Monday, 31 January 2005

Guarenteed myself a decent night's sleep by taking a Nytol (they're very good, btw). Set off for two walks in the hills above Poggi - a fairly each 4.5 hour one which we managed in 3 hours, and the two hour 'Old Bridge Trail' which actually did take us two hours (although I was really struggling with the uphill section). Pretty knackered after that. Back to base for 17:30.

Sunday, 30 January 2005

Could not sleep at all Saturday night - I think the liquor they gave us on-the-house was a touch too much alchohol. Got up early to go to the second day of the San Remo flower festival. The bands from yesterday played again, so any I missed I could shoot this time around. More bands joined in, including the Carbinieri mounted band and the US Sixth Fleet band. Flower floats were stunning. Hundreds more photos. Took some in the gardens of San Remo too.

Went to Dolcheacqua in the afternoon to see a tape/slide presentation on Tibet - some in 3D. Very impressive and well worth the 3.10 Euros.

Saturday, 29 January 2005

Much better night's sleep - slept in until gone 10:00. Shower to ease my aching legs - obvious how unfit I've become. Sunny again but has been very windy at night. Travelled to San Remo (or is it Sanremo) for the first day of the music and flower festival. Excellent timing. Tooks loads of photos of the marching bands, etc.

Walked through the town in the evening - Lorenzo warned me that I, or more specifically my camera, was being watched by 'undesirables' - this is the only time I've felt less than 100% safe in the region.

Dinner in a nice restaurant on the coast in Imperia. Stunning waitress!

Friday, 28 January 2005

Awoke after a poor night's sleep.

Went to Cervo for a 4-hour circular walk. Lost the trail for part of it - glad I had a guide. The region is very dry at the moment and fire is a significant risk. They are actually putting in a lot more fire hydrants in the forrests. Picnic lunch of pizza slices.

Cappucino and a bun at the same cafe we visited on my last holiday in September. Feet now starting to hurt a bit - found a bowl to soak them in back at base camp.

Thursday, 27 January 2005

Up and breakfasted at a very leisurely 10:30 - glad I took cereal with me as its very difficult to get in Italy. Out for a walk through the village in the brilliant sunshine (this is January, remember). Lunch of Torte Verde (green pie, a local speciality) under the big pine listening to gold finches twittering in the branches. There are lots of birds about, mostly quite small. Robins are expecially common. Warm in the sun.

Lorenzo returned from his shopping at 14:00 and we then took a walk around the old parts of Imperia. Saw St.Leonard's birthplace, which I was particularly interested in since that is the saint our local Church is dedicated to.

Dinner was at the excellent pizzeria in village in the hills above Poggi.

Wednesday, 26 January 2005

Flew out to Nice for the start of my second holiday to the Liguria region of Italy. Brother Michael very kindly gave me a lift - and refused again to accept any payment. Plane was late leaving because it was late arriving from France. The flight was bumpy in places - I don't like flying.

Held up for about an hour on the autostrada into Italy due to a lorry fire. The road had actually been closed the previous weekend due to heavy snow - there's still some lying around.

Evening meal was at the little pizzaria at the bottom of the road up to Poggi, the village where I was to be staying. Exceptional value, you can get a pizza for a mere 4 Euros. Bed by 21:20 on account of being knackered. Felt cold to start with but soon warmed up at night, even though the temperature was probably in the region of 15 C.

Monday, 17 January 2005

"Conservative leader Michael Howard has promised £4bn in tax cuts as campaigning for the next general election gathered pace..."

...or "we can't think of any decent real policies, so we'll just buy your vote".

BBC NEWS | Politics | Howard unveils Tory tax cut plan

Much has been said in the press regarding Conservative MP Robert Jackson's defection to Blair's Labour.

"'He believes ... Tony Blair should not be criticised over his handling of the Iraq war and that more powers should be given to Europe ..."

This guy is quite clearly off his trolley. Michael Howard should be glad he's defected - I'd certainly not consider him an asset.

