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I was joking with an older nurse colleague that there 'should' be thousands of ghosts in the hospital where we work, and that they must be very lazy if we'd never seen a single one. She asked me if I believed in ghosts and I said that I found most supposed ghost stories unconvincing for various reasons, with the exception of one account I heard a few years ago. She mostly felt the same way, but had had one experience which was so vivid that she couldn't explain or dismiss it. This is what happened:

She was driving her car in the middle of a sunny day along the A2300 towards Burgess Hill, here in Sussex. Her little dog was riding in the front seat next to her, as was his habit. Then suddenly the light in the car became inexplicably dappled. She found this very strange. It was the kind of flickering you might experience if you were driving in the shadow of leafy trees, except there were no trees to cast such a shadow. At that same moment her dog vacated the front seat and climbed into the back. She's not sure why, but she found herself saying aloud, half to the dog, half to herself "has someone just joined us?". Then, to her great astonishment, a figure materialised in the seat next to her. It was a very small female, about 4ft tall, wearing an old fashioned blouse and long blue skirt, her head turned away, looking out of the side window. My colleague continued driving, unsure how to react, for about two miles, and then the apparition simply disappeared.
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Camera Roll-340

Probably not the best weekend to go to France by sea. It seemed quite calm as we left Newhaven though the beach looked a bit savage. A teenage boy drowned there a few hours later. On board our ferry the holiday atmosphere soon turned to tense quiet punctuated only by muffled retching as walking on the see-sawing decks became almost impossible. The French crew seemed to positively enjoy it, striding about with their disposable gloves and little jars of vomit-absorbing powder. My mother got sent flying across the floor when a particularly big wave slapped us. It was one of those slow-motion events, in which I knew I really should reach out and catch her, but somehow spent too long thinking about it to actually do anything. There was also an evil part of me that found it hilarious. Dad also got rolled (literally), but was unharmed thanks to his protective layer of blubber. Then she went into one of those very dramatic nervous shock reactions, all pale and slurring her speech. Christ, it was like being at work, but without all the monitoring equipment to reassure me that nothing was really wrong. The captain came down from the bridge and apologised. He'd been zig-zagging to avoid container ships, he explained. They gave Mum a cabin to sleep it off in for the rest of the crossing. I spent two hours watching her in that windowless cabin, wondering how my parents had turned into frail elderly people without me noticing the transition.
Read more... )
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Object

4/9/13 20:59
benicek: (sunset)
Axe head

I love accidental archeology like this. My colleague at work, Marianne, knowing of my academic background, had been talking to me all week of this mystery object she found lying in a path while walking her dog near her village. She struggled to describe it. It was sort of brass/bronze/coppery, heavy and hollow, she explained unhelpfully. So, finally she brought it into work for me to look at properly. It is half of a broken 'looped and socketed' axe head from the Bronze Age. See a similar one here.
benicek: (sunset)
Lubetkin houses in Haywards Heath

1930s modernist houses in my town, designed by Berthold Lubetkin. I made special detour on the way to the station to find them and accidentally bumped into one of my work colleagues. I felt I had to explain to her why I was walking around outside my usual zone carrying a camera and a small tent. The tent was unconnected with my appreciation of unusual local architecture.  
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Jubilee decorations in the window of a hair salon in Hove..

This has to be the most entertaining Jubilee decoration I've seen so far, in the window of a hair salon in Hove.
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Two women nearly swept away by a wave on Brighton beach

I was on Brighton beach today and there were some big waves coming in, caused by what is left of of Hurricane Katia moving towards Britain. As I was taking photos a pair of nicely dressed women walked in front of me, out of reach (they thought) of the breakers. Then one suddenly rolled in and flattened them both.

Two women nearly swept away by a wave on Brighton beach

Two women nearly swept away by a wave on Brighton beach

Two women nearly swept away by a wave on Brighton beach

Two women nearly swept away by a wave on Brighton beach
Shortly afterwards. Wet but unharmed.
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Buxted

A 15th century ancestor of the Pac Man.

Buxted church stands oddly alone in a deer park. It's alone because the surrounding village was moved by the owner of Busted Park House (now a hotel) in order to make way for the deer park. Seems a little harsh but, as my neo-con economist friend keeps telling me, property is the foundation of liberty!

It's a nice early-English, mostly 13th century pile, with a plaster ceiling from 1600. There's an ancient yew outside which the guide leaflet enthusiastically explains is around 1300 years older than the church. Rather puts us ephemeral human beings into perspective, doesn't it? May flies; that's all we are.

Read more... )
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PCSO Steve

I met Steve, our local police community support officer (PCSO) patrolling, on foot, in the snow. It's his 50th birthday today. When PCSOs where first introduced in Britain many, including the police unions, thought they were a crap idea. Cheaper than police officers and with no police powers. Mitchell and Webb had fun with them (see below). However, Steve, who is softly spoken and probably a bit socially shy, has certainly erased any doubts I might have had. He has made himself universally recognisable and accessible to residents on his patch. Much low-level nuisance behaviour has been dealt with and disappeared entirely. Steve has achieved this through polite diplomacy, avoiding use of the 'real' police where possible. He remembers everyone he meets and can recall any problems they may have spoken to him about, even if it was years ago. He's a good egg. Basically, he's the real life version of the idealised 'bobby on the beat' that the tabloids have been begging for for decades. 'Zero tolerance'? This is how it's supposed to be done.

He has only one complaint, and that is "I should have been born in the summer". Happy birthday, Steve.

See Mitchell & Webb's take on PCSOs..... )
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There's a little election here today because one of our town councillors died, so I went over the road and did what 1.3 billion Chinese people can't. It turned out there were two seats up for election, not one. Maybe two councillors died. I don't know. Was there a car crash I didn't hear about? I'm confused. One seat had a white ballot paper, the other lilac. Jana nearly deprived me of my democratic voice by putting the lilac slip into the white box.
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Wild rain storms giving way to blinding sunshine at regular intervals. Confusing.

Jumble

13/1/09 18:30
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A weekly market in the assembly rooms in Lewes. I love this sort of thing. Like cafes in churches, it's not clear if they have a commercial point or are just a social event for the local elderly. Cheap tea and everything from outright junk to enticing low-end antiques. I bought two curious postcards which I shall scan and post shortly.
One more pic here.... )
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Two photos I took yesterday. I know this second one is blurred but I sort of like it. 

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My daughter in Brighton the other week. My friend took this picture on his phone. It was a very exciting day, the first time I'd taken the child anywhere by myself unchaperoned by mummy. She survived without being lost or trampled.
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I've been itching to look at this church for ages. We keep passing it on the way to Seaford. For the last two years or so it has sat in the middle of a new A-road junction construction project, looking rather forlorn amidst the traffic cones. I finally got inside it today.
 

Covetous

3/7/08 20:35
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I've often admired this fine 14th century house and now it's up for sale at the bargain price of three-quarters of a million quid. All I need now is someone who will lend me 36 times my annual salary...........
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Stumped

6/1/08 19:15
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Went to Lewes yesterday (which is where I bought that book) and walked around the back of the castle, which I've never done before. There's this hexagonal house there, which is the stump of a former windmill. Virginia Woolf used to live in it. I never knew that.
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One thing I didn't mention in my post yesterday about Cowfold is this large 1870s Carthusian monastery which is within sight of the village. I'm wondering if I can get permission from the monks to visit and photograph it.

They have a website, with music: http://www.parkminster.org.uk/
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We keep speeding past this village on the way to my parents' house and I was determined to pay it a special visit today so I could take a proper look at its medieval church and other buildings.


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