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Apr. 18th, 2010

08:17 pm - Volcanic dust

Welcome back to Boston sj, except you were meant to be here in England with us!! Hope you enjoyed your stay in Iceland, tw probably thinks this is the international equivalent of Brentford, but as we were going to go there, maybe your experience was not that much different than if you had got here.

Probably the worst thing is that the EASTER bunny came to Cribbs, and look what he left for you....

SO disappointed you couldn't make it...lets have a volcano party in the summer, with major prize for anyone who can pronounce its name...Eyjafjallajoekull

Feb. 18th, 2010

11:04 pm - Olber's Paradox

To-night I went to the Oxford Sci Bar meeting of the British Science Association, as usual, this was an interesting evening.

British Science Association Oxfordshire Branch Come along and join us for our February SciBar!
Our speak will be Sir Walter Bodmer whose talk is entitled:

"Is Genetic Variety the Spice of Life?"

We are all genetically different from one another, apart from identical twins. These differences determine much of our outward appearance and inner chemical make up, from facial features and taste preferences to disease susceptibilities and response to drugs.They can also tell us about where we come from and who were our ancestors. It would indeed be a dull world if we were all the same.

SciBar is a relaxed informal event, no prior knowledge required!
See More

We repaired to the bar after the talk and I glanced out of the window and saw that the rain had turned to snow. It was the sort of low temperature snow that I love, the flakes are as big as plates and it takes about four of them to block the road. Hmmm and I had to drive home.
Well it wasn’t too hairy of a drive, but that it was difficult to see, as the light from my headlights reflected from the snow flakes was very bright. It was even worse when I switched to high beam.
This got me pondering Olber’s paradox as this seemed to be quite a good illustration of a star model that was uniform, albeit that its brightness was from the light reflected from my headlights and not intrinsic to the stars. Certainly, the impression was that the night sky, as modelled by my view through the windscreen, was not dark.
Olber’s paradox is that the sky at night is dark assuming the distribution of stars through space is uniform. The fact that the sky IS dark is a consequence of the non-uniform distribution of stars caused by the expansion of the universe.

Jan. 31st, 2010

09:12 am - walk home

well over a year later I seem to have arrived home!!!! You can find an account of my walk home at:
and other new bits as well from the home page:

We have had lots of snow and its not fit for work at the allotment so I have been confines to barracks and been able to work on the website as a result.

Poor Cribbit has suffered in the cold weather too with burst pipes and worse, melting snow cascading in through the ventilators, plenty to keep the boy busy when it does warm up a bit.

Mar. 31st, 2008

02:37 pm - Walking home

I retire from work to-day and I'm spending the rest of the week walking home.

My plans are below, distances are as slightly inebriated crows would fly.

Day 1 Poplar to Brentford 22km, 14 ml
Staying at the King's Arms. TW8 8EA

Following the river from limehouse then tower bridge then staying on the north side of the river and cutting across the hammersmith meander and rolling into brentford.

Expecting to have lunch at the old cheshire cheese on fleet street.

Hoping to meet up with olivia et al at brentford also calling at the brewery tap and the brentford tandori

Day 2
Brentford to Slough 28 km 18ml
Staying at the Green Man at Stoke Poges SL2 3DB

Walking grand union canal north then the slough arm then meandering slough streets

Day 3
Slough to Chinor 28km 18ml
Manor Cottage Farm, Henton OX39 4AE

Bit of the thames to Cookham and Marlow then across country to Skirmet where i turn north for Henton.
Hoping to have time to poke my nose in the Spencer museum at Cookham on the way.

Not absolutely decided on this route yet as have had a late change of plan due to my original B and B burning down so will be slightly further north so may go along the chiltern hundreds ridge to henton. This is sensible but ever since i have been using the train i have observed a footpath just before high wycombe that passes a prominent folly on the hillside and have often imagined that one day i would walk that path.

Probably won't decide until i get to slough [maybe not even then!]

Day 4
Henton to Oakley 16km 10ml

My website is to be found at:

Mar. 13th, 2008

12:20 pm - A perfect London Day

Have just got back from a working [luxury] breakfast in London's jewellery sector, Hatton Gardens.

Went with a colleague, and after the meeting, she said that before she had moved to london she would dream of a 'Perfect London Day' which started with a posh business breakfast and at last she had had one!!

I was able to say that my day also was heading towards being a 'Perfect London Day' too as i would be going to a free concert of Iannis Xenakis music at the Royal Festival Hall in the evening.

