10 August 2008

BBC Proms

BBC Proms advert in the Underground

Every summer, in London, there is the longest festival of classical music in the world, the BBC Proms. It was started more than 100 years ago and has since been moved to the Royal Albert Hall.

The Royal Albert Hall

Because there are so many concerts and because the Royal Albert Hall is so large, it is easy to get to see some n-i-c-e performances at a reasonable price, which is rare in London. Or for even cheaper seats you can stand in the middle of the Hall.

On a Friday evening, we went to listen to some interesting late 19th / early 20th century music by Debussy and Mussorgsky / Ravel's Pictures at an Exhibition. There was also a contemporary piece from the 21st century.

High up in the Royal Albert Hall Because we had cheap seats, we were seated quite high and 雅蓮was a bit dizzy. At the interval we went to seat down in the posher seats lower down. As the Hall was half empty it was easy.

Even though the acoustic in the Royal Albert Hall is not n-i-c-e, for the price, I am not going to complain and we had a pleasant evening that changed from our usual routine and that was n-i-c-e.

05 July 2008

Firefox 3

firefoxLogo A few weeks ago, Mozilla Firefox 3 browser was released. I had played for a while with the Beta versions, but before migrating, I needed to have all my extensions working properly. An that is what is n-i-c-e with Firefox; not that it is an open source browser, not that it is faster and safer than Microsoft Internet Explorer. What is n-i-c-e is that hundreds of extensions are available for it.

Through the use of extensions, I can hide most of the commercials on a web site, I can get Google to give me links to Yahoo! search results, but most important of all, I have an extension, Chinese Perakun, that helps me read Chinese web sites.


There are also spell checkers, bookmark synchronisers, integrated calendar programs, and even a portable version of the browser that will run from a USB stick. I could had many many extensions but then, Firefox loads more slowly so there is a fine balance to find.

Of course, not everything is nice with Firefox. There is a new image rendering library used and that means that image scaling is much smoother now. It would usually be nice but in the case of my web site, where I had made French flags out of 3 pixels, when they are scaled up, they don't look like flags any more... same for the Spanish flag.


Luckily, Firefox can render SVG images which for these flags are very small files, ideal for a web site, and my Union Jack will now look even better.

All in all, I really recommend you give Firefox a spin, it is really n-i-c-e.

Firefox 3

31 May 2008

The Lightbox

When I changed my job, we didn't know where to move. After a chat with my colleagues, about where to stay, we decided on Woking even though we knew no one there.

The Woking Lightbox What attracted us to Woking was that is was a small town where we could have all the facilities we needed within walking distance and it was close to London for 雅蓮's commute. but what I found really n-i-c-e was that there was quite a few cultural places too. A large library, 2 theatres and a soon to be opened museum, the Lightbox.

Gromit at the Lightbox The Lightbox opened with an exhibition about 雅蓮's favourite, Wallace and Gromit whose creators come from not far away. We went there and really enjoyed it together with the permanent exhibition on local Woking history, not to mention the very nice architecture and location next to the canal.

I registered to receive their newsletter by email and found out that they regularly organise little concerts as well. We went there 2 weeks ago and really enjoyed it. The Lightbox is really n-i-c-e and is definitely one of the reasons why we like Woking.


And it seems that we are not the only ones to like the Lightbox as it has just won The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries 2008. Congratulation to all the staff and keep up the good work.

18 April 2008

Happy birthday 車車

cheche When we bought our little Ford Ka, (chē chē), it was out of necessity to go to work. I needed to commute to my new job and didn't have much money. A Ford Ka was ideal. Economical to buy and run.

車車 is economical to run

Of course we take 車車 with us on weekends and I try to take care of it during the week. In the end it is quite fuel efficient and it is really worth it.


Sometimes I don't protect it as much as I should but earlier this week, 車車, reached its 100,000 miles mark. I now need to take care of it even more.


I am happy with 車車, it is a really n-i-c-e car and I hope to be able to keep it for quite some time to come.

16 April 2008


NHS Earlier this month, 雅蓮 was taken to hospital in a bit of an emergency. She thought she had flu but then was diagnosed with a rare kidney condition; even the specialist had only seen one other case like her in his whole career.

It was a worrying time but all the staff at St Peter hospital were really friendly and efficient. She even found a Chinese nurse!

hospital Some people complain about the waiting time in the NHS, 雅蓮 was actually operated on before the planned date, at 21:30, instead of the next morning. This shows dedication from the doctor and the whole medical team. They allowed me to stay pass the visiting time and by then I was locked in the hospital and the guard was friendly and indicated me the way out. A few day later, I saw him again and he asked news from 雅蓮, that was n-i-c-e.

Even though I don't want to repeat it, I have had a very good experience of the NHS and I didn't have to pay anything, except for my taxes, for one week in the hospital and that is n-i-c-e.

I really want to thank all the people who give their best for the NHS. I know it is not all of them, but those I have seen, in Woking or Harlow, are very good, except the medical student who butchered 雅蓮's hand.