Sunday, November 30, 2008

Update on the Bangkok situation

I asked a (Thai) friend of mine who had mentioned on his website that he hoped the protesters would leave the airport in Bangkok why he thought this.. and he replied as follows:

'Initially I felt for people who want to enter or leave the country. It's a shame since many people I know plan to visit their family in Thailand after being quite stressful here and now they don't know when or if they can go back.

But I've just read a piece of writing saying that the protesters have had nothing to do with the fact that people can't use the airport. They said they haven't blocked the area where it could affect planes' arrival or departure...So, they've sort of said it's the government that ordered the airport to stop working to blackmail the mob..

i don't know who to trust now actually, but I want this government out.'

Holly berries

Holly berries, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

So, had a very nice weekend with Mum and Nick, despite the cold and the sleet, which kept us in the tiny lounge by the log fire most of the time, watching Premier League football on Sky (we were all able to be happy with Man U winning their match against Man City and Arsenal coming from behind to beat Chelsea 1-2). I managed to watch Strictly on Saturday bit lost out to Top Gear this evening, which is why I am waiting for the BBC i-player to bring on the Strictly results programme, where I hope that it is the loveable (but not very good dancer) Christine is voted off.

Further we went to visit the new Waitrose, which threatens to kill off trade in Crewkerne the way it did in Beaconsfield in the 1980s'. We also paid our last respects of Woolworths which is now bankrupt and may disappear after being around for almost 90 years on the English high streets.

With the pound right down at one euro twenty, even Waitrose had some excellent bargains, so I bought a whole load of Christmas provisions including local Crewkerne cheddar, Christmas pudding, cranberry jelly and horseradish sauce, my only constraint being the weight and the space in my bags.

Unfortunately, Mum had bought Fred and I a bottle of malt whisky for Christmas but I have to refuse it as it will not be allowed on the plane as hand baggage and might break if in my ordinary baggage. Fortunately, I could accept some mini-mince pies!

Tomorrow a 41 pound trip in the train to London where I will visit our new executive offices in The City for two days of meetings.

Agricultural red

Agricultural red, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

On a grey day at the end of November, down here in Crewkerne in deepest Somerset, with sleet falling from the sky... the most colour to be found was from decaying agricultural implements...

I am spending the weekend with my Mum in Crewkerne. A cold weekend, it must be said! I have work in London on Minday and Tuesday and this would be the last chance I have to see Mum before Chritsmas, so I took my chance, taking the lunchtime flybe flight from Amsterdam to Exeter, where Mum was waiting to pick me up.

We stopped in Chard on the way back to Crewkerne so I could put a bet on Snoopy Loopy in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury where he was carrying top weight. I first got his blue colours mixed up with Air Force One and got quite excited to see him jump so well, until a fellow punter pointed out I was following the wrong horse. Never miond Snoopy Loopy was not far away and despite dropping back towards the end of the race he stayed on to finish third and reward me for my each way bet, making up a litle bit for the 33-1 win he had had the previous wekeend. He shgould now be in the top ten of chasers in the country by now. A wonderful achievement!

Golden Bangkok - King and Queen

In the spirit of the French Revolution, I salute those people in Thailand who are standing up for their country, their King and their Queen by protesting against a corrupt government. They are doing it is a spectacular way, by taking over the airport in Bangkok.

The BBC says this is a bad thing as it will lose Thailand respect in the world. I see that it might be difficult for unimaginative businessmen or tourists who can't be bothered to work out an alternative way to travel and it will last only a few days. On the other hand, the country's reputation can only be enhanced when the rest of thw world sees what a strong people the Thais are. I salute them. Good luck!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our meeting in Warsaw

Our meeting in Warsaw, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Here I am with my colleagues from the second of our two big meetings in Warsaw. They came from Turkey, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Kazakhstan, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Finland, UK, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy and not forgetting... Romania! No Bulgarians... they did not show up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Any way the wind blows...

