Friday, December 29, 2006

Boxing day tea

Boxing day tea (not at home) consisted of
  • toasted tea-cakes
  • trifle
  • mince pies
  • Christmas cake (actually birthday cake) iced fruit cake
  • Simnel cake
I make that raisins et al in five different forms, maybe that's the main theme of Christmas menus?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I hope to repay to you...

.. well it's pretty close to 'may we ever serve you right' - the wonders of machine translation in this case the Google translation of which reveals that: I clearly need to practise some Italian to work out what on earth's going on - found as a result of posting about Ammaniti's Steal You Away.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Two pictures

First, a getting a hold of terragen2's planet settings
the division between night and day on the planet looks a bit odd?
Also - anticipating Christmas a bit, Hecate was introduced to her new toy:

Is blogger's image upload broken? - again I've had to put these pictures on my ISP's webspace!

Basket of the week

Not much opportunity for obviously strange combinations this week - everybody has been buying far too much in one purchase to notice patterns - though there was someone one day who bought eight boxes of taste-the-difference tea and some mascara...maybe she needed to adjust the colour of the tea leaves or was going to use the tea for some particularly bushy eyebrows at a Christmas fancy dress party?
And then at 6:30 yesterday a shelf collapsed while a colleague was doing something to it - unfortunately it was loaded with red wine - I was in a good position and just see the frozen horror in his back view! After around 5 minutes the fumes reached us....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Terragen 2 again

The image is: - image uploading seems to be sulking at Blogger this evening...a larger png can also be seen! This was the quick start in the download with a few tweaks and around 8 hours rendering.

Two quotes

Read these last night - current bedtime reading is only three books - but I'm gradually reducing the pile!
The preoccupation with religion as an ideology leads to over-identification with the group, its language and symbols. Group loyalty becomes the test rather than loyalty to God or the truth.

Richard Rohr again - yes we all have those mental ticklists we assess every thought by and group pressure is insidious even where your group is 'I am the cat who walks by himself'

And then:
Sidda grabbed an apple out of the wooden bowl on the counter. Then she stepped out on the deck into the warmth of a Pacific Northwest summer morning. She looked out at the tall fir trees that surrounded the cabin. She bit down into the apple. I know nothing, she thought. She looked around at the tall fir trees that surrounded the cabin. I know nothing but the smell of the sun hitting those countless needles from these old evergreens.

from The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells. A moment wonderfully captured (I see that she lives near Seattle). When I was given this book at the book group I was told I wouldn't like it - I had mixed feelings until I got to the story of the trip to Gone with the Wind (a film I've never seen) and I was hooked. Maybe there's a resemblance to Twain's Huckleberry Finn maybe it's just the rawness of the book.

Two rather different books but I suppose they're both American.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas letter

A link to our Christmas letter has appeared ... here ... as it is not now finished!

Monday, December 18, 2006


Started playing with the Terragen 2 technology preview - freely downloadable - doesn't play so well with wine - the means by which I run WIndows programs under Linux. Buttons and panels keep on disappearing until I move the mouse over them for force a redraw - so I keep on having to shade and unshade the window! This is a wine problem and doesn't happen in windows... The above picture took around 90 mins to render, now to work out how to add vegetation (new in terragen 2)!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Two links

You may have seen the news item on the clash between a vicar and a Lions group - one of who was dressed as Father Christmas - when I saw Mad Priest's coverage, my coffee nearly went the wrong way due to the photo at the head of the item.
And a comment on the Reform proposed covenant:
At this time in the life of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, faced with a faulty view of revelation, false teaching and indiscipline, we believe that it is necessary to set out where we as orthodox Anglicans stand, and to invite others to join us

from Thinking Anglicans:
.. indiscipline. This will be the group who withhold parish share, carry out extra-parish church plants, irregularly ordain ministers, declare impaired communion with their bishops, actively organise to defrock other priests... I could go on. Reform only want discipline if they carry the stick. They are themselves, indisciplined and scream blue murder when lawful action is taken against them.

oh the irony!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

a late entry..

following last nights basket was the guy today who appeared with (only) a pair of rubber gloves and a wine box (no, he was wearing something else!). He said
I bet you don't get invited to parties like this
He's probably right - though I warned him that I run a blog!
Importing into wordpress was easy! My wordpress blog - Working on it (or wit for short) now has the contents of my other local weblogs, just need to decide whether to rename the blog and/or/how to make the other blogs redirect to the new location.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Basket of the week

Or maybe this should be barf of the week(!), someone bought only six toffee yogurts and 3 packs of the 4-pack of very sweet yogurts (coffee, strawberry and chocolate etc - can't find it on the Sainsbury's website!). I just hope they'd been earlier and these were the things they'd forgotten! Spent this afternoon on the quick checkout closest to the door - brrr - but by the time I'd had the adrenalin rush of the local school I was nearly beyond noticing.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Thinking of moving my home webserver blogs from MovableType to WordPress. Why I write this on a blogger blog I've no idea! Wordpress didn't work for me last week but it does now - user stupidity I think!

I've been lent Richard Rohr's Everything Belongs and found this last night
God is always bigger than the boxes we build for God, so we should not waste too much time protecting the boxes

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hear my complaint

I saw a reference to the Helsinki Complaints Choir in yesterday's Guardian and meant to find the web source

but I see that Geoff Coupe has beaten me too it. Currently listening to Maxime le Forestier's Le Roi in the form of an alternation between him and the audience which seems to have strong melodic pre-echoes of the complaint piece.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Afghanistan in the 60's

..the 1960's that is. For our book groups (BATS) book of the month - actually my book of the month as we're all reading a different one this month as we have a box of travel books - I'm reading Dervla Murphy's Full Tilt, an intrepid Irish lady who cycled from the UK to India in 1963 (I remember that winter). Not exactly a chronological tale as the end of the first chapter finds her in Teheran but the telling is wonderful. I was reading her account of Afghanistan a few weeks (!) ago when Blair was there and I found some of her insights very telling especially of their (then) rush to Westernisation
With our mad lust for Uniformity and a Higher Standard of Living and Expanding Markets, we go to a country like Afghanistan and cruelly try to jerk her forward two thousand years in two decades, giving no thought to the profound shock this must be to her national psychology
but maybe she - Murphy - always yearned for the rural idyll. Interesting that she describes the country then as being competed over by the US and the USSR.
Need to finish the book for tomorrow's meeting!.....

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Post Quality?!

Technorati Profile but I'm not sure this is necessarily going to increase the post quality..!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A suggestion for shoplifters

If you're proposing to steal something (I wouldn't advise it!) do make sure that the door you're proposing to use for your escape - when you're laden with your ill-gotten gains - isn't locked that day. This happened a few weeks ago now and caused us quite a bit of amusement and the memory still brings a smile.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Basket of the week

There was an early candidate for this today - lots of alcohol and a tin of new potatoes but unfortunately the new potatoes were destined for the Lions Christmas charity collection. So I waited for a bit and someone else appeared with seven bags of cat litter, some cat food and five tubes of cotton wool pads. Maybe their cats needed some serious makeup removal?

