Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Sunday August 28 2016

I’m actually rather surprised that this kind of thing doesn’t happen more often:

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The story is that a lorry with a digger on the back of it drove under a bridge, but the digger hit the bridge and broke half of the bridge off so that it fell on the road below, or to be more exact, onto another lorry, also going under it at the time.  A motorcyclist was nearly killed, but wasn’t.

Cranes helped to clean up the mess:

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One of the scarier things about all this, if I understand what has happened correctly, is that half the bridge is still sticking out over the motorway, and traffic is even now passing underneath it:

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Is that right?  And if that is right, is that .. you know … right?

Saturday August 27 2016

The time is not far away when I will almost cease from adding to my photo-archives, and will spend most of my photo-time trawling through the archives that I already having.

And coming upon photos like this:

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That’s a Big Thing alignment that you don’t see very often.  It is, of course, the Wembley Arch and The Wheel.  I took this shot in Eltham, quite near (I think) to Eltham Palace, on (definitely) December 23rd 2015.  The posting at the end of that last link mentions this expedition, to meet up with my good friend Alastair, but the only picture it shows is a picture that Alastair himself took some weeks earlier, of the Walkie Talkie, and I never subsequently showed here any of the pictures that I took that day.  The above is one of them.

However, it is typical of many of the photos I take in including things, in this case a Big Thing, that I was unaware of photoing at the time.  I think I realised that I was photoing The Wheel, when I took the above photo.  But I do not believe I realised at the time that I had also photoed the Wembley Arch.  For this reason, the picture above zeroes in on this alignment.  But if you click on it, you get the original photo that I took, where the above alignment is only one of many potentially interesting things.

The Wembley Arch often surprises me like this.  It’s like one of those idiots who deliberately pops up behind TV sports reporters, except not idiotic or deliberate.  It is very big.  And it is quite a way away from the centre of London, in a rather confusing direction.  So it has a habit of suddenly looming up in the background of the photos I take, even though, not knowing exactly where it is, I am seldom trying to photo it.  Unless of course I actually see it, which I typically don’t.  Until I look at my photos.  (E.g. the final photo in this posting earlier this week, about what I saw from Epsom.  From Epsom, the Wembley Arch is way off to the left of London Big Things.)

Earlier today, underneath the Wembley Arch, the Rugby League Grand Challenge Cup Final took place.  Hull FC came from behind to defeat Warrington.

Friday August 26 2016

I spent today (a) fretting that my meeting this evening at my home might not be a very good meeting (on account of me not managing to persuade enough people to attend it), (b) having the meeting, and then (c) being pleased that it was a very good meeting.  Thank you Nico Metten, the speaker.

I forgot, as usual, to take any photos of the meeting, so here is something (chosen because Friday is my day here for cats (and other creatures)) I photoed earlier:

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I was in horse country earlier in the week, but only saw an electric horse.  That real horse (with cart) was photoed in the vicinity of South Bermondsey railway station, just over a month ago.

Thursday August 25 2016

Here:

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So far as I can tell, though, this is not a glass bridge, more a metal bridge with lots of windows in its floor, which I don’t think is the same thing.  But, it’s still a step in the right direction, towards the day when they build a bridge entirely out of glass.

Wednesday August 24 2016

Here in London, when a pedestrian sees a red light saying don’t walk across a road, it usually looks something like this:

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Or like this:

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Those being from the archives.

But yesterday, I was in a place where the corresponding red lights look like this:

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Definitely horse-riding country.  Although, perhaps strangely, I saw no real horses.

I was in that part of outer London known as Epsom.  Having disembarked from a train at a station called Tattenham Corner, I found myself in … Tattenham? … and then kept on for a bit and emerged, just like that, into the open countryside.  And I saw things like this:

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That being, I’m pretty sure, in the foreground, the actual, original, Tattenham Corner, around which the horses and their riders go, in races.

But if, instead of making your way towards that big grandstand to watch the racing, you instead turn right, up a slight hill, through various clumps of trees, you eventually come out the other side of these trees, and you find yourself enjoying a distant view of London.

I did not come to Epsom in order to photo pedestrian lights or sporting architecture, although I did do this.  What I came to Epsom to photo was scenes like this:

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And like this:

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And like this:

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When I took these shots, the scenes I was shooting were so far away that it was very hard for me, with my ever more terrible eyesight, to work out what I was photoing.  I only learned that I had photoed The Wheel when I looked at that shot on the screen of my camera and enlarged it, and hey, that looks like The Wheel.

