Monday, January 29, 2007

More snow (same snow)

A movie of a snowball fight (Google video)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


snow in the backyard
Originally uploaded by nakku.

We woke up this morning to find a nice white blanket over everything. The kids were very excited and managed to have a snowball fight, though for some reason they couldn't get the hang of actually making snowballs and I had to do that.

More snow fell while they walked to school.
It stayed for a couple of hours. More photos at Flickr

We last saw snow in August of 2004 when we went to ... where? Mt Beauty? Somewhere in Victoria anyway. Thomas remembers it (he says), Natalie doesn't of course.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Trains. Boring.

I take the train into London a few times a week. I quite like it for the most part, barring the occasional miss-of-the-last-train-back and resulting epic wanders/hitchhikes around Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Actually, even those aren't so bad really. But there are a few really annoying things.
The most obvious being that the train is too damned expensive. Avoiding peak times and shelling out for a Network Card has brought the price down to merely horribly unreasonable (from incomprehensibly, stupidly, disgustingly unreasonable). It still rankles. But there's more...

The fastest way from Shelford to London is via Cambridge to Kings Cross. I can get a train from Shelford to Cambridge which takes 5 minutes and usually arrives just in time to connect with an express to Kings Cross, from where I can cycle to work in 5 mins. If all goes well, this way I can get from home to office in just over an hour.


Although I can buy a ticket from Shelford to London, which says it is valid via any route (and although consistently show Shelford-Cambridge-Kings Cross as an option), I am not allowed to use this ticket on the Kings Cross train, but only on the Liverpool St train. Confused? I was. I found this out one day by being fined £20 by a particularly unpleasant conductor called Barry (Hi Barry! You suck!). Later I appealed and got the money back, as there was no way I could have known, but I Learnt My Lesson. So instead I have to buy a ticket for the 5 min journey Shelford-Cambridge, then go to the ticket office in Cambridge and buy another ticket there, meanwhile missing the conveniently-timed train so I have to wait for the next one. Suddenly my commute is 30 mins longer.
(On the bright side, I can wander up and down Cambridge station and dream of going to exotic destinations such as Birmingham, Peterborough, and Kings Lynn).

The alternative to the Cambridge-Kings Cross route is to take the slow train from Shelford to Liverpool St. The advantage is that I can buy the right ticket at Shelford and don't have to change trains, and it's a bit cheaper. The disadvantage is that I have to get the Tube or cycle from Liverpool St to Bloomsbury. The whole process is nearly 2 hrs each way. Bah, I say.
And there is another pitfall for the unwary. At Shelford station, to get to the platform towards Liverpool St one has to cross the train tracks at a level crossing. But as much as 10 minutes before the train goes, the barriers can inexplicably come down and all you can do is watch impotently as (1) nothing happens for a while, and then (2) your train arrives and leaves without you, with an hour to wait for the next one. Note that this does not happen every time, you get lulled into thinking 5 minutes early will be time enough, and then it gets you.

This was the scene today.
Get to the station, wait behind the barrier while the train leaves. Bugger. Get the train to Cambridge, miss the Kings Cross express while buying a ticket. Bugger. Wait 30 mins, catch the next train, go to work, go to a seminar and out to dinner. Back to Kings Cross to catch the scheduled 2315 train. Cancelled. All cancelled. Bugger. To get to Cambridge, you have to go to Stevenage then do some complicated thing involving a bus. Can I take my bike on the bus? No. Bugger. Better go to Liverpool St then. No time to cycle, better get the Tube. Can I take my bike? Maybe. I take that as yes, get to Liverpool St, get stuck in a barrier with my bike and get told off by a station worker. Released, I sprint for the last train, making it with 20 seconds to spare! The listless bunch of passengers care little for my triumph.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


I went to a pub in Islington for a friend's birthday, then caught a late train home.
Cycling through the village, three dogs slunk onto the road in front of me, causing me to slow down. One looked at me. "Dude", I said, and they all ran away.
So I rode the rest of the way. When I walked into the house I said "dude" again. But everyone was asleep.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Too much stilton

Originally uploaded by nakku.

I do like Stilton. But given that no-one else in my family will touch it, two large mouldy cheeses just for me seems a bit excessive.
The first was bought for Christmas with my cousin, but wasn't eaten so I took it home. Sonia bought the second for me because it was on special. A thoughtful act, or an attempt at slow assassination by cheese? You decide.