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Listen in, listen Ian!

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Quincegate [Nov. 21st, 2013|02:28 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
So, Dean is my neighbour, and Deborah is another one of my neighbours. Last week, a tray of quinces appeared in the hall of my block with a note from Deborah inviting Dean to help himself. A few days later this note appeared on the wall:


This morning, this was there:


That's quince jam. At least I hope it is.
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(no subject) [Jun. 13th, 2013|05:34 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
A couple of weeks ago at work, it was declared "Fish and chips Friday" and one of the partners went round the office just before lunchtime taking orders. Yesterday, we got afternoon tea - scones (plain, cheese, currant), clotted cream, jam, strawberries. I'm convinced that they're fattening us up, and in a couple of weeks the partners are going to shed their human skins, and eat us all with their sharp, lizardy teeth. Still, while it lasts it's the next best thing to working for Google, and without the tax controversy.
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Italy in photos: part 1 - Bay of Naples [May. 22nd, 2013|11:54 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
Day 4

Wednesday was the last day in Rome, so with a teary eye we headed for the railway station and got on the train to Naples, speeding through the Italian countryside at 300 km/h while the UK argues about whether to bring its rail network into the 20th century. The plan on arrival was to catch the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento, but when we arrive we discovered that it was on strike because of May Day. Luckily, there was a plan B and we got a taxi across the city to the port to get on the ferry and before long Naples was in the rear view mirror:



with the seagulls in hot pursuit:


It was a lovely ferry trip, past Vesuvius:

and before too long we were in the hotel. We were on a fairly busy road, but the sea was in the distance and the balcony was a terrific people-watching spot:



Day 5

We spent Thursday in Sorrrento, which is amazing. The main town overlooks the sea:


which is accessed by a lift built into the cliff, so we went down and had a drink while watching some of the local cats:



Then we got the lift back up to the town. By now it was lunchtime, and the locals were enjoying their break:


After lunch we spent the afternoon just wandering around the pretty streets - it's one of those places where every time you turn a corner there's something else lovely in front of you:


There are plenty of souvenirs on offer too:


Day 6

Pompeii! Everyone should go to Pompeii, it's excellent. It's huge, and fascinating, and look, here's some pictures of it:



There are lizards wandering round the ruins, like in Rome. Surprisingly there are no cats.


Basilica, where trials and business deals happened.




Ancient mucky pictures in the brothel.


Amazing painted walls in the Villa dei Misteri.



Day 7

And that was it. Early the next morning we were at the station on the way back to Naples airport to fly home.


Tick vg Italy. Would visit again.
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Italy in photos: part 1 - Rome [May. 16th, 2013|12:21 am]
Listen in, listen Ian!
So, it was lateish on the Saturday by the time we'd checked in to the hotel, so we just went and ate nearby. Therefore, I'm counting Sunday as:

Day 1

We wandered into the city down to Piazza Venezia, where there's a big old monument to Victor Emmanuel II, who was somehow the first king of Italy, making one wonder what happened to Victor Emmanuel I. It's also surrounded by ancient bits.


Victor Emmanuel II monument and Trajan's column


Temple of Mars in the Forum of Augustus


View of Trajan's Forum


There were lots of lizards basking on the ancient monuments

We then wandered down past the Colosseum to the site of the Circus Maximus:


and stopped to get some lunch, after which we wandered up the Capitoline Hill to look at the Roman Forum:


before heading back to the hotel via the Spanish Steps:


Day 2

The next morning we got up, and our first stop was the Torre Argentina cat sanctuary, where cats live amongst the ancient temple ruins.

DSCF1559 DSCF1561

DSCF1564 DSCF1563

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After this, we wandered through the narrow streets to the magnificent Piazza Navona:


where we ate lunch looking at the caricature artists' displays:


Is that Ben Elton.

Then back to the hotel for a bit of a rest away from the insane heat, and then out again to go and look at the Vatican. Here's St Peter's Square:


and nearby, Castel Sant' Angelo:


Day 3







The Colosseum is cool, basically.

To follow: Part 2 - Sorrento.
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(no subject) [May. 7th, 2013|06:58 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
Arising from a discussion on Twitter.

Poll #1912541 Macaroni cheese

What type of cheese goes in the sauce?

What else do you add to the sauce

English mustard
Dijon mustard
Grainy mustard
Something else

What else?

What type of cheese goes on top?

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(no subject) [Nov. 8th, 2012|01:46 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
Liveblog your day? Do you not have work to do or something? You clearly don't have proxy servers which prevent you from constantly refreshing livejournal anyway.

