Thursday, December 20, 2007

Living in Woking

Hi All

I have moved just a few miles from Bisley to a house on the outskirts of Goldsworth Park in Woking. This takes me into a different borough council. So instead of Surrey Heath BC who made a reasonable job of keeping Bisley in good order, I am now a council tax payer in the Woking BC area.

Even though I have only been here a couple of weeks I am not that impressed with the upkeep of the area. I also saw a thief in a hoodie who had just stolen a postman’s delivery bag and when I approached him, he threw the postbag in the canal and ran off. I rang 911 on my mobile and although the police took some details nothing further happened. I guess that even if the culprit had be apprehended, that the local magistrate would have let him off scott free.

Here are some pictures I took when walking my dog today.

We will start with some scenic ones.

A local lock on the Basingstoke canal

The wildlife walking on the ice

Now some of the problems

A signpost in need of repair

The barriers from a repair on a footbridge are now spread all over the place as rubbish.

The temporary repair has been like this for weeks.

A nearby lamppost of falling over and the top is coming off. Graffiti on the fence as well.

A broken wall in Bampton Way

Worn out road names.

Ah yes, this is a wheelie bin borough. This town is never going to win any awards for good looks. A shame as the terraced houses look quite nice.

This is where the money is spent. A white elephant by Woking station.

I hope things improve here as they have a way to go to catch up with Surrey Heath BC.


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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Patio set apology

Hi all

I need to say sorry to everyone who went to Glastonbury, and Ascot race-goers, tennis fans at Wimbledon and to the population of South Yorkshire.
Why am I apologising ?
Well my personal situation is changing and I selling my house. As a result of a tidy up of my garden shed I thought I ought to put out the patio table and chairs.

Here they are

Ever since I put them on the patio, it has hardly stopped raining. Maybe I should move it back into the shed for next weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. I must admit that I kept them in the shed for the last two summers and we did have some reasonable weather then.
I am thinking about putting the set up for auction on Ebay.


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Monday, May 14, 2007

New World Step 1

Hi all

In my last post I was talking about web applications and how I was planning to try to produce one.

I have now reached the end of step 1 of a two step process. I have got my program running on a PC, but currently this program needs installing on a PC and you cannot yet just use a web browser such as Internet Explorer. I am saving that for step 2.

What does the program do ?
Well it is aimed at those interested in F1 motor racing. It creates charts that compare the performances of the major teams for the Constructors Title. I thought of doing this as an example of programming in case I want to try and get a programming job at McLaren’s who are just down the road from me.
You can easily select which teams you want to compare (all are selected by default) and also select any season as far back as year 2000.
Each time you run the program it gets the latest statistics from my website and so you can follow your team’s performance throughout 2007.
It will also produce a chart showing the final Constructor Title positions from 2000 to 2006.
If you hover the mouse pointer over a graph curve it will display the actual points for the team at that Grand Prix. The venues are represented by country flags and hovering the mouse pointer over a country flag will pop up a balloon showing the place and date of the Grand Prix.

For good measure I have included a feature that will display the latest F1 new items. It gets these from the Internet.

So would you like to try this program ?
If the answer is Yes, you can download it with just a single click using this link

The program uses the Microsoft .Net framework and if it is not already on your PC then it will offer to install it for you (it should only take a few moments to do this), so maybe you should not put this on your work PC. It runs using the Windows operating system so is not suitable for most Mac's.

Once the program is installed you can start it by clicking on 'Start' -> 'All Programs' -> 'Peewit' -> 'F1 Charts'.

When running the program it does use the Internet to get the latest F1 statistics so if your security software asks you if you want the program to have access to the Internet, you need to allow access if you want to use the program to work fully.

If you have some suggestions for new features or any problems you can email me using the address shown on the opening window of the program.

