Friday, July 31, 2009


Maybe I should record, for the hordes who haven't yet heard, that emacs 23.1 has been released. Download it here for the editor that's actually an operating system.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

White van students

I thought I'd already uploaded this somewhere but it seems not (unless my memory and web searching faculties have now deserted me!) But thanks to Tony Nixon we have this picture of the guilty

Me, Peter and Richard and a white van which 5 of us went around Europe with. The poster we were holding I don't remember at all - maybe it was loaned by Jeffrey Archer?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 28 July

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
I'm still working my way though Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun from last week so here's another teaser from it:
She felt light, as if it were much easier to carry her own weight, but she was clear-headed; she knew what she wanted to do and what she was doing. ____'s almost-damp smell filled her nose when she stood before him with the bottle.
I've blanked out a name to avoid a possible spoiler! The tale of the betrayal and tragedy of Biafra.
As I've started another book - I wanted something light (in weight) when I was having problems with back and a rucksack - most of my reading happens on the route to and from work, here's another one!
At one time he had been in the habit of playing the harp at the bedside of his patients in order to sedate them with certain music composed for the purpose. He did not practice surgery, which he considered an inferior art fit only for charlatans and barbers, and his terrifying specialty was predicting the day and the hour his patients would die.

from Gabriel García Márquez's 'Of Love and Other Demons' - I'd forgotten there was a Peter Eötvös opera on this book (broadcast in the UK last year).

Monday, July 27, 2009

My eyes!

I'll leave the URL in the clear just so that you get the idea -
Forsyths webpages are a bit of a blast from the past, and those colour clashes!
I also right clicked (or in my case left clicked) on the main frame - whichever one that is(!) and didn't find many security details. Then try clicking on the home page logo and watch it get into a frames inspired tangle.
The shop is wonderful - the website less so!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


A new Simon's cat has arrived!

Mutterings - 26 July

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Taxman :: Bill (or Matthew!)
  2. Material :: World (Girl)
  3. Format :: C: (Linux)
  4. File cabinet :: desktop metaphor
  5. Ignore :: cut
  6. Super! :: califragelisticexpialidocoius
  7. Fireproof :: bunker
  8. Blockbuster :: film
  9. Snooper :: spy
  10. Good will :: hunting
I think my mind must be working strangely today.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Three hands may be needed!

Jorge Bolet playing the Schulz-Evler version of Strauss's Blue Danube

making the impossible do-able. In two parts, listen to both!

The consequences of offending Anglican Mainstream

Plague of boils next? Thanks to the ship of fools for this.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Boozy and Hawkes

Oh dear!

Wazzup up with 'dat then?
I bought this recording this lunchtime - the classic Walter Berry/Boules performance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back at the helpdesk

Go and read the latest today's WTF from which I take only this moment from a company wishing to take every customer issue seriously:
ISSUE #88274
Client Issue:
"Has ANY person in your company ever Looked at or tryed to READ any maniual man u all something like thet that it's funney even after 7 years I still LAUGH any way some people like Ta know I mean Ya know!"

Problem Point:
We failed to provide the client with a version of their manual in garbled, unpunctuated non-english.

Improvement Goal:
Many companies miss the garbled, unpunctuated non-english market segment completely, and we should not be one of them. It's important to remember that for every client that understands"Click the 'submit' button to save your changes", there's another that only understands "klik tHe summit butt on two SAVE yer changez ya know ya know".

Hoots of laughter from this corner of the internet.

Sexism and apologies

Back here I promised a link to the Hidden in plain view post on a culture of sexism in FLOSS (Free-Libre Open Source Software) - so there it is, and here's Matt Zimmermann on the same subject with lots of comments! While you're there go and read his post on proper apologies vs the "I'm sorry if" "I'm sorry but" and "I'm sorry that you" evasions beloved of all of us at one time or the other.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Luzern Day 7

the last hotel
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Not a lot to say, a quiet day, but this is a view of the Hotel Central in Weggis. Lazed in the terrace of the hotel for most of the morning - didn't find Weggis terribly exciting. Thought about trying to find the Rachmaninov villa where he wrote the 3rd Symphony but idleness overtook me and we headed off to the boat to Luzern - were we collided with crowds going to the first event in the Luzern festival and then by train to Zurich and home. The photos I've uploaded to flickr so far are here though after reading Linux format on Tonido I'm tempted to try it rather than reviving the Photo section of my webserver. Flickr may well see a few more uploads to that set - there's some flower photos I took early on which still need sorting through.

