Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Saturday 28 May 2011

Actually, I like tea

but I like this advert too:

Friday 27 May 2011

Cheer up!

Smile for the camera, and you too could be one of the Happiest People Ever

Saturday 21 May 2011

Reading matters

On the tube this morning, my neighbours were reading

The Financial Times
The Racing Post
The Koran
A book on Victorian design
A 700-page novel in Lithuanian

Thursday 19 May 2011

I suppose it's a foretaste of the future that medical matters seem to be featuring more and more in my life. What with signing up to the Biobank and taking up the various check-ups the NHS is offering, I've seen more doctors and nurses in the last few months than in as many decades before.

Not that there's anything wrong. The tests and pills and reviews aren't to cure anything serious, but to stop me getting ill in the first place - a proper health service rather than a sickness service.

The latest development is the arrival of the discreet kit of low-tech cardboard and plastic for providing samples (by post) for the now regular bowel cancer screen.

It all makes a useful rehearsal for whenever decrepitude really strikes, getting into the groove, as it were.

You might even say, in the style of Mme Defarge, that I'm going through the motions.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

More experiments with my new phone camera, on a bike ride into town, stopping off to have a wander round the Temple and a peek at Temple Church (mercifully free of D*n Br*wn addicts), and later at the quiet garden that was once St Dunstan's. Even allowing for my not quite mastering the brightness/exposure control, it's interesting how much difference there is on how the image renders on different screens. They nearly all needed a bit of adjustment not to look too washed out on a larger computer screen.

And the roses are starting to go over already [sigh].

Temple Church:

St Dunstan's (I've previously written a bit about it here):

Sunday 15 May 2011

Testing, testing

I missed the much blogged about absence of Blogger, being preoccupied with my shiny new toy, an Android smartphone. Having finally got to grips with getting it to do what I'd imagined I could do with it, it's time to see what else it can do.

Hence this post from the teeny-tiny touchpad, and, I hope, this random photo from its camera. It's a laborious procedure, but you have to marvel that it's possible at all, on something that fits into my wallet. And that it can store all my CDs on something smaller than a toenail....

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Will it be ready?

Strange how not having to do anything in particular seems to remove any incentive to do the things you'd quite like to do. It's days since I went to have a look at the biggest and most complex project-with-a-deadline you could imagine - the London 2012 Olympic Park.

To get there from here on the bike involves the classic East End journey contrasting the old council estates (looking very workaday despite attempts to brighten them up) with the ever-present towers of Canary Wharf.

The route passes reminders of past upheavals in Poplar:

and, by chance, an ordinary-looking street-corner pub in Bow that you wouldn't think had a romantic legend attached, before turning semi-rural at Three Mills, where eighteenth-century entrepreneurs put the River Lea to work:

From there, it's a short ride up to the Greenway, whose name rather disguises the fact that its elevation depends on the great Victorian sewer underneath. I walked along here when I first came to the area, and then it was surrounded by small workshops, car breakers, scrap metal yards and the like. Now it runs straight through the Olympic building site, and alongside one edge of the park where it will all happen in just over a year.

There's a temporary viewing platform and café, with signboards to tell you what will be where, and how it's all going to work:

From this viewpoint, only some of the main features of this enormous site are visible, but everything seems to be well on track. The stadium has its seats in and the grass laid, the Orbit is rising fast, and in the distance the towers of the Olympic Village are looking reassuringly solid.

Passing along the Greenway, you can see how property developers have been getting in on the act, though these residents won't get much of a view of any action in the park:

And just to reassure the International Olympic Committee, old-established defence measures are still available to help ensure security:

Sunday 1 May 2011

Bluebell time

The bluebell season doesn't last long, so a chance remark about the display at Emmetts Garden was worth a try. Even on the way there, it was clear that local woodland and hedgerows were ideal habitats for some impressive spreads of these ephemeral flowers.

In the garden itself, there are some fine views, but at this time of year, the thing to see is the sweeping slopes of woodland which really are carpeted with bluebells, stretching into the distance till they look like a ground mist. It's hard to stop taking photos in the hope of getting that one perfect and complete image. In the end, only a video seems to give the full impression.