Sheldon Brown's Journal
Search Sheldon Brown's Journal Search WWW
arrow-left May-June 2004
arrow-right

John Kerry for President
../Sheldon Brown photo


This page is my attempt at a personal journal. I guess you could call it a "blog" though that term had not been coined when I started.
While I'm mainly writing this for the benefit of my kids, I'm leaving it public for anybody who cares.
This endeavor was largely inspired by the similar journal "DaZe & QuirKs" by my friend and neighbor, Sean Smith.

Spoke
Books Films Music Plays Travels
Spoke

May 1, 2004

It was a gorgeous spring Saturday, and I drove out to Lynn with my Hetchins in the back of the car, for a delightful ride around Swampscott, Marblehead and Salem.

On the way out, I encountered one of the most boneheaded bicycling exhibitions I've ever seen: As I rounded the Nahant Rotary, I came face to face with a wrong way (clockwise!) cyclist in the innermost (fastest) lane of the rotary!

Concert: Boston Symphony Orchestra Mozart, Mahler - Gianluca Cascioli, piano Jahja Ling, conductor

I had never heard of either Ling or Cascioli, but this was a very fine concert. Ling was a last minute stand-in for an ailing guest conductor, but he really came through. Cascioli was marvellous in the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, K.488, and a delight to watch. The concert concluded with a blazing performance of Mahler's Symphony #1. This was the last concert of the season for our subscription, looking forward to next season!

May 2, 2004

Concert: "Rapper, Reels & Revelry" at Boston College

Harriet and I went to a benefit concert at Boston College organized by friend and neighbor Sean Smith. It featured 4 different rapper sword teams (the benefit was to help send a couple of them to england), a reduced version of the Aiofe O'Donovan Band and most of a wonderful new group called Halali, also legendary Irish fiddler Seamus Connolly. An absolutely delightful smorgasbord of folk music and dance, mostly very talented, very young artists.

May 3, 2004

Film: (DVD) Kate and Leopold 2001

I've fallen behind a bit, writing this in December, 2005. My recollection of this film is fairly vague. It's a time travel story, a genre that I'm particularly fond of, but I didn't find it all that memorable.

May 7, 2004

Film: (DVD) The Front Woody Allen

Quite a good film, as one would expect from Woody Allen, but more terrifying than funny, it deals with the blacklisting of the McCarthy era.

May 8, 2004

eBook: Cordelia's Honor Lois McMaster Bujold

This is the beginning of the Miles Naismith/Vorsigian series, but mostly takes place before his birth, being the story of his parents.

I'm very much enjoying this series, which offers a wide range of plausible imaginary cultures.

Went for a ride on the Thorn Raven, out to Sudbury and up to Lexington, listening to Die Gotterdämmerung on my iPod. The Thorn is wonderful, and so is the iPod. Long solo rides are much nicer with some good music.

On the way home, I pulled up next to a biker at a traffic light. He was on a Harley, with the legend "Seed of Abraham MC Yeshua" on the back of his black leather jacket...a "Jews for Jesus" biker! Whooda thunkit?

May 10, 2004

Film: (DVD) Blast From the Past

May 11, 2004

Took the Chrysler minivan in for service...the moon roof bit the dust, alas.

Film: (DVD) Sing Faster

This is a documentary about a production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, as seen from the perspective of the stagehands. Lots of fun, highly recommended for theatre fans.

May 15, 2004

Film: (DVD) Blood Simple Joel and Ethan Coen

May 16, 2004

CRW Spring Century, Wakefield

Harriet and I drove out to Wakefield for the Spring Century, we did the half-century (50 mile) option in steady rain. Fortunately it was not cold. I rode the Thorn, Harriet took her fixed gear--had intended to take her Holdsworth, but the Holdsworth doesn't have fenders, and she deemed the Bottecchia's fenders more valuable than the Holdsworth's gears.

We had a good time despite the rain.

May 17, 2004

Redbone's Bicycle Party

This is the first time I've been to this annual extravaganza. I rode over with Elton, me on the Thorn, him on his new A.N.T., both with Rohloff hubs. Nice ride, nice party.

May 19, 2004

Revels Pub Sing-Doyle's, in Jamaica Plain

My sister Arlene was in town, so she met Harriet and me at Doyle's. I was abit under the weather, but

May 20, 2004

Film: (DVD) The Last Samurai

This was generally an enjoyable film, don't know how authentic it was.

May 22, 2004

Arlene was in town, and we drove out to Lowell to visit our nephew Seng and his wife Sreymom. They have a great old house that they've done a great job of renovating. We went out to a Vietnamese restaurant afterwards.

Film: (DVD) The Last of the Mohicans

May 26, 2004

Received a mail-order from "Laptops Etc." of a pair of remote rechargeable battery packs, one for my Clié, the other for Harriet's Treo 90. Without these, it is dubious that our PDAs' battery power will suffice for the flight to France.

May 27, 2004

Bill Laine of Wallingford Bicycle Parts visited the shop, with his wife Erin. We had a pleasant visit, compared notes as friendly competitors in the Brooks Saddle biz.

