May 31, 2005
Posted by daen at 01:06 PM
Hurrah! A new version of MT - relatively painless to install, and a new style for the site ... hmm.
Posted by daen at 01:22 AM
May 30, 2005
Wivenhodyssey part 1
Saturday 21 May 2005
08:35 (CET) Arrive Copenhagen airport with one small backpack and a piece of wheely luggage mainly containing boots.
08:50 Am checked in on easyJet flight 3562 for Stansted departing 10:15.
09:00 Through security - no flashing red lights or internal body cavity searches this time.
09:00 to 09:15 I wander around for a bit. I buy batteries for MP3 player and GPS, aquavit, a hat in Danish red-and-white and a couple of small Danish flags for the birthday boy, and get £100 out from Nordea.
09:15 "Breakfast" consists of a chicken and bacon foccacia roll and a cup of "latte".
09:25 Thus fortified I check the departures screen, expecting to see an 09:45 boarding time for flight 3562. Alas, the plane is now slated for departure at 10:55. Shortly, this is corrected to 10:25, but it still means another 1/2 hour wait. Sigh.
09:30 Decide to lift spirits with a Gammel Dansk and small beer.
09:40 Have purchased "Freedom in Exile", the Dalai Lama's autobiog, and Saturday's "Politiken", which I never seem to get around to reading at home.
09:45 Resort to slightly desultory walking around, waiting for gate to be called. And waiting. And waiting. Good job Copenhagen airport is like a 1950s vision of "air travel of the future" - open airy spaces, beautiful wooden floors, nice shops and small cafés. In short, there are worse places to kill half an hour (although the airport is definitely somewhere lower on the list than my own bed).
09:50 Cigars are only sold in bulk at airports. Tcha.
10:00-ish Finally, boarding, so I go to gate B19.
10:20 On the plane, somewhere in the middle.
10:50-ish to 11:50-ish (BST) Uneventful flight. "This flight is being run by Titan Airways [who?] on behalf of easyJet". Hmmm.
12:20 Disembarkation and baggage retrieval over and done with. Out to pick up rental car. Stansted seems to get busier and busier (and correspondingly less pleasant to spend time around) with my every visit.
12:30 Hmmm. No Mercedes C180 for me. Instead I hold in my clammy paw the key to a vehicle bearing the proud model name of "Magentis", manufacturer unspecified.
12:45 Having done my usual trick of wandering out the wrong side (yes, well, the rental pickup used to be where the car park is now at Stansted), I manage to double back and find Europcar's stand and bay 37, where a long, black, sinister looking Kia Magentis stares back at me. I feel slightly nervous, like a pony trekker who has booked some dark Shadowfax lookalike by mistake. I load the car and set off. Having established contact with Copenhagen (thank goodness for mobile roaming agreements), the SMSs are already arriving from the Wivenhoe crew demanding to know ETA. I prevaricate, deciding that a shower and a walk are required. But I get ahead of myself.
12:45-13:20 The trip from Stansted airport to the outskirts of Colchester (about 35 miles) takes around 1/2 hour, with the "new" A120 bypass saving a good deal of time. The car is actually not bad, comfortable, responsive and ridiculously spacious for one person. I am quite embarrassed, not only because I am driving around in an enormous Kia, but because I am driving it on my own. I feel I should have a family of five in there with me. The stereo and CD are pretty poor, but I listen to "Palookaville" and some Janis Joplin anyway.
13:20-14:00 And the trip from the outskirts of Colchester to the hotel (about 3 miles) takes about 25 minutes. I am surprised at how busy Colchester has grown. Cars everywhere and new buildings are sprouting up where it seems perfectly serviceable old buildings used to be.
14:00 The Rose and Crown on East Hill seems to be a nice enough place. Space to park the car, a nice enough room (but with a very small bathroom) and what seems to be a very comfy bed.
14:00-14:35 I shower and change, and head out for the evening ahead.
14:35 It seems odd to be walking along a street I have driven along many times before, but walked along only occasionally.
14:45 I stop off at Tesco's to buy some lunch - a Red Bull, some sandwiches and a bottle of water.
15:00 I'm heading for the Wivenhoe trail, a beautiful stretch of path running through the marshes and woods along the north side of the river Colne. I am surprised at how developed the area has become - it takes five minutes to cross the road from Tesco's and look - there's a new B&Q! - and when I get to the signpost marking the start of the trail ...
I am dismayed to find that it is closed.
A closer look at the notice reveals that all is not lost. "An alternative route is available via Colne Causeway, Lightship Way and the new road that will link Lightship Way with footpath 129". Hmmm ... I'm sure I've seen that road just now ...
15:05 Some backtracking to the B&Q roundabout find me at Lightship Way. Walking down Lightship Way, feeling very lost, somebody stops and asks directions to some store or other that I have never heard of. I have to answer him, very truthfully, that I have absolutely no idea.
