Monthly archive

Haven’t you got better things to do?

Stars, picknicks, cakes, ekcetera

For obsessive Keithlard fans, of whom I know there are many, here is a blipvert of my quotidian minutiae.

On Wednesday I went bikling up to Highgate and had an intresting look round, it is a pretty village which just unfortunately is at the top of a bloody big hill. Later I met up with Sophy who lives near me, and it is great to meet fellow Finchleians, so we had drinks and crosswords (not cross words, because we had a lovely time) at the Five Bells and then tea and cake at her house. It was a super clear night and we looked at the Summer Triangle ie Vega, Deneb and Altair, and I told Sophy a multiplicity of ‘Fun Facts’ about stars. I am a big fan of the night sky as it is better than telly in my view, although the same things come round with absolute predictability every year, so thinking about it, exactly like telly in that respect.

Thursday: amateur dramatics, wrote Mr Kipling. I never actually understood those adverts, although I am immensely intrested in cake. We had a retrospective at work, which is where we all gather round and explain how each person has disappointed us over the previous year. Actually now that I say it, I got that mixed up with Festivus from Seinfeld. It was held in the pub which was a great idea, as we did not have to go to the pub afterwards as we were already there!

On Friday I had a long meeting in the afternoon about databases and storage technologies, and the hotter the weather got, the longer the meeting seemed to last and the hotter and smaller the office got. Eventually I left the office with a cheery smile and then nearly got crushed to death by a taxi on East Finchley High Road.

Today (deep breath as I normally do not have so much social news to relate) I bikled to Hampstead and looked at shops, then met my friend Angie for drinks and we sat outside a super pub (The Flask) watching posh types and yummy mummies buying vegertarian aromatherapy candles, and then we walked over to the Heath to join the OKCupid pickernick! There were various people there I knew including Steve the Sheep, Helena and Dan, and various people I did not called Kirsten, Robert, Dee, and a gorilla called Albert. It was fiercely hot on top of Parliament Hill and we chomped down a lot of super food and drink, and eventually we made our way to the Bull and Last on Highgate Road for a well-earned refreshing BEER. I nearly met a girl called Claire but then in the end I did not.

Apparently there was some type of foopball happening too.

So now I am relaxing with another refreshing BEER in front of my cooling fan, chomping popcorn and watching a super sunset to the soothing strains of Mogwai’s Hunted by a Freak, and pondring the delicious curry I’m going to make.

It does not get any better than that basically.

Importint bird information

Wizzo fluffy mallard ducks messing about, under Mum’s watchful eye

I went bikling into the woods by the cool shady pond as it was another super hot day, and thought I would take some photos of various of my bird friends. I have to apologise for the quality as low light and a long lens are not the best combination, but I thought you would like to see them anyway. I spent quite a while just sitting in the undergrowth being quiet and watching the birds. Their behaviour is fascinating really. I would love to spend more time there getting to know each individual and their relationship to the others, like Konrad Lorenz, or Jane Goodall for that matter. Only unlike dangerous mountain gorillas, waterbirds are generally fairly harmless, except a Canada goose might peck at you, or Henrietta the duck might try and eat your shoe.

I have been bikling nearly every day, and I’ve had so much excersise I’ve lost two kilos! It is the biggest dip in my weight graph since records began (January), so I am pleased. Later I went round to Jane’s for lemonade and cakes! It is a wizzo world really where it is full of lemonade and coots and sunshine and good friends, and cakes.

The new family of Canada geese!

A coot gliding around happily. The pond is awful scummy but it does not seem to bother them.

I found the secret nest of the Canada geese, and it was a bit like in Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World, where they find the T. Rex nest, except that a Canada goose could not disembowel you with a single swipe of its terrible claws, or chomp off your head in one go. I am glad I do not live in the Jurassic period really (I am aware that actually T. Rex was a Cretaceous animal, so please do not write in; instead contact your local cinema).

Coots and geese mingling politely, perhaps they are chatting about the pond property market and the difficulty of finding a really good nest in a smart area and handy for the reeds.

"No, Mr Bond! I expect you to diet!"

So last night I went out for birthday drinkies with Lisa, and we went to Quinns which is a giant beer museum where they have every type of beer! Except they questioned my demand for a pint of Leffe, as apparently in that area they are wusses and drink halves in girls’ glasses, with a little umbrella. I had not realised it but up here in Finchley we are rock, and drink pints.

Although as it was £5 a pint I will not be able to afford to do that too often. Bloody Southerners.

