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Collect from Hythe..?

Sep1
I would have had this one!

I'd have had this Habitat Radius table, it was for sale just down the road. But the auction has ended early.

Hmm, just off to check downstairs that this is not one of mine that Clare has sold!

£20.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Sep-3-2014 20:42:32 BST
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£400.00
End Date: Sunday Sep-7-2014 19:52:09 BST
Buy It Now for only: £400.00
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£450.00
End Date: Monday Sep-8-2014 22:12:51 BST
Buy It Now for only: £450.00
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£350.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Monday Sep-8-2014 22:32:27 BST
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£560.00
End Date: Thursday Sep-4-2014 21:47:29 BST
Buy It Now for only: £560.00
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Da da-da da da da da-da...

Sep1
Clare and her mum have tickets to the new Strictly Come Dancing recording, they're going up to London this week for it! Good work Jeff in fixing this for Clare's mum, she is so pleased!
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"Let's make things simple"

Sep1
I had a feeling I'd get a letter from NS&I today (that's the premium bonds people). I did, unfortunately it was not the win I was hoping for. It was a letter saying "Let's make things simple", I have not completed my registration to deal with my premium bonds online. The reason I haven't is because IT'S THE LEAST SIMPLE THING IN THE WORLD!

NS&I's process for getting you online is ridiculously unwieldy. It's in the name of security, but if you make things too complex they just become insecure. I have to deal with them by phone and post, with quite a delay, just to get an online password. Dealing with them over the phone I have to answer multiple "security questions" that I apparently gave when I first started the registration online. I don't remember this, but because I can keep asking for another question eventually we get to one that's not at all secure "what is your eldest child's name", rendering the whole exercise pointless.

I'm annoyed with how complicated premium bonds are to deal with online, can you tell?
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I really like the look of this VW van

Aug31
There's something nice and genuine about this one, it's not a show winner, it just looks "real", I really like it. I never thought I'd hear myself say "18k, what a bargain" about anything, but having seen how few of these there are about, that looks like quite a deal. It's a shame it's left hand drive, but they nearly all are now.

If it's still available after I've drunk the 2 litres of cider I got from The Cider Works today, and Clare is not back (from a trip to the pub with her Dad) then I might buy it.

£8,500.00
End Date: Wednesday Sep-17-2014 19:30:26 BST
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£18,000.00
End Date: Wednesday Sep-17-2014 22:05:15 BST
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£37,750.00
End Date: Wednesday Sep-10-2014 10:58:09 BST
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£29,999.00
End Date: Thursday Sep-4-2014 16:44:02 BST
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£24,995.00
End Date: Wednesday Sep-10-2014 22:51:18 BST
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Lovely day

Aug31
The Cider Works
Had a spectacular fun packed day today. Even though it was Clare's lie in she agreed to get up quite early so we could go out for breakfast. She had been looking for potential christmas partiy venues for work and spotted The Cider Works near Dover. Looked great, said maybe we should go there some time, which turned into LET'S GO THERE NOW! They do breakfast, and cider, mmm cider for breakfast, so we went.

Great vege cooked breakfast for me, I asked for no eggs, the lady suggested the plate might look a bit bare so they'd do me some extra hash browns and a MOUNTAIN of food arrived. Really good, a days worth of calories in one breakfast though I'm sure. It's a really nice place, used to be a pub, now a very clean looking licensed restaurant / cafe / shop / guesthouse thing. It has a really good kids play area outside, which was really what swung it for us. Not the cider, just joking about having that for breakfast. The owners make cider, they have a a farm / orchard, and they use this place as an outlet for it. I came away with two litres of their cider and some apple juice too. Fabulous, looking forward to going back again, maybe next Sunday.

Home for Tommy's nap, I cut the lawn and put some more framed LPs up on the wall, in the new frames I got from Tiger in Canterbury recently. Now I need more, there is an odd gap on the stairs.

After lunch off bowling, Harry's treat for being good this week. Had a really nice time there, the boys ate their tea their and everyone had fun.

What a lovely Sunday. And I've got tomorrow off too! Harry and I are going swimming.

Yesterday was also good, though Clare had to work. Harry, Tommy and I walked into Folkestone, saw some of the new Triennial artworks and played in the coastal park. It's been such a nice weekend.
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Where have all the USB charging sockets gone?

