Welcome to SpaCeMonKeY UK, the blog of Helen Wells (nee Berrington, aka FieryFred) since 2002.





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SpaCeMonKeY UK

Saturday, March 29

Helen Berrington
is a
Brain-Eating Kung-Fu Monkey

...with a Battle Rating of 9.8

To see if your Food-Eating Battle Monkey can
defeat Helen Berrington, enter your name:

Friday, March 28

Daisy sent me her details for the movie thingy too, so now there are three people to check up on. :)

Thursday, March 27

Here's something you can try out, if you have a few spare minutes. A while back James and I started work on a web-based film thing that would match you up with people that potentially liked the same films. It's complicated, but it seemed to kind of work. But we never tested it. So if you want to test it...


It really needs more people to join in, so if you want to work out your top ten and send me that and your details, feel free. And if you want to go all the way and work out all your recommends and non-recommends... you have too much time on your hands. :p

Obviously, if you did that I'd need to know your calibration details. It's quite simple - I need a list of 0's and 1's. Whenever you chose a film in the left hand column you put a 0, and for the right hand column you put a 1. My calibration "string" is as follows:


So I'd need that if you wanted to help.

I'm rambling... I explain things slightly better on the page I mentioned, so...


Wednesday, March 26

Not much time for blogging tonight. I am tired, man! Oh yeah. :D

But here's the news. I've put another picture of me in the "about me" section. A brand new one, to demonstrate my new lack of hair. Because I went to the hairdresser's on Monday. My old Stargate loving hairdresser's closed down, so I had to go to the one round the corner in Saffron Lane. But they did a good job. It's short, but hey, I like it. So what does it matter?

Plus, the shorter it is the longer I have before I need to get it cut again! Or something. ;)

The only worrying thing is the comment she made when she'd finished. It was something along the lines of, "That actually looks pretty good!"

All's well that ends well, eh?

Tuesday, March 25

Thought I'd better blog so that people know I'm still around. The cold has not defeated me! :p

Yesterday I gave the door another coat of paint. That was pretty much all I did.

Today I went into the city centre with Ali. I know that if I sit down at the moment I will just stare into space for an indefinite period of time, so it's probably best to try and keep my brain active. So... shops. I went to WHSmith to pick up the latest copy of Starburst. Someone e-mailed me off of my site to tell me it had a Chris Judge interview in it, which was nice. I've put stuff from the interview online. The copyright police will hunt me down and kill me.

If the government don't get me first. This morning I received a letter saying they were going to start reclaiming my student loan. This was a bit of a surprise since I'd filled in my deferment form so carefully. I'd even sent them proof that I only get 1p interest on my current account every month. I was that thorough. But apparently my application was 'incomplete'. They didn't seem to believe that I could be supporting myself - they wanted a letter from my parent or partner (ooer) saying that they were supporting me! Honestly... If they'd wanted a copy of my uni enrolment letter they could have said...

Anyway, I did get a few books from the secondhand book man in the market. One of them is a Star Wars book, which I do already have. It was in good condition, so I might check it against my copy at home and sell the worst copy on eBay. The other two books were spotted by Ali. They're particularly cool because... they're Indiana Jones books! Yes, Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge and Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi. It looks like they're still in print, just about, but hey. I got them cheaper. And they're still in very good condition. Cool...

As it turns out, there are lots of Indy books:

Rob MacGregor:

  • Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi
  • Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants
  • Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils
  • Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge
  • Indiana Jones and the Unicorn's Legacy
  • Indiana Jones and the Interior World
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Max McCoy:

  • Indiana Jones and the Philosopher's Stone
  • Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs
  • Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth
  • Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx

Martin Caidin:

  • Indiana Jones and the Sky Pirates
  • Indiana Jones and the White Witch

I never knew there were so many. :)

Hmm... not sure what else to say tonight. Might just leave it there.

Seeya later.

Sunday, March 23

I painted the front door today. It's red now. I sanded it yesterday. Went a bit OTT, really... went to buy a detail sander to try and do a proper job. The door's a bit rubbish, though. I think it might well fall apart. Next time Mark does his excessive "checking to see if the door is shut" thing it might collapse. Ah well.