Teaser Tuesday - 21 July

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
He watched her, bent over to sweep the floor, and remembered how she used to smack Anulika's bottom for not bending properly to sweep. 'Did you eat mushrooms? Sweep like a woman!' she would say, and Anulika would grumble that the broom was too short and it wasnot her fault that people were too stingy to buy longer brooms.
From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun, I read her Purple Hibiscus a bit back and enjoyed it and am finding this equally absorbing - though I'm just at the first (of I suspect a few) 'look away now!' moments!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Diritto alla rete

WillyM blogs about a day of silence on 14th July and a protest in the Piazza Navona (Rome) about a law attempting to muzzle free speech from Italian bloggers. A lot of weblogs there showing support as well as this link showing up Berlusconi's tawdry little spectacle.
If you go to WillyM's weblog do read his account of a dire staging of Tosca complete with a speaking part for llama!
(Tr. The right to network - I hope!)

Luzern Day 6

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Day 6 started early as we (more or less) rose to see the dawn. Spectacular particularly the sun on the Bernese Oberland and the slow increase in light..
A reading of Mark Twain's account of missing the dawn of Rigi is worth a read:
On our way up we met the crowd returning--men and women dressed in all sorts of queer costumes, and exhibiting all degrees of cold and wretchedness in their gaits and countenances. A dozen still remained on the ground when we reached there, huddled together about the scaffold with their backs to the bitter wind. They had their red guide-books open at the diagram of the view, and were painfully picking out the several mountains and trying to impress their names and positions on their memories. It was one of the saddest sights I ever saw.
But go and read the full account - I still remember this from the extract on a Geigy calendar of the 1960s!
We walked over to Rigi Scheidegg for lunch and then over to Rigi Kaltbad and the cablecar down to Weggis. The Hotel Central am See (a rather nice stylish website in spite of being all Flash) was a bit of a contrast to the more rural hotels of the last few days, beautifully situated on the lake - don't get too close to the terrace edge when the boats go past! Ate at the hotel - very well catered for - finding a good substitute off the package menu as Beth isn't keen on pork or fish. Another balcony overlooking the lake rather noisy but a return to civilization after the last week.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Silk Screen

The Silk Screen web site has been updated for the 2009-2010 season. Looks good and at only £24 for 12 films joining is a pretty obvious move if you're into non mainstream cinema and live in the Macclesfield area.

Macclesfield Youth Club reunion - 17th October

Back in January I wrote:
We're in the midst of organising a reunion of the St Michael's/St Andrew's (aka All Saints) Youth club which met in the tin tab and St Andrew's back in the 1960's/70's/80's.
If you were part of it then and wish to be there for the reunion - no date decided yet (it is very preliminary!!) you'll be very welcome (but probably this year in the warm weather - if we have any).
If you wish to help organise it - that will be even better!
I've created a web page for details of those who will be coming - with as many or few contact details as you like.
The contact page is on that other posting, but to get to it you will need login details from me - just so that contact details aren't splurged across the net!
As you'll see from the subject a date has been fixed Saturday 17th Oct 2009 - maybe with an extension into the Sunday.
There's also a facebook group - where I am currently the only might be a less onesided means of getting information and arrangements out - though you do need a Facebook account.
Having been on holiday I'm now intending to get things moving on this - 3 months to go!

Thought for the day

Those of us who have had the privilege of loving know that we do not
look into the eyes of our beloved, of our children, of our friends
and say `What are you for? To what moral edification or theological
revelation can you be put?' We say `I love you' and if the
angles cheer so much more fun for the angels. Now as it happens if we
love we will gain moral edification and theological revelation and
the angels will cheer, but I know that as sure as hell that is not
what loving is for. I do not want God whose love is less generous
than my own pale imitations of it.
Sara Maitland `A big enough God'

Mutterings - 19 July

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Banter :: laughter
  2. Amazing :: Grace
  3. Towel :: Bath
  4. Cinema :: Verité
  5. Newspaper :: column
  6. Not good :: bad
  7. My type :: of music
  8. Twinkle :: twinkle
  9. Actress :: role
  10. Daft :: silly

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Foot .. mouth..