Maybe as soon as the weather improves I can stop fiddling with computers and get flying again.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

The new world

Hi all

Well apparently the new world of computing is coming in the form of web applications. This is where you can carry out your everyday computing tasks using the Internet and a web browser such as Internet Explorer (IE for short). For instance if you already use Gmail as your method of handing email you will already know that it is all handled through a web browser and the data is stored on Google’s servers. What else do use your computer for? Often the answer is word processing, a few spreadsheets, maybe a photo editing suite and for some, computer games. Currently many of these applications need software to be installed and run on your pc and the pc needs to be powerful enough to do the task. With web applications, all of these things will be accomplished through a web browser. One advantage of this is that you will probably always be using the latest version of the program as the developer only has to keep the one version on the web server up to date. Companies may have worries about sensitive data being stored on Internet servers but it looks as if they will be able to keep their data on their server while the actual program that uses the data is still on the Internet.

I want to be part of this new world and as I have some programming experience, this is what I am doing :-

I have downloaded Microsoft’s Visual Studio for C# 2005 Express version. This is free and with it you can learn the use of the C Sharp programming language, develop and debug applications. Visual Studio is a very powerful integrated development environment providing tutorials, example code, help, compiling and debugging facilities. I think it is only if you want to start selling your applications that you would need to purchase a ‘full’ version of Visual Studio.

I have downloaded a free Windows/web graph library.

I am purchasing a book on C#.

I am interested in Formula One motor racing and have decided to produce a web application that will produce F1 results in a graphical form. I will try to make it interesting and easy to use and the F1 data will be kept up to date using data stored in XML format on a web site. The project will take a couple of months before there is anything to look at, but in the meantime I have purchased a couple of domain names. They are and and they are ‘parked’ for the moment so you can still view them. Once I have been through the steep learning curve of using C#, SQL, XML, ASP, .NET etc. then the page content will change to my new application.

So by spending very little money but maybe a lot of time, I hope to get in at the front end of this new world. The good news is all Internet users should benefit from this new technology as it becomes more widespread and mature.

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Being in Sydney

What do I miss about being in Sydney

I spent three weeks in Australia (mainly in Sydney) during February 2007.

BBQ’s when you want with an excellent choice of meat, fish and vegetables to cook. "Tooeys New" or possibly a more healthy "Pure Blonde" lager while cooking, and a bottle of Hunter Valley Shiraz to enjoy with the meal.

Hot and sunny weather most of the time. It is great to be able to spend one’s days walking around wearing shorts and a T shirt. I just needed to keep the factor 30 applied with my fair skin.

You can buy a weekly travel pass for $33 (about £13.50) and with this you can travel throughout Sydney by bus or ferry. I had dozens of excellent ferry rides with beautiful views and pleasant cooling breezes coming across Sydney Harbour.

The city has so many great places to visit such as the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, Botanical Gardens, AMP tower, Darling Harbour, etc., etc. On top of this there are numerous parks, museums, galleries, and very good shopping areas. You can take in an iconic view, experience some retail therapy, update on culture and buy an excellent and healthy take-away lunch to eat in a park, and do all this in a morning.

Dining out is great and there are hundreds of excellent restaurants that have chefs who are passionate about producing quality food. Most restaurants are BYO where you bring your own wine and there is a nominal corkage charge, so this means that you can have the very best wines at a reasonable cost. Not forgetting the al fresco café society where it is so easy to enjoy lunch, a snack or coffee under the shade of a parasol while admiring the view.

Sydney is nearly surrounded by water so wherever you are there always seems to be a beautiful view looking across water bathed in sunshine. A very high percentage of properties must have views across water.

Similarly you are never very far from a beach with soft golden sand. You can choose between a surfing beach or a sheltered beach that is ideal for the less energetic.

Sporting events are taking place all the time so this is a great place for watching live sporting action.

I was staying at an apartment in Mosman with my daughter and her fiancée and they are both keen on preparing great healthy meals from fresh produce. This takes some time and effort but it is also enjoyable. Richard even makes his own curry from the raw spices. So I was spoilt with many perfect meals that had been carefully prepared.

Weekends away. We had a few weekends away and of course in Australia there is a vast number of desirable places to visit. When we went by car, the CD player was always going. A lot of the music was enjoyable but I was not so keen on some such as David Grey, Cud, and a few others. Driving in Australia does give you the opportunity to take in the varying types of countryside and see some of the animal population in the wild.