I think this is one way my brain copes with illness. It's a sort of "keep on moving" thing. The other weird aspect of cold type things is that my tastebuds go a bit peculiar. I mean, not for most things, but I develop this aversion to coffee. And I usually drink a lot of coffee. Does anyone else have this, or is it just me?

I feel a bit odd about mentioning the "Americans hitting the wrong targets" yesterday, what with the Tornado downed by US Patriot Missile disaster. Hmm...

The war is getting increasingly surreal. I mean, on the one hand there's such a lot of it televised that, well, you kind of wonder how it can be a proper war. As my Mum said, the Germans wouldn't have let loads of journlists wander around during WWII. The sheer amount of things being televised, from battles to the bombardment of Baghdad, make me think two things:

  1. The coalition can't do anything too disagreeable because the whole world's watching.
  2. They're controlling what we watch, right? It's modern day propaganda, it has to be!

I wonder which is right, or whether it's a mixture of the two? And both sides are doing it. Seeing those five captured US troops...

This isn't a clinical war. However much they want people to give up, they're not all going to. You can't just direct a few cruise missiles at a target and expect everyone to march out with their hands up. There have to be lots of people who support Saddam, don't there? Otherwise they'd have been civil war, surely?

I dunno...

Saturday, March 22

My nose hurts. I have a cold. It's making many parts of my head ache. It's odd. I always get ill when I have holidays. Ah well.

Yesterday the Storm Shadow missile was deployed for the first time. It's a cruise missile which is fired from Tornado aircraft. Why do I care so much about this missile in particular? Because my brother helps make them.

Now, BAE Systems make all sorts of things. They make things for both the commercial and defence aerospace sectors. My brother's made parts for lots of things (he's a mechanical engineering apprentice). I don't pretend to understand much of what he does, but I know he machines things.

When he came to visit last weekend he mentioned the Storm Shadow missile. He mentioned it because they'd been testing it, I think, and he jokingly said that it was so good that the Americans could actually hit targets with it. (There's some sort of lasting stigma attached to American bombing, after WWII - my granddad used to say that the only times the soldiers ducked was when American bombers flew over...)

Now the missile's been used in anger for the first time. Yeah, so if my brother actually made parts for the missile it was nothing more than parts for the guidance system. He mentioned gyroscopes, and mirrors. But still... it makes it kind of personal. John considered joining the Navy for a while, since it's a great way to learn engineering, but there was the problem of possibly having to go to war. Part of me is sad that something he's touched might have ended up being used for war. But part of me knows that he's a good engineer, and if anyone had to make parts for a missile - to make sure it is as exact as they say - then I'm glad he was involved.

I'm making too much of this, I expect. But it's weird... he told me that there's a Storm Shadow missile on display at the place he works. Presumably it's little more than a shell, but the point is that it's as long as his bedroom. I don't know about you, but I don't really think about the scale of these things.

However clinical they say these things are... it's going to get messier... :(

Thursday, March 20

If you have a few minutes, why not go and read this blog: Where is Raed?. It's one of Blogger's choices at the moment, and you're not going to find a more relevant Iraq related weblog. I'll have to go back to it when I'm more awake, I think.

He has a profound quote, too:

"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."

Samuel P. Huntington

Kind of on the same topic, I was interested to hear that some American analysts didn't think that Saddam looked like Saddam in that TV appearance. I didn't thank that our illustrious leader Tony Blair looked much like Tony Blair, so...

I'm with the Queen on this one. I'm just going to have to sit here and pray that our military comes home soon...

Well, I've spent a little while this afternoon listening to the BBC World Service and redesigning my weblog. I watched the news for a few hours, too, clicking between Sky, the BBC and ITV's news channels. I watched as air raids happened in Kuwait City... it was indescribably skin crawling. It's so easy for people here to decide it doesn't matter if there's war. We're miles away, we can't be hurt, right? What does it matter? But for those people, whether they're Iraqi or they live in the countries who are going to have to put up with Iraq's inevitable strikes back... I can't imagine how scary it must be.

Anyway, I have a tagboard now, since those comments were really unreliable. So... yeah. Whatever. Leave comments about the new look or the war or whatever you like. Or even just say hello. I like reading comments people leave. Sometimes I think no-one except for my closest friends actually come back to read this. Leave a message and prove me wrong.