When I was walking from home to the station this morning I saw, for the second time in a few days, a small child being propelled along on one of these. What the actual fvck? It seems fairly obvious to me that cycling in rush hour London traffic is risky to say the least, and not something you'll catch me doing, but if you want to put yourself at that risk knock yourself out. But pushing your child ahead of you into the oncoming lunatics behind wheels? Really? That doesn't strike me as the action of an entirely responsible parent.
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(no subject) [Nov. 2nd, 2012|10:56 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
Hello. Well, what have I done recently? Well, I've done this:

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Iceland [Sep. 5th, 2012|12:19 am]
Listen in, listen Ian!
Hello! I went to Iceland, and it was very exciting! We stayed in Reykjavik, which is the most northerly capital in the world, and I estimate that it's probably also the smallest and prettiest. It's like a little picture-book place, full of brightly coloured houses, most of which are made of corrugated tin.

[Pictures of Reykjavik]

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This was my favourite of the tin-houses, with it's vaguely colonial Southern USA style:


Also, Iceland has lots of good graffiti murals:

DSCF1361 DSCF1365

We went on the Golden Circle tour, which is a daytrip around the best spots near Reykjavik:


Gullfoss is a big dramatic waterfall, made up of meltwater from one of the big glaciers in the interior.

DSCF1238 DSCF1221


Geysir is the original geyser, after which all others are named. Unfortunately it only does its stuff after an earthquake, so we had to make do with its smaller neighbour, Strokkur:


The area these geysers are set in is fantastic:



Þingvellir is the site of the original Icelandic parliament, which was founded over a thousand years ago! A thousand years, imagine that! Tony Benn was one of the original members! (satire) It's in the rift valley between the American and European continental plates, under the cliff formed by the edge of the American plate:


It's yet another beautiful spot - Iceland is very good at these.


See that river running through the field? It used to run all the way along the top of the cliff but when they started having the parliament there, they diverted it as they needed something to wash all the human waste away while thousands of people were camping in the field. Pretty clever, eh?

[Whale watching]

I also went on a whale watching trip, but sadly it was a bad day and we hardly saw anything - a few porpoises, one whale and a seal. It was still a nice trip though, as it went along the coast and there were lots of nice mountains to see.


DSCF1321 DSCF1330

[other photos]

We went to the Blue Lagoon, a big natural pool around a hot spring, where the water looks a bit like this:


Wacky sign in shop window:


There were lots and lots of cats in Reykjavik, including a Hitler cat:


So, in summary, Iceland is very good. It's one of those places where everything works, and has obviously been thought through, and there's lots of tasty lobster soup. There are more photos on Flickr, and at some point I might even get round to putting descriptions on them.
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(no subject) [Jul. 19th, 2012|01:44 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
This morning, when my train arrived at Finsbury Park station, the doors didn't open. The driver announced that this was due to an issue on the platform, and they would be opening shortly. The platform staff started telling people to stand behind the yellow line, and then four policemen appeared, which two taking up positions outside each door of the coach I was in. As the doors opened, the police let passengers off, then asked the passengers waiting to board to wait for a minute while they got on the train, looked around again then got off. They stood there looking confused for a while, then someone shouted "He's gone down the stairs!"

I heard a woman behind me giving a description to the police ("white man, long black coat, black hair") and they let the train go. The driver then announced "I'm sorry for the delay, I can now inform you that a gentleman with a suspicious package boarded at Harringay, and we had to wait for the police to deal with it."

Dealing with it, there.
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(no subject) [Jun. 15th, 2012|03:00 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
When I got in yesterday, I had a card from the post office telling me I had a parcel to collect. "Ooh," I thought, "this will be the Threadless order I did." This morning, when I went to collect the parcel however it turned out to be the books I'd ordered from OUP, which was a bit annoying as I didn't want to have to lug that around all day and I'd have happily waited until tomorrow instead for it. I guess this must have been at the back of my mind when I got off the train at Moorgate, leaving the parcel on the luggage rack.

I filled in the lost property form on the First Capital Connect website, but a couple of hours after I got to work I got a call from someone at Hertford North station, where it had been found on the train, and the bloke had got in touch with OUP to get my phone number (hmm, data protection issue?) and is now going to give it to a train driver tomorrow morning and ring me to let me know when the train will arrive at Hornsey. This will avoid it having to be sent to the lost property office at City Thameslink station, and me having to go there and pay £5. So that's nice of him, isn't it. A rare well done to First Capital Connect there.

