James Miller


Friday, February 12, 2010

The End of This Blog


The updates of this web site have become more sporadic.

This is because I now have a new blog, which brings all of my blogs together.

Go to The Anonymous Widower to see more of my posts.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Cat is starting to prowl


I mentioned a couple of posts ago, that I was alive and well and working on a new project. Now all can be revealed and I am one of a team developing a new Project Management System. It's loosely called MX73 and you can read about it on the blog, that I'm starting for the program.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sculpture in Suffolk and Norfolk


I like sculpture and they've just created an archive of all of the public sculpture in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Very interesting and well worth looking at.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One Year On


Celia died this day a year ago.

I like to think that I've moved on, but I'm still fragile at times. I've travelled a lot and I can cook a bit too. I've also been to a lot of football including matches at Wembley, Minsk and Florence.

But perhaps today is the biggest moving on at all.

I'm starting a new software project.

What it does is not for disclosure at present, but if I say, that hopefully it will be a revolutionary way of looking at data and may well create a new industry from the depths of the Credit Crunch, then that will be enough for now.

I am not alone in this venture. Like me four of the protaganists in this new Movement are past their sell-by date, but not hopefully past that date when wisdom, enthusiasm and sense start to fade. The other is a bit younger, but he's of the next generation.

Whether we succeed or fail, will only be down to our efforts.

What was it Scarlett O'Hara said?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Who's Paying for the Mess?


I lend money on a peer-to-peer lending site on the Internet. Rates to borrowers have gone up despite the cuts in base rate over the last few weeks. So this probably reflects what the banks are charging. i.e. More. Savers are also being screwed.

The only people who seem to be benefitting are those that got us into this mess in the first place. The bankers!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Touched by Terrorism


As the dreadful events in Mumbai unfold, I can't forget that I was in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, just two weeks ago.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai
The picture shows how the hotel stands in a prime position on the waterfront, by the India Gate. The hotel is actually in two parts, with a new tower to the right of the original building.

India Gate, Mumbai
This picture of the India Gate was taken from the Souk restaurant at the top of the tower of the Taj.

To say it is a good hotel is an understatement and I can't help worrying about some of the staff I met, in what was to me one of the best hotels, I have ever stayed in. Everybody was cheerful, helpful and couldn't do more for you. I'm a coeliac and on the last night, the chef made sure that I had a meal that I would always remember. He even made sure that I had some gluten-free bread.

I do hope that everybody is OK. But I fear that is not the case!

There was carnage around the pool, where I sat, drank fresh lime sodas and glasses of Indian wine. The manager of that area was a young man of about twenty-five, who I felt would go far. I hope he still can and still wants to as he will be scarred.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Piper Arrow - G-JMTT


I used to own and fly a Piper Arrow with the registration G-JMTT. Strangely despite doing about 500 hours in the plane, I never took a photograph. Or at least I can't find one.

The plane had a sorry end, as it was crashed into a mountainside in Scotland. Three people were killed, due to a pilot who shouldn't have been flying the aircraft in that weather at that time and place.

Read what the BBC says.

It was a sad end to an aircraft that gave Celia, myself and many others a lot of pleasure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Call Me Stupid


We have poured trillions of pounds, dollars and euros into the banking system to prop it up. Yvette Cooper reckons it’s been caused by the US housing market. Surely though the amount of money spent would solve that problem many times over!

Can anybody tell me where the money has gone?

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm a Celebrity get me out of here.


Celia's tutor at Liverpool University was Robert Kilroy Silk. She hated him and this was partly due to his habit of smoking all the way through tutorials. Or so she told me! But then who's to know what really happened. I hope some of her fellow tutees read this!

Her least favourite person, has now been voted to do the Chamber of Horrors. Perhaps, Celia is manipulating things from the other side.

If she is, then great.

If not, then she'd have loved all of this.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Robert Kilroy-Silk


Kilroy-Silk was the tutor of my late wife, Celia, at Liverpool University in the 1960s. Allegedly, the tutorials were not the most cosy of places, as at that time he had the unsocial habit of chain-smoking Capstan Full Strength, from start to finish. I think he has since given up.

I think, she would have really enjoyed seeing him get humiliated in the jungle.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Small Feet, Large Choice


I have small feet of just a size six, although they are quite a wide fitting. So typically, I've been wearing Church's shoes in a 6G. But their shoes unless you can find them at an outlet like Bicester are just too expensive.

I get my shoes repaired at Busy Bee in Newmarket, which is one of the last proper repairers who can rebuild leather shoes. It is at a price, but then it's a lot cheaper than a new pair of shoes.

Last week, I bought a pair of shoes in the shop by John Spencer of England.

John Spencer Shoes
They are very comfortable and a very good purchase.

It should be noted that Busy Bee has these shoes in a four. But then a lot of their customers are those that work with horses.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Electricians, Labourers, Plumbers and Carpenters


You talk about a recession, but how many people are like me. Reasonably cash-rich and feel that they need to have a few small jobs done around the house. Or in my case, the stud. I’ve probably got about forty days of work that I need done, from digging holes and filling sand-bags to re-skinning a barn, installing a shower and wiring up new lights.

What is needed is a web site to tie all of these people needing jobs done, to those that can do it.

Sort of like a cross between eBay, Ryanair and B&Q.

A lot of the time we all have too much inertia to put that small job in the marketplace. But that may well be the difference between someone paying their mortgage or not!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Clash of Sports


Yesterday, there was racing at Newmarket and football at Portman Road. I have season ticket at both.

This is the e-mail I wrote to the BBC.

Not really about a long journey, but today is the best days racing of the year at Newmarket and Ipswich are at home. I’m a member at Newmarket and a season ticket holder at Portman Road. There are quite a lot of people who are the same as me.

