I picked this up at lunchtime and am listening on headphones on my pc on a fairly quiet afternoon at the end of a stressful week. There's been various comment from my friends and I think different people are taking different things from it. As ever with Kate, this will repay much replay. And apparently she's got a pile of new stuff well advanced.

My take on this first listen is that some of the tracks are interesting variations, but I prefer the original. Song of Solomon or The Red Shoes, for example, and while I can see what she's getting at I'm not keen on the voice modification on Deeper Understanding. Others though are brilliant improvements on stuff that was already good. Never Be Mine is excellent, taking what was there and subtly changing it. Flower of the Mountain and Top of the City are also good but Moments of Pleasure is absolutely blinding and just blows me away.

Sheer! Fucking! Genius!
I might now be graded as a Track Marshal, rather than a trainee, but I'm still learning (and if at any point I say I've stopped learning it'll be time to stop marshalling as I'll be dangerous). Part of this year's activity is to broaden my horizons by visiting some other circuits and experiencing their ways of doing things. This Saturday I'm off to Oulton Park for an MG Car Club meeting - Via a Premier Inn in Crewe, as I really don't fancy being up early enough to drive for three hours to make sign-on at 0700.

Later on I'm down for a day or two at Mallory Park, which I thoroughly enjoyed visiting last year, and then Donington in September for the F3/GT bash.

The aim for a couple of years' time is to see if I can do le vingt-quatre heures de Mans or head over the pond for some Indycar.
I sat Penny down with me to watch the first episode of the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones last week. I was a little apprehensive as her main motivation (other than indulging me) was "Sean Bean!" and I didn't want to let on what was in store for him as Ned Stark. Pen tends to think that the films of The Two Towers and The Return of the King are a waste of space because Sean got killed off as Boromir.

She enjoyed it, though with a couple of quite justified pokes about the early portrayal of a couple of the female roles - particularly Daenerys. She enjoyed so much that she asked where my copy of the book was. When I realised it (and the next) must have been loaned out, I bought new copies and took them home next day. She's just about finished devouring AGoT; isn't disappointed with Ned's fate and will start on A Clash of Kings in short order. I've not seen her get so into something as meaty a read in quite a while. It does mean that we've not watched episode 2 yet, but I've just ordered paperback copies of the next few for her (A Storm of Swords 1 and 2 and A Feast for Crows) and of the hardback of A Dance with Dragons for me.

For George has beaten Kong! Huzzah!

Even better, the order includes a new Vorkosigan book that I accidentally noticed was out.
The delayed (because of Bahraini cancellation) F1 season got under way this weekend and so did the racing season proper at Silverstone, so I was out marshalling for the first time this year. I'm still getting to posts I've not done before - this time Farm, which is the outside of the first corner after the new pits, where I had a very quiet day.

Saturday's meeting was the BRSCC*-run Britcar meeting, the top class of which is now officially the British Endurance Championship. This is the same series that runs the 24-hour race I enthused about last October (and which the Top Gear crew entered a few years back).

The day was a mixed bag. First on the bill qualifying, followed later by a couple of races, for junior single seaters (Intersteps, using the cars that used to belong to the now canned F1-supporting F-BMW). There were only 9 of them, which on the full Arena GP circuit was fairly boring for the most part - particularly as a lad called Jake Dennis stormed away to win in both. A bit of interest watching how Sarah Moore (winner of the Ginetta Juniors a couple of years ago) got on in her first single-seater sessions - pretty fair with two fourths. There was a good race between 4 of them for third place in the second race, but only seeing them come round every two minutes was still a bit "meh". More cars or smaller circuit definitely needed.

Much the same for the production touring cars, even when they shared their second race with the Alfa championship. 36 minis were much better to watch, but were only out for one race of 15 minutes...

The main event was much fun. Over 40 cars, 3 hours of racing and plenty of excitement. The 24 hour is back in October and I'll definitely be doing it.

*British Racing and Sports Car Club
For those of you uninterested in Echo Bazaar, move right along - nothing to concern you here.

For the enlightened and delicious friends, I have acquired a Lengthy Lease to Premises at the Bazaar.


Mar. 10th, 2011 09:34 am
2011 47. Living in Bedford, working in Luton. Married to Penny (where was she 10 years ago?) and most of my weekends spent marshalling for motorsport, mostly at Silverstone (why didn't I do that much earlier?). Small circle of immediate friends located closely. Wide circle of good friends across the country who I don't see often enough. Happy.

2001 37. Living and working in Bristol. Single. Met Penny the following year. Many of my weekends spent Larping (still do two or three weekends of freeform a year, but not from campsites). Good circle of close local friends, which is what I miss most about Bristol even though many of them have also moved away. Happyish.

1991 27. Had just started first HE job at was still (just) Bristol Poly, having moved to Bristol the previous year to do a postgrad there. Single. Doing a lot of tabletop roleplaying. Happy.

