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These things are dotted all over the coast

WWII pillboxes. Looks like this one was vandalized last Fall. They blew up some cans of spray paint inside it. Given that it’s a giant hunk of cement intended to survive artillery, it’s fine.

We run across them all along our familiar routes. And anti-tank obstacles – mostly row upon row of big cement structures with fanciful names like coffins and dragons teeth.

Nearly all these things are under protection orders now, so they won’t be dug up. Very jarring to find in the English countryside, but a constant reminder of how bad things got here and how very, very nearly there was a German invasion that the South coast was expected to fend off.

Naturally, there’s a study group, if you’d like to learn more.

Fun fact: cans of spray paint explode in the color of the paint inside.

April 25, 2024 — 7:22 pm
Comments: 6

Aw, bless

If you click the article, you do get the full mugshot, but I love the way sussex.news crops the pictures on the front page so it looks like we’re arresting toddlers for serious crimes.

Still no internet. As it turns out, it’s only £3 a gigabyte to top up, but you can easily use a gig a day browsing the internet. Okay, that’s still not a lot of money, but it feels like a rip.

We don’t have them here, but it looks like I’ve reached the Early Bird Specials stage of life.

April 22, 2024 — 5:56 pm
Comments: 4

They’re still finding ’em

More ordnance dug up on Sussex beaches this month. There’s still an insane amount of it out there. I don’t know that I’d handle those big ones – they look unstable.

More on the ‘splodey part. The boys like the ‘splodey part.

We’re still connecting through our phones. The engineer turned up this morning and said, “this is a job for a cherry picker!” and the cherry picker guy turned up and said, “this is a job for traffic control!”

So with any luck, tomorrow our road will be blocked by professionals while the cherry picker guy reattaches the phone wire on top of our pole. I feel important.

Also, our power is going off tomorrow morning for completely unrelated reasons. Wheee!

April 18, 2024 — 6:43 pm
Comments: 3

They’ll grow anything here

Giant redwood trees were imported into the UK in the 1850s. They became a status symbol and were often planted at the gates of great parks, cemeteries and estates. As a result, there are half a million giant sequoia growing Britain today. There are 80,000 in California.

Many of Britain’s trees are known specimens – they know when and where they were planted. Knowing the growth rate, they’ve been able to determine the trees do just fine in the English climate.

And they’re still planting ’em. Greenies love them because they suck up so much CO2. At 150, though, none of them have yet reached ‘giant’ status – not like the ones we saw in those old postcards from the Fifties, anyway.

We have to go out tonight, so I’ll leave you with that happy tree-hugging thought.

April 11, 2024 — 2:56 pm
Comments: 7

Welp, he just lost the British vote

(They don’t want Harry back).

Could he do this? He could. Harry admitted to illegal drug use in his autobiography, which is disqualifying.

I used to hang out in a forum for Americans immigrating to the UK, and (more rarely) vice versa. People think marriage is an automatic in. It ain’t.

I remember one case of a couple who married abroad – she was British and he was American – and he wasn’t allowed into the UK because he’d done time for a felony.

Sufficient lawyering can eventually overcome a case like that. In extremis, the European Human Rights lot will probably step in if appealed to (yes, sadly, the UK is still signed up to that madness). But they don’t half put you through years of courts and hearings and long distance relationships. Earning that British passport was a very scary and expensive process.

Going the other way – UK to US – is famously even tougher.

Trump probably wouldn’t really deport Harry, though. Sad.

Still no official Royal announcement.

March 19, 2024 — 8:01 pm
Comments: 5

Yeah, I think I could tear this in half

Ladies and gentlemen, positively the last phone book. I’ve bought thicker magazines.

I’m not sure I believe this, you know. My memory is the last few phone books were called the last. I’m not sure why we’re getting it now, either – it was billed as coming out in October. I think this is a money spinner and they’re marketing it to businesses as, “be in the last ever phone book!”

