GPS Tracking

I took my handheld GPS receiver with me in London, where it and OpenStreetMap data were invaluable at navigating to wherever I wanted to visit. I left the track logs enabled so I have a crude map of where I went in London:
[Clusters of GPS tracks around London]
Parts of the Thames are visible.

I also attached it to the buggy of an unsuspecting victim kite flier at Wallop which produced this track:
[Buggy GPS track at Middle Wallop]
Red parts are slow, green (turning to blue) parts are faster. The maximum speed was 36 MPH.

Map data ©2004-2010 OpenStreetMap contributors.
OpenStreetMap data can be used freely under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

Wallop 2010

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Instead of returning home from London on Friday, by coincidence the Middle Wallop Kite Festival was on that weekend so I took a train to Hampshire and met up with Kevin & Leah who moved there recently.

After a short drive to Wallop we were left waiting until after 1am for our accommodation (a motor home) to arrive from Scotland because it was stuck in a really bad traffic jam north of Oxford... fortunately we had some late night entertainment watching an AA man get into a car with the keys locked in the boot. He survived people tripping over him and the jack that was holding the car up too.

It rained on Saturday morning but the sun came out later and the weather on Sunday was much better. Plenty of sun to burn me while I took a few hundred photos. I'll have to try and remember to actually use sunscreen next time. I left early on Monday morning for the 8½ hour train journey back home.

I was going to buy a new camera soon... but for the first time in 5 years I've finally found a use for the viewfinder and some of the newer compact cameras lack one. It's impossible to take burst shots of someone moving past you in sunlight using only the display. The Canon IXUS 300 HS can take 240 FPS video but without being able to aim it quickly that might not be very useful.

London Photos

The photos from my trip to London are on Flickr in the May 2010: London collection. There's a separate set of Elephant Parade London 2010 photos.

Wandering around London Part 2

I got some breakfast from Pret a Manger (there are definitely some French accents missing from that name...) and then visited the Bank of England Museum, which is only open on banking days and is as boring as it sounds.

A long trip on the DLR later and I arrived at the Prime Meridian Line in Greenwich, which has moved since they decided where to put it.

I had another late lunch at Tate Britain before looking at the art on display there. Much better than Tate Modern but I didn't get many photos because taking photos indoors without the flash on is almost impossible with my camera.

Spent a couple of hours in Selfridges looking for something interesting before leaving with two Elephant Parade elephants.

Wandering around London Part 1

After getting some breakfast from Gail's I walked past BBC Television Centre then went down Charing Cross Road stopping at Soho Square and Leicester Square (which happened to be closed this week for filming) before heading to Hampstead Heath. Eventually I reached the top of Parliament Hill before heading south for Tate Modern.

I had a late lunch of haddock and chips before wandering around wondering why almost anything qualifies as "art". There was a massive traffic jam of taxis outside when I left. A quick wander around the maze that is Harrods looking at things over-priced in the thousands of pounds, before heading home for dinner.

Visit to London

Over two years since I last visited London, I boarded two trains with minutes to spare each time (after trying to get onto the wrong platform at Waverley) and arrived mid afternoon. I'm staying with a couple of friends who have space for me to sleep on a very large bean bag.

Everybody Draw Muhammad Day

Today is Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!, so I thought I'd contribute. According to Wikipedia, and various helpful protest signs, the proper spelling is Muhammad.

Muhammad and his 11 wives
Drawing 11 wives is not trivial, and my drawing skills are rather poor so I've had to copy and paste a lot. I'm not going to attempt to draw in children too because there's not really enough space.

Images of Muhammad are controversial, but violent threats are not the answer.

Walking to Work

A year ago, Stagecoach changed all the bus routes around so that there was no longer a service that went past where I work, so I returned my bus pass and started walking instead. Over 600 miles and a large umbrella that I keep trying to lose in supermarkets later and I'm still walking both ways every day. The time passes quickly with music playing.

Cheap plastic bags

Both ASDA and Tesco prompt people to reuse carrier bags and have sold thick plastic carrier bags for a while now but their free bags have simply gotten thinner and less reusable. They start falling apart after a few uses... like this Tesco bag, which didn't like holding items from ASDA so the bottom split open and it threw them all over the car park:
Tesco carrier bag wrapped around a broken shampoo bottle
(Yes, that's one of the shampoo bottles from yesterday missing its lid, they're not just PVC, they're unable to handle being dropped too).


I put everything into the remaining ASDA bag which managed to survive the walk home (except for a handle) although it looks like the bottom was ready to give way too:
Repaired ASDA carrier bag handle ASDA carrier bag ready to break

ASDA's bags normally split down the side very quickly:
ASDA bag with split down the side



I used one of Tesco's basic non-free bags for over a year before the handle eventually gave way (but the various holes in the bottom are ready to go too) and I still need to get it replaced...
Tesco carrier bag with broken handle

So... the message is: reuse your carrier bags, as long as you paid extra for them first. I used to have a bright green Marks & Spencer carrier bag that intended to survive forever, but it got covered in sticky Irn-Bru so I had to throw it away.

Widely recycled PVC?

ASDA brand shampoo bottles are made of plastic so it should be easy to recycle them, but they're not. Someone has failed to check what type of plastic is actually being used. The label says:
Disposal: BOTTLE PLASTIC widely recycled
However, the plastic is type 3 (PVC) which is, according to Wikipedia, not typically recycled and there are no facilities to recycle this in Fife:
[Plastic Type 3 PVC symbol]

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Content authored by myself is just my honest opinion. If you find any words or pictures menacing or offensive, stop reading now.

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simon@arlott.org.uk
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