Bill says that Selle Italia would like to introduce more models, but that the testing procedures required by current European norms take so long that new models can only be added very slowly.

May 29, 2004

eBook: The Confusion Neal Stephenson, 2004

This is the second part of the "Baroque Trilogy" begun with Quicksilver, as entertaining as its predecessor. It's too full of interlocking sub-plots to try to describe in a short blurb, but it's great fun.

Film: (DVD) Birth of a Nation D. W. Griffith

This was evidently the first "feature film" as we know it, a 12-reeler, dealing with the Slavery War and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Artistically, it is a very important milestone in the development of film. It is also a loathesome piece of racist propaganda, and quite offensive.

May 30, 2004

Film: (DVD) In The Good Old Summertime 1949

Van Johnson and Judy Garland star in this rather corny film, a remake of "The Shop Around the Corner" set in a Chicago music store in the early 19th century, the halcyon era before the Great War. The title is a bit bizarre, as the action of the film mostly takes place in winter.

The DVD also features a couple of short-subjects, travelogues of Chicago which are worth the price of admission for Chicagophiles.

May 31, 2004

CRW Ride- Auburndale

Celebrated Reynolds Day (5/31) with a 48 mile CRW ride out of Auburndale, out to West Concord. Harriet rode her Holdsworth, first time on gears for a while, and I rode the Brown, newly kitted out with double handlebars and Campagnolo Veloce Ergo brifters. This setup works really well, even though I'm using modern 10 speed shifters with a 30 year old SunTour Cyclone rear derailer and a Regina Oro 6-speed (12-22) freewheel.

June 1, 2004

Film: (DVD) Simply Irresistable

A pleasant confection of a romantic comedy, featuring the star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a chef endowed with magical powers. Predictable but pleasant.

June 2, 2004

Gauguin at the MFA

Harriet and I went to see the spectacular Gauguin exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Lots of fine stuff, though the colors were less intense than I had expected. Don't know if that was just because I'm jaded by modern pigment technnology, or because the paintings were over a century old.

I can't say that I "got" all of what Gauguin was trying to express, but it was certainly worth seeing.

Film: (DVD) Dangerous Liasions

A remake of Les Liasons Dangerouses, a costume drama set in the era of Le Roi Soleil. I liked it.

June 4, 2004

eBook: Sharpe's Triumph Bernard Cornwell

I have seen all of the Sharpe telefilms on DVD, and greatly enjoyed them. This is the first of the books that I have read, and I liked it so much I'll probably work my way through the canon.

This series follows the career of Richard Sharpe, a British soldier in the Napoleonic Wars. This early episode takes place in India, Sharpe is a sargeant, and winds up getting promoted to Enseign after saving the life of General Wellesley (the later Wellington.)

It's full of excitement, definitely a virtual page turner. The principal theme of the series is the British class system. Sharpe is an orphan from the very bottom stratum of society, and proceeds to rise in the army despite the oppositoin of almost everybody around him. The idea of an officer who isn't also a "gentleman" is offensive to the hidebound mentalities of those both above and below his station.

He also has a one-night stand with the wife of a French officer.

June 5, 2004

Film: (DVD) Kill Bill Quentin Tarentino

Silly and violent, but fun.

June 6, 2004

eBook: Sharpe's Trafalgar Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe leaves India to take up a new position as Lieutanant in a rifle company, but his voyage is anything but boring, as he has to deal with pirates, traitors and the Battle of Trafalgar.

He also falls in love with the wife of an Earl, Lady Grace, and they have a torrid shipboard affair.

June 8-9, 2004

Off to France!

First to Heathrow, via a Virgin Air 747-400. A generally pleasant flight: the food was above par, and they have a terrific new video-on-demand system, with a wide choice of films, tv, games, music, etc., including:

Film: in-flight Lost in Translation

Bill Murray as an over-the-hill actor in Japan to make big money endorsing Suntory whisky, meets the bored American wife of a busy photographer, and they indulge in an extensive flirtation. Billed as a comedy, but not all that funny by and large, but still a pretty good film.

My only gripe with Virgin Atlantic was that the legroom was on the tight side, so I was unable to get any sleep on the flight.

We had three hours at Heathrow to make our connection to an Air France flight to Charles de Gaulle.

This was by no means an excessive amount of time, given the long lines at security. We actually had to go through security twice, because we got confused as to where to go within the airport, had to do a lot of walking.

Arrived at CDG to find our good friends Marcel and Aline Zephoris waiting for us, a very good thing because we were quite exhausted from the trip. Indee, at one point, I got distracted while riding on a horizontal escalator and fell down when I reached the end of the conveyor belt.

A long, hot drive through heavy Paris traffic eventually brought us to Chevreuse, which looks pretty much unchanged since we lived here 15 years ago.

June 10, 2004

In to Paris to see the Zephs' daughter Morgane, meet her hubby Fabrice and new baby Mano. The drive in was a horror, 3 hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic, but it was a delight to see them.