As for Wembley Arch, I do vaguely remember thinking that I saw a shape that might be that, but I wasn’t sure until I got home.

And even then, these distant views of London weren’t that good, on account of being too distant and my non-SLR camera being too primitive.  Epsom is a long way away from London.

The above explains, as not promised in the previous posting, why I was in Croydon yesterday.  Getting by train from London to Tattenham Corner meant, for me, going from Victoria to East Croydon, and then changing to the Tattenham Corner train.

I half had in mind to break the journey back to Victoria at Battersea Park station, which also has fine views of London’s Big Things, but I slept through Battersea Park, and anyway, it was getting dark.

Tuesday August 23 2016

Today I was in Croydon.  Not for long, but I was in Croydon.  While in Croydon I took photos.

Like this one, of No. 1 Croydon:

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And like this one, of a buildlng which was being modified, but whose name I did not catch:

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Why was I in Croydon?  I had my reason.  More tomorrow, or some day, or maybe never.  I promise nothing.

Monday August 22 2016

So I did something I haven’t done recently.  I went to BLDGBLOG, and right at the bottom of this posting, which consists of a collection of weird photos that aren’t quite photos but are something else somewhat similar, I found this classic bridge:

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But that isn’t the picture at BLDGBLOG.  I went looking for another, and found it here.

I like bridges, and I especially like bridges with buildings on them, buildings which don’t match, like the bridge is just a street rather than a single unified structure all designed and built at one time.

I also very much like the look of the picture at the top of this posting. which, for reasons I do not understand, is entitled “Critical Engineering Summer Intensives”, but which ought to be entitled “When Roof Clutter Catches Fire”.

Sunday August 21 2016

On September 7th 2015, I took a ton of photos of Surrey beating Notts, including half a ton of photos of Kumar Sangakkara, who scored a wonderful century that day.

Sangakkara, having had time off to go and win the Caribbean Premier League with his team out there, has been back playing for Surrey in recent days, with his usual huge distinction.  He made the highest score of the match in Surrey’s win against Warwickshire in the County Championship, and he made that match winning 130 not out against Northants, to get Surrey to the semi-finals of this year’s 50 overs tournament.

The best time for this photo-tribute to the great man would have been just after I took all the photos.  But now feels like the second best time for it.  Very late is not good, but it is a lot better than never.

The first lot of pictures are of Sanga scoring his 166, of him becoming increasingly tired while doing this, and of him walking off after getting out to first ball of the final over of the Surrey innings.

Several of these shots are of – ho ho – shots.  One shot should be particularly noted.  This is the so-called “ramp” shot, which is when the batsman scoops the ball right over where his head would have been, straight behind the wicketkeeper or thereabouts, hopefully for a boundary.  Sanga did at least one of these last September, as you can see (2.2).  And he did another, even more spectacularly, when he ramped a six in the last over of that one wicket victory over Northants.  (Very short YouTube video of that here.)

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I also particularly like the shot of Samit Patel of Notts congratulating Sanga (3.2), as he walks back to the pavilion.

And the second lot of photos are of what Sanga did after this great innings.  He fielded (4.1).  And oh look, who is that doing exercises in the foreground?  That would be Jade Dernbach.

After the game had concluded with a narrow Surrey win, Sanga was given a Man of the Match medal (4.2), and a Man of the Match bottle of Champagne (4.4).  Surrey commentator Mark Church interviewed Sanga (5.2).  And then (5.3 to 6.4) Sanga mingled with us punters, and had his photo taken by lots of us including by a very happy me, who by then was but a few feet away from him:

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Note in particular the Bald Bloke, with a very battered old-school looking camera, whom I managed to include in a couple of my shots (5.3 and 6.1).  Maybe I am in some of his shots.

Finally, a bone weary Sanga decides that he really has done enough mingling, and he makes his bone weary way up the steps to the Surrey dressing room (6.3).  But then, he gets ambushed yet again by an admirer, a kid (6.4), and he obliges with one last shot, before making his final exit.

Yes, I know, I show recognisable faces here.  But a public sports ground is a very public place, and you don’t go there unless you are willing for your face to be included in photos and TV coverage of the event.  Plus, if you place yourself right next to a Celeb, then you become fair photographic game, same as the Celeb himself is.  Well, those are my rules.