Wednesday, March 19

Well... looks like war's going to happen. There were police everywhere in the city centre today. The university even splashed out on a security guard for the Fielding Johnson building. The BBC news at 6 had a thing about buying tins of food and having battery operated radios and things like blankets in the house. I don't really know what to think about it all...

I spent quite a while this evening reading lots of things on the BBC website. I like the way their news isn't biased either way. Yes, there are reasons for wanting to overthrown the regime in Iraq, but is war the answer? I think I'm fundamentally opposed to war because I think the reasons behind it are wrong. Reading Michael Moore's book Stupid White Men just made me see more conflicts of interest. There are so many things, when you dig deeper, that are terrifyingly selfish and... unsettling.

I did a bit of research. Here are a few of the things that I turned up. They kind of make you think. Well, they make me think, anyway...


Excerpt from: Oil industry facts

  • Halliburton is the largest oil field services provider in the world and provides services to Chevron.
  • George Bush Sr. was a former director of Halliburton.
  • Dick Cheney was Halliburton's CEO.
  • Chevron is the #1 importer of Iraqi oil.
  • There are Bush Administration plans to reduce demand for Saudi oil and use Iraqi oil in place.
  • Bush wants to invade Iraq.
  • War brings immense profit to defense contractors.
  • George Bush Sr. is currently on the director's board of one of the largest defense contractors in the world.


Excerpt from: The Guardian: A Matter of Life, Oil and Death

US administration's foot on the gas

George W Bush
Unsuccessful Texas oilman. His prospecting company, Arbusto, was on the point of going bankrupt when it was bought out by another company, Spectrum, which in turn was bought out by another oil firm, Harken, which kept Bush on the board for his contacts, primarily with his father.

Dick Cheney
Before becoming vice-president, Cheney, below, was the chief executive of Halliburton, the world's largest oilfield services company. Halliburton does not drill for oil but it sells everything to the corporations that do the drilling. It also provides housing and services for the US military.

Condoleezza Rice
Before coming to the White House the national security adviser sat on the board of Chevron. They were clearly happy with her strategic advice and Bush family contacts as they named an oil tanker after her.

Don Evans
Old Bush friend from Texas oil days. Evans stayed in the oil business. Before becoming commerce secretary, he was the chairman of Tom Brown Inc, a $1.2bn oil and gas company based in Denver, and also sat on the board of TMBR/Sharp Drilling, an oil and gas drilling operation.

Gale Norton
Environmentalists objected to her appointment as interior secretary because of her oil links. As a lawyer she had represented Delta Petroleum. She also ran an organisation called the Coalition of Republican Environmental Advocates, co-funded by BP Amoco.


The Arizona Republic: Not about oil? Yeah, right...

Mar. 19, 2003 12:00 AM

President Bush's "get out of Dodge" speech Monday night let the cat out of the bag on his prime and only logical motivation for going to war at this time.

For months the administration has been denying that its close personal ties to the oil industry have anything to do with the Iraqi policy.

Yet the very first specific action that Bush addressed to Iraqi military and civilian personnel was a warning, "In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells."

Our Texas oilman president did not tell the Iraqis to stop supporting terrorism or even to throw down their arms and surrender. Instead, his first piece of advice showed his true colors.

Like always, bad news was followed by a new security alert designed to scare the public into support. This new pastel alert included "increased Coast Guard patrols of major seaports."

I hadn't realized that the Iraqis had developed that sophisticated a navy. Perhaps it is their U-boats that George is afraid of, or perhaps he has been staying up watching too many World War II movies.

The logic of the oil situation is now becoming clear. If this war is not about oil, then we can't afford it. The $100 billion to $200 billion cost estimates on top of the $300 billion Bush has already run up will bring us to the verge of bankruptcy. The only thing that makes any sense in this entire scenario is to grab the estimated $3,000 billion in oil reserves in Iraq.

The conservative-dominated news media has allowed the Bush leaguers to get away with 42 percent of Americans believing that Iraq and al-Qaida are closely allied, on the basis of no evidence at all. They have hidden their heads whenever the oil motive has been presented.

