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





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SpaCeMonKeY UK

Monday, July 28

I've started taking a bunch of pictures of Leicester, I figured I'd put together some sort of website. I borrowed some books from the library - I've found out all sorts of interesting facts! It amazes me how little people in Leicester care about their city. Maybe it's different if you've grown up here, but I chose to live here 10 years ago and I really love the place. It has such a depth of history, from the Iron Age right up to, well, now. Hopefully at some point I will actually put stuff online. I think there might be a few other people who actually care...

The only problem with taking pictures is that people think you're weird. Well, when I say that, two people I've met haven't thought that. The first person was a slightly scary man who smelt a bit of alcohol, and kissed me on the cheek when he said goodbye. I was standing there, taking a picture of the Marks and Spencer building, and he came up to me and said, "What are you looking at?" Panicking, I said, "The Marks and Spencer building!" And he then started to talk about all the old bits around the city that he liked - he said he'd give me a tour, but I turned him down. ;)

The second man was much less scary - he's the caretaker of the Silver Arcade. The Silver Arcade is a wonderful building, though most of it's now unsafe (doesn't come up to modern safety standards, anyway) so it can't be used for shops. The galleries are empty, because you can't have modern fire escapes, the electrics need redoing. It's very sad. Beautiful but sad. The caretaker had been working there for 15 years, and he was very attached to the place. He seemed happy that someone was taking time to look it - I don't think most people even realise what they're walking through. You wonder how long it'll be like that, mostly empty, gradually getting sadder and sadder. I expect it'll be redeveloped before too long.

That's the thing, you see - there are a lot of buildings that'll be changing/being demolished in Leicester, mainly due to 'regeneration'. I know you can't stop the 'march of progress', but I figured I could take some pictures before things go. Like Thomas Cook's Temperance Hotel. I will just be thankful that the 1960s/70s didn't turn out as badly as it could have. Most of their plans didn't happen - the Haymarket's just about the only thing that did.

So, I will keep taking photos and keep reading stuff, and eventually something might get online!

And if you're walking through Leicester city centre, just trying looking up.

Sunday, July 20

Part 13 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I / II / III / IV / V / VI / VII / VIII / IX / X / XI / XII

Catherine shivered in the desert chill. She still had Indy's binoculars, and she could see the tent where he'd been taken. The encampment was well lit. If they'd taken him back to Cairo she'd never have found him.

She'd hidden in the upper tunnels until the soldiers had gone. They had searched, but she'd hidden in the King's Chamber at the very top of the pyramid. She'd lain down behind the sarcophagus. In the poor light they hadn't seen her, and she'd crept out after them.

She felt in her pocket and removed her penknife. The guards wouldn't notice her if she approached the back of the tent. Security was lax, presumably because they thought the only danger was the prisoners escaping. They didn't expect anyone to try and break in.

She moved as quietly as she could, although the sand made scrunching noises underfoot. Soon she was at the tent, lifting the material, peering underneath into the interior.

"Father!" she whispered.

Professor Langford looked at her, his face at first showing relief and then anger.

"What are you doing here, Caterina?" he hissed.

"Hey, glad you could make it," added Indy. "Can you undo these ropes?"

"Of course," said Catherine.

The penknife made short work of the ropes. Soon they were free. With the ropes untied, they could leave the tent the same way Catherine had entered it. They needn't bother with the doorway. The guards would never know they'd gone.

Moving as fast as they could, they stealthily moved away from the camp.

"We need a plan, Professor," said Indy. "I kinda have one worked out, but I'm going to need your help. Both of you."

They slowed down, taking cover amongst the numerous tombs.

"They're going to go back to get that dialling device," said Indy. "We can't stop them taking it, but we might be able to use the time they're busy to grab the Stargate."

"Perhaps," said the Professor. "But it will be difficult."

"Sure," said Indy, "But you weren't expecting anything else, right?"

