Thursday 30 December 2010

Holiday time

Everyone looks forward to that break between Christmas and New Year (well all of us whose offices shut-up shop and we don't have to work!). There's that time between the two though... after you've finished visiting friends and family (or in our case lying around with a streaming cold feeling sorry for yourself) and you wonder if it is entirely healthy to spend every waking hour connected to the Xbox.

What to do? Well... there's the 449 (up to 453 by the time I finished typing this post) blog posts Google reader has waiting for me (a number that has reached mythic proportions and has now become Dirk Gently's fridge) - sorry fellow bloggers I've been neglecting you; there's still 30 articles in my 'read it later' folder; there's a pile of magazines on the desk going back three or four months; there's the 'unsorted bookmarks' folder (also infeasibly large). Plenty I could do... so what have I done? Well made a start on the easy part - the read it later and the unsorted bookmarks (that's favourites by the way if you use IE). I found a whole heap of websites that I'd like to share.

"Soy tu aire" (I am your air) is an interactive promotion for a song by Spanish singer Labuat. It is a great song which allows you to create an interactive picture which you can then watch again afterwards. 
"I am your air is a full song of many and few. Of orchestras and threads of voice. Of truths and lies by halves. And since you have arrived we wanted to give you something so that you could move with the song. A brush. Move where you want, where the song takes you. You will end up making your own work that you will be able to watch again as a video, if you want." (Rough translation of the loading screen).

I have told before of Popular Front's Snowdays site but there is another excellent snowflake site Flurrious. Here you get to draw your snowflake rather than cut it and even give it some sound effects. Hours of creative fun!

All the fun of the festive season means that we all need to relax sometimes... and what better way than the sound of falling rain. Rainy Mood is devoted to providing high quality rain sounds. Nothing more, nothing less!

Songs from the Howling Sea is a pretty unique site. It's best to let site owner Rory explain "Over the course of a year I'm writing and releasing a song every week based on characters and events from London's Old East End. For example I've covered Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Eastern saga, Mrs Basil Holmes who saved the graveyards, a crook called American Jack I discovered in a book by Henry Mayhew etc."

Some sites are just out there because they make the internet a nicer place. One of these is Tom Royal's "Tea and Kittens" site. Casper and Tinker are just waiting for the call to appear (as is my morning cuppa).

Lastly there are sites that are just out there to bamboozle. seems to be one of these. Apparently the site first joined the web in 1996 and it gives the impression that it has just grown organically since then. There are some quite useful tools on the site and a lot of what can only be termed 'random stuff' but it is an excellent way to while away a bit of spare time 'wilfing' around.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Christmas is for kittens too

Having a pair of kittens at Christmas I imagine is something akin to having a pair of toddlers. You buy them toys but they are more interested in the packaging and the wrapping paper. You hope that they will sit down somewhere and play with their toys quietly but instead they rampage about the house getting into just about anything that you'd rather they didn't. Here are some highlights of Cass and Tink's day.

Toys - who needs them when you have ribbon!
Wrapping paper! So much fun!
These sparkly things look tasty!
Time for a break... could someone open these treats?
No, the ribbon is still the most fun!
On the tunnel... in the tunnel... what's the difference
This is mine! Definitely food in here!
OK! I'm going up!
I am the mouse-man!
If it makes you happy...
So tired!
Time for a wash

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Mystery at North Greenwich

Only two questions...
What? and Why?

It has been there since last night!

My new toy

It beat the weather and managed to arrive before Christmas. Here is my latest toy. Yes, I have to gadgets... I'm not sure what the next one will be... but here's the latest - my Kindle!

The technology is amazing. The screen is nothing like a computer or a phone. It is almost like reading on paper (which means you can read in the sun).  It is easy to operate - there are plenty of reasonably price books... and plenty that are free. Can't take it out yet though as its case hasn't arrived.

Tuesday 21 December 2010


Anyone going through North Greenwich tonight couldn't fail to miss that the the Kings of Leon concert was cancelled. The announcement kept insisting "the concert is postponed, it will not take place tonight".

Snow? Travel disrupted by snow? No, a fire on a coach.

More weather again

Either snow or melt - but this slushy ice is the most dangerous of all.

