Archive for July, 2005

A rose, by any other name…

Friday, July 29th, 2005

How refreshing to find a spammer who not only chooses a wholly apposite online indentity but, in doing so, also provides a suggested final destination for his wearisome output. Such honesty and civic-mindedness is to be applauded.

What did you do in the last four days?

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

Lazy weekend with a bit of shopping and then down the local with the Sunday papers for a roast and a few pints? Slow Monday morning wading through emails and a Tuesday spent attending dreary meetings?

As previously mentioned, I and a few others did what we thought (at 120 miles in one night) was a long bike ride but this pales into insignificance compared to what my friend and fellow Tower Hamlets Wheeler Colin (above) did in the last four days. He cycled from London to Edinburgh and back. To get some sense of what that looks like, the green line on the map below is 100 miles (to scale) and he basically rode up the red line and then back down it with very few stops and not much sleep.


In an email to friends this morning, Colin provided an insight into what it had been like. “A very international field with a great spirit and amazing feeling of fraternity…fantastic considering they were also not sleeping more than a couple of hours at a stretch. My legs feel surprisingly good today, though they are a wee bit sore…recuperating at home with coffee, the largest amount of junk food you will ever see and Mister H. Potter. Nice!”


The hard numbers of Colin’s ride are as follows:

  • Distance: 1417km (885 miles)
  • Time: 102 hrs 18 mins (give or take a minute)
  • Sleep: To Edinburgh 5hrs; In Edinburgh 2hrs; To London 9hrs
  • Punctures: 0
  • Mechanical Failures: 0
  • Puddings with custard eaten: 19

Col, your humble friends salute you. Well done!

A grainy rod

Monday, July 25th, 2005


SWMBO has just found this photo amongst some papers in an old box.  I have no idea how old the photo is.  I cannot even recall the circumstances in which it was taken but it is a Polaroid test shot from a large format camera so it might have been from my acting days.  Judging by the earring, straighter nose and abundant hair and compared to the studio shot below, I’d guess there’s a fifteen to twenty year gap between the shots.  That the sprogs fell about laughing when they saw it has driven home the fact that I’m not what I used to be.


NB: First one to email me the relevance of this post’s title will win a spot prize of some description.

Dunwich Dynamo: T minus 3 hours

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005

I shall be attempting to blog the progress of myself and friends throughout tonight’s Dunwich Dynamo, an unsupported 120 mile night ride from London to the east coast so keep a look out over the next 14 hours or so.

Update: Due to GPRS issues and zero cell coverage in rural East Anglia, this plan completely failed. Mine and others pictures of the ride appear in this Flickr group.

Riding up the Thames

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

After the events of recent weeks and to calm the nerves of a nervous mother, I decided that I would accompany my daughter to her school on the last day of term – not on the Tube as she would usually but choosing the river bus instead. So, after picking up her friend, we made our way to the Masthead Terrace Pier, where we boarded the Thames Clipper service which runs to Savoy Pier.

From here, it was a short walk along the Embankment and across Parliament Square, from where the girls headed to the school and I pedalled off towards Paddington Station.

Once again, there is a great deal of police activity in London today including the fatal shooting by armed police of a man on the transport network this morning, followed by a suspect package at a mosque and now the search of an internet cafe. This being the case, I think I might just take a nice, quiet circuitous route home this afternoon.

Thoughts on ordinary people and terrorism

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

Returning from an appointment in North London this morning, I turned on the car radio to hear that London was once again in the throes of dealing with another four bomb alerts.  Although none of us were on the Tube network or near the stations affected this time, the No.26 bus that was attacked was not too far my eldest’s school. 

It was only a couple of days ago, BBC4 sent a film crew and director to interview me about my reaction to being in fairly close proximity to the terrorist attacks two weeks ago and another nine years ago.  Like many others, I blogged the experience and posted an image to the We’re Not Afraid web site.  It was this image, along with others, that caught the eye of Alison, the director of BBC Arts Television, who contacted me through the press team at We’re Not Afraid.