Then we went to Bintang which is a tiny Malaysian restaurant where the food is all delicious and cooked with lots of chilli and lemon grass and coconut ekcetera, I was not actually hungry due to nuts, but I managed to cram down half a garlic and chilli chicken, half a plate of fried squid with dips, and some prawn crackers. It is the best food ever, except for my cooking obviously. I was taking surreptitious notes so as to reproduce the menu at home (“Tamarind, you say? Hmmm, very intresting. *scribble*”).

I may have accidentally put back on some of that weight I lost, so I better bikle into work shortly and burn calories!

keithlard's Wizzo Birthday

I am immensely attractive to females at the moment, and every night a lot of them come into my room and get in bed with me, and start nestling up close to me and biting and sucking bits of my flesh. Unfortunately they are female mosquitos, so now I am covered in horrid bites.

Sophy and I went for a birthday picknick last night in Alexandra Park, near the palace, chomping delicious home-made birthday cake and other foodstuffs, and looking at the soft hazy moon and the stars and wondering which one was going to turn into the Starship Enterprise. So that was great!

Today it rained and rained and rained so it was blissfully cool and I slept in beyond any possible bounds of reasonableness, and then went to Tescos for every kind of delicious brekfust item and some Indian style delicacies for later. Hopefully some lads are coming round for a lads’ night out which should by law include:

  1. A pint or five of Leffe and nuts at the Dignity
  2. Curry from The Balti
  3. Indian snacks and beer at home in front of amusing comedy
  4. My chums

That is it really. Also I have lots of wizzo presents and cards! I am looking forward to tucking in to all my super Amazon books.

I love you all, signing off now for coffee and sossidges :D

River Fowey at Lostwithiel

The Fowey rises high on Bodmin Moor and runs down through some of the loveliest countryside in Cornwall. Of course I am biased as it is my countryside.

A perfect day for messing about in boats… if I had one.

Possible buried treasure from the Spanish Main! It might just be an old tyre though.

Just for Mariposaloca, documentary footage of a hard-working Cornish farmer and his tractor!

I sat and watched the swallows swooping and diving over the river for a long time. I hate it when you see wonderful things and there is no one there to look at it with you. I suppose taking and sharing these pictures is the next best thing.

True history of the Keithlard gang

I forgot to tell what happened on the rest of my birthday.

I had an awfully good day. I chomped up a giant size mixed grill, and popped over to Sophy’s for a cup of tea and a game of Cribbage with her and her mum. In the evening I met Matt and Steve the Sheep and we had a lot of nuts and beer at the Dignity. Later on we went to North London’s finest curry emporium, The Balti (I have a relationship).

We had lamb dhansak and balti chicken jalfrezi and chicken phaal and breads and rice and poppadoms, and back at the little flat I provided extra side dishes of crispy spicy popcorn shrimp and delicious vegertable samosas, and we listened to a lot of music too loudly and were drunk. Quite late at night we decided to have an impromptu acoustic live set, like Coldplay, only unlike fastidious and gluten-free Chris Martin, we were pissed-up and covered in curry.

It does not get any better than that really.

Around Lostwithiel

Lostwithiel is a super little town full of intresting nick-nack shops and tea rooms, which I sometimes feel like going into and ordering cake and fine wine.

This is a good solution to the problem I always have of losing importint paperwork. Carve it on the front of your house.

I like seeing odd things through windows.

The smithy, where you can pop in to have your horse re-shoed, or bring witches to be poked to death with a red-hot poker. These days of course that type of thing does not happen anymore. The main administrative centre for witch-poking has been moved to Bodmin.

Look, a train!

Journeys into the past by bicycle

I have been having a wizzo time lately just heading out on my bike and going hither, thither and whither I will. It is the perfect part of London for bikesploring, as there are lots of green spaces and old footpaths and such as rivers and woods ekcetera.

Obviously the perfect bike trail should match the following criteria:

  1. NO CARS
  2. Not too hilly
  3. Opportunity for wizzo views
  4. Trees and flowers
  5. Birds
  6. Rivers and ponds
  7. Starts near my house
  8. Ends near a pub

I have found quite a few places like this, as a lot of the paths and bridleways that I walk around are also good for bikling. Yesterday I discovered a sekrit passage that goes up the back of the Vue cinema at the Finchley Leisureplex & Temple of Consumerism, over a recreation ground thing with some intresting birds, past the Glebe nature reserve, through a couple of sleepy back streets, and into the Coppetts Wood nature reserve where there are wizzo woods and a girl and I once took some pictures of old sewerage pipes and sat in a glade.