June 11, 2004

While Marcel drove us along the Right Bank of the Seine yesterday, I took a series of photos through the windshield, with the idea of assembling them into a Quicktime movie. Marcel was charmed by the idea, and encouraged me to pursue more such, using his other car which has a sun roof.

Today we mad some photo sequences driving around Chevreuse. It's definitely better with the sunroof, but I need to work on making the corners less jerky.

In the afternoon, we went to visit Olivier Testard, an old friend in Bures-sur-Yvette. He's retired now, but keeps very busy in his garden.

June 12, 2004

The Zephs have a few old department-store bikes, I spent some time restoring a few to ridable condition.

Into Paris again, this time to Montmartre, first for a visit with the Zephs' son Gwen, in his 4th floor Montmartre apartment. He has a DSL connection for his Powerbook, and I was able to check my email for the first time since leaving home...20,000 messages to download! (18,000 of them Spam or viruses.) We went out to dinner and for a stroll around Montmartre while leaving the computer chugging away at the download, but it still wasn't finished when we returned.

Took a lot of photos of Montmartre.

June 13, 2004

Harriet and I wend for a short bike ride: out the D46 (the most beautiful road for cycling that I've ever been on), left on the D91, left again on the Rue de Claireau to the Chateau de la Madeleine, where we stopped to make some photos.

From the Chateau, we returned to the Zephs' house via our old neighborhood Les Hauts de Chevreuse. It doesn't look as if anybody is living in our old house, it is quite overgrown.

Did another photo sequence, including the famous "Rue des Dix-Sept Tournants". The intent was to make a complete loop, but some of the images got scrambled or lost, not sure that will be possible with what remains.

For this sequence, I fitted the wide-angle attachment to my Coolpix 990, which seems to improve things.

eBook: Weapons of Choice John Birmingham

This is volume one of a projected alternate history trilogy, with a nod to Harry Turtledove. It begins in 2021, with an allied (U.S., British, Australian, Japanese & Indonesian) naval task force in the waters off East Timor, where they're fighting against "The Caliphate", an Islamic extremist superpower, basically depicted as a descendant of Al Quaeda.

As a result of a science experiment gone wrong, this task force is transported back in time to 1942, and finds itself commingled with Admiral Spruance's forces on the eve of the Battle of Midway.

In addition to the obvious military themese, the book devotes a lot of virtual ink to the cultural clash as the 21st century forces include lots of "uppity" women and officers of many different skin colors, which the lily-white, all male 1942 Navy has trouble accepting.

While this is not as well crafted as Turtledove's work, I'm a sucker for time-travel/alternate history stuff, and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

June 14, 2004

Rode out to Le Mesnil St. Denis, then down the Dix-Sept Tournants to Dampierre, back to St. Rémy and Chevreuse. Very pleasant ride on Marcel's VTT.

Morgane visited with 3 week old Mano. He was a bit fussy, but I held him and sang him a lot of songs which caused him to fall asleep on my chest in a very comfy Guatemalan chair/hammock. I had forgotten how nice it is to have a baby fall asleep in one's arms.

In the evening, we made a second visit to Montmartre. We lucked out and found a parking spot right in front of Sacre Coeur. I bought an Aterix/Obelix t shirt in a touirist trap. We saw the former home of Jean Marais.

I'm struck by what maniacs French motorcyclists are, they seem to be absolute daredevils, whizzing down the Autoroutes on the dashed line between lanes of heavy traffic, and performing radical zigzags in the streets of Paris.

June 15, 2004

Into Paris again for a visit to the hardware department in the basement of the huge BHV department store. What an amazing collection of stuff!! This place is like Aladdin's Cave for the mechanically inclined.

June 16, 2004

eBook: Sharpe's Prey Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe has returned to England from India, and had his seafaring adventure at Trafalgar, and has joined a new regiment. Unfortunately, the snobs who run the regiment don't believe he can lead soldiers, so they've got him working as a quartermaster, which he hates. When he is recruited as bodyguard for an agent going to Denmark, he's delighted with the prospect of some action, but it doesn't all turn out to the greatest credit of the British Government, and, despite Sharpe's best efforts, an atrocious bombardment of Copenhagen ensues.

To Bristol

The Zephs drove us to CDG, then a short flight to Heathrow and hop into a rented VW Passat (free upgrade!) and a 2 hour jaunt down the Motorway to Bristol.

It's great to see George again. He's looking great, has lost a lot of weight, likely due to his two mile walk over the Downs and down the hill from his dorm to where his classes are.

Westfield HouseWe have a room in a very nice B&B called "Westfield House", just around the corner from George's dorm. There's a big bedroom and a very large private bathroom attached. The house has a very large and elegant garden in the back.

Went out to George's favorite Indian restaurant, just down the road from Westfield House, good stuff if not my ideal.

Film: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azbakan 2004

I liked the first two Harry Potter films very much, but this third episode considerably surpasses them, mainly due to a superior director, and perhaps to the actors being a bit more mature and experienced.

