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Living in the watch factory
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28th-Feb-2010 01:56 pm - Ah yes, I remember it...
...well: not too clearly.
For some reason I got to thinking about my earliest memories the other day.
I can't remember anything much from when I lived in Herts. I've got some very vague memories of being lost once, but it's hard to know whether that's really a memory or simply a story I've heard.
I was 2 when we moved to Cheshire. I have some memories of that but nothing really clear. An image of the area outside our house; the living room, with tne open staircase; going to see Bambi, (my first cinema experience).
Slightly more memories from Bristol a couple of years later. Starting to get clearer, but it's not until I'm about 7 that I start to remember specific events clearly. So I can remember, say, having a Captain Scarlet cap with a flip-down mike, and a bookshelf in the living room with comics at tne bottom. But nothing I can identify as a single event.
I wonder what my young nephews will remember in a couple of decades.
Seems my neice was taking precautions after all. Something which I didn't learn at school is that apparently contraceptive pills are less effective when the woman is unwell. Digestive complaints can mess up the absorbtion of the hormones.
Looking back on my sex education classes, from when I was about 11, there was a real paucity of useful, practical information. As best I can remember, it was just some very basic human biology. That was quite a while ago so hopefully things have improved. My nephew has some sex ed this year, but I don't think it'd be appropriate to quiz him on it. :-)
12th-Feb-2010 11:27 pm - Silence is more musical than any song
So said Christina Rossetti. Possibly true, but it'd be nice to have the choice.
Alas; having deliberately chosen a new 'phone for it's musical possibilites and loaded it with sundry aural delights I was unable to enjoy it on the train earlier because the little sleeve thing came off one of the earphones.

I think I have some spares, which I need to dig out before the rugby match tomorrow. (I would like some music for the journey.)

I'm not too thrilled by the standard Nokia earphones. The sound's OK, but the ear buds don't stay in place terribly well and the wires aren't the right length. One side is too short so if I stretch the bud tends to pull out. I'm quite tempted by the idea of a bluetooth stereo headset: there are some around for about £20 which isn't too bad. However, cheap though that is I really oughtn't to be friterring money away at the moment.
12th-Feb-2010 07:01 pm - Invasion reaches Somerset.
This particular invader being tne Little Egret, which is spreading north. Saw one today near Nailsea.
5th-Feb-2010 11:45 pm - England 41 Wales 14
Got back from the U20 match at Kingsholm a little while ago. Quite entertaining, as these games usually are. The Gloucester lads acquitted themselves well. Freddie Burns started at 10 and had a good game, I thought. Good place kicking, and he kept things moving well. Made a couple of nice breaks, too. Went off in the second half. Didn't look to be badly hurt, but he'd been down with cramp for a while.
Shaun Knight was at tighthead. Didn't do anything too flashy but the England scrum was well on top throughout, so he can't have been doing too much wrong.
Johnny May came on at centre in the second half and got a try. Some of his family were in the Shed near me and they seemed quite pleased. :-)
For a while I thought it was going to be all forwards. Three tries scored by the front row, (although not Knight, alas). Joe Marler, the loosehead prop looked quite useful. Made some nice running lines for his two tries. The other was scored by Jamie George, the hooker, from a kick to the in-goal area, the sort of thing you expect a wing to be doing!

I'll probably be going to the Ireland game in three weeks time.
30th-Jan-2010 01:08 am - On a more positive note... CHAOS!
Or rather, "The Secret Life of Chaos", by Jim Al-Khalili. Shown on BBC4 a while back, I just watched it on the iPlayer and it's really good.
I've seen several documentaries by JA-K before and they've all been pretty good but this one was special. Dealing with chaos, and emrging order it conveyed a sense of awe at the strange and marvellous things that the Universe generates from the simplest physical and logical building blocks.
It started off with a bit on Alan Turing, in particular a paper of his on morphogenesis which I hadn't heard of before, (his work on it, that is). The starting point for a mathematical treatment of organization in living cells.
The expected stuff on fractals and the like, all very clearly explained without too many frills.

He's also got some documentaries on chemistry on BBC4. I'm looking forward to watching them, too.
29th-Jan-2010 05:26 pm - Recalling the start of the Iraq war
There's been a fair amount of coverage of the Chilcott inquiry in the press. I haven't been following it very closely but I've kept half an eye on it and I have been thinking a bit about what I thought when it was all kicking off.