What on earth was rms (Richard Stallman) thinking of? I've seen a good blog on this incident, citing it as sexism hiding in plain view in the Free Software community. When I see it again, I'll link it here!

Faith links

A couple of links on current events which are (IMHO) worth a read.
First Scott Gunn dissects Tom Wright's recent piece in the Times on TEC:
Let’s all be clear about two things. First, the Episcopal Church is (imperfectly, to be sure) trying to answer God’s mission imperatives in this place and in this time. Second, we are committed to our bonds of affection with our sisters and brothers overseas. To say otherwise is to distort the truth and to refuse to listen to what our General Convention and our Presiding Bishop have repeatedly said.

And then the Changing attitude blog on Anglican Mainstream's recent foot stamping on the subject of Greenbelt:
Greenbelt continues to offer thousands of people, many of them on the fringes of the church, an experience which encourages them in the faith and restores their confidence in God. Changing Attitude wouldn’t dream of trying to dictate what Greenbelt should be or who it should invite. It is what it is, and we rejoice in its openness, diversity and passion.

Greenbelt resonates with people’s experience of God in the UK in the 21st century far more than Anglican Mainstream will ever do.

Luzern Day 5

heading up the Rigi
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Day 5 was first marked by tiredness - back by the lake the night was hot and we had a friendly mosquito or two...
Breakfast outside the hotel overlooking the lake and then by boat across the lake to Vitznau and then on the railway to the summit of Rigi. A pleasant day walking around the summits - unfortunately the clouds moved in so the views were not as impressive as they might have been. Snacks at the Rigi summit and then in the afternoon at Klöster. I'd recommend going to Känzeli earlier than we arrived when there was lots of haze -- it was also a tough final ascent to the Edelweiss Hotel - yet another Edelweiss - at Staffelhöhe. Very comfortable, room with a balcony where we could see the lake - this time well out of mosquito range. A quiet evening eating at the hotel


funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
With our cats, being in the same room is, probably, too close!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Product placement

The Guardian piece on the bouquet and plane crash story has this well placed advert!

Teaser Tuesday - 14 July

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
'Burgundy is a jolly thing,' said the Professor sadly, as he set his glass down.
You don't look as if it were,' said Syme; 'you drink as if it were medicine.'

This month's BATS (book group) book - G K Chesterton's The Man Who was Thursday. I last read this book in the early 1960's(!) when, probably, most of it went over my head, an interesting read (and probably a re-read before the meeting).
Cheated slightly as those are the fist two lines on the page - beginning of a chapter - but if it weren't those lines would be around 7 lines down (if you see what I mean). The cover has Kingsley Amis quoted as 'The most thrilling book I have ever read' - probably not - but worth the re-discovery!

Bride's bouquet downs chopper

This seems to be everywhere now, should have posted it earlier. For non-Italian readers, via The Register:
The happy couple had tasked pilot Luciano Nannelli, 61, with dropping the floral display on eager bridesmaids lined up at the do in Montioni Park, Suvereto. However, when passenger Isidoro Pensieri, 44, released the bouquet it apparently got tangled in the propellor.
(though other reports have it being sucked into the engine..)
The aircraft then plunged into a hostel. One passenger on the plane was badly hurt.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

..and a squirrel

Must be a thing with animals with objects on their head at the moment - or I'm finding them. A google takes me to this, rather old, news page - beware it's the Daily Mail! The movie link is thanks to J-Walk. This film looks to be less voluntary than the last - apparently the squirrel was released. Looks to be a red one - or is the colour of the pot deceiving me?


Louis Derbré via Paris Daily Photo

Feline intelligence

It's had rather a lot of views, so maybe everyone has seen it apart from me?