But I can’t be arsed to open it because, who cares?

The very first BT phonebook was published in 1880 and had just 248 London names – and no telephone numbers! Sixteen years later, the first national phonebook was 1,350 pages and 81,000 names.

I know. The idea of a national phonebook is brain hurty.

The first American phone book was published in 1878. It was a sheet of cardboard with 50 names on it all from New Haven, Connecticut. Reason being, it was invented nearby and Bell had demo’d it in New Haven the year before. So, fifty early adopters.

Names, again. You don’t think they’d dial numbers themselves? They called the switchboard and had the girl do it.

March 12, 2024 — 7:48 pm
Comments: 10

Not the duke and duchess of *me*

Yet another rebrand. The Queen slapped sussexroyal.com out of their hands and now they’ve abandoned archewell.com and redirected it to sussex.com

No way sussex.com was free, I thought.

And I was right. According to WHOIS, the URL was registered in 1995. The Wayback Machine says it was active from 1995 until 2013. It was owned by a software company in the States called Sussex Systems, Inc.

It went dark for ten years and then up it pops on February 4 this year with these two muppets attached. I’m guessing after the demise of Sussex Systems, somebody squatted on the name all that time. I’d love to know what they had to pay for it.

It would be even better if the King took their titles away so they couldn’t use it any more. I’m sick of them messing up my Google searches.

February 13, 2024 — 8:57 pm
Comments: 4

No shit.

Our fancy, computer-controlled, hippie-approved septic system broke down over the weekend and took our electricity with it. Uncle B spent all Sunday morning isolating the source of the power outage.

We didn’t install this thing on purpose. It was a condition of the sale of the house because our waste discharges into a stream. Our neighbors are grandfathered in and don’t have a fancy system *grimace emoji*

It’s been a maintenance nightmare.

Outlet pump this time. We were told they usually last 5 years and ours lasted fifteen, so yay I guess. Somehow it doesn’t feel lucky.

If you’d like an explanation of how it works, you can watch this video on the Septic Tank TV channel. Or don’t. He does a lousy job explaining how waste water gets from the dirty side to the clean side. You will learn the charming old English term “poo water” however.

February 12, 2024 — 5:49 pm
Comments: 9

Not nice.

Someone had to cancel an appointment with me today because a person was hit and killed by a train and all traffic was halted. You couldn’t even drive over the crossing at the nearest station.

Probably a mess.

The article doesn’t say, but it was likely a suicide. Death by train is a surprisingly common method here. They don’t have the option of a revolver and decanter of brandy.

The picture is Ashford International Station where the train was headed. Because all traffic in our area is routed through Ashford. Which isn’t international any more. And is a dump.

We catch a disease every time we go to Ashford.

Edit to add: I’ve just read this on Quora “If you type ‘illuminati’ backwards, followed by ‘.com’ as a URL, you will be directed to the US government’s national security page.” I tried it and itanimulli.com does indeed take you to the NSA.

February 5, 2024 — 7:43 pm
Comments: 11

English girls scouts were hard core

Found in an archive of papers from an early troop of Girl Guides: semaphore flash cards. I mentioned this at a coffee morning and one of the old girls got up and gave me the whole alphabet.

But why? What possible use would a visual system of long-distance communication used by the Navy be to little girls?

I’ve Googled high and Googled low. I can confirm there was a lot of it about. All girls. The Girl Scouts got up to it in the States, too.

I found this quote from an old women’s encyclopedia: “A semaphore parade. Even the youngest children will enjoy a lesson on this subject, and will acquire a sense of discipline and a quickness of perception by its help” but the rest of the article goes on to describe teaching children to build a pretend field hospital and splint broken bones. Cheerful!

A lot of what is captioned as semaphore is just pictures of people waving flags around.

I guess it’s a simple as making kids memorize something. We had to memorize stuff. But why semaphore and why girls?

January 31, 2024 — 8:23 pm
Comments: 8