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2014.01.23 Nail

Today we lost the beautiful European oak floorboards from downstairs. Each was torn up, then the panels and styrene were taken out to leave just the sub floor. All the nails holding the floorboards down seemed to have reacted to the water from the Thames, producing a black residue.



2014.01.23 Nail by rbanks.

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The Greenbelt

Many cities in the UK are surrounded by acres of protected land that form Greenbelts. They are what makes my house feel almost like it’s in the countryside, although it’s actually only 15 miles as the crow flies from the bustle of Trafalgar Square.

Greenbelts are the result of policies created in the 1930s to help combat urban sprawl. I believe in them strongly. They make rural experiences so much more accessible to urban dwellers. They help protect countryside that might otherwise go under tarmac, and that in a lot of ways is quintessentially English.

This is the first map I’ve seen that shows how green and belt-like the Greenbelts are.

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LONDON /moleskinecity.com » The End of the Green Belt?

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Airliner crash lands at Heathrow

Bit unnerving to find this in amongst my RSS feeds. Here’s a map of where the incident happened. I’ve circled in red where my Dad used to work, and where we’d park our car before heading into London at the weekends. This is still not far from where we live. Planes taking off from Heathrow go over our house every day.

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Amazing that there were no fatalities. Sounds like they basically lost power and the pilot had to glide the plane in. It may have been safer that he touched down on grass, since there were less sparks than there would have been on the runway.

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Cats need to navigate an obstacle to remember it

Cool! A little home experimentation with our cat, Sidney, seems in order…

” In their experiment — pictured below — they had a cat step halfway over a small barrier, at which point they distracted it with food. They lowered the barrier while it was eating, but when the cat moved on, it still raised its hind legs, believing the barrier to still be there. This is the sort of behavior you’d expect, of course.

But then they repeated the experiment with a twist. This time, the cat was stopped at the point when it had seen the barrier — but before it had stepped its front paws over it. Again, they lowered the barrier while the cat ate the food. But when the cat moved onwards, it didn’t raise its hind legs high enough the clear the now-removed barrier.”
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Cats need to navigate an obstacle to remember it

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A break in the weather

You may have heard in the news that we’re suffering from some bad weather and flooding here in the UK. Pretty much the worst on record. Much of England has been hit, but we’ve been really fortunate that, although we live within spitting distance of the Thames, it still hasn’t broken the banks where we are.

We are on a high state of alert, though, and we’ve taken the precautions that make sense. We’ve moved a lot of things upstairs, wrapped the leg of the piano in plastic, sent the cat to visit “grandma”.

Naturally we’ve been following the weather closely. It’s really highlighted how little this is a science. Here, for example is what the 5 day forecast for London on the BBC looked like yesterday afternoon:

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And what it looked like this morning:

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It changes hourly, basically. When I looked at it last night the sudden change in forecast was actually far more dramatic. The image above was almost entirely little pictures of the sun for the rest of the week (we have sunshine right now in the UK). Then a few hours later, the cloud was back with that one drop of rain on Thursday.

Anyway, you can’t trust the forecast. But that doesn’t stop it from making you feel better.

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