More Flood Pictures

I just came across this picture of the A327 in Finchampstead taken on the day of the floods earlier this month, originally uploaded by the_glanville_four which shows why I couldn’t get home via Park Lane either.

The rest of the set includes some shots down Mill Lane towards the New Mill Restaurant and some views of various houses around the area of the junction. Not surprisingly a number of the houses were badly affected, and puts the minor inconvenience we had on that day into perspective. Although attention has now focused on the more wide ranging effects of the flooding in other places, friends of ours who live on Park Lane have been told that it will be at least six months before their house will be habitable again thanks to the damage caused by the water.

However, amazingly I drove through this same stretch of road not twenty-four hours later to get to the Choir Swimming Party, and the road was absolutely clear, no indication that it had been under water at all.


Yesterday we watched the last part of the Steven Moffat modern reworking of the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, called simply Jekyll.

Rather than going for a costume drama (although there are elements of this in flashback) or a modern updating, Moffat wrote a new story that, on the basis that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote about a real person, explores what happens to a modern day descendant, Tom Jackman.

The structure of the storyline is in places non-linear, so at the beginning of the series Jackman has already discovered that he is transforming, and we initially see how he and Mr Hyde cope. It is only later that we see in flashback firstly how he first became Mr Hyde, and later how Mr Hyde was created – or more precisely how he wasn’t created. It isn’t until the final episode that the pieces slot into place, and indeed it isn’t until the big twist in the final scene that everything is resolved.

The series is really at it’s best in the final three episodes. The earlier episodes to some extent are putting the pieces in place. Episode two is probably the weakest of the series, but even then it is not ever really bad – the series is consistently entertaining.

If you missed it, it is certainly worth a look, and is worth picking up, now it is out on DVD.

Who Benefits from the One Bag Limit

The head of IATA is pretty clear what he thinks, and isn’t pulling his punches:

“A particular focus will be the UK, where unique screening policies inconvenience passengers with no improvement in security. The only beneficiary is the airport operator BAA that continues to deliver embarrassingly low service levels by failing to invest in appropriate equipment and staff to meet demand. This must stop.�

He seems pretty clear that BAA aren’t interested in delivering a good service, and are more interested in making money. Certainly after the second baggage backlog in under a year, following on from the almost identical problem back in January (and BBC Online has even used the same picture…) it’s not surprising that increasing numbers of people are calling Heathrow an embarrassment. My impression when going through the airport over recent years is that all the money has gone into shops and retail space, stuff that makes money for BAA…

Some are saying that people should vote with their feet, but having said that, what are the other options? Gatwick? It’s also owned by BAA, and is also at capacity – the simple answer is that aside from short haul options, where a number of the regional airports are picking up passengers for most people there is not much option than to use Heathrow.

A Tale of Two Readers

A Tale of Two Readers

You may have read Beth talking about the new camera – a Canon IXUS 850IS. It’s certainly a great little camera, and certainly recommended.

However at the same time I bought a SanDisk SD 2 GB ULTRA II memory card, as the camera only ships with a measly 16mb card. We’ve had no problems using the card, until it came to uploading the pictures to the Mac.

A while back I upgraded the ageing no-brand 6-in-1 card reader I was using to a Belkin 15-in-1 reader that supported xD cards, the format used by our Fuji camera. Up to now I’ve had no problems with it, but it steadfastly refuses to read the SanDisk memory card – it repeatedly comes up as un-initialised, and demands to format the card. Letting it do that results in a total lock up from the card reader. The problem is only related to that SD card, other capacities and brands are fine, including the 16mb card that came with the camera, however the Canon IXUS has no problems.

Just as an experiment, I dug out the old USB 1.1 no-brand 6-in-1 reader and gave it a go, plugged in the SanDisk memory card, and up it popped, no errors, nothing.

I guess there must be something peculiar going on with the hardware in the Belkin 15-in-1, unfortunately the whole reason I switched was because the 6-in-1 physically couldn’t take the newer cards, plus it’s only USB 1.1, so is really slow for transfers. Maybe I’ll have to invest in one of the SanDisk ImageMate 12-in-1 readers, on the basis that their reader will be compatible with their own brand cards. Having said that, a quick dig around the internet, and I find reports that the SanDisk ImageMate 12-in-1 reader is incompatible with some other memory card types too… I thought standard were supposed to solve all these problems?

Beyond the Sea with the Basingstoke Tappers

Last night we had our now traditional late July trip down to Basingstoke to see the annual Basingstoke Tappers show with our friends Catherine on stage, and her husband Phil hard at work keeping the whole show running smoothly as stage manager.

In pre-publicity the show, Beyond the Sea, had been subtitled ‘Cruising with the Tappers’ – but the theme had broadened somewhat giving pretty much of a world cruise, taking in places including London, Paris, Russia and Cuba to name a few.

After a break last year, the Chosen Few Big Band were back, and certainly earned their keep playing for every other number. It certainly seems to be more flexible in terms of routines to have a live band, as they can include short reprises to cover clearing the stage – something that is difficult to do with pre-recorded tracks, quite apart from the experience for the participants of working with live music. There were also a good number of contributions from Tappers regular Steve Pert, who took plenty of advantage of having the big band around to do some of the standards. Alongside Steve there was a new face for the shows in the form of Trisha Bassett an Ascot based singer. One of the dancers, Francesca McMahon also showed how far she has come since she sang for the first time in one of the earlier shows, performing a version of Midnight at the Oasis.

One of Steve’s numbers that caught Beth by surprise was when he performed Jump. Beth has only ever come across the original Van Halen version, whereas with a big band, Steve did the Paul Anka version, which like the whole album – Rock Swings – is quite a surprise when you’ve only ever heard the original.

Being the fifteenth year of the Tappers show, the Friday night performance was graced with the presence of the Mayor of Basingstoke, and there was a chance to reminisce over some of the past shows, and even a return to the amazing basketball routine from last year (and again nobody dropped the ball this time around either). What is a testament to the people in the company was when towards the end the members came forward grouped by how long they had been part of the company – although there was a good crowd of newbies, the majority have been dancing with the company for ten to fifteen years.

Certainly it was as entertaining as ever, mixing good music, cute moments with the real little ones, and even the odd quirky moments – the two penguins in the decidedly tropical Under the Sea I guess must have been on holiday!

‘The Chosen Few’ jazz orchestra @ the Tappers ’07 show originally uploaded by Tahbepet.