It is time for us to reject the spilling of American blood for Halliburton profits.

Gordon Weiner


The last one was particularly well written, I thought. And from my point of view, it was interesting to read an American article about the war. Tony Blair seems to want us to believe that the American people are all totally behind the war effort.

There's no clear answer, true, but I don't want the blood of innocent Iraqis on my hands.

Sunday, March 16

Aaargh, I forgot the thing that I meant to blog about! I keep telling people how hilarious the "Moped" (Scooter takeoff) version of Coldplay's "Clocks" is. And you can download it!

Go to the website here. If you've heard Scooter's stuff you'll (probably) find it as hilarious as I did!

I particularly like it when they shout, "More tea vicar!" and "Stand up! Or sit down. It's up to you."


Have done lots of things. I might talk about them at some point. Or not. Briefly...

On Friday I went to West Stow Anglo Saxon Village. I didn't have a time machine, it's a reconstruction.

Yesterday my Mum, Dad and brother John came to visit. We didn't do much, mainly talked, but it was cool. And then Mark came round and we all went off to the pub for dinner. Which was nice.

Today I went to church and then to Birmingham. It was a family thing that Ali had been invited to. I was kind of gatecrashing it. Anyway, the trifle was excellent.

Apparently this brings my "people I've met in her family" total up to something scary. Perhaps she could blog about it and tell you the exact details... I can't really remember who I've met. :)

Friday, March 14

Ruby didn't win. :(

Went on a trip today. Too tired to blog about it. Besides, I blog too much these days. :D

I like my new sidebar pic, except that my hair's a bit odd. It needs cutting, probably. It's getting too long.

Ah well...

Thursday, March 13

Ruby Wax is so entertaining! I hope she wins the Comic Relief Fame Academy... I know it's not about the winning, since it's for charity, but that's precisely why she should win. She knows she's not a great singer, but she's out there to make people laugh!

I was watching the clips on the BBC website to try and find some where she's performing, but there aren't many. This one here has her right at the end, singing "Hey Mickey". This one here is her practising "Money Money Money". Ah, this is a performance I didn't see... a certain Pink song.

Sadly, no excellent clips of her performances. But maybe you get the idea.

Wednesday, March 12

Ali thinks I wasn't entirely clear about what I meant yesterday when I said this: "I hate it when you see people in films and they turn out to be old now." What I meant by this is that I don't necessarily connect the actors now with the people they once played in films. I think of Harrison Ford and I don't think of things he's done recently. I think of him as he once was. Thus it's always a surprise to me to find out how old people like Harrison Ford actually are. It's a brain thing.

In other news, because there's been a disturbing convergence of Harrison Ford related stuff in my life lately (people are beginning to talk) I decided to make a new avatar. I thought I'd make one in the style of old point and click adventures. Heads that are only a few pixels in area. That sort of thing. So, I made an avatar. It's not bad, considering.

Trouble is, I made him so he's an entire person, then I had to cut him in half so that he was a 60x60 picture. Drat... But if he'd been much smaller he would have been impossible to draw. I'd never thought how hard it was to draw game sprites when they were only a few pixels large. (Couldn't think how to finish that sentence. Is large the right word? You know what I mean.)

This may be the only time anyone sees the full length "Darrien" avatar, then.

Full length avatar Rev forum variant: Helen/FieryFred Zotria variant: Darrien

The really weird thing is that although I used a pic of Harrison Ford (yeah, I did) as Han Solo to get the proportions right (it was the semi-transparent layer I initially traced over) the finished avatar looks a bit like me. And I'm not even male. I suppose this is what happens when you only have a few pixels to play with.

Freaky. :D

Tuesday, March 11

I know I didn't watch Farscape past, what, the second series, but Daisy loves it, and I feel a bit guilty about the whole cancellation business, what with being a Stargate fan, so... I did this quiz thing. :)

SIP: Sin-In-Pants. You are John Chrichton, and you
kick ASS! Though the people around you may not
understand anything you say, it's all right
because your're the man with the plan. Plus,
nobody looks better in leather.

Who the FRELL are you? A Farscape Personality Quiz.
brought to you by Quizilla

Hee, I'm sin in pants......

