30 June, 2006

Kings Cross - Helicopter with huge St George's cross spotted

London - Helicopter with St George's Cross
You'll have to zoom right in as it's not a brilliant photo (the helicopter was miles away) but it was zig zagging over Kings Cross dragging a *huge* St. George's cross behind it during lunchtime with the words "Come on England" in the cross itself... ;) Wonder who paid for that?

Tipped portaloo, Wharfdale Road >;P

Tipped Toilet - Wharfdale Road #1
So while the office has been closed some idiot has tipped over the portaloo that the poor workmen who are doing up the pavements all round Islington had to use...Just hope no-one was in it... ;)
Tipped Toilet - Wharfdale Road #2
...as you can see, it went all over the place...yuk :(

Oh, and in other news I drew Tunisia in the office sweepstakes...oh well...

29 June, 2006

419 scammer makes wooden C64

Not a joke! Read this account of someone with excellent photoshop skills fooling a 419 scammer into producing wooden sculptures (with pictures!) it's absolutely hilarious...what a fantastic con...! :)

(Oh and I'm going back into the office today btw)...

28 June, 2006

Office is back open!

Good news! The fire brigade have announced that the gas cylinders are now safe! So as of 10am today the office will be back open (once a further safety inspection of the premises is completed by our facilities dept, of course)...

Unfortunately I've missed rush hour now, out here in the country everything rather slows down after about 0830hrs, I checked the timetables anyway (bus and rail, as I need both) and if I set off right now I might *just* get to Kings Cross in time for lunch, so I'm better off staying put...back to London tomorrow...

27 June, 2006

Kings Place - Further update

...and I quote from my office official briefing - "Having obtained a further update from the London fire brigade, we can confirm that the London offices will almost certainly remain closed all day tomorrow. The gas cylinders remain too hot to begin cooling by water at this stage, and it is expected to take up to 24 hours from the point at which water cooling can commence before they can be removed"...

Astonishing! So that's probably Friday before we can get back to our desks! Glad I didn't leave any ripe fruit on my PC!

Accidents do happen, but we will be lucky if someone's neck isn't on the line after all this...

Kings Place - update

Incredible, just came down from brushing my teeth to watch the traffic and travel on the BBC and they say the fire is still raging and Kings Cross is still closed! Guess I'll be working from here again then...! Lucky I have lots of documentation in dire need of updates...

Update from the press - "We are constantly monitoring the situation, and are working with London Fire Brigade to establish when it will be safe to re-open the station and resume services."A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: "Fires involving these types of cylinders cause major disruption in the capital on average once every month.
"Because of the risk of explosion, a 200 m exclusion zone is set up every time these cylinders are involved in a fire." - so there we go...back in the rat run tomorrow hopefully!

26 June, 2006

Fire, Evacuation and risk of Explosion - Kings Place, York Way, Kings Cross

Okay, safely home now, just grabbing some lunch...But just to cover what I do know again, at about ten o'clock today we were told by colleagues that there was a fire in the "Kings Place" building site and the offices were being evacuated...I didn't hang about...I just grabbed my bag, locked my PC and walked out of there (pictures to be had)...down at street level lots of policemen were busy blocking everything off and trying to get people to leave the area -
Kings Place - Explosion #1
(Crinan Street, the building site is clearly visible at the end)
Kings Place - Explosion #2
- diverting all the traffic away from York Way down towards the Caledonian Road via Wharfdale Road -
Kings Place - Explosion #3
- which was slowly filling with emergency services vehicles...the only route I could think of that might not be blocked off by this stage was along the canal, so I trotted up the Caledonian Road, went down onto the tow path through the community garden and snuck along until this copper blocked my path, he was turning everyone away...
Kings Place - Explosion #4
...so I retraced my steps about 20 yards and found a gate, this took me up to a little housing estate where I found another path into a garden about 2 meters above the tow path (much nearer) where I got this shot -
Kings Place - Explosion #5
- but there was no further sign of incident, look closely though and you can see a number of cylinders which could be full of gas (which is why we all had to get out of there)...doesn't seem to be much in the news right now, but hopefully that's good news...would hate to think anyone was hurt or killed...