Vanity citing

Was searching for citations of this blog and I found an entry from Storyteller's World that I missed the first time around and as that blog's archivers are currently in pieces on the floor, let me cite it here (oh for trackbacks, but I suppose as the cited page only exists in the google cache that wouldn't get me very far!)

Again, Sutherland has a digression about the way your book buying makes a kind of statement about yourself. Hence, in the bookshop queue, everyone is curious about what other customers are buying. Not so at the supermarket:

At the Tesco or Safeways check-out line, you do not care in the slightest whether the person in front has smart organic baked beans or the supermarket’s own cheap brand, so long as their cart is not heaped so mountainously high that you will be waiting all day for the till.

Oh no, John! You may feel like that; but I’m much more curious about what other people are buying at the supermarket than at Waterstones. Their trolley contents are an endless source of fantasy and speculation - as I would like mine to be for them. Why is that woman buying just two bottles of gin, a tin of shoe polish, and a toothbrush? What kind of party is that going to be, with the couple stocking up with a dozen loaves of white sliced bread, 2 dozen bananas and a packet of Alka-Seltzer?

If you don’t believe me, try sampling some of rajm’s checkout experiences.

Ah, further inspection (edit on 25th Nov) reveals that the original was part of those rescued

Must make sure I keep an eye on the contents of those trollies!

Letting go

More apposite words from Alan Ecclestone's day book:
Let the roses go, that you fastened in my hair
One summer night in a garden, and the song
That we heard from another house, where the piano was playing:
The shadow a street lamp cast though the net of a curtain,
The river at night, smooth silent Thames, flowing though London.
Kathleen Raine from Parting

Fitted in well with my mood that day, letting go of a person - or of one's image of a person is always traumatic, oh yes I can handle that new information but it involves losing and that's the point where it is not so easy.

Was looking for quotations of this poem - mainly so I didn't have to type it! I found this moving piece

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gunfight at the quick checkout

.. well nearly..
On Tuesday I was working one of the quick checkouts when I was aware of a customer speaking about someone apparently in the third person, I eventually realised he was talking about the person next to him as if she didn't exist. She had apparently remonstrated with him about the number of items he had (10 items or less) but he had 13 (gosh!). But he was totally over the top sexist, violent.. I was trying to get him to think about his shopping and cool things down while talking quietly and trying to decide whether I ought to be pressing my panic button. He eventually left with the injunction to 'call your husband here and we'll sort things out properly'
And we all breathed a sigh of relief! And I've still never had the opportunity to see what happens when I press those buttons!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Basket of the week

Came from some folk who bought a large quantity of alcohol some soft drinks and a lettuce. Bill came to £101.10 (love the binary!). They said that the lettuce was for the hamster but didn't say whether the hamster drank.
The purpose of bringing in chip and pin was so that people could share their PINs (and hence their cards)
- from someone else this afternoon. I'm not good at fuming quietly!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Deepest failure

Just tried and failed to get deepest sender working with this beta blogger setup, I tried the instructions here but without success - get a message about the feed specified not being enabled... anyone....?

Just have to manually state that: Mad Priest reports that
In a Vatican first, Pope Benedict XVI will appear in a photo calendar featuring shots of the pontiff in different poses for each month of the year. The 79-year-old Catholic church leader will appear in 14 different poses for the 2007 calendar, to be distributed with Italy's Famiglia Cristiana weekly magazine.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


via Exigency In Specie comes this piece of fun:

Friday, November 03, 2006

Writing and Gender

Via Geoff Coupe comes the Gender Genie, supply some writing and it tells you your gender. I gave it a blog posting (well two as it prefers longer texts) and it had me as just male (458 vs 454). I then supplied it with some Julian of Norwich one of the earliest known female writers in English and it recognised her as female (305 vs 212).

I liked yellow

The picture's fuzzy due to the sun being about to rise in that direction but this should be the last time those yellow windowframes are seen. We had most of the windows replaced yesterday - outside temperature < 5C brrrr! - and today they're back for the more difficult ones. The view from the webcam - assuming it can still be attached will then have a boring white window frame instead of its current deep yellow. No doubt the webserver will also be down for a bit.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Letter from school

The software has been replaced, this will not happen again
- wot never? They obviously have a higher expectation of software lifetime than me!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ideology and Faith

Spotted this review by Stephen Bates in yesterday's Guardian of a number of books on religion the US and politics.
Ideology is a lot easier because you don't have to know or search for anything. You already know the answer to everything. It's not penetrable by facts.
Faith as an exploration doesn't seem to get on the map, just easy certainties. Ideology: You get an ology: yo're a scientist
Or from Randall Balmer an evangelical
I went to Sunday school nearly every week of my childhood ... but I must have been absent the day they told us that the followers of Jesus were obliged to secure even greater economic advantages for the affluent, to deny those Jesus called 'the least of these' a living wage and to despoil the environment by sacrificing it on the altar of free enterprise. I missed the lesson telling me that I should turn a blind eye to the suffering of others.
An evangelical though I doubt if he's a republican!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Basket of the week

... well last week. Was serving at a quick checkout and someone appeared with six packets of large mushrooms (2 or so per packet) and nine packets of beef tomatoes. She claimed they were for work.. I tried not to mention that it was a 10 items or fewer checkout,


Semolina shower over Great Yarmouth. Spotted this tale in today's paper, no doubt it is everywhere else!
The streets of Great Yarmouth were paved with semolina this week when more than two tonnes of the grain billowed out of a silo and scattered over the Norfolk town.
Report doesn't specify which day this week it happened so maybe it's very old news - it would appear it happened on Thursday morning - CBBC(!) was the only one I found that gave a date -err the Guardian gives a date but in the quote from the guy from Pasta Foods (company tag from the website - where reality exceeds expectation!!), The Great Yarmouth Mercury has some coverage - oops!

Why Baghdad Will Keep Burning


"While negotiating in Hanoi a few days before Saigon fell, U.S. Army Colonel Harry Summers, Jr. [...], said to a North Vietnamese colonel, 'You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield.' The Vietnamese colonel replied, 'That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.'"

our impasse is just a formula for more deaths in Iraq, a formula guaranteed to keep Baghdad burning.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Changing Attitude Chester

As I'm attempting to advertise this elsewhere, I'll also give it a plug here..

The Changing Attitude Chester group are running a day conference
with speakers Kenneth Leech and Jean Mayland

Does the Church limit God's Love?

Principles & practice and Changing Attitudes - Workshops & Discussion

Saturday 11th November 10am - 4pm at Chester Cathedral

Drinks provided, bring your own lunch.
To book for the day, send cheque (payable to Changing Attitude, Chester) for £7 (£4 concessions) together with your details to: Irene Pendleton, 55 Carlton Close, Parkgate, NESTON, CH64 6RB.

