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Return of the Mini Train

November 7th, 2017

My parents took me to the Romney, Hythe, and Dymchurch railway last weekend for my birthday. I feel like I must be six years old again. Luckily this place never changes.


October 29th, 2017

Took a few days off work last week to go exploring near Avebury again. On the second day I walked to Devizes which I thought would be interesting but turned out to be rather dull. The main attraction seems to be the huge flight of locks on the canal, but that was a way out the western side of town and I didn’t have time to visit.

But I did have time to visit Silbury hill, which I’ve only ever seen from a distance before. It’s another neolithic monument thing near Avebury.

And also the West Kennet Long Barrow. Which you can go inside with the help of some skylights added by the Victorians.

Unfortunately at the same time a hurricane was passing over which meant it was incredibly windy. Oh, and the SUN TURNED RED!

Hidden Rainbow

October 7th, 2017

Spotted a sneaky rainbow hiding in the clouds at sunset this evening.

What’s the difference between 收到, 受到, and 得到?

September 30th, 2017

One of the things I find a bit frustrating about learning Chinese is that there are a lot of words that seem to have very similar meanings. If you look up 收到, 受到, and 得到 in the dictionary they all apparently mean “get, receive, obtain”, which is not very helpful. Also 收到 and 受到 sound very similar which is extra confusing. Actually there are some subtle differences so I thought I’d share my researches here.


This one means to receive something concrete or a physical object. E.g. 收到一个礼物 “receive a present”, 收到一封信 “get a letter”. One person I asked also said there’s some sense that the thing being received either originally belonged to you or should rightfully belong to you. By itself 收 also has the simple meaning of “to get a thing”.


This means to receive something more abstract or emotional like love or concern or punishment. It also has some sense of being “passively” received. E.g. 受到指责 “receive criticism”, 受到关心 “receive the concern of others”. I try to remember this by thinking the character 受 looks a lot like 爱 “love” and so should have something to do with emotions (probably not etymologically accurate). By itself 受 also means to passively receive something, e.g. in 受欢迎 “be well-received or popular”.


This one is also more abstract than 收到. It means to receive something that was deserved or earned in some way. E.g. 因为他赢了,他得到了金牌 “because he won, he received the gold medal”, 因为他工作得很努力,他得到了表彰 “because he worked hard he received a commendation”. It can also be used a negative sense, like receiving punishment or criticism that was deserved.

Oslo Folk Museum

September 17th, 2017

It’s been a whole year since I last went to Oslo and another work trip was probably a bit overdue. I flew out on Sunday morning so I had a whole afternoon to do some sightseeing. Unfortunately I’ve pretty much exhausted the sightseeing opportunities in Oslo so I had to go back to one I enjoyed from my first visit in October 2009: the Norwegian folk museum.

It’s a large open air museum with traditional houses taken from all over Norway. Most of them have grass roofs like this. I thought it might be somewhere to keep the animals in winter but someone pointed out that was pretty stupid.

I also found this traditional wooden church that we missed last time.

Unfortunately the weather on my three working days was totally miserable: cold and raining all the time. And it was just like that when I got back to England too.

Sea Plane

August 31st, 2017

I went with my mum to the Eastbourne air show, as we do every year. But this time they had something different, a sea plane!

Alas it decided not to actually land on the sea. Health ‘n’ safety no doubt.


August 30th, 2017

The doof.me.uk content engine seems to have ground of a halt as of late. Partly because I’ve been doing some boring things at the weekend, and partly because I had a running/gym induced leg injury and the physio wanted me to rest it a bit. Anyway, I did manage to get out last Saturday and do a walk from Tring to Dunstable.

Towards Ivinghoe Beacon

This seems to a pretty optimal route for the area: the scenery was excellent almost the whole way. Except for a slightly crummy bit skirting round the edge of Whipsnade Zoo. Although I did see a kangaroo.

Too Hot for Exploring

July 13th, 2017

Recently it’s got extremely hot in the southeast so I took an impromptu Monday off and went for two days exploring near Swindon and Avebury. Although really it’s just places I’ve explored before.

I’m not sure why, but I seemed to be the only person willing to go hiking in 30 degree heat and no shade. Hmm. Here on top of Pewsey Downs I didn’t see anyone for hours.

Harmondsworth Barn

June 17th, 2017

Here’s somewhere I’ve wanted to go ever since I moved to this part of northwest London but never had the chance, Harmondsworth Barn.

It’s a medieval great barn. One of the few places of that vintage in these parts, although it’s been upgraded and restored a lot over the years.

I originally heard about it as it was scheduled to be demolished to make way for the third runway at Heathrow, but it’s unclear to me whether it will survive under the latest plans.

The reason it took me so long to visit is that I can never get my head around “Nth Sunday of the month” type of opening days. And it’s only open in the summer months.


June 15th, 2017

Last Friday was entirely too sunny to spend in the office so I took an impromptu day off and went hiking in Chiltern Hills near home.

Originally I thought I’d get as far as Dunstable or Luton but that wasn’t going to happen so instead I stopped at Tring.

The one interesting bit happened right at the end where I spied a strange tower on a hitherto unexplored hill in the distance. After a bit of scrambling around I managed to climb up to it and it was this monument thing. Only open at the weekend apparently, which was a bit of a bummer.

Finally I managed to take this photo of off-scale-Englishness country scene.