Update - The BBC has a shot of the fire (must be on the other side!) and news that Kings Cross station is closed (as well as our office and other local businesses)...(thanks to the annonymous commentator ;)

Update update - Looks like the rest of the press are slowly catching up with the news, one person went to hospital with severe burns, 630-odd people evacuated from Kings Cross station (which is shut), half of the 8th floor of Kings Place is "damaged" and depending on who you read, between 20 and 30 firefighters are on the scene...

Update update update - Hello nurture readers... (a link to this posting made it into our corporate blog ;)

Kings place - update

Well, just spoke to one of the contractors working on the site and he said they have all been sent home, so this is definitely a major incident...by the time I got back from the canal everyone from the office had vanished and police and emergency tape was everywhere, so I'm going to pack up and work from home...no point in standing on my own in the rain with police officers telling me to evacuate...more later when I get some news!

Kings place - update

Kings place - update
Originally uploaded by finkangel.

Okay, managed to get round via the canal, had to play dodge the coppers though, everywhere is sealed off, by tape, I overheard a witness telling of a loud explosion and flames on the top of one of the towers but it's looking clear now...gonna find somewhere dry now to wait it out...Took a few pics with the other camera for later... How exciting... ;)

Kings Place - on fire!

Kings Place - on fire!
Originally uploaded by finkangel.

We have all been evacuated! More later!

25 June, 2006

Gardening etc.

Rose - Macro
Spent most of yesterday in the garden and earned a bit of a sunburned back for my trouble...Got the baby tomato plants into some bigger pots and gave them a good feed, potted up my baby basil plants, topped up the water garden, ate some strawberries, pulled up about a million weeds (all that sort of thing) so it's looking a little bit less wild out there now... ;)

Oh, the rose above (in full bloom) is the one that Rans bought for Flyingpops' birthday...beautiful! ;)

I'm looking forward to the football tonight...but got to get the shopping in first and go out for a run with Flyingpops as the Race for Life is next weekend! Busy busy!

23 June, 2006

Scotts ANT STOP! Bait station review

Astonishing...Ant trap #3
Jesus...what was that? 20 hours?

Mid-evening yesterday I found the source, they were creeping into the booze cabinet (from right under where you see the two corpses in the picture above), trying to carry away the tiny crystals of sugar from the tops of the sweet, sweet alcoholic drinks that Flyingpops favours (Taboo, Pimms, Baileys etc.)...easy target...

The scouts on the worktop, I decided, *were* literally that (either that or they were a bit lost)...and then, deliberately...I admit (why do I feel so guilty about this?)...the trap was moved into their newly discovered path...

By bed time, when I poured my glass of water (in case thirst came during the night), before retiring I took a curious peek inside the cabinet, only to discover a horrifying stream of probably hundreds of workers greedily ferrying the contents of the trap back towards their queen and young (just to boost their collective food reserves)...skin crawling and morals swaying - I just closed my eyes and slammed the door...

A little pile of twisted corpses greeted me this morning (I swept them into the bin) 40 or so...

This evening? Just 2...

This is supposed to take "up to 3 weeks"...we seem to have (and I make up a word) hiveocide in just under 20 hours...can that really be (gentle if terrible) slow fungal corruption?

I shudder at what power Tesco can hand me from their shelves before work these days - the power of life or death - served neatly up with a smile, in the same bag as my casually selected chicken, bacon and avacado sandwich...

I, for one, welcome our ant overlords... ;)

(Hehe...sorry, Simpsons aside)...
Ant Trap #1
...what with the hot weather we've spotted a couple of little visitors in the kitchen...(typically) I had to wait 20 minutes to actually shoot one! I'm sure it's just scouts, but it means we can't really risk putting anything on the worktop (which is a pain)...
Ant Trap #2
...I almost feel sorry for them, but the trap is laid...(I just can't have ants all over my smoothie ingredients, despite the potential extra source of protein)... ;) This stuff is irresistible to the tiny creatures, but it doesn't kill them right away, the idea is, they take it back to base and it sets off a chain reaction fungus that destroys the entire nest in 1-3 weeks...I'll let you know how it goes, but for now, we have to put up with them...you can see this fellow here tucking into a bit of the fluid that spilt when I opened up the trap...it's already started...

22 June, 2006

Missing Pets...