Just a short informational bulletin - if you happen to have a Doorman doorbell (such as a WFPC853) and someone steals the bell push (how terrible!) don't bother contacting the parts line and buying one. Although they are very nice, what they send out is a Homebase wirefree push, which costs £6.99 from Homebase and £9.99 from Response Electronics (plus extra for postage). Clearly all Doorman doorbells work with this (as well as all Homebase ones), so save yourself a few quid and buy it from Homebase! Now I know this, I thought it was only fair to tell the world. ;)

Wednesday, July 16

Part 12 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I / II / III / IV / V / VI / VII / VIII / IX / X / XI

A little while later, Indy was in a tent with Professor Langford. They were tied back to back, their wrists and ankles bound together with rope. At least, thought Indy, this was a chance to ask the Professor some questions. Just in case they managed to get escape.

"Professor Langford?" he said.

"That is my name," said the Professor. "How do you know me?"

"I'm Dr Indiana Jones," said Indy. "I was looking for you, and the device."

"Ah, you are the son of Henry Jones? It is so good of you to come, show the Nazis where to find the device, and then become captured."

"Sarcasm," muttered Indy.

He wriggled, trying to break free of the rope. It was no good. There was nothing in the tent that they could use to cut the rope, and to top it all there were guards outside. He could hear them chatting and sharing cigarettes.

"Sir, I believe your daughter is still loose out there somewhere. I'm sure she'll find us and..."

"You brought Caterina into this?" snapped the Professor. "I do all I can to give her a good American upbringing, and you bring her here?"

"Not exactly. She brought herself to Egypt, if you must know, and got herself captured by the nice folks who've been giving you your orders. I guess they were going to use her to make you do what they wanted, if it came to it," replied Indy.

Professor Langford sighed.

"She is too much like her mother," he said. "So, Dr Jones, while we are waiting perhaps you can tell me what you know of the Stargate."

"First of all, Sir, I'd like to know where it is," said Indy.

"Ah, I had it brought here. I told them it might have to be placed in the chamber for it to work," said the Professor.

"It's here?" asked Indy. "We've gotta get it as far away from those guys as possible."

"I am aware that it would not be good for the Nazis to possess the Stargate. That is why I returned to Germany. I thought that if I could have it transported away from Germany I could perhaps obtain passage on a ship. Both I and the Stargate could travel back to America. I have friends in the military who are interested in my work, Dr Jones."

"That and you thought you could find the dialling device before them? Maybe send that somewhere else?" said Indy.

"Yes, that was what I thought. Although I think the Stargate can be made to work without it. It is most important to get the Stargate to safety. But now I am here, and so are you. Things do not look good," replied Professor Langford.

"I've been in worse situations," said Indy. "Much worse."

Well, we've all been having a good laugh about Bonekickers at work. The weirdest thing is why it's called Bonekickers, but hey. It's pretty funny stuff. I just watched last night's episode ('Warriors') and I'm sure there was a good story in there somewhere! Okay, so you have to suspend your disbelief and try not to think too hard about things, but if you can do that it is fairly entertaining.

In the first episode, it all kicked off (ha) with some builders finding a coin. Although they don't want to hold up the development, they call in the expert archaeologists, who identify it as a Saracen coin. Now, if that had been real life, the builders probably wouldn't have told anyone about the coin, especially if they were worried about the development being held up! And if anyone had been told about it, it would probably be the council archaeologists. The planning archaeologist would get involved, in all likelihood. And if they'd asked us (for I am part of the planning archaeology team) about the coin, we'd have thought it had probably been brought back by someone from holiday, something like that. Just a chance loss. We wouldn't think 'Wow, there must be some dead Saracens buried here!'.

Ah, there are so many more things... I just felt sad that the programme has (so far) completely ignored the planning archaeologists (and indeed the whole planning process), instead focusing on a bunch of death-defying archaeologists who travel around solving mysteries. :)

Sunday, July 13

Part 11 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I / II / III / IV / V / VI / VII / VIII / IX / X

"Doktor Jones!" said the voice that greeted him. "We are so glad you could join us."

It took a moment for Indy's senses to figure out where he was. He was back in the unfinished chamber, but this time it was full of Germans. Germans with guns.

Slowly he raised his hands.

"Drop the torch, please," said the officer. "And also I would like the amulet."

Indy threw down the torch and held out the amulet. There was no way he could fight his way out of a pyramid full of Germans.

"You will tell us how the transportation device works," said the German.

"I don't think so," said Indy.

"You will tell us, otherwise we will kill Professor Langford. I believe you came here to save him. You have failed."