Mutterings - 12 July

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Sister :: Brother (or Act)
  2. Talks :: Sermons
  3. Electric! :: Counterpoint (or Car)
  4. Corner :: Shop
  5. Turnstile :: Football
  6. Swap :: Shop
  7. Young :: Frankenstein
  8. Horrific :: Awful
  9. Block :: Writers
  10. Wind :: Tunnel (or Turbine)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Luzern Day 4

Ah yes, day 4, this started badly the instructions had the wrong train times and in spite of the hotel giving us a lift to Engelberg station we just missed the train. Waited around for an hour to catch the next, the get-off point was a request stop and in spite of pressing the button the train failed to stop so we walked back from the next station to just miss the half-hourly cable car up the mountain to Niederrickenbach.
Having got there it was a steep but enjoyable climb up to the Brisenhaus SAC (Swiss Alpine Club) hut. I'd not been to one of these for many years - since a 1971 holiday in Arolla, there was a welcome soup and torte which we ate outside admiring the views. Then down to the Kluwenalp with wonderful views over Lake Luzern and a cable car ride down to Beckenried where the Hotel Edelweiss (another!) and a foot dip in the lake beckoned.
Beautifully situated by the lake with views from our room of boats and mountains. Good meal at the hotel though we began to flag as a result of the four course menu. Cold veal with tuna sauce was a bit of a surprise but I did enjoy it!

The end of the world

The end of the world
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
(End der Welt) in 55 minutes (this was a few weeks ago now!) From a signpost in Engelberg - we didn't find our way there, I guess it was the end of the valley. Photo no 666 on my camera's SD card...

Fluëli-Ranft panorama

Here's the view from our balcony at the Pax Montana - I've stitched 3 photos together using Gimp's Pandora plugin. I'm a little suspicious of some of the skyline but everything else seems to line up?
Click on the image to get a larger version!
That chain doesn't line up though - I think I need more investigation!
Much later (Sept 2011) I've used hugin on the photos and the panorama is immensely improved:
Panorama from the Pax Montana
maybe I lacked patience with the gimp plugin?

The un-muzzled view from Italy

From the Guardian website
As a member of the Italian parliament and former magistrate who ensured that many corrupt politicians and businessmen were brought to justice in the 1990s, I wish to apologise to the editor and staff of the Guardian newspaper for the utterly predictable reaction of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and our foreign minister, Franco Frattini.

The Guardian does its best to keep the public informed. In Italy this government is not accustomed to free debate, or to hearing the truth being told. While sections of the article dealing with preparations for the G8 summit may be debatable, the rest of it contains little that can be refuted.
but go and read the rest of the article!

At last!

The locks have been changed on (at least) two ex-SPCK bookshops to keep out the institutional vandals (i.e. the Brewers who bought the chain) who did their utmost to destroy that book chain.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


It is Oxfam's first bookfest, go along to the Guardian where there's wonderful poem by Carol Ann Duffy marking the event.
...Pair of spectacles (longsight) £3. P/b Fieldnotes from a Catastrophe:
Report on Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert (hindsight) 40p.
Jade earrings and necklace, somewhere a mother, £20, brand new
gentleman's suit, somewhere a brother, £30. Everything Fairtrade.
Better still go along to Oxfam and buy some books! They looked good when I was in the local shop on 4th.
Thanks to Sylvia R-J for mentioning the poem which I'd missed in my read of the paper this weekend!

Luzern Day 3

Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Day 3 was fairly gentle - cable car up to the Trübsee and a walk down. The day belonged to the flowers - and I've added a few to the holiday flickr set. Engleberg is probably not good at a weekend and we did this walk on a Sunday, queues for the cable car - we were amused at how the leader of a group came in the cable car with us rather than his group in order to take a break. The Trübsee station is a bit of a building site at the moment but once away from it peace descended and we followed the Alpine flower route, a steep descent and then to a nicely placed restaurant for some Apfel Torte! Unfortunately the end of the walk was marred by a bike race which prevented us using the walk we wanted.
Delightful dinner at the Hotel Engelberg, I had the fixed price menu - real Swiss hospitality and food, a group then arrived in national dress for their own dinner - between courses they went into the street and sang something appropriately Swiss! (see set for photo!)
(need identification for the flower photo!)