15:06 A short detour to the right, and I'm down by the Colne. At least, I think it's the Colne - it doesn't look very familiar to me. The Coldock building over to the right, at least, I recognise, but the others must be the new University of Essex student accommodation.
15:07 I start walking along the trail. The noise of traffic, which until the river was incessant, starts to fade. Larks are singing high up, blackbirds and the small birds of the hedgerow can also now be heard. The river is at low ebb, and some river birds are dabbling around in the mud. All around are green spring colours. The weather is overcast but warm, with occasional breaks in the cloud letting the warm sun through.
15:16 A train goes past. I photograph it. Why not?
15:50 After some 50 minutes walk, I come to the start of the "New Wivenhoe" - the development on the site of the old Wivenhoe Port. It's a bit of a surprise to see houses where there used to be none ("When I were a lad, this were all fields...") but I guess it looks idyllic enough.
15:51 I decide to explore the New Wivenhoe.
15:52 For the second time in an hour, I am lost. I want to stop someone and ask, "Excuse me, can you tell me where Wivenhoe is?". There seem to be both an Admiral Way and an Admirals Way? Why? Or has someone messed up the signwriting? I head for where I think the river is.
15:56 The view is disconcerting. Where there are houses now, six years ago was a derelict port. I have seen the building work begin from the river, but have never stood in this place and seen this exact view. The size of the development is a bit scary. A lot of the buildings you can see in this picture are new, except for the ones where the quay stops - where the mud and boats are, essentially.
15:57 Walking along the Quay reveals some pleasant but somehow absurd views of the new Wiv. A note to the architects : the jutting beams from the fronts of old warehouses were to afix pulleys to in order to allow sacks and other goods and chattels to be hoist to the top of the warehouse and down again. You do not need to build them into a new building that never was, is not, and never will be a warehouse.
16:00 Time for a drink. First port of call : the Rose and Crown.
16:05 Which is showing the cup final on TV. So much for a quiet drink and read of the newspaper. Although it's moderately busy, I don't actually recognise anybody there, anyway.
16:25 I finish my pint of Broadside and head for the Black Buoy. Someone there vaguely recognises me from my commuting days, first class division, but is slightly too befuddled by drink and bewitched by the cup final to pay me much atttention. I order a half of IPA, quaff it and move on.
16.35 Fortunately, I recognise Garrison House and it recognises me. Some things do not change.
16:40 I stop at Valentino's restaurant on the High Street on the offchance that the proprietoress is there. She is. She remembers me, and we reminisce a little about the old days. I am glad that there is at least one person in the village who remembers me (melodrama).
16:45 The Greyhound. Indeed. Some things really do not change. I walk in to the pub which has to varying degrees, and through four sets of landlords, been like a second home to me since 1989. And am greeted by several old friends.
18:55 The greetings continue unabated for some time.
I spend several hours with Julie, Peter and Hunter, among others, catching up on nearly five years of news and gossip, some happy (various friends getting married or getting together with other friends) and some sad (the deaths of Dr Rick and Bridget).
21:23 Am now slightly tipsy and late for the original purpose of trip, which was to go to a birthday party. Ooops. A quick visit to Queens Road for nostalgia and to bother John and Ira, then to the staging post of Julie and Snod's place for a quick bite to eat at their BBQ while the taxi arrives. Nick and Rick are there, along with Anabelle and Tony. Which is nice.
21:30 The questions "Where are you going from, and where are you going to?" as asked by the taxi dispatcher send me into fits of the giggles, because I don't know either answer. A quick poll of the BBQ guests reveals the answer to the first question, while the second can be figured out with the aid of a map which I have back at the hotel.
21:45 I bid farewell to the BBQers, and the taxi driver and I agree that the best place to start the Quest for the Birthday Bonfire is back at the Rose and Crown, where the map is.
22:10 Refreshed, with map in hand, and a mere 2 hours 10 minutes late, I arrive at the entrance to Hilly Fields where the bonfire is.
22:15 I wander around a bit, trying to get in. Finally, I spy a hole in the fence, and the enticing gleam of a bonfire beyond. I plunge into the darkness ... and promptly fall down a slope, into the maw of some transgenic chimera of brambles and nettles. For good measure, a length of loose steel wire hooks my trouser leg, too. I dangle there for a while, before elegantly flipping over on my back during a feeble attempt at escape, with the limbs that are not pinioned to the ground by my vegetable assassin flailing uselessly in the air. Finally, I manage to break free, and notice that in fact there is a gentle path down to the bonfire about 10 feet to my left. The nettle sting to my left hand actually persisted for nearly 24 hours, which was pretty impressive, and the bramble scratches to my upper thighs are only now fading.
22:15-03:00 The bonfire goes well. I know some of the guests, and the birthday boy too, of course. The snaps goes down well, and the hat is worn. The Danish birthday song is sung - several times - and good food is consumed. I have conversations about important aspects of Life, the Universe and Everything such as Java vs .NET, cats, and the personal rigour demanded by strict veganism.
03:26 Finally, it is time to go back to the hotel.