Aug30
I can't find one of these anywhere. They don't have them in store, and they're not available for delivery. I guess that means there are no more in the warehouses, but there might be some out at individual stores. Not one near here though. I have one of these usb sockets already, Clare bought it for me, and it's great, I'd like to get some more.
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Kent Online says someone found some buried Folkestone gold

Aug30
They have a picture, it's still all a bit vague though. A family found some buried treasure yesterday evening apparently.
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Low tide at Folkestone is RIGHT NOW!

Aug30
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See here, low tide is at 09.30 and that's the time to go search for the buried treasure on the harbour beach.

But it's raining. Clare has gone to work today, so we have no car, so if we're going anywhere today it's on foot. We could have got dropped in Folkestone and had a dig and made our own way back. OR, what we could do, we could watch Swashbuckle all day on TV, and do a treasure map later.

If it dries out we'll go out on the scooters, but not as far as the Outer Harbour Beach. I wonder if people have been digging on the Sunny Sands beach? It looked like it from some of the pictures I saw, though I'm sure the treasure is all this side of the mermaid.
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Trying out some home automation voice control

Aug29
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Connected a microphone to a raspberry pi trying to get it to respond to my voice. It's having none of it. Back to the drawing board.

Glossary:

raspberry pi: cheap low powered computer
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Cordova

Aug29
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Am up to my hips in android sdk at the moment, working on a new app using Cordova. I've worked with phonegap before to build my robot butler phone app, but this is is my first go with the open source command line version. Phonegap did everything for you online, but now that's a paid for service, so I've had to install all the bits on my own machine and build the app from there. It's been really easy to put together an iphone version of the app, but a bit slower to do android this time, because of it being fussy about versions of the software you have. So, I'm updating my android sdk right now, and it's taking a while, hence me having the time to write this. I am dead busy you know.

The office is quiet, everyone is out at the shops. Almost the whole team are going camping after work today, so they're out buying booze and things. Everyone who is going gets to leave work an hour early, anyone who is not joining in the fun does not get to leave early. I am not joining in the fun today, I am going home to my own fun with Clare and Harry and Tommy.

Harry is much better behaved this week now we're back from London. Tommy is great, he has learned to count to ten. Clare is also fairly well behaved.

We're rattling through our Veronica Mars DVDs at an alarming rate, they'll soon be all gone...
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I've been back to our old flat on Earls Avenue

Aug28
Got an email from my old neighbour saying there was a letter for me at our old flat on Earls Avenue. My neighbours mum bought the flat off the lady who bought it off us, so it's handy for things like this. I picked up the letter and it was nothing important, connected to some old shares, the letter said basically "we think you've moved and you won't get this letter, but if you do then someone has fraudulently changed your address, please let us know". Main thing is I got to go in our old flat. It's been complete "done" since we lived there, new kitchen and bathroom and carpets and redecoration throughout. It looks so big! It was a nice flat, big high ceilings in large rooms, exactly what we don't have now. Nice to see.

Further updates from the flat, our neighbour George who lived in the flat below us died three months ago. Also the problem neighbour below that, who complained about everthing constantly has been kicked off the management company committee! She crossed the wrong person one too many times and is no longer "on the board". Another of the neighbours in the block has also died since we moved out, though quite a while ago now.
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No I'm not down on the beach

Aug28
No-one has found any gold yet. Wonder if it is just a prank, and there is really no gold? Looks like people have dug some serious holes down there, I hope no-one gets buried or anything. Doesn't sound very safe or sensible to me, and the weather is not too great at the moment. We're indoors, about to get the boys ready for bed.
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Buried treasure (as art) in Folkestone

Aug28
Here in the Guardian, German artist Michael Sailstorfer has buried £10k worth of gold bullion in the sand of the Outer Harbour beach, Folkestone.

Someone on the guardian comments works out the bars must be 12g of gold each, that is pretty small. 1 tablespoon of sugar is about that weight, and gold is pretty dense, surely these will be about the size of a staple.

This stunt is part of Folkestone Triennial.