So... more disturbing blogging. It's happening a lot lately, isn't it? I suppose someone has to blog incessantly. :D

I'll ramble a bit. Hmm. Today I went to the chemist's to buy some stuff for my eyes. If you know me, or have been reading this blog in secret for a while, you might know that I have problems with my eyes at certain times of the year. They get very dry and sore, you see. Plus my eyesight deteriorates.

A few years ago I went to the doctor's and he said I was allergic to tree pollen. He sent me to the hospital and they said my eyesight was okay, but my tear ducts weren't working properly. Last year when my eyes starting getting dry and my eyesight blurred up I went to the opticians. My eyes were healthy enough, but for the first (well, second, but I didn't really need them the first time round) time in my life I had glasses. Not for reading or for distances, but everything I have to concentrate on.

Most of the time my eyes are pretty good. I tend to wear my glasses for walking - I notice the benefits more with distances. But last week my eyes started getting dry again and I really noticed my eyesight getting worse. Now my glasses really make a difference. I suppose I didn't know this before because I didn't get my glasses until after my eyes had worsened. If you know what I mean. You don't notice things like that if it's gradual, but if you can put glasses on and it instantly improves, you notice.

So... working on the assumption that the "tree pollen" thing is true, I went and bought some allergy eyedrops. I don't know about the tree pollen theory, since it's not a particularly polleny time of year, but something's making it happen... And can it be coincidence that it started when the flowery things and trees starting blooming/budding and so on? Thinking about it, I think it starts this time of year every year, and finishes in the autumn/winter.

I think I'm allergic to flowers. That'd work. :)

Haven't done much else.

Harrison Ford is 60. How scary is that? I can't help but love him in things like Indy and Blade Runner and Star Wars, but now... he's old. I hate it when you see people in films and they turn out to be old now. People that were in the major films of my growing years, and now they're old.

Maybe Indy IV isn't such a good idea.

Especially with George Lucas's recent track record.


Monday, March 10

Daisy wanted to know why I haven't mentioned Zotria properly on here. Well, I am now. :)

This is the place she suggested I try - join in with the roleplay. Well, I went, I set up a character named Darrien and now I have to keep checking the board. Aargh... It even inspired me to write a fic about Darrien. Maybe it's a Star Wars ripoff, maybe not. I was definitely thinking Star Wars when I wrote it. It's no coincidence that my Darrien avatar is a young Harrison Ford. Mwahahahhaa. Anyway, the fic is here.

Mr Random kindly calls it a "homage". :D

Handed in my GIS essay. Did a passable discussion about web presentation in archaeology. Drank too much coffee. Completed the last task on my "to do" list. I've done all nine things! That's hoovering, sorting out the kids books for my reconstruction drawing, ironing, finishing the essay, reading the website stuff, sending out the Stargate United e-zine, working out how to do this year's Fantasy F1, finishing the letter to my friend Cheryl and sending off my student loans form. Phew! Now I need a new list.

Lists, my life runs better with lists.

Lists are gooood.

Sunday, March 9

What have I done today? Not much. I got up at 3am to watch the Australian Grand Prix. I saw the important parts, I think. I always think that I can just rest my eyes and listen to Martin Brundle and his Norfolk accent (especially the way he pronounces "here"), but then I drift off and wake up and find all sorts of things have happened. :)

Seriously, I was awake for most of it. Especially the end where my friend David Coulthard won. Okay, so he only won because other people made mistakes or broke down, but he didn't make any mistakes. So good for him. :D

Let's see... Rubens crashed into the wall. Ralph Firman (looks a bit like Pierce Brosnan - it's the eyes I think) went off in the same place. Mark Webber's (looks a bit like George Lazenby - think it's the chin and he is Australian) suspension broke. Poor man was peering at the car trying to see what'd happened... Michael Schumacher went off and damaged his undertray (don't remember him going off, but I do remember him pitting and the whole "they might have to cut bits of aerodynamic stuff off" debate). Kimi Raikkonen... don't know what happened to him. *reads the ITV website* Ah, he sped in the pitlane. Don't remember that at all! Ah well. And Montoya span. I do remember that, vaguely. Another accident blamed on traction control going wrong. You'd think they'd be happy to get rid of that, come July and Silverstone. :p

Quite exciting. Things could have been disasterous, what with it being damp and them not being able to change the way the car's set up. I can't really see why they shouldn't be able to change the aerodynamics if it's raining. Seems daft. If it rains a lot they'll all crash within a few laps. :(

I was excited by the pace of the Saubers, too. Really, I was excited. And I was yelling (sotto voce) for the BAR's at one point. I'll cheer for most people. Except the Ferraris. It's not like they need cheering. (BOO!)