Missing poster
Spotted in Tesco Metro yesterday morning while I was buying my sandwich for lunch...I dunno what it is with Balfe Street for missing animals, I don't want to suggest that it might be something to do with the fact that the black cabs use it as a rat run from the Caledonian Road back to Kings Cross St Pancras taxi rank... :(

20 June, 2006

FIFA World Cup - England vs Sweden

Balfe Street
ARGH! It's all going wrong! 1-1! Looks like we might have to face Germany in the next round and now 2 players off injured! :(

Update - well, not as bad as all that in the end, looks like we came off lightly, a few days off and not facing Germany in the next match after all... ;)

Mc Libel (McLibel) UK Libel law & McDonalds

McDonalds Pentonville Road
I just finished reading this facinating book about (what became known as) the "McLibel" case which was written (while on sabatical) by John Vidal (Environment Editor at the Guardian)...a thoroughly good read, I won't spoil the end of the story (if you don't already know the outcome) but it is about what happened when McDonalds (a massive, multinational, super rich corporation) decided to sue a couple of unemployed people who handed out a leaflet (which they had no involvement in writing) entitled "What is wrong with McDonalds".

Now, I didn't know much about Libel law before reading this book (and so, rightly or wrongly, I am going to assume you have a similar level of understanding) but did you realise that those two poor souls, being the "defamators", bore the burden of proof? In essence - it was up to them to prove that vague statements someone else had written (like "McDonalds is responsible for destroying rainforest in order to create grazing land for beef herds")...they had to find experts to come before the court, nothing previously written (not even in a scientific journal) was admissable, and the judge is bound to proceed from a state of absolute lack of knowledge or bias, he can make absolutely no assumption about what, say, "a rainforest" is...this must all be defined by expert testimony, argued and proved beyond reasonable doubt...

Consider also -

  • McDonalds hired private detectives to infiltrate the protesters group (one of whom went as far as sleeping with a member in order to establish credibility)
  • They hired the top libel lawer in England and put behind him a crack team of researchers and assistants - the defendants had to defend themselves
  • The Judge dismissed the defendants right to legal aid (as did the EU court of appeal), McDonalds effectively allocated an infinite budget, the defendents only just had enough money to pay for their witnesses bus fare and hire a photocopier
  • The Judge dismissed the defendants right to a trial by jury
  • One of the defendants was a single parent
  • That this case went on to become the single longest trial in English legal history

Great, great story...raises some really interesting questions, not least, in my mind about whether William Gibson's view of a future largely ruled by massive mega-corporations (housed in huge "Arcologies", like a city within an office block (think Logans Run) - multi-Noah's ark-like oases, filed with salary-men and associated family members, separated by ancient, sadly un-abandoned city-slums from the former city/country based borders...these Corporations employing their own armies, their own secret service agents and (as seems to be nastily likely to happen) answering to no-one) is actually going to come to pass...

Did you know, for example, that the General Motor company has a greater GDP than many whole nation states including Saudi Arabia, Poland, Thailand and the entirity of South Africa? Were you aware the Shell corporation now owns more land than 146 (of the offically, globally recognised) countries in the World?

Interesting facts eh?

Anyway, excellent book...have a go... ;)

17 June, 2006

ITV Saturday Cooks

Saturday Cooks
Well...what can I say...Anthony Worrall Thompson, Ken Hom and Gino D'Acampo...three wonderful, professional and personable celebrity chefs...put them together and what happens?

None of them manages to recommend a specialty dish (admittedly) apart from AWT right at the end, but that was in the caller vote! It's almost painful to watch Ken Hom suggest an Italian-style stir fry to a caller asking for advice with her wok and then so transparently, and guiltily look over to Gino for approval, leaving Gino to awkwardly suggest a lame rissoto stir fry and AWT to have to finish off by cautiously listing the core components of what the caller was actually after - a classic Chinese recipe - thus forcing him into looking back to Mr Hom for approval...THIS IS NOT GOOD...

Don't get me wrong, these chefs all obviously have a huge amount of respect for one another and are awe-inspiringly skillful...but next time guys, just stick to what you know best...I'm not sure anyone in England really wanted to hear Ken's Italian-American-Chinese stir fry pasta carbonara fusion recipe (tasty or not)...his classic Chinese recipes? Gino's classic Italian? Now you're talking!

Bring it on, I'll be all ears...(promise)... ;)

Mmmm...Fresh, ripe, English strawberries... ;)

Beautiful Strawberries!
And all for me for my breakfast... ;)

16 June, 2006

Red Balloon in Balfe Street...

