Wednesday, August 31, 2005

st pauls cathedral

We hope to visit St. Paul's Cathedral next weekend, & hope that perhaps it's not being cleaned this time.

This will be our prelude to a liquid lunch with Nick Browne of A Welsh Born Icon, and the follow up to an afternoon at Shakespeare's Globe . Should be a good weekend!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Batman Begins?


batman begins? Posted by Picasa

just thought I'd try publishing a photo straight from picasa , Google's free photo managing tool.
looks as if it works! cool!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Shall I wear purple?

A mother of a close work colleague and friend lost her fight against cancer late last Friday night. It is a sad tale, but her passing was peaceful and my friend has many very happy memories of a truly wonderful mother and it is clear that she was a woman who bore blindness and the ravages of illness with an amazing stoicisim and good humour.

My friend has been searching for a suitable poem to be read at the funeral, and I suggested the following wonderful poem 'Warning' by Jenny Joseph, written in the 1960's. It is one of my favourites and, I think, a suitable tribute:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends for dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.


This was the poem that was read emotionally by Chris at his Grandmother's funeral 4 years ago. Nana Yoohoo was also a very special lady, and this poem struck many cords with those who knew her.

Thump the Clouds

A google search for Thump the Clouds produces this result, & leads on to Nick Brown's recently renamed spindrift pages.....

Fame for Nick at last?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Mumbles Lifeboat Station Family Day

Because I'm married to a brave, lifeboaty rescue hero, (see photo) I have the honour of being some of the privileged family members who get taken out for a jaunt on 'Ethel Anne Measures' - the Mumbles station's All-Weather Lifeboat. Today was the 2nd time I have ventured out on 'Ethel', and what a brilliant day it was!

The sun was shining, and there were many smiling faces as we waited patiently on shore for the boarding boat to collect us and take us out to the ALB. Dan and Dylan jumped up and down in anticipation, and my Mother fretted that they would fall into the water. (My mother fretting is a foregone conclusion for any situation - when referencing my Mum, read 'frets' - period!). I, on the otherhand, was fretting that she wouldn't manage the ungainly embarkation into the boarding boat, much less the shaky ascent onto the large, waiting lifeboat.

Mum managed fine, and we were soon stood in a little huddle on the deck of the boat, which close to is always much larger than expected. Once all were aboard (about 20) we headed off towards Mumbles Head, the engines roaring throatily. Holidaymakers and locals out for a bank-holiday stroll in the sunshine, stood and watched from the shore as we made quick progress out and around the lighthouse that marks the entrance to Swansea Bay.

The weather out in the channel was much breezier, and the sea was choppy. This meant the boat bounced about a bit (and Mum surprisingly didn't fret!), and there were lots of 'weees' and 'whooohooos' and a little nervous laughter. Dad, video in one hand, camera in the other, captured all for posterity and we all smiled and posed obediently. The boys were stowed safely below decks with Isobel (daughter of Steve Ace, Mechanic) and Josh (son of Coxwain, Martin Double). They were given a tour of the wheelhouse, including the GPS, radio and radar (and windscreen wipers). The latter was a major hit and Daniel later declared these to have been the best bit!

Above decks, Hari, Mum, Dad and I were getting rather salty and windswept but it was great fun. Many of us had a go at the helm, me included and I was very surprised at how difficult it was. I was told to point the boat in the direction of a chimney you could see vaguely across the bay in Port Talbot, and try to keep the boat going in that direction. What ends up happening is that you are lucky if you manage a zig-zag, as the wind, tide and waves conspire to throw you continually off course. I now have even more respect for those who helm this craft in bad weather. Hats off to you!

The trip was all too soon at an end, and with more on-lookers lined up on the shore we made our way back past the lifeboat house and onto the Knab where Coxwain Double executed an impressive manoeuvre, bring the boat slowly and carefully, prow first, up to the steps so that we could disembark comfortably and safely.

A great day and one that everyone, particularly my Mum and Dad, will remember for a long time.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Homeopathy

There was an interesting article on the BBC website today, finally debunking the stuff and nonsense that is Homeopathy.
It's good to see common sense being published, instead of "politically correct" pseudo medical views.

In the words of the BBC :-

A leading medical journal has made a damning attack on homeopathy, saying it is no better than dummy drugs. The Lancet says the time for more studies is over and doctors should be bold and honest with patients about homeopathy's "lack of benefit"

A view I have long held.

Funnily enough, the Society of Homeopaths doesn't agree:-

A spokeswoman from the Society of Homeopaths said: "It has been established beyond doubt and accepted by many researchers, that the placebo-controlled randomised controlled trial is not a fitting research tool with which to test homeopathy."

