Crossrail is the new rail system which is going to cross London. No, I don’t know where they got the name from, either. But here are some details:

The Crossrail route will serve 40 stations and run more than 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km (13 miles) tunnels below central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
When Crossrail opens it will increase London’s rail-based transport capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times across the city.

Sounds lovely, but those are just words. In more interesting news, however, they’ve just released some new photographs of the tunneling work taking place underneath the city and they’re fairly impressive, so I thought I’d point you in that direction.



While the project itself isn’t due to be completed until 2018, about 90% of the tunneling has already been completed and that makes up 23 miles (37km) of tunnels under the capital.

These tunnels will also be really useful as bomb shelters when the Russians attack London.

2 Comments | Tagged , , | Posted in uk


Admission time: I’m an avid subscriber to Fail Army on Youtube. It’s pathetic, puerile stuff, but it’s also 10 minutes (or so) of mindless mindlessness each week. And it’s also a reminder not only that there are more stupid people than you out there, but also that they’re stupidly recording their stupidity. Double whammy.

This Tuesday’s offering was a compilation of stairs-related mishaps, and began with what remains the single most winceworthy and painful moment they’ve ever broadcast, of a BMX guy jumping down some steps and landing face first on the concrete floor at the bottom. Gravity wins again.
What quickly became evident, however, was that while this clip had previously stood out as being one that nearly made you revisit your last meal, there were plenty more where that came from. This was definitely the most painful episode they’ve ever done.
See if you can watch this all the way through without looking away or grimacing. (Pro Tip: You can’t.)

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

There now. Don’t you feel superior? And healthy?

That’s the power of comparing yourself with idiots. (And/or wearing a helmet.)

Leave a comment | Tagged , | Posted in annoying people, recommended site, that's a bit mad

Police Address

The South Yorkshire Police Operations Complex in Sheffield is on the corner of Europa Link and… wait for it… Letsby Avenue.


If you can’t work out why this is simply brilliant, I’m not sure that you’re reading the right blog.

Letsby Avenue has been there since 1998, but I never knew.

Mind. Blown.

7 Comments | Tagged , , | Posted in sheffield, that's a bit mad, uk

Fair Play: Afrihost sorted my internet problem

You may have read that I had issues connecting to my blog from home and from the lab yesterday. There was plenty of to’ing and fro’ing with Afrihost (who are both my ISP and hosting provider) on email and twitter, but nothing got sorted.
Many kind people made suggestions here and on twitter, but I had floppy beagle issues last night (Colin got snipped and chipped), so I didn’t get chance to do a lot of exploration.

Then, this morning, incoming email from ‘Critical Care’ at Afrihost. I had no idea I was in such a perilous state. And here’s what they had discovered:

As suspected from my side, the Netstat rules for your IPs on your public connection were on the temporary prohibit list which I have now removed and you will be able access the website from all devices from your home network.
I have investigated the reasoning behind the listing and the reason seems to be that the website was attempting to be accessed from these IPs during an update – when security becomes most strict – and rather to be safe than sorry they were listed.
These updates only happen once a year so the likely hood of this happening again is extremely minimal :)

Thanks, Michael.

I don’t really understand what went wrong, but to find some sort of analogy, it seems that my home and work network were being tjatjarag and the website felt threatened, probably remarked something along the lines of “So you think you are a king?”, pushed them to the floor and barred them from entering the metaphorical building.

All is sorted now.

Oh, and Colin is much recovered this morning too. Thanks for your concern.

2 Comments | Tagged , | Posted in admin, positive thoughts, project colin, this is south africa

Weird Internet Problem and a Manx Lighthouse

I’m having a weird internet problem. I thought it was due to my ADSL connection at home, but now I’m having the same issue at work as well. I can’t look at my blog. “Lucky Bastard!” I hear you cry. And you could well be right, but it’s also a bit annoying.
Afrihost don’t seem to be able to explain it, so just in case you’re a internet whizz, here’s the info:

When connecting via my Afrihost ADSL, I get a connection timeout error if I try to look at, or any of the back end. I noticed this yesterday evening. This was across multiple devices: 2 PCs, an iPad, an Android tablet and my Android phone. As soon as I hopped off the wifi and used my Vodacom cell connection, things were fine.
And it wasn’t just on Chrome or any other browser: the WordPress app didn’t connect either.

I could seemingly access every other site (’s,’s and .com’s) with no problem. And other people (including those with Afrihost ADSL in Cape Town) could access

So it looked like an issue with my home ADSL, but then exactly the same thing is happening at work as well (where we also have Afrihost ADSL). I’m using TunnelBear to connect via a proxy in Sweden to write this, and that seems to be working just fine.

So, my Einsteiny little friends, what’s going on here? I’m really hoping that someone will turn round and go: “Well, obviously, that’s your QBR settings; go here and click this and it’ll all be fine,” and I will go there and click that and it will all be fine.

Anyway, if you’re still here after that admin and gobbledygook, you’re probably a dies hard reader and you know that I light lighthouses. Here’s one just down the road from us in the Isle of Man: Langness. It’s a great photo, but it was emailed to me so I don’t know who took it, but give that man (or otherwise) a Bell’s. Or even some decent whisky.


And now things are slowing up, presumably because my bear is growing tired of tunneling under Stockholm or Malmö or wherever in Sweden he is (EDIT: Just checked – he’s in Borlänge), so I’m going to end this. Hopefully by tomorrow, I’ll have some answers and will be able to give my ursine assistant some well-deserved time off.

3 Comments | Tagged , , , , | Posted in admin, quota photo, this is south africa