June 17, 2004 Bristol

Explored Bristol a bit, visited the Music Department, which is in a gorgeous Victorian building, and the Maths Department, a rather more utilitarian structure.

music-dept-vict-rooms007 music-dept-vict-rooms013 music-dept-vict-rooms014

Note: I took tons of photos on this trip! Only a small selection are shown on this page. For lots more, click here.

The city is quite hilly, but also quite lovely in parts.

Went to The Lan Room to plug into their high-speed connection in hopes of downloading my email, but there was a problem...I had 190 mb of mail accumulated since I last had a chance to connect, and not enough disc space left on my server to make the requisite copy of it. I did eventually download the file as a file, but have not yet figured out a way to get it to open in Eudora. I hope to eventually be able to recover the mail, but it's by no means certain that I'll succeed.

Went to a South American/Mexican place called Los Iguanas, food was poor and skimpy, worst Margareta I've ever had...oh well, what did I expect?

June 18, 2004 Bristol, Cannington

Visited a wonderful music shop on Whitelaadies Street, primarily to try to find a box that would let us bring George's rain stick back on the airplane. While there, I bought a tin whistle with book and cd, plan to learn to play it.

Went sightseeing in Bristol, down to the waterfront where we had hoped to visit the Industrial Museum, but it turned out to be closed.

Walked down to the S.S. Great Britain, however and that was open and was a real treat to see. This mid-19th century ship, one of the masterpieces of I.K. Brunel, was the first "modern" ocean liner, the largest ship in the world when it was built (by a considerable margin), also the first iron ship with a screw propellor, and the first to be able to cross the Atlantic by steam power alone (smaller steamers couldn't carry sufficient coal for the voyage.)

She later took over the England/Australia run, making 32 trips around the world before being beached and abandoned on the Falkland Islands. In 1970 she was rescued and rafted back to Bristol, where she now resides in the drydock she was built in (a drydock constructed for the purpose...fits like a glove!.)

Comservation and restoration are far from complete, but have progressed to a considerable extent.

We had an excellent docent for our "hard hat" tour of the ship.

great-britain012 great-britain013 great-britain018 great-britain020
After the S.S. Great Britain tour, we took a ferry ride along the "floating harbour" back to the vicinity of where we had parked our car.

bristol-boats018 bristol-boats080 bristol-boats096 bristol-drawbridge2
In the afternoon, we drove out to Bridgewater, Somerset, about 45 minutes from Bristol to visit St. John Street Cycles/Thorn Cycles. I had corresponded with Robin Thorn, the proprietor, and he had invited us to visit. St. John Street Cycles has a lot in common with Harris Cyclery, being similarly an Internet based mail-order operation superimposed on a small local bike shop, with a primarily road/touring orientation. They're rather larger than Harris, employing about 35 people, spread out in a complex of connected older buildings in a semi-depressed small town. They also have their own bicycle brand, which we don't, at least at present.

Robin was very cordial, and we talked shop for a while before heading to the evening's social event, the Cannignton Duck Race.

This is sort of an avian variant of Pooh Sticks. Some thousands of numbered rubber duckies are released into a river, it's basically a raffle, with the winning duck earning 20 pounds for its sponsor's 50p investment. In addition to the duck race, there are various other carnival type games, all for the benefit of the local school.

When we went out in the morning, we asked George to bring a few extra warm shirts along, in case it got too cold down by the water. As a joke, one of the ones he brought out was his rag-festooned Morris Dancing shirt. This turned out to be prescient of him, because a side of local Morris Dancers showed up at the duck race! They compared notes, and it turned out that George knew all but one fo the dances they had tentatively scheduled, and they were also short one dancer, so they were delighted to have a Yank Morris Dancer join in. George did great, clearly had a ball, and made lots of new friends.

duck-race02 duck-race06 cannington-morris03 cannington-morris04
After the duck race, we all went over to the Thorns' 504 year old cottage for dinner and games with their three kids. It was a deligtful end to a delightful day, we all hit it off splendidly, and a Good Time Was Had By All.

June 19, 2004 Bath

Went back to the Lan Room to check my email, 11,000 messages this time. Answered those I could, flagged the others. This took all morning and into the early afternoon.

Drove over to Bath for a bit of sight seeing. I was last there in 1975, loved it then. We tried to visit in 1988, but the whole city was closed due to overcrowding on that occasion. This time we made it in, wandered around and took lots of photos.