If you don't agree with the results, attack the method, eh? Never mind that this is the universally accepted method for determining the efficacy of new drugs.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

mumbles lifeboat Raftrace

Thanks to everyone, We have raised over £18,000 for the RNLI

results from the SWPD to follow.......

Monday, August 22, 2005

Mumbles raft race makes the BBC

Woooooooo!

we made the BBC!

Thanks (?) to South Wales Police, charging us £4200 for policing the event, ALL of the proceeds of which go to the RNLI, which is, of course, a charity.

Makes you think who are the cops & who are the robbers?

For more news, & piccies, see mumbles lifeboat Raftrace webpage

(that'll be me at the helm of the ILB, by the way)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Geek Joke

There are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who don't

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mo Mowlem

So, farewell, Mo Mowlem
One of the few politicians
Of the last few years
To earn my respect.
You leave this country a better place
Than before you arrived
You will be missed


c. grumunkin After e.j.thribb 2005

Thursday, August 18, 2005

top ten books

following up from Nick Browne's post, re top ten books,
my 10 of the time were:-

Lord of the rings JRR Tolkien
Magician Ray E Feist
pillars of the earth Ken follett
captain corelli's mandolin Louis de berniers
Fear & loathing in las vegas Hunter s thompson
perfume Patrick suskind
his dark materials trilogy Phillip Pullman
the wasp factory Iain Banks
the histories Heroditus
breakfast of champions Kurt Vonnegut Jnr

Its amazing how It would change if I was to compile this today.
Guess a lot depends on mood.

maybe I'll do it again soon

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Birds without wings

Thank you Mr De Bernieres!

You have just answered many of the questions that have been troubling me of late, specifically dealing with the Turks and Greeks of Asia Minor. (see this blog, passim)

Birds Without Wings is set in an imaginary village; a few days walk from Telmessos, (now Fethiye) on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The story unfolds around the turn of the 20th century, following the lives of the Christians, Moslems, Jews and Armenians of the village, intertwined with the story of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the birth of the modern Turkish state.

The historical background was fantastic. In my view, LDB gives as unbiased view of the events of this time as any author that I have read on the web so far. He charts the events in an impartial way, just as if you were a bird looking down on the village, without commenting on the rights and wrongs. You, the reader, are left to come to your own conclusions. The way he describes the mundaneity of every day life in a small backwater town is very well done. You get the feeling that nothing great ever happens here, yet he keeps you interested with insights into the small things of life.

My main criticism is that some of the characters are a bit two-dimensional. I suppose this is a consequence of having such a big cast, which is needed to explore all of the themes involved. However, you do develop empathy with many of the people of Eskibahce, Iskander the Potter, who is almost a narrator figure, Rustem Bey, the local Aga, and his mistress, Leyla, the two boys, Mehmetcik & Karatavuk (blackbird & robin, in English), and lots more. Now that I think of them, the list is surprisingly long.

There is also the life of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This is spread through the book, a chapter at a time and can be a bit dry in places. However, the whole story is fascinating, and you cannot accuse LDB of leaving any stone unturned.

Overall, I think this is a great book. It’s a Huge project, and LDB does it justice. As for being better than Captain Corelli? I don’t think so. It’s just too big a book to focus on the love affair of just one couple, and achieve the depth of feelings involved.

ICE numbers in your mobile phone

Emergency personnel look for ICE in you cell phones


A campaign encouraging people to enter an emergency contact number in
their mobile phone's memory under the heading "ICE" (for "In Case of
Emergency"),has rapidly spread throughout the world as a particular consequence of the terrorist attacks in London. Originally established as a nationwide
campaign in the UK, ICE allows paramedics or police to be able to contact a
designated relative or next-of-kin in an emergency situation.
The idea is the brainchild of East Anglian Ambulance Service paramedic
Bob Brotchie and was launched in May this year. Bob, 41, who has been a
paramedic for 13 years, said: "I was reflecting on some of the calls I've
attended at the roadside where I had to look through the mobile phone
contacts struggling for information on a shocked or injured person.
Almost everyone carries a mobile phone now, and with ICE we'd know immediately who to contact and what number to ring. The person may even know of their medical history."
By adopting the ICE advice, your mobile will help the rescue services quickly contact a friend or relative -- which could be vital in a life or death situation. It only takes a few seconds to do, and it could easily help save your life. Why not put ICE in your phone now? Simply select a new contact in your phone book, enter the word 'ICE' and the number of the person you wish to be contacted. For more than one contact name, use ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc. It's so simple that everyone can do it.
Please do, and pass this on at your discretion as it may save a life.