Friday, February 27, 2009

welcome to the hotel caledonia

Couple of quick notes from our trip to Edinburgh last weekend:
  • Firstly and most importantly, photos can be found here.
  • Tourist attractions - too numerous to list, but obviously you want to see the castle, the Royal Mile, Calton Hill and its various monuments, Holyroodhouse, eat some haggis and drink some whisky (you get a free glass, too).
  • Also, climb Arthur's Seat. Geologically fascinating, great views, and an interesting climb given how relatively small it is height-wise (only 823 feet).
  • I've always been slightly dubious about Scottish beer - my experience has been generally that it's a bit dark and sweet and treacly for me. However, we sampled some nice ones over the course of the weekend - in addition to the old stalwarts like Caley 80 and Deuchars IPA there's slightly more obscure stuff like Pentland IPA, Thrappledouser, Sandy Hunter's and Blessed Thistle (made with actual thistles, apparently) to sample. All good.
  • Lastly a demonstration that even a city of great architectural beauty like Edinburgh is still a changing and evolving organism. Here are two pictures of Eduardo Paolozzi's giant foot sculpture on Leith Walk. The top one is a randomly Googled image of uncertain vintage (but not that old, I would guess), the second is one I took on Monday. Quite a difference. Also note how the scaffolding on Calton Hill has moved from being around the Dugald Stewart monument to being around the Observatory.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

celebrity lookeylikey of the day

Nuclear physicist, occasional BBC Horizon presenter, future destroyer of the earth and probable Studmuffin Of Science Dr. Brian Cox, and pretend nuclear physicist Cillian Murphy in Danny Boyle's Sunshine, a film I've had on DVD for a while but only got round to watching a few days ago. I'd say it's flawed but fascinating, and very reminiscent of a couple of other fascinating films, particularly the criminally underrated Event Horizon and Solaris. I should point out at this point that I've only seen the Steven Soderbergh/George Clooney 2002 remake of Solaris, and not Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 original. By a strange coincidence Brian Cox was "scientific consultant" on Sunshine.

One tangentially related footnote: of course Danny Boyle has been in the news this week after Slumdog Millionaire cleaned up at the Oscars. Hazel did a photo shoot with him a few weeks previously, and I'm instructed to tell you that he is a very nice man indeed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the last book I read

Walter by David Cook.

I picked this up for the princely sum of 80p a few years ago in the splendid Amnesty International bookshop on the Gloucester Road in Bristol, here.

Sarah is a young Lancastrian woman who marries a gawky young man called Eric in the 1920s. Needless to say, this being England in the first half of the 20th century, both of them are horribly ignorant about sex - Sarah's mother having waged a campaign of terror about Sarah's congenitally narrow hips, and sweaty predatory men with big fat coarse cheesy fingers just itching to do unspeakably penetrative things to her, and Eric being a timid unassertive type terrified by the whole business.

Lurking at the back of Eric's mind is a vague recollection of the orphanage where he grew up, and some dire warnings from his early guardians about what would happen should he ever have children. Basically it turns out there were some unsavoury goings-on with Eric's father and his sister (who was also, we are invited to assume, his mother), and, in a way very similar to what happens in Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, the sins of the father are visited upon the next-but-one generation. But while Cal, the hero/heroine of Middlesex, is a bright child with an awkward physical affliction to deal with, Walter, Sarah and Eric's son, is, not to put too fine a point on it, a fucking cretin.

Walter eventually learns to get to the toilet on his own and inherits some of his father's enthusiasm for racing pigeons, and even manages to hold down a job collecting cardboard in Woolworth's. Eric's early death puts a bit of a wrinkle in Walter and Sarah's routine, but things continue pretty much as normal until one day Sarah not only fails to come and wake Walter up for work as usual, but, as Walter discovers when he eventually plucks up courage to go into her room, won't wake up herself. At all.

Needless to say the authorities eventually take charge of the situation and, in addition to carting off Sarah's mouldering corpse for disposal, cart Walter off to a mental institution. Where, basically, he stays until we leave him at the end of the book. There's just a suggestion that he may have found a suitable niche in life looking after those even more mentally deficient than himself, but that's about the only ray of hope on the horizon.

