Saturday, April 30, 2005

Up to Scotland

I'm off up to Scotland later. I think I have everything I need - I've got my passport, travel insurance and E111, and I also got some money exchanged in town yesterday lunchtime. So I'm set to go.

I've also packed some teabags since there's nothing worse than arriving somewhere and finding that you can't have a nice hot cup of tea. Being me, they are fruiy teabags rather than tea-based teabags but I think the principle is the same. A hot drink is just what's needed when you go to a country where they only have two hours of daylight at this time of year.

Anyway, I suppose I should go and pack some things other than tea. Clothes and etc.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Since today was my last day but one in my current job, I was out after work for some drinks with the (old) team. Since everyone that was able to come out was old and married and sprogged, they couldn't stay long which left me at a loose end at around seven o'clock. But all was not lost.


We were drinking at a bar by the cinema. And today... H2G2 was out! So I grabbed a ticket and (after a slight stochastic diversion - best not to ask) I sat in my allotted seat and awaited the film.


First thing: There were no adverts! And there were no trailers! This confused me a little. Is it because it was a preview? Plus points of this: I get to go to bed an hour earlier.


Second thing: The film is great! If I can use an oft used analogy: It was like meeting up with an ex-girlfriend that I'd not seen for years. Not sure whether we'd still get on or whether I'd even still like her. But it turns out that we do get on, and she's got some new stories to tell me and she's brought a friend along who's really quite fanciable (Trillian: she's great).


Having grown up with the thing (that my aunt gave me) in all it's incarnations, there was a lot that was familiar. Much was word for word from other versions. Some was a mite altered. Other was brand spanking new. All felt right. I could nitpick (Arthur's too short!!!!!) but it's not worth it - what they've done works brilliantly. And I don't want to go into detail, so's to avoid spoiling it, but:


1. Music by The Divine Comedy!
2. Marvin - great! From the photos, I'd thought he was CGI, but no, it's just Warwick Davies in a silly suit! There's even a cameo from old Marvin!
3. Trillian: Mmmmmmmm. And all memories of Sandra Dickinson are safely wiped.
4. The book graphics are fantastic (though Peter Jones is missed).
5. The bit after one of the improbability drive jumps...
6. Much other. Even a bit that made me cry (a little bit).


Overall, it's hard to find fault. Maybe it might be a bit different for those without the familiarity, maybe it wouldn't - I'm not in a position to tell.


The only thing that now worries me is that now I've failed to be disappointed by H2G2 and I've failed to be disappointed by the new Dr Who, I'm becoming convinced that Star Wars 3 is gonna stink. I hope, hope it doesn't, but...


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Umbrella Dilemma (Or: How I learnt to stop worrying and love the rain)

It rained yesterday and today. Not all day, just at some times. Big thick heavy rain, the kind that gets you wet rather than just damp. Today I avoided it all. Yesterday I was caught in it a bit. My umbrella is sitting here beside me, but I don't want to take it with me since I may lose it in the pub. Yesterday I didn't take it with me since I was going to a gig. One day, I will have to take it - an umbrella that just sits there and doesn't open, protect, close, is a useless umbrella indeed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Look at all the lonely people

Walking through town at lunchtime, I saw several people that I know, just walking around on their own. Poor things, I thought. They have nobody to talk to and walk with - I hope they're ok.

Then I realised that I too was alone.

Then I decided that when the people that I had seen saw me, they probably weren't worried about me being on my own and whether I was ok. They had no time to put me in their thoughts and worry about how I felt. They were selfish horrible people. In fact, that's probably why they were on their own. Serves them right.

And no, this doesn't go circular and hence prove that I also am selfish and horrible. So don't start.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Un-Americanising Gmail

In a fit of boredom recently I decided to change the language of my Gmail interface. Nothing fancy, mind. I changed it from English to English (UK). Mainly on the basis that American English should be shunned at all times. Actually the main thing that annoys me is the incezzant uze of z's in words that shouldn't have a z in. Like realize. And don't get me started on "color". Or... No, stop. I'm not hear to yank-rant tonight. So what happened after I changed the language? Nothing!