I'll have to work out my Fantasy F1 team soon. Ooer.

What else have I done? Printed off the GIS essay - I figure if it's not ready now it never will be.

And wrote a fic for a character that I've been doing roleplay with. It's Daisy's fault.


Saturday, March 8

Here I am again. I'm slightly worried about... several things. Although also proud. Not sure which attitude is the correct one.

First of all, James's Geek Test. I scored 54% on this, which means I'm a Free Range Geek. I like the fact that I'm officially a geek. It's something that I have suspected for some time. And I'm sure it's a lot higher than when I first did it, all those years ago. Clearly I am becoming more geeky...

Secondly, the people at the Revolution Forum are freaking me out slightly. For one thing they're all scoring much lower than me on the Geek Test. Also, we swapped MSN ID's, so I've talked to a few people (briefly) online. One said to me tonight, after doing the a/s/l thing (which I hate, incidentally), "Oldest female on the forums at least". This made me a bit scared, but I thought it for a while and I only know of one other female on that forum. So... yeah...

On the slightly less geeky side, I watched the Formula One qualifying repeat this afternoon. Didn't get up in the night for it, but I will for the race. Oh yes. :)

Although I'm not sure that F1 is totally ungeeky. I mean, if there was an ideal sport for geeks surely it would feature the following aspects:

a) comfortable clothing in the form of T-shirts
b) many pointless facts to learn
c) lots of statistics to analyse
d) no chance to actually take part in the sport - no exercise
e) lots of cool technology

There are probably more points. But I think I've proved something. Hmm.

Anyway, qualifying was very, very good. The new rules definitely livened it up. I could explain them, if you don't keep up with F1 you won't know about it.

Basically, the old rules meant that there was a one hour qualifying session on Saturdays. Each driver had 12 laps to drive around and get a fastest time, which determined how high up the grid he started the race. Since you had to do an "in" lap and an "out" lap in order to drive your one "hot" lap, you had three or four chances to get a fast time.

The new rules mean that there are two qualifying sessions. The first one, on Friday, gives each driver one lap to post a quick time. This time decides in what order they qualify on the Saturday. The fastest driver on Friday runs last on Saturday, when the track should be quickest and they can see how their opponents performed. The Saturday session sends each driver out once, one after the other (as on Friday) to post as fast a time as they can. And that decides their grid position.

Did that make any sense?!

So... the one lap each thing worked very well. There were no boring periods, as there so often used to be, with everyone piling out in the last ten minutes of the session. The bad thing is that if someone makes a mistake they've messed up their qualifying session. That could also be seen as a good thing, though, in that it'll throw up some surprises. And no-one can get stuck behind traffic on their fast lap. So thumbs up from me!

Weirder things are that the cars have to be fuelled for the race before qualifying. They can't be refuelled after qualifying, so they have to carry enough fuel to do at least part of the race. The cars are all different weights, so the qualifying times aren't really representative of how fast the cars are. Not like the old days. :)

And weirder than that is that cars can't be worked on between qualifying and the race. Minardi cleverly got around this rule by coming in before posting times and thus not having to go into the parc ferme with the other cars. They're free to work on their cars until the race, and put as much fuel in as they like. It's cheeky, and bending the rules, but I hope they get away with it!

That's about it, then.

Mmmm, F1, how I have missed you...

Wednesday, March 5

Oh, this is hilarious. Yeti@home!


Monday, March 3

I have to post because today's date is so cool.



