Daily Archives: Saturday, 20th Aug 2005

Longer closure for bridge repairs

BBC NEWS | England | Tyne | Longer closure for bridge repairs

Oh dear. The High Level Bridge, one of the many fine bridges joining Newcastle and Gateshead, closed in February for major repairs. The road deck had to be renewed, which involves replacing the timber underneath the road surface. Quite a big job, and given that the bridge is Grade I Listed, everything has to be done very carefully, and has to be done in such a way that no changes are made to the structure.[1]

Now, I seem to recall that there were plans quite some time ago to renovate the bridge – the iron structure is showing signs of wear in many places. But this never happened, and instead minor repairs and patching has been carried out.

So I’m not surprised that they’ve found some apparently quite significant cracks in the girders under the road level. So, instead of reopening in November, the bridge will be closed until early 2007. Or later. And apparently it will be one way traffic[2] only when it finally returns to service.

Still, it looks like this “unexpected” finding means that the bridge will now get a proper repair job, with the intention that it shouldn’t need any more major work for about 60 years, by which time it will be over 200 years old.

[1] It was a significant engineering achievement at the time it was built – and quite an unusual design with the rail lines running above the road.
[2] The direction has not yet been decided

It had to be done

Well, yesterday was pay day :bouncy: . And I got a wee bit more money than normal, thanks to all that weekend working I mumbled a bit about last month. So, I decided it was time to buy a new toy.

I’ve been looking at these things for a while, and as the prices have been falling and the quality rising, it was finally time to act.

So, off I went to see those nice Richer Sounds people and got myself a nice Sharp LC26GA5E 26″ widescreen LCD TV.

New TV

It took a bit of button pressing and tweaking on the TV and my DVD player (and a rather expensive cable) to set things up, but my DVDs now look, well, stunning. Combined with my existing surround sound kit, which I got from Richer Sounds a couple of years ago, I now have as good a home cinema set up as I can reasonably hope for. I’ll probably upgrade to a bigger screen at some point in the future (when the prices come down some more… ), but for now, I’m happy. :yes: :grin: :cheesy:

This is getting to be a habit

Before I start talking about habits, here’s today’s exciting[1] weight report – back down to 199.4 pounds (14 stone 3.4 pounds, 90.4kg). Better than yesterday :bouncy:

Now the habit thingy – I had another exercise session this evening. This was the usual 10km on the bike, 180 crunches (owww), followed by some weights work and a quick Bullworker session. Once again, I had the resistance on the bike set a bit higher. Despite that, my peak heart rate was a relatively low 137. I must have started out relaxed or something :laugh:

[1] It’s about as exciting as things get around here :rolleyes:

Time’s Eye – Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter

For some reason or other, this book, the first in a series named A Time Odyssey[1], had been sitting on my pile of things to read for a long time. But a few days ago, I noticed that the second volume[2] in the series is out, which prompted me to pick up Time’s Eye.[3]

The Earth has been fragmented in time. People from different periods in history find themselves cut off from their societies and thrown together. A British garrison on the North West Frontier[4] in the nineteenth century is joined by the crew of a helicopter from 2037, and also encounter a pre-human hominid and her child[5]. Scouting parties find an army not far away, whose soldiers speak ancient Greek, and whose leader is revered as a god-king. Yes, it’s Alexander…

Meanwhile, the crew of a Soyuz capsule that has just left the International Space Station, having made radio contact with the helicopter crew, make a landing in central Asia, where they are captured by Genghis Khan’s Mongol horde.

Both armies and their 21st century additions converge on Babylon, where battle is joined.

Overseeing all of this are unmovable and apparently alien reflective spheres that are soon given the name “Eyes”. As the battle begins, more Eyes gather, suggesting that they are indeed there to observe what the displaced humans will do.

Bisesa Dutt, one of the helicopter crew manages to communicate with the biggest Eye of them all, located in the Temple of Marduk, in Babylon, and finds herself returned to her own time. But she takes with her the knowledge that the world may not have much time left – while there are groups of people from widely scattered periods, there is nobody from later than 2037.

And that’s where the first volume ends. I’ll be reviewing Sunstorm in a month or two, but until then, I’m happy to recommend this. There are some intriguing ideas – even if it is a kind of remix of earlier ideas, such as vastly superior alien wossnames manipulating humanity for unguessable reasons.

There’s also the thought that the fragmenting of time idea was done nearly 40 years ago by Fred Hoyle in October the First is too Late[7], but Clarke and Baxter are doing their own thing with the concept, so I think we can let them off.

[1] A not so subtle indicator that this relates in an oblique fashion to Clarke’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequels.


[3] Note: not “A Time’s Eye”, as Amazon currently show it :rolleyes:
[4] Including a young journalist called Rudyard Kipling[6]
[5] A nod in the direction of Moonwatcher in 2001, and at some of Baxter’s solo work…
[6] Q: Do you like Kipling? A: I don’t know, I’ve never kipled
[7] Which I haven’t read in, err, well a lot of years