1981 17. Living with parents, two younger brothers and little sister in Kidderminster. At school sixth form. Starting to find where I fitted into the world after mid-teens as a bit of a loner. Sort of happy.

1971 7. Living with parents and two younger brothers in Worcester. Happy.
It struck me as somewhat apposite, after reading/contributing to the discussions over at [livejournal.com profile] jfs' journal on the religion question in the census, to come across a lovely section in Iain (with the M) Banks Surface Detail which is my current commuting book. I'll quote only the first paragraph of the immediate grin-making section, but it's part of an extended digression within a chapter of the book on the implications of being able to record individuals' "mind-states" (aka souls) and what happens with these post-death entities. This puts a lot of my current thoughts about religion a lot more succinctly and elegantly than I can.

Almost every developing species had a creation myth buried somewhere in its past, even if by the time they'd become space-faring it was no more than a quaint and dusty irrelevance (though, granted, some were downright embarrassing). Talking utter drivel about thunderclouds having sex with the sun, lonely old sadists inventing something to amuse themselves with, a big fish spawning the stars, planets, moons and your own ever-so-special People - or whatever other nonsense has wandered into the most likely feverish mind of the enthusiast who had come up with the idea in the first place - at least showed you were interested in trying to provide an explanation for the world around you, and so was generally held to be a promising first step towards coming up with the belief system that provably worked and genuinely did produce miracles: reason, science and technology.
As has been noted previously, we have been experiencing some difficulties with our boiler. This led to Penny being very angry at both Barratts (the builders) and Ideal (the boiler people) until they sent somebody round to give it a full (and free) service in September.

It's doing it again )

In other news, we did get out car hunting on Sunday. After bashing around two or three places in Bedford, we got pointed at Evans Halshaw (Ford) in Milton Keynes as they're bigger and were said to have a decent range of cars in our price bracket (up to £4k). We had a chat to the salesman, a look at a few cars and a test-drive of a Honda Jazz, which we then shook on - for pretty much our maximum price of course. Still, it's only got 35k on the clock so it should last us some while.


Jan. 27th, 2011 03:45 pm
My Beloved occasionally calls me a numpty. From time to time I have to own up that I am. The past few days definitely bear out the accuracy of the label.

Yesterday, she rang me on the work number - to tell me she'd just called my mobile which had been answered by a member of First Capital Connect's staff at Farringdon Station. Darn thing must have dropped out of my pocket as I got off at Luton. Thank heavens that it was picked up by someone honest.

So lunchtime today saw a diversion down the railway and back. Cost of picking it up - £13 return. In the meanwhile I've been gently chuntering that while invitations to marshal at the GP this year have landed on many of my friends' mats, none has hit mine. It's not a big problem - I know I'm on the list, because Penny has seen said list. When I phoned to let her know I'd got the mobile back, she gently broke it to me that the letter had gone to number 20, not number 40. Apparently my handwriting is still that bad.
Hotmail is annoying me rather a lot today. A simple response to a friend's email is consistently coming up with

"Your message seems to have triggered our junk e-mail filters. Could you edit your message and try again? Learn more."

I've tried stripping the entire thing down to a single interrogative "ping?" and still it won't send. Trying again from home later. If that doesn't solve it, I'll be shifting away from an email I've used for more than a decade because it's (until now) basically worked and it's too much bother to move. Anyone else having problems?
In Affectionate Remembrance
which died at Sydney
7th JANUARY 2011, after a long illness and despite brief signs of recovery at the WACA
Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing
friends and acquaintances


N.B.—The body will be cremated and the
ashes taken to England.


Dec. 11th, 2010 01:13 pm
We're passing the Beetle onto [livejournal.com profile] pennyanne's folks, which is ironic in a way as it came from her sister in the first place. This means that we're in the market for a new car. Well, new to us.

Anybody selling or know anyone who is? We'd be looking for a hatchback, possibly saloon. Not too costly on the tax, so round about a 1.6. Reliability is high on the list. I loved my old Golf, so one of those or something similar.
Has a beginners guide to the tuition fees debate and I quote...

The minister who introduced student tuition fees now says a graduate tax may be better even though he once described the idea as unworkable...

he's opposing the man who pledged to oppose any increase in fees who now insists it's the right thing to do...

... who's in coalition with a man who wrote a manifesto promising that his party would scrap fees but is now planning to double them.

Lovely, eh?


Oct. 19th, 2010 03:14 pm
Two in a row will not be spent at the track - Shock! Horror!!

Last was a relaxing Friday, a leisurely Saturday morning awakening and a chilled drive over to the depths of the Suffolk/Norfolk border for the wedding of [livejournal.com profile] bitofstuff and [livejournal.com profile] delvy. I usually find a word to describe the feeling at each wedding. This one was most definitely a family wedding. It's really nice to watch a couple of old long-standing friends tie the knot. It was slightly scary the number of people I knew there who now have offspring (more than one in some cases) in tow - and that's with a few like [livejournal.com profile] hepstar arriving without them.

