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The Daily Commute

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

When I first moved to Coventry, I decided that when I started work, I would try to get a job where I could commute by public transport. I saw how bad the traffic was at peak times, and didn't want to be stuck in a car in the middle of it. When I was working in Birmingham, I used the train because driving would have been a nightmare. On the two occasions when I did drive in, it was no quicker than the train, and was certainly more stressful. At least on the train I can sit back and close my eyes for half an hour.

Unfortunately, where we're living now, we're not on a direct bus route to Uni, so what should be a 15 minute drive can be an hour on the bus. At peak times, it becomes a 20-30 minute drive, thanks to a few bottlenecks near the ring road or at certain roundabouts.

I might as well get used to it - I've got another 4 years of it to look forward to.

A Selection of Coventry Photos

Story location: Home / photography / pinhole /

More pinhole photographs from Coventry. These photos were all taken around summer/autumn last year but didn't get uploaded at the time. Colour photographs of the same scenes are shown for comparison.

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Cwm Rheidol Mine Workings

Story location: Home / photography / pinhole /

These pinhole photos were taken in the abandoned lead mines around Cwm Rheidol, in 2004.  

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Some Pinhole Photography links

Story location: Home / photography / pinhole /

Spam Ahoy

Story location: Home / computing /

When I check my email this morning, I was surprised to find 64 emails sitting there wanting attention. I was more surprised to find that most of these were 'delivery failure' notices, all from emails which I hadn't sent. Even more surprising was that these were all send during a brief time window between 21:51 and 21:59.

I hope nobody out there is receiving junk email from this domain, but I can assure everyone that I'm not sending any out myself. This is most likely due to spammers inserting my domain as the 'from' address. Some information about the problem can be found here.


Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

At the weekend, Emma placed an order with a company called Cybercandy. They specialise in selling foreign sweets and snacks. One of the things ordered was a 'Mystery Box' which contains a selection of out of date food. We were impressed with the selection we received.

The main order
The main part of the order.

The Mystery Box
The contents of the mystery box.

Hamster Road Trip

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

Perl, Ruby and Alysia in the hamster car
Perl, Ruby and Alysia in the Hamster Car, presumably getting ready for a road trip somewhere.

The Whitefriars Ghost?

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

Something very strange happened in the Whitefriars Pub last night. The three of us (Me, Emma, Stuart) were sitting in the old part of the pub when Stuart felt something wet on his back. He turned round to show us and there were several wet patches where water had trickled down onto him. There was also a drop on the chair. None of us saw anything happen. I felt the ceiling but it was completely dry. The pub was nearly empty - there was nobody near at the time so it seems unlikely that anyone squirted water at us.

Parts of the building date from the 14th century, and the building has had many different uses over the years. Before it was converted into a pub, it had been a butchers shop. The place may be haunted but I'm not sure. I think we'll need to revisit the pub and investigate, over a few more pints of beer. There is always an extensive and ever-changing range of real ales to sample.

R.I.P Zosima

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

Zosima, aka Little Silly died today. We're not sure how old she was because she came from the RSPCA rescue centre back in January. We assumed she was younger than 'Big Silly' Alysia because as Alysia got older, she got thinner and more ginger, whereas Zosima kept her colour.

This leaves 'Big Silly' on her own in the huge 'ZooZone 2' cage, which is more suited for larger pets such as Syrian Hamsters or Guinea Pigs. We're going to try to re-introduce her to Perl and Ruby and see if they'll all get along this time.

Hamster News

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

Our current Hamster roll call:

  1. Reggie (our oldest hamster - 27 months old)
  2. Alysia (Big Silly)
  3. Zosima (Little Silly)
  4. Perl
  5. Ruby (previously 'Little Un')
  6. Redrum
  7. Vande
  8. Graaff
  9. Hank
  10. Peggy

They are currently in 6 cages - The two Sillies, Hank and Peggy, Perl and Ruby, Vande and Graaff, with Reggie and Redrum both living alone.

Little Un was renamed 'Ruby' by Anita and Dave when they were looking after them while we were in Leeds. Perl and Ruby are both programming languages. Never let a computer geek name a hamster. Perl was originally called 'Pearl' but the spelling changed when Emma was using the Perl language in one of her Uni projects.  

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Feeding Squirrels in Coventry

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

There are a lot of squirrels in the middle of Coventry, in the 'Cathedral Quarter', in the green areas around Holy Trinity Church near the old cathedral. We were in town for the Heritage Open Day, and Emma brought some peanuts along to feed to the squirrels.  

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Heritage Open Day

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

The annual Coventry Heritage Open Day is upon us again. A lot of historic attractions are open to the public this weekend, including some which are usually limited access or by appointment only.

We've been meaning to visit the Guildhall for a while, so this was the ideal opportunity. We also visited the Watchmaking Museum and the Police Museum - both of which are usually closed to the public.

St Mary's Guildhall

Black Swan Terrace
Black Swan Terrace, a recently renovated row of medieval houses on Upper Spon Street. The middle house was the Weavers Cottage, which was open for viewing. Until recently, the buildings were hidden from view, covered in scaffolding.

Last day in work

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

Today is my last day in work. Next month I return to University to continue my postgraduate education. There are a few things about work which I'll miss, such as the occasional social night out and the sense of cameraderie which exists within the department.

There are other things which I won't miss so much, such as Mr Annoying Speakerphone, who inhabits one of the nearby offices. He insists on using the speaker for most of his phone conversations, oblivious to how annoying it is to other people.
The other day, he was on the phone and the two girls in my department were chatting and laughing. He had to close his door to continue his conversation. That must count as some kind of revenge.

permanent link

Vande Graaff

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

Before we went over to Leeds for the festival, we dropped most of our hamsters off in Manchester, for some friends to look after. When we went back to collect them on monday, there seemed to be 2 more which I'm sure weren't ours.

I'm sure Emma had been doing some behind the scenes scheming and as a result, we now have 2 Campbells Hamsters, called Vande and Graaff. They are almost identical, but Vande is slightly podgier and Graaff has a very tiny nick in his ear.

They are very fast and active, and it's been very difficult to get photos of them both facing the camera.
Vande and Graaff, our 2 new hamsters