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Archives for October, 2010

Hastings Pier

October 30th, 2010

A very sad event happened in my hometown a few weeks ago: Hastings pier was largely destroyed in a huge fire; possibly started by some miscreants. This is the first time I’ve been back to Hastings since the fire and although it had been closed for several years pending repair, the pier is in a very sorry state indeed:

The “you can save me” banner was put there by the people raising money to renovate the pier before the fire: they’re going to need a lot more money now :-(. Some more photos I took of the pier and Hastings seafront are below.

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Beeches Way

October 24th, 2010

It’s Sunday so it must be time for another day out. Today I walked along the Beeches Way, a path from Cookham in Berkshire to Yiewsley in West London, slicing through the southern part of Buckinghamshire. It’s a very pleasant place to go walking with lots of woodland and few built-up areas until you get within the M25. At just under 16 miles it’s also a perfect length for a single day, especially as it starts and finishes near two railway stations.

This is right at the start going towards Cliveden House on the Bucks. side of the Thames. This bit is very flat, but mostly the route is pleasantly hilly. Later on I came to Burnham Beeches, which you might remember I have visited before.

Factoid of the day: this tree has been pollarded – a once common pruning technique where the upper parts of the tree a periodically removed for firewood encouraging it to grow in this strange shape. It also has the benefit of growing a low canopy to shelter livestock.

An hour or so later and I’m on Stoke Common. This is apparently a very well preserved example of the heathland that once covered this part of the country. Very peaceful here.

Around mid-afternoon and I’m in the somewhat clumsily named Black Park Country Park. This is the large lake in the middle that seems very popular with families and model boat enthusiasts. After here the scenery starts to deteriorate plodding through Iver and finally over the M25:

At this point it started to rain; one of those strange downpours where the sun is still shining. This was quite good timing as it help to liven up a dull walk past a sewage works and some run-down industrial buildings. After that the path runs briefly along the Grand Union Canal and then into Yiewsley where it terminates. It didn’t strike me as a particularly exciting place to visit: West Drayton station is conveniently nearby.

Mostly for my own benefit I’ve started mapping the places where I’ve been on adventures to track my progress through the great unexplored wilderness. It may however be useful for others who wish to follow the same route, so I reproduce it below:

Reading to Goring

October 17th, 2010

Off I go again! Westwards this time, towards Oxford. I walked from Reading to Goring along the Thames. Pretty countryside, but not a lot to report except this picturesque church at Whitchurch:

A bit later on I came across a crazy horse who was trying to nom his way through a fence.

Best not to ask questions I think. Finally just before I got to Goring the path went under this very attractive railway bridge:

UPDATE: It has come to my attention that the title of this post could be misread. For clarification, Reading is a town in Berkshire (pronounced /ˈrɛdɪŋ/) and not an activity involving books; and Goring is a town in Oxfordshire, not something violent involving bull fighting, or a Nazi leader. I hope that clears up any misunderstandings.


October 16th, 2010

Last weekend I went to EuroBSDCon 2010 in Karlsruhe, Germany. It was very interesting! I learnt lots, especially from the Kirk McKusick tutorial I did on the Friday. It was all paid for by work as well.

In the evenings I managed to get outside and explore Karlsruhe a bit. It’s a nice provincial town, although much of it looks like a construction site at the moment due to major metro restructuring. Karlsruhe was only built as recently as the 18th century which means it has a very well planned fan layout with the giant palace in the middle.

On Monday when my flight wasn’t until the evening I took the train out to the nearby town of Durlach, which is much older than Karlsruhe itself, being in existence since the 14th century. It has some very nice old buildings and is perfect for wandering around and exploring.

Obviously I took some photos, which are here: