rashbre central: June 2011

Wednesday 29 June 2011

moving a Wordpress site

This is one of my occasional geeky technical posts (use at your own risk etc.)

It will save me time if I have to do this again.

Simply put, I needed to move a Wordpress site from one directory and url to another. Ideally without having to export it all, rebuild the database and re-import it.

My steps were as follows:

1) Go to the current directory and download the wp-config.php file

2) Add two 'define' lines to it as follows:

/** Temporary lines to redirect the site to the new directory */

3) Copy the existing web site folder to the new place using ftp. I use Yummy FTP for this.

4) Copy the edited wp-config.php file to the new place using FTP.

5) Try the new location. It should now work. Look carefully at the browser to ensure it is actually going to the new location. Also try the Wordpress dashboard. If they work then I suggest using FTP to rename the old web site directory and trying again. If it still works then leave the old directory intact for a few days until certain that everything is functioning.

6) If it's all working, re-edit the wp-config.php and remove the temporary lines and re-upload. Don't try to make this change from within the Wordpress dashboard. It will all go horribly wrong. Trust me.

7) If the new site location doesn't work, it is likely the website root directory index.html (or Welcome) may need to be re-edited to point to the new folder. Download it with FTP. It's only a couple of lines. Look to see if there is a pointer to the oldplace and if so, edit it for the newplace.

8) Time taken to do the transfer (keeping the same SQL database) = 10 minutes plus the FTP copy time of the Wordpress directory (in my case about 15 minutes).

And all happy happy smile smile again at the end.

Monday 27 June 2011

unpacking the sunshine

A delightful weekend near Cheltenham, mixing city restaurants with countryside walks and spectacular barbecues.

We were with friends and comparing stories from our last year or so. There’d been plenty happening for all of us and the leisure and luxury of a full weekend gave us a chance to unpack each others’ adventures in episodes.

wish you were

Time to meet a few friends for an evening beer at one of our arch destinations by Waterloo.

I successfully turned early into punctual by being waylaid at the seaside scenes along the South Bank.

The sandy shoreline, funfair and beach huts create a mini Southend-on-Sea or Jaywick Sands between the skate board area and the Jubilee Pier.

Doughnuts, anyone?

Friday 24 June 2011

The Botanist to the Mason's Arms

The Botanist
Thursday evening we met at the bustling Botanist. Our little gang had swapped emails, texts and staccato phone calls as I walked to meet across the middle of Sloane Square.

I'd picked the bar because it is like a crash course in Chelsea people watching. Early evening and the fashionable place was already spilling out across the pavement.

After a suitable pause to catch breath, I led my out of towners for a brief spin around more of the area. We strolled along the King's Road, before stopping for a while in a small place by the Saatchi.

We were discussing new possible residency in the area, so the trip around could have been considered as a form of diligence.

Then a brief bus ride, a wander through the the park, and onward for some home made coffee before heading further south towards a friendly pub where we chatted and made plans.

Thursday 23 June 2011

The Triangle - Kindle Edition

The Triangle - Kindle EditionI realised that the last 3-4 books I've read were all eBooks.

Sometime ago I installed the Kindle reader on my iPad and more recently downloaded a few books to save space packing whilst on vacation.

It worked well except when I took the iPad onto a very sunlit beach and decided that wasn't such a bright idea.

But for general reading it is very useful and compact enough to be an easy choice to take along. It also caters well to the 'reading many things at once' habit and always remembers the right page.

So, what more natural thing than to test down load a copy of 'The Triangle'? An absolute bargain at its $2.99/£2.13/€2.40 eBook price.

Naturally I will still recommend this to everyone as a 'good read' for the summer and , who knows, maybe I'll get around to publishing Part 2 sometime soon?

Sunday 19 June 2011

lady of the lake

pond life
A short morning bicycle ride. I realised that I'd started early when I cycled past a couple of people and said "'afternoon!" and they looks slightly puzzled.

I'm telling myself its because of the longer days.

They can't look too oddly at me though, not when there's the local lady of the lake being used to scare the big birds away from the ducklings.

Although the heron is somewhat undeterred.

Saturday 18 June 2011

jumping the 'S' curve.

River Thames
Looking out across the city from the south bank, there's that shifted perspective, with the illusion to hold the city in the palm of one hand.

Look at the picture above with one eye, hold out a palm and you have the whole city before you.

Sometimes these other-views can be insightful. A way to think differently about what is happening and maybe to set new agendas.

I'm starting a few new ideas. It will force me to manage time in a different way.

Some things have to give way in order for new things to start.

Friday 17 June 2011

My last 2000 flickr snaps in 4 minutes

Its fun to create one of these flashbacks every so often.

Even at high-speed I can recognise most of the events and even spot the 'oops' where things were not quite as they seem.

I expect the capability to do this will be built into mobile phones soon.

Thursday 16 June 2011

birds were singing to calm me down

early morning
It's 03:34 in the morning and already the first signs of the new dawn.

If I walk around with the house in darkness, there's a white light shed across rooms with open doors from what is starting to happen as the sun climbs towards the horizon.

And some of the birds are already singing.

Welcome to tomorrow.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

tales of the riverbank

on the way to frog lane
I managed to take a small spin on the bike, towards somewhere called Frog Lane.

Being a mid-week afternoon, the lanes were not so busy and I was happy to take a gentle tee-shirted roll along some back-roads.

I overtook one cyclist standing by the roadside and discarding outer layers because of the temperatures.

At another point someone sped past me at very high speed.

