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Monday, 25 September 2006

What Have The Romans Done For Us?

Today seems to be my worst Monday for a long time. Not only do I have to deal with the shock of the weekend being over, but the weather is grotty too. This got me thinking about Mondays and their origins. This is what I discovered.

The Calendar that we use today is based on the Julian Calendar devised by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, which was later refined by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and as a consequence became know as the Gregorian calendar.

Days of the week came much earlier than either of these calendars. Monday got its English name from the Norse Moon God Mani, which in Old English became Mona. Therefore it is in fact Moon-day.

So who do we have to thank for Mondays? I think I’ll stick the blame firmly at the Romans door. After all, they did spend nearly 1000 years here and do I love an excuse to use a Monty Python reference.


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Friday, 22 September 2006

19th September 2006 - Coup in Thailand

I stumbled across this blog today.

19sep

It's a locals inside view of this weeks Coup in Thailand. The blogs profile state the following.

This blog is intended to provide local news, media and perspective of
Thailand Coup Event on 19th September 2006 to the world.The band of authors let
all content to be licensed under Public Domain.


It's a very interesting read and, in my opinion, is a very good use of blogging.

Good luck guys. I hope it all works out well for you all in Thailand.

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Sunday, 17 September 2006

Battle of Britian Airshow - Shoreham Airport

On Sunday we all trooped down to Shoreham Airport, Sussex for the Battle of Britain Airshow. I was a new experience for all of us. I'm not a huge aeroplane fan, but it was another good opportunity to improve my photographic skills.

I discovered quite quickly that aircraft are a pain to capture accurately, made even worse by my slow digital camera. I got around the speed problem by using the multiple image capture setting. This meant that I could pan the camera with the plane and take five shots in a row and hopefully get some of them in the frame & in focus. It seemed to do the trick, but I did end up taking 273 photos as a consequence. This is my highest daily record so far.

The highlight for me was getting to see and hear Spitfires in flight. Quite an emotional experience.


Other aircraft of interest were a Lancaster Bomber.


A Chinook helicopter doing some very un-characteristic stunts.


The Red Devils Parachute team dropped in on us.


There were also lots of daft aerobatic displays.





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Battle of Britian Airshow - Shoreham Airport Part 2

Also at the airshow there were many classic cars on display.

A Ford Capri Mk1 3000GT.


AC Cobras

Jaguars.





The white 'E' type (above) was for sale, but at £30,000 was a little out of my price range.

And a Daimler Dart, once owed by the Metropolitan Police.


On our way back to the free bus, which we had to wait 30 minutes to arrive, we crossed a bridge over the river Adur. Yet another photo opportunity.


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Thursday, 7 September 2006

Remebering Bella Bhukhan
A Friend Lost on 11th September 2001

In September 2000, my wife and I jetted off for a week of fun in the sun. We choice the white isle of Ibiza for our break. The holiday was similar in style to a Club 18-30 break. Sun, sea, clubbing and way too much alcohol were the order of the day. At the time I was feeling old and felt that I had to re-capture my youth.

Also on the trip were two life long friends who lived in New Jersey, Bella & Mital. They were really nice people and the four of us got on quite well. We got talking about this and that as you do and we found out that Bella worked for a company called Canter Fitzgerald, which was based in The World Trade Center. She worked in the Human Resources department and her career was on the up.

The picture above was taken by me, while the four of us were at the beach.

We exchanged e-mails addresses and kept in touch on an occasional basis.

Rolling forward one year to September 2001 and we were once again on holiday, this time with our good friends Paul & Julie on the Greek island on Corfu.

On September 11th, like most days we were lazing around the hotel pool became likely roasted. When I suddenly became aware of a commotion in a bar across the street. Being a nosey sort, I went to investigate.

I was in no way prepared for what I was about to see on the wide screen TV in the bar. I and everyone else there were in stunned. It was then that it hit me that Bella worked there, which sent me into a blind panic. Was she at work today?

I ran straight back to the pool and we went into our hotel to see if we could find out anymore information. In a corner on the restaurant was a small TV with all the hotel staff gather around it. Although the commentary was in Greek, I didn’t need words to understand the magnitude of what was happening in New York. All the time my thoughts were of Bella and if she was there. I prayed that she was on holiday or off work ill, anywhere but there.

For the rest of the week I worried, in the knowledge that I couldn’t e-mail Bella or Mital until I was back at home.

Back at home I e-mailed both Bella & Mital, still hoping that all was well. I only received one reply and that was from Mital. She confirmed my worse fears. Bella had been at work that fatefully morning and perished along with over 2000 other souls.

Her body was never found.

We shall never forget you Bella Bhukhan.

Rest in Peace.

Links

Remember September 11, 2001 - Bella Bhukhan

Washington Post - The Human Cost


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Tuesday, 5 September 2006

British Children Lose Use of Their Legs

When exactly did children lose the ability to walk to school?

Between 1975 and 1986 I managed walking to school quite adequately. I even used to walk home for lunch and I lived about a mile from the school. My legs didn’t wear out, I didn’t get run over and I was never abducted by aliens (or worse). So why is it that today children must be driven all the way to the school gates?

As a society we are teaching these young people that it’s OK to use our cars for short journeys and to hell with the environment. I strongly believe this to be a huge mistake. What sort of environmental and social responsibility is this teaching them?

Their health may also be suffering due to all the exercise that they are missing out on. Only last week I read an article about a 9 year girl who weighs 12 stone and we are constantly being told how over-weight we are becoming as a society. Children who don’t walking to school are hardly going to make the situation any better now are they?

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Do All Roads Lead To Croydon?
No, Most Have Been Dug up!

The roads in Croydon seem to be developing holes at an alarming rate. These holes have nothing to do with the resent hot spell or the even more recent rain we’ve been experiencing in S.E. England. They are entirely due to the Croydon Council (I assume) having too much money which must be spent ASAP.

In recent weeks Coomb Road has been closed west bound, then east bound as well. The resultant tail backs have been a bit grim, but this was during the school holidays so not too bad.

Where I work in Central Croydon has become almost an Island surrounded by closed off roads, the Tramlink and bus lanes. In the direction I approach from, the South, there are 3 roads in. However, 2 of these roads were closed off when the Trams came to Croydon, leaving only one access point. Yesterday morning that too was closed, requiring me to find an alternative route in. These are the alternative approaches, which I have so far identified.

From the North – Possible, but I don’t know that area in any detail.
From the East – Excellent route, but closed off due to tram and bus lanes.
From the West - Good route, but closed off due to tram and bus lanes.

I therefore had no alternative but the Northern route. At the first junction – No Left Turn, Buses only. At the second junction No Left Turn. It was at this point that I considered I might get to Selhurst before finding a left turn!

In fact I made a right turn at junction 2, nip round a mini round-a-bout and came back across the junction from the other direction. At which point I realised that there were some more man made holes to negotiate. At least the road was still open this way. When the temporary traffic lights eventually turned green, it was a quick left and I was on the island.

Today’s ride to work was even worse due to the fact that all those legless darlings are back at School. As a consequence the traffic queues were almost back as far as Sanderstead & Selsdon. If this keeps up I’ll need a helicopter to get to work, not a bike.

When exactly did children lose the ability to walk to school? Actually, I think I’ll make that the subject of my next blog.

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