visited my grandma's house today. people have different names for different members of their family, and in my experience grandparents often get very strange names.

we call my grandma 'pam' because her first name is Sylvester Ivy.

she cooked us a fantastic meal and was very excited to learn it might appear on the internet:

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Continue reading "Pam's house" »

a great grandma, a granddaughter and a royal mail postbox:
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a great grandma wearing a paper hat drinking tea from a bone china cup:
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here is a sinister army based thing which we passed on the way to my granny's house. see the circular buildings and aerials. very mysterious.

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