We're Back

Jan. 7th, 2008 10:23 pm
apel: (sunset)
Sunset at Tintagel
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apel: (yule_tomte)
Slimbridge Wetland Centre on the Severn is owned by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. It's the winter home for many geese, ducks and swans.

One of the most delightful things about it, is that you can buy bags of grains to feed all the fowl. It doesn't cost much and it's great fun. The lady who sold the grain to Kieron and me told us that because it was a cold day and not many visitors, particularly the birds further away from the centre buildings would be grateful.

These Greylag Geese were rather near the centre. "Gratitude" isn't really a word I associate with geese. "Aggression" comes closer to my experience.
Greylag goose
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more goose, duck and Bewick's swans )
apel: (cheltenham)
Malvern Hills from Crickley Hill, south of Cheltenham.
Malvern Hills from Crickley Hill, south of Cheltenham.
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apel: (shoes)
We went to the Malvern Hills today. They're only 45 minutes from Cheltenham. They offer splendid hill walking with stunning views eastwards toward the Cotswolds and westwards toward Herefordshire and Wales.

Herefordshire Beacon seen from the north. The beacon is an obelisk near Eastnor Castle.
Herefordshire Beacon in the distance
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Worcestershire Beacon, looking westward. The beacon is at 425 m, the highest point of the Malverns.
Worcestershire beacon, looking toward Herefordshire and Wales
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apel: (october)
On Saturday Kieron and I went to Glastonbury. Mostly we indulged in retail therapy. I came home with 5 CDs. On the way home, we stopped to take a photo of the famous Tor. We were too tired to walk up on it, though. Maybe next time.
Glastonbury Tor in the gathering dusk
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Yesterday afternoon we paid a brief visit to Leckhampton Hill. The sun was about to set and the landscape looked magical from up on top of the Cotswold escarpment. That's the Black Mountains on the horizon.
Looking due west from Leckhampton Hill
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Kieron enjoying the beautiful view over Cheltenham and the exhilarating wind. Leckhampton Hill is to the south-east of Cheltenham. I suggested that we go there to watch the sun come up on Yule but I'm not sure Kieron was keen on the idea. At first he agreed, then he realised he'd have to get up early and it would probably be very cold up there.

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apel: (cheltenham)
Kieron's tap water has run out and the water at his workplace will run out in the next few days, according to Kieron. He'll come and stay with me until he can go back. That may well take over a week.

On the other hand, Severn Trent Water say that they only shut off supply to Kieron's workplace temporarily and will turn it on again, according to BBC Gloucestershire.

Severn Trent Water have finally gained access to the Mythe Water Works and have started pumping out water. They'll be able to assess the damage when the flood water is gone. After that it will take 1-2 weeks for Mythe to start serving customers again.

It seems to me that the situation is still rather confused with contradictory statements flying around. I'd love to have Kieron here but obviously it's better if people have water. I'm wondering if Severn Trent shut off the water supply to the industrial area where Kieron works so that there will be enough for the people who live in the villages nearby. That would explain the difference between what Kieron is saying and what the BBC are saying.
apel: (cheltenham)
I talked to Kieron yesterday evening and he was fine. He had been working from home instead of going into the office but he had both power and water.

During the night the Severn has peaked and more rain is not expected. The National Grid substation at Walham has stayed online. While emergency services say that they're not in the recovery phase yet, things are under control and the prognosis is good.

For those without water, the situation is the same as before. It will take 7-14 days to get the Mythe water works operative again once flood waters have retreated. Most of Cheltenham has water but there are fears that they will lose it, so bowsers have been placed around town.

This story about people coming together to make a wedding happen despite the floods, was heart-warming.
apel: (clouds)
NB: Gloucester is a town in the county of Gloucestershire. "Shire" means county.

Water
"A potential 150,000 customers in Gloucestershire will lose mains water supplies following the flooding of Severn Trent Water's Mythe Water Treatment Works in Tewkesbury. "
say Severn Trent Water. The affected town are Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Cheltenham.

Andy Smith, Severn Trent's director of water services, says "We must wait for the flood water to subside before we can begin to assess the damage done and restart the works at Mythe. And even when we are able to restart the treatment works, it will take some time for the network and water supplies to return to normal while we refill and disinfect." ST Water said late yesterday evening that the impact on water supply will reach beyond the next 72 hours. The statement on the ST Water site will be updated again this morning.

Electricity
RAF personnel from Innsworth have arrived at Walham Substation in Gloucester to help in the efforts to prevent the flooding of a major electricity substation which feeds 500,000 homes.

Traffic
The Highways Agency is having technical problems with its traffic news page as I write this. The RAC has no traffic problems reported in Gloucestershire. It counts Gloucestershire as "Southern England". The AA Roadwatch, on the other hand, reports roads closed for flooding in Gloucestershire, e.g. the A40 between Gloucester and the junction with the A417. For them Gloucestershire is part of the "West Country".

Local News
BBC Radio Gloucestershire is running special programming with regular updates on the flooding. It can be heard countywide on 1413 MW, 104.7 in Cheltenham and Gloucester, 95.0 in Stroud, 95.8 FM in Cirencester, and online at bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire. Click on the button on the right that says "Listen Live".

BBC Gloucestershire also provide updates on their site.