Red balloon
I assume in celebration of last night's result, it's helium filled and tied by a long bit of string to the top of the lamp post...not a climb I would have fancied!

15 June, 2006

England vs Trinidad & Tobago

Bloody lucky
Well well well...left it a little late, didn't we... ;)

The Thameslink Tramp?

On the way home...
Caveat - You may start to think badly of me for attacking the homeless as you begin to read this post, but please bear with me to the end...

Okay, let me paint you the picture of the poor little homeless guy I see occasionally on the way home...Aw... :(

At least once every couple of months this guy comes wandering up the train (in his pristine shell suit with his well cropped, if a little messy hair) and spits out exactly the same load of old rubbish, occasionally with slight embellishments, but 98% of the spiel always stays the same (like a call centre script) -

(Imagine, if you will, a slightly gravelly but cheeky cockney voice, with a pleading note)..

"Good afternoon Ladies and Gents, I'm very sorry for disturbing you. I don't know if you heard me embarassing myself further up the carriage, but I'm afraid I've been put in a rather awkward postion today. When I turned up at the Big Issue"...(a magazine that good homeless people can sell to earn a few bob)..."offices to pick up my copies I discovered that it had closed two hours early"...(It's always two hours! Why not go there two hours earlier?!!!)..."because of the football"...(that was this today's minor embellishment, usually someone is sick or there has been an accident)..."This means that I am now facing the very real possibility of having to sleep rough tonight, which I really don't want to have to do if I can help it, so I'm forced into humiliating myself in front of you good people to ask for just any small change you might have so I can get myself into a hostel tonight instead of looking forward to a night on the streets. Once again, I'm very sorry for disturbing you and I wish I didn't have to do this..."

Then follows the awkward silence, during which he tries to avoid my accusatory glare...oh yes...he knows I know he's bullshitting the good "Ladies and Gents"...inevitably several people hand him coins and notes to "Thank you, I really wish I didn't have to do this to you" or "Thank, you having a good day?"...then he gets off the train (always at London Bridge) with a cheery "Enjoy the rest of your journey", and waits for the next train leaving from platform 6 (no doubt to repeat his little performance all over again)...

Are you still thinking this is all rather unkind of me?

Lets do some maths...say he gets 6 quid per performance (about average from what I have observed), 2 performances per carriage , it takes him no more than 90 seconds to start the performance and collect his payment...there are trains running roughly every 6 minutes and at that time of day they are mostly 8 carriages in length. Assuming it takes about a minute to move from carriage to carriage that works out at about 32 minutes per train, factoring in a possible short wait to swap this still works out at almost 2 complete trains every 60 minutes)...Still with me?

This being the case I calculate that this guy earns somewhere in the region of £192 (tax free) per hour...!!!!! Keep that up for 7 hours (remember, this isn't exactly hard work!) and that's more than enough money to pay the rent on a nice little flat in the suburbs, with plenty of money left over for take away and beer!!

No wonder we only see him once every two months...on that kind of money he could spend a fair amount of time staying in the penthouse at the bloody Ritz!!

14 June, 2006

Yes! Harvested a strawberry!

One plump, juicy, delicious, bright red strawberry was sitting waiting for me on the plant this morning...(there are about 5 others almost there)...(pic/s later, no time this morning)...

I had it in smoothie form with a banana, 2 kiwi fruit, a handful of white seedless grapes, a handfull of frozen blackberries, 2 ice cubes and a splash of grapefruit juice...yummy... ;)

13 June, 2006

London - Hail storm and smog!

Take a look at the skies over London right now! Scary...had to run up on the roof and take a quick snap!
London Hail Storm 130606 #1
London Hail Storm 130606 #2
London Hail Storm 130606 #3
Looks like we got the smog they predicted, and the rain, the sky is dirty yellow!

Update - Oh and ironically I spent about an hour yesterday evening watering the blooming garden with the watering can...what a waste of time!

World Cup Toilet...

...complete with plastic "turf", a tiny little goal and, well, a little "Urineball" I guess.... ;)

Spotted over at BoingBoing... ;)

12 June, 2006

London - Hot and smelly...