Saturday August 20 2016

Taken from the top of my block of flats, in April:

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The cranes, of course, are quite close.  The Shard is way over on the other side of the River.  I’m not sure what the building is.

I think it’s the colours that made me pick this one to show here.  The near white of all the solid objects, and the dark grey of the sky.

Friday August 19 2016

Or to give it its official name, City Hall.

I took this photo of City Hall in April of this year, from the other side of the river, outside the Tower of London:

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Until this evening, I thought of this photo merely as the most flattering photo I have taken of this mostly rather ungainly, and frankly, frequently rather dirty looking building.

But, I just noticed that quite aside from it being such a flattering view of this edifice, my photo reveals that there is a spiral staircase in there.  I’m right.  Look closely, and you’ll see it too.

And here, by way of further proof, is a very artistic type photo of this same staircase, taken by Aaron Yeoman.  You have to scroll down quite a lot at the end of that link to reach this photo, so if you want quickly to see it bigger, click on this instead:

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If you are outside a building, this is the kind of thing you only see at dusk, when natural light and artificial light are in a state of approximate equality.  You wouldn’t be able to see that staircase in the bright light of the day, because you wouldn’t be able to see the lights inside the building.

Plus, with me, you need to allow a few months for me to realise.  My camera sees far more than I do, and I discover new stuff in my old photos months and often years later.

So far as I can work out, from looking at the what you can visit bit of the City Hall website, regular members of the mere public are not allowed to go up this staircase to the top.  But you never really know about things like this until you actually go there, and ask.  Next time I’m there, I might drop in and do exactly that.

Thursday August 18 2016

My blogging time this evening was totally bent out of shape by – surprise, surprise – a game of cricket.  This went on for longer than I expected, and it seeed and sawed hither and thither.  Sangakkara scored a brilliant hundred.  Jade Dernbach also did important things for Surrey.  And Surrey won.  It was like I was there!

Sangakkara’s brilliance is well explained in this report of the game.  But Dernbach deserves a bit more immortalising than his performance might otherwise get.  First off, he took three top order Northants wickets, including those of Levi and Duckett, both dangerous, for small scores.  And just as in that game in 2015 against Notts, the penultimate over that Dernbach bowled, and the contrast between it and the penultimate over of the Surrey innings, also involving Dernbach, proved crucial.

In the penultimate over of the Northants innings, Dernbach conceded just two runs, after the over before that one had gone for eighteen.  And he got the wicket of his opposite number – the Northants number eleven, Azharullah – with the last ball of that penultimate over, thus ending a troublesome last wicket stand, and denying Kleinveldt one final over of tumultuous hitting, because thanks to Dernbach getting Azharullah there was no final over.  Kleinveldt might have got a century, and Northants might have got three hundred.  As it was, Kleinveldt had to be content with 76, and Northants with 276.

But whereas Northants had scored two off their last two overs, with one wicket left at the beginning of the second last over, Surrey, also with only one wicket standing, found themselves needing twenty four off the last two overs to win the game.  Dernbach was batting alongside Sanga, and thanks in no small part to Dernbach, Surrey did win.  Dernbach scored eight, including a much needed boundary during that penultimate over, and the rest of his runs in singles of the sort that got the strike back to Sanga.  And Sanga did the necessary slogging and won the game for Surrey with an amazing six during the last over and a four off the last ball of the match.  But Dernbach’s support was vital.  He played a few shots and did not get out.

Here is a not very dramatic picture I took of Dernbach at the Oval, at the game I attended last month, just after he had taken three top order Gloucester wickets in that game:

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And here is a rather better picture that I took, during that game in 2015, of a picture someone else took of him, along with the Shard and a crane and a gasometer:

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Perhaps one reason Dernbach played so very well in this evening’s game is that he is now, what with being quite old, a one-day specialist.  If Surrey had lost this game, I’m pretty sure that that would have been the end of his season, because Surrey would have been knocked out of this fifty overs tournament, and have already been knocked out of the twenty overs tournament.

Wednesday August 17 2016

Here are three pictures, on the left below.  On the right below are the pictures that explain the real pictures.  On the left: artistic impression.  On the right: what’s going on that enabled me to photo the artistic impression.

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Top, in Victoria Street.  I have never noticed this particular effect (left) before, but in the bright sunlight the other day, I did.

In the middle is a way to decorate a wall of windows that I’m not sure I like the look of, except in photos.  On the right there, we see that the building in question is next to The Monument.

