Old & New

This is from late last month on the now infamous (for 6000 miles… readers, at least) BrianMicklethwaitDotCom blog, and I also shared it on twitter, but I really do like it and since we’re due in London shortly, I think it needs a mention on here as well.


Click for bigger.

That’s one of the Towers of the Tower of London in the foreground. As Brian’s post explains:

It is not clear exactly when work started on the Conqueror’s White Tower or precisely when it was finished but the first phase of building work was certainly underway in the 1070s.
Nothing quite like it had ever been seen in England before. The building was immense, at 36m x 32.5m (118 x 106ft) across, and on the south side where the ground is lowest, 27.5m (90ft) tall. The Tower dominated the skyline for miles around.

And of course the Shard in the background (at 308m (1010ft) in height), also dominating the skyline for miles around. But that’s where the similarities end. It’s actually a photo full of contrasts: old opposed with new, short with tall, dark against light, solidity versus crystalline translucence. I love it.

And for all our technological progress, I have to ask – will the Shard still be there in 940 years?
I doubt it.

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Home and Away

Thanks for this comparison of current location and back home, Google Now:


The kids have just found out that we’re (they’re) putting up the (real) Christmas tree this afternoon. Despite the chilly weather, their excitement is virtually tangible.
And let’s be honest: your average Norwegian Spruce would wilt under the African sun anyway…

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Do You Remember The First Time?

I took the boy to his first Sheffield United game this afternoon. The Blades v Plymouth Argyle in the second round of the FA Cup. A potential banana skin of note.


(Just check out those blue skies, by the way.)
(And please excuse his hair, he’d just taken his beanie off.)
As local band Pulp once sang:

Do you remember the first time?
I can’t remember a worse time

And at half time, 0-0 and having endured a thoroughly depressing 45 minutes, I’m not sure I could, Jarvis, no.

But then in the second half, things perked up. They got a penalty and they missed it and then we got a penalty and we didn’t. And then we got another penalty and we didn’t miss that one either.
And with the boy thoroughly excited, we then slotted in another (not a penalty) and all was right with the world:


All’s well that ends well, and this did end well.
It’s taken a while to get him there, but I’m glad we did. Another rite of passage in my (not so) little boy’s life.

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Grandfather’s Footsteps

It might be December and it might be in the North of the UK, but the sun does shine sometimes:


Granddad led the way, and Alex was ever so happy to follow over the stepping stones in Endcliffe Park.

Property family time in the winter sun.

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Over Ukraine

As I’m currently flying over (or maybe around) Ukraine, so why not hit you up with a Chernobyl post?

For the attention of the residents of Pripyat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station in the city of Pripyat the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating. The Communist Party, its officials and the armed forces are taking necessary steps to combat this. Comrades, leaving your residences temporarily please make sure you have turned off the lights, electrical equipment and water and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short-term evacuation.

Here’s that video taken by CBS in Pripyat, showing the desolation and ruin caused by “the catastrophe that never ended” – their words, not mine.

And, while we’re here, a reminder of Michael Jennings’ excellent account of his visit to the same place and another – more recent – essay on the same “dark tourism” subject which I really enjoyed reading.

Tomorrow: Less radiation, more England!

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