Archive for January, 2009

I like Oman, and it's people, even though when I had to leave within a month when my work permit was not granted, I had 5mins left on my visit visa, at the airport, Mr jobs worth said, your lucky, another five mins and we would have to jail you. Back to Dubai I went. I was subsequently jailed, but that's another story. Anyway I loved Oman, real people, real links to the history of their land, settled they were. I could sense the difference between Dubai, Saudi, Bahrain, and Oman, settled, the folks there had been there a while…
Army worms? what on earth are these attacking the crops in Northern Liberia? Seems they are a caterpillar of a moth. Insects and snakes dominated my first few weeks in Liberia, mainly through expats, not really winding you up (that did work) but it's a kind of "induction". In 1979 I arrived as a seldom drinker and emerged 6 months later as a regular drinker. I blame McCluskey, and he has carried on being an expat, where I no not where? McCluskey you're a Luddite without a pen. Liberia, my first third world country, I was seconded to Ove Arup…
Even those poor inhabitants of Gaza will have realised that change has happened in America. Mainly because their plight is linked to America, but not through being able to watch TVs, with lumpy and restricted electricity, in situations like these the power of the radio becomes the communication media. I have for years listened to the BBC world service. In Oman I had a Nissan Patrol that had a short wave feature on the radio and I could pick up the world service, brilliant. A link to home and the rest of the world. I am not a newspaper fan,…
Northern Rock bank, our bank, the tax payers bank declaring today to pay themselves a bonus. I mean the brass neck of it, I'm astounded. Reason for bonus? paid back more than expected to the government. What about mortgages and helping small businesses? what about inputting to the economy that they so successfully wrecked? well not single handed but with the the other casino bankers. A couple of years in the Siberian salt mines is too good for the lot of them. Fred the shred from RBS has been declared the worst banker in the world, does he care does…
Maybe we will discover our own island now that the pound has less than parity with the Euro and we have less disposable income. I have been privileged or took my chances on working abroad during the early years of my marriage. This project to project country hopping business, did in my pension but it gave me a wider view. Travel does broaden the mind and working as an expat does make you singularly able, or sent home. I have seen more than a few very able in the UK not cope with expat life. What I paint is a…
Loch Leven, Pinkfeet

Loch Leven, Pinkfeet

Readers of this site may be excused for considering this site to be personal moan blog. Perhaps it is the things that irk that are highest on the agenda, does good news sell newspapers? Well it did the other day with the successful rescue of all passengers from the airline that ditched in the Hudson river, a very rare circumstance. Geese and engines don't mix too well. Wonder how they will exercise control over that incident. Bet the geese are the losers. Loch leven near me is a wildlife haven, particularly for geese in winter. I had…

Jan 17th by Ian under Miscellaneous

Increasingly as you get older comments and situations make you react. Maybe because years of experience (of living) personal opinions can be formed, usually in a grumpy old man form. Well I'm not grumpy RE this, how often have you heard "they behaved like animals" in regard to a human situation? Well surprise surprise, we are animals, we are part of the animal kingdom, animals with backbones (includes politicians) is our phylum. Below is how the zoologists have sorted it out. Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: cordota class: mammalia order: primata family: hominidae Genus: Homo Species: sapien Thanks above to wikipedia answers,…
At the moment the biggest inland windfarm in Europe, built by a JV of Morrison Construction and Balfour Kilpatrick, for the client Scottish Power.  There was a talk about it in the Teacher Building in St Enoch square last night. I wasn't there but it prompted me to google "whitelee windfarm" to see how we were beating our chests at having nearly completed this huge prestigious project. Ten pages later in google, nothing, nada, ziltch. Every man and his dog is featured including a video of a quarry blast on U tube. My involvement (unknown to me at the time) …
The standard of detail is appalling and the bulletin issues never help as it is just overload, then as you find apparent mistakes and dichotomies and TQ them, it jams up the system. Much time is spent not in producing solutions but trying to understand what the client requires.
The pavement's weakest link? I think so, a survivor from Macadam?, seems to have been around so long that we have become complacent. Before stiffness measurement, performance was a particle size distribution (PSD), frost heave, and the quite strict laying and compaction specification. I should say here to foreign visitors, wish I had some!!, that I refer to the specification for highway works. A monumental work from the UK's government engineers, a species not often seen walking on subbase, it is written to protect the client (well they write it?) and provide the tax payer with a good for value…
Higher densities, better physical properties, all civil engineering graduates know this. The specification for highway works has a method specification for general soil compaction and an end of product density for special fills. Now special fills that require density measurements are generally those behind structures, with limited space and therefore limited choice of compaction plant, you can begin to understand this, especially as the structure will not move. Where do you feel serious bumps on motorways? generally at structures. So is density measurement working? The difficulty I approach, is returning to measuring densities on general embankment fill, the method compaction…
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