The photo on the right, bottom, I took out of a train window, as I journeyed towards the Horniman Museum.  No rotating needed.  Good shot.  Photoing out of a train window works well in bright light, so long as you get no reflections.

Note the big things - Gherkin, Cheesegrater, Walkie-Talkie, lurking behind the blue building, on the left as we look. 

Another example of bright colours in modern architecture, which is a trend I am noticing quite a lot.

As with photo 2, I’m not sure I like the building, but I do like the photo.

Tuesday August 16 2016

I continue to hoover up White Van pictures whenever an interesting one presents itself.  And this one, that I encountered yesterday evening in Victoria Street, is surely a classic of the genre:

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What I enjoy so much about this van is how this enterprise clearly started out in a state of in-your-face honesty.  Yeah, we do lavs.  Our boss is Dave.  Workplaces need lavs.  You got a problem with that?  Everyone needs to piss and/or shit every now and again.

But then, as business expanded, the euphemisms crept in.  Changing the website was too complicated, but the surrounding verbiage got more polite and decorous.  That’s my take, anyway.  Have you ever seen the word “welfare” used like that?  I haven’t.  “Welfare Vans” sounds a bit like something laid on by the Japanese Army during the war, providing you-know-what to the soldiery, and for which they still refuse to apologise to the women thus made use of.

Go to www.davlav.com and it’s all explained:

These self-contained welfare vans offer independent diesel heating, washing, toilet and kitchen/eating facilities. Also included are auxiliary power microwave, hand wash and water boiler. Our welfare vehicles offer superior standards and are completely mobile, providing staff with all the facilities required by current employment law. All parts comply with the new legislation for Whole Vehicle Type Approval.

I might have guessed there’d be government regulations involved.

Monday August 15 2016

Recently a friend told me that you can see the Big Things of London from the grounds outside the Horniman Museum.  The place is a walk away from Forest Hill station, so today, I checked this out.  You can.  I did.  Picture:

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Somewhere on the www there must be a complete list of all such places.  But every list of these places that I have ever seen excludes at least one Big Thing watching place that I personally know of.

I could go on, but the last few postings here have been rather complicated, so I am keeping this one simple.

The category list includes “Bridges” because away to the right, you can see the tops of Tower Bridge.

Sunday August 14 2016

When I took this photo, about ten days ago (on the same day I took all these), …:

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… I thought that all I was doing was enjoying the dark clouds in the background and the brightly lit buildings in the foreground, an effect I am very fond of.  And the crane.

However, when I took this photo …:

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… I remember being intrigued by that other crane.  Not just the bright red crane, looking so cute against the bright blue sky (like in the first picture here).  No, I mean the crane that has appeared from out of the roof of the building, the sort of crane that reaches out beyond the roof it resides on, or in this case in, and allows men in a box to lower themselves down the building and clean its window.

The crane with a sort of random frame on the top of it.  What is that?  So I photoed the puzzle, and looked at it when I got home.

Here it is in close-up:

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The frame on top is a bit of the roof, permanently attached to the crane.  When the crane is working, it wears that bit of the roof like a long hat.  When the crane is resting, that hat turns into the perfect thing to fill the hole in the roof, the hole from which the crane emerged.

Here, by way of contrast, is the corresponding close-up of the picture at the top of this posting, of what the roof looks like when the crane based inside it is resting:

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When the crane is doing stuff, there’s no way that the roof can avoid looking cluttered.  But when the crane is resting, the aesthetic proprieties are restored.  The crane disappears inside, and flattens the roof.

The thing is, this roof is not flat.  Flat roofs are considered invisible, which they are, from the ground.  Flat roofs have lots of similar cranes resting on them, and they just sit there, cluttering up the roof.  Which is fine.  That’s the rule, for flat roofs.

But for a roof that is at an angle, which thereby becomes visible from the ground, then aesthetics apply.  Clutter cannot be allowed.  When clutter is not active, it must somehow be smoothed out, decluttered, tidied up.

And look what I just found.  Here is a picture which I took back in April of the same crane as is discussed above, but before it got its hat attached to it, and looking like a regular crane of this sort:

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Note how the light is completely different again.

I think that it was because I had already registered the existence of this crane, looking as all other cranes of this sort look, that I was so intrigued and puzzled by its hat.  I suppose I thought that there might be some kind of closure for the roof, when the crane was not busy.  But I did not foresee that the closure would be attached be attached to the crane.