HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Archive for June, 2007

Entry for June 28, 2007 – The City revisited

Posted by HelenEdith on June 28, 2007


I’ve just spent a couple of days up in The City of London working in one of our customer’s offices.

There are a few changes to The City in the five months since I was banished to Basildon:

  • Jessop’s in Cannon Street has closed.
  • A building has disappeared across the road from Cannon Street Station.
  • The exterior of the new Willis Building is complete.

…and by far the best…

  • A building on Leadenhall Street is being demolished from the ground up!

I’ve included a picture of this building, which looks for all the world like a giant tree house.

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Entry for June 26, 2007

Posted by HelenEdith on June 26, 2007

My boss, Christine, has decided to retire, and this week is her last week at work. This evening, a number of people who have worked with Christine went out to an Italian restaurant in Billericay and had a meal together.

It was 10pm when I got on the road to come home, and I still managed to find a tailback on the M25. Apparently they do overnight roadworks on the section that they’ve recently slapped the 50mph limit on between Darenth and Swanley, and they were down to one lane.

I’m afraid that I probably made things worse by looking at all that lovely roadmaking equipment, and realised that the car in front of me was some distance ahead… 🙂

This morning, I wasn’t in a tailback on the Essex section of the M25. In fact, I was driving along in bright sunshine. Strange, then, that every roadside sign was switched on and announcing fog!

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Website update: India pictures

Posted by HelenEdith on June 24, 2007

I have just completed the section in my website devoted to the pictures I took last year when I visited India.

I’ve supplemented them with a few pictures of souvenirs and gifts and think the whole thing hangs together!

The picture I’ve displayed at the top of this blog entry was taken at the Jai Guru Dev Temple on the way from Delhi to Agra.

The whole mini-site can be accessed here: Helen Stephenson’s India Trip – June-July, 2006 – Index.

If you’ve seen the pictures I published earlier, start from here: Helen Stephenson’s India Trip – June-July, 2006 – Shopping. You will see a few pictures again, but you’ll see what I actually did buy when I didn’t buy a carpet!

My Taj Mahal pictures are near the end of the mini-site.

The other page you really must visit is the page of pictures taken at the National Railway Museum in Delhi. There are some real gems on that page, including this one:

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Entry for June 20, 2007 – Music

Posted by HelenEdith on June 20, 2007

This evening I went to the occasional West Lodge Orchestra, which meets every six weeks or so. I’d home-worked today, and managed to be late getting there. It’s strange how I can get there on time when I come all the way from Basildon and have to contend with the M25, but end up late when I’m only coming from just around the corner!

We warmed up on Rossini’s overture “Il Signor Bruschino”, which I’d never heard before. Then we moved on to Dvorak’s 5th Symphony, but we were playing off old parts which described it as the 3rd Symphony. I don’t recall having heard that before, either. It took me the whole of the first half of the session to get anywhere near warmed up. My recent lack of practice is starting to tell rather badly.

After the mid-evening break, we finished off the Dvorak 5th Symphony. I had the company of Terry, playing his bass clarinet, in lieu of another bassoonist. Terry is great: he can read bass clef on his bass clarinet. We did swap parts mid-way through the Dvorak, though, as there was a bit he reckoned he’d never play it on his bass clarinet. I found that I couldn’t play it on my bassoon either. (Without taking it home to study.)

We finished the evening off with Mendelssohn’s “Fingal’s Cave” overture, which was a very pleasant way to finish up.

In the car on the way home, I was listening to ClassicFM as I often do, and they played a really interesting piece which came about because Michael Collins and Mikhail Pletnev thought that it might be possible to play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto on the clarinet and they went ahead and did it! It was so interesting that I sat on the driveway listening to it and when I eventually came inside, we switched the TV over to ClassicFM to hear the rest of it.

It’s funny how I quite approved of a piece of violin repertoire being filched for the clarinet, and I don’t mind filching the odd bit of cello repertoire for the bassoon, but I don’t like it very much when string players filch our wind repertoire. 🙂

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Entry for June 11, 2007 – Roof repairs!

Posted by HelenEdith on June 11, 2007

The roofer who was expected to phone last week to tell us when he could replace the leaking roof over my garage and study phoned this morning at 8:30am to say that he would be with us by 9:00am! As Stephen needed to be out today, I arranged to take the day of time off in lieu which was oweing to me and I stayed home to keep an eye on roofing operations.

Meanwhile, Stephen was trying to phone his Mum, and the phone was giving the engaged signal every time he tried. He did a bit of phoning around and she wasn’t on the phone with any of the people she was likely to have a long conversation with, so Stephen added a trip to his Mum’s place onto his itinerary for the day.

Fortunately the problem was with the phone and not with Stephen’s Mum. However, her fridge is on the blink and needs replacing, so it looks like Stephen and I have an errand to run this evening to deal with that problem.

The roofing operation went well and the boards, once uncovered, were found to be of good quality and in good condition, so the contingency in the quote for replacement of boards did not have to be gone into.

Click here for some more pictures of what came down and what went up in its place.