UPDATE: Guardian are live blogging it.
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London midweek weekender part six

Aug27
In which Harry just about makes it onto the London Eye

We were actually in a bit of a rush by the end of our Thames Clipper boat trip from Greenwich back to the London Eye. Clare had booked a "flight" on it for her and Harry at a set time, which we were pretty close to missing. (I'd been on it a few times before, and we figured it would be a waste taking Tommy on it so I hung around and waited for them. Tommy and I went into the Royal Festival Hall, that's a lovely venue, we had a mooch around and I bought him an overpriced book in the gift shop. We also went back past the Bob's Lobster VW van:

From August 2014


but this picture is from the first time I saw it, when he was wrapped up in security fence. It's a really beautiful looking van with a clever pop up top. Actually this is genuinely what they refer to as a pop up restaurant. It's not a pun on the roof, that's just a coincidence, but on the posters for the Festival of Love they had a map highlighting pop up restaurants. And this was one of them, so there you go, it means a burger van (albeit a posh one in this case).

Unsurprisingly I did not buy any lobster from this guy. Here are some more details on the van, it was done by towability.com. Let me check those premium bonds again...

Harry was good for about 3/4 of the London Eye trip apparently, then he kicked off about some sweets. So we threw him in the Thames and came home without him.

And that is pretty much the end of our trip to London. Not sure when we'll try this again with the kids, it's hard for them, and hard for us as they don't appreciate the same things we want them to. Maybe next year... Oh we did finally get some chutney before we got back on the train. From the usual stall (that also sells cider) in the weekend-only food market on the South Bank. Lovely, and this time I got some fantastic horseradish too.

£8,500.00
End Date: Wednesday Sep-17-2014 19:30:26 BST
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£18,000.00
End Date: Wednesday Sep-17-2014 22:05:15 BST
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£37,750.00
End Date: Wednesday Sep-10-2014 10:58:09 BST
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£29,999.00
End Date: Thursday Sep-4-2014 16:44:02 BST
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£24,995.00
End Date: Wednesday Sep-10-2014 22:51:18 BST
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Was that the Goldie Lookin' Chain on Radio 4..?

Aug27
Or am I actually still asleep?

Bizarre, turned on Radio 4 in the car this morning and they were playing music, was I tuned into the wrong station? Then odder it was Newport State Of Mind the spoof song that sounds like it should be the Goldie Lookin' Chain, but isn't. Then even more bizarre they had Eggsie from the GLC on (yes it was the Today programme on Radio 4 talking about it. It was based around someone somewhere mistaking Newport for Cardiff or something. Unless of course, I dreamed the whole thing.

You can possibly listen live, don't know if you can remind that. I'll be back later with a link to the show if they make it available again.

UPDATE: This morning's show, available for seven days only.

UPDATE UPDATE: How do you like your Eggsy in the morning? Eggsy from the GLC says on the Twitter that it was the "real" GLC song (their parody of a parody of the Newport State Of Mind song). I guess it's the only clip of theirs that is clean enough to be played at breakfast time.
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London midweek weekender part five

Aug26
Greenwich Old Brewery
London Eye and the trip home...

Up early and checking out of the Novotel. We enjoyed our stay there and might well go for it again. Greenwich is a nice place to aim for on its own, if we could sort out some sensible parking then Clare and I might well drive up to Greenwich for an overnighter one time as it's just up the A2. Equally this hotel is super sensibly placed for the train, though it's a shame to get the train from Greenwich when the thames clipper boat service is so cool. Anyway, farewell Novotel, maybe see you again soon.

Breakfast again in the Plum Tree Cafe. Harry was better behaved this morning so did not forfeit a play in the play house in the cafe. I will repeat, it's a really nice cafe, the kind you would want on your doorstep, nice food, nice decor, I particularly liked the lino prints on the wall, they inspire me, should have taken some pictures just of them. Or bought one I suppose...

We walked back through Greenwich, to the covered market to try and get some spicy chutney, Clare is a bit obsessed with it and we try to find a new one every where we go. No joy unfortunately, there were lots of places to get food but we were full from our Plum Tree breakfast. Back to the Greenwich Visitor Centre again as I enjoyed it so much and then in to the Old Brewery for a pint. This was a normal lunchtime pint, seems a bit early now I write it down but we had a long leisurely breakfast and walk round. Food looks good in this place too, but as I say we had a big breakfast. We sat outside obviously with the kids, was a nice spot, though it started to get a bit breezy at this point. We drank our drinks and played Top Trumps.

Got the Thames Clipper back towards the London Eye, did I mention that is a great way to travel?



