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Hello and welcome

Some introductory text to go here. Probably. Maybe soon now that I have FTP access again.

On this day 10 years ago:


What an event! It was truly amazing to be in Edinburgh for the actual MPH march. Sadly Live8 completely killed the efforts of the 225000 people, clad in white, who marched right around Edinburgh (which itself was pretty clad in MPH banners) to call for Trade Justice, Dropping of the Debt and More + Better Aid.

I appreciate that it was the only day that Live8 could have happened (though the week before would have been much better, then the long walk for justice could have reached Ed for the 2nd), but it would have been really nice if Sir Bob had made a point of noting that MPH is not his campaign and that our rally in Edinburgh, the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign rally (that has been organised for over a year) was taking place. It wouldn't have been that tricky for them to organise a link up from our march to the concerts around the world (there were loads of TV cameras watching us).

The up side was that our cyclists got perhaps the best coverage of all at the Edinburgh march. We all arrived the day before with a truly Triumphal Entry and so were first to be interviewed on Friday evening. Also if you watched the 6 o'clock BBC news you would have seen Luke and I in the aerial shot of the gathering crowds (at the point it was only us cyclists!).

So now we get on and pray that our presence was felt, that Edinburgh continues to welcome more campaigners and that they behave themselves, and ultimately that the G8 summit sees TOny Blair taking out baton and calling the other leaders to account. I'm backing Blair.

I'll give and account of my cycle with Luke up to Edinburgh shortly.


An Irish Blessing

This blessing was given to me three times during my cycle to Edinburgh. I just love the way God works (so often in three's it seems). I was greatly blessed on this journey with good health (no headaches for a week - longest period free for over two years now), good company (in the form of Luke, my riding buddy) and wonderful places to stay (thank you all who put us up!).

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

The route we took worked just perfectly and God wangled it to allow us to meet the all the other cyclists for the Triumphal Entry despite my sudden (longer) route change. God Rocks!


The Blog of Life

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Hello there blogger


A little word cloud

able along around away bbc better bit blank blog change class days eat end enjoyed evening experience fact family feel finally following food found friends garden getting give going happened head help home hope hour house keep life live looking love meat morning nice nick night past people perhaps photo please point pretty quite rather read real really reason round seems shop simply something southampton span start stop sure target things think thought today took turns used walk watch week weekend whole work world year


Email posts working again. Hello again Twitter.

Looks like an odd issue had killed off my automated email sender meaning that Blogger was't getting set my blog posts. Hopefully this is now fixed.


check again

Is this mail working now?



mail working?


Apparently this did not work.

I thought that might work, but apparently it didn't. What I'm attempting to do is to re-start my service which emails these posts to blogger automatically. I then have an IfTTT protocol which looks for blogger posts and tweets about it. That system only half works due to IfTTT not being able to handle "else", but that's another story. As is my MySQL table not accepting apostrophises - these I have to code as &-a-p-o-s;.


Test Blog

Will this work?


The longest day

It can't be only me which gets a pang of sadness at the longest day. We made the most of it enjoying lunch outside after church followed by a good deal of gardening and then a walk around the village with an NCT friend followed by a pint in the Red Lion which happened to be utterly delicious. Then back home as the sun slowly sank far to the north of the house I soaked up the last few rays along with our garden cat. My first fathers day.

temporary garden cat. © Nick Bailey
temporary garden cat


Third night in a row that the little chap is asleep.

Well this is a joy. I came home on Tuesday night to find Dr K sitting in the garden in the midst of a book on baby development and training and, more impressively, our child asleep upstairs in the house. Last night we went out to dinner following some positive news from work and bumped into some good friends and enjoyed dinner and a pint together in the Red Lion. After that the little chap slept again through the night. Then tonight it's happened again. Dr K has essentially been following the controlled crying technique where you go in and comfort every 15 minutes if crying pursues and then eventually he falls asleep. Tonight we even watched some TV together for the first time in a while (Humans followed by Kevin McCloud's new series about even more magical places in which to live. Will the little chap keep this up or is it just a blip (or has he secretly died)?


The Blog of Photos - past 30 days

Synchronous dahlia flowering - genetic clone?

