2009 — 9 August: Sunday

Before sleep claims me, a picture of Christa from Old Windsor on a Sunday afternoon in 1978. Just out of this shot is the Observer which we used to buy as part of an habitual stroll along the River Thames to the tiny newsagent nearly opposite the "Bells of Ouseley" pub. I wonder what became of the Bowshers (they ran the shop).

Christa in Old Windsor, 1978

It's a curious paradox: the less I do, the tireder I seem to get. Perhaps I should formulate a law? G'night.

Monkey business

It's a few years,1 now, since I read Jared Diamond's "The rise and fall of the third chimpanzee". So I read this review of a more modern variant — "Not a Chimp: The Hunt to Find the Genes That Make Us Human" — with some interest. Source and snippet:

[Jeremy Taylor] argues that, despite the very small difference in the gene coding sequence between humans and chimps, some of the important genetic differences are in genes that regulate a whole host of other genes. So a small change can make an immense difference. The genetic difference between us and chimps may be much greater than the 1.6 per cent figure2 implies, as our uniqueness is based on a powerful network of gene regulation, he argues.

Helene Guldberg in Spiked

Sorry, Copernic. I was wrong to malign you. It was actually my latest Firefox browser that was taking one of the dual cores out for an extended spin while I drummed my fingers. Over 50% CPU indeed. And, having killed the process and restarted it, I once again see the now all-too-familiar "Well, this is embarrassing..." message about its inability to restore windows and tabs. It's looking very much as if I jumped over-eagerly into the embrace of 3.5.2. Oh well, there's always Opera, Safari, IE, ...

It's 08:27 already and breakfast is starting to look like a smart idea. Plus a packed lunch, of course, for the walk. And I gather I have a mixture of Halibut and Hedwig to look forward to tonight, over in my favourite Winchester destination. What's an angry inch, I wonder? (Actually, I suspect I know, having just read the synopsis on IMDB.)

Today's little hike should see us within pixel-capturing range of the White Horse at Uffington. Watch this space.


... some 110 miles or so later (and the total is now nearly 16,100 miles). A nice walk, but nearly touched with disaster. I dropped the telephoto in much the same way as Mike dropped his a while back. However, although the contact ring is definitely showing signs of having been dinged, the autofocus, image stabliser, and exposure mechanisms seem to have survived undamaged (unlike Mike's Nikon, which is going to cost over £300 to repair).

When we were up at the White Horse we could see the Didcot cooling towers way off in the murky haze; we're estimating 30 miles or so, but I've yet to check the map. I've been too busy flinging today's walking gear into the wash and arranging to ablute myself — it was a very humid, sticky day, with lots of contour lines getting crossed.

I shall be back over in Winchester in just a couple of hours. Right, ablutions over and just time to enjoy a bit of the BBC 6Music "Freak Zone" before I clamber back into my chariot and set off again.



1  I was quite boggled, in fact, on checking my "hardback" shelves downstairs a few moments ago, to realise that it was published back in 1991. £16-99 for a book in August 1991 was actually quite a lot of dosh. I recall browsing it for quite some time upstairs in what was then "Sherrat & Hughes" (next door to what was then a "Burger King") in Southampton before deciding. It was a fascinating read.
2  "Genetics explain why you look like your father and if you don't why you should"... and, if my little Copernic search engine ever stops its current indexing I may even be able to pinpoint the source of this misguided claim.
The source turned out to be a set of 5th and 6th grade "howlers" sent over via my friend Carol in New York 13 years ago almost to the day. I also enjoyed: "Most books now say our sun is a star. But it still knows how to change back into a sun in the daytime". Quite so.