Tweets this Week (2009-09-27)

  • – #LocationClip Coordinate: 52.235795,0.139984, Address: Cambridge CB4 0, UK #
  • Gmail sync for iphone on same day that Yahoo may sell Zimbra #
  • Sooo much trouble spending Virgin Vouchers…. Wish I'd cashed in my airmiles Virgin Wine instead. #
  • After my tweet about how bad their vouchers are, Virgin have sent their balloon hit squad. #
  • On our way to West Byfleet to visit Michael's dad. #
  • On on way to West Byfleet to visit Michael's Dad. #
  • Had a good visit to Michael's Dad and then and a lovely lunch with Dawn. Now heading over to Colliers Wood. #
  • – #LocationClip Coordinate: 51.339679,-0.505255, Address: 6-21 Claremont Rd, Woking, Surrey KT14 6, UK #
  • Chloroquine—a bitter pill to swallow. #
  • – #LocationClip Coordinate: 51.418413,-0.172333, Address: 94-110 Cavendish Rd, Merton, Greater London SW19 2, UK #
  • Off to the theatre with Matthew and Christopher to see *Hot Mikado* #
  • Promising set for *Hot Mikado* at the Rose Theatre in Kingston #
  • Such a relaxing time at Matthew and Christopher's—feel quite pampered and well looked after. Lunch in the garden was perfect. On way home. #
  • Just back home after a packed weekend. Met Craig for meal near his hotel—he was v. perky even with only 4h sleep since he left NZ on Fri. #

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Tweets this Week (2009-09-20)

  • I'll be in pain tomorrow, after my 1st yoga session for a long time. Bits of me stayed supple, others have all but seized up. Hamstrings 🙁 #
  • Managed a quick pint after management meeting, but now run out of steam, and it's early yet. Time to hibernate I think. #
  • Arrived a day early for the beer festival at The Empress in Thoday Street: silver lining—we got a seat! #
  • Popped into Kingston Arms on way home—confirmed it's position as one of my less favourite pubs in Cambridge, although bar staff good fun. #
  • On my way to Rainbow Cafe for dinner with Pardha, Deepak, David and Dan. I was last there about 17 years ago! It might have changed! #
  • Rainbow Café unfortunately full of theatre crowd. Diverting to Cocum. Must try Rainbow Café before the 17 years pass. #
  • We're in the County Arms, much to my surprise! #
  • Made it back to The Empress for the beer festival—great atmosphere and fun guys on the temporary beer counter. #
  • Today's mission—to break up work email with trip to buy a new runner bean slicer. I can't believe that I've worn one out (it was very cheap) #
  • Waiting to get in to see *Navidad* our first film of the Cambridge Film Festival #cff #
  • Staying on for 2nd spanish film tonight, *Hierro*, a horror film. How'll I read the subtitles w/ my eyes closed? #cff #
  • *Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales, from Burns to Buchan* blog post #
  • At the riverbank club BBQ: with a whole bottle of wine to myself—dangerous! #
  • Being buzzed by Vulcans jets and Lancaster bombers; there must be an airshow at Duxford. #

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Don Juan

Enjoyed this extract from Don Juan from Canto the First, xxvi—xxvii. It’s a mirror of what Byron’s wife did to Byron before their divorce.

Don José and Donna Inez led
For some time am unhappy sort of life,
Wishing each other, not divorced, but dead;
They lived respectably as man and wife,
Their conduct was exceedingly well-bred,
And gave no outward signs of inward strife,
Until at length the smothered fire broke out,
And put the business past all kind of doubt.

For Inez called some druggists and physicians,
And tried to prove her loving lord was *mad*,
But as he had some lucid intermissions,
She next decided he was only *bad*;
Yet when they asked her for her depositions,
No sort of explanation could be had,
Save that her duty both to man and God,
Required this conduct—which seemed very odd.

Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales, from Burns to Buchan

Really enjoyed this collection of Scottish Fairy Tales, that David gave me for my Christmas. Each story on its own is good, but the combined collection made a bigger impact. We’ve lost so much of our oral tradition—I knew almost none of these stories as they were told (although the basis for many was familiar from better known Grimm or Anderson tales). The biographies at the back of the book were just as interesting: two of the authors had owned Skye and Canna, and one was a shepherd, another a gypsy. The last, Betsy Whyte (1919–1988) was a traveller around Perthshire where I grew up, and wrote two biographies of her childhood, which will make good christmas presents for my mum and dad.

I almost passed over a lovely poem by Violet Jacob because the dialect was pretty strong, but it was one of the highlights of the book. (Rowan Trees were planted by the front door of houses to ward off evil).

