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Helicopter Warning

May 4th, 2014

I don’t remember this sign from the highway code. Suspicious as it’s in a forest.


Cow Timer and Pig Whisk

April 26th, 2014

In the future, all kitchen utensils will be farmyard animal themed.


Long Man

April 26th, 2014

Went for a walk along the South Downs last weekend with my parents. Having previously brought you several large chalk horses, doof.me.uk now presents a giant chalk man!


Bit awkward to find a good viewing angle from the top of the hill.

Blurry Chinese Characters on Linux

April 21st, 2014

For future reference, this fixes all woes:

sudo apt-get install xfonts-wqy

UPDATE: a much better solution is to install a pretty TTF font and then make all the characters bigger.

sudo apt-get install fonts-wqy-zenhei fonts-wqy-microhei

Then create a file ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf with the following contents:

<?xml version = "1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
  <match target="font">
    <test qual="any" name="family" compare="eq">
      <string>WenQuanYi Zen Hei</string>
    <edit name="pixelsize" mode="assign">

Oh yeah: am trying to learn some Chinese characters! Prompted by the arrival of an enormous Chinese phone at work.


April 18th, 2014

I went for an epic hike last Sunday in the Chilterns near Henley. I’m pondering applying for the London Marathon next year and as this was just shy of 25 miles I reckon that gives a firm 10 hour upper bound. Just need to repeat it again and again with increasing speed…

One exciting event was the discovery of a lamb (pictured below) not in its enclosure! I promptly entered hero mode and located a nearby farmer who thankfully knew its owner. Apparently this wasn’t the first time it’s escaped…


March 31st, 2014

I went for another walk on Saturday, this time through unexplored territory in Wiltshire. Caught a train to Bedwyn and then headed off through the Savernake Forest and then a really interesting (but windy!) ridge along the Pewsey Downs. Finally I headed north to Avebury, which I visited last year, via the West Kennet long barrow which is another of these ancient burial mounds; but with the exciting twist that you can go inside this one! I suspect the windows in the roof may be a more recent addition.

Although it was sunny it was a bit too hazy to take good photos. Nice area though: nearby Pewsey is train-accessible and I’m pondering a return visit to try crossing the Salisbury Plain. Stay tuned!

Incremental Improvement

March 30th, 2014

Did the Hastings Half Marathon last weekend in 1:33:51. A whole two minutes faster than last year!


Another fifteen years of this rate of improvement and I’ll be a winner…

Ancient Things

March 16th, 2014

My parents were visiting last weekend and we did lots of driving around in my car (see earlier!). Happened to coincide with a burst of unseasonably nice weather. Went to a couple of good places including the Didcot railway museum.

On the Saturday afternoon we journeyed way out west to White Horse Hill.


It’s got a giant chalk carving of a horse and the remains of an iron age hill fort. What more could you want! Avid readers might remember I travelled through here on the way to Swindon last year.

But there’s more! A mile or so down the path there’s this 4500 year old burial mound called Wayland’s Smithy. I don’t think the parents were too impressed. Still, I like it.


Can Has Car

March 15th, 2014

Check it out!


Hemel Hempstead

February 26th, 2014

Ah, Hemel Hempstead. Who hasn’t dreamed of visiting that mythical town? On Saturday morning I woke up and decided I’d do just that, following a similar route to one I did a
few years ago.

I wisely decided to cheat a little bit and got a bus part of the way to Loudwater, near High Wycombe, and then embarked on an epic 22 mile slog through some very boggy terrain. In hindsight this was probably an adventure best saved until summer.

At one point a country road had turned into a river. The water was flowing alarmingly quickly but it wasn’t clear where to.


The higher parts of the route weren’t so bad, and at least it was a sunny day. This is the pleasant looking church at Coleshill:


Around 5pm the light started failing and I decided to abandon the footpaths and take a short cut via some minor roads. Turned out to be a good decision as by the time I got to Hemel Hempstead it was completely dark.


As I was tired, hungry, and facing a nearly two hour train ride home, I decided not to bother doing any exploring of Hemel Hempstead which rendered the whole journey rather pointless. Maybe I’ll make a return visit: apparently a top attraction is the world’s oldest mechanised paper mill which sounds somewhat interesting…