Visited the ancient Roman baths, as restored by the Victorians, got a pretty good audio tour, but they kicked us out before we finished, because it got to be closing time.

bath05 bath06 bath16 bath30
bath31 bath33 bath07 bath49

June 20, 2004 Cannington, Fiddington

The Thorns were out of town on holiday, but had arranged to lend us three of their bicycles so we could go for a ride. They left us a key to their garage, wrere we found the family's bikes and an Ordnance Survey map of the vicinity. As advised, we heade west from Cannington toward Fiddington, but being unfamiliar with the scale of the Ordnance Survey maps, we got lost a few times, and are stil not sure if we ever actually made it to Fiddington...was it that little crossroads? In any case, the Somerset countryside was a lovely place to get lost and explore on a bike, beautiful little one lane roads, not too smooth but all three of the bikes we borrowed had 26 x 1.75 tires that worked very well for the conditions. I rod Robin's Thorn Raven, somewhat lighter than my own, since it only had one set of handlebars and some other lightweight doodads. George rode his wife's bike, and Harriet a bike that I presume belongs to the older son. Fortunately, they all had loooong seatposts.

The weather was perfect, and we had a wonderful time, even if we didn't cover a lot of miles.

I had my first ever encounter with nettles, as I brushed my left hand against a bush by the side of the road. Not as painful as I had imagined it might be, but my hand was tingling for most of the rest of the day.

cannington-fiddington04 cannington-fiddington09 thorns-thorn03 thorns-thorn04
cannington-map2 cannington-fiddington14 cannington-fiddington15 cannington-fiddington21
After the ride, we repaired to a local pub, the Rose and Crown for a pint of Real Ale. The Rose and Crown dates from before the Civil War, 1638 to be exact, and looks it. The walls and ceiling are festooned with assorted agricultrual implements and other bric-a-brac, I don't think there's any unused surface. There's also a collection of stopped clocks, all of which say 7:50 (the landlord was born in 1950, hence the setting.)

rose-and-crown10 rose-and-crown02 rose-and-crown06 rose-and-crown07
In the evening, we went to meet John and Erica, friends of our London friends the Grays. They, and their son Henry had entertained George previously on a couple of occasions. We had dinner with them in their very nice house in Nailsea. John is a preservation architect, mainly involved in keeping ancient churches from crumbling into ruins. They had previously lived in Saudi Arabia, and showed us lots of excellent photos that John had taken there.

June 21, 2004 Bath, Plume of Feathers

Back to the Lan Room, only 7600 emails this time.

Leaving the Lan Room, I tripped and fell on the sidewalk. In retrospect, this was possibly the first symptom of my deteriorating health condition.

In the evening, we went to the Plume of Feathers pub by the waterfront, for an Irish music sesshun. Actually, we had expected it to be English music, but the format had just changed. George is a regular at this, and had prepared several English numbers arranged for his trombone (including his arrangement of Venus in Furs as a jig!)

The Plume of Feathers itself is much less decorative than the Rose and Crown, but the ambience was very friendly and the music was great. There was a button accordianist who seemed to be mostly the leader. He also sang and played the tinwhistle and bhdran from time to time. There were also a pair of fiddlers, a guitarist or two, uncountable bhodran players, and a guy with a bozouki and banjo...and George with his trombone.

They weren't fussy about the format, and, I think in our honor, did a bunch of American stuff as well. Somebody started a Dylan song but didn't remember the words...but I knew most of them so I took over. They said I did it well and even had the accent right! George led Byker Hill, with a bunch of us joining in on the chorus. During a lull, I blasted out The Cumberland and the Merrimack, starting poorly, but improving as I went along. I was wearing my green kepi, and this seemed to inspire a bunch of songs from the Slavery War.

plume-of-feathers05 plume-of-feathers13 plume-of-feathers15 fullers

June 22, 2004 Cornwall: Camelford, Boscastle

eBook: The Black Arrow Robert Louis Stevenson 1899

An entertaining, if naive medieval melodrama, but not Stevenson's best.

Off to Cornwall

Drove out on a sightseeing run to Cornwall. George an I had never been there, though Harriet had done a walking tour along the coast 30 years ago.

It was gray and rainy, but still worth the trip. Our first stop was the village of Camelford, where there's a very funky, cluttered Bicycle Museum.

camelford-bicycle-museum02 camelford-bicycle-museum07 camelford-bicycle-museum09 camelford-bicycle-museum20
Drove into the village for steak and kidney pie at the Mason's Arms, a wonderful old-timey pub.

I was surprised to see large wind farms, with huge forests of modern wind turbines, but whenever we would get out of the car and feel the wind, we could understand why they had them.

camelford-masons-arms7 camelford-masons-arms8 camelford-masons-arms4 camelford-masons-arms6
camelford13 camelford14 windmill-cornwall windmills-cornwall
Someone at the Bicycle Museum suggested that we check out Boscastle, which turned out to be a very good tip. It is unspeakably scenic, with a narrow rocky fjord-like harbor. George mentioned that an early Oyster Band album features an instrumental called "Boscastle Breakdown."

We couldn't get affordable accommodation in the town, but the tourist office referred us to an outlying farm B & B: "Higher Pennycock Farm." This was basically a modern ranch-style house, but a working farm, and quite comfortable.

