To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Wanstead News

Eurotrip 2006 London

The purpose of my Eurotrips is to see mum (in London), and sons (in Ireland). With the exception a trip to Kew Gardens... and Brussels... and Ireland...we stayed local, in fact at the Eagle in Snarebrook and I can confirm that there were still swans on the pond behind Snarebrook County Court even if they were droppng dead elsewhere with H5N1.

When I go "home" I pig out on soul food in this case Fish and Chips (Haddock and roe) at the local chinese run chippy,and Salt beef sandwiches from the deli. (not at same time)In HK since Harry Ramsden's closed, I have to go to the chippy near mid levels in SoHo run by some ex ghurkas to get my fish and chips fix. I am told that the Great Eagles Hotel is place to go in HK for salt beef. We also visited an Indian restaurant in Leytonstone to which I had taken my parents to the week it opened about 25 years ago. I mentioned this to the owner who looked at me and said he thought I looked familiar. (what an amazing memory !!)

I kitted mum up with some new labour saving electronic toys and promptly realized that there is an untapped and growing market opportunity. Basically gizmos with IR remote controllers are a challenge for OAPs - like remembering which controller works with which gizmo and how. There is a need for a single controller with a clear readable screen with minimum number of large buttons to navigate which works with multiple devices. The "Aged One" simply navigates through a series of drop down menus , selecting device and then option etc. The standard controllers all had a confusing aray of buttons most of which will never get used and functions which required that buttons were pressed in a particular (and non intuitive ) sequence: All a bit much for the "Aged One". Maybe Philips or one of the Japanese or indded Chinese electronics companies could get their finger out and design one. If they used a standardized XML file format to drive the menus and actions (ie which IR signal to send) you could simply update a controller by inserting a small flash card that comes with a gizmo with device specific default prompts/actions etc (not unlike loading drivers from floppy)Then becomes a UI exercise in making the prompt sequence efficient.Just for reference I am claiming the intellectual property on this idea but will licence it at an equitable basis to anyone who wants to develope it. I have one user already lined up for trials.

In HK we regularly watch "A Year At Kew" on BBC Prime and last year we hadn't time to visit. I remember coming when I was about 15 years old and there was a simple turnstile at the Victoria Gate,it cost 2p(? - now 10GBP) and the chinese pagoda was open to the public ; Even the guide could not remember that far back So after we did the tour we went back to the Palm House and the other green houses and worked our way through, identifying as many of the local "HK" plants as we could including a Bauhinia.Having lived in Asia pacific region now for 15 years the collection doesn't look quite so exotic anymore. But I really enjoyed reaquainting myself with the Eucalyps and Wattles in the Australian 'section'(in the Temporate house), and the water lillies and carnivorous plants (I always liked those).

Outside we avoided the ducks and were horrified at the people who were actually feeding them oblivioius to H5N1 risks !!!) We made a pilgrimage to see the english wild flowers in particlar the bluebells. In all an excellent spring day

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