Balfe Street Tandem
What a day, official observations only seemed to come in at about 26 degrees (nearest MET office point to my place of work was Heathrow) but what with the urban-heat-island-thingy it felt about a thousand degrees...this really hit home walking down to the Thameslink (past this rather interesting animal-bedecked tandem I spotted in Balfe Street) after work...it was (or was extremely close to, I speculate...) bin men day...the sickly-sweet stench of super heated rotting flesh/vegetable matter from the terrible heaps of (foolishly) black bags was almost unbearable...the woman walking in front of me even had a (super-cliched) English cotton hanky held in front of her upturned nose as I overtook, in my unashamed hurry to get out of this fearful Rue...

Bah...as if we haven't had enough of smelly smells in the office lately... :(

Cheap Home Brewed Beer

Must give this a go...talk about a super cheap start up!

10 June, 2006

FIFA World Cup 2006 - It is time...

Think I'm ready...just got to plump up the cushions on the sofa... ;)

update - 1-0 England in the first 3 mins...
update - that ref must *really* hate Paraguay...

update - mmm...beer is nice...
update - eeek, free kick to Paraguay...!
update - Almost at half time, score at 1-0, Paraguay still not looking good...Ooooh! Very close Beckham miss there though...! ;)
update - I wonder how many supporters need to be sacrificed to the spider-god that keeps overwatch on the pitch to stop it eating the players?
update - 2nd half - pace is slower...as hot there as it is here...and nasty ref moaning about players drinking water...bah...
update - Oh dear, England looking rather nervous.... :(
update - Some ofthe England players seem to be wearing pink ladies shoes...
update - last ten minutes!
update - and now the ref hates England!!
update - and the final result - a weak limp home... :(

09 June, 2006

Scandoo - Risk assesment

…an interesting front end to Google, searches for spyware/traps/malware before you actually click anything…

Green tick = okay
Small insect = naughty
Red cross = illegal or evil


Check it out... ;)

A23 Bus crash - update

It made the metro, really sad, it was a mini-bus full of special needs from Tower Hamlets on a charity trip to the seaside (Brighton), one person was so badly injured they called out the Sussex air ambulance, still, at least nobody died...

08 June, 2006

Major Incident - East Surrey Hospital - A23 bus crash?

Major Incident - East Surrey Hospital #1

Major Incident signs - East Surrey Hospital #2

Major Incident signs - East Surrey Hospital #3
...horrifically the sign in the background reads "Families of fatalities and casualties report to A & E"...this is right now...

7/7 Bombing - The official report

Well, I've sat and read it...and the unabridged 3rd part of the report too which contains all the uncut witness statements...but to chop a very long story (part 1 is 157 pages long!) a bit shorter these were the snippets that most interested me -

'There was obviously no communication from anyone; I did rather pathetically pull the emergency handle at one stage. It was a desperate need to do something' - Kirsty

'...that was the main concern, if there was smoke, there must be a fire on its way, burning down the tunnel towards us. If people had known there was no fire through someone making contact with us the situation could have been a lot calmer. I think the most important thing that needs to be recognised is us not having contact with anyone. Not long after the bomb went off, we all tried to stay quiet to hear for help, all we could hear were the screams from the other carriages, to our horror we then heard a train,thinking it was coming towards us people were screaming there was a train coming towards us and that no-one knew we were down there.' - Emily

'I saw the flash, the orange-yellow light, and what appeared to be silver streaks, which I think was some of the glass coming across, and what I can describe as a rushing sound. There was no bang I heard; it was just a lot of noise. I had been twisted and thrown down to the ground. About halfway down to the ground the brain clicked in that it was a bomb. You then think you are going to die. When I hit the ground, it was all dark and silent and I thought I was dying' - Michael

'Just after the train left Edgware station, there was a massive bang followed by two smaller bangs and then an orange fireball. I put my hands and arms over my ears and head as the windows and the doors of the carriage shattered from the blast. Splintered and broken glass flew through the air towards me and other passengers. I was pushed sideways as the train came to a sudden halt. I thought I was going to die. Horrific loud cries and screams filled the air, together with smoke, bits and chemicals. Large and small pieces of stuff hit me and covered me. A book jammed itself between my shoulder and a panel at the side of me. I was hit on the head by a piece of metal that gave me a headache. I was covered in splinters and broken glass made from the window behind me. My eyes were sore and very dry from the fireball. Rubbing them made them only worse. Small splintered pieces of glass were sticking in my head and face. I could not breathe; my lungs were burning because of the smoke and the dust. I crashed my head between my knees to get some air. There followed a silence." - John