June 23, 2004 Cornwall: Boscastle, Tintagel, Padstow

After breakfast we drove into the village of Boscastle. We thought it was windy yesterday, but today there is a fierce Atlantic gale blowing. We walked out a ways along the cliff overlooking Boscastle Harbor. The wind and waves were very wild and woolly.

boscastle003 boscastle016 boscastle017 boscastle024
boscastle026 boscastle039 boscastle060 boscastle063
Our plan was to drive to Tintagel and later to Padstow, but the fates were against us.

We got to Tintagel OK, but were a bit disappointed to see what a tourist trap it is (Legend has it that this was the location of Camelot.) We parked on a car park, and Harriet and I each opened our doors at the same time...just as a brutal gust of wind hit the car from behind. Both of our doors sprang out of our hands and smacked into the cars parked on either side of us. Mine smashed the exterior mirror of a German Mercedes on our right, and Harriet's put a nasty dent in the side of a British Volvo on our left. I left a business card with a note in each of the victims' cars, and we headed off to see the castle. In the event, it turned out that the castle was closed, because the high winds made the path unsafe.

So then we headed south to Padstow, but when we got there we found that every parking space and car park in town was occupied. We were never able to stop, though we did get at least a look at the harbor, which is also very scenic. Wish we could have spent some time there.

At an outlying mall, we stopped for genuine Cornish pasties, which were much better than the cardboard one at the Plume of Feathers. I also found out the correct way to pronounce "pasty": the first sentence is the same as in "pasta" according to the very nice old Cornish lady who sold it to me.

Giving up on Cornwall, we headed north to Leamington Spa, so see our old friends the Sue and David.

June 24, 2004

Leamington Spa

Sue took us to tour a 15th century manor house called Baddesley Clinton. This house belonged to a Catholic family, and features a secret chapel and a "priest hole" where fugitive priests could be hidden from the Protestant authorities. Ther is a fabulous collection of portraits, including one of Charles Townshend whose infamous taxation scheme was a principal cause of the American Revolution.

There are a number of other legends associated with this house, including a priest murdered by one of the proprietors (and a bloodstain on the hearth to prove it) and a strange romantic triangle in the 19th century.

After our tour, we had tea and crumpets, with clotted cream in the lovely garden.

baddesley-clinton02 baddesley-clinton03 baddesley-clinton09sue-g-h baddesley-clinton14
Later, we went for a walk along the Grand Union Canal . I got a bit footsore, and stopped with George at a lockside pub called The Cape of Good Hope, had a pint and watched a spot of cricket on the telly.

Got to watch the lock being operated, and even helped out with it a bit. These old English canals are fascinating to me, ever since I read a great description of them in one of the C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower books.

grand-union-canal01 grand-union-canal02 grand-union-lock-06 grand-union-lock-pub
Our time was getting short, so we headed south to London to see old friends Lew and Val in Brentford.

June 25, 2004

London (Brentford)

Went to another Internet Cafe, but found that 150 mb large batch of email was inaccessible and lost.

Visited the Kew Bridge Steam Museum with George, in a building that was originally a pumping station to supply the lock system with water. An amazing temple to 19th century technology, housing a considerable number of very old, very large steam engines. We got to see (and hear) one of them work.

There's other stuff there too, including a "backshot" water wheel, which is a type I had never heard of before. This is a bucket type wheel where the water falls down the back side of the wheel.

kew-steam-museum02 kew-steam-museum09 kew-steam-museum44 kew-steam-museum69
Met Lew at the Waggon and Horses for a pint, then connected with Harriet and Val at the Bell & Crown, where the womenfolk arrived just too late to get lunch. waggon-horses bell-crown3-george

June 26, 2004

Fly back home on Virgin Atlantic.

eBook: Conrad's Time Machine Leo A. Frankowski 2002

A mildly diverting time-travel opus.

June 28, 2004

Back to work, my Greenspeed has finally arrived!

June , 2004

Film: (DVD) Junior Ivan Reitman 1994

Not impressed. A waste of Emma Thompson's talents.

Rode the Greenspeed out to Lincoln, it's really a lot of fun, and very comfortable.

Spoke

Spoke

The overall Booklist has been moved to a separate page.

Books reviewed on this page:
Weapons of ChoiceJohn Birmingham6/13/04
Cordelia's HonorLois McMaster Bujold5/8/04
Sharpe's TrafalgarBernard Cornwell6/4/04
Sharpe's TriumphBernard Cornwell6/4/04
Sharpe's PreyBernard Cornwell6/16/04
Conrad's Time MachineLeo Z. Frankowski6/26/04
The ConfusionNeal Stephenson5/29/04
The Black ArrowRobert Louis Stevenson6/22/04

Spoke

The overall film list has been moved to a separate page.