Or at least I thought it was nothing. A few days later I wanted to delete a message. Normally this is easy. Go to the drop down menu, select "Move to Trash" and Bob's your uncle. Message gone. But when I tried to do this, the option wasn't there! Arggghhhh! It took me nearly a minute to work out that there was now a new option instead - "Move to Deleted Items". This (not too suprisingly) had the desired effect. But for a while I just couldn't see this choice. I was so hard-wired to look for "trash" that I was blind to everything else.

It perhaps sounds like there should be a life lesson at this point. Something like "When you are always looking for what you want, you may not see what it is you actually need.". Something like that. But there isn't. All there is is the following warning:

If you switch Gmail to English (UK), Trash becomes deleted items. I have so far not spotted any other changes at all... Maybe the spellcheck is UK'ised? Anyone know?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Tasty Easter Treats

For the last few weeks I have been happily buying half price (and less) Easter sweets from the supermarket each week. Mainly Mini Eggs, Smarties Mini Eggs and Fruity Smarties Mini Eggs (which are fantastic and should be made available on the NHS). Today they looked to have started to run out of stocks. This saddens me.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

A Brief History of Prostitution in York - Part IX

In the early 1980s, the Conservative government of that time, under Margaret Thatcher, passed a law which made it possible for local councils to choose to legalise prostitution in their towns and cities. Only three places ever actually took up the option to do this - Brentford, Canterbury and York. This low take-up made it easy for John Major's puritan government to repeal the law when he became Prime Minister ten years later.

During the period when it was possible to do so, several legal brothels opened within the centre of York. One of the more successful was The Bonking Whorehouse, situated at the end of Skeldergate, by the river. Although it no longer sells lady-favours, the building still stands, albeit with an incomplete sign:

York Brothel

The brothel would open at five o'clock every afternoon, Monday to Saturday, and would see a succession of local dignitaries and businessmen, as well as ordinary Joes, pass through its big wooden doors every night. Some may just have come along for a chat and a smoke with one of the many beautiful girls. Others may have come for some full on monkey-nookey. Either way, the 'House (as it was known colloquially) would welcome you with open arms (and legs), as long as you were polite and paid in advance.

Although the brothel closed it's doors for the last time to the public in 1995, it reopened as a sex-themed bar/club two years later and operated very profitably until repeated flooding caused permanent closure in 2001. Now the building stands sadly neglected, its glory days many years in the past.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Election Problems

There's a general election coming up at the start of next month, where for only the third time in my life I will have the opportunity to contribute to the selection of the group that will govern our country for the next few years. I can't actually remember how I voted (or even if I did!) the last two times. Maybe I should have written it down.

Because I'm far too lazy to actually attend a polling station, I will be using a postal vote - a fantastic innovation where I get several days, or even weeks to ponder the selection of boxes that I'll tick. I honestly haven't yet decided which way I'm going to go this time - I am a Floating Voter. Currently my views of the main parties are as follows:

Labour: Scum. No moral principles, but they haven't cocked too much up too badly over the last eight years (with the possible exception of the odd war here and there). And they do have an MP who punched a member of the public at the last election which should definitely earn them extra points on any sane scale.

Conservatives: Scum. They did ok for a long time, or possibly I was just too young to notice and understand the things that weren't so good. Then Labour came along and nothing much changed except that the Tories seemed to go a bit bonkers, and started to elect truly awful leaders, something which they still keep on doing.

Lib Dem: Scum. The main purpose of the Lib Dems is that they are a party which isn't Labour or The Conservatives. I don't think they, or their supporters, have any other point.

Other Parties: A mixture of scum, racist scum, totally deluded scum and madmen.

