Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Good web design?

Occasionally I follow the link from a commercial web site to the design company that created it which is how I ended up at There I was greeted with this:

Not even a "Click here for text version" or "Skip animation". Am I going to spend time downloading and installing the very latest software so I can see some flash animation? No.

Anyway it is a corporate laptop and against company policy to install unauthorised software. So I click "No" expecting the html alternative site. What I get is this:

So I click "OK" and get this:

A completely blank screen. Utterly content free. Hmmm! Would you buy web design services from this company?

Perhaps they should read: "Flash: 99% Bad" or "Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005" or "Making Flash Usable for Users With Disabilities". The articles may be a couple of years old but the song remains the same. And I am sure Google would throw up a few more articles on the same theme.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thames Bridges Bike Ride 2008

Fourteen bridges, 33 miles in aid of The Stroke Association along with 2000+ other riders.

As I wrote earlier ("Cash Rich, Time Poor") for Mum's 83rd birthday "We took our bikes with us on the train and on the way back we cycled 30 miles but that is another story..." So here is the story:

Instead of catching the train back we donned our cycling gear and pedalled off. The first part of the journey was along the new national cycle route 22. This took us along a delightful valley running parallel with the Hog's Back as far as Guildford.

There we picked up the River Wey Navigation. It started off with a proper tow path but as we got into open country it degenerated into meadow. Cycling over tussocks is hard work and our average speed plummeted. By the time we reached Weybridge we had covered 30 miles and it was starting to get dusk. So we hopped on a train for the rest of the homeward journey. That had always been the plan we just weren't sure which station.

Then Friday just gone Mary said "Let's not cycle home for gym and yoga followed by a fish supper. Let's cycle past Wandsworth and keep going to Kingston!" So that is what we did.

A very pleasant 20 mile commute along the Thames Path arriving knackered at KOT about 8 o'clock. We dined at Frere Jacques, looking a little put of place in our cycling gear, then caught the train home.

Sunday was what all this training was for. Up at our normal weekday time along with our friend Lynn to cycle up to Clapham Junction, train to Waterloo and cycle to the start line. We were on the very first batch over the line unfortunately we only got as far as the first bridge, Tower, when Mary's bike took a puncture :-( that lost us some time but we were soon on our way.

After that is was the same routine as previous years: cycle, pit stop, cycle, pit stop, finish and go to the Bell for lunch and a well deserved pint (or two), then train home. All in all we did over 40 miles.

Thames Bridges 2007
Thames Bridges 2006

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May Day 2008 in Trullo Azzurro

We have just had a long weekend in Trullo Azzurro. Out on the Italian public holiday (01-May-08) and back on the English holiday (05-May-08). That latter due to the English habit of moving holidays to the next available Monday.

Unlike the previous two <quote>holidays<unquote> this was billed as relaxing. South Africa was decorating and shopping and our previous Italian trip was unbagging the over-wintered bedding and weeding. Our efforts plus a "re-activation" of the gardener means the beds are looking good and starting to look established.

may 2008 in puglia

And mostly it was a relaxing trip too, I am glad to say. Apart from moving 20 quintale (two tons) of logs from where the lorry dumped them to the newly created woodpile.

may 2008 in puglia

The spring flowers are in full bloom. The poppies are everywhere and the road side verges are full of all manner of wild flowers.

may 2008 in puglia

One thing about the local market is that there are no beans from Kenya or mange tout from Mozambique. What you get is what is in season. Most noticeably on this visit fresh peas. In the pod of course not shelled or frozen.

may 2008 in puglia

We went to Locorotondo Market and bought food for the weekend. We had neighbours John and Chris(tine) round for Sunday lunch and in the evening, as if we weren't full enough already, went round to Mino and Carole's where we were arm-twisted into staying for the evening meal.

They had 15 for dinner as the first guests of the season had arrived: a Dutch family and a group of, mostly retired, English ladies on a painting trip. So Mary and I were co-opted into the brigade for table laying and mushroom chopping. We had mushroom souffle, green pea and bean risotto, vegetable stuffed chicken and one of Mino's signature dishes bread and butter pudding. All washed down with plenty of their own home produced wine.