It's as profoundly grim as it sounds, for all that there's a bit of black humour from time to time. Clearly the protagonist is not going to have any sudden epiphany whereby he stops being a fucking cretin, so his scope for character development is quite limited. That being the case I struggled to see what the point of the whole exercise was. I don't want to get all "what was the author trying to say here", but, at the same time, what was the author trying to say here?

Two brief footnotes: firstly, Walter was made into a TV drama, shown on Channel 4's opening night in 1982 and starring Ian McKellen. Also, it won the venerable Hawthornden literary prize when it was first published in 1978. In the usual way I have to log which ones I've read, and the list goes like this: 1935, 1941, 1975, 1978, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 2005.

Monday, February 16, 2009


We did rather a lot of driving at the weekend - Hazel had a wedding album to deliver near Southampton on Saturday morning, we were due up at my parents' place on Saturday afternoon, and we were going to a christening near Runcorn on Sunday morning. That's more than enough mileage in itself, but we had an unexpected detour to make. We were staying near Marlborough on Friday night, so we drove down in the evening, only to discover that we'd left the wedding album in Newport. I say "we", but actually it was my fault. So we had to make an extra round trip from Marlborough to Newport and back to pick it up. All of which delayed my first pint of Brakspear's at the very nice Barleycorn Inn in Collingbourne Kingston by about three hours, which was a bit irritating. But, like I say, my fault.

Factor all that into the planned mileage for the weekend and you end up with this, all within about 48 hours:

  • Newport to Bristol: 25 miles
  • Bristol to Marlborough: 55 miles
  • Marlborough to Newport: 75 miles
  • Newport to Marlborough: 75 miles
  • Marlborough to Romsey: 25 miles
  • Romsey to Abergavenny: 155 miles
  • Abergavenny to Runcorn: 150 miles
  • Runcorn to Newport: 170 miles
Total: 730 miles

All of which set me to wondering: if, instead of looping round in a series of contorted figures of 8 only to end up back where we'd started, we'd just kept going in a straight line, where would we have ended up? Fortunately there are various internet resources that will tell you this sort of thing. It turns out we could have got as far as:
- or we could have done round trips via
  • Rotterdam, Brussels, London
  • Dublin, Edinburgh, Leeds
All as the crow flies, of course, and I am aware that you can't drive a car through the ocean, unless of course you're James Bond.

what's all zis, zen

As a quick final send-off to the Aurelio Zen series as reviewed here, here's a map of Italy as traversed by the lugubrious Venetian detective's various adventures over the last twenty years.

Click for a larger version. Numbers refer to the Zen novels in chronological order, as follows:
  1. Ratking (1988): Perugia
  2. Vendetta (1990): Sardinia
  3. Cabal (1992): Rome/Vatican City
  4. Dead Lagoon (1994): Venice
  5. Cosi Fan Tutti (1996): Naples
  6. A Long Finish (1998): Piedmont
  7. Blood Rain (1999): Sicily
  8. And Then You Die (2002): Tuscany
  9. Medusa (2003): the Alto Adige
  10. Back To Bologna (2005): erm, Bologna
  11. End Games (2007): Calabria

Sunday, February 15, 2009

the last book I read

End Games by Michael Dibdin.

This is the eleventh and last of the Aurelio Zen novels; not because it necessarily marks any particular end-point in his fictional existence, but for the rather more mundane reason that his creator Michael Dibdin died at the age of 60 shortly after completing it.

It's nice to be able to report, then, that after a couple of slightly ropey recent instalments in the series (Medusa was good, but And Then You Die and Back To Bologna were pretty slight) this is a proper, chunky (414 pages) Zen novel like the best ones in the series (Dead Lagoon and A Long Finish, I would say - numbers 4 and 6 in the series respectively).

Anyway, the plot. We're in Calabria, right down at the toe of Italy. A gruesome murder opens the book - an American is forced to walk up to an old ruined hill-top town, whereupon someone remotely detonates the explosive concealed in his shirt collar, with predictably messy results.

It later transpires that the murdered man had some family connections to the area, and also that he was a lawyer representing a company making a film there; a crazy end times/Book of Revelation thing financed by a loony American computer games multi-millionaire. It further transpires that the film is just a front for a search for the buried tomb of Alaric the Visigoth and its associated treasure, which plays a major role in the computer guy's bizarre Rapture fantasies. Aurelio Zen, standing in temporarily for the chief of police in the region, has to pull all this together and penetrate the secretive local community to get to the bottom of the mystery.