Hazard warning

Caution - drunken cone.

Shortest day

Today is the winter solstice (which falls on either the 21st or 22nd December). It's the shortest day and the longest night.

From now on the days will start getting longer again... no promises about the weather improving.

I really wanted a nice picture of sunrise at North Greenwich... or failing that a shot of the full eclipse of the moon which apparently was appearing blood red.

Sadly the thin but persistent cloud cover didn't oblige so I settled for the pretty lights by the O2.

Sunday 19 December 2010

More weather

Sainsbury's survives the snow
A sudden and unexpected blizzard on Friday sent me and the nearly-mother-in-law scurry to the shops to complete the Christmas food shopping. It was a brief blizzard by the time we had finished in Sainsbury the sky was blue and the snow had stopped.

Greenwich had the gritters out and the roads were clear. Our panic was premature. Only by a day or so.

Saturday saw another blizzard. More snow. Time to go in the garden and take care of the wildlife. Very pretty - but very cold.

Garden in the snow
A real Christmas tree
Festive holly
The barometer doing quite an accurate job
Never too old for snow angels!

Friday 17 December 2010


The forecast snow arrived this morning as expected (or not depending on whose forecast you believe).

We took an ill-advised trip to the shops (just in case). We left in a blizzard gingerly making our way down mostly untreated roads. We arrived home to clear skies, bright sunshine and normal driving conditions.

If you have had enough of the real stuff (and who would blame you) the Snow Days website by Popular Front is still out there for you artistic pleasure.
Need a Snow Day?

Go mobile

Thanks to the good people at Blogger this blog is now optimised for your mobile device. It should automatically detect the settings.

Occasional Tourist

...visits the London lights

Skywatch Friday (37)

Mournful Autumn Weather

Thursday 16 December 2010

Festive spirit

The festive season has arrived... and it is too much for TfL's alcohol ban it would seem.

This was one of two empty bottles on the Eastbound platform at North Greenwich.

Daily Kitten (13)

Cass is keeping an eye on the garden... Tink has gone to sleep.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Daily Kitten (12)

There is something about boxes cats can't resist. Cass and Tink don't need expensive presents... the boxes will do!

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Daily Kitten (11)

At least Amazon's exessive packaging is good for something! I think Tink is about to go into hiding!

Clever fish

The blue pebbles (seen at the bottom of the tank) were placed in the tank in a random heap. It is the fish (honestly) that have arranged them in a path. I wonder if, perhaps, a la Douglas Adams, like the dolphins they are sending a message. We ran out of fish food yesterday - so perhaps it was "Feed us now!"

Monday 13 December 2010

Daily Kitten (10)

Tink fell asleep whilst on a phonecall?

Tinker the communicator


Or maybe a light consommé... fog hiding the top of the Dome this morning and causing chaos across the Peninsula.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Daily Kitten (9)

According to Tinker, cats like going shopping too; as long as they aren't expected to walk!


Family tree

Whilst going through papers with my mother following my father's recent passing we found a wealth of information relating to generations past. This ranged from passports to marriage certificates, birth certificates to death certificates and of course an absolute heap of photos.

Victorians and Edwardians are mostly terribly serious in their photographs... well it was new technology and probably cost a lot of money (which is why there are so few compared to our over exposed digital age). The most annoying thing is that (if those in my possession are typical of the age) they made NO effort to make any note of who was in the photos.

The good thing is though that it has rekindled my genealogy interest (first sparked when I was laid up ill in bed for six weeks) and I'm making progress on my family tree again.

Saturday 11 December 2010

Daily Kitten (8)

Cass and Tink, most especially Tink, are fascinated by anything to do with water. Anyone at the kitchen sink, or more exciting, in the bathroom will soon find two little black feline apprentice plumbers by their side.

Tink and Cass


Yesterday was my father's funeral; a brief service at the crematorium followed by a wake at a nearby hotel. I found this gravestone in a graveyard near where I grew up and and so with a little digital help I made one final tribute to my lovely dad.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Thursday 9 December 2010

The last bit of snow

This lonely lump of snow was spotted in New Bond Street this evening... the last bit of snow in Central London?

Skywatch Friday (36)

Fiery Sunrise over the Greenwich Peninsula