Any way the wind blows..., originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

There are so many surprises walking around the streets of beautiful Warsaw...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Red berries

A wintry day in Warsaw, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

And then, all of a sudden we are reminded that it is just a month to go before Christmas. We will be staying at home in Amsterdam, where we will be receiving a visit from my sister Diana and her two sons James and Harry.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Well wrapped for the market

Well wrapped for the market, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Every now and then the sun came out as well. Here we were outside an indoor market, where a number of women stood selling local produce, including flowers outside. They all looked to be very well wrapped up.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A wintry day in Warsaw

A wintry day in Warsaw, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

We don't often see much snow these days but our visit to Warsaw coincided with the first blast of wintry weather into Europe after a mild autumn. We had snow every day.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A wintry night in Warsaw

A wintry night in Warsaw, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Fred and I were in Warsaw for the weekend. I had to go for work and Fred wanted to come alomg as well. We stayed ta the wonderful Polonia Palace Hotel and had our breakfasts at the Green Coffee Cafe nearby.

This building, the Palace of Culture and Science, donated by Stalin to the people of Poland in the 1950's was opposite our hotel. It includes many cinemas, theatres and even an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Path of gold

Path of gold, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

On my way to (successfully) buying two (dark blue) suits and three shirts at Suit Suply in Willemsparkweg. Bedankt Ma en Eric voor de tips :) Fred is heel blij dat ik hoef niet meer naar mijn werk te gaan met gaten in mijn broek!

Dijk 120

Dijk 120, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Dijk 120 is where we have spent the last two 'club-avonden' on Friday evenings. They playlots fo great music from the 1960' s and 1970's and modern-day music (not that usual 80's nonsense) and they alow smoking (against the law). Martin was asked to pay two euro's contribution for smoking his cigar, a contribution to the next fine they get from the authorities. The smoking ban has hit small independent bars very badly and we can expect many to go under leaving us with corporate ' formula' bars. Thank you EU and the politically correct anti-smoking lobby...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fallen gold

Fallen gold, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

It has been such a beautiful autumn (again) this year. Even now the leaves have fallen it is still beautiful.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The boy from Bulgaristan

The boy from Bulgaristan, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

I spent Tuesday in Dusseldorf with my German colleagues, discussing our new acquisition in Poland. It is about two hours by train, had a nice sleep on the way there.

On the way back, the train was half empty so I was a bit annoyed to see someone sleeping in the seat which had been reservied for me... so I moved up a few seats and was just making myself comfortbale when a Chinese woman came along and told me that I was now sitting in her seat.

So I moved on to another free seat and now I was sitting near a Spanish man who was putting his feet on the setas and snoring and then shouting at his wife sitting behind him... not much fun.

So I move up some more seats and all of a sudden I come across a group of young men from Bulgaria or what I now like to call Bulgaristan and they provided all the entertainment I needed on my way back to Utrecht, where I had a perfect connection to the Amstel Station, from where I cycled back home.

This chap looks so much like a character from a Piero della Francesca fresco.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To commemorate 11.11.18 Armistice Day - ninety years ago

John Henry STEWART, Rifleman, London Regiment, Queen's Westminster Rifles, Service number 554859
Died 31st August 1918, aged 19,
Grave reference III. C. 5

My Grandmother's only brother.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (19.5.81-10.11.38)

The great man died 70 years ago today.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Curve, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

It was a beuatiful day here yesterday, the second weekdn in November. They had promised us rain today but it looks to be another beautiful day today... too nice to go to a digital photo exhibition in Utrecht...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Külliye of Sultan Bayezid II - Fred on the way

The Beyazit Kulesi was built in 1485, not long after the Ottoamns had captured Constantinope from their base/capital in Edirne. The complex was built as a mosque, school, guest house, bakery, public bath, soup kitchen and most interestingly of all a psychiatric hospital. The complex has been restored by one of the local universities and has been opened as a Health Museum. Well worth visiting.

At a time when psychologically ill people in western Europe were being burnt at the stake, this hospital treated its patients to all sorts of therapies like music, odours and the sound of running waters.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The new Trek L400 in Frankendael

This is my new city bike. For the first time, I decided to buy a new bike, rather than a secondhand bike from one of the stations. I got used to the ease of cycling around on my hybrid-racing bike, so wanted a lightweight but tough new one. Let's hope it doesn't get smashed up at the station or get stolen from the racks.
I went to Haarlem yesterday, supposedly to byu some new clothes for work, seing as my suit trousers now both have holes in them under my crotch, but came away buying this loveky bicyle (and no clothes). Unfortunately, when cycling back home from Centraal Station in the rain, the bike slipped on the wet paving stones and threw me with some force onto the very hard ground, with the result of a lot of pain in my wrists, and my left knee and ankle. The bike seems to be OK, proving already how tough it is.

Locations of visitors to this page