It's slightly more absurd than the best of the early Zen novels, and the computer geek with the T-shirt and shorts who calls everyone "dude" is a bit of a caricature, but there's enough colourful Italian detail and twisty-turnyness (and the odd bit of ultraviolence) to keep the reader entertained. A pity there won't be any more, though - doubly so for Dibdin himself, obviously, what with him being dead and all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

no trial, no jury, straight to execution

People are scum, aren't they? I mean, not you personally, obviously, but people in general. And sure, the wheel, the printed word, the propelling pencil, walking on the moon and all, but still, the general average quality of randomly selected members of the human race is disappointingly low. I have a couple of examples in support of my thesis:

1) bastards

Someone drove into my car yesterday. Not particularly hard, just hard enough to leave a small dink in the driver's side rear door, just by the door handle, and a smear of bluish-white paint. A careless parking manoeuvre sort of accident rather than a high speed death crash, but still. Since I wasn't in the car when it happened, and they weren't troubled by enough simple human decency to own up and accept the savage yet proportionate and humane beating that was coming to them, I don't know when it happened or who it was. I suspect it was while I was parked up at Tesco at lunchtime.

What's more chickenshit than fucking with a man's automobile? I mean, don't fuck with another man's vehicle.

2) idiots

If you were opening a shop and (presumably) paying for the services of a signwriter, even if the shop was a bit of a fly-by-night operation and the sign was just a bit of nailed up printed canvas, you'd think you might take the trouble to get it spelt correctly. Or, if you were the signwriter and words were, in a very real sense, your business, you'd think you might a) notice and b) have a word. Quite literally.

This is just round the corner from my house, and is, of course, technically entirely accurate, in that the shop isn't moving around at all. Not quite the meaning they were intending to get across, though, I'd guess. As Andy will tell you, given half a chance:

feel the reciprocal link love

I am simultaneously humbled and slightly smug to be included in the (lengthy) list of supportive blogs rallying round Bad Science after the lastest legal furore. Other amusing blog-related news: Jeni Barnett's blog seems to have mysteriously "lost" a couple of posts - by a curious coincidence the two posts relating to the LBC MMR broadcast, each of which had attracted a storm of commenters like flies to a particularly pungent dog's egg. Luckily a kind soul had archived the whole discussion for posterity; again, not to get too misty-eyed about it, this is the internet as a force for honesty, auditability and transparency, and also for people who fail to understand how it works being caught out in a satisfyingly lulzy manner.

Here's a word of the day for you - any of the following variations:
It just means, for want of a better phrase, "conventional medicine" and those who practise it. These are what you might call "dog-whistle" words - hear them used in conversation and you immediately know the person using them is an adherent of either homeopathy (the term was coined by Samuel Hahnemann), acupuncture, naturopathy, holistic astrological chakra realignment or any other of the myriad nonsense grouped under the CAM umbrella. Needless to say it's a word that crops up repeatedly in the numerous Jeni Barnett threads linked above. It's a bit like "Darwinism" instead of "acceptance of the theory of evolution" - the only people that use the word are creationist nutjobs (follow the link, for instance).

Monday, February 09, 2009

melts in your arteries, not in your hand

I know you're as fascinated by the minutiae of advertising law and food packaging as I am, so this will be of keen interest to you.

No doubt the conversation at the Cadbury marketing department meeting went something like this - look, we want to get into the health food market, but the trouble is, these cereal bars taste like cardboard. Really, you'd be better off eating the packaging. So what should we do? Hang on - what if we dip the fuckers in chocolate? That'll up the old interest levels a bit. Brilliant! And we can call them, I dunno, Brunch Bars or something, just to tap into that whole Milky Way OK-to-eat-between-meals thing. Right, knock out some packaging and let's get these babies in the shops.