But I'm open to have my mind altered on any of these points, so feel free to try. And maybe I'll try and make a decision. Ah, democracy.

In an effort to have my mind made up for me, I took an online quiz. I don't normally paste the results of those things on here, but it seems relevant to this discussion so here are the results:


Who Should You Vote For?

Your actual outcome:

Labour 9
Conservative -14
Liberal Democrat 14
UK Independence Party -8
Green 4

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For


Bloody typical. But online tests never lie!

Thursday, April 21, 2005


We had a bit of a work do last night at Orgasmic (with some free drinks! and some free food!) and I ended up staying out much later than I'd intended, mainly because it was lots of fun.

I claimed that the tokens we were using to get free drinks were smaller than stamps. But they turned out to be slightly bigger.

Not for the first time, somebody I was talking to began to heavily slag off somebody I don't much get on with, without them realising that I even knew the person in question, which was kinda funny - always nice to be reassured that my opinion of people is not entirely isolated. Other conversations ranged from very silly ("Right first time!"), to very funny (and not repeatable), to hilarious but slightly embarassing ("Yes, I've met her before...").

Today I had a nine o'clock meeting which I had a slight hangover for. But I was at least able to pass on the Big Responsibility of minute-writing to a colleague as part of the handover caused by my imminent job move. Actually, writing minutes isn't too bad - it's typing them up afterwards and trying to remember why I've written the things that I've written that can be annoying. But since someone else was doing the whole thing, this wasn't an issue.

Anyway, since I've finished all the marking I wanted to get done this evening, I think I shall head out to a pub quiz and try and make it three wins within five days. And maybe have another beer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

More Popary

Listening to the news on the radio a couple of minutes ago, I heard a lady give the following partial quote (near enough) in relation to the new pope: "Right now, the church needs a shepherd, and it's now got a German shepherd...". And at that point I changed channels. I found this funny because there is also a kind of woof-dog called a German Shepherd! But they probably wouldn't elect one of those to the top job - the hat would fall off and it would be hard to understand proclamations.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Stealing from blogs of other people

In my ongoing quest for Meaning in hidden places, I have decided to see what might emerge if I take random English language blogs (using the Next Blog button) and take the first complete sentence from the first blog, the second from the second blog and so on. I'll skip blogs that are clearly written in Foreign, and those stupid ones that just comprise long lists of adverts for things, with slightly different words in each post

Let's see what emerges:

"Are you feeling guilty about your love for coffee? I've just come to the realization that I am a complete and total asshole. so dann made quesadillas and they were indeed great...we are DEFINITELY going to do that again sometime. He used to write the most insane poems and literary "masterpieces" and we will give our last rites to it. I don't know if I'm making sense. He's worried about gasoline prices. I am the Lord your God. At least I have had time to work on the house, if not much money to pay for it! Credit goes to Dad, who reportedly received a score of “good”. But systems cost so much more than that."

Wow. That's... blogtastic.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Name of the Pope

The Pope conclave began today so that in a short while there will be a new pope. One of the first tasks that the new pope will have to do is to choose a new name for himself. Pope John-Paul II's real name was Carol Wojtyla, but he didn't stick with it because a) nobody could pronounce the surname and b) people might have thought he was a girl and it would have been unacceptable for people to mistakenly think that a girl had any power in the Catholic church. Clearly it was much more sensible to name himself after the talented half of The Beatles. If he'd been elected a few years later, maybe we'd have had a Pope Morten-Mags-Pal I.

I'm not sure what process is used to actually choose the name so I went down to my local bookmakers (repository of all knowledge!) at lunchtime to see what odds they were offering on various different names. Here's the list they had pinned up on the wall:

150-1 Pope Tart
125-1 Pope Goesthe-Weasel
125-1 Pope Upandseeme-Makemesmile
80-1 Pope Music
50-1 Pope Isdead
50-1 Pope Tastic
20-1 Pope Eyethesailor
15-1 Pope Myride
10-1 Popette
5-1 Pope Daddy
2-1 Pope Lint

Yes, the name taking most of the money is Pope Lint, which was a very pleasant surprise indeed! I put a fiver on it so now I'm eagerly waiting the black puffs of smoke.