For information: e-mail imp<insert obvious symbol> (or me!)

Posters available at the Chester Group's website

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Before they go..

visit on Sunday to Crosby to see the Gormley statues -also a visit to the Formby red squirrels. Old stamping grounds for me as back in the early 60's I went to school in Crosby. Inevitably the beach was very busy and unusually for the West Lancashire coast, the tide was in. Hadn't been to see the statues before but I was determined to get there before they get uprooted.

More pictures to come - but at the moment I can find neither the camera USB cable nor the memory card reader!

I see the last post was number 256 - a long way to 512..

Friday, October 20, 2006

News from the building site..

At the moment we are surrounded by works in progress - for the last 24 hours drains have been cleared - the lorry was there all night - and it is still going on. Yesterday was the start of the areas move from black bin bag rubbish collection to householders sorting their rubbish for recycling, so just at the point where the bin lorry appeared to collect the paper and cardboard - for the first time - the drains people blocked the reoad with their works so the stuff couldn't be (easily) collected.
Then we have the Jordangate/Hibel Road works until Christmas, 50 yards the other way - with luck my webcam may have some pictures of this though you'll have to imagine the pneumatic drills! Unfortunately the cam can't cope with bright lights during the day - I've tried attaching dark 35mm film to the lens but haven't got it to work well yet - so when it is too bright it gets trained on here so you're likely to see me (or not!). Week after next we have the windows being replaced (needed as you can see from the window frame in the picture.

Shut Smutty Books

..with apologies to Tom Lehrer - from Anna Russell to Lehrer! via where I was looking after searching for a James Barr obit(!) comes this blog entry on Hot Library Smut - I liked the St Gallen picture with the shadowy people but, alas, I've not been in any of the pictured libraries. The book is reviewed here - with an introduction by Umberto Eco!

.. as long as you sing it...

Anna Russell has died.
From her summary of Wagner's ring:
Gutrune is 'the only woman that Siegfried's ever come across who wasn't his aunt. I'm not making this up, you know!'

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Chocolate Teapot Dept

Haven't had a bare link for some time so here is one - thanks to Whiskers...

Sheep and goats

Didn't notice this on Sunday but the second google ad for the Iona Benedicite amused me.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


A few weeks ago I attended a funeral where we had a version of the benedicite that included these words
O ye puffins that brighten the clifftops,
Bless ye the Lord,
O ye curlews and lapwings
O ye dunlins that wheel together over the waves,
Bless ye the Lord.
and so on

O ye orchids that gem the grassy slops,
O ye golden flags that deck the waters edge with glory,
Bless ye the Lord.
O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord,
Praise him and magnify his name for ever

The deceased was a keen bird watcher - I thought I'd find more details on this via google but not a thing...anyone know the authorship? - ah Google groups has it Iona - as I might have guessed - and by E.D.Sedding - I see we missed out some of the more localised references.

And then that same evening - from Ecclestone's Gather the Fragments - this is currently out of print and the first google english hit is - boggle! - came a poem of Charlotte Mew - Moorland Night -also on birds but far darker
This is the end of all the roads
Over the grass there is the night dew
And the wind that drives up from the sea along the moorland roads;
I hear a curlew start out from the heath
But fly off calling though the dusk,
The wild, long, rippling call.
The Thing is found and I am quiet with the earth.

One parsnip?

Two separate people appeared with one parsnip in their baskets yesterday at the checkout - with no other vegetables that obviously went with it. So what do you do with one parsnip?

Vanity searches rule!

Looks like just the first of these isn't me, was also amused by this HTTP id, found by use of googles codesearch

Thursday, October 12, 2006

BATS Blog is back!

At long last I worked around my MySQL issues and the BATS Blog works, now I just need to get it up to date and keep it up to date!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Home again

.. and with a full photo album of the last week. Friday lunch was another trip to Restaurant Meerfräulein in Laufenburg - I see they use JAlbum for their photo album too! Had a weird experience there on Thursday where they produced a salad before the main course whose dressing I'd last had back in 1963 when staying in Basel at a place in the Rosenthal Strasse - an amazing flashback - I'd forgotten about their salads until that moment...
Back by train from Frick to Zurich not sure what the plane was, I think it might have been an Avro RJ decorated with Swiss in Rural costumes...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Day 3

First the boring (?) picture of work

and now a picture of the laptop working hard surrounded by the Rheinterrasse

Only one extra restaurant today - I risked the wild boa here this evening and this lunchtime was at the Restaurant Meerfräulein in the Swiss end of Laufenburg.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

another day..

.. another two restaurants and my digestive system is beginning to flag!
For lunch the Athene(?) restaurant in Laufenbug and in the evening having ducked out of a wonderful sounding trip to The Oskar Reinhart Collection at Winterthur. I had a quiet evening at the hotel enjoying their menu with 'Venisson (wild boa) steaks' though I'm sure my German translation of English would be just as risible. Couldn't face the game menu though so settled for fried pike (not sure that was much of an improvement) followed by pear sorbet. The software is now working though...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Because it was possible...

or something?
Despite a Swissair strike I seem to be at the Hotel Rebstock Laufenburg having enjoyed a wonderful meal at restaurant schlössle - the lamb is recommended as is the San Gimigiano Rosso! Assuming I manage to get photos off my camera card - I forgot a vital usb cable - there should be some photos tomorrow! No doubt more restaurant visits - the area appears to have some good restaurants and the scenery is breathtaking!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


This image appears to be going the rounds - I thought at first it must be a spoof. Via though I actually found it at Mad Priest but how much different is it to fighting for peace, or the other one?

Who are these people!

- a meme going the rounds - or maybe it has gone and I've just been too busy!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Basket of the week

... 420g of red chillies...well maybe there were a few other things!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Nice peaceful evening

... until the pneumatic drills opened up over the way. Indistinct webcam image: The webcam updates every minute or so and is here on my webserver though it's often not running!
The big white building is an ex-pub that's being done up and I assume they've broken something. Heading downstairs where at least there's some shielding from the noise!

Making waves

More new terragen rendersare here and older ones here - these last have a few asteroid-like renders. There was a bit of a challenge on the terragen list to produce waves so I messed around with water levels and produced these, not too impressive for waves but I'm quite pleased with them.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Another Doudi Samantha video:

Had to hand edit a previous blog with a youtube entry to get this...not sure why firefox is not co-operating?
Lots more Samantha on YouTube here
No subtitles so you'll all have to listen hard - but as I'm currently watching a DVD where the subtitles frequently have </l> in the midst of the text sometimes having no subtitles is less distracting!
And that should be France2 rather than tv2 in the previous blog

It's nearly poetry...