The documentary, which is to air on the BBC4 digital channel on the 7th August (one month after the explosions), is to focus on why people posted images to the site and the story behind those images.  Over a couple of hours, the small crew filmed me and the area near my home, which is a few hundred yards from the 1996 IRA bomb at South Quay.  Ian, the cameraman, like a good friend of mine at Associated Press TV, had covered civil unrest in the Eastern Bloc and various conflicts around the globe and I was amused to learn that, whilst he didn’t get paid ‘danger money’, he had been allowed to claim overtime where appropriate, which seemed delightfully English to me.

During the course of the interview, I explained that I didn’t post the picture as an intentional act of defiance or as some knee-jerk nationalistic reaction. To be honest, I didn’t give it much thought at the time, pretty much taking and posting the image before I had even had time to ponder why I was doing it.  Upon reflection, my feelings in the wake of the latest attack are similar to those I had nine years ago and I would sum them up in this way.

I am an ordinary person with a wonderful family, good friends and trusting colleagues.  Just as I rely on them to be themselves, they all rely on me to do the same: to be the husband and father that provides a loving home and security; to be a friend who will be there in times of need and celebration; to be a leader, a peer and a team member who has integrity.  To let the actions of terrorists change such things would be to allow the perpetrators and those that guide them to alter the most fundamental and important elements of who I am.  Quite simply, that is not something that I can permit for, as well as the great, the good and the worthy, this world needs ordinary people because it is ordinary, everyday folk that we turn to first in our lives.

I hadn’t planned to write in this way and my thoughts are far from the polished platitudes that we are used to hearing these days but I felt that I needed to put a stake in the ground to mark my feelings on this.

Dunwich Dynamo route and map

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

Although I am sure there will be the usual handout at the start, I thought I would plot out the general route and directions for this weekend’s Dunwich Dynamo for my own reference.  Having done so, I thought I would make it available for others to use.

Using the list of villages on the Dunwich Dynamo FAQ listed on the DD FAQ and a bit of common sense, I ran the details through AutoRoute and have come up with with the shortest sensible route I can find.  I want to stress that this isn’t an official recommended route, a definitive guide or anything else of that nature; just a quick aide memoire I have knocked up to assist myself and others in their preparations.  Likewise, the map is only an indicative overview and is not intended as a navigational aid.  If I have time,  I can work up more detailed maps.

Dunwich Dynamo Route and Direction (see below) 


Dunwich Dynamo Overview Map (see below)


Feel free to give feedback on the route from the top of the Lea Bridge Road onwards…but there is no need to advise me of your favourite route from Hackney to the Waterworks roundabout at Woodford

Synching Files Between Remote PCs

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

Just found this nice tutorial on secure file synching between two Windows machines via the good folks on the 43 Folders Google group, all with open source tools so the price is right as well.


Park and Ride

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005



Fans of Andy Cato and Tom Findlay should glide along to Groove Armada’s Lovebox Weekend which is taking place in Victoria Park on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th. It will be their only gig of the year and, apparently, the largest music event ever held in the park.



Meanwhile, at the same time, I and a few hundred others will be embarking on the umpteenth Dunwich Dynamo. The Dynamo is a 120 mile unsupported overnight bike ride from London Fields to Dunwich on the Suffolk coast – with optional sea swim and fried breakfast upon arrival. If you’d like to get a feel for the event, listen to this evocative podcast from Jack Thurston’s Bike Show on Resonance FM.

Having Auntie over to visit

Monday, July 18th, 2005

It would seem that a few more folks read my online musings than I thought.  If I was mildly amused and chuffed to have The Guardian quote a piece of mine last week, I am more than a little surprised to find that the BBC would like to have a chat with me tomorrow regarding an image I posted to the We’re Not Afraid website in the early hours of the 8th July.  Following an email from the We’re Not Afraid media relations team yesterday, my commute home today was punctuated by a call from the director of BBC Arts Television asking if they could pop over tomorrow for a quick interview.  Lawks!  I’d better tidy up and run round with the Dyson.

I’ll keep you posted.