‘...there was a very strange noise. It wasn’t like a bang; it was like a muffled whooshing sound almost, but then the bus was very packed"..."Being sort of ensconced, I didn’t hear – I saw, but I didn’t really hear it very loudly. There was a mass exodus off of our bus, as things were still coming to the ground and bits were flying everywhere. The only thing I do remember is the carnage and everything as it hit the floor. I remember looking at the bus, and I remember initially thinking, 'What is a sightseeing bus doing there?' because that is actually what it looked like. From the front, that is what it looked like; it didn’t look like a London bus. Now I know why, but it didn’t look that way to me. It looked like one of those that has the roof off. It wasn’t until I actually saw the blood, and the smells, that I thought something is really wrong here and not right. It sounds almost ridiculous to say it, but it was just such a surreal thing; I still have trouble explaining it." - M

‘The floor went completely up to my seat, and I’m mid-air with a strand of floor remaining,keeping me from falling from the upstairs seats. I looked behind me and everybody and all the seats had vanished. I just went into flight mode. I just stuck my foot out and launched myself off. I hit the side of the bus on the way down onto the pavement…I jumped down and I was just screaming. It is funny, because I couldn’t hear anything. It was like somebody had got you and stuck you at the bottom of a swimming pool. You are so disorientated, all my clothes were hanging off me where they had all shredded. It blew the top of my shoe off – a heavy-stitch leather shoe’ - Gary

‘I couldn’t see. I had never experienced anything like that before. I can’t talk for other carriages but, in the first carriage, you could see nothing. Then somebody said, “Has anybody got a torch?” I thought, “That is fair enough”. He said, “Get your mobile”. What is the point of getting a mobile phone out? Then, apparently, the modern phone, if you open them up, they have quite a bright light. All you see is a beam about half an inch in diameter. You couldn’t see the hand that was holding that light; you couldn’t see the arm; you certainly couldn’t see the person that was holding it. They soon put them away, because it wasn’t having any effect at all’ - George

‘A man appeared at our carriage door from the bombed train, into the door that door of his carriage had been blown off, and he was trying to force open the had been facing the tunnel. He had been standing in the bombed carriage; the door of his carriage had been blown off, and he was trying to force open the doors to get into our train. He was shouting for help. He was yelling and, I think that is because of the blast, he could not hear. His clothes were ripped and he was bleeding heavily. He looked like the victim of a bomb blast. It was then that we all realised that something terrible had happened. The man managed to get his hands through the rubber seal running down the centre of the door, and three of us went forward to try to open it. I do not know if it is due to the design of the train, or whether our train became buckled, but we could not force the door open more than three, maybe four, inches. It was enough for him to get his hand round; again, we could see that he was bleeding heavily’...‘The driver of the train from Paddington passed through our carriage at this point checking to see if anyone was injured. I asked him if he could open the first-aid box, as we needed to get bandages etc into the second train. He told me that he did not have the key; he also said that the box would be empty anyway’...‘I then carried on up the stairs at Edgware Road and found myself outside the station. There was quite a lot of confusion above ground. There were several police cars, ambulances, blocking off the road. I walked up to the cordon and asked a policeman what I should do. He advised me to go home. I then asked him if I needed to leave my name and address and my details. I also asked him if we needed to be tested to see if the smoke we had been breathing in may have some sort of chemical poison etc. He told me to go home and watch the news to find out’ - Ben

"London’s telephone networks experienced unprecedented volumes of traffic. Vodafone experienced a 250 per cent increase in the volume of calls and a doubling of the volume of text messages. There were twice as many calls on the BT network as would normally be the case on a Thursday morning. Cable & Wireless handled ten times as many calls as usual to the Vodafone and O2 networks – 300,000 calls were placed every 15 minutes, compared to 30,000 on a normal working day. O2 would normally expect to handle 7 million calls per day. On 7 July, 11 million calls were connected – 60 per cent more than usual - and this does not include unsuccessful calls."

"...the City of London Police made a request at 12 noon to O2 to shut down the O2 network to the public in a 1km area around Aldgate station. O2 carried out the appropriate validation procedures, but these procedures, set by the Cabinet Office, do not include verifying the request with the Gold Coordinating Group. The O2 network was therefore closed to the public – outside the command and control structure - at about noon, and remained closed down until 4.45 pm. During that period of time, O2 estimates that ‘Several hundred thousand, possibly maybe even more than a million’ attempted calls by members of the public were lost."