Hmm, when I write it down it sounds a bit dodgy doesn't it? The person I was talking to knows that I'm out all day now, and knows my address. With a bit of luck I won't have been burgled.
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Idea for a scam [May. 19th, 2012|05:29 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
1. Loiter round the self checkout till in a supermarket until someone doesn't take their receipt.
2. Subtly retrieve the receipt, use it as a shopping list while walking round store.
3. Walk out, upon being challenged show your receipt to the security guard.

What could possibly go wrong?
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(no subject) [May. 16th, 2012|11:12 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
Hello. I went to New York on holiday, and it was lots of fun.

[bird spotting]

They have different birds in America, it's exciting. We saw:


Gray catbird




Black and white warbler


Northern cardinal (male)


Northern cardinal (female)

Northern cardinal stuffing his face with flying ants


Mourning dove


American robin


Common grackle

Birds we saw but wouldn't pose nicely for a photo: brown-headed cowbird, Eastern kingbird.

[walks walked]

Rockefeller centre, Central Park, Museum of the City of New York

Chinatown, City Hall, World Trade Centre, Battery Park, Staten Island Ferry terminal

Staten Island

Brighton Beach, Coney Island

Prospect Park, Brooklyn





Veal brisket


Sea bass


Confit chicken, egg yolk, carrot, peas


Brioche French toast, caramel ice cream, raisin puree


Ganache, biscuit, marshmallow ice cream, bitter cocoa, blackcurrant

The above was all from wd-50 which is recommended if you find yourself in NY looking for somewhere fancy to eat.

Other nice eating places: Grotto, where you go down some unpromising steps and walk through the restaurant to a lovely hidden courtyard where they feed you nice pasta; Katz's Deli which manages to be fantastic despite obviously being a tourist trap.


We went to the zoo in Prospect Park.


Hamadryas baboon


Red panda



Prairie dogs

[Brighton Beach and Coney Island]









That'll do for now.
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(no subject) [Apr. 26th, 2012|01:42 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
More photos I've taken recently(ish):


Post-it note Mario. Post-it note pictures in office windows seem to be a thing in Brussels


Graffiti fox



Sparrows who came to get the crumbs while we were eating lunch in the Jardin Botanique





Cuddling up


Some cats that live near me. The small one in the middle is the mother of the other two.


A cat came to visit me.


It's saying "Why are your windows so dirty?" in cat-speak.

[Easter weekend]

I went to stay with my parents over easter, and went out for walks where I saw:


A train!





Flowerbed on Park Lane


Man at Speakers' Corner. He's seen me. But I know he's seen me. Does he know I know?




Commuters crossing London Bridge
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(no subject) [Apr. 25th, 2012|11:36 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
I went to Brussels, and it rained quite a lot but there were mussels, and waffles, and frites, and Atomiums, and fantastic pictures by Breugel in the Musee des Beaux Arts. I particularly liked The Fight Between Carnival and Lent - I love the way there's so much going on in his pictures. Then, on the last night we were eating at a window table in a restaurant overlooking the Grand Place, and there was so much going on there it reminded me of a Breugel.

This is the Grand Place:

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(no subject) [Mar. 28th, 2012|08:03 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
Poll #1829746 It's the big question of the hour!

Where and when did you last have a pasty?

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(no subject) [Mar. 20th, 2012|10:48 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
I went on a night photography course with eyekiller last night.

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Have we done this one yet? [Mar. 9th, 2012|08:00 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
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(no subject) [Mar. 1st, 2012|09:54 am]
Listen in, listen Ian!
What with Google's new privacy policy coming into force today, I thought I'd go and have a look at what information they hold on me.

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One law for Apple, one law for me [Feb. 29th, 2012|02:06 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
Invitations sent to journalists read: "We have something you really have to see. And touch."

Yet when I sent the same invitation to a load of journalists there were court orders and everything. Hmph.
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(no subject) [Feb. 25th, 2012|01:16 pm]
Listen in, listen Ian!
I went out shopping this morning, and got the bus home. When it arrived, I was waiting to get on, and ahead of me was an old lady, probably in her 70s and quite small and bent, in the way that some old ladies are. Unfortunately, there was an ignorant woman getting off the bus at the front door, and she barged through rudely, saying "Get out of my way" or words to that effect to the old lady.

This annoyed me a lot, so I called her a stupid woman and told her she should get off the bus through the exit rather than being rude to the old lady. She told me to fuck off, and as I was getting on the bus she asked me if I had a problem with the way she was behaving. I said that I had, and she said "Well that's your problem!"

For no reason that I can think of, instead of "Go away and be ignorant somewhere else." I said to her "Well I'm making it your problem!" and I've been cringing with embarrassment slightly ever since. Anyway, so I seem to have started a beef with a woman in Wood Green. I wonder how this ends?
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