From a website that is spamming my webserver, I visited and pushed some of the foreign text through Babelfish

ludicrous cowgirl prostitute council,
with that too much they praise ch' I without I am suffered;
505 in mixed sky ludicrous cowgirl prostitute to mercy,
than more beloved;
From God, soon the bite is born in they left.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


via and thence to the Register comes this news item Suicide squirrel in opera-hating kamikaze bike spoke mangle - doesn't say if it was a Red Squirrel though! Must get around to watching this film

Sunday, September 03, 2006

From TV2

and Doudi as Samantha we have this video. Should have bought the DVD...
Unless you're into camp you probably won't enjoy....
Couldn't paste the embedded player from that site to the blog entry - maybe it didn't like firefox?


This now claims to be beta blogger - but this is definitely not a test post.

What is amarok up to categorising Pogo.. as Disco
PS Have just upgraded to this week's 1.4.3 amarok release and things are now a lot more sane and Pogorelic is no longer Pogo'ing

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Grrr! some idiots set fire to the local school at the weekend, million pounds or so damage - went in with son today to sort out his sixth form options and one building - the arts department - has gone. See the Macclesfield Express for full report - I do wish they'd post things more regularly than their weekly paper edition... We live very close but didn't know anything about it until we saw the local BBCTV news the next day.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Business Card Menger Sponge

via jwz's live journal, comes this picture of a Menger sponge made from business cards - 9 years of effort!

More pictures and explanation here

Saturday, August 26, 2006

More renders

Produced these this month - need to clean up a few more and post them on my home server.

Reduced my Sainsbury's hours but other hours have increased and going to be busier...and stunningly have broken the 19ipm barrier - nearly 19.5 - don't think I'd ever exceeded 18.5 before.
So updates here may be more sporadic.

Friday, August 18, 2006

World view

via Geoff Coupe

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View?
created with

edited to get better formatting - the html from quizfarm assumes a width that blogger doesn't allow!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Isle of Man enters the 20th century

Reported here

The 'Tynwald', the Isle of Man's independent legislature, has voted to bring the homosexual age of consent into line with that of heterosexuals on the island, simultaneously scrapping rules stopping the discussion of homosexuality in schools on the island between teacher and pupil.

no doubt some in the Tynwald were dragged kicking and screaming here.
I still remember a slightly odd holiday we had in St Mary's back in the early 1960's where we were the only residents in the hotel. Going from Southport (home!) to the Isle of Man still felt a bit of a step back in time(!)

.. well the latter half of the 20th century...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

BATS - update

As the BATS weblog is still lying in pieces on the floor - at least as far as adding entries is concerned I think I need to write down what we've read since the last list compendium (and starting with the most recent):

  • Death and the Penguin (this month's)
  • Talking Heads II (Aug)
  • Andrea Ashworth Once in a house on Fire - and with the classic read Of Mice and Men (Jul)
  • William Trevor's After Rain(Jun)
  • Donna Leon Fatal Remedies with classic read of Persuasion (May)
  • Andrew Greig That Summer(Apr)
  • William Boyd Armadillo (?)(Mar)
  • Lorna Sage Bad Blood(Feb)
  • The Girl with the Pearl Earring (Jan)
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Dec 2005)

hope I've not missed anything out!

Basket of the week

.. on Monday - a bottle of good French Brandy, a tin of cat food and a cheapo sliced white loaf.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Not a great surprise...

You Belong in Paris

You enjoy all that life has to offer, and you can appreciate the fine tastes and sites of Paris.
You're the perfect person to wander the streets of Paris aimlessly, enjoying architecture and a crepe.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Pinks leaflets

Quoted in a booklet produced by the Duclair Tourist Centre:
It was the month of May; the apple trees in full bloom were covering the yard with a roof of fragranced flowers, and were constantly showering it with a swirling around of pinks leaflets that would fall endlessly on the people and on the grass
Guy de Maupassant

and such an easy slip to make when translating. If anyone can trace the source of the quote, I'd be grateful! Miss Harriet - seems close but I've not yet found the French original.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Holiday reading

.. sounds a bit like a early teen September essay!

Started with Loose Canon edited by Damian Thompson - a portrait of Brian Brindley. One of the characters of the 1970's General Synod. I'm not sure that the book helps you understand Brindley better but there some wonderful details - like faxing huge documents of &'s just for the fonts.. owned a cat called Judith with Holofernes the poodle. I regret I never visited Holy Trinity when I lived in Reading though in some respects I'm sure I would have hated the experience!

Then I picked up David Mason's The Piano Tuner in the local Oxfam shop, as I read I wondered whether this was too Maughamish - innocent colonial seduced by a woman and the spirit of the East but I think the ending convinced me that this was not quite so! Daniel Mason, spent a year studying malaria on the Thai-Myanmar border.

Le Scaphandre Et Le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) by Jean-Dominique Bauby - read this in French though I could have done with taking a dictionary with us! I mean to re-read it with the aid of one! Bauby was editor of Elle and suffered a stroke which led to 'locked in syndrome' and the book was dictated using one eyelid. Reflections on the ordinary from an extraordinary situation. I talked about it briefly in my sermon this morning and a few minutes later there was a butterfly fluttering right in front of me as I talked - unfortunately I wasn't alert enough to link it to the book I'd just described, or wonder if a diving bell was about to descend from the ceiling a la Tom and Jerry!

The final book was Sunetra Gupta's The Glassblower's Breath - the author divides her time between writing and researching infections diseases - maybe you see the unconscious pattern of book selection here!? I've not finished it yet and am still trying to work out whether or not I can handle the - to me - rather off putting style! An Australian site has a transcript of her talking about her writing style


separate customers dropped and broke two bottles of red wine in front of my checkout - and a third nearly also had an accident - again with a bottle of red. I think I preferred the bouquet on the first.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Trip photos

Some photos of emacs (!?), Chichester and Normandy taken on our recent break, have been put on my local webserver, when I've tinkered with them enough, cut out duds and duplication I'll move them somewhere more easily accessible...they include trips to Honfleur home of the Maisons Satie, Rouen and Monet's Garden,Giverny.
The above picture was taken by the Seine on the 14th July - but I see from googling that Ronceray is a dredger so maybe being low in the water is by design!

I seem to have been away...

.. and while I get myself organised for some reflections, here is a picture I took from a quatorze juillet 'foire a tous'. Hadn't seen one of these before - no not the Father Christmas! - maybe I've been missing out - but IMHO something for the man who has everything.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Change of the seasons

The joins are always the most interesting part - and in this snapsot from google world there's a lovely conjunction of the seasons, winter and something else right next to each other. Reminds me of something not sure what, Dr Who, Narnia,...

