Friday, November 25, 2005

Look, it's snowing!

It's remarkable how much pleasure some apparently grown-up people in an office can get from a small snowfall. One of the more endearing characteristics of our nation is the ability to be bewildered by our own weather.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Have just finished reading a selection of Robert Louis Stevenson's writings on the South Pacific. And very fine they were too. I'm sure I've read The Bottle Imp before, or was it just a story with the same plot? The Beach of Falesa is probably the star of the collection though: a nice account of some somewhat unpleasant colonials and their influence on the islanders, told through a none-too-pleasant principal character.

Sod's law in operation

With reference to my last post: I spent quite some time typing (well, cut-and-pasting) this information in. I then was very stupid and trusted the development environment to save my changes. It didn't. This is particularly annoying, since I am normally hyper-aware of dangers like this and continually save and back up work. Except today, when, just for a change, it mattered. By 4.30, I had just about got back to where I was three hours ago, and left in disgust.

Must stop the geeky posts. I am more interesting than this, really.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sometimes it's hard being IT literate

This might be a bit geeky.

As part of what I was doing at work, I needed a list of certain codes for every parish in Scotland (all 891 of them). I got my list from somebody, in the body of a PDF, which would not export to anything sensible. I said thank you very much, but do you have it as a text file so I can save myself some typing? I got a reply with an attached Word document and the codes in an even more abstruse graphics-intensive format. I don't actually mind that they don't have a textual list, but in what way did my correspondent think they were helping?

OK, I'm better now.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A high traverse

I have just invented the Portobello Haute Route. This consists of Newington to Portobello, via Arthur's Seat and Dunsapie. Figgate Park is quite nice too, with lots of seagulls sitting on frozen ponds.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A lovely health and safety violation

I keep a kind of mental list (actually, more of a bag, as list implies an ordering) of quirky places to go. On Sunday, what should pop off my stack but the Hopetoun monument. This can be seen on an averagely clear day from North bridge in the centre of Edinburgh, somewhere behind the twin chimneys of Cockenzie power station.

Walking from Drem station, I was reminded what good soil there is in the Lothians. A succession of neat and clearly productive fields were divided up by shelter belts, with some more mature forestry covering low hills. I was very pleased to discover that the spectre of health and safety had not caused this unmanned monument with its dark and uneven steps to be closed. The steps were liberally covered with bits of twig, presumably by some birds who wanted to move in. And finally, the top, with a nice balustrade, an amazing view, and some of the poorest viewpoint indicators I've come across. I know these things are meant to be somewhat schematic, but Arthur's Seat just isn't that shape. And how could you not point out the Forth bridge zig-zagging across to Fife? But enough! It was a nice day with flocks of geese resting in the fields after lunch, and some people buzing around in microlight aircraft. And on the way back, a few deer in the woods.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Pretentious parents on board

On the bus home, we passed a car with a "triplets on board" sign attached to the back window. Does this mean that other drivers have to be three times as careful?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Impressions of last weekend

Last weekend involved:
  • Watching night fishermen at Felixstowe.
  • Letting cats in and out of the house a lot.
  • Seeing the Sickert and Munch exhibitions, and liking the former rather more than the later.
  • Hearing a bong from Big Ben that didn't correspond in any way to the time (the clock was being repaired).
  • Seeing Corpse Bride and admitting that I liked the songs.
Now back to work.