Friday, 29 November 2013

Shed, Paul and Enigmatist

Today, the these three setters have prepared a tribute crossword to the man.  And it is all about him, and lovely.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Oh My.
Farewell John Graham, our Araucaria.
Unlike the chaste Lord Archer, never vegetating.
Rest in Peace.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Finnamore Crescent

We weren't going to listen to this (things to do). But the great John Finnamore was on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.  Wonderful.  Especially his first go at Mornington Cresecent...


We won't be commenting upon the Dr Who 50th until we've seen it at least twice more..

Saturday, 23 November 2013


This weekend appears to be the time of anniversaries.
CS Lewis, Huxley, Britten, JFK and Doctor Who.
Chener bookshop window is full of Lewis and the Doctor.
JFK specials on the BBC and in the Guardian.
Britten on R3.
Play about Lewis & Tolkien on R4 (not actually that good).
And wall-to-wall Who.  Documentaries (lovely to see Troughton again - our Doctor), minisode, clips, essays, articles, teasers, even a Dr Who Celebrity Pointless.

The main event starts in under half an hour...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Tour: Which Romans?

As mentioned before, we also went to the Museum of Prehistory in Quinson on this tour.

Which seemed - at least at one point - to position the early Romans as a very late Iron Age tribe. Connecting them back to the broad sweep of prehistory.

We couldn't quite square this with the clever builders of the Pont and the Arena.  They seemed to be 'builders' in a more modern sense.

Perhaps this is more about how we partition up the ages of history (and prehistory) rather than anything else.  Change occurs throughout those periods and they bleed into each other. And different geographies will have different pasts, and can be very different, all at the same (historical) time.

And that we like to approach history as history. As Terry Jones pointed out in Barbarians, most of the time we remember the Romans and other peoples through simplified images and stories.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Tour: Paddling

On the day we went to the Pont and the Camargue, we went paddling in two different places.

Firstly the Gard river, beneath the Pont, is a spot for kayaking and swimming.
But we also went to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, in the Camargue, where we could paddle in the Med:-

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Tour: Camargue

We remember with pleasure the Kamarg; the flat marshy lands of black bulls, pink flamingos and white horses.  The home of Count Brass in the stories of the most accessible of the incarnations of the Eternal Champion, Dorian Hawkmoon.  A heavy-metal country, in imagination and our memories.

So it was with some excitement that we drove down from the Pont to the Camargue - the equivalent of Count Brass's domain in our world.

Lying between the Grande Rhône and the Petit Rhône  south of Arles.  Low-lying and very flat; an internationally-recognised wetland, but also  a managed landscape of canals and pumping stations.
The plan below explains one feature of this land management - how fresh ('douce') water from the Rhône is pumped under the canal and roadway to irrigate the fields beyond.  We are back in the world of advanced hydroengineering.  More advanced than the Romans, perhaps, but smaller scale and perhaps less audacious.
Here is the pumping station:
The canals cut long, straight lines across the landscape.  Fringed by reeds and trees.
The whole land is only a few metres at most above see level.

We eventually saw some of the bulls, and Count Brass's horses.  But, sadly, no flamingos.
And then, finally, we stopped for a long look at the Étang de Vaccarès - one of several huge brine lagoons at the heart of the Camargue. Finally, marvellous.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Two Views of Durham

1: The Miner's Gala crowds from Neville St...

2: A collection of Judges on Palace Green...
... both from 2012.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Staying out of the Sun

... we suspect there hasn't been much in The Sun recently about the court case of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson.  Wonder why not?

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Tour: Olive Tree

A lovely, gnarled old olive tree by the Pont.

Friday, 1 November 2013


At London Zoo yesterday.  Fantastic; the Zoo is great. 

We decided that our favourite animals this time all began with A: armadillos, alpacas, anteaters and aardvarks (especially the aardvarks).  But not neglecting the kangaroos, tigers, bearded pigs and seahorses. Etc.

Not that much damage from the storm on Monday, that we could tell.  Except that the 'animals in action' tent/gazebo/auditorium covering had been ripped to shreds and was being taken down.

Fault on Train

So, yesterday on the Jubilee Line (and some of us still want to call it the Fleet Line, I'm afraid), at London Bridge the message came over the speakers: "I'm sorry there is a fault on the train, we have to take it out of service.  Everybody off, please".  OK, not a big problem, those trains are pretty frequent.

But on the platform came "Sorry, there is a fault in the CCTV".

What?  Is the CCTV so crucial now?  At first we thought it was an anti-terrorism rule, then that there was an insurance (passenger protection) issue.

But no explanation of why the CCTV is so crucial on the Jubilee Line. 

Does anyone out there know?