Archive for May, 2011

The Mad Cyclist

Posted in General, The Big Society on May 15, 2011 by thecognitivekey

Driving home after my radio show this evening, going westbound on the M27, just after junction 11 there is a cyclist riding along the hard shoulder. Totally mad or what? The traffic is going past at over 70 and this fool is pedalling along. Racing helmet and lycra, it won’t save him if he gets hit. He was navigating his way over the slip road on to the motorway from junction 11 as I went past. Should I inform the authorities?

I leave at junction 10 as I always do and I decide to call the police. Under the motorway bridge I stop and call 101 which is the local number for the police. I get options! Press 3 if reporting a crime…OMG I don’t believe this. I wait for the last option which says wait for an operator…the phone rings on and on. Eventually it says I am in a queue and will be served as soon as possible. No indication as to the length of the queue. I am bored with this now, I want to go home. Oh well cyclist I hope you managed to get to your destination before you could get smeared across the carriageway.

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Psmith Journalist – PG Wodehouse

Posted in Books on May 14, 2011 by thecognitivekey

Psmith Journalist – PG Wodehouse. Wodehouse is probably the greatest ever writer of English humour. I have read over 60 of his 90 published novels. The language used is a delight to read, the words just dance. Psmith Journalist is a story I have read many times. It’s an easy read but so satisfying. It is based in New York where Psmith becomes something of  crusading journalist. Psmith isn’t one of my favourite Wodehouse creations, he’s just too pompous, but nevertheless great fun and despite the veiled attack on the conditions of New York’s tenements the humour beams out. The plot is far-fetched, but the language brings it through. Written in 1915, it is of its time yet at the same time it has barely dated, such is the strength of the writing.

An Early Walk

Posted in Walking, Wildlife on May 13, 2011 by thecognitivekey

Working from home today so there’s not quite the rush of a normal weekday. A chance for an earlyish walk. Am out of the door by 6.30am for a short walk out of the village and back again. A three mile round trip.

It’s nice to be out early. Few people around, a couple of dog walkers which rather surprised me. It is very light though so maybe I shouldn’t be. Quite a few cars leaving the village. The early morning commute. I didn’t realise it started quite so early. Despite the traffic the air is clean and fresh, a good time for a walk.

The inward route takes me alongside the woodland of the Southwick Estate. The adjoining fields are planted with wheat and it’s about a foot and a half high. Leaping through it is a single young deer. I have disturbed it and it’s making its escape, running and leaping through the wheat, stopping every now and then to check that I am not in pursuit. I wasn’t but it’s nice to see these animals are still here. I am not sure what they would make of the evil Fareham Borough’s plans to turn all the open land and fields between the motorway and the Hoads Hill ridge, along to Knowle, with houses – all 7500 of them. A sink estate for the county, and all because it is rumoured that Fareham Council are short of money. Does money drive every thing we do? Will the council rehouse the deer and other wildlife. A few months ago I saw a yellow hammer in the trees alongside the main road to Knowle. The yellow hammer is under threat according to the RSPB, removing more of its habitat isn’t going to help it.

http://www.cprehampshire.org.uk/shuv/farehamsda.html

The Dam Busters – Paul Brickhill

Posted in Books on May 12, 2011 by thecognitivekey

The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill. Not a novel but the story of 617 Squadron, The Dam Busters. It was first published in 1951 and the early editions didn’t tell all as some of the information, such as the fact that the bombs bounced, was still secret at the time of publication. The edition I have was printed in 1952 so it’s a restricted version. This was held back, according to the Briefing at the start, for more fraternal times.

The book is more a brief history of 617 Squadron, rather than just about the Dam Buster raid. This makes it all the more interesting as the Squadron played a wide part in the war, mostly bombing important targets. The losses were immense but still the chaps fly on. Guy Gibson we all know, likewise Leonard Cheshire, but there wee many more who played an important part. Towards the end of the book the tone seems to change to one more in line with modern thought where there is concern for collateral losses, but only slightly. It is an interesting book. I’d like to see one of the later editions to see how they described the bombs in action. Entertaining, no, interesting, yes very much so. A window into a time gone past, one which will never be repeated.

A New Bird

Posted in Birds, Wildlife on May 9, 2011 by thecognitivekey

Yes, indeed, a new visitor to the garden. I had noticed over the past few days a new bird splashing in the bird bath. It had a dark brown cap on its head and was pretty much sparrow size. I couldn’t find it in my books at a first glance. It was there again this evening, having a bath, flying to the fence then back for another splash, fence, splash, fence, splash. It finally left when a starling arrived. Then, after the starling, another bird turned up, this time with a black cap. A quick look through the book shows it to be a Blackcap. The male has a black cap and the female a red/brown cap. So there are at least two visiting the garden. They are summer visitors and are jolly welcome

Night Watch – Terry Pratchett

Posted in Books on May 6, 2011 by thecognitivekey

I like Terry Pratchett’s work. Some are better than others, but the standard is always high. This is one of the top ones. I have read it before and was drawn back to it by a dramatisation on what is now Radio 4 Extra. It has one of my favourite characters, Sam Vimes, and it’s based in the Watch. Time travel is involved and the story whizzes along nicely. It ends happily as of course it should, though it was a rather hurried ending, maybe the length of the book was a concern and a longer ending would have made it too long a read. I liked it – a great read.

Redundancy Part 2

Posted in Work on May 2, 2011 by thecognitivekey

I have now decided.

On Thursday I met with the solicitor to go through the Compromise Agreement that controls the redundancy terms. The Agreement might not be perfect but it will do for me. I will take the money and leave. I will hand in the signed papers this week, probably on Wednesday and will then be leaving the company on June 5th. All I have to do now is find another job.