Yearly archives: 2003


Christmas in Baghdad

More tense than an average day. When do they get to have some proper peace?

Kids in Iraq also believe in Santa Claus, but people here call him ‘Baba Noel’ which means, “Father Noel”. I asked the children what he looked like and they generally agreed that he was fat, cheerful, decked in red and had white hair. (Their impertinent 11-year-old explains that he’s fat because of the dates, cheerful because of the alcohol and wears red because he’s a communist!) He doesn’t drop into Iraqi homes through the chimney, though, because very few Iraqi homes actually have chimneys. He also doesn’t drop in unexpectedly in the middle of the night because that’s just rude. He acts as more of an inspiration to parents when they are out buying Christmas gifts for the kids; a holiday muse, if you will. The reindeer are a foreign concept here.


Legal Victory for DVD Hacker

Yesterday, the Norwegian Appeal Court agreed with the original legal ruling in the case fo “DVD Jon”, the man who first cracked the copy-protection system on DVDs.

This means, that in Norway, it is perfectly legal to do what you like with DVDs which you have legally purchased. This includes copying them.

We can but hope that such legal rulings are replicated around the world.


Another Day, Another Dog Walk

I decided to head off in a different direction this morning, up toward the church and an old mill/ fish pond I remember playing in as a kid. It was so early I got to see the sun rising from behind the hills (oh, okay, yesterday was the shortest day, so even by ten this morning the sun was still hiding behind Knock. Lazy little bugger.) Got a picture so rural it’s probably a cliche and a glimpse of how the other half lives.

Of course, when I reached the pond I couldn’t get at it because it was on private land. And it appeared to have become silted up and much smaller than I remember. Sigh. Plus, the fields were all full of sheep so I had to keep the dog on her lead, so I turned around and headed back.

It seems to be a week for discovering the where-abouts of people from my childhood, including two girls I had crushes on over twenty years ago. One of them’s doing a second degree in Manchester, hmmmm.


Damn, it's good to be home

I admit that we were met by proper Cumbrian weather off the train. But today, despite being overcast (and snowing for about thirty seconds), is lovely. There are hills and trees and steep tracks I haven’t climbed in years. Let’s face it folks, I’m a country boy at heart. If I could get decent internet access, I’d have a little place in the country.

Considering the prezzies I got on Friday, I think my bumpkin status is quite widely known-

More pictures in the December gallery.


After Dark

If you ever want reminded of just how much light pollution there is in the city, come out to the middle of nowhere and turn all the lights off at 11pm. I very nearly had a comedy moment trying to find the stairs last night (a comedy moment on sandstone stairs may not have been all that funny, actually.)

Meanwhile, I am trying to get some work done on Post & Publish, my novel about a blogger that is formatted to look like a blog. Maybe I should just try to get someone to do the dead tree edition of Spinneyhead.