But there's a problem. Some sort of regulations decree that you can't call it a "health bar" if its fat content exceeds a certain threshold (I'm guessing, but I suspect there are regulations of this nature), and the Brunch Bar has something like four to six times the fat of "real" low-fat cereal bars (the ones that taste like wicker placemats). That'll be the chocolate. What they came up with has a certain fiendish genius to it:

Note how the words "better for you" and "wholesome" are in quotes, thus making no actual claim about the health-giving properties of the bars. The phrase "loaded with lots of good things" was obviously deemed vague and non-specific enough not to need the quotes. "Cereal" is fine too because, well, they do have cereal in them, which gives a spurious whiff of healthiness; then again a Toffee Crisp does as well. So you get a definite air of fruity grainy healthy wholesome nutritiousness, without any actual testable claims being made. It's all very clever.

incidental celebrity music lookeylikey spot of the day

Fly Like An Eagle by the Steve Miller Band (the opening guitar riff anyway) in the recent commendably unhysterical Horizon programme about cannabis The Evil Weed? I don't know whether it was a drug-induced hallucinatory flashback or not, but presenter John Marsden reminded me strongly of a hairless Roger Federer. He certainly "served" up a "fault"-less "volley" of interesting information about the drugs "racket" for anyone who might be thinking of getting "court" up in it, hahahahaha. Please yourselves.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

your saturday song selection

Here's another not-quite-random selection of ten iTunes tunes for your amusement. I say "not quite" because in addition to waiting (as I did last time) for ten I liked to come up in a row (rather than, say, just picking the first ten), instead of the full 7500-song main playlist I used the cherry-picked 254-song playlist that gets synched onto my iPod shuffle for use in the car, which stacked the odds in my favour a bit. Other than that I didn't cheat. But how would you know? You'll just have to trust me.
  • Sister Surround by The Soundtrack Of Our Lives. One of the unexpected delights of Glastonbury 2002 was seeing this lot play a rocking mid-afternoon set on the Sunday. You can't beat some retro guitar rock featuring a chubby bearded Swede in a kaftan.
  • Mole From The Ministry by The Dukes Of Stratosphear. Cracking Strawberry Fields Forever/I Am The Walrus pastiche from XTC's cod-psychedelic alter egos. They had so much fun doing this that they eventually dispensed with the Dukes pseudonym altogether and just bunged out their next album (in similar vein) as XTC.
  • Lump by The Presidents Of The United States Of America. Hey guys, I've got a great idea - you know how the song has this bit about a "boggy marsh" in line one? Yeah? Well, how about we do the video, like, in a swamp? Incidentally line two is "mud flowed up into Lump's pyjamas", and not "mud flowed up into Lump's vagina" as it sort of sounds like.
  • Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) by The Rolling Stones. That's five "Doo"'s, not four, not six; very important. One of the great forgotten Stones singles. Link is to a slightly ragged live version, but the original studio version has some great filthy wah-wah guitar on it.
  • United States Of Whatever by Liam Lynch. One of the few novelty/comedy/satirical songs to actually be a) funny and b) a good tune. At barely a minute and a half it doesn't outstay its welcome either.
  • Local Boy In The Photograph by the Stereophonics. Some bands do lots of interesting and diverse stuff, others plough a slightly narrower furrow with mixed results. You find with a lot of these that there's a point where they nailed it and that everything else is a slightly pale attempt to recreate that moment. What I'm getting at, in a roundabout sort of way, is that this is the only Stereophonics tune you will ever need.
  • Bird Of Cuzco by Nina Nastasia. It's all been a bit ROCK so far, so let's kick back for a moment. This veers perilously close to Lisa Loeb territory and thus to making you want to stick a screwdriver in your ear, but just about pulls it off, mainly by the cunning device of actually having a tune.
  • The Funeral by Band Of Horses. Link is to a slightly muddy live version from the Roskilde Festival in 2008 which stomps on the studio version's delicate quiet-loud-quiet-loud dynamic a bit; original is here. Some more top-quality beard action here, too.
  • Is It Just Me? by The Darkness. Now here's another band you probably only need one or two songs by before it all gets a bit annoying. If you are going to only have one, though, forget I Believe In A Thing Called Love - this is the best Darkness song. Great sledgehammer Status Quo guitar riff, quite a neat lyric, and not too much pantomime falsetto squealing from Justin Hawkins, all the more impressively as this is from their second album which was apparently recorded in a positive avalanche of cocaine. Nice.
  • Maggot Brain by Funkadelic. Lyrics schmyrics, sometimes only a ten-minute guitar solo will do. Apparently for the original studio recording George Clinton told guitarist Eddie Hazel to "play like your momma just died".
  • Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole by Martha Wainwright. Let's switch off the amps again for a moment and reflect on what we've learnt. Erm....songs with swearing in them are cool? Yes. Yes they are.