If the pope (whoever he may be) does go with Pope Lint, then I will return the compliment and change my name to whatever the pope's old name was, even if it's something stupid like Carol, Bungle or JjJjJjJ. That way the total number of each name in use in the world will be conserved.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Craft and Pizza

In the Museum Gardens today there was something described as a "Craft Fair of Quality". I assumed that this was to differentiate it from other, lesser craft fairs where the carpentry has bent nails and the homemade soap smells like socks. Or perhaps it was a craft fair where only Gentlemen of Quality would be admitted. Men in top hats and morning suits, sipping tea from china cups discussing the fortunes of the East India Company.

I didn't actually go inside the fair. Had I wanted to do so, it would have cost 75 English Pence which might sound bit on the steep side but since that included a free cup of tea, I think it's actually quite reasonable.

On a completely unrelated note, we went round to Bert's last night to say farewell to his old York house and drink up his beer. He very kindly cooked a pizza for us to eat. It looked so tasty that I took a photograph:


The flavour of the pizza was I think "roast vegetable".

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Final Day

Monday, January 24th 2050. That's when I'm going to die. It's my appointment with the Reaper. And there can be no doubt because the internet told me it was true. Here.

You can buy me a card closer to the time.

Friday, April 15, 2005

A distinct lack...

I wish that I was able to think of something interesting to write.

Maybe tomorrow.

BTW, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

I seem to have become 29 when I wasn't looking. Darn.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Why bid early?

I suspect I'm either missing something or haven't thought this through properly, but...

Why on earth would anyone bid on an item on eBay at a time other than the closing minutes of an auction? Surely bidding days in advance is just likely to lead to a higher final price since people have more time to outbid your offer?

I'm aware that people don't always act rationally on eBay, but still, I'm confused.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Popularity of Letters

I woke this morning with a feeling that I had an important public service that I needed to perform today. At first, I was unsure what it was. No mysterious instructions had appeared in tattoo form on my body overnight, and I had not received an email from God.

But as the day progressed, I slowly started to realise what I had to do. The final piece slipped into place when I looked at a sign (it was a Sign!) and saw that it was made of... letters. But some letters are not as good as other letters and I finally figured out that what I needed to do was rank the letters. Not just the letters in the sign, but all the letters, every single one. It was necessary for me to determine which letter of the alphabet is most popular, and which could do with a bit of a hug. And that's what I will do here and now, as a favour to the world.

I'll use the tried and tested method of Googling them, one by one, and ranking popularity by the number of hits. To give a sense of scale, a popular search like "Lint" gets 2,200,000 hits, whilst "Michael Jackson's Monkey" gets just 394 hits. Which means that I am officially more popular than Michael Jackson's Monkey! Result!

Anywards, on with the letters:

A: 4,480,000,000
B: 665,000,000
C: 1,030,000,000
D: 1,290,000,000
E: 2,330,000,000
F: 590,000,000
G: 443,000,000
H: 451,000,000
I: 2,090,000,000
J: 492,000,000
K: 458,000,000
L: 921,000,000
M: 960,000,000
N: 760,000,000
O: 839,000,000
P: 605,000,000
Q: 306,000,000
R: 339,000,000
S: 1,780,000,000
T: 1,560,000,000
U: 542,000,000
V: 280,000,000
W: 686,000,000
X: 639,000,000
Y: 372,000,000
Z: 330,000,000

If we then list the letters starting with most popular and ending with least popular, we get:


I'm not sure how stable this sequence is over time. It's worth remembering it though, since it could come up in a pub quiz one day.

A good way to remember something like that is with an entertaining mnemonic. Feel free to create your own if you want - I'd share the one that I have just devised, but I don't want to. It's private and it's mine.