Finally, This IS Gloucestershire provides official news from emergency services, the county council etc on their site.
apel: (cheltenham)
The fresh water supply for Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury is expected to run out soon. The weather is going to be wet tomorrow too, so this isn't looking good.

There's also a risk of the electricity being cut off in Cheltenham because a power substation is threatened by water.

In Gloucester, just across the motorway, the Severn is threatening to burst its banks. It's only a foot from the top of the flood defences.

The BBC has a picture of the river Chelt flowing down the street Bath Parade in central Cheltenham and of Cheltenham railway station. There are lots more photos from the area. The quaint village of Winchcombe for instance, doesn't look at all the way I remember it from our last visit.

I'm glad Kieron doesn't live on the ground floor. Might be a good idea to phone to see if he should come in to work tomorrow. There may not be much to do if the power is cut and lots of his coworkers, who live in Gloucester, may very well stay away anyway.
apel: (pillarbox)
Yesterday we had a pick nick by the Topograph, near the Haresfield Beacon. It's on National Trust property. On this map, it's marked as a lookout point. The photo below is taken from our picnic site, just a little below the topograph.

A topograph is a 3D map. Other people have taken photos of it.

In my photo the small, industrial town is Stonehouse. The larger and prettier town of Stroud is just to the east of it, hidden by Standish Wood.
Stonehouse from the Topograph
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click to see four more )
apel: (mellow)
I'm sitting on Kieron's couch, LJ:ing on his PC. My laptop decided to sulk on Friday. Unfortunately that meant I couldn't work, so I'll have to leave at 2 to go home and put in the 3 hours I was supposed to do on Friday. I felt rather guilty about that, not the least because my PM called me on Friday and said that the client had been frantically trying to get in touch with me to arrange a meeting next week. But today when I was finally able to access my work email, there was no email from them there. Besides, I called the client right after getting off the phone with the PM and left a voicemail. The client didn't call back so maybe the house wasn't on fire after all.

In the afternoon I got glasses. Two pairs, one of which has Armani frames, for less than £250. The other pair are shades. I'm very happy with both. Kieron likes them too.

Yesterday morning I got the embarassing rattle from exhaust fixed at a garage here in Cheltenham. They didn't even charge me. A good start to the day.

Then Kieron and I had a picnic at a lookout point near Stroud to test my new glasses. Unfortunately the Met Office was right about the heavy rain, so we went for a drive in the countryside afterwards. Miserden was particularly cute. Nearby Sudgrove looked to have some very nice walks, and easy parking.

Today we've been domestic. I've used my steam cleaner to clean the windows. They were filthy. Now it looks as if somebody dialled up the wattage on the scarlet pelargonium on the balcony. Cleaning the windows is the "low-hanging fruit" of household chores. Kieron has been washing and dusting and stuff. He took some of the things I brought. He particularly liked the candle holders. Being a typical Pagan, I had rather a lot of those. Next week I'm bringing the candles.
apel: (owl)
I've packed two boxes loosely with mostly kitchen stuff. They'll come with me to Cheltenham so that Kieron can cherry pick them. The rest I'll give to Oxfam. I'd better put some bags in those boxes too, because the boxes are sturdy Staples boxes. I'll be wanting them back.

It's not much but it's a start. Maybe I'll pack another box tomorrow. Perhaps with CDs. I've got a ton of those.
apel: (my face_through)

Ewe and Lamb
Originally uploaded by Mjausson.
On April Fool's Day I walked up to the neolithic longbarrow at Belas Knap, Glos, to watch the sunset.

I met this ewe and her lamb on the circular walk to Winchcombe and back to the car that I took afterwards.

You can see all ten photos at Flickr.
apel: (sunset)
Belas Knap at sunrise
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Belas Knap, Neolithic long barrow, at sunrise on 1 April this year.
apel: (juicy)
This is written on Kieron's broadband. He's connected wirelessly, while I'm using a USB cable. Hopefully we can set me up wirelessly too. That can wait till tomorrow, though.
apel: (bra)
I just can't concentrate at all today. Whatever I do, anything even moderately shiny that passes simply grabs my attention by the nose and leads it up the garden path. Oh, flowers. I should order bedding for spring and summer.

See what I mean?

I blame it on the weather that has suddenly turned spring-like after yesterday's scouring. Too bad it's not going to last. Sunday evening the temperature is going down to -4°C. At least that's not going to phase my flowering white hellebores.

What do you mean I'm rambling?

Now it's Mediaeval Babes with Undrentide on my iPod. Strange. I didn't realise it was in the Classical genre in my iTunes. I thought I'd put it somewhere else. Oh well. I just hope the battery lasts all the way to Cheltenham tonight. The ETA is 22.56. That's pretty late. I downloaded some podcasts from Steve Pavlina that I'm going to listen to.

I looked out of one of the windows in the stairwell of my new offices earlier. There's a whole little world of roof terraces, fire escapes, galleys and sky lights on the inside of the block. The lines and angles get very complex. I wish I could get out there and take photos. The office is off Oxford Street, one of the most well-known streets in the world with shops crammed into all available space. And yet there exists this hidden world mostly populated by pigeons within a stone's throw.

Cottage cheese with white chocolate and raspberry milkshake powder from Whittard is better than cottage cheese without, I must say.
apel: (Default)
apel
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