Friday, June 30, 2006

Wincle walk

Last night's walk was around Wincle - south of Macclesfield Forest. I was working until 7:30 so - as usual - couldn't go but my earlier finish enabled me to get to the pub for drinks. The terminating point was The Ship -mmmm Belgian Rasperry Beer. For some reason the party thought that the first item on the pub's menu - A 16 oz Mycock well hung steak - was amusing...
I just need to work out how to get the photos off my new N343i NEC mobile phone onto the computer...

Tales from the checkout

On Monday I had a customer buying (only):
six tubes of toothpaste
two bottles of red wine
There were - I assume - expecting the red wine to stain...
Later that day I - very gently - accidentally knocked over a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and the glass broke! A litre of oil on the checkout! at least it smelt nice if it had been a bit warmer I could have grilled meat on the metal surface.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


There appears to be a link between this video and the previous posting!

Though it would be hard to find two more different pieces. Roger Muraro performing the amazingly difficult 'Par lui tout a été fait' from Messaien's Vingt Regards, looks to be from this concert - that's guessing - but suggests the building is Saint-Simond’s Church Aix-les Bains.
Disclaimer - I have never even attempted to play this piece - though I've tried the central Lisztian section - the face of God behind the flame and the turbulence - well the bass chords anyway!
Thanks to r.m.c.r and Wayne Reimer for the link. Unfortunately the video and the audio are slightly out of sync in a few places.


In extremely bad taste

But very, very funny. Thanks to Simon R for the link

Friday, June 23, 2006

Just trolling

The work schedule for the last two days has me down as professional troll - well the word professional may have been missing..but I have been out pushing trollies around whilst the usual guy had a trip to Ascot. At least it didn't rain too much and it was wonderful for observing stupid behaviour in a supermarket carpark!

Latest USB toy

Very cute and just bizarre enough for me to need one though unfortunately it may be a mock up.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Security - what security!

Went into a local shop this weekend and during the transaction the assistant got some information from the company website - and modified something else - the login she used was an obvious username and there was a 3 character password.
I suppose there may have been some intricate port knocking going on to get there but I doubt it especially in view of a bug that featured when entering the data. I was nearly having palpitations!

Trying to be as unspecific as as not to further weaken the integrity of their system!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Here kitty, kitty

Tabby terrorises bear
A black bear got more than it bargained for after straying into a family garden in the US state of New Jersey.

The unwelcome intruder was forced up a tree - twice - by the family pet, a tabby cat called Jack.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Don't tell one of my employers - the merchandise is ok it's just the use to which it's put!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Things have moved rather on the job front in the last seven days. I've now done 2 days with my ex-employer at their new base in Didsbury supporting one of their software products and that's going to continue on a contracting basis. Meanwhile I'm still working at Sainsbury's - and intending to continue unless the hours become too much. Currently wishing to decrease my checkout hours as for the next few weeks it is going to be 4+2 days a week and on some Sunday's I'm preaching doesn't leave many days off!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Macclesfield Team - Vision and Strategy

A copy of the draft - for comment and discussion is now available - I pdf'ed it, any errors in the conversion are all mine! My first impressions are very positive - and it should provoke discussion!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

All Saints' Summer walk

Last night the Thursday evening walk took place on Tuesday(!) so as not to clash with the Ascension day service (on Thursday) - as Thursday evenings are out for me as I work until 8:30 that night I was keen to go and we enjoyed a walk despite the torrential downpour. Went along Macclesfield canal - and saw a number of geese and a heron looking rather damp - and then through Lyme Park, unfortunately we were too early in the year for the rhododendrons. No view of the house from the route of the walk and with the conditions only one of us braved an extension of the walk up a hill to see if the house was visible. Then back to drinks and chips and the Miners Arms Adlington.
Looks like being the only one of these walks for me this summer unless my working hours change... full photo album of the evening om my web site - though with the rain there weren't many photos taken!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Saying farewell..

to Ron Clarke. Just returned from Ron's funeral - he was head of history at my school and a lay preacher at the church I now attend. There were various reminiscences where his impish humour shone through,
Stop doing that boy, don't you realise that (some English king or other) died whilst doing something very similar - Ron's son put it far better
I still haven't forgotten a wonderful King's magazine cartoon in the early 1970's depicting Ron's struggles to balance the class's school dinner money.
On the darker side was his war experiences, he was a captain and was one of the first offices into Belsen and spent 5 weeks after that helping to run the camps converting gun covers into babies cradles.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

26 links - again

Back 18 months ago I tried this meme, go up to the address bar in your browser and type in a letter. What link does it suggest? I've used the first one that is fairly generic and excluded web email accounts. I've got a new machine since then so there isn't as much browser history, hence some gaps. Still in there from last time are a,c,f,g,j,p,r and t.

Ah well

Came in a resounding third in Alderley Edge this morning. Probably partly due to a fight with the sustaining pedal- a resounding clang every time I changed pedal and it took me two lines to (I think) get it under control! Still it's good practice and I did get the sostenuto pedal to work and enhance the final line.

Thames water under fire

From news in brief on the Guardian's website - well I enjoyed the image.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Climbing Expeditions

Todd Skinner Climbing Expeditions These galleries represent a photographic documentary of the climbing life of Todd Skinner. Found this via the Mali gallery having found a single picture in a newspaper I was clearing out.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wish me luck!

I'm busy geting ready to perform the Menuet movement of Ravel's Sonatine at the Alderley Edge Music Festival on the morning of 20th May. Physical support welcome! I'm guaranteed at least third place!

I'm still getting my head around some of the nuances of pedalling and the relation of the themes - I've found some internet articles useful here - see recent additions to my bookmarks.

Tales from the Checkout - 3

Last couple of weeks have seen a number of meetings where I've served people I haven't met for a very long time. Week before last it was two people from school - though one I did meet once later as we were at the same University.
Then last week it was Dave Sellars with whom I went to Euro-VHDL back in 1991 where I was presenting a paper when it was in Marseille. I didn't recognise him - he no longer works for Fujitsu - and I'd nearly forgotten the event.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


From Dave Walker's
save the SPCK

Save the SPCK!
Unfortunately the Manchester one has long gone and Chester is a place I visit infrequently.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Eagle Cam

This Eagle Cam probably doesn't need any extra publicity - 10 million hits a day at the moment...

Film meme

Here's a list of 102 films that people who are supposed to be literate about film really ought to have seen. I've highlighted those that I've seen in bold. Only 33 of them..