And the bed is extremely comfortable.
Posted by daen at 12:09 AM
May 29, 2005
Posted by daen at 11:24 PM
May 24, 2005
Back from Wivenhoe
I went to a birthday party on Saturday back in Wivenhoe, England, and also met up with a whole load of people I haven't seen for 4 1/2 years. It was a good trip, but I am so tired now. More blogging about this later including the full photo journal, entitled 29 hours 12 minutes. There will be lots of beautiful Essex countryside, old buildings, even older people (some with hats) and two (count'em) rainbows.
Posted by daen at 10:30 AM
May 19, 2005
Apropos of nothing at all, I somehow feel cheated that Lucas released episodes IV to VI first : we know what happened to Anakin Skywalker and his progeny already, so what's the big deal? Slippery slope blah blah dark side blah blah look out for that lava blah blah bucket on head - rest is (pre-)history.
Maybe I'm getting old?
But then, I am looking forward to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ...
So, not old, then, just sad.
Posted by daen at 08:35 PM
US 'could win over Muslim world'
Apart from the unintended double meaning, isn't this another blinding glimpse of the bloody obvious, except to NeoCons who will be shocked and angry, as usual when anything critical of US government policies is discussed?
The US could improve its image among Muslims if it listened more, adopted a humbler tone and emphasised its aid programmes, a report says.
In related news, the World is shocked to find that the new Pope is not a protestant, and ramblers complain of the lack of woodside toilet facilities for bears.
Posted by daen at 08:30 PM
Oh, to be in England
Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge—
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
-- Robert Browning
Posted by daen at 12:58 PM
I dag er det Oles fødselsdag!
Hurra! Hurra! Hurra!
Han sikkert sig en gave får
som han har ønsket sig i år
og dejlig chokolade med kage til.
Hvor smiler han, hvor er han glad
Hurra! Hurra! Hurra!
Men denne dag er også rar,
for hjemme venter mor og far
med dejlig chokolade med kage til.
Og når han hjem fra skolen går,
Hurra! Hurra! Hurra!
Så skal han hjem og holde fest,
og hvem der kommer med som gæst,
får dejlig chokolade med kage til.
Til slut vi råber højt i kor.
Hurra! Hurra! Hurra!
Gid Ole længe leve må
og sine ønsker opfyldt få -
og dejlig chokolade med kage til.
-- Otto Mikkelsen
Posted by daen at 12:59 AM
77/78 bus times
Posted by daen at 12:30 AM
May 16, 2005
Posted by daen at 08:14 PM
Hotel D'Angleterre on Kongens Nytorvlast year) and this is one of a set of photos I took today to show the square in its new finery. It's a big improvement, I have to say. This photo is of the Hotel D'Angleterre, one of Copenhagen's most expensive hotels where you can expect to rub shoulders with Madonna and the like.
Posted by daen at 08:12 PM
May 13, 2005
This year, some 283 cruise ships are expected to dock at Copenhagen. That's one more than last year, and an all-time high.
The QE2 is 293 metre (963 feet) long, carries 1791 passengers and a crew of 921 and displaces 70,327 tons.
Posted by daen at 07:51 PM
May 09, 2005
Posted by daen at 08:13 PM
May 07, 2005
Borland BDP, IIS and Oracle : more questions than answers?
It's not so straightforward to access Oracle using the Borland Data Provider (BDP) through IIS ... I kept getting "BdpException: Connection open failed". Turns out it's a permissioning problem, and it's far from resolved in my mind. I've currently granted full access to the entire Oracle hierarchy to the local ASPNET, IUSR... and IWAM... users (the Oracle DB is running on the same box as IIS). That works. This is actually a general problem relating to Oracle access through IIS (I googled up lots of articles on ADO.NET, ODBC, OleDB etc etc, all tackling the same problem).
I think only the ASPNET user needs access, and read only (maybe execute?) permissions at that. I will try to remove access to the other accounts and see what happens. I also want to get ECO II working - I believe it should be fairly plain sailing now my ASP.NET app can see the database.
But, how, then, do you get access to an Oracle DB on another Windows box? Or, for that matter, one running on a Linux box?
Questions, questions ...
Links and a definitive resolution to these puzzles will follow ... I hope.
Posted by daen at 03:51 PM
Giant Danish mystery egg #1
Posted by daen at 03:40 PM
Giant Danish mystery egg #2
Posted by daen at 03:38 PM
May 05, 2005
Denmark's First National Research Day : May 12, 2005
Denmark's first national Research Day is on Thursday 12 May, 2005. A whole bunch of institutions, businesses and organisations will be focussing on research with a load of exciting arrangements. For example, experience physics and chemistry in a fun and different way at Aalborg University, follow the rise of the robots at the Danish Design Centre in Copenhagen, or find out about Jupiter: King of the Planets in Odense.
Posted by daen at 05:54 PM
May 04, 2005
Happy Star Wars Day!
Just got time to say : May the Fourth be with you ...
Posted by daen at 11:59 PM