Cold Wave

It’s Sunday morning in Paris, and it’s finally snowed, for the first time this winter.  The arrival of a thin layer of white follows a week of bitterly cold weather, that has gripped the whole of France, and most of Europe, too.

Thanks to the great Siberian high pressure system, it’s been fantastically sunny. Yesterday we went for a walk in the Bois de Vincennes.  Once a hunting ground of the Kings of France, the Bois de Vincennes is one of the largest and loveliest parks in Paris, and still conserves some of its forest nature: it is three times the size of Central Park in New York, so there is plenty of space in which you can get lost.

After a week of sub-zero temperatures, the Lac des Minimes, in the centre of the park, had frozen solid.  With the park conveniently situated at the end of Métro Line 1, Parisian parents were making the most of the sunny afternoon to take their families for a mid-winter adventure.

After all that exertion in the biting cold, everyone was queueing for something hot at the park’s waffle stand…

With the sun setting, we made our way back to the métro station to head back into town, and the ducks and geese flew off the ice to find some open water for the evening.  It was a perfect, peaceful Saturday afternoon.

Trondheim

Even under heavy cloud and drifting rain, Trondheim gives the impression of being a pleasant and friendly small city. I passed through here in 2001 when heading to the Arctic Circle by train, but the light and the weather was so bad that I left my SLR in my bag and took no photos.

Last week however, I had an hour spare in between meetings and a digital camera, so with a little post-trip Photoshop magic I managed to get some reasonable images of the place: mostly taken during a rather damp and cold walk along the Nidelva, where old port warehouses line both banks.

The city was also the capital of Norway in the Middle Ages, and Nidaros Cathedral is the largest mediaeval cathedral in Scandanavia. Unfortunately it was late afternoon by the time I visited, and so the building was closed, and I walked back to my hotel in the gathering darkness.

Tone Matrix

My blog is currently subtitled “A kiwi in Paris, sweating on the metro“, and this week I have fully lived up to this moniker. In celebration of the official heatwave in Paris, and faced with news it’s only going to get hotter, here’s a “really-can’t-be-arsed-writing-anything” post.

Have a play with this tone matrix (you’ll work it out), and think of all of us in Western Europe who are perspiring into the night.

Ice

For many parts of the UK, it’s been the coldest week for 30 years. In Birmingham temperatures got down to minus 9. The canals are still frozen and the geese and ducks in Cannon Hill Park are struggling to find a patch of water to swim in.

I wish I could have been in Oxford this week – Port Meadow froze and people were skating on it! Percy at Oxford Daily Photo has posted some photos and some nice images have been uploaded to Flickr by Isisbridge and robbie_shade.

All Hail !

Yup, the weather’s got worse. Here’s a picture taken in Mount Eden yesterday morning. Hail like we’ve never seen before in Auckland. The only upside is that we’ll be able to go skiing this Christmas.


Hail in Mount Eden, 19 December 2004 Posted by Hello

This article in the Herald also caught my eye – suggesting that the generous remuneration awarded to Chief Executives may not be achieving the desired results in business growth. The philosophy of “incentivising” good performance may not be as well-founded as we think. A notable quote from the article:

“the paper suggests that today’s corporate managers are somewhat like landed aristocracy in the 19th century or political elites of the Third World: the benefits they receive, and any value they create, are the result of the prevailing form of development rather than any real contribution. “

Arrr, blow me down and call me a socialist.

The Rain it Raineth Every Day…

So much for our sunny, warm November – December’s quickly turning the summer brilliantly yucky. I bet it’ll be like this until Christmas.

I was pleasantly surprised that the sub-15 degree temps and rain didn’t keep too many people away from last night’s K Road Karnival. I recall it rained last year too: if we ever managed to luck out with some good weather in early December, this would be one of the top events in Auckland.

No respect for the driver of the AK Samba float, whose heavy foot on the brake pedal sent 15 horn players flying in all directions several times during the parade. The truck was set up for a disaster that didn’t quite happen – a diesel generator for the PA spewing fumes into the faces of the musicians, rain dripping onto electrical cables and microphones, and the guy operating the flamethrower on the back dodging a trombone slide every second note. We were relieved to get to the far end of K Road and rapidly bailed out before the driver could barrel down Howe Street, leaving half of Auckland’s horn players in a pulpy mess at the bottom.

Speaking of potential disasters, I also quite liked the story about airport security at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport losing 150 grams of explosives during a training exercise. I’m confidently expecting the rightwing blogs in the States will have a good laugh/angry rant at the expense of the incompetent surrender monkeys, but let’s not pretend that this couldn’t happen at almost any airport in the world. And if Americans want to worry about something, then maybe the lack of security at some 15,000 chemical facilities around the country should be a greater priority….