Saturday 2 September 2006
Miles and Quincy
Note to self: listen to this programme again.
Sunday 3 September 2006
I’d just like to point out that I don’t know anybody who might have a legitimate reason to go to the DEFRA website in the course of their work, who might then be slightly amazed at the arrogance of an online "public consultation" ("the citizens WILL do this, the citizens WILL do that") and who might then tip off a well-known political website about it.
Nope, nobody that I know.
EDIT: global media coverage.
Wednesday 6 September 2006
Les Six Régals
Oh dear, it seems that I’m getting a reputation in my industry for always knowing where the very best restaurants are in the towns and cities around Europe that are centres for horticulture. Well, I suppose that there are worse things to have a reputation for.
So, note to self and to others – I’d like to publicly recommend Aux Six Régals (no website) as the finest eating establishment that I know in Angers. I’ve just eaten there and to say that the experience was both sublime and good value would be an understatement. The salade périgourdine is possibly one of the best dishes I know anywhere (this isn’t a bad recipe, but not as good as the restaurant’s version).
If you’re lucky, I may come up with a few more tips for other parts of Europe (it’s not a long list really).
Friday 8 September 2006
Mark McGhee sacked. Given Brighton’s recent form, I don’t think anyone can be surprised by this news.
Monday 11 September 2006
On "significant" dates
We have a friend who is heavily pregnant. Her baby was due last week, but (assuming no change since we spoke with her on Saturday) has yet to arrive. She was very concerned that her baby might arrive today, as there might be some sort of stigma or ill-fortune associated with being born on such an inauspicious date as the eleventh day of the ninth month.
Personally, I find that very hard to understand. If this held true, then the seventh day of the seventh month might also have negative connotations, particularly for Londoners. Equally, going back further in history, September 3rd might be considered a bad day (Great Britain declares that it is at war with Germany, 1939), along with December 7th (Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, 1941), August 6th (Enola Gay drops an atomic weapon on Hiroshima, 1945) and April 20th (Adolf Hitler born, 1889). And that is just taking a single cultural reference point. Naturally, from other reference points (let’s say, randomly, the history of the nation of Uganda) other dates will become important (January 25th – Idi Amin seizes power in a coup, 1971).
My point is that this is all very arbitrary and irrational. There is very rarely any significance in a date in terms of the effect that the events of previous years have on the events of years to come. Even with significant dates for religion, which might conceivably be celebrated in years to come, the authorities have a knack of screwing it up (Jesus was not born on December 25th and his death is celebrated on a different day every year).
And what of people who were born on September 11th in years before 2001? Aside from perhaps finding that their party was a bit of a damp squib that year, are they now forever stigmatised by the event? Somehow I doubt it. I used to know someone who celebrated her 40th birthday on August 31st 1997 and was mightily annoyed that the radio was full of mournful music and there wasn’t a celebratory mood (Diana, Princess of Wales, had died in a car accident in the early hours of that day). I suspect that her 41st birthday and every subsequent year has been celebrated with gusto without so much as a thought for the late princess.
In the particular case of September 11th, I’m doubly annoyed by people who are in some way frightened or disturbed by the date. Not only is it irrational and illogical, it also lends a small success to those who perpetrated the attacks in the US that day.
So, if that baby is born today, welcome to the world. The day you were born is not so important as what you do with the days that are ahead of you.
Wikipedia – September 11 in history.
UPDATE: unless it all happened very quickly in the evening, the baby was not born on September 11th, as nothing had occurred by 6pm.
Tuesday 12 September 2006
How to blatantly avoid doing any work
A guide for the modern workplace. I actually have enough paper on my desk to start a small fire, but my desk is wooden and my office is also wooden, so this may result in a large office fire.
Thursday 14 September 2006
Mildly annoyed and embarrassed
During the sunrise application period for .eu domain names, I made an application for my company’s name under the rules which permit owners of registered companies to make such applications. The website details a requirement to submit documentary evidence, so I provided a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation, since the application was being made in the company’s name and not in my name as director (hence no requirement to prove ownership). I felt confident that the application would proceed without any problem, particularly as the EURid website suggests that limited companies should have no problem applying.
My application has been rejected, much to my annoyance.
I’ve now read the fine print and am embarrassed that I didn’t do so at the beginning. In addition to the requirement for a copy of something like a Certificate of Incorporation, there is also a requirement for an affadavit to show that such a title as Limited Company is sufficient for the rules for sunrise applications. This seems utterly superfluous to me, as limited companies are clearly included in the list of permitted entities on the website, so one would assume that they wouldn’t need an affadavit! One would also think that they could check records with Companies House and also, by virute of training and experience, get to know what a Certificate of Incorporation looks like!
As a consequence, I have no grounds for appeal (and probably would baulk at paying the EUR 2200 appeal fee anyway) and must wait until my name is released from the sunrise process and make an application under the general release rules.
In general, I am a fan of the European Union but instances such as this do nothing to dispel the reputation that the EU has for being excessively bureaucratic.
Friday 15 September 2006
Another distinctive voice lost
Raymond Baxter, RIP.
Saturday 16 September 2006
grayblog = 6
Six years ago today, I started this site with a post that included the question "what am I doing with a blog?"
I’m still waiting for an answer.
Sunday 17 September 2006
I’m rich! I’m rich! I’m socially secure!
Cartoon archive, featuring Ali Baba Bunny and the excellent Baseball Bugs. via the linkbunnies.
Tuesday 19 September 2006
I’m planning to travel to Budapest on Thursday. I think I need to keep an eye on the news in the meantime.
UPDATE: latest news suggests that, whilst there is a large peaceful protest near the government buildings, the violence is quite small scale and can be likened to the "poll tax riots" of the Thatcher years – in other words, mainly confined to one square. I’ve been checking carefully and my hotel is at least two kilometers away from the trouble, so I still intend to travel unless there are significant developments overnight. However, I was planning to take an evening stroll to explore the centre of Budapest, which I may now forego and put off for another occasion.
Thursday 21 September 2006
Airport, ooo-eee-ooo, flying away, flying away!
The Motors. Bless.
Anyway, this post comes to you from the departures lounge at Gatwick’s North Terminal. Not bad considering I should currently be sitting in some nice bar in Budapest, having arrived about two-and-a-half hours ago from Heathrow.
So you can say that it hasn’t been a great day so far. Having left home on time, dropping Tom at his childminder en route, I soon ground to a halt on the M25. I had a rotten time of it on the M25 on Monday, but this was even worse, to such an extent that I stopped the engine and sat reading for 15 minutes. Clearly, it was even less of a great day for the unfortunates in the accident at junction 10, but it meant that it was soon obvious that I was going to miss my flight. Malev have been as helpful as they can be, given that they have no later flight from Heathrow and have got me on the evening flight from Gatwick, but it has cost me £100 (although that includes a compulsory upgrade to business class due to economy being packed to the gunwhales) plus £11 for a two hour trip on the tube and train (I needed to leave my car at Heathrow as my return flight takes me there).
Which brings me to today’s idle thought. How come, as you amble along the Piccadilly Line, you pass Barons Court (no apostrophe), Earl’s Court (Earl who?) and Knightsbridge (all one word)? Any ideas why these names should be constructed differently? And is there a link between the noble places?
Anyway, more nonsense after the weekend, assuming my journey goes ok and there are no riots. In the meantime, check out the cricket and then go along to the food festival at Glynde Place this weekend.