Many Australian birds seem to have loud and unusual voices. Even the crows sound very different from back home in the UK. The Kookaburra is the most distinctive and common birdsong even in the city. I really enjoyed the different sounds of the local wildlife.

When it comes to food shopping there is plenty of choice and the range of fresh fruit in both small and large stores is impressive.

Being in Sydney was a great experience and I enjoyed every minute. There was a danger of just taking the weather, meals, and everything for granted but this was a holiday. Now I am back in the UK it puts things into perspective.

I am sure I will go back to Oz again.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Solution

I thought it was about time I provided the picture quiz solution so here it is :-

Q1 The city is Sydney. Answer A

Q2 The airport is London Heathrow on a sunny day in February. Answer C

Q3 The bird is an Ibis and they are regarded as a nuisance in Sydney.
Answer B

Q4 Melbourne is the place where they have the peculiar ‘Right turn from left only’ signs. This would cause chaos in most cities but is because they have trams in the centre of many Melbourne streets. Answer B

Q5 This mountain range is called The Hazards and it is found at the Freycinet peninsula. You can buy a very nice bottled lager called Hazards Ale. I would like to buy some in the UK but cannot find it. Maybe I should import some. Answer C

Q6 This Federation Square is in Melbourne. Answer B

Q7 The sheltered beach is Balmoral Beach. Manly and Coogee are both surfing beaches. Answer C

Q8 During the day these bats are found in the Botanical Gardens. At dusk they fly east.
Answer A

Q9 This is a picture of a Possum. If grasshoppers were that big it would be scary.
Answer C

Q10 It is the QE2 moored in Hobart. Answer B

Q11 The 3 year old prisoner was held in Old Melbourne Gaol. Discipline these days isn’t what it used to be. Answer C

Q12 The kite surfing is at St. Kilda. Answer A

Q13 Look out for Kangeroos from dawn to dusk The sign was seen on the east coast of Tasmania. Answer A

Q14 ‘Bust Me Gal’ hill is in Tasmania and so is ‘Break me Neck’ hill. Answer B

Q15 Bowral in NSW is where you will find the Don Bradman museum. This was easy one as the answer was written on the sign. Answer B

Q16 This is a picture of Bondi Beach as I am sure you know. Answer A

Q17 The QE2 is moored at Circular Quay just after it’s historic rendezvous with the Queen Mary 2 in Sydney Harbour. Answer C

Q18 Woking really is the meanest council in England and they truly take advantage of motorists wanting to park there. So I guess my advice is to give Woking a miss.
Answer B

Q19 Wineglass Bay is just one of the beautiful bays in the Freycinet area. Answer C

Q20 This Boeing Jumbo is tail area is normal so they must be designed like this. Anyone know why ? Answer A

The quiz was rather easy really but it did give me the chance to show a few of the 500 photos I took on my trip to Oz.

Now that the weather is improving I must get back into a Cessna 152 and start flying again. I would love to do the shark patrol along the Sydney beaches but I guess Southern England will have to do.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Picture Quiz

See if you know the answers (it may help if you have been to Australia, if not then you ought to go).

You can see larger versions of the pictures by clicking on them.

Solution will be in my next post.

Let's start with an easy one

1) Which city is this ?

A. Sydney

B. Adelaide

C. Perth

2) Name this international airport

A. Los Angeles

B. Munich

C. London Heathrow

3) Seen at the Darling Harbour food courts
What type of bird is this ?

A. Chicken

B. Ibis

C. Emu

4. In which city do you get signs like this advising
you to go in the left lane to turn right ?

A. Sydney

B. Melbourne

C. Perth

5) Name this group of mountains in

A. The Bollards

B. The Pokies

C. The Hazards

6) Federation Square is in which city ?

A. Darwin

B. Melbourne

C. Canberra

7) Name this sheltered and safe beach in the
Sydney suburbs.