Films reviewed on this page:
The FrontMay 7, 2004
Kate & LeopoldMay 3, 2004

Music:
DatePerformersWorks
May 2, 2004Aiofe O'Donovan, Seamus Connoly, Halali"Rapper, Reels & Revelry"
May 1, 2004B.S.O., Gianluca Cascioli, Jahja LingMozart, Mahler
April 10, 2004M.I.T.G.A.S.PGilbert & Sullivan: Thespis
April 3, 2004B.S.O., Grant LlewellenVaughan Williams, Musgrave, Walton
January 17, 2004B.S.O., James LevineMozart, Carter, Dvorak
December 10, 2003Australian Opera (DVD)La Bohème
November 13, 2003Kirov Ballet, St. PetersburgChopin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky
October 4, 2003B.S.O., Hans Graf, Claudio BohóquezTchaikovsky & Shostakovich
October 4, 2003B.S.O., Bernard Haitink, Dubravka TomsicBeethoven
March 8, 2003M.I.T.G.A.S.PBizet: Carmen
March 8, 2003B.S.O., Bernard HaitinkBeethoven, Harbison
March 7, 2003Arlo GuthrieNortheastern University
February 21-March 1, 2003Gilbert & Sullivan: PatienceSudbury Savoyards
January 18, 2003B.S.O., Ton Koopman, Andreas SchollBach, Haydn
December 7, 2002B.S.O., Marek JanowskiBartok, Strauss
November 29, 2002New York Philharmonic, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Pierre Laurent-AimardJanacek: Cappriccio; R.Strauss: Burleske; Brahms: Sym. #2
November 2, 2002B.S.O., Marek JanowskiBartok, Strauss
September 22, 2002Boston Folk FestivalBarachois, Bill Staines, Cheryl Wheeler, Richard Thompson
July 21, 2002London Philharmonic, RostropovichShostakovich, Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk
July 3, 2002Stan Rogers Folk FestivalOysterband, Fairport Convention, others.
May 3, 2002The Australian OperaWagner, Die Meistersinger
April 18, 2002B.S.O., Seiji OzawaMahler, Sym. # 9
April 13, 2002M.I.T.G.a.S.P.Gilbert & Sullivan, The Gondoliers
March 7, 2002B.S.O., Hans Graf, M. Piccinini, A.HäfligerColgrass, Schubert
February 21, 2002B.S.O., James LevineDvorak, Wuoronen, Mozart, Ligeti,Schumann
January 10, 2002B.S.O., Bernard HaitinkBruckner: Symphony #7
December 9, 2001Brandeis University Symphony OrchestraBeethoven: Piano Concerto #3; Dvorak: Symphony #6
December 8, 2001Brandeis University Early Music SocietyVarious works
November 17, 2001M.I.T.G.a.S.P.Gilbert & Sullivan, H.M.S. Pinafore
November 3, 2001B.S.O., Federico CorteseIves: Ragtime Dances, Mozart Pf Conc #9 k271, Kurtäg: Grabstein für Stephan; Schubert, Sym. #4
Novembr 2, 2001Blue Man Group, Seiji OzawaBrahms: Symphony #1
October 6, 2001B.S.O., Seiji OzawaBrahms: Symphony #1
May 3-6, 2001M.I.Tl G & S PlayersGilbert & Sullivan: The Grand Duke
April 13, 2001Harvard-Radcliffe G & SGilbert & Sullivan: Utopia, Limited
March 4, 2001Newton North High School Chorus and OrchestraHaydn: Missa in Tempore Belli; Symphony #49 "La Pasione"
March 3, 2001B.S.O., David RobertsonJanácek Sinfonietta,
February 18, 2001Theatre de Chatelet (DVD)Janácek, The Cunning Little Vixen
February 4, 2001M.I.T.G.a.S.P.Rowe & Sullivan, The Zoo
February 3, 2001B.S.O., James LevineMahler Symphony #3
February 3, 2001George and his band at Harvey Finstein School of Music
December 27, 2000The Christmas Revels, CambridgeAppalchian/African-American Revels
December 23, 2000San Carlo Opera (DVD)Wagner, Tannhäuser
November 18, 2000M.I.T.G.a.S.P.Gilbert & Sullivan, The Sorceror
November 16, 2000Harvestfest, Newton North High School
November 2, 2000B.S.O., Christoph EschenbachMozart: Piano Concerto #23; Mahler Symphony #5
October 24, 2000Leon RosselsonJohnny D's
October 7, 2000The Savoy-AiresGilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado
June 18, 2000George and his band at Harvey Finstein School of Music
May 21, 2000Small Ensemble Concert--Newton North
April 29, 2000Spring Revels
April 22, 2000B.S.O., André Previn, Pamela FrankPrevin: Diversions; Barber: Violin Concerto; Mozart: Symphony #39
March 10, 2000Revels, Inc/Shakespeare & Co.The Mysteries
February 26, 2000B.S.O.,Seiji Ozawa, Christine Goerke, Ian Bostridge, Thomas QuasthoffBritten: War Requiem
February 19, 2000B.S.O., Bernard HaitinkMahler: Symphony #7
February 12, 2000George and his band at Harvey Finstein School of Music
January 29, 2000B.S.O., Sir Simon Rattle
Peter Donohoe, Piano
Dvorák: The Golden Spinning Wheel,
Bartók: Piano Concerto #1, Brahms: Symphony #2
January 8, 2000George on TromboneN.E. Regional Senior District Festival
December 19, 1999The Christmas Revels, CambridgeItalian Renaissance Revels
December 12, 1999Pierre Boulez, Met Opera (video)Wagner: Siegfried
November 19, 1999Matapat, Lexington
November 18, 1999Harvestfest, Newton North High SchoolSt. Sæns Danse Macabre
November 7, 1999M.I.T.G.a.S.P.Gilbert & Sullivan, Iolanthe
November 4, 1999George and his band at Ryles, Cambridge
October 2, 1999B.S.O., Seiji Ozawa
Florence Quivar, Mezzo; Paula Delligatti, Sop.
Mahler, Symphony #2
September 29, 1999B.S.O., Seiji Ozawa,
Hildegarde Behrens, Soprano
Wagner: Tannhäuser, Götterdämmerung excerpts;
Strauss: Electra excerpt.
August 14, 1999M.I.T.G.a.S.P.Gilbert & Sullivan, Crichton
July 24, 1999David Mallett
June 19, 1999The Publick TheatreGilbert & Sullivan The Yeomen of the Guard
April 13, 1999Harvey Finstein School of Music student groupsGeorge and Tova at Watch City Brewery
March 7, 1999Newton North High School Chorus and OrchestraMozart: Requiem, Symphony #38 ("Prague").
March 5, 1999Harvey Finstein School of Music student groupsGeorge and Tova in Jazz recital at Newton Congregational Church.
March 4, 1999Newton North High School various groups.
February 6, 1999B.S.O.,Seiji Ozawa,
Jacques Zoon (flute)
Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande "Symphony"
Mozart: Flute Concerto #1 in G, K.313
Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps.
January 30, 1999B.S.O., Robert Spano,
Andreas Haefliger (piano)
Lindberg: Arena
Beethoven: Piano Concerto #2
Sibelius: The Swan of Tuonela, Symphony #3
January 16, 1999B.S.O., Sir Simon Rattle,
Dawn Upshaw (sop.)
Knussen Flourish with Fireworks
Weir Natural History
Mahler Symphony #4
Schumann Piano Concerto
December 23, 1998The Christmas Revels, Sanders Theatre, Cambridge
December 12, 1998Caroling with Nym Cooke, Hardwick, Mass.
November 28, 1998B.S.O., Roberto Abbado,
Lief Ove Andsnes (piano)
Mahler Symphony #1
Schumann Piano Concerto
November 8, 1998M.I.T.G.a.S.P.Gilbert & Sullivan, The Mikado
Spoke

