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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 04:40pm on 20/07/2016 under , ,
Caffeine-fiends in Cambridge might be interested to learn that the tea+coffee stall on the market is now open Monday-Friday, 10:00-15:30 (he starts to pack up the display from 15:00).
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 11:40am on 22/06/2016 under
I'm pretty worried about the outcome of the EU Referendum - the polls are really close, and the weather forecast is terrible (which tends to depress turnout, which is likely to help the Leave side). I've taken tomorrow off work to help the local Remain team get the vote out - I don't know how much difference it'll make, but I wanted to try and help. I've never done anything like this before, and am a bit nervous!

If you're eligible to vote (and haven't already done so), do please make sure you know when & where you will vote tomorrow (despite the rain!) - your vote is likely to count much more tomorrow than it does at general elections.

I strongly think that you should vote Remain - I think our future is brighter in the EU, and that we can make a positive difference to the EU (and, via the EU, to the world) by Remaining in the EU. If you're unsure, then vote Remain - we can better attempt to reform the EU from inside the EU, and be reassured that economists are almost universally agreed that we're better off economically inside the EU.

In the EU we can work together to make the world a better place - on the environment, on workers' rights and animal rights, in advancing peace and democracy, and in many other ways. We can enjoy the free movement of people - many of my friends and colleagues are from the EU, and some of my friends work in other parts of the EU. Fundamentally, I think the EU is a good thing; while it needs improving (what doesn't!), the way to improve it is not to turn our back on it.
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 05:12pm on 28/05/2016 under
Last trip to the beer festival this year; the range of beers is definitely decreasing (which is what you'd expect - you don't want too much left-over!).Read more... )
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 11:22pm on 26/05/2016 under
I did go and work the evening shift at the beer festival. I managed to fit a few beers in before closing (but work tomorrow meant I didn't stay on for staff beer). Read more... )
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 04:12pm on 26/05/2016 under
I failed to get up in time to go and picket, but I did make it to the beer festival for lunch. mmm, beer ) I may go and work behind a bar this evening
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 10:30am on 25/05/2016 under
[livejournal.com profile] atreic went to the beer festival for dinner yesterday, during which time I tried three Scottish beers Read more... )
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 08:36am on 24/05/2016 under
After pizza, I popped in to the beer festival (it's usually quieter earlier in the week, and there's a broader beer range); I bumped into some choir people so hung out with them, and have a few beers. Mostly for my own reference, I wanted to jot down what I had before I forget.Read more... )
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 10:38pm on 22/05/2016 under
The short-list for this year's Hugo Awards is available (has been for a while), and there's a useful analysis of the puppy-slate issues here. Voting is open until the end of July.

I'd like to read at least most of the nominees (I've previously had a "don't read the puppies" policy, but that's going to be tricky this year), but presumably there will at some point be a voter packet which will contain some of them. And on past form, while there are some nominees I'm likely to want in dead tree in due course, there are others where an e-book version to read once would be just fine.

So, DoeS aNyBody know when the voter packet will be out and/or what's likely to be in it (or, for local folk, feel like lending me any of the nominees), please? The only one I've read thus far is Ancillary Mercy.
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 07:29pm on 24/04/2016 under ,
Other than the steam railway previous mentioned, we had two excursions from the Chateau - to Albi, and Moissac.

Albi is known for being one of the centers of Catharism (though this is disputed by historians); in any case the Albigensian Crusade killed a lot of the locals, so Bernard de Castanet, the bishop of Albi in the late 13th century was, shall we say, not very popular. Thus, he built a cathedral and bishops palace, both of which were essentially fortifications. The cathedral is an imposing presence in the town, perhaps more literally that you might expect until you see it. It's also one of the largest brick-built buildings in the world. For reasons that are unclear to me, there's also a limestone portico bolted on. The interior is much more ecclesiatical in feeling, with some very fine high gothic carving, and a lovely decorated choir (rubbish audio guide, though). After looking round the cathedral, I had a pretty indifferent lunch at Le Verdusse - for some reason all the more promising-looking places were closed, and then spent the afternoon gently meandering round the old city.

Moissac is smaller, and really only known for its fine old Abbey (church and cloisters). It also had a quite traumatic car-park (especially in a large hire car without reversing sensors!). We had a look round the Abbey church (some really excellent carvings round the South-West door), and then popped into Le Florentin for a quick lunch. Lunch was very good (the langoustine and prosciutto salad was really very tasty) and not expensive for the set menu, but alas not very speedy, which meant me kept some of the party waiting. After lunch there was time to walk up the hill to a church with an exhibition of Stations of the Cross before the Abbey Cloisters opened. The highlight of these were the carved capitals on the ~50 pillars, which are close enough to the ground to be comfortably admired. They're in varying states of repair, but I found the joyous mix of sacred and profane, serious and silly very pleasing.

We had a few detours on the way back to the Chateau; the first of which was the aquaduct where the Canal du Midi crosses the Tarn. The Canal du Midi is quite an engineering feat, but standing on a bridge with a canal on it over a river is a bit surreal! There were also some very loudly-amorous frogs nearby... Continuing the river theme, we then went to the confluence of the Tarn and Garonne rivers, which join at Really Quite a Wide Body of Water. Finally, since it was only a little out of the way, we stopped at the little hilltop town of Lauzerte (which has buildings surviving from the 13th Century), which was picturesque and briefly diverting.

If you're bored, I've reviewed many of the above on tripadvisor; I think you can see my comments here.
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 10:27pm on 21/04/2016 under , ,
I quite enjoy Ian Hislop's programmes (mostly HIGNFY), although I suspect he probably annoys Proper Historians. Currently (until 6th May), you can see Workeer or Shirkeys? Ian Hislop's Victorian Benefits on iplayer (publicity piece on the programme).

It's about how the Victorians tried to deal with poverty, and how many of the same arguments and behaviours crop up now; there's some unforgiving segues between a Victorian and some Tory MPs. But the arguments we're familiar with now were all there: is poverty the result of individual misbehaviour or a failure of society? can we make sure people in work are better off than those out of work without punishing the latter? Who should suffer in a time of austerity? And can middle-class journalists report on the experiences of the poor without othering them?

Given how IDS was reviled for his policies, the interview with him suggests he really did think he was trying to improve the lot of the less well-off.

Ian Hislop handles a serious issue with a mixture of insight and wit, concluding that you might divide people into workers and shirkers - those who think poverty is something we can and should fix, and those who think it's inevitable and there's nothing we can do about it...

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