“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) Stanley Kubrick
“The 400 Blows” (1959) Francois Truffaut
“8 1/2" (1963) Federico Fellini

“Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972) Werner Herzog
“Alien” (1979) Ridley Scott
“All About Eve” (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
“Annie Hall” (1977) Woody Allen
“Apocalypse Now” (1979) Francis Ford Coppola
“Bambi” (1942) Disney
“The Battleship Potemkin” (1925) Sergei Eisenstein
“The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946) William Wyler
“The Big Red One” (1980) Samuel Fuller
“The Bicycle Thief” (1949) Vittorio De Sica
“The Big Sleep” (1946) Howard Hawks
“Blade Runner” (1982) Ridley Scott
“Blowup” (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni

“Blue Velvet” (1986) David Lynch
“Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) Arthur Penn
“Breathless” (1959 Jean-Luc Godard
“Bringing Up Baby” (1938) Howard Hawks
“Carrie” (1975) Brian DePalma
“Casablanca” (1942) Michael Curtiz
“Un Chien Andalou” (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali
“Children of Paradise” / “Les Enfants du Paradis” (1945) Marcel Carne
“Chinatown” (1974) Roman Polanski
“Citizen Kane” (1941) Orson Welles
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971) Stanley Kubrick
“The Crying Game” (1992) Neil Jordan
“The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951) Robert Wise
“Days of Heaven” (1978) Terence Malick
“Dirty Harry” (1971) Don Siegel
“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972) Luis Bunuel
“Do the Right Thing” (1989 Spike Lee
“La Dolce Vita” (1960) Federico Fellini
“Double Indemnity” (1944) Billy Wilder
“Dr. Strangelove” (1964) Stanley Kubrick
“Duck Soup” (1933) Leo McCarey

“E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) Steven Spielberg
“Easy Rider” (1969) Dennis Hopper
“The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) Irvin Kershner

“The Exorcist” (1973) William Friedkin
“Fargo” (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen
“Fight Club” (1999) David Fincher
“Frankenstein” (1931) James Whale
“The General” (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman
“The Godfather
,” “The Godfather, Part II” (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola
“Gone With the Wind” (1939) Victor Fleming
“GoodFellas” (1990) Martin Scorsese
“The Graduate” (1967) Mike Nichols
“Halloween” (1978) John Carpenter
“A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) Richard Lester
“Intolerance” (1916) D.W. Griffith
“It’s a Gift” (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) Frank Capra
“Jaws” (1975) Steven Spielberg
“The Lady Eve” (1941) Preston Sturges
“Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) David Lean
“M” (1931) Fritz Lang
“Mad Max 2" / “The Road Warrior” (1981) George Miller
“The Maltese Falcon” (1941) John Huston
“The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) John Frankenheimer
“Metropolis” (1926) Fritz Lang
“Modern Times” (1936) Charles Chaplin
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam

“Nashville” (1975) Robert Altman
“The Night of the Hunter” (1955) Charles Laughton
“Night of the Living Dead” (1968) George Romero
“North by Northwest” (1959) Alfred Hitchcock
“Nosferatu” (1922) F.W. Murnau

“On the Waterfront” (1954) Elia Kazan
“Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968) Sergio Leone
“Out of the Past” (1947) Jacques Tournier
“Persona” (1966) Ingmar Bergman
“Pink Flamingos” (1972) John Waters
“Psycho” (1960) Alfred Hitchcock
“Pulp Fiction” (1994) Quentin Tarantino
“Rashomon” (1950) Akira Kurosawa
“Rear Window” (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
“Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) Nicholas Ray
“Red River” (1948) Howard Hawks
“Repulsion” (1965) Roman Polanski
“The Rules of the Game” (1939) Jean Renoir
“Scarface” (1932) Howard Hawks
“The Scarlet Empress” (1934) Josef von Sternberg
“Schindler’s List” (1993) Steven Spielberg
“The Searchers” (1956) John Ford
“The Seven Samurai” (1954) Akira Kurosawa
“Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
“Some Like It Hot” (1959) Billy Wilder

“A Star Is Born” (1954) George Cukor
“A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) Elia Kazan
“Sunset Boulevard” (1950) Billy Wilder
“Taxi Driver” (1976) Martin Scorsese
“The Third Man” (1949) Carol Reed
“Tokyo Story” (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
“Touch of Evil” (1958) Orson Welles
“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) John Huston
“Trouble in Paradise” (1932) Ernst Lubitsch
“Vertigo” (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
“West Side Story” (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise
“The Wild Bunch” (1969) Sam Peckinpah
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939) Victor Fleming

Hat tip to Geoff Coupe - original list is with Roger Ebert which has reviews.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Blog upgrading

I currently have two MovableType powered blogs on my home webserver and I have just set up a 3.2 installation on my new webserver and ported the data from the old webserver to the new. Bug reports (fairly) welcome!

I need to set up the templates - at the moment the side bars are pretty empty!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Checkout: basket of the week PS

Thursday's customers reappeared at my checkout on Friday - not quite as bizarre she said - this time lots of wine, packets of maltesers and flowers. Unfortunately I was busy so didn't get a chance to quiz her.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Checkout: basket of the week

This one was just bizarre

  • 10 500ml cartons on double cream
  • 6 bunches of spring onions

I think I discussed with the customer the possibilty of bathing in the cream whilst throwing the spring onions over oneself.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Never mind the quality..

..look at the render time!

This terragen render took around 36 hours - with a bit of post-processing with the Gimp. It could do with a little more post-processing - that horizon is distinctly iffy!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Glitter and be gay

I enjoy this piece of Bernstein's Candide too much so a quick link!

Had only heard the piece before so appreciated the characterisation.

The Sendoff

My brother-in law and family are emigrating to Canada next month. We had a farewell meal on Good Friday - the full photo album is on my home webserver.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Checkout: basket of the week

From a lady in her late 50's - clearly living on her own -
  • 4+ bunches of raw beetroot
  • 10 bags of potatoes
  • 7 bunches of spring onions - `The pakistanis got the rest of them'
  • etc.
all heavily reduced and best before the end of today. Clearly shopping is the important thing and not whether you're going to use them!

London this is Washington

From the writeup in last week's Radio Times:

JFK admits to a headache is he "hasn't had a woman in three days", while Macmillan blusters at being offered a hamburger and delights in retiring to bed early with a good Trollope.

I assume from the hamburger between the 'woman' and the Trollope the conjunction is accidental?

Easter Garden - WIP

This is getting a bit late but it still needs more work - maybe in my days off this week. Generated with Terragen but it needs a little post processing. Doesn't look much like Jerusalem but which Easter Gardens do?

Those spammers...

My name is Dmitry Sergeev and I am the manager of a Human Recourses departament of U.F.I.S. PE (Ukrainian Folk Instruments Sales).

The purpose of this message is to draw Your attention to a vacant position of a financial manager.

But first of all - a few words about our company:

We are a Ukrainian company producing specialised hand made Ukrainian folk instruments, such as Trembita, Bandura, Tsymbaly. We have been producing exclusive instruments for collectors from all around the world, for over 15 years now. Some of our clients prefer to receive an instrument with gold strings or inlaid with diamonds and rubies and we take the highest pride in our workmanship. Now we are a company with 15 years experience. Duping this time more than 15000 people have purchased high-end items from us.

Getting more inventive, but I love that 'duping this time'!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

1970's chorus books

I laughed a lot at this Dave Walker cartoon - maybe because we haven't got this week's Church Times yet - maybe because I was there in the 1970's..

