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Random ramblings on, sometimes from the world around us...

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01 Jul 17 Just back from a visit to see friends in Ipswich, (Suffolk, UK). A brief look today at the Orwell Bridge. Some may question why, but as far as the East of England is concerned, it is probably one of the largest manmade structures around. Running over the bridge is the busy A14, a primary route which runs between the nearby port of Felixstowe and the M6 motorway in the West Midlands.  Built between 1979 and 1982 over the River Orwell, the 1.2km long bridge is used by over 60,000 vehicles per day. There are 19 sets of supports and there are actually two bridge tables with a gap of a few inches between them. The girders carrying the roadway are hollow and carry power and telecom cables, as well as a water main. It's main span of 190m made it the longest pre-stressed concrete span in use at the time of opening. Click on the thumbnail to the left, to see some photos.
09 Apr 17 Sighted today, with the improvement in weather conditions, a couple of light aircraft in the sky. This was reminiscent of a trip once taken in a four seater Piper some years ago. The flight was from Norwich Airport, in the East of England and headed westwards towards King's Lynn and then up the coastline of North West Norfolk and towards Hunstanton, briefly along the North Norfolk coast, before returning to Norwich. Photos from the flight may now be found Here (or click on the thumbnail to the left).
28 Nov 16 Today, The Daily Telegraph reports that 1 Undershaft, which will be the tallest tower in the City of London (not to be confused with Greater London), has been given the green light (Report Here). My earliest memories of visiting the City were one of wonder at the sheer height of the, then, 600ft NatWest Tower, now known as Tower 42. Despite being the tallest skyscraper in the City when completed in 1980, Tower 42 is now in third position, after the 663ft (755ft with antenna) Heron Tower (completed in 2011) and the 738ft building at 122 Leadenhall Street (completed in 2013). Tower 42 is currently the 8th tallest in Greater London. Currently under construction are two more skyscrapers nearby which will demote Tower 42's ranking - 22 Bishopsgate (912ft) and 52-54 Lime Street A.K.A. The Scalpel (630ft).
Having an hour to kill at Liverpool Street Station one Sunday this year, I decided to take a wander around to take a look at some of the more recently completed buildings as it had been some years since my last visit. The main thing I found was how my perspective of building height had changed. Since my last visit I had been to Dubai and less than 48 hours earlier been wandering around downtown Singapore. Architecturally impressive as they are, the buildings in the City did not appear as imposing to myself as they used to. Perhaps it was not just the Burj Khalifa (currently the World's tallest), but seeing a skyscraper in Dubai designed to look like 'Big Ben' standing taller than London's tallest, The Shard, that changed my perspective on size the most. To see my photos taken earlier this year, click on the thumbnail to the left of this text.

26 Apr 16  Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the worst peacetime nuclear disaster in history. I never realised until visiting Chernobyl last October and learning more about it that literally tens and tens of thousands of people were involved in limiting both the immediate and long-term damage from the catastrophic accident that had occurred and although figures will never be known exactly, many of these died or are suffering from serious ill health as a result. Click on the thumbnail picture to the left to view a detailed webpage documenting my visit to see the Nuclear Reactors, ghost settlements and Duga-3, a gigantic over-the-horizon radar system which was built as an early missile detection system during the Cold War. 
04 Oct 15 Today, a visit to Dersingham Bog National Nature Reserve in the English county of Norfolk. It is a strange matter of fact that I used to own a house nearby and would on the odd occasion go walking here, never paying much attention to it's significance as a valuable part of the ever shrinking English rural landscape. Returning, as a visitor, and learning a lot more about the three different intermingled habitat types found here makes me realise my tendency to find out and learn more about places when I am a visitor, as opposed to when I am wandering around places that are right on my own doorstep. Anyway, I have made a page all about this little corner of Norfolk which actually, in places, resembles Scotland and to view it, please click on the thumbnail to the left.

01 Sep 15 A day out today in Norfolk, a county I have previously lived in on and off for many years. Two places visited here. First off is Binham Priory, a ruined Benedictine priory sited in a village bearing the same name. To view a page I have made on it click here, or on the thumbnail photo to the left...