A. Manly beach

B. Coogee beach

C. Balmoral beach

8) Where in Sydney would you find these bats

A. Botanical gardens
B. Batanical forest
C. SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground)

9) What type of animal is this visiting our

A. Wallaby

B. Grasshopper

C. Possum

10) Name this cruise ship that is moored in
Hobart just before it set sail for a historic
meeting in Sydney with another liner.

A. HMB Endeavour
B. QE2
C. Titanic

11) In which jail was this notice about young
prisoners (age 3) seen ?
A. Wormwood Scrubs
B. Alcatraz
C. Old Melbourne Gaol

12) Name this polpular kite surfing spot near

A. St. Kilda

B. St. Martin

C Dublin

13) What kind of animal should you look out
for on the road after dusk ?

A. Kangeroo
B. Elephant
C. Alligator

14) Where is 'Bust me Gal' hill ?

A. Southern highlands of NSW

B. Tasmania

C. Clapham Common

15) Where is the Don Bradman museum

A. Sydney

B. Bowral

C. Brisbane

16) Name this famous beach

A. Bondi

B. Kirra

C. Bells

17) Where is the QE2 moored ?

A. Woolloomooloo
B. Darling Harbour
C. Circular Quay

18) Which is the meanest council in England ?

A. Reading

B. Woking

C. Luton

19) Name this bay in the Freycinet National
Park (Tasmania)

A. Oyster Bay
B. Promise Bay
C. Wineglass Bay

20) Why is the tail plane area dented ?

A. This is how it should be

B. It was hit by a fuel tanker

C. Buckling caused by a rapid descent

I will reveal the solution in my next post.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wallaby steaks

Hi all

Just a quick note from Oz.

I did not get my shark and chips as shark does not seem to be on the menu in NSW.

When spending a few days in Tasmania in the Freycinet National Park we were hoping to coax this Wallaby onto the BBQ but it just hopped off.

When I get back to the UK I will be posting a picture quiz.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Shark and Chips

On 6th February I am jetting off to Australia for three weeks. This date is exactly one year on from the day when I set off for Florida to do my flight training at Naples Air Center (NAC). If you read my blog at the time you will know that I had a great time in Naples.
I will not be updating this blog with details of my time in Australia as it is basically a family holiday with my eldest daughter who lives on the North Shores of Sydney. I will however upload some of the photos I take on our visits to the Southern Highlands, Tasmania and Melbourne, but not the detail that would be boring for readers, even if it is not for me.
On my recovery day after the 24 hour journey I plan to walk down to Balmoral Beach and maybe have ‘shark & chips’ for lunch. The last time I enjoyed this particular combination was in Kalbarri W.A.

Here is a photo that I took of Balmoral Beach on my last visit.

The view from Rose Bay looking towards the city

Last time I was in Sydney it was just before Christmas, so this picture shows a Christmas tree in Darling Harbour. The temperature went up to 38.2 C (about 100 F) that day.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Snow in Surrey ?

Snow in Surrey ?

Usually living in the county of Surrey any snow misses us and falls in Kent instead. Last week we had mild temperatures in the 50 + F.
This morning this was the scene in my back garden.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

I can fly again

It is exactly four weeks since I wrote to the CAA with results of the extra cardiology testing that they requested. The results showed that my heart is functioning normally and that the original ecg taken on 14th November was flawed.
Today I received a reply from the CAA and in it was my new medical certificate. It is slightly irritating that they have back–dated it so that it will expire on the 14th of November 2007 considering that I have not been able to fly for 2 months.
Oh well, I must just be happy that there are no problems and I can get back in the air. I must admit that the weather over the last couple of months has not really suited VFR flying where good visibility is a must.

In fact I may delay my next trip as I am off to Australia in three weeks (BA cabin crew permitting) and will be there for another three weeks. I shall take my licence and medical certificate with me and may get a chance for a flight around Sydney.

Here is a picture that I took back in 2005

It is a float plane that flies tourists from Rose Bay. It must be quite an experience.
I will probably go for a Cessna from a local airfield.

It will be good to leave the British winter behind for a while.

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