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Mike Douglas' Licensing

Went over the border last night to Hawarden to see Mike Douglas being licenced as team vicar at St Deniol's Church Hawarden.
Took a coach from Macclesfield and apart from a slighly alarming moment (for some of us) when the service details were distributed in Welsh and English - there wasn't much Welsh - sighs of relief from the furriners - and Hawarden is very nearly in England - the service and the refreshments were much enjoyed. Pictures of Mike greeting people after the service and of Frank Haslam and Graham Turner - an ex and the present incumbent of St Michael's Macclesfield in animated conversation - no doubt discussing the vicarage plumbing!

Full photo album is on my webserver and if that's down I've put the pictures (no pretty album) here

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Explaining open source

This article gives a good way of explaining the difference between open and closed source to technophobes.
To communicate the importance of the ‘freedom to tinker’ that free software bestows on its users, for example, I invite people to ponder the absurdity of not being allowed to modify other people’s recipes for, say, Boeuf Bourgignon or fruit scones. I often make BB without using shallots, for example, and just chop standard onions into largish chunks.

It goes on to compare recipes and recipe mixes.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Waltzing in the Aisles?

What is YouTube for? Thanks to PianoStreet I find this video of a Chopin Waltz I can't imagine the context with the guy in a surplice, but there's worse: Etude Op 25 No 12 the piano sounds throughly prepared a la John Cage, I suppose the hands go up and down appropriately but I'm not sure about many of the notes!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Basket of the week

Processed this one yesterday:
  • some bottles of soft drink
  • around 15 bottles of wine
  • electronic tooth brush heads
  • pack of condoms
Total of around £180 - the order in which he used them was probably important...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Gather the Fragments

I'm re-reading Alan Ecclestone's `Gather the Fragments' an anthology he made in his retirement and the two pieces that had the most impact upon me this month (but I suppose there's a couple of days left yet) are both of Julien Green I'd been meaning to quote the first here for some time then I read yesterday's piece thought "that's good" and then noticed the author! I see that these two are the only Green pieces in the book

So the first, a dark one:
There are time when I think that hopes of spiritual freedom are the saddest delusion that can torment the human brain. ... Perhaps the important thing does not lie in conquering but in fighting on to the end.

and the second

As long as something inside us protests against ourselves, there is room for hope. It is when one accepts oneself as one is and gives up, that the game is in danger of being lost. In other words. . . .one can set one's mind at rest so long as one feels uneasy!

those two seem to span a vast space between hopelessness and the determination that one can make a difference - to oneself? to others?
To redress these inner thoughts, I'll reference the banner and accompanying meditation that Joy Kewney read in church two weeks ago.

More terragen renders

I've started making a separate album per month - allows the thread of development and hopefully increase in skill to be seen rather than bundling them all together
There's now
  • Feb 06 largely working on el_cang_sozi.ter - downloaded from Terranuts exploring the terrain and lighting
  • March 06my own terrains working on shorelines though I couldn't resist some mountain scenes. Including a render that took 8 hours yesterday at the head of this posting; not sure about the sky, though maybe it is a bit like that at the altitude of this camera position.
Some of these images are large!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Wine Label Collages

loved this art made from wine labels, again via Ursi's Blog - the picture depicts Carmen.

music:Chopin Editions

Hat tip to Ursi's Blog for the link to Chopin Early Editions - I need to do some exploring - though I'd really like to find a similar resource for Schumann - having had some discussion with my piano teacher about the pedal marks in his Album für die Jugend - Winterzeit II

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Interloper

The elderly cat from along the street has found our fridge and waits and hopes (our cat doesn't know what a fridge is for)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Guardian RSS feed

What was going on the the Guardian RSS feed last night? Or maybe it was Google's fault - or maybe it was the fun going on with NTL's DNS servers (must get named running on my home network so I have an alternative to fall back on!).

[edited to include the screenshot directly]

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Checkout: IPM

The measure that Sainsbury's use to determine my efficiency is Items per minute - a count of the number of items scanned - not including the time taken dealing with payments or when logged out. The official line is that under 17 is unacceptable - I've never managed the 17 yet let alone the - mentioned in dispatches - 19. As you see from a screenshot of the spreadsheet I maintain at least it is pretty consistently increasing.
Last week I was given a basket - by a supervisor with 19 items and told I'd be timed on it - I said that it was pretty artificial thinking that it would be a breeze but I managed 9.5 items per minute!

(what a flurry of postings - there must be something else I'm avoiding doing?!)

Polishes glasses...

I've spent some time over the past few days trying to keep out referral spam from my home webserver by editing a .htacccess file - I've only just spotted the typo when I was comparing it with a properly named file in emacs and swapping between the buffers - I was having a hit every 30 seconds last night from the spammers and nothing I did seemed to make any difference.
I do publish my weblogs but deliberately don't include the referrer stats so you can see that the traffic has gone up but can't see what the nasty bots are trying to advertise!

Links: Restaurant menu

May I take your order? - there's some goodies there:

  • Cowboy leg beautiful pole
  • Coconut braises the bamboo chicken
  • Gold silver lotus root silk fries shrimp fucks

no doubt this is all over the blog world already...?

Look down the comments to about the 13th comment for a useful - and funny explanation of some of the dishes.

Festina Lente

Must get to a Lent Group this Lent as it is soon going to be over! St Peter's were showing Millions as part of their series and I really wanted to see it....have so decide whether to go to the discussion on the Matrix tomorrow - a bit Pseuds Cornerish - though I see I have cited that film in a sermon - so I can't talk!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A mixed economy

This is a bit close to my current sphere of work but all of us need competition:
George Monblot writes this week in the Guardian about the way
The competition authorities have been taken over by the superstores.The way that the Blair govenment has not touched:
The policy imposed by Margaret Thatcher's administration - which later came to be known as the Tebbit doctrine - determined that the public interest could be reinterpreted as "the consumer interest", and even this could be defined in the narrowest terms.
I vividly remember Tebbit sneering at those who supported Fairtrade on Panorama. And now we have a culture of intimidation of some suppliers and the extinction of small shops and thier associated support environment:

Even the OFT recognises that the wholesalers who supply the small shops are approaching the "tipping point", beyond which they go out of business. This would trigger a chain reaction through the independent sector, pulling down thousands of businesses. The network of small farmers, wholesale markets, dairies, auctioneers, news distributors and small abattoirs, with all its expertise and investment, is collapsing at an extraordinary rate. It is hard to see how it could ever be replaced.

The colleague discount card for us is a wonderful saver of money - but it ties us to a particular shop even more..

