Archive for the ‘General’ Category

British troops in Germany

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

You don’t encounter that many British troops in Germany these days, at least not in my part of the country.

This week I read an article about troops in northern Germany leaving after 63 years, and it brought back memories of the life in the 1980s, when there were many more of them here.

I remember…

– cars with number plates with red borders, showing that they had been registered overseas

– listening to BFBS during visits to Germany

– encountering members of the British forces on the ferries between Dover and Zeebrugge, returning to their basis after time in the UK

– it being perfectly normal to meet members of the British forces when out and about in German towns

Can you imagine that happening today?  In today’s security climate I can’t image troops travelling in uniform in specially-marked cars and going shopping without putting on civilian clothes first!

Germany was close enough to home to go on holiday to, and thus troops were not so far away from home, a situation that the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq unfortunately can’t enjoy.

Swimming pools and Google Maps

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

When I was younger and living in the UK, I occasionally travelled to a nearby city by bus.  One of the highlights of the trip was, at least for me back then, being able to see of walls into peoples’ gardens from the top deck of the double-decker bus.

One of the more fascinating sights was in a small village, where one property had a swimming pool in their back garden.  Probably not many people even knew it was there, unless they were looking out of the window from the top deck at the right time.

I was reminded of those times when I read this article on the Telegraph website this week.  Apparently there is a new craze called “dipping” which involves finding such private swimming pools and organising impromptu -and illegal- pool parties in them.

This time, it is not a chance knowledge of a location obtained on a bus ride that is being used, but instead mapping sites such as Google Earth to find the pools and then social networking sites such as Facebook to organise the party.

I wonder why they do it?  After all, even if I know what is in someone’s garden I still have no right to enter the property and use it as if it was my own.  Is it a craze that will die down, or is it just the start of something much bigger with people using these resources for even worse means.

On the one hand I would hate to see such resources shut down – I use Google Maps a lot myself for route planning and the areal views can be very handy for seeing what sort of street I am driving to and what the chances are or finding somewhere to park nearby.

I would also hate to see more censorship and tracking on the internet, meaning that innocent people being monitored just because of an irresponsible few.

But at the same time I could understand it if there were calls for more to be done to stop such gatherings taking place.  It’s just that, how do you recognise someone organising an illegal “dipping” party and differ from someone holding their own pool party in their own swimming pool?

I think the owners of the property that I used to ride past have not got too much to worry about.  I just looked at the areal photo of the village and the pool looks as if it has been filled in and is now a lawn.

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Welcome to, a site that will comment on almost anything:

– interesting news stories
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There really is not limit to the bounds of this blog.

Specific topics do, however, have their own blogs. Specifically Germany, Bolivia and Lanzarote, as well as a blog for environmental issues.

Please feel free to leave a comment on any of the entries!


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