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Entry for June 10, 2007 – Wrotham Steam & Vintage Rally

Posted by HelenEdith on June 10, 2007

For the third year in a row, Stephen and I went to the Wrotham Steam & Vintage Rally, and it was even better than last year.

We spent five hours there, and we could have spent longer and still not seen everything. Next year we really must get up earlier and get in a full day.

Today’s picture is the showman’s tractor, which is a regular at Wrotham. It is immaculate. The owner brings it on a low-loader, and it’s definitely worth looking at it being loaded back on the low-lowder. It’s great seeing it under its own power on the rally site, too!

In addition to the steam engines, we saw classic tractors, classic cars (both pre- and post-WWII) and stationary engines. There were also classic motorcycles on site, but we didn’t really “do” them this year.

I found a nice pair of earrings on one of the sales pitches. They will need converting to screwbacks, but that should only be a matter of a couple of minutes with the pliers.

Some of the steam engines were local to Wrotham and arrived and left under their own steam. When we went home, we got stuck going down Wrotham Hill behind them! They don’t go very fast… 🙂

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Entry for June 08, 2007 – Go Molik!

Posted by HelenEdith on June 8, 2007

Today was the day that Alicia Molik picked up her second Grand Slam tennis title. To go along with her 2005 Australian Open doubles title, when partnered by Svetlana Kuznetsova, she now has the 2007 French Open doubles title, along with her partner Mara Santangelo.

Molik was twice a finalist in 2004 with Todd Woodbridge in the mixed doubles. Those matches were at Wimbledon and the US Open. It means that Molik has now been a finalist at all four majors.

What is particularly encouraging about this latest win is that Molik was hit by an inner ear infection in 2005 and it affected her balance so badly that she was unable to play again until the middle of 2006, and has yet to recover her singles form.

Go Molik! Get back in that Top Ten, girl!

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Green blood!

Posted by HelenEdith on June 8, 2007

The BBC carried this article on their website today: Patient bleeds dark green blood. It’s about a man who was taking 200mg of Sumatriptan on a daily basis! It had caused sulphur to be carried in his red blood cells, which is what gave his blood the green colour.

That’s a huge amount of Sumatriptan: he must have been taking multiple tablets per day, and taking the recommended maximum dosage every day.

Sumatriptan is sold under the brand names Imigran and Imitrex, and is used in the treatment of acute migraine attacks. It is usually doled out on prescription in packs of 6, although the UK allows the sale of a 2-pack over the counter. It’s an expensive drug, and usage at this level must have been costing this man a considerable sum of money, unless the Canadian health system makes it considerably cheaper.

Under the NHS in the UK, a normal prescription is 6 tablets, and that will cost you the prescription charge, although if you’re a heavy user of prescriptions, you can buy a “season ticket” which allows unlimited prescriptions.

In America, it is insurance which pays for most drugs, and insurance companies appear to be quite strict about how many Triptan type drugs they will fund in any given time period.

I’m still amazed that this Canadian man could possibly have had access to this much Sumatriptan on a regular basis!

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Entry for June 07, 2007

Posted by HelenEdith on June 7, 2007

Today was notable because I did not have a car accident. I was leaving the M25 at Junction 29 like I do four mornings a week (unless I decide it’s an A13 sort of a day and leave at Junction 30 instead) and a Jaguar pulled across from the middle lane and attempted to occupy the same piece of slip road as I was occupying. Fortunately I saw him coming and took evasive action.

We had a fire drill at work. That’s the first one I’ve been involved in since being banished to Basildon. We all straggled out to the far side of the car park and then we all straggled back in again.

Ana Ivanovic beat Maria Sharapova in the first womens single semi-final at the French Open. Unfortunately Jelena Jankovic was unable to make it an all Serb final on Saturday as she was beaten by Justine Henin. I notice that although she has gone back to her maiden name that she is Madame Henin and not Mademoiselle Henin. I seem to remember that Chris Evert asked to be called Mrs Evert at Wimbledon one year after reverting to her maiden name following her divorce from John Lloyd.

Today’s picture was taken last Sunday afternoon in the herb garden at Hall Place. We sat down on a garden bench in there to take the weight off our feet and I’m sure that’s where something crawled up inside my trousers and took a nibble out of my thigh. I’ve still got the mark, but as miniskirts aren’t in fashion, it’s not where people can see it an offer sympathy… 😎

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Entry for June 05, 2007

Posted by HelenEdith on June 5, 2007

It was back to work today. Fortunately the roads were reasonably clear and I had a good journey each way. I called in at Asda in Basildon on my way home. It started off as a quick foray for some salad, then sliced meats got added to that. Then bread. Then hash browns. I ended up with a shopping list and went down most of the aisles!

Stephen taped the French Open for me and we’ve just been watching some of the matches. It’s nice to see the two Serbian girls, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, both doing well. I was sorry to see Svetlana Kuznetsova get beaten, though, and I was also hoping that Serena Williams would get the better of Justine Henin. Ah well….

Today’s picture is the greylag goose with the cute fluffy goslings that I photographed at Hall Place on Sunday. There were goose families in various stages of development, but this family was the youngest we saw. I wonder whether it was the parents’ second brood for the season.

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