The Berkshire Cambridge Society (BCS) 2016 Lunch was held at the Henley Business School. Members from both the Oxfordshire and Berkshire societies attended the lunchtime meal. The dinner was a buffet dinner, like the previous year, with very clever carved vegetable decorations. The highly interesting guest speaker was John Baxter, former Group Head of Engineering BP and now Chairman of the Advanced Nuclear Research Centre and Visiting Professor in Nuclear Engineering at Strathclyde University.
Last year, I met up with a few ex Walker people at the Kings Head in Aylesbury. Brian V had just recently retired and was having a leaving drink for those who worked, or were still working, in the Aylesbury office (now closed.) This photograph came to light from the original Walker Inventory Management team. Chris, Glyn, Jean (later to become Mrs Glyn), Brian V himself, Tina and Tessa.
Last year, the Sadgits met up in Bury St Edmunds staying at the Old Cannon Brewery. This pub brews beer on site, the day to visit is Monday when the beer is being processed. We all wandered around Bury St Edmunds, meeting up for a drink at the The Nutshell, the smallest pub in Britain. We all managed to squeeze in with room to spare. After our preprandial drink we hastened back to the Old Cannon Brewery for dinner. The next day we went to visit Ickworth House and Gardens for lunch. The house has a fabulous stump garden.
I managed to persuade Rosemary to go to one festival this year, the Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza. She seems to have been further persuaded to go by one of her friends. Playing were Van Morrison, Jamie Cullum and the Wells Cathedral School Jazz Band.
The journey to Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza
We set off from home on the Friday, stopping at Avebury. The site was heaving with people. We walked around most of the ring, picnicking on the bank. The facilities have been changed since we were last there. The National Trust has opened shops, restaurants and museums. We then continued the journey to Glastonbury, passing through Pilton on the way. The trouble with Google maps for navigation was a sudden lack of mobile phone signal meant we were unable to plot a course for some time. The cached map though helped us drive in the correct direction.
A special campsite for the festival had been arranged, very basic, some Glastonbury Festival compost toilets, and trough wash basins. The Festival painted oil drums for rubbish bins were also in attendance. We erected our tent by a hedge and then walked into town for some well earned beers and food. We drank at the Who’d A Thought It, which was the only pub we could find to sit outside, and went to the Elaichi Tandoori for supper. Lovely walk home behind the Tor back to the campsite.
The following day we ate our breakfast, and went to chat with some campervan owners to see how they had done their conversions. Interesting conversation. They seem to have been long time campers and campervan owners. We then walked up to the top of the Tor where the views were staggering. We could see Hinkley Point nuclear power station on one side, and on the other side we could make out the Glastonbury Festival pyramid stage field and Worthy farm. To the North of Hinkley we could make out the Bristol Channel and Wales beyond. We met an American who had come over expressly for the Van Morrison concert and a chap who lived on Worthy Farm.
After the Tor we walked on to Glastonbury for lunch at the Hundred Monkeys Cafe. Rosemary assured me it was a Vegan cafe, and that I was not to mention steaks. The first item on the menu was beef burger. It was a rather bizarre experience, on what was going to be a busy day, the kitchen did not have a full team, so customers were being turned away from a half empty restaurant. We were seated, but did spend several hours there. A lazy afternoon ensured with a bottle of prosecco at the Who’d A Thought It.
Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza
At five we entered the Abbey grounds and found an area on a slight rise that should give us an uninterrupted view of the stage. The fun started. R was pleased with the Wells Cathedral School Jazz Band and Jamie Cullum. She did not like Van Morrison at all. I have to admit there were probably just two of his songs I recognised. Still is was a good evening with an almost cloudless sky. Even saw the International Space station pass overhead. The night was finished with splendid fireworks.
The next day
The morning after the Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza, it was raining. A very fine drizzle in the morning, meant we had to dry the tent out when we got home. We packed and went towards Pilton. Here we tried to get to Worthy Farm, but it is barricaded off. Showed Rosemary where Love Fields is. We then headed for home on the A303.
Then Google announced a detour because of traffic congestion, and we headed off on the A36 towards Stofford where we stopped for lunch at the Swan at Stofford. We did not go for their Sunday roast, but ate from the menu. Back on the road, and followed the diversion directions back to the A303, to be met by the traffic problem caused by people rubber necking Stonehenge. At least Google had saved us a few miles of traffic problems, and showed us a reasonable pub for lunch. Time the A303 was buried out of sight of Stonehenge, should improve the traffic flow no end.
Rosemary dropped SadGit Richard G and me off at Ludgershall at last year’s Bike Night. The Bike Night is held every year. Hundreds of motor bikes turn up for the evening at this small rural village in Buckinghamshire. As you can see there are hundreds of people wandering up the village road looking at the bikes, admiring the machines, chatting, drinking beer and eating. This year the evening was warm, still, and fabulous. Cheese, biscuits & red wine were waiting at home for us following Rosemary’s resumed chauffeuring duties.
Visited Bletchley Park today with Valerie and Norman. This was definitely not the best day to go, Fathers Day. The exhibitions were busy, overflow parking was in a nearby school.
We had been to Bletchley Park, years ago. Several restaurants have been added since then. With lottery funding a working Bombe machine has been recreated. This was demonstrated with an explanation on how it works. We next viewed some excellent displays which went into greater detail of the decoding process. I never managed to get around the whole of the site. I will be visiting again, the tickets allow free entry for a whole year. The National Museum of Computing is on the same site. They house the replica Colossus machine along with other old computers. This is definitely on my wish list.