EH??? So the Police use O2...If you are on the O2 network, DITCH IT, what's the point of having a mobile phone that gets turned off in an emergency??

‘Normally in an incident like this, we would pass the information to Gold Control. They would have an overview of the whole of London and would say, for example, ‘yes, the Homerton has not been hit. We have asked it to activate its plan. Patients can be decanted from the scene to that area’. However, the reality of the situation was that your last telephone call said that there were eight bombs. That was the last message that you had received. You therefore had a picture of Armageddon – you do not know what is going on." - Dr Gareth Davies

"We are not one of the 11 acute hospitals. We are not informed of any incident. For us, the communication problem was particularly important. We did not have any, apart from people hammering on the back door and asking for help. We are next to Russell Square, so that was coming from the ambulances who were at the scene. We were asked for equipment … We were not told of anything that was going on until we found our nurses’ homes had been sealed in the police activity and I could not get staff in or out. We were not told because it was not an NHS incident so they felt that we did not need to know, seeing the London picture is vital to the whole NHS’. Judith Ellis, Chief Nurse at Great Ormond Street

07 June, 2006

Marketing smells... >;P

...and has done for a few days now (well, their kitchen anyway)...the bad thing is, for most of today, the foetid reek has been so strong that it's managing to pervade the department where I sit too...initially I thought someone was enjoying a particularly smelly egg sandwich (and was perfectly happy), but the smell didn't go away...after ten minutes or so people were jokily accusing one another of "eggy guffers" etc. but now it rather looks like we are going to have to put up with it too...wonderful... :(

I spoke to the building maintainence chap and (after "Oh don't you start!") he said he's had everything out of the kitchen he can physically move and found absolutely nothing (he was hoping to find a dead mouse...yes, it's *that* kind of smell)...the current thinking is that something has got into the water heater and is rotting away in there (which would be potentially disasterously bad news for those people that have made cups of tea using it)...but if that turns out to be a blind alley (I would expect a cooking rodent aroma rather than a rotting rodent aroma if he were correct) the next thing to do is to "rip the whole lot out"...nice...

(7/7 later, got quite a bit to finish off reading)...

06 June, 2006

Elder Scrolls Oblivion Domino chase

Simply brilliant physics engine demo if nothing else...watch it here....

Much more importantly, I'm going to talk about 7/7 tomorrow, I think, after the recent report...

Gay is Lame - Official!

(Well, according to the Telegraph, anyway)...Looks like South Park has successfully managed to change the English language - and I quote - "The BBC's Board of Governors has ruled that the word "gay" now means "lame" or "rubbish" among young people and may be used in a pejorative sense without insulting homosexuals"...

I wonder what gay people are going to think about that little statement, surely it's up to them to decide if it's insulting or not...what have you started Mr Moyles..?

6/6/6 - 060606 - The Day of the Devil!

060606 - Metro
You *know* the forces of evil are at work when some git has already completed the Sudoku grid in the copy of Metro you scooped from the train floor on the way to work...bah... >:(

05 June, 2006

The Urban Chef BBC2 / The Prince Albert, Kings Cross

Cool! A new (ten part) TV show starts airing tonight on BBC2, it's called "The Urban Chef", it's set in Kings Cross (i.e. right around the corner from me!) in the restaurant owned by new-face celebrity chef Oliver Rowe, not sure of the name, but it apparently lurks behind the dark green facade that was the "Prince Albert" pub at the actual Kings Cross...now, this is interesting for two reasons -

  1. It's nearby, and apparently fairly reasonable, so I might be able to go and eat there...(although I wish I had found out about this before the TV show, as it's going to be impossible to get a table now as a result)...
  2. He is a man with a mission, every single ingredient used in the resturant has (by self imposed rules) to be locally grown/produced and sourced from within the M25...(so where does he get his black pepper from then? ;)

Anyway, hopefully I can get back in time to see the start (1830hrs)! ;)

Update - Missed about 5 mins, but a really good show!

Update update - Finally made it to the resturant to eat! Check out my pics and write up!

The Commute...

