Not long ago I noticed that the site of my previous blog had deleted the account. Maybe because of all the spam entries. I had been transferring old entries onto this blog site, but they deleted the old account before I got very far into this.

Despite emailing them a fortnight ago, have not even acknowledged my request. I’m now trying just to get the data files emailed to me.

Coincidentally, an email account I have in Guatamala was also closed down for no obvious reason. But I managed to reinstate the one I have in Malayasia.


I’ve had more 05:00 walks by the Thames, on days it was not raining. Yesterday I also took a late evening walk, and had been surprised by the number of people settling down for a nights fishing.

05:00 was also the time that, as a kid, we as a family would leave to drive to Devon for a holiday. Brother and myself (pre-teens in the early years) would be bundled, dressed but wrapped in a blanket, into the back seats of a BMC Mini (originally a “E” registration – 1965?) Between us some bags containing breakfast, lunch and other drinks in tupperware, flasks and the like. In the back seat pockets were our “toys” and books, which, after the first year, in my case contained stuff for fossil hunting. This was decades before “the Jurassic Coast”. Thus we both had tiny nests to initially sleep and then sit in. Normally a portable radio was used for entertainment, but one year a cassette tape player was on the back parcel shelf.

The boot of the car was down, open, with the number plate swung out, so as to hold the clothes and bedding in suitcases.

By 06:30 we’d be in Newbury (not using whatever parts of the motorway network existed), for a loo break, and at least tea, if not breakfast. This is normally the time I arrive back home after my early morning Thames-side walk. I consider the parts of the journey there on my walk. These days, I still use parts of the route, so parts are still familiar, but no idea if the Newbury loos remain.

The first time we went to Devon, it was via Lyme Regis. Unfortunately the car was an old 850cc automatic gearbox mini, with reluctance to go into first; crawling up the hill out of Lyme in second, my father considered that it was not going to make it, and that we would all have to all get out and push.

To the sticks

February 12, 2009

Out to Oxfordshire today, the first trip to this particular customer this year. While the snow had all gone in London, it was still very evident in the Chilterns (as viewed from the M40), and still a lot of it in the Oxford Plain.

Approaching the Chiltern Escarpment on the M40

On the way back along the M40 (evening, hence the dull image above), the Chiltern escarpment still showing so much snow is evident. This particular point is where the M40 crosses the greensand [rock formation], and approaches the deep cutting in the chalk near Aston Rowant. The cutting starts towards the right hand of the image and moves across to the left.

At one point in the early life of the M40 (1970s), at this point there was a “Crawler lane”, for the lorries and other large vehicles that could could only crawl up the hill. I believe it was the closest such lane to London. These days of turbo-charged diesels and the like, the need has disappeared, as has the lane, and indeed the last time I saw a large crane crawling up the M40 (in fact the slope at the other end of this hill), it did so in the emergency hard shoulder. It clearly was in trouble, if the smoke out of the exhaust was anything to go by, rather than underpowered.