It’s not the only time it has happened. Surely, in this day and age, with computerised generation of match fixtures, it should be possible to ensure that Ipswich are not at home on the three or four Saturdays, when Newmarket stages a big meeting. Especially, as race meetings are known several years in advance.

Luke Harvey felt that there was only one choice.

I would have agreed with him, but I sit with friends at Ipswich and sometimes Newmarket can be a lonely place by yourself.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Looking Back at Belarus


So was the trip worthwhile? Was it fun? Would I go on an England trip again?

I know the answer to all these is yes.

Perhaps, I'll go to the Ukraine or Kazakhstan. And I won't dress like Borat!

It might even be more fun to do the Ukraine overland in my Lotus. After all Kiev has strong links with Haverhill.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mugged by the Hotel


As I said earlier the Belarus Hotel was rather tired.

Unfortunately, it didn't leave me unscathed, as the door-stop in the bathroom kicked my foot when I bent over to put something in the bin. At least the toe was only bruised and not broken.

But that incident does sum up the structure of the hotel. My room wasn't very good, the curtains didn't close, the bath didn't hold water and the shower didn't work. So I had to go without a bath for two days! But living alone it doesn't really matter!

Although the staff were very helpful and did their best.

Belarus Hotel Pool, Minsk
On the other hand, Celia would have loved the pool.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

David Beckham


When you see David Beckham play, you realise what an icon he is.

I have only seen him play twice in the flesh in recent years and both were in the last week; Kazakhstan at Wembley and Belarus in Minsk.

In Minsk, his cameo appearance was greeted with a large amount of goodwill by both the England and the Belarus supporters. He gave everybody a good and friendly greeting, which is something many sportsmen always forget.

It may be that his career with England is coming to an end, but I'm sure we haven't heard or seen the last of him.

I wish him and for that matter, Victoria, well!

The Russian Supporting England


Sitting next to me in the stadium was a Russian. And he was a fully paid-up England fan too, complete with a large Saint George's cross.

We chatted, exchanged cards and he took the photo of me below.

James Miller in Belarus
I mentioned this story and apparently there are a couple of Dutch who also support England.


But then I also remember when Ipswich played in the Olympic Stadium in Moscow in 2001. The Town fans were augmented by large numbers of ex-pats living and working in Moscow. There were Dutch, Germans, French and Italians to name but four.

I've just looked up Saint George.

He is the patron saint of many places including Greece, Catalonia, Genoa, Lithuania, Palestine and Istanbul for a start. Moscow is also on the Saint George list.

Saint George is also the patron saint of lepers, horses, herpes, riders, armourers and syphilis.


Belarus 3 - England 1


The real reason to go to Minsk, was to see England play Belarus for the first time. Pages and pages have been written of the result, which was a good one for England, so I will leave that out of this report.

Belarus 3 - England 1, MinskThe stadium is reasonably modern, having been built for the football of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and holds about 40,000 spectators. It doesn't have a roof, but then it didn't rain, whilst we were in Minsk, except for an hour or so on the Tuesday.

Belarus 3 - England 1, Minsk
This picture shows the Belarus Militia, who were tasked with keeping the England and Belarus supporters apart.

When I went with Ipswich to play in the Olympic Stadium in Moscow in 2001, the security was heavy and humourless. I also heard stories of fellow England supporters, who said that when England had played in Moscow a couple of years ago, they had not been any better.

But the actions of the Belarus Militia were probably nearer to those of the Suffolk Constabulary than anybody else. They were professional, well-drilled and dressed for the coldish weather rather than trouble. There were smiles and laughs too. The only English words I heard from the Militia was Please!

Was there any trouble?

On the details from Sport Options, it just said that we were to make our way to the stadium for seven. We all walked down more or less in small groups and I certainly didn't hear anything untoward at all. It was the same on the way back.

Afterwards, we didn't hear of any trouble, whilst we were there and it would appear that there were no reports in the papers, on the radio or on television.

It was a good result for everyone, in many more ways than could have been expected.

Gardens and Girls in Belarus


I may have given the impression that because of the past history of the country, Belarus is a grim and very sad country. It is not!

Girls and Leaves in Yanka Kupala Park, Minsk
As I walked out of the city on the morning of the match, I walked through Yanka Kupala Park, which lies close to Victory Square and the River Svislach. This group of girls, probably in their late teens or early twenties, were playing with the leaves, throwing them in the air and taking photographs of each other.

They are typical of many of the girls and young women you see in the city; well-dressed, well-groomed and nearly always in stilleto-heeled boots. That is not to say that the men aren't well-dressed either! I think it is true to say that I hardly saw a pair of unpolished shoes!

Just as the people tended to be immaculate, so were the gardens.

Gardens in Minsk
The picture shows the gardens by the River and in front of the Belarus Hotel. Remember, that at this time of year, it's starting to get cold and it is not a good time for gardening. All of the fountains had already been emptied for the severe winter.

But one thing that has to be said about the young women of Minsk. There are so many.

But then for every hundred women in Belarus, there are only eighty-eight men. So perhaps, they have to be smart...

My Father was a Printer


My father brought me up in a printing works and whenever I get the chance, I always sort out what I call proper printing; i.e. letterpress.

Great Patriotic War Museum, Minsk
The image shows a simple printing machine in the Great Patriotic War Museum, that was used to create a rudimentary newsletter during the war.

Great Patriotic War Museum, Minsk
Great Patriotic War Museum, Minsk
If you don't know, type is laid out in the case in a non-alphabetic and almost random manner. It would appear from the case shown here, that Cyrillic is no different.

The reason we talk about upper and lower case letters, is that tradionally, small letters are in front of the compositor in the lower case, with the large letters raised above it at the back in the upper case.