Next will be a relaxing Friday, a leisurely Saturday morning awakening and a chilled drive (I hope) over to Bristle. We're spending a couple of days with M&A, then fulfilling a long ambition by staying the next couple of nights in a castle. Thornbury, to be precise. After that we'll complete a week off with a couple of days at home, before heading back to the track Saturday week for the wonders of the Birkett Six Hour Relay. I'll explain that one afterwards.
Along, I suspect, with several on my friends list I've received a few emails recently from Messrs Cable and Clegg. These come in the wake of publication of Lord Browne's review of HE and student funding and Vince's now notorious "skidmark" quote. I've just replied to the latest from Nick, as follows:

Dear Nick

I'm afraid I can't agree with you any more.

I firmly believe that in supporting these flawed proposals you and Vince are condemning the party to lose considerable numbers of MPs at the next election and to be out of power for the next several decades. Considering the progress made under Paddy's, Charles', Ming's and your leadership over the time I have been a supporter and sometime member of the party this is a real shame.

The recommendations of the Browne review are about as far from Liberal principles as I could imagine. If implemented, I will no longer be able to support the Liberal Democrats. I doubt I will be the only one making this decision.

In sorrow

Saturday was the Historic Sports Car Club Finals Meeting. Their last of the year so a good turn-out of nice people and gorgeous machines for one last fling before the winter break. In some cases the flinging was taken a bit literally and the winter will be spent on repairs - at least there'll be plenty of time to get things ready before the next meeting.

I found myself posted to Becketts Outside, which is one of two points on the National Circuit I've not done before. The other is Becketts Inside. On the National, Becketts becomes a right-handed hairpin taking the cars onto the Wellington Straight and back down towards the Brooklands/Luffield Complex. There's still a fair bit of speed carried through there by the best. It was a pleasant day. Good company on post and nine 15 minute sessions both morning (qualifying practice) and afternoon (racing). All but one of the races were entertaining too.

There's a couple more meetings for me before the end of season. We have next weekend off to go to Steph and Matt's wedding. After that it's "The Birkett", a 6-hour relay race which is tremendous fun. Then the first weekend in November is the Walter Hayes Trophy - two days of Formula Ford mayhem. By then I'll have done 34 days this year, two of them at Mallory the rest at Silverstone. 31 of them (30 if you don't count the Friday evening at Britcar the other week, which I probably shouldn't) as an Incident Marshal (3 as flag). The cut-off to qualify for the GP is usually around 15/16 in the duty you apply for. I think I'm over that, somehow.
I was never particularly taken with 24-hour time-in as a lrp concept. I always wanted to be able to get a decent night's sleep knowing that it wouldn't be interrupted (except on occasional nights by an over-full bladder). I found myself remembering that at about 0400 on Sunday morning as I stood by the side of the track and watched a train of 45 to 50 cars go round and round behind the safety car for an hour and a half or more as it was too foggy to let them race properly.

Friday Food Run )

A Normal Saturday's Race Meeting )

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning )

To the Bitter End )
Worcester have spent today chasing 300 after a "sporting declaration" by Sussex. I don't see a problem with that. As a total it's higher than any other innings. They've achieved it with a few overs and four wickets to spare. Glamorgan declared earlier in the hope of knocking Derbyshire wickets over quickly. That may have backfired as Derbys, needing 160 to win are 63-4. They may not make it but this looks like being a draw, which would leave Glamorgan 3rd and Worcester bouncing straight back up.

Meanwhile at the top of I, the Tykes are out of the picture after losing to Kent (who don't even manage to avoid relegation as Warwickshire do enough). Notts are chasing bonus points and a draw, which it looks like they'll get and pip Somerset to it. Real shame for Somerset, I think they deserved it this year.
Play's got underway at Cardiff. Glamorgan have taken sufficient wickets that they get the bowling points which put them out of reach of Leicestershire.

At New Road, Worcs valiant bowling efforts have been undermined by a batting collapse. 195-9 as I type, 42 behind Sussex and 5 runs short of a single bonus point. Looks ever more like another season in Division Two. Given the youth and lack of experience in the team that may be no bad thing. Exposing them to the top flight too early and coming straight back down again would be very damaging.
Worcestershire have wrapped up the Sussex innings pretty quickly to gain all 3 bonus point for bowling. Glamorgan on 166-9 still need more than 30 runs to gain even 1 batting bonus. That reduces the deficit to 6 points.

Even if Worcs pick up all 5 batting points they with Glamorgan getting none for bowling that would leave the Welsh lads a point up if both games are drawn. A win is needed but looking unlikely. They haven't started well either losing Daryl Mitchell early on.

Leicester need the win plus all bonus points and both Worcs and Glamorgan to cock up, so they're probably out of the equation now.
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