there's a fine line between "finely tuned animal" and "weird"

Brief follow-up on the Jeni Barnett MMR broadcast legal threats fiasco: a transcript of the broadcast can be found here if you want to witness the full gibbering idiocy of it. Small doses might be best to avoid the uncontrollable urge to claw your own face off.
The body is a really delicate organism. The tiniest bit of something can make you go weird. A little tiny bit of caffeine and you can be running up and down the stairs. A little bit of potassium sor...I don't know - whatever they put in these drinks - can make you itch. The body is a finely-tuned animal. We are animals.
TechnoLlama provides a slightly more well-informed legal view of the situation than I'm able to, as well as summarising why this is important a bit more succinctly than I managed to:
There are few topics of more importance than that of health, and the health of children is of particular interest to society. The MMR vaccine scare has been a national shame for many years, one that has even led to an increase in the recurrence of measles amongst the relevant infant population. In my view, there is overwhelming public interest to continue to expose those who perpetuate the lie that there is something wrong with the MMR vaccine, and I strongly believe that any court would be forced to take this view in light of the evidence.
Won't somebody think of the children? Just not in, you know, that way.

Friday, February 06, 2009

commandment #11: thou shalt not take the piss

Firstly: no reading this until you've ploughed through the tedious ranting in my last post. Promise now? OK.

After all that you'll be wanting some entertainment - well, you'll be glad to hear there are plenty of amusing internet-based cartoons available that don't conflict with your unswerving and monomaniacal commitment to radical atheism.

There you go. That was pretty good, wasn't it? More in similar vein available here, including some from the brilliant Jesus And Mo, which is well worth a permanent sidebar link, I think. Try this one for size:

isn't MMR scaremongering all a bit 2007?

An absolute textbook example of the Streisand effect over at Bad Science at the moment: Ben Goldacre rather rashly posted an MP3 recording of a recent LBC radio broadcast featuring Jeni Barnett. I'd never heard of her, but it turns out she's a vocal opponent of the MMR vaccination and indeed vaccinations in general, despite being an actress and TV presenter instead of, say, someone with an occupation or qualifications which might confer upon her the authority to pronounce on such topics with any sort of knowledge.

Anyway, following the posting of the 44-minute clip and much amusing mockery of the astonishingly ill-informed and irresponsible nonsense being peddled therein, LBC's lawyers got all lawyer-y on Goldacre's ass and told him to take the clip down. Which, not having much choice in the matter, he did. Trouble is, this is SPARTA! Sorry, I mean, this is the internet. Therefore, paradoxically, any attempt to censor or suppress is likely to have the opposite effect. You can play the big bad playground bully all you like, but while you've got one specky four-eyes up against the wall in the toilets, all his millions of geeky mates are posting copies of the exact data you're trying to suppress in a million different places on the internet and laughing at you while they do. As Mr. Universe says, you can't stop the signal, man.

The serious aspect to all this (sorry, but there is one - it won't take long) is that people, however much they shouldn't, listen to perceived "authority" figures (i.e. celebs) and so it behooves them to be a bit careful about what advice they give out, at least to the extent of ensuring it isn't downright dangerous.

There is, interestingly (well, I think so anyway), a rough but useful correlation between how much of a hand-waving evidence-free quack someone is and how knee-jerkingly litigious they are: entertaining examples include Gillian McKeith setting her lawyer husband on prominent academic John Garrow for suggesting that she was talking bollocks, and Matthias Rath suing the Guardian (and the self-same Ben Goldacre) for suggesting that his multi-million pound business substituting vitamin pills for HIV medicine was based on charlatanry and pseudoscience and almost certainly killing people. In both cases the loonies failed to take over the asylum: McKeith never followed through on her threat, and Rath was forced into humiliatingly dropping his case after the Guardian refused to cave in and retract its story. Here's some more.

Despite it almost universally never ending well for the quacks, what with actual real-world courts and legal folk being all concerned with actual real-world facts and evidence and shit, this, strangely, doesn't seem to have put anyone off. Maybe there's some sort of homeopathy-style what-makes-you-ill-also-cures-you-in-some-way stuff going on here. Maybe if we strike them down they will become more powerful than we can possibly imagine? Maybe.