End of my lunch break now I'll be back to finish off later / tomorrow...
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London midweek weekender part four

Aug26
Plum Tree Cafe
In which our intrepid travellers did the museums...

With the four of us sharing a room on our midweek weekender we were up fairly early. We didn't go for the breakfast option in the novotel but decided to find some outside instead. Nearest place to us was the Plum Tree Cafe and it was great! They had a good play area inside for the kids, and also good coffee, good quality breakfast ingredients and plenty of choice, and all in it was less than the breakfast option in the hotel would have been. I had a good vege breakfast, Linda McCartney sausages, beans, tomato, hash browns and mushrooms, and everyone else ate well too. The people running the cafe seemed constantly stressed, they struggled to cope with actual customers coming in. This is weird but you do see it a lot, it's like that cafe sketch that Armstrong and Miller did.

We got the train into London, to a strangely quiet Cannon Street and made it with a limited number of stairs to South Kensington and the museums. We went to the back entrance of the Natural History Museum so the queue was a lot shorter than the front entrance but still took us half hour to get in. We did the dinosaurs and things, pretty crowded, quite stressful, and Harry was not as engaged with it all as we had hoped. Got a load of pictures. Lunch there was very good, their restaurant is very vegan friendly, we all ate well.

After lunch we did the Science Museum, a bit of a rush through it to "The Garden" which is the kids exploration bit downstairs. Lots of fun things for them to play with.



I spent some time looking at rocks while Clare and Harry queued for the big escalator up into the volcano zone, I loved the stibnite and especially the ruin marble, it looks like a Turner or something but is an entirely natural phenomenon:



Hope that deep link to my image works there.

On the way back we came out the back way of Greenwich Station and so found Davy's Wine Shop and Davy's Wine Vaults. Bought some of their own claret which was great, and also Clare picked this as her spot to come for a drink while the boys were going to sleep. She did offer me the chance to go to the bar again while she sat in, and then suggested I go there after she got back in but I was knackered after a long day of walking about and arguing with Harry... Nice for both of us to be sat in quietly, with no TV and catch up on our books, I might post them as responses to this post...

To sleep then, ready for our final day.
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Midweek weekender holiday reading: Around Ireland With A Fridge

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I am reading Around Ireland With A Fridge which no-one had recommended but that we picked up at a boot fair a long time ago. Can't remember if it was Clare or myself, probably she, though we both like travel writing and Clare particularly likes things Irish. I brought this especially for the holiday as I am still reading Sarum but wanted something slim and light to pack, we were travelling as light as possible. I thought it was going to be a bit smug and contrived, and it is, but enjoyable enough. I'm a pretty slow reader these days so no idea when I'll finish it. I spend my spare time updating this website when I should be reading...
:: 26 Aug :: Comment / reply

Midweek weekender holiday reading: The Help

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Clare is reading The Help which a friend had recommended and scores an amazingly high average rating on the amazon! I'm going to read it at some point, though something about it does seem a bit girly. I should probably not judge a book by its cover though - actually that sounds like quite a sensible life rule, I might write that one down.
:: 26 Aug :: Comment / reply

Folkestone Triennial official opening

Aug26
Payers Park
Folkestone Triennial official opening 7.3(10 1 votes, 0, Pauly) 30th Aug
Rate Folkestone Triennial official opening
Here's an email I go, inviting me, fancy! Oh, I expect it is everyone, not just me...

Dear friends,

You are warmly invited to join Sir Roger De Haan, Chairman, and the Board of Trustees of the Creative Foundation, at the Opening of Folkestone Triennial 2014, Lookout, curator Lewis Biggs, on Saturday 30 August 2014.

The event, also the opening of Payers Park, will start at 10am with speeches at 10.15am, and will take place in the park (Mill Bay), which has been especially redesigned by muf Architecture/Art for the Triennial.

Following the opening, you will have the opportunity to visit the other 21 commissioned artworks around the town.

We look forward to seeing you.

Alastair Upton
Chief Executive
Creative Foundation


Keen to get along to some part of this!
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Paul Clarke's blog - I work and live in Seabrook near Folkestone, Kent. married to Clare and father to Harry and Tommy, I am a web dev, and I do javascript, Node, php, and ruby. I like Folkestone Gerald, pubbing, restaurants, home automation and other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, TV, popbitch, squirrels, pirates ☠, and time travel...