Bletchley Park House
Next we walked around Bletchley Park House, where there was an exhibition of the The Imitation Game film. This is complete with Bombe machines used in the Benedict Cumberbatch film. These don’t work, just the dials rotate with the electric motors behind. The sound engineers used the recreated Bombe for sound track on the film. Wrens who had worked on the real machines back in World War II say it does make the correct sound.
Second Visit to Bletchely Park
We did make a second visit to Bletchely Park when Richard and Andrea visited us. Rosemary, Richard and I visited the park (Andrea was off at a Conference). It was less busy, but still busy. This time we saw a few other huts. One very amusing one was the use of carrier pigeons for intelligence purposes. Did you know there had been undercover spy pigeons? Each side was shooting down pigeons, or using birds of prey.
Rosemary and I visited Cambridge for the Gonville and Caius Alumni garden party. This is a thankyou event to those alumni who donate to the college. Despite high fees paid by undergraduates, their payments only cover half the costs. When I was a student at Cambridge, tuition costs were fully paid, and I also received a grant for living expenses. I feel a debt of gratitude which I now repay by donations to Caius college. This is big business to the college, who have a set of rewards depending on the value of gifts made.
The day was a sunny day, and the city was lively with the Brexit campaign in full swing. The city was full of those supporting the Remain campaign. Of course the majority of those we spoke to at the alumni party were in support of Remain. Education and research is so bound up with freedom of movement and research grants from the EU. It is no surprise that Cambridge voted to remain.
The food at the party was as usual excellent. I have never seen so many prepared Cromer grabs. Wine and fizz was available in good quantities. After the congratulatory speeches we hastened to the Cockerell building where the Illuminated Caius Choirbook was on display. We were also entertained to some singing from the Caius Choirbook and came away with a CD.
Picture of a Starling chick being fed in an old, disused Rayburn solid fuel cooker which a pair of Starlings were using as a nest. This was the second time Starlings have done this, the previous time being two years ago. I managed to grab a few pictures of the chick being fed. The next day it had fledged and gone. The pictures were taken through an open window on a Canon EOS7D Mk2. The lens was a 100 – 400 Canon.
Both parents were feeding one chick. At least, I believe there was only one chick. This was the same as the previous nesting two years before.
I have published my complete set of pictures from our trip to Botswana and Zambia. Any spelling mistakes, please refer to Rosemary, she sense read the diary, correcting, unbelievably, stalks to storks (it spellchecked, so must have been ok, I thought). We were away 23rd April – 7th May 2016.
The pages to view are here at Botswana and Zambia Safari.
Waddesdon Manor Christmas Lights 2015. Bruce Munro’s installation of lights at Waddesdon Manor called SOS, This is his final year of three years at Waddesdon Manor. The lights on Waddesdon manor were by Woodroffe Bassett design. We visited with Ian and Julie. Lovely warm evening for December. You must watch the video to hear the sound track associated with the lights in the tent.
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Rosemary and I ventured into London to see The Amazing World of M.C. Escher exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery. His graphics were truly amazing, from his original portraits and drawings, onto metamorphosis, and tessellations. There was also the iconic waterfall. He worked with British mathematicians, like Roger Penrose who gave Escher the idea for the stairs picture. Exhibitions of his work are very rare in the UK, and this one is well worth visiting. It is on until the 17th January. We also ate lunch at the gallery restaurant, tad expensive, but very nice meal.
Back in Central London we visited the Chris Beetle gallery. They are the gallery that sell the original Matt cartoons which are published in the Telegraph. I have an original Matt which Rosemary bought me for my birthday, its of Cyber Crime. Sorry Guv I had to taser the computer. R had tried to buy me a Glastonbury Matt, but it was sold in minutes of being published. The gallery staff were in fact setting up an exhibition of Matt Cartoons, presumably the ones which did not sell. They also sell originals from many other cartoonists and etchings from a variety of books.
A coffee in a Cafe Nero, then a stare at some of the shop windows as we walked our way to Piccadilly Circus and back home.
I have been meaning to see Mars, Venus and Jupiter for the last few days, but been thwarted by not waking up and the clouds. First saw them at 2.00am on Saturday morning, saw two bright objects in the sky, low to the horizon. I thought the other object must still be below the horizon. So went back to sleep, to wake at 4.45 am to find cloud.
After the Kingswood fireworks, I set the alarm for 4.45, prepared the camera and went to bed. Woke and it was misty, but the stars were still visible. This time I saw the two bright objects high in the sky? Where was the third. Puzzled, fired up google Night Sky and searched for Mars, Venus and Jupiter. Duh, of course Mars was not as bright as Venus and Jupiter. The red planet was easily spotted with binoculars. Here is a photograph of the planets, from left to right they are Mars (red), Venus (the brightest) and Jupiter.
Saturday we went to our local firework display at Kingswood organised by Ian and Julie and kindly hosted by George and Annie. Ian put on the display. Burgers and sausages cooked and serverd by Duncan, Keith, Karin and Charlotte. Good time as we get to meet and chat with others from the village we might not meet every day. Selina, Phil and Julian came over as well. Selina caught up with Julie and Smeg.
Lovely still evening, no wind and remarkably warm for the end of October. The bonfire included some of the stuff we had been collecting for years, including old doors and our “thermometer” which was placed on the crossways years ago when we were trying to get people to sign up for broadband.
Summer is over, though the last few weeks have been sunny and hot. Why do I declare summer over? The bird feeders have been erected, 50 kilos of sunflower hearts, 25 kilos of peanuts and 25 kilos of Niger seed have to be eaten this winter. Start eating, birds, I need the space back.