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Back in business

Monday, April 7th, 2008 at 2:54 pm Written by:

After heaving into Plymouth following an extremely rough crossing from Santander last week (parts of the restaurant area were in freefall on the waves, as was my stomach), I discovered I lacked any alacrity to get back onto the net.

Becka headed off to Cambridge for a conference, and I caught the train and carried most of the smelly caving gear across town, arriving home at around 8pm. As I began clearing out hundreds of emails (mostly error messages from scripts I don’t control), Martin and Aidan hassled me on the Skype video about their woes over the past two days at BBC NW labs in an all expenses paid 4 star hotel on the shore of Lake Windermere six miles north of the nearest train station.

I caught the 6:05am train from Liverpool the following morning with my bike and was told you can’t make bike reservations on Virgin trains on the day. I managed to make one with the more helpful ticket window in Wigan with about 30seconds to spare, and was able to cycle down to the hotel by about 8am.

I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. Maybe it was because I’d missed the two days of management exercises by the “facilitators” so the BS was thinning out. But to be honest if you get a comfortable bed and good food, what in the world could possibly matter? Maybe coming to it direct from a caving expedition had something to do with it; two days beforehand Becka and I had visited a newly discovered cave that had been used as a disposal hole for dead cows and household waste, and got scarily lost in a part of the lower streamway aptly named “Squality Street”.

We’ll see if something comes of it. I did nothing over the weekend except clean the garage and scrub the kitchen floor. Then in the afternoon after wasting time on the wikipedia entry about Korean reunification (why?) I discovered that the high tide the following day would possibly precipitate a tidal bore up the Dee.

It’s been a while since I’ve been out on the canoes, so Becka and I paid a visit to the place, paddled, and saw it come and go past, and were completely unable to surf on it. Have placed some details about it on wikipedia. One theory is that the goddamn airplane manufacturer there has dredged the river bed for the benefit of its wing carrying barges and disrupted the flow of the bore. The sooner the aviation industry shuts down for good the better.

While in Spain I made a minor breakthrough in the design of Tunnel (as I was programming half the time instead of caving).

Yesterday I discovered dbpedia (/cave), which is a database generated from the fields in wikipedia infoboxes. I’ve been calling for something like this to be made for some time, so now I am pleased to see it. Soon we’ll be able to list the top ten deepest caves in mendip and make other queries.

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