Plays:
November 29, 2002Lorraine BraccoThe Graduate
November 23, 2001Helen Mirren, Ian McKellnThe Dance of Death-August Strindberg
September 30, 2000Tova/Black Box Theatre, Cornell UniversityThe Maids-Jean Genet
May 30, 2000Kelsey Grammer/Colonial TheatreMacbeth
May 26, 2000The Huntington Theatre Co.King Hedley II
September 3, 1999The Publick TheatreNine
August 21, 1999Orange Tree Theatre, Ithaca, N.Y.Sonata
August 13, 1999Firehouse Theatre, Ithaca, N.Y.Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You
May 22-29Newton South/North High SchoolsRichard III
December 18, 1998Newton North High SchoolThe Bone Violin, May Flies
November 12, 1998Newton North High SchoolTo Kill a Mockingbird 052999
Spoke

Travels:
June 8, 2004France, England
December 22, 2003Halifax, Nova Scotia
November 27, 2003Florida
October 31, 2003Potomac, Maryland
October 10, 2003Las Vegas, Nevada
September 21, 2003New York, N.Y.
November 27-30, 2002New York, N.Y.
October 8-13, 2002Evanston, Illinois
October 4-8, 2002Las Vegas, Nevada
July 3-9, 2002Canso, Nova Scotia
May 24-27, 2002Long Island, New York
November 21-24, 2001New York City
October 16-19, 2001Cape Cod, Massachusetts
September 29-October 3, 2001Las Vegas, Nevada (Interbike Show)
June 16-23, 2001Nags Head, North Carolina
October 5-14, 2000Evanston, Illinois
September 30-October 2, 2000Ithaca, New York
June 22-25, 2000Urbanna, Virginia
October 7-13, 1999Chicago/Evanston, Illinois
August 19-28, 1999Ithaca, New York
August 12-13, 1999Ithaca, New York
July 23-25, 1999Bridgeton, Maine
November 25-28, 1998Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1988-89France, England
1980Yucatan, Mexico
1975England, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Turkey

Sheldon Brown's Personal Pages
Books Boston My
Bicycles
My
Family
La Belle
France
Home
Page
My
Hotlists
Humor My
Journal
Misc. My
Music
My
Photography
Québec Radio

Spoke

Since November 8, 1998

A member of The Diary Registry

Copyright © 2004, 2008 Sheldon Brown

Back to Sheldon Brown's Home Page

If you would like to make a link or bookmark to this page, the URL is:
http://sheldonbrown.org/journal/journal-0405.html
../blank