Today I was looking at Underground History an amazing trove of arcana about the London Underground which is great, except I read “Disused Stations on London’s Underground” as “Diseased Stations on London’s Underground”. I was jolly disappointed as I thought there might be rage-infected Tube stations like on 28 Days Later. There is a good bit though about the Northern Heights ie where I live, and the old steam train line from Alexandra Palace via Highgate to Finsbury Park. It was never electrified and eventually the track was taken up and the line abandoned. It’s now a super leafy footpath with deer and hedgehogs!

So I will be having an experdition there and also there was a line from Mill Hill East to Edgware which is now a path, and I bikled along that today. It was great! It is like a sekrit passage like in Narnia or one of those movies, except not a cupboard. It goes through some green and sun-dappled woods, along the back of some football pitches, past the sports centre and up to the main road where it stops abruptly. There was once a pedestrian subway but it is bricked up, and someone has sprayed ‘JESUS LOVES YOU’ in big letters on it. Cross the road, looking both left and right for oncoming traffic, and enter Rowlands Close, where the path sidles casually out through an undistinguished-looking brick alley and into a housing estate.

Then I took the other path back across Hendon Golf Course, through a copse full of flowers and butterflies, over an abandoned concrete lot that looks like a decommissioned nuclear bunker, up the back of the allotments and suddenly arrived at the A1! And so back up along the brook, past the children’s playground and through the little park where people sit and chat on the benches and look at birds.

Matt pointed out that I must be nearing the top Google results for ‘curry’, as we sat eating curry. I should get some kind of lifetime supply of curry, or something. Curry!

Super day

I had a really good day of getting lots of stuff done at work, and generally being cheerful. I think it is that the weather is slightly cooler now, so you only get second-degree burns from touching any metal surface.

Also someone importint to me is home safely from a dangerous war zone, so that is happy news. I do not mean the Chiswick roundabout on a Saturday afternoon either.

There is a really intresting article in Wired about the Tesla electric car. In Britain when we think of electric vehicles we tend to think of the famously rubbish Sinclair C5, so it is surprising to read that this car does 130mph and 0-60 in three seconds, out-accelerating a Lamborghini. It also has a range of 250 miles which is good news if you are going into the wilderness, or other places where they do not have elecktricity, like Devon.

The most amazing thing is that it is powered by 6,831 laptop batteries (gaffer taped together). Not only would you think that would be enormously heavy, since carrying the average laptop makes me walk lopsided, but it makes me wonder whether this bloke has 6,831 useless laptops piled up in his room. That’s a hell of an eBay auction!

Eden, June 2006

A child running about like a nutcase in the temperate biome. This is a super place as it is like a giant Mediterranean villa garden, full of exotic flowers and sweet herbs and citrus fruits, and a mini perfume factory and bits of California and South Africa, and a motorbike, and all sorts. It is great. I wish it was my garden and I could sit out there enjoying a cool breeze from the computerised ventilators and chomping on a fresh oringe.

I suppose everyone takes a picture of this but it does not matter. It is a horse made entirely out of cork and driftwood, which is impressive as it’s nowhere near the beach, or an Oddbins. What is really nice about the Eden Project is it is not just plants and surrounding environmental milieu, but scattered with pieces of intresting giant art such as a massive bee, or a cork horse, or a bronze man with a big round face ekcetera.

Similarly this is a piece of ‘artomata’ made by Tim Hunkin, of ‘Secret Life of Machines’ fame and a god to every geeky British male over about 30. It is called ‘Plant Takeaway’ and the idea is to demonstrate how importint plants are in our everyday lives. At the beginning it is as you see, and then everything that is made from plant products disappears like the table and furniture and all the food, and then the people’s clothes fall off because they are made from plant fibres, and finally they collapse and die because there would be no oxygen without plants. Note the stripey cat which is my favourite bit.

It is compulsory of course to have a picture of the biomes themselves, and they are the most fantastic things in terms of sheer engineering that I’ve ever seen. If you watch the DVD about how Eden was built in the first place, it was a colossal project just to turn a flooded, unstable quarry pit into a suitable place to put up these huge structures. They had to drive great bolts into the pit walls and bolster them with thousands of tons of concrete to keep everything from collapsing. Then they had to put up the largest scaffolding structure ever built, in order to construct the actual biomes. You do not realise until you get down into the pit on a level with them just how big these buildings are: more than 50 metres high, fashioned from tubular steel and high-tech plastic, and weighing only slightly more than the air inside.

Your correspondent relaxing in the tropical biome having found a blissfully cool spot near the waterfall. There was a super bird up there which I do not know what it is, but it walked all around me bold as brass chomping up bits of unconsidered trifles, and I tried to get some pictures of it, but every time he either scuttled away or some people wandered into shot and spoiled it. It is nice that they have actual birds flying around.