The Smith's Journal - August 2004

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The Second Peace In Nature Walk

A hot day for The Second Peace In Nature Walk, stretching from "GREAT AND LITTLE OFFLEY TO PEGSDON HILLS, OVER..."


Install Debian GNU/Linux 'Sarge'

I finally got round to installing a new hard disk to replace my dying machine and carefully restored my data, taking this opportunity to upgrade my venerable installation of Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 ('Woody') to the new version 3.1 (called 'Sarge'). The easy install process went like a dream, with only a few minor complications due to my own errors, and I now have a shiny new operating system which is state-of-the-art, safe and secure (no viruses), all completely free to use and distribute.


Little Benslow Hills concert

Tonight I discovered a wonderful music school in Hitchin, called Little Benslow Hills. I sort of knew that Hitchin must have a place like this - it was just a matter of finding it. I couldn't miss seeing flautist Philippa Davies playing a concert in my local town, giving a programme of sublime, heavenly and romantic music with dreamily descriptive titles evoking water nymphs and mermaids, quite apt after the summer rain. She was accompanied by pianist Jan Willem Nelleke and harpist Lucy Wakeford, who played Benjamin Britten's "Suite for harp solo" with impeccable grace and style. It is a nice change to hear at close range what this fine instrument can do when not buried within an orchestra. Nobody I'd invited could make it, but by chance I met Sofia there, and we strolled around the fragrant gardens during the interval, talking of Dartington and music and poetry and all of the good things that life is for.



A sudden idea hit me to join a Badminton club, since I used to enjoying playing years ago, and it will be a good way to get fit. Maybe if I write about it here, I'll be obliged to actually use the racket and trainers I bought a few years ago... Besides, I need more content for my exercise pages.

Matrioshka Brains

Meanwhile, I'll try some skipping and walking, while the mind ponders the fascinating ideas in this Slashdot article about Matrioshka Brains.


Cafe Reason perform at Oxford Botanic Gardens

Went with Tina to Oxford to see Bizia performing with Butoh dance group Cafe Reason in The Botanic Gardens. [ Swyncombe Church seen from the south ]En route we stopped off at Swyncombe Church, which is a magical place of peace. We picnicked in nearby woods, and saw a group of red kites riding the thermals above us. Arriving in Oxford, we met up with Ian, Jane, Chele, Tessa and Tim to watch the performance. Each month had a different botanical theme, and this time it was The Potato, the dancers being accompanied by spirited Irish jig music evoking the Potato Famine interspersed with stranger vocalising, strings and flute. Some very surreal events ensued, involving a man buried in the flowerbeds coming to life and capturing the three Blighted Sisters, until the Bella Donna arrived at the end to set them free.

[ Phil buried in the earth | Phil in bed with doll | The Three Blighted Sisters enter the gardens | The Three Blighted Sisters reaching out | The Three Blighted Sisters standing tall | The Three Blighted Sisters diagonal ]

Phil unearthed | Ayala | Fabrizia leashed | Phil dragging Ayala | 'Hmmm, raw potato - yummy!' | The caged trio | Bella Donna with Child ]



With all the recent rain keeping me cooped up indoors, I've been trying out some games on my computer:

So I have been deeply immersed in battles with demons and all manner of horrendous creatures, for, erm, some days now... (Very addictive! Maybe I'll get persuaded to buy a fast new computer to run Doom3...)


Today, I got a shock, when, during a fierce rocket attack with a pair of scary monsters, there was a noise under my desk. Uh oh - maybe some hellish beast has teleported down out of my monitor... Pausing the game to investigate, I discovered a frog hiding down there amongst my computer junk. He must have come in through the front door which I leave open in summer to ventilate my computer cabinet, so I returned him to nature.

Later on, I myself went out into the bright outdoors and walked through the bean fields to Hitchin and back with my flute, finding a nice Klezmic tune en route. Back home again, settling down to more computing, I suddenly emit a loud shriek as I notice something big and hairy crawling up my arm! Leaping to my feet to shake it off, I discover a large furry caterpillar (5cm x 1cm) which must have climbed onto my shirt out in the bush. Luckily here in England these things aren't hostile! I put him outside with the frog... Next?

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Licence © The right to copy is left with the user copyleft Malcolm Smith 2004-03-03 - last updated 2008-04-06 - links verified 2006-02-12