Now this might not be to everyone's taste but it is to mine. Rosemary has commented that the reason the concert is free is that otherwise no-one would go.

a good breakfast at:
and a free concert at:

11:46 am - Umbrellas

We have been having a bit of wind just lately and this combined with rain is fatal to umbrellas.
Yesterday one came floating past my office window, sadly no longer attached to Mary Poppins but the carnage on the streets was awesome with many left lying where they fell.

and here is a street full of them!

Feb. 29th, 2008

12:07 pm - Wednesday's quiet beer

As usual our Wednesday night "quiet beer" stayed true to form by not being so despite our selection of what looked to be an inconspicuous and safe place to sit.

This was in a row of shared tables just along from two women enjoying their pub food.   As we went to sit down, one of them moved her handbag away from the chair next to where Tom was about to sit, so I said:
"oh its not your handbag he is after just watch out for your chips." 

Where upon her well overweight companion grabbed their remaining chips and crammed them into her mouth!!!

10:45 am - Walking for nothing

I have at home, a book published in 1884, written by Samuel Smiles and called "Men of Invention and Industry".   It's full of lots of information about inventions and industry including: Shipbuilding, Screw Propeller, Marine Chronometer, Printing Machines and etc.

A favourite account of mine is to be found in CHAPTER IX  Charles Bianconi:
  A lession of Self-Help in Ireland. 

What Bianconi did was establish a 'car' system of transport whereby people could be conveyed between towns for a fee.  ie this was the first bus route and Smiles quotes contemporary comments about the founding of the service:

" People did not know what to make of Bianconi's car when it first
started.  There were, of course, the usual prophets of disaster,
who decided that it "would never do."  Many thought that no one
would pay eighteen-pence for going to Cahir by car when they
could walk there for nothing?"

Of course, now I have my new walking shoes, extra maps, waterproof trousers and booked accommodation I'm finding out the true cost of "walking there for nothing"!!

Incidentally, the full text of the book and a great many more can be found on the Project Gutenburg website which endeavours to make available out of copyright books and materials.   There are some real gems there including Sam Pepys's diaries, Jos Slocum's voyage round the earth and probably whatever you are interested in as well!!

Project Gutenburg website

Feb. 27th, 2008

12:24 pm - feet


Gave blood yesterday, my 40th, that's a lot of arm fulls!
Used the opportunity to flash into town to get some of the necessary kit for my 'long walk' home starting on April Fool's Day.   This is my first retirement project and the plan is that I walk home from the boat in Poplar Dock to Catslide in Oakley.   I expect to post details when it's all over as one of the pleasures will be a lack of connectivity not experienced for a very long time, my Blackberry being returned to head office!
In the 60s, jogging became the new craze [but NOT with me].   What amused me at the time was the way that everyone had to go out and buy the 'correct' jogging kit.   This set them back several $100s of dollars so they could participate in what was being billed as a 'low cost' pastime.   Then the same thing happened with walking!!!
AND now it has happened to ME.
So now I am the proud owner of a pair of walking shoes, these are just like my climbing boots but have a slightly lower profile and do not give as much support to the ankle.   I'm hoping I won't regret this but as the first day is walking the mean, and hard, streets of London I think they will be more suitable.   They also have RUBBER soles so I expect to be able to use them on Cribbit and elsewhere around wet surfaces. [It has been agreed that I will not be falling in this Easter holiday]. I had no idea, until I ended up in the cut that time, just how slippery plastic soles can be, with only a few drops of water on the gunwale.   I had chosen these trainers on the basis of their tread which looked suitable as a tyre for a 4x4 and would surely keep me safe on the canal.   I get ever older and wiser!

Feb. 7th, 2008

02:18 pm - High Street South

I've been meaning to do this post for some time. High Street South has been my route to work for the past 8 years and I'm always interested in what is available here.
My most frequent buy is a £1 bowl of fruit for lunch, usually apples, pears or bananas. But of course right now the cherries are back and these are my favourite.

I'm also keen on the fresh Afro-Caribbean vegetables though much as I find the colourful scotch bonnet red hot peppers very attractive I can't imagine how long it would take to consume a whole bowl of them. Not to mention the physiological effects.

High Street South has a good share of £1 shops and also shops not £1 but which like to masquerade as £1 shops.

The one below always amuses [info]pbbeta
and I as it means any price but the impression is that it is a £1.

....and this one too...

There must be a least 5 of these money shops, they cash cheques and send money 'home'.

There are several pawn shops as well

but only one traditional pie and mash shop

Culminating with the Town Hall and of course my office opposite.

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