The officer smiled a cold, cruel smile. Indy cringed inwardly. He hated these superior, holier than thou Nazi officers. The only good thing in the situation was that they hadn't said they'd kill Catherine, so presumably she'd escaped. Still, he couldn't let any harm come to the Professor. He couldn't let them kill Catherine's father.

"Hey," said Indy, "I'll tell you what I did. I stood here, held up that amulet, and asked for Ra's help."

"You invoked the name of a god?" laughed the officer.

"Yeah," said Indy. "I know it'll be hard for you guys, but..."

He trailed off as the soldiers roughly took his arms and pushed him into the passageway. The followed, their guns trained on his back. There was no way they'd miss.

He was in trouble.

Monday, July 7

Our e-mail at work was having a few problems today. After a while IT sent out an e-mail which started like this:

Re: Email service

The current major ICT incident remains in progress and we continue to work for a solution as a matter of priority.

Is it just me who finds that funny?

Saturday, July 5

Part 10 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I / II / III / IV / V / VI / VII / VIII / IX

Indy almost dropped the torch in surprise. The transportation rings had moved him into an antechamber. The walls were black and shiny, clad in some sort of metamorphic stone. They weren't bare limestone, like the chamber in the pyramid.

The only thing in the room that wasn't black and shiny was a circle of what looked like marble, set into the floor. Presumably the workmen this end had decided to mark where the rings were. Perhaps there had been something similar in the other room, once. The people who'd buried the Stargate might have destroyed everything to do with it. After all, they'd even buried Catherine's amulet.

For a moment he thought about Catherine. She'd be wondering where he'd gone. She'd be all alone in the dark. But she was a tough girl. She could find her way back up to the plateau. Meanwhile, he was underground, stuck, unless the rings worked both ways. Which they might well do. Unfortunately, he didn't know how he'd activated them in the first place.

For the moment, he didn't care about getting out. He walked forward, the torch creating a halo of light around him. He walked through the narrow doorway, into the main chamber. And he gasped.

The chamber was huge.

The walls were clad in the same granite-like rock, but they weren't featureless. Standing all around the walls were statues, figures with the heads of hawks. Figures of Horus. They were much taller than men, and they gazed towards the centre of the room. They gazed at some steps with a groove in the top. A groove big enough to take a Stargate.

He explored, throwing light into every corner of the room. Eventually his search revealed what he'd been looking for: the dialling device. That HAD to be what it was. It had all the symbols on it that the Stargate did, and a red jewel in the centre. The trouble was, now that he'd found it, what should he do? Even if he could move the device, it wouldn't fit through the doorway into the antechamber, let alone through the transportation rings and up to the surface.

He looked up. The light didn't reach all the way to the ceiling. Presumably the Ancient Egyptians had pulled the Stargate up, out of the roof. It must have taken an incredible uprising to defeat whoever had controlled the Stargate. It was a complex designed to be defensible. It was so hard to reach the Stargate, with all the narrow passageways. All that it was really practical to send through was people.

There was no alternative but to go back through the rings. If he had to, he could return and bring explosives to destroy the device. At least then the Nazis wouldn't get hold of it.

Assuming he could make the rings work.

He stood in the circle, and did exactly as he'd done the time before. He held the amulet, and he asked Ra for help.

The rings worked.

Wednesday, July 2

I've actually done lots of things since I last blogged! These things include exciting occurrences like having to staple my trainers together and buying shoelaces on eBay (apparently that's an odd thing to do).

At the weekend we went to stay at Mum and Dad's. That is, me, Rob, Mat and Ali all went. It was fun, the weather was really warm! Surprisingly hot. We wandered around Southend town centre, went to the shops, museum and library, then the beach, then we bought food in Marks and Spencer and drove to Shoebury East Beach to eat it. After lunch we built the kite that looks like a pirate ship and attempted to fly it, then went for a paddle. The water was lovely in the pools where the tide had gone out. There were lots of little creatures, too, like crabs and shrimps.

On the Sunday we went to Tilbury Fort, where we looked around, played with the guns, and generally had a fun time. At least, I think we did. :)

There are photos of the weekend here on Facebook.

I expect there were lots of things I was going to blog about, but with the passing of a little time these things have gone from my head. Oh well. If I think of anything really interesting I'll get back to you. ;)

He has a bowler hat, go figure.


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