So the conclusion is that poor old V isn't well liked. So here's my effort to give V the big hug that it needs:


That should help it to feel better liked.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Challenge #10: SOBER - Complete!

Well, almost by accident I find myself at the end of a seven day period where I have not imbibed any alcohol whatsover. It feels dirty and wrong.

The middle three days of last week were one of those middle of weeks where there just isn't much on. I nearly went out for a drink with a friend on Thursday but he had to go running instead. So I went home and ordered too much pizza which I then attempted to eat. This was a mistake as I then felt a bit ill the next day. I was also fairly busy at work on the Friday, and didn't really feel like going out in the evening. So I didn't.

And then the weekend again was fairly quiet. By this time I'd realised I had a good run at my seven day target and so avoided any alcohol. I didn't attempt to go out on Saturday night, I didn't open any bottles of wine and I even decided against having the nice bottle of ginger beer that was in my fridge.

So then that just left tonight, Monday night, normally a night for going down the Swan for some quiz. But tonight... no. I have stayed in and finished my (test batch of) marking. Good me.

So another challenge bites the dust, and for the first time I find myself having completed challenges at a faster rate than the year has been having months.

I'm not sure that this being sober thing is that great though. Sure, I maybe got up earlier on Saturday than I would have done, but I just ended up using the time to play computer games. My social life has pretty much been non-existent for the past week, and I've still felt tired, had the occasional headache and found no noticeable improvement in my concentrational abilities. I wonder how long you have to be sober to start feeling any better than normal?

On the plus side, I've... I've... I've still got a nice bottle of ginger beer to look forward to. It wouldn't be there if I'd drunk it at the weekend!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Random Song Links: A Rubbish Game

Right, I'm going to generate three random songs from iTunes and then work out what the link between them is. And if I can't think of one, I lose. Here we go - The three songs are:

1. Warning Bell - The Vessels
2. Serotonin - Mansun
3. Campfire Kansas - The Get Up Kids

Hmmm - not a fantastically selection musically but there must be a link. But I can't see it. Try again with three new songs and hope it's easier:

1. Life for Rent - Dido
2. Girls of Valour - The Delgados
3. Sapphire Bullets of Love - They Might Be Giants

Nope, nothing obvious springing to mind there (other than "Dido... Ugh!"). One final time. If this doesn't work I don't know what I'll do. Go:

1. Seven's a Secret - Ballroom
2. Eggs - The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players
3. All Of My Thoughts - Spiritualized

And again, I draw a blank. Conclusion: I lose.

If you're expecting something here at the end to tie up all nine songs in a "Oooh aren't I clever, I had you going there thinking I had no links" kind of way, then sorry - that isn't going to happen. I really am unable to determine links.

This game was rubbish.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Doomed! We're all Doomed!

It was a pleasant surprise to see that the Xbox version of Doom 3 also comes with fully complete versions of the original Doom and Doom 2. Not spruced up or updated in any way, just the original versions circa 1964 or whenever it was they first came out. So far I've spent just over five minutes on Doom 3 and around four hours playing the first two games. Is this wrong?

It's not like I don't have other versions of them knocking around. The GameBoy version of Doom has wasted many, many hours of my life, and I also have a PS1 version somewhere (always a bit odd that one - the levels were kind of flattened a bit. Not always obviously, but it was really apparent on levels like "The Crusher"). And I also remember playing the original PC versions at uni. My home PC was too weedy to play them at the time, being only a 12Mhz 286, but at university my friends had 386s! And 486s! Woohoo!

"Eat My Shotgun" I'd shout. "No" my friends would reply, "Let's load up Doom instead".

I'm not sure what it is about Doom that I find so compulsive, even now. The fantastic level design? The hordes? The shotgun? The complete lack of stealth? The fact that I'm stuck in the past? The only other game I've owned and played on as many different systems is Bubble Bobble. That has much better music than Doom... I wonder if it's possible to get the BB music playing whilst I massacre the denizens of hell? That would be cool.