The Rowan, Violet Jacob

When the days were still as deith
And you couldna see the kye
Though ye’d maybe hear their breith
I’ the mist oot-by;
When I mind the lang grey een
O’ the warlock by the hill
And sit fleggit like a wean
Gin a whaup cried shrill;
Tho’ the hert wad dee in me
At the fitstep on the floor,
There was aye a rowan tree
Wi its airm across the door.

But that is far, far past
And a’things just the same,
There’s a whisper up the blast
O’ a dreid I durna name;
And the shilpit sun is thin,
Like an auld man deein’ slow
And a shade comes creeping’ in
When the fire is fa’in low;
Then I feel thae lang een set
Like a doom upon ma heid,
For the warlock’s livin yet—
But the rowan’s deid!

Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales from Burns to Buchan (Penguin Classics) (Paperback) by Gordon Jarvie (Author)

Tweets this Week (2009-09-13)

  • I used Shazam to discover Speilplatz by Mudd #shazam #
  • will search Twitter for commuters grossed out by nudist, sweating, on train. Did you try it on the tube? #
  • At the Oxford Belfry at Thame for a publishing conference—programme looks good. #
  • Back from three days in Oxford, with no iPhone charger (becoming a habit!) #
  • Gömböc may go on our Christmas list, in brass of course. #
  • Had some lovely floral guest beer at the Free Press tonight, I wish I could remember what it was! #
  • Sadly missing Suffolk Pride in Ipswich: hope you all have a great time! #
  • On route to the Farmers' Market. Brrrr! It's chilly. BBQ plans put on hold. #
  • Yeah! Michael's getting of early from work and on his way home. Happy! #
  • Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
    Oe'r a' the ills o' life victorious!
    :: Tam O' Shanter is fantastic fun! #

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The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer

Michael passed this book onto me to read—it’s a very human account of the life of Alan Turing, well written by David Leavitt. I loved the way the book started off delving into the maths and logic that was Turing’s background and it all made sense (at the time I read it).

It’s fun to read a biography from an accomplished fiction writer—the sense of drama really builds and the camp sensibility of the poisoned apple is brought out right at the end.

I’ve also now signed the Alan Turing Petition:—

Alan Turing was the greatest computer scientist ever born in Britain. He laid the foundations of computing, helped break the Nazi Enigma code and told us how to tell whether a machine could think.

He was also gay. He was prosecuted for being gay, chemically castrated as a ‘cure’, and took his own life, aged 41.

The British Government should apologize to Alan Turing for his treatment and recognize that his work created much of the world we live in and saved us from Nazi Germany. And an apology would recognize the tragic consequences of prejudice that ended this man’s life and career.


The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer by David Leavitt (Author)

Tweets this Week (2009-09-06)

  • That is a thing of beauty—RT @jackschofield: Clever redesign of the UK mains plug, inspired by MacBook Air (via @cm4233) #
  • Love this "Anatomy of a Gingerbread Man" #
  • Lovely day! I was going to do something slow-roasted for dinner: all change to a BBQ! #
  • I've signed the petition to ask the PM to apologize for the prosecution of Alan Turing, that led to his untimely death #
  • Lovely white burgundy to go with our bbq and great value at only £6 a bottle! Yum. #
  • What's going on with the BBQ? It seems to be so feeble tonight and goes through cycles of puffs of smoke. I blame the cheap briquettes. #
  • Off to the Free Press! #
  • On my way to London for the day for work. It's too hot to be sitting on a train! #
  • At the Wellcome Collection having treacle tart, waiting for Michael, before we go and see *Exquisite Bodies* exhibition. #
  • Still at Wellcome Collection. Pie for dinner at the Bree Louise + a pint of Beowulf—not as butch as it sounds. #
  • *Exquisite Bodies* blog post #
  • Had a couple of pints of Tiger at the Free Press—not particularly strong beer but I feel rather tipsy #
  • Time to haul myself out of bed and peg it down to the Farmers' Market. #
  • Broke after trip to Farmers' Market. Free range meat ain't cheap, had to count out the pennies to buy the chicken and have about 60p left! #
  • Having a sit down after my blow-out shop at the Farmers' Market, Cambridge. #
  • (Unusually) having a fried egg roll for lunch! It was the lovely brown rolls that put me in the mood for it! #

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Exquisite Bodies

Had a quick trip to see the Exquisite Bodies exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London yesterday. Comprised wax work anatomical studies from the 19th C, used as research and education tools (e.g. in human embryology) but also in “museums” and freakshows, where they still played an educational role but made money from their shock value.


Some of the pieces from named sculptors were very intricate and fascinating: quite a few others were largely to educate on the horrors of syphilis. Good exhibition, and not nearly as gory as it might sound.