When Bush started talking about military action and Blair stood by him I was actually quite hopeful. I thought it was obvious that invasion was a bad idea, purely on practical grounds. A "surgical strike" on weapons facilities would have been workable, always assuming anyone knew where they were and we could accept the inevitable collateral damage. But actually taking over the country would be really tough without significant support from within Iraq.

There was no plausible evidence that Sadam had any links with terrorists, (although doubtless he wished them well, so long as they were attacking his enemies). And there was no reasonable direct threat to the UK or USA. That "45 minutes" quote gets played up a lot but at the time it never occurred to me that it meant anything much more than artillery shells. Bad enough, but not enough to justify claims of self defence. Despite what the gutter press said, I figured that the government and its advisors understood the reality.

I hated some of the things Bush said, notably the idea that other countries were either with him or against him. Faced with that sort of retoric I am always tempted to say "against!", regardless of the question.

My hope, though, was that by staying with Bush and being somewhat supportive Blair could act as a moderating influence and ensure that at the least Bush didn't start something without UN approval. And all being well, persuade him not to take direct military action but to work through the UN and persist with economic measures.

When that didn't work out, I felt disappointed but also a sense of betrayal - possibly a bit harsh - at Blair's failure, (as I saw it).

But seemingly Blair didn't fail, because he wasn't interested in preventing the war in the first place.
25th-Jan-2010 07:25 pm(no subject)
I know it's not really an ancient curse, but I do seem to be having an interesting time of late, (in a rather trivial way).
A mix of good, bad and inconvenient.
The goodest is that there is now a doctor in the family, albeit not a medical one, as my neice got though her viva this month.
The inconvenient is that I'll be without transport again soon, I expect. My mother is recovering well and will probably be fit to drive again soon, at which point she'll probably want her car back. I'll have to do something about getting another bike.
The worst doesn't affect me directly: my dumb-ass neice got herself pregnant again. (And yes: it takes two so I don't absolve the bloke from accusations of dumb-assery.) It's left quite a lot of the family upset. One can try to be supportive, but underlying it all is undeniable anger and frustration.
There's other family stuff going on, which doesn't help. Nothing too desperate but it all adds up, especially when one feels unable to help.

It has made me wonder about something: how and when should one offer advice? Some months back, when my neice was just starting to go out with the new guy I briefly thought about mentioning contraception to her. I decided not to in large part because it's a rather personal thing to talk about, and because I figured her mother or sisters would mention it. Also, since I haven't done a wonderful job with my own life I feel a bit uncomfortable commenting on anyone else's.
Too late for that now, but there are other people who I see making (non-irrevocable) mistakes, or who might benefit from advice. But how to tell if the advice is any good? At what point does it become interferring?
18th-Jan-2010 02:29 am - Coincidence rather than conspiracy
An interesting synchronicity. There's a bit of talk in the news about the RC Church's interest in canonising Pius XII. And BBC2 just showed "Massacre in Rome". (I wonder when that was scheduled.)

I tend to take the view that what the RC's - or any other religious types do within their own little club is up to them: I have no interest in saints and the like. It does show a rather grotesque lack of empathy, not to mention diplomacy, especially given their recent PR difficulties.
From what little I've read - mostly on the Internet - I don't think that the RC Church itself did anything positively heinous. Their inaction was pretty deplorable, though. All told, I think it just demonstrates again that the Church's first interest is the Church.
8th-Jan-2010 02:28 pm(no subject)
Well, time to attempt the journey home. Should be fine once I hit the motorway; my onlh real concern is the road up to my house.
Staying with my parents has been OK but i need to get home for a while, if only to do some laundry and feed the birds.
One of gne nice ghings about being down here is a bettef selection of birds. Several redwings, which are quite pretty. Lots of blackbirds, which seem more intefested in driving off intruders than actually feeding.

UPDATE: Made it home without much difficulty. Motorways pretty good and my road was fine, with a bit of care. A bit of a struggle to get onto my driveway because I couldn't see it. :-)
Still a bit of bird food left, but I cleared the bird table and put out a bit more for the lone robin which was hanging around, plus some liquid water.
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