Hi, time for another update - I've been very slack on the writing front
lately - kind of busy, and the weather is improving etc etc, excuses,
excuses.  It's in digest format, so browse the bits that interest you:



Never a dull moment in England, : (email from work)

	There has been a briefcase left in the car park in front of the Sanger
	building, and as the owner cannot be located, the police have been called.

	They have suggested that all windows in the building be closed, and that
	all staff move away from the front of the building, so can you please

	Thank you.



	Anyone with their car parked in the car park near the lake cannot move their
	car until further notice




	The police have asked that no one uses the corridor running from A37
	(bottom of stairs) along to stores, so can you please keep out of here
	until further notice.

	Thank you.


It had a happy ending.  There wasn't a bomb.  After a small and highly
controlled explosion, some poor visitor's briefcase (and contents) were
blown into teensy weensey bits that you can still find kicking around
the car park.  They take these things very seriously here.

We managed to get away for an Easter 'ramble' (= bushwalk) down to the
southern tip of England.  Very picturesque.  It was 'organized' by the
Cambridge Rambling club.  We went down by car with two friends, and
managed to break down on the M25 (=horror ring road around London) - that
was quite an experience - car's tearing past doing 130km/h+ whilst we waited
for the RAC to come along.  Other than that we got down uneventfully.  The
16->20 people that were rambling with us shrunk to 5 ( us plus Barry the
leader), so we basically had a personal guide for our weekend away.

We got absolutely drenched at Land's End (the western most tip of
England).  It has an absolutely hideous theme park built on it by an
American company :).  The following day was quite warm by comparison
(several people were sun burnt).  Katriona and co went on a longer
ramble whilst I rested an ingrown toenail and wrote postcards. 

BSE (Mad cow disease)
Is busy ravaging the Tory party (not a minute too soon).  It now looks
like they've been playing roulette with the population.  Scientific opinions
range from 'it doesn't exist' to 'it will kill half a million people'.  The
government and public generally have a woeful grasp of bimodal distributions
like this, and so when a supermarket cuts its been prices by 50%, large
sections of the public that were  avoiding beef b/c it could kill them,
suddenly rush back in droves to buy it - presumably their lives are worth
approx 4 pounds/kg.  The British populace is fascinated with cheap/low-quality
food.  This whole mess started when they fed sheep remains to cows to boost
production of meet in the 1980s, giving the vector a perfect chance to
jump species.  Just steer clear of British beef for a little while
is my advice :(

Our new accommodation
The outrageously expensive rental market in Cambridge combined with the
generally depressed U.K housing market has resulted in us buying a flat
in Cambridge!  It was quite an effort getting a mortgage on account of
a fairly fundamental mistrust of foreigners that runs through the U.K
insurance industry, but we have with some assistance from K's parents
(thanks guys), got around these little problems, and now own a nice 2
bedroom flat in N.E Cambridge, about 10 minutes bike ride from the
middle of town.   (Pictures on the web at some stage). Our new address
is 10 Cambanks, Union Lane Cambridge, CB4 1PY, but you should probably
send written correspondance to the college (Pembroke College, Cambridge
CB2 1RF) - make sure you have Katriona's name on it - not that we are moving
again in a hurry.

As a result, we have been kind of busy moving and assembling IKEA furniture.
I drove to London 4 times last week, (3 times to shop at IKEA).  It's
kind of surreal taking a flat-packed bookcase through a checkout and then
trying to fit it into our smallish hatch-back.  Katriona was offered the
choice of driving home in London traffic with a car-full of bookshelf, or
braving the public transport home and she took the latter.  There basically
wasn't room for both of us in the car.  A couple of days later when we
tried to assemble the bookshelf, we felt kind of silly, when we realized that
we had bought 30cm components for all but the ends (the long bits) which were
50 cm - back to IKEA :(  The last trip was the best - I managed to get lost
taking a short-cut (ha ha) - and was stuck on a single roundabout for 15 
minutes (I only got 3/4 of the way around in the end), with 100+kg of 

We have two lovely new futons (one doubles as a couch for visitors - eg you
potentially), it's hard to appreciate a futon enough until you have been
deprived of sleeping on one for a few months.

Thanks for all the correspondance, and apologies for those who haven't
received prompt replies.  I have an on-going struggle to keep my mailbox
under 100 items at the moment and am steadily losing that battle.  The
weather is gradually improving - heck it even felt rather warm the other
day (it was actually 14 Celsius - we must have acclimatized) - I can't wait
for summer here - every now and then you get a feel for just how perfect
Cambridge could be in the summer - all those beautiful trees and lawns
would look just perfect in late Summer.  Mind you, tourists by the busload
descend at the slightest hint of a holiday.  There was stage when you couldn't
walk 50 meters down one of the main roads without being stopped by Japanese
tourists looking for King's college (so they could photograph themselves in
front of the chapel).

The nice people at http://www.tpc.int offer an email to fax gateway, which
we have been using successfully to send faxes in Melbourne, so if you are
reading this on paper (or smoke signal etc), and would rather have it sent to
your fax machine, send my parents your fax number (they have moved BTW, to
Hawthorn, so they have a new phone number 98184161), and we will try to
send you the next edition - direct to your fax !

Well this has been shortish - put it down to us being a little busy lately
running around getting things for the flat, and basically having a good time
without telling you about it.  Hope you are all well and enjoying life - 
looking forward to seeing you again,

Cheers, hugs (as appropriate :)