While he's on the subject..

What about colossal blunders and betrayal of promises by a small Prime minister?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 7 July

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
Teaching English to a high standard from beginners to university level became our main task, mine in particular. The library and the busy programme of play-readings, exhibitions, lectures and debates were designed to promote the British way of life and culture in stimulating and even provocative ways and were meant to attract the Lebanese.
Donald Reeves "The memoirs of 'a very dangerous man'" (Margaret Thatcher's view of the author) the life of a radical Anglican clergyman. That teaser reflects his early career teaching in Lebanon very much the end of Empire! I haven't got to the St James' Piccadilly but am looking forward to it!

Sunday, July 05, 2009


Luzern Day 2

Back to the valley
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
This was the walk back from Fluëli-Ranft. towards Luzern - we walked along the Bruderklausenweg a pilgrim's way - part of the Compostela route. A longish day but a gentle walk with eagles never far away. Started the day with a little rain but it vanished and didn't reappear for the rest of the holiday. Once in Stans, we took the train to Engleberg which became a rack railway and arrived at the Edelweiss Hotel. We were booked in only on a bed and breakfast basis but the hotel does have a restaurant. We felt like sampling Engelberg's Swiss restaurants and ended up having a cheese fondue at the Alpenclub a very atmospheric restaurant and confirmed from their website clearly rather old. We were in the part alongside the road so we could watch the Swiss traffic pausing, turning round and generally getting lost!
PS (a lot later) the last bit of the walk into Stans is next to a clay pigeon shooting range - well I hope they weren't shooting at us - you may need steady nerves and ear plugs!

Mutterings - 5 July

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Independence :: Day
  2. Meltdown :: Core
  3. Vulture :: Culture
  4. Hope :: springs (eternal)
  5. Float :: Double
  6. Hole :: in one
  7. Trespass :: prosecute
  8. Moving :: on
  9. Extinct :: dinosaur
  10. Alligator :: crawl

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Day 1 of Luzern

Pax Montana
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
(well the first full one!) We started gently with the train to Sarnen and a walk to Fluëli-Ranft via the highest wooden bridge in Europe - I didn't find it terribly vertigo inducing as the walking notes threatened. As you see we had a bit of rain that day - started just when we'd arrived in Fluëli-Ranft. The village is a centre of Roman Catholic pilgrimage it being the home of Brother Klaus (Nicholas of Flüe). I will remember the eagles from that day one swooping only around 30m from the balcony of our room! Also eating dinner watching the sun through the clouds lighting up and then dimming the valleys opposite.

On knowing somone

Elly Ameling with Rudolf Jansen performing Poulenc's setting of Vilmorin's C'est ainsi que tu es
Voilà, c’est ton portrait,
C’est ainsi que tu es.
Et je veux te l’écrire
Pour que la nuit venue
Tu puisses croire et dire
Que je t’ai bien connue

No surprise there

Nick Baines shows up the inconsistencies at the heart of the 'Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans':
Despite protestations of innocence, the scheming behind FCA does not give us confidence that dodgy behaviour will receive the same biblical or ethical scrutiny as is applied to questions of sexual behaviour.
I do wish that the Bishop of Chester with his apparent support for the bunch of FCA schismatics would take note. Why does this diocese make their bishops into such strange characters?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Luzern evening

Restaurant Fritschi
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
As you may have gathered we've been away on another of Inntravel's walking tours. This time around Lake Luzern. Evening meal wasn't included so we wandered around town and found the Restaurant Fritschi with this amazing exterior and inside wonderful painted wood panels. Raclette and rösti with a Swiss wine were enjoyed, service was rather glacial (pre-global warming) that evening but with the ambience it allowed us to settle into the environment. Stayed at the Wilden Mann ready for a week of walking!I'm putting other pictures from the week here only a few there at the moment, I hope to upload some more this weekend!(and I've now put them in a flickr set here

Thursday, July 02, 2009

from the Pax Montana

from the Pax Montana
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
.. back home from Switzerland with lots of photos which need looking though. In the meantime here is a memory of a special evening at the Pax Montana hotel in Flüeli Ranft watching the sun set