Prime Minister Tony Blair declared himself "delighted", saying Mr Jackson would be warmly welcomed by Labour MPs.

Another addition to the funny farm.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Conservative MP defects to Labour

Saturday, 15 January 2005

Sadly my HP 2510 networkable all-in-one inkjet printer is playing up again, refusing to see the network and grab itself an IP address. The firmware in that thing is absolute rubbish.

Northampton's home League 2 game against Darlington today was a stunning performance - probably the best I've seen from the Cobblers all season. This with two of our key players out from illness or injury. Darlington went ahead early in the first half due to a defensive error (we have far too many of those) but the Cobblers really dominated the game and must have had at least 75% of the possession. Fortunately we equalised late in the second half.

Thursday, 13 January 2005

Photo © The Sun

"Thanks for the diplomacy lessons, Grandad."

"In a speech, the premier will argue his party has delivered prosperity to voters and the nation - a precondition for better public services."

He's certainly brought prosperity to home owners. But what about those who now cannot afford a home? His solution? Pave over half of England to build more houses, of course.

In my book New Labour is simply Thatcherism under new management.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Blair speech to stress prosperity

Wednesday, 12 January 2005

Waterstone's bookshop have seriously stuck their feet in the brown stuff by sacking one of their employees (Joe Gordon) for making comments about them in his own, private blog. Needless to say, its brought them tons of negative publicity, with people posting that they won't buy from the store again. Looks like his comments were pretty mild - hardly grounds for being sacked in the first place.

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Worker sacked over blog comments
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Blogger sacked for sounding off
Joe Gordon's Blog "The Woolamaloo Gazette"

This story should make anyone who uses, or intends to use, one of the free email services from big web content providers, think twice. Its even more sad when you consider the reason why the emails are wanted.

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Who owns your e-mails?

MiniMac - photo © AppleRather puzzled by Apple's new MiniMac - they appear to be going backwards with this product, to when they would sell a machine to customers who would expect it to be complete, only to open the box and find it doesn't include a keyboard or mouse. Its appearance, like its forerunner the short-lived 'Cube', is also deceptive - cute little package, you might think, but they don't show you its brick power supply.
They've also stuck to the G4 processor, which must be seen by some as 'old technology'. This doesn't appear to me to be the sort of product that is going to win over WinTel machine users. In fact I can't really see which niche of the market it is aimed at.

Attended the annual Technology in Education show at Olympia, London today. Very big show, very well attended, with dozens of companies pushing their high-tech wares. Lots of emphasis on smart boards, lots of educational software aimed at the younger age groups, hardly anything on mobile computing - which rather surprised me.

Monday, 10 January 2005

Most surprised to read, on our most recent jar of Bovril the symbol meaning 'Suitable for Vegetarians'. Yes, the traditional drink, started in 1873, is actually now entirely free of animal products. And of course, there has to be a local connection: the product's inventor, John Lawson Johnston, opened a receiving station for his Argentinian beef in Amptill, Bedfordshire, which is just up the road from where I live.

Sunday, 9 January 2005

Was sorry to see Northampton put out of the FA Cup at yesterday's Sixfields home game against Premiership side Southampton. This was their first win under Harry Redknapp since he took over, and the Cobblers were by no means entirely outclassed, including a fantastic goal by #27 Lee Williamson. Attendance was a healthy 7183, which will have boosted the club's coffers.

Friday, 7 January 2005

The IncrediblesNot really a lot that I can add to this headline - but I don't think its going to win 'best film'.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Incredibles gets shock nomination

It might be a lot to read, but there are some pretty stunning facts among this lot:

20 Amazing Facts about Voting in the USA

Liguria region of ItalyGlad to see that my Italian friend Lorenzo has started to attact customers to his guided walking holidays in Italy. I did his website for him last year and its attracted a lot of praise, but its only now, after adverts have appeared in some national UK magazines, that people are beginning to sign up. Just goes to show that advertising, in the 'old fashioned' way, still pays.