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Archives for September, 2014

Oslo Again

September 21st, 2014

After a three year hiatus my work trips to Oslo have happily resumed. Our company recently moved into some office space at Fornebu just outside Oslo which is coincidentally quite near the Lysaker offices of my former employer. The office itself is inside a refurbished terminal building of the old Oslo airport. The new airport being inconveniently located about a zillion miles in the other direction.

office_scale

The terminal is now a “hip” and “trendy” space for start-up offices with lots of “edgy” features like exposed pipes and half-finished stairwells. Definitely nicer than our grim London office.

Nearby is the massive headquarters of Norwegian state-owned oil company Statoil. It’s built like a huge Jenga tower: each of those blocks is three storeys high! Even stranger, underneath the blocks is a mix of brightly coloured panels and TV screens showing psychedelic videos. Nice to see some modern architecture that isn’t all glass and steel.

statoil_scale

I managed to have a totally cashless trip using a combination of credit cards and this amazing pay-by-phone app called RuterBillet. You just pay for a bus ticket via the app then show the driver the “picture of the day” before the timer expires. I was very excited.

bus_scale

We stayed right in the centre of Oslo and I was up on the 27th floor with this totally awesome view over the train station and fjord. As usual everything in Olso was horrifically expensive: glad I’m not paying!

hotel_scale

Here are some more photos I took during evening sightseeing:

Piggies Ahoy

September 14th, 2014

Last Sunday I went adventuring in the downs near Newbury. Obsessive fans of this blog may remember I last visited Newbury five years ago but I only did minor exploring of the surrounding countryside.

The highlight of the whole trip was when I unexpectedly stumbled upon a large encampment of friendly piggies! The piggies came in three varieties: tiny; medium; and gargantuan. Here we see examples of the first and third categories:

piggy1_scale

The little piglets are soo cute! Also the most energetic: the big piggies are mostly sleeping off their dinner. Alarmingly the piglets are able to wander out onto the footpath. Presumably the farmer is aware.

piggy2_scale

The elusive medium sized piggy! For some unknown reason there are far fewer of this sized piggy than the other two. Suspect negative correlation with the availability of bacon in the vicinity.

piggy3_scale

Here’s where I went: it’s in an area called the “North Wessex Downs”. I wandered along a river valley for a bit then over the M4 into the downland which feels incredibly deserted for the south of England.

Some typical scenery in the area:

downs_scale

As always happens at this time of the year, I totally forgot it gets dark before 9pm now and ended up arriving back in Newbury after sunset. Lucky I packed my super awesome LED torch! It was really atmospheric at Donnington Castle above the town with a full moon and the lights in the distance. I tried to take a decent photo with an improvised tripod but the results were a bit disappointing.

night_scale

Metroland

September 4th, 2014

I love almost everything about this programme:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00cyyqw/metroland

John Betjeman was a legend, although he was very wrong about Slough.