I feel that I should at least make an effort to play D3. Or at least play it to the point where I get to shoot something. All I have seen so far are some (alive) marines, some soft drink vending machines and some pen pushing military guys. Don't even have a gun yet.

Maybe I'll be able to enjoy it. Maybe.

Horse Racing Time

It's the Grand National Horse Race later today, a race generally run by horses that fall over a lot. Not stunt horses, paid to fall over safely to make the race look exciting. No, they are more like drunk horses, trying to jump over walls but failing to judge the distance right leading to them falling over and having to be shot later. It's a little known fact that every single horse that falls over in The National is shot - the Queen instigated this soon after her coronation in a bid to make the horses try harder. I personally would certainly try hard to not fall over if I knew that to do so would be the last thing I ever did. Stephen King later took this idea and used it in his story "The Long Walk", but he changed it a bit and got rid of the horses.

I have horse #3 in an office sweepstake. It's called Monty's Pass and if it wins I stand to win up to several pounds. But unfortunately my Grand National horses have historically not done very well, so apologies to anybody else lumbered with the same nag as me. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that although you have won no money, at least the bloody horse won't be ripping off any other punters in the future. You can't run races when you've been turned into glue and catfood.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Note to a Gentleman

A quick note to the gentleman I saw whilst walking to work this morning. Dark pinstriped suit and bright red wooly gloves is not a good look.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Nothing Important

I'd really hoped to be able to stay a bit late at work tonight to finish off some bits and free up some time tomorrow. Unfortunately the notwork crashed and there wasn't a lot of point in staying around so I went home.

My burglar alarm had its annual service today. It wasn't as exciting as last year's service, because last year the little man fiddled with some of my settings and made the alarm work better. This year it was the same little man and there wasn't a lot else he could do that he hadn't already done so he just checked it. Everything's fine.

Um... anything else? I've now got a little thing that lets me move photos straight from my camera to my iPod, effectively giving me many gigs of on the move storage space and freeing me from having to worry about filling memory sticks too often. I don't worry about this much, but it should potentially prove useful when out and about on holidays (but possibly not this year when rafting...).


I may start exam marking over the weekend if I get any scripts tomorrow. That's always an entertaining way to spend time.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

And the tourists keep on climbing

When I was holidaying in York, I climbed a high place because all tourist cities have a high place to climb. Copenhagen was no different. It has a tower, just up the road from the Erotic Museum:

The Rundetarn

This is not a normal tourist tower because it's a tower that you could quite literally drive a medium sized car up to the top of (*). I didn't have a car so I had to walk. The inside of the tower comprises almost entirely of a wide spiral ramp. There are no rooms, no offices, no coffee shops - just a ramp. There is a large exhibition room halfway up, but that's not in the tower itself. I'm not sure what exhibition was on because I didn't emter the room. It didn't look very exciting. The spiral ramp's pretty cool though.

From the top you could take one of those panorama type full 360 degree pictures by taking several photos and sticking them side by side. I didn't quite do that:

View from the Rundetarn (1) View from the Rundetarn (2) View from the Rundetarn (3)

The city is quite flat, and it was hard to make out many landmarks since I was unfamiliar with the place. There are lots of churches, but one church tends to look much like another. Square building, pointy bit on top. That sort of thing.

Nice blue skies though.

(*) As long as you could get it through the turnstile at the bottom...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A Little Statue

The Little Mermaid

I quite like this photo. She's not a real mermaid though. Just a statue in Copenhagen Harbour.

Under the sea, Under the sea, Darling it's better, Down where it's wetter, Take it from me!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Some thoughts on modern aviation

It's about two and a half years since I last travelled by plane, and a couple of (what to me were) innovations quite impressed me. It's quite possible that these have been around for a long time, but bear with me.

No. 1: The out-going plane had a little TV camera in its nose. This relayed pictures to the in-plane TV sets so you could see the plane taxiing to the runway and then taking off. Once in the air, it switches to a view from below the plane so you can see what you're flying over. This is pretty cool unless you get confused as to which view they're showing at a particular time and convince yourself that the plane is flying directly towards the ground. It then switches back to the front view for landing.

No. 2: I could check in using an electronic self-service terminal. No queues, no talking to people, just insert credit card and press a few buttons. Saves loads of time, especially if you don't have any baggage to check in. You can even choose your own seat! Admittedly, my seat ended up not being the one I chose because the actual plane was smaller than the one I chose from in the machine, but it's good in principle.

There's still too much waiting around in plane travel though. At least Copenhagen airport had a very pleasant quiet zone with some big recliners and a great view of the airfield.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Challenge #4: COUNTRY - Complete!

I've just got back from a weekend in Copenhagen. I took my passport and everything. Copenhagen is in Denmark, which is a country I have not visited before. Here I am by the Harbour, (at Ameliehaven):

Me in Copenhagen

It was quite sunny all the time, and also fairly warm later in the day - around 17 Celsius. I was able to take my scarf off.

This was the first time I've ever travelled abroad on my own (as in being on a trip without anyone else doing the same) so I was a bit unsure as to whether I'd enjoy it or not. Conclusion: Days are fine - I can just do what I want, when I want, for as long as I want. Nights are not as much fun. Dinner isn't too bad, and service tends to be fairly quick when you are on your own, but after that there isn't a great deal to do other than head back to the hotel for a drink in the bar with a book (I was reading Umberto Eco so I'd look clever). But it was only for a couple of nights.

Since I'm back to work tomorrow, I'm intending to head off to bed shortly, so the full excitement of the stories from Denmark will have to wait for another day (or days). I do, however, have some helpful travel advice for anyone (from the UK) heading to Europe in the near future.

If you have an E111 from last year (or before), then it is no longer valid. You need to get a new one. The new one is an interim arrangement until the EU issues "European health insurance cards" from the end of this year. I only found this out when I saw a poster in the Post Office half an hour before I was due to get my train. Luckily this was sufficient time to get a new form. I didn't expect to need to use it, but it's almost guaranteed that if I didn't have a valid E111, I'd end up in hospital somehow, somewhere. Because I got a new style (interim) form, I had no health problems whatsoever.

There, that's public service blogging, that was.

Posts I didn't write on Friday

Here is a short post that I thought about putting up on Friday, but didn't:

"I'm going to be going away today, to a better place. Or at least I hope it's going to be a better place. You can't always tell what it's going to be like until you get there. Anyway, I'll be leaving shortly. Maybe I'll see you around one day."

But that sounded like I was dying and about to be dead. So I then considered:

"I'm about to do something that one of my friends once tried to do, but failed. Unlike him, I have made proper preparations and am sure I have everything to need to succeed in my aim..." etc

But that sounded like I was about to commit suicide. So in the end, I didn't write anything. I suppose I could have gone with:

"Right, I'm off to Copenhagen for a few days."

But that would have been too obvious.

Whilst on the subject of suicide, which we almost were, is it any wonder that so many people throw themselves under moving trains when all the train stations have "Way Out" in large letters all over the place? To an impressionable mind...

Friday, April 01, 2005

Pope Selection

It strikes me that should The Pope not make it through his current health problems (at the time of writing, he's had the last rites. Again. Which part of "last" don't they get?) then the whole process of choosing the next one will be watched much more closely than normal, since the process was novelised by Dan Brown. If they are not planning a book or TV show comparing the fact and the fiction of this process, then they're missing a lucrative opportunity.

I would put myself forward to be nominated to be the next Pope, but popery isn't really my thing. I'd also put volunteer to put together a large selection of dried flowers for the ceremonies, but pot-pourris isn't really my thing either. **ahem**