Strange coincidence - I was just looking back at the blog post where I mentioned Andrew Wakefield and the big MMR court case, and the first half of it is about Sean McCarthy and his Steorn perpetual-motion gizmo. Rather astonishingly not only have none of the people involved died of embarrassment or shame after the farcical failure of their July 2007 demo to produce any motion at all (perpetual or otherwise), but they're still hawking it around and, seemingly, getting people to give them money. Remarkable.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

tunes of the day

Couple of John Martyn clips for you:
  • An astonishingly youthful Martyn performing May You Never on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973.
  • I'd Rather Be The Devil from the same show. One man, an acoustic guitar and an electronic box of tricks (actually it's an Echoplex) - nice swooshy 1970s visual effects too.
  • Certain Surprise from German TV in 1978.
  • Small Hours at Reading University, also in 1978.
  • Solid Air from Dublin in 1987; Martyn looking considerably sweatier and more jowly by this time as the relentless drink intake took its toll.
  • Sweet Little Mystery from the same gig. Note that this is not the Wet Wet Wet song of the same name.

Monday, February 02, 2009

the last book I read

In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan.

If you've read, as I have, the novel for which Richard Brautigan is most famous, Trout Fishing In America, then you'll have some idea of what to expect here: a sort of wide-eyed hippy innocence, short and enigmatically named chapters, constant repetition of the novel's title at various points throughout the text, and a picture on the cover of Brautigan and some doe-eyed "special lady" in a suggestively charged pose.

In Watermelon Sugar was Brautigan's third novel, published in 1968. It's got the same slightly hello clouds, hello sky hippy-dippy innocence as Trout Fishing In America, but in the service of a slightly more coherent story. Which seems to be a post-apocalyptic idyll whereby the trappings of an older and more technologically advanced civilisation (including, slightly bizarrely, a race of talking tigers) are shut away in a place called The Forgotten Works while the survivors live a pastoral existence in their woodland shacks, gathering periodically in the central commune (called, for reasons that are never adequately explained, iDEATH) for food and assorted pleasantries and building their shacks, bridges, etc. out of planks made from the aforementioned watermelon sugar. The nameless narrator is conducting a relationship with a young woman from iDEATH called Pauline while attempting to avoid the obsessive attentions of his ex-partner Margaret. Some members of the commune hang out at the Forgotten Works and scavenge some of the mysterious artefacts to be found there, and needless to say No Good Comes Of It.

If one were inclined to, one could find all of this a bit irritating, but I think if you take it as a product of its time it's quite charming in a light and child-like sort of way. None of which will be of much comfort to Brautigan, as he shot himself at the age of 49 in 1984.

just to jog your memory

Speaking of maps, as we sort of were, here's a little utility that allows you to plot your favourite running route(s) on a map and share them with the world. In the spirit of co-operation here's the 3.2-mile route that Hazel and I try and get round a couple of times a week. Couple of tricky uphill bits around the 1- and 2-mile markers but otherwise not too bad.

vertical beacon sandwich

Here's some photos from Saturday's trip to the Brecon Beacons. We did a horseshoe walk from the car park at Pont Cwmyfedwen incorporating the three peaks of Cribyn, Pen y Fan and Corn Du. Pretty good weather for January - dry and not much cloud. Freezing though.

A couple of interesting asides for you: one of the peaks on the ridge that we didn't go up (as it would have involved going the "wrong" way and then doubling back on ourselves) was Fan y Big which, in addition to having a faintly amusing name, also features an interesting natural rock outcrop at the top which resembles a diving board, from which you could, if you so desired, plummet into Cwm Cynwyn several hundred feet below. It'd hurt, though.

Here's a picture montage of myself, Mario and Ian on the diving board in the summer of 1995.

And here's a photo montage of me at the summit of Pen y Fan in various company and weather over the years.
  • Top left: me, Anne, Tony, a sheep (partially obscured), Rob, Karen, Ian, Paul, April 1997.
  • Top right: me, Mum, November 2005.
  • Bottom left: Dad, Ray, me, July 2008.
  • Bottom right: Robin, Hazel, me, January 2009.