Commute - quiet redhill
It's another beautiful day today, the sun is shining and (as Carol Kirkwood glowingly informed me this morning on BBC's "Breakfast") it's going to continue with temperatures reaching the staggeringly summer-like 27 degrees by the weekend...It's a shame, therefore, that the two German tourists, loaded with luggage (who obviously weren't told about rush hour before they boarded the First Capital Connect into Central London), decided to look the wrong way when we emerged from between the apartment blocks on Bankside, thus completely missing the stunning view from the Blackfriars bridge towards London Bridge, St Pauls Cathedral, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, the Tate Modern, the Globe and Canary Wharf, all set along the Thames, glittering like a carpet of liquid gold into the sunrise...and instead chatted excitedly pointing out to each other the shaded Unilever building and a barge...

I nearly told them...

04 June, 2006

Glorious sunshine!

The garden in the sunshine... ;)
Perfect weather for doing absolutely nothing at all... ;) Unfortunately Flyingpops' is off to Morocco with work next weekend, so it's been all suitcases and washing machines and lost accessories this morning instead of gently pottering in the garden...oh well...
Chives #2
Anyway, just time for a few pics I took yesterday (when I was pottering in the garden), these are the amazing flowers on the chive plants, the bees love them, it's just a constant stream of workers all day long, sometimes 3 or 4 at a time...
My strawberry plants, bearing fruit...
...and the strawberry plants are absolutely thriving (well, the big one anyway, the alpine one seems to have been finished off by the winter weather, ironically) and are covered in fruit - thank goodness...I'm sick of those pale, sour, out of season immitations that Tesco insist on shipping over from Israel...the plants that I have (must be about 40 or so), don't produce enough fruit to ever really have a bowl-full, it was just my little treat when I would be out watering to search for one that's ready to eat, but they should be perfect for grabbing one or two each morning to throw into the smoothies instead now! ;)

03 June, 2006

Tesco Value Hand Blender

So a few weeks back now we spotted what looked like an absolute bargain in the form of a Tesco (Value range) hand blender, being just shy of £5...We bought some fruit, Greek yoghurt, runny honey etc. got it home and started making "smoothies" for breakfast, which was fantastic (more on that later) but after less than a week we started to notice the unmistakable smell of melting electronincs coming from the engine section, so, like the Tesco value steamer, it went back and was replaced by a top of the range one (now it is clear that it will be used and not just gather dust in the cupboard), in this case a Braun Multiquick Advantage -
Braun multiquick advantage
- which comes with a lot more toys, not least a mini blender (which I have already used to dice an onion (in about 4 seconds)) and is all dishwasher safe...most important though is the ease with which one can make a breakfast smoothie...

I've made up a few recipies already, notables include -
  • Banana Desert Special which consists of 2 bananas, 2 tablespoons of greek yoghurt, a squeeze of runny honey, a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter, a scoop of vanila ice cream and an ice cube...(it's quite sweet though, beware!)
  • Flyingpops' Pomegreat Delight - 1 banana, a good slosh of Pomegranite juice, one third of a large mango (diced) 3 large strawberries and a handfull of grapes
  • Fink's Kiwi-Peach Chiller (my current favorite, although I do wish it didn't look like something that came out of a poorly cat) - 3 ice cubes, 2 tablespoons of greek youghurt, a kiwi (the flesh of, scooped), 1 banana, a de-stoned peach (no need to remove the skin) and 3 strawberries...yum... ;)

Smoothies for breakfast... ;)

I'll be honest though, pretty much anything you throw in there seems to work as long as you have the banana as a base...got some pears ripening at the moment, a passion fruit and my own strawberry plants are heavy with green fruit...so plenty more opportunity to experiment, if i find any more killer recipies I'll let you know... ;)

02 June, 2006

New top rated picture on Flickr!

ANOTHER badly framed one (why!?)...and I'll tell you the *really* weird thing...
Exodus Removals
...the subject of the previous (also baffling) holder of the most-number-of-views trophy (click here to see it) would be clearly visible in *this* shot if there were no traffic...! It's just rather spooky, what is it about poorly constructed shots of the Caledonian Road that magically draws in viewers...? (this is, of course, factoring out the pictures I took on 7/7 which got about ten times the number of hits this one got)...

01 June, 2006

Eternal floor cleaning in Bushfield Drive

Caution - Floor cleaning in progress
Spotted this sign (fixed *permanently*) by the entrance to the flats down Bushfield Drive (near where I live)...it's obviously so messy in there it's a little like painting the Forth Bridge... ;)