The 4 meme

Borrowed this from Good in Parts though tracing back the taggings was interesting and led me to Elizaphanian which has gone into my bookmarks with some very interesting articles including this one on those cartoons. With this bit:
Thus, for a Christian, it is wrong to take offence. To take offence is to play the devil's games, to enter into antagonism between the righteous and the ‘unrighteous’, the 'sinner' and the 'saved'. In letting go of any sense of offence, one is released from the mythological pressures embedded in all stories of them and us, and is set free to become the sort of person that God originally intended - living in peace and loving the neighbour. This is what lies behind the striking language in Matthew's gospel (5:29, where Jesus commands us to pluck out our eyes if it causes us to sin language taken up by a great many moralists seeking violent self-harm, as it is, of course, to scapegoat a part of oneself). The original language used in Greek, however, is related to this word skandalon and the passage means 'if your eye is scandalized, pluck it out' in other words, do not see offence.

Anyway, back to the meme:
Four jobs I've had:
  • Checkout operator
  • Deputy head of kitchen
  • stock taking in an engineering works
  • numerical analyst

Four movies I can watch repeatedly:
  • Au Revoir les Enfants
  • Cinema Paradiso
  • Manhattan
  • Ma Vie en Rose
  • The Italian Job
hmm - lots of sentimentality and childhood there!
Four places I have lived:
  • Birkdale (Southport)
  • Cambridge
  • Kettlewell
  • Leeds

Four TV shows I like to watch:
  • Mony Python
  • Bill Oddie Naturewatch
  • Have I got News for You
  • Ski Sunday
what's happened to Ski coverage - the season hasn't finished yet(grrr!)
Four places I have been on vacation:
  • Siena
  • Valais (Switzerland)
  • Southwold
  • Royan

Four favourite dishes:
  • Spaghetti with broccoli
  • Steak au poivre
  • Plateau de Fruits de Mer
  • Crepes with cider

Four websites I visit daily:
  • Google
  • The Register
  • J Walk
  • Maggi Dawn

Four places I would rather be right now:
  • Up in the Swiss Alps (even in this Season!)
  • Back in a computing job
  • Comfortable restaurant with a bottle of red wine
  • Back in bed

Far too revealing....

Monday, March 13, 2006


Created some categories - bit of a hack with blogger - along the lines of this suggestion but it will only apply properly to new postings! I'd like to base by blog on Movable Type like the ones I run on my home computer but I need to find a suitable host!
(now do I need a categories category!?)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Power cuts

We seem to have had a few of these recently - one cause is the huge project to combine all the doctors surgeries in Macclesfield into one building. Last Wednesday we lost power for a few seconds - enough to cause a reboot of the computers.
One came up ok, the other was seemingly ok but connections to the other machine and the internet were painfully slow. I rebooted the router, restarted the machines network connection ,rebooted the machine but no improvement - the other m/c's network speed was fine!
Eventually the following evening, I stuck a Knoppix bootable dvd in the drive and rebooted and with Knoppix the speed was also fine (I'd been wondering if the power cut had broken the network card). So I was more puzzled and booted back into Mandriva and it was now working! I can only assume that Knoppix tested something - in order to set up a network connection - that normally doesn't get tweaked and that got whatever it was (network card? router connection?) back working normally.

Knoppix is wonderful for diagnosing machine problems especially when they won't boot any other way, back at PTI ,I managed to pull a CD's worth of data off a pretty dead disk by putting it in the freezer and then booting Knoppix and using it to burn a CD (the machine belonged to the administrator and was therefore rather important). There were backups but...

Then yesterday St Michael's had a power cut just an hour before the organist was married! On resumption the organ didn't work! And with the choir and organ lined up to do various important things very shortly.
Normal organ maintainer lives a good journey away so someone local was rung, conversation went (roughly):

Wedding in 45 minutes? - well you can always sing unaccompanied!
But it's the organist's wedding!!!
Well he can hardly be playing and getting married!

more armtwisting and he (the electrician) dropped his current job and sorted out the small problem before the organist discovered the the carefully planned music for her wedding was in peril!

The Cakes

Following on from the last posting, here is a picture of the three cakes and a link to my photo album of the event.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The wedding of all weddings

-- to quote Graham Turner who took the service.
Today Arthur Marshall (no relation) and Karen Gedd were married. I've known Karen since the early 1970's. She's currently St Michael's choirmaster and organist (as well as holding down a good job), the service was at St Michael's with an open invitation to the congregation, reception at Church with all invited and a lovely occasion - people I've not met since 1980, the local church enjoying with family and friends a joyous event. Photo of Kath stalking choir and the couple, more photos to follow.

St Michael's reordering really came into its own as a splendid setting for the ceremony and the reception. Arthur is a folk dancing enthusiast so there was a band, he has a narrowboat - so there was one on one cake, the other had a double-bass (Karen's other instrument), oh and there was another cake.
I hadn't met Arthur before yesterday when he happened to come though my Sainsbury's till and I guessed who he was:

You're getting married tomorrow?!
Err, possibly

.. more to come!

The Cat Basket

Hecate enjoying a winebox/basket

Sunday, March 05, 2006


That's crotchet = 100 not quaver (sorry non-UKans), you can stop hyperventilating now! Reminds me of the Poulenc Mouvements Perpetuels No 1 with a tempo indication of crotchet = 444 - and a printed insert with a publishers correction.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What is it about Macclesfield

Someone also local (don't know him) has been made redundant more times than me! I've only managed 4 so far

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Chip and run

I've had a number of customers give me their husband/wife's card - at least that's what they claim when their card says they're Nigel , when they're probably not!
On Monday night someone claimed that Chip and Pin is secure because it means that no one can use your card without your permission(!) - so if you know the pin that means you're a licit user. I refused the card but said they could use the local ATM machine and then pay for their order. They weren't happy - I said someone could see their number when they were using a cash machine and steal their card so it couldn't be totally secure - they weren't convinced. They went to get the money - 5 minutes went by - and they didn't return - obviously off in a huff - unless it wasn't their card?!
Luckily the other person waiting in the checkout was understanding.
How widespread is using your partner's card? - I'm seeing one or two cases a week when I'm working. To my mind it's just like forging your partners signature because you know they won't mind...

Proofreading complete

Now completed the proofreading of my Scherzino, feel free to download and enjoy?! (I see blogger has some interesting spelling correction suggestions for scherzino...). Inevitably there was an error in the screenshot of the previous example - also added the missing slurs.

Image doesn't look as high quality as the previous one but I think that's a fault of the screenshot.


The Queen of the Night aria (Mozart!) Thank You. . . Do you have anything in English? - hairs on the back of the neck stuff.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Intelligent design

Interesting critique of the whole intellectually dishonest farrago from a Christian POV. Very welcome at least from my POV!

About time too!

After tussles with Lilypond and denemo I now have a pretty printed score of a piano work I wrote ooh - only about 30 years ago. Bit more polishing and I shall put it on the web - need a few precautionary accidentals and a fair bit of proofreading! The midi file that lilypond sounds a lot better than the piece ever will at my hands! Just including a few bars here as a preview..