I never did talk about Friday's trip south, did I? Well, I went on a university trip to the National Monuments Record. In Swindon. The place houses all sorts of things - photos, aerial photos, plans, maps... it's a place that contains lots of archaeological and architectural archives. What makes it even more interesting is that it's inside the old Great Western Railway buildings. If you go upstairs to where they keep the red files you're in the section that they designed carriages in. It's a beautiful building. Anyway, we saw the place that a lot of the sensitive things are kept - like glass negatives. Or the outside of it. It's a huge sealed climate controlled warehouse (well, two, kind of joined together). And we saw the public enquiries part. And they did a lovely Powerpoint presentation.

But before we went there, as an extra bonus trip, we went to Avebury. The person who took us there, Dr Mark Gillings, has been involved in a project there for years. So he does a darned good tour. :)

Avebury is HUGE. Okay, in photos it doesn't look as impressive as Stonehenge, mainly because the stones are natural - they haven't been shaped. But when you're there it's incredible. The bank surrounding the circle is so big that you can't see anything outside of the henge - you can't even see the surrounding hills. It's 400m in diameter - so big that it had a medieval village inside it. It still has a pub, barn, tourist information centre (aka nonconformist chapel) and houses in it. The ditch that accompanies the bank is really deep - I thought about going down into it and climbing the bank but thought better of it. And what's more, as if the 100 enormous rough hewn stones weren't enough, there are two smaller circles inside it too. It's very strange since roads run through the circle, dividing it into quarters. It's a vaguely surreal experience.

And it's not like Avebury is the only Prehistoric monument in the landscape. There's the avenue of stones leading up to it, and you can see Silbury Hill from a nearby hill. And barrows all along the tops of surrounding hills. Silbury Hill is so strange - you'd think it was a modern spoil heap from some sort of gravel extraction (or the like), but it's ancient. It looks so out of place.

So, even though it was blustery and raining, and I had wet cold feet all day, it was well worth it.

That's about that, then.


Sunday, March 2

Okay, so I'm the third most famous Fiery Fred, if I include horses. If I was a betting man I'd put some money on that fine South African racehorse. :p

Weelll, tonight I had a quick look at Fiery Fred sites, since that's the name I'm often known by on the internet. Unsurprisingly Google turned up quite a few references to Fiery Fred's Fantastic Fun Factory, but there were a few cool things on there I'd forgotten about. For instance, my Gorillaz activities. An example of this is the picture showing the whereabouts of Murdoc's Winnebago. Aaah.

There were also a couple of websites I've designed over the years - this Driving Instructor one (which was ages ago) and PopPopMan.co.uk, which is my Dad's pop pop boats site. (Yeah, pop pop boats, they're great.)

Lots of odd things I'd forgotten about, though. I'd forgotten that someone had archived my Stargate songs (filks) at their site, and there were lots of mentions of stories I've written. One of which was my nomination in the 2001 Stargate Fan Fiction Awards. I didn't win my category, mind. Drat...

I'm quite clearly the second most famous Fiery Fred on the internet, behind the world class cricketer "Fiery Fred" Trueman. So there you go. I can live with that. He probably worked a lot harder to get where he did. :D

Saturday, March 1

I think she's the Spandau Ballet fan as well. THEY'RE ALL THE SAME PERSON!

But not me. :)

Yikes! That other Helen's the Take That fan! But she likes David Bowie too, so... :p

Ali blogged about searches she'd done for her own name. I doubted I'd find anything as cool as the review she found of her website, but I looked for me again. Hey, I'm bored and I've been writing a GIS essay all day. I deserve some self indulgence!

Well, it turns out that my Loveheart slogan made it onto the BBC "new Loveheart slogan" page. That's pretty cool. I suppose.

Most of these are Steve Owen related. Yikes.

Or Gary Barlow.

There's a thing written by someone else with my name about working for Waterstones. Wow, to think someone with my name was working for WHSmith's arch nemesis. Mwahahahaha.

Most of them are my weblog, though. Woo-hoo! And Jaffa Kree shows up too. Cool.

I have found another Helen Berrington with a weblog, though. She goes by the name of "Bezzo", which is interesting because my brother John Berrington (obviously) goes by the name of Bezza. To some people, anyway. She says The Sims rocks! Honestly...

He has a bowler hat, go figure.


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