The first two of my dahlias have flowered at exactly the same time. I believe they are from the same plant (i.e. the same tuber stock) so I suspect that they are genetic clones. Is this the explanation for their synchronous unfurling?

dahlia. © Nick Bailey
dahlia 'labolove' (apparently)

dahlia. © Nick Bailey
'labolove' is what is scrawled on the label at least


The grass is always greener, especially when your neighbour has astroturfed their garden

Histon Astroturf. © Nick Bailey
astroturf in Histon


Google Maps 3D Hack - get down to eye level

I had an enoyance while browsing the new 3D landscape feature on Google Maps regarding how close I can zoom in. Histon now has the 3D view thanks to it's proximity to Cambridge and it's rather lovely to be able to see my neighbourhood in stunning graphics (yes, I realise this will be outdated in a few years time and you dear future reader will chuckle at how impressive we though this was). The manual controls (ctrl+click) allows you to drag the view round freely and zoom in and out with the mouse wheel. But it seems that you can zoom in and tilt only so far, and less than I think you used to be able to. I did some brief googling to see if there was a way around this (or indeed anyone talking about my observations) but nothing came up. One lifehacker site mentioned that you used to be able to manually edit the URL of an old version of the website. This inspired me to check out and have a play with the new URL. Low and behold - success, if somewhat fiddly.

Take the URL: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.2509106,0.1046145,94a,20y,25.28h,60.55t/data=!3m1!1e3.

Look at all those interesting numbers in the URL: @52.2521678,0.1056801,5a,20y,135h,83.59t/data=!3m1!1e3, here's what I think they mean:
this is the latitude and longitude in a North East postive system (-ve values are South or West).
this a is for altitude, I assume it's in meters. Setting 3 gives a good eye level view, below that and the screen starts to clip the terrain. Large numbers take you off into space.
this I can not yet work out. It's something like the zoom level, but the API converts it into a change in elevation.
h is for heading taking a value from >0 to 360 (north, default).
this is the view angle with 180 being straight up (mostly sky), 90 is horizontal and below is tilting down. Above 180 gets reset.

google maps 3d street view histon. Nick Bailey
Red Lion pub in Histon from Google Maps

google maps 3d street view histon. Nick Bailey
The Boot pub and Coop in Histon from Google Maps


#Histon Open Garden in the June Gap

This is definitely not the optimal time to be hosting an open garden scheme, but here we are. Thankfully some of the blooms have begun to open and unfurl after a long wait. We're opening up our garden alongside the Histon & Impington Open Gardens day today as a Fringe garden. We will be selling tea, coffee and freshly made donughts with a flower theme. Hopefully lots of people will visit and a good day will be had by all irrespective of the weather which is looking a bit grim and miserable.

Open Garden Stitch. © Nick Bailey
a panoramic from the back door


I'm not saying google is sexist, but it appears that way

This is what Google has learnt about me and it appears to think I am female because I've looked at baby sites. Clearly men never have babies nor are they interested in hygiene. Hmm... now that I write that down perhaps they do have a point, and I guess I am feminine brained. Damn, they know me too well! Is nothing safe from the gaze of Google.

Sexist Google. © Nick Bailey
google search inherent sex-assumption bias


A purpose to life?

Is there a purpose to life? Work, gardening, children? All these things fill life, they make life enjoyable, but do they ultimately achieve anything? Are we just perpetuating life for the sake of life. Is that what life is - just an ongoing quest to make more life (and hence more work in the process). I think this is the sort of question that faith should answer. I'm certainly glad that there is faith to give some anterior motive to life, but so often faith fails to tackle such a big issue. In the worst case faith can be criticised for encouraging the end of life, either form the longing for heaven in some Christians to the mistaken jihadi's quest for virgins in paradise. How does my faith affect me? Well, frequently I find myself lost in the depression of life (that sounds more serious than I mean it to be), but there is the hole that God fills that is sometimes apparently vacant and I am faced with a future, not without God, nope, but a future in which it perhaps doesn't matter either way. A little as if life is futile. I can certainly see why many are drawn to hedonism, just enjoy the experience of life rather than worrying about what it all means. I hope however that the long game of faith is worth it, not for the paradise of an afterlife, but of a life worth living. Perhaps in those I interact with, perhaps just in a family loved. I'm not sure yet, but certainly having a child, while giving a whole different flavour and meaning to life, has also opened up a whole wide world of worry.


Listening to: Michael Nyman
Where The Bees Dance
From: NYMAN: Piano Concerto

23 knife wounds
Recently:Slipped while sharpening cleaver and sliced deep right across the proximal interphalangeal joint

£ 3.20
Change from our first outing with baby

I love ecover

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