01 Sep 15 ... and secondly, a visit to Baconsthorpe Castle, a moated and fortified 15th century manor house. Again, to view a page I have made on it click here, or on the thumbnail photo to the left.
sunset robin whiting photo copyright 10 Mar 15 Desiderata... Always worth a read, I think:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata"
24 Aug 14 "British Military Invasion of Washington a Success".
Well, this would certainly make an interesting headline today. However, exactly two hundred years ago on 24th August, 1814, Britain did just that - they invaded America.
It is a fact that in 1813, the Americans found out that there was a place next door called Canada. They decided to invade and burnt Toronto's public buildings and generally caused mayhem with burning anything else they could find. Of course, us Brits weren't too happy about this and decided to retaliate. The following year, they sent 4000 men up Chesapeake Bay towards Washington. President James Madison had cleared off from the White House; his wife then thought it was maybe a good idea to leave as well. Just afterwards, British troops decided themselves to pay a visit to the White House. They found a table inside set for a grand dinner so ate the roast, drank some fine wines, and then burned the President's pad down.
In addition to the White House, the British managed to burn down the Treasury, The Capitol building and lots of other important stuff. It appears to have been a rather gentlemanly affair, with only the odd death. Throughout the history of the United States, the U.K. is the only country to have ever burned the White House down.
Today's 200th anniversary appears strangely to be mentioned in the American media, but nearly not at all in the British media.
18 Aug 14 This is rather useful. A device for scanning old negatives (borrowed briefly with very kind permission). The resolution is more than adequate for websites and the colour resolution seems better than many of the prints the photo developers of the past provided. I have scanned some negatives from past trips including a 1994 one-month railway trip around Europe plus visits to Russia, Poland, Romania, Croatia and far too many more countries to list. Lots of new-old photos from my travels and therefore plenty of work to keep me busy working on these webpages :-) 
  02 Aug 14 An incredibly moving piece commemorating World War I by Brazilian sculptor Nele Azevedo.
01 Aug 14 It seems many are fascinated when the headline reads 'Amazon Tribe Makes Contact With Outside World '. Indeed, the story may be found on the left. Meanwhile, other headlines focus on the worry that the Ebola virus may spread from West Africa to the western nations. As we worry about Ebola coming here, whilst becoming 'entertained' by film of a previously uncontacted tribe, it is easy to forget that the very real threat of foreign viral infections towards these people in Brazil is very much a reality. History has shown the impact new human contact can have on people via communicable diseases. These previously untouched people in the Amazon are running away from illegal logging and drug trafficking in their home area and apparently asking for help. As per the video footage, here are a group of 'researchers' whom a mere sneeze from could be fatal to their people's lives and ultimately their own culture's very existence.  
  27 Jul 14  Here in Britain, we do like to talk about the weather and so... the last week or two has been absolutely glorious. The sun has been more than plentiful and as happens during times when the nation is gripped in the heat of a warm summer, there is the occasional storm. Thousands are heading to the UK beaches, whether it be finding solitude somewhere on the Northumbrian coast, or joining the crowds in Blackpool or Brighton. Further afield, The Daily Telegraph has put together an interesting pictorial feature on some of the World's weirdest beaches. As usual, the link is accessed by clicking on the photo left of here. Not featured, I may add, is my favourite weirdest beach visited and found by a hotel I stayed at just outside Dubrovnik in Croatia. The beach had no sand or pebbles. It was manmade and composed entirely of concrete. People were quite happily sunbathing on it.  
22 Jul 14 Usage and 'Abusage' of Statistics. [He says in a serious sarcastic tone]: So if Scotland votes for independence, according to the statistics in this report (link on left) as an Englishman, my average life expectancy would rise by 0.4 years. That's nearly another five whole months life expectancy for me. You can do a lot in five months. I quite like this referendum thing lol.  
  06 Jul 14 Well, Le Tour de France is underway and the first stages this year are in the UK. Today (Stage two) finished in Sheffield, where I studied at university and tomorrow, it sets off from Cambridge, where I studied at another university. Anyway, it is nice to see Le Tour tomorrow will be passing the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Today's news reports that a year-long £430,000 project has returned the museum on Trumpington Street to its "original splendour". One of the first additions to this website in a former incarnation which was made featured the outside the front of the museum. In May, last year, I created an experimental 360° panoramic feature using photos I took (bar the one with myself in). I hope to produce some better composite panoramic images in the future. Maybe another trip to Cambridge sometime soon. Link to news item on left.  
  05 Jul 14 If I didn't have a particular philosophy in life then it is at this point, I could be looking somewhat like the subject in one of Edvard Munch's four works each known as The Scream. This is because I was once the registrant of a certain robinswebsite.com. The cost of it was the standard basic rate for any dot com. Alas, a few years back, I didn't renew it and somebody else took it over and used it for a Japanese website devoted to hair restoral. Well, now, robinswebsite.com is up for sale again. My would-be investment which originally cost £35 for 3 years ownership is now available again for a mere $1500-00.  
  07 Dec 13 On returning home on the 5th December, a note through the door that reads: "Resilience... Evacuation Notice... As a result of the risk to life from severe coastal flooding we advise that you evacuate your property... " [until advised to return]. One night on a sofa in a house 50 feet above sea level. The flood damaged nearby property and small local business. Hasten to add, the local McDonalds, despite flooding was open for business again 24 hours later. Fortunately, nobody locally hurt. I might have a read through one of my books picked up during my travels entitled "Prague under Water".  
  08 Nov 13 One of this website's contacts is currently in Poland and has reported back from a visit to Auschwitz. A reminder of some previous travels. I went to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II–Birkenau 15 years ago and it was a day I will never forget. A point of note is that in Germany, visiting a concentration camp is a compulsory part of the education curriculum. On a visit to another concentration camp at Dachau in Germany, I saw several school parties visiting there. On the way in, the kids were just messing about as kids do. On the way out, they looked very saddened and their mood quite a somber contrast. Some people have asked me before why on Earth I would visit such places whilst travelling. Seeing them and learning a little bit soon answers that one. I feel there is not enough education around this [in UK schools]. Incredible to see the world stood only watching this sort of barbarism as recently as the first half of the 1990's when comparable acts of atrocity occurred in Bosnia. Let us also consider the Second Boer War (1899-1902), where such camps were used by the British in South Africa. I learnt none of this at school. And I could go on... those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. 
  29 Oct 13 A look at some wood sculptures today in Sandringham Woods (Click on thumbnail to view).
  11 Oct 13 England are playing Montenegro in the Football World Cup Qualifiers. A few people have asked where and what Montenegro is all about. I felt compelled to put together a webpage showing some of my photos of this little gem of a nation on the Adriatic Sea, so I did. [Note: As of Nov 2014, this webpage is undergoing a revamp and will appear in the travel section of this website soon]
  09 Oct 13 The latest collection of unpublished letters to The Daily Telegraph is out. Robin's Website is proud to find the inclusion of one of the webmaster's letters in this annual Christmas Stocking filler for the fourth consecutive year. Available from all good booksellers.

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