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  • Today I am baking

    I'm taking cake along to Nicholas' funeral. Cake for 100. In a morning (I've got a meeting at work at 2pm which is my deadline)

    So far we have

    Gingerbread x 1.5 - 15-25 slices
    Banana bread x 2 - 20 slices
    Fruit cake x 1 - 20-30 slices
    Lemon drizzle tray bake (in oven) - 30 slices
    = 85 - 105 portions so far

    I think a chocolate & orange cake, and a some fairy cakes and we'll be finished. Crack to it!

  • Rest In Peace

    Nicholas Robinson, August 2003-May 2007

    Nicholas Robinson

    Rest in Peace.

  • NY

    Clearly I'm not in New York, sadly that didn't happen. But I did go on quite a long bike ride - about 14/15 miles - on Saturday, and today I alphabetised my fiction books and categorised my non fiction books (not exactly the Dewey Decimal System though... W for "Witty" comes before R for "random" and G for "God-dy). Boy do I know how to spend a Bank Holiday Monday ;)

  • 1997 election

    Watching the 1997 election results: the evenings TV from 1st May, 1997 had been playing all day on the Parliament Channel. First time around I was cruelly deprived from the television - somehow my parents thought I needed a whole night's sleep before my first GCSE in the morning - but this time around... all bliss. And I was able to everything knowing that I'd still be up for Portillo. (Actually, I stopped watching there, I did have better things to do than watch 14 hours of ten year old "live" news).

    So much has changed. I'm not a natural Labour party supporter, but I remember that morning in School (after the exam!) everything felt "different". It was, afterall, the first change in government we'd ever seen, and there was so much chance for hope and optimism. It sounds cliched now, but it did feel like a new beginning.

    10 years later, lots more grey hair, wrinkles, and of course the arrogance of power has struck the Labour party. When I look back on those recordings - Tony Blair refusing to get too excited about talk of a land slide until it was confirmed, even a cagey Alistair Campbell - it seems sad to compare it with today's Labour party where a presumption of government leads to backbiting, infighting and heaps of disdain. Take away Iraq (and whatever the views on it, had Britain *not* gone into Iraq things would hardly have been better there, we just wouldn't be seeing it on our TV screens) and the Labour government has made some good changes to the country. Even the NHS is in a better shape - yes, its in debt, but drugs are more expensive, staff are being paid more, and I've got a realistic chance of being seen in a hospital nowadays. Its so easy to get stuck into the government spin but watching the old footage did remind me of that optimism - and I don't think it was all entirely misplaced.

    David Cameron though, HE'S scary. The guy seems totally unable to think for himself. William Hague talking ten years ago about Tony Blair jumping on to any old bandwagon to seem popular to whatever section of the public he was talking to felt peculialry familiar.

  • New York

    There is a small chance I might be flying to New York on Saturday. I've never been on a long haul flight, never been to the States, and have a brand new passport which arrived just the other week. Fingers crossed that Mr ferijen's work does want him to go and that my work doesn't mind me having a few days off to accompany him!

    Ooh the excitement!

  • Liberty of the Seas

    Last night I went down to Southampton to look at the fireworks over the Liberty of the Seas, the world's largest cruise liner which is making a promotional visit in Southampton before embarking on its Carribean cruises career.

    Took a couple of pictures. Hope you like them!

    Liberty of the SeasFireworks over LIberty of the Seas from Southampton, 24th April 2007

  • Free Alan Johnston

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  • So we did make it to France...

    And I managed to drive on the wrong side of the road without a problem. In our 14 hours-or-so in the country, we fitted in quite a lot: drove along the coast above the Juno and Gold beaches, then inland to Bayeux, to the cathedral and that rather famous cartoon strip:

    Bayeux Tapestry

    Picnic lunch overlooking Arromanches (although the sea mist was dense so visibility was poor) before heading to the Caen Memorial Museum, a military history museum charting (it says) the twentieth century. In fact, it concentrates much more on the 30s and 40s, with exhibits on Vichy France, the Battle of Britain, and the effect on ordinary lives across Western Europe. Impressive was its relative impartiality: a fair amount of attention was given to the German experience of war, reflective of the era in which the Museum was built.

    There was also a piece of the wreckage of the twin towers, symbolosing the changing face of war. To be honest, the museum was very well organised/themed in telling a "story" for about half of the exhibits, and then lost the plot a little. Or maybe it just wasn't structured enough once your brain has been absorbing thigns for two hours. Still, worth a visit and with a lovely green area with which to lie around in the sun before the trip to the supermarket, dinner in Caen, and the ferry home, getting up from our very comfortable cabins just in time to see the sun peeping through the clouds.

    Sun over Portsmouth

    Mr Ferijen's ankle hurt very much, but he put on his brave soldier face and seems quite a bit better now.

  • Juno beach

    Beautiful, isn't it

    Juno Beach

    This is Juno beach, one of the beaches of the D-Day Landings. Sixty three years ago, it looked like this: picture from Canadian archives

    The Canadian government opened the Juno Beach Centre as "a learning centre and tribute to Canadians". We arrived there too early to look around, but admired it from the outside (although questioned the commercial sponsorship on some of the plaques - although no doubt the sentiments are good, words to the effect of "L'Oreal remembers Canada's war effort" alongside a personal tribute to a soldier who died thousands of miles from home doesn't quite feel right). Still, the centre is an impressive building.

    Juno Museum

    I can't quite get over the fact of the thousands of servicemen and women fighting for a country they may never have visited.

  • Tumble

    Mr Ferijen has just celebrated his birthday by tumbling down the stairs. He is now perfecting the art of playing Wii-tennis from the sofa with one arm, whilst nursing a very poorly ankle. I am contemplating learning to drive on the other side of the road very quickly. Baptism of fire springs to mind...!

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