Usually when this happens it will be a lycra-clad speeder with a specialised high tech racing bike that makes a sort of whistle from the air-tuned spokes as it passes.

On this occasion it was a woman on a fairly basic mountain bike.

I carried on at a sedate speed as she doppler-shifted a good 300 metres ahead. After the next curve I noticed that she now seemed to be going much slower and I worked out she was using more or less one gear irrespective of the quite undulating terrain.

We were now on one of those awkward long sections where I was mainly freewheeling yet she was pedalling furiously but somehow I was gaining. To avoid creating an inadvertent race I politely slowed right down leaving a respectable gap.

Eventually a reasonably straight section appeared for me to overtake again, just ahead of a quite steep section. I called 'hello' and we swapped some banter as I overtook and it became plain that the other rider was perhaps unfamiliar with the particular bicycle.

I disappeared around the next corner and towards the hill - knowing I was ahead but also that the next section was somewhat vertical. Fortunately for me the other rider was still in one gear and probably walking that section.

I carried on for another few miles to the stream, where I paused to eat half a pineapple and ginger torq bar.

The adjacent cows spotted me and decided en masse to come along for a look, maybe thinking I was the farmer. And then, as they got into better visual range they slowed and dispersed back to grazing.

Meantime a yellow wagtail first walked and then flew dippily along the river. A few moments later it emerged on the bank, with its prize catch of a small fish.

I decided this would be a good spot to take my afternoon conference call.

Tasting Notes : Green King IPA at the Camel

Greene King IPAAs I acquired a new tweeter on the strength of the last post, based upon its reference to real ale, I thought I'd mention the beer from Monday evening. It was Greene King IPA, which I think leaves real ale afficionados divided.

You know what? For me it was a perfect choice.

A well-kept pump pulled pint close to Waterloo (the Camel and Artichoke, actually).

It brought me memories of drinking out in Essex and beyond in some of my older stomping grounds.

This pint wasn't trying to be ultra clever with wench-mashed hops and waggle bee honey droppings.

No, it was a straightforward pint of medium strength bitter. The kind to choose for an extended session chatting with a friend.

I could quibble at its India Pale Ale moniker, because actually the beer had a quite dark tint, particularly compared with the adjacent St Edmunds.

Whatever it's moderate strength, it had that sharp and slightly peppery edge at the first bite which persisted nicely through the whole glass.

And above all, what I liked was that this was a proper beer evoking English countryside, served from a barrel, and not some kind of marketeers' clever badging of a science experiment.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

i go for a real ale before the tagliatelle

One of those 'hold the phone to the window' videos of the approach to Waterloo.

I was actually heading for a pub in the vicinity of the station to talk of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings with a misplaced friend.

Randomly, on the way I spotted another tie-wearing friend as I cut across the Waterloo concourse and the two of us calculated the gap of some 3 years since we'd last sipped together.

The consequence will be another excuse for a get together somewhere around the city.

And then onward to an evening featuring real ale before moving into the tagliatelle stage. A proper example of "Pronto?"

Monday 13 June 2011


Tiny the Lizard, for Emma-May
A few interesting exchanges over the last few days. As I go about my re-modelling project it is interesting to pick up the weak signals from others.

By weak I don’t mean they are invalid or suspect, more that they you have to look for them carefully.

It’s been interesting, because I’m really planning a bunch of new things to try but need to balance a little prudence into the equation.

Not so much caution that the lizard brain kicks in and says “Step away from that idea” or the coarser version for which “tea break's over, back on your heads” is the punchline.

No, I’m trying to define some self-initiated ways to operate a “lifestyle portfolio” that means I can balance my own control along with sensible economics.

This may all sound a bit weird in amongst my normal blog posts about London Town and suchlike. And I promise it is not some kind of meltdown.

More sensibly, I am keen to look at other ways to operate. It might take a while for any of it to start making sense.

To me, let alone any one else.

But it’s started, and that is a Good Thing.

Sunday 12 June 2011

you say smile i say cheese

I’m not sure if “you can’t have too many bikes” is like the more well known quote, ”you can never have too many hats” but I suppose if the cap fits, then wear it.

In my case I’ve a modest selection of bikes and today should really have taken one with mudguards because of the drizzling rain as I set out. Instead I have returned with an exclamation mark painted on my back in the colour of damp road surface.

The exclamation mark is quite appropriate at the moment, given that I’m going through another one of my experimental phases partly as an attempt to rebalance my busy working schedule with some other activities.

I’m thinking ‘portfolio lifestyle’ as a phrase for it, but there’s probably already a marketeers’ abbreviation which will become clear to me after I post this and take a look at the spam comments.

Quite simply it’s about reclaiming some bits of time.

I’m very aware that I get to travel and see places because of what I do, but mainly at a speed that makes everything quite blurry. Two weeks ago in Brussels. Did I see the town? Nope. What about when I was in the Haag just before that. I saw a sunlit square on the walk to a taxi. How about Oslo? Oh yes, I walked around the block outside of the meeting area for ten minutes before we were due to start. Greece was different, but I suppose that was on my own time.

But all of this is the problem with cycling. It gives me time to think. To watch the world and consider options. Just like I was doing whilst studying the sky in Mykonos.

Time for some changes.

But first I must get out of this T-shirt with the rainy exclamation mark on it.

Saturday 11 June 2011

londonist on ipod music choices

A fun post from the Londonist about the music choices of Londoners with their iPods. A mini spin around the central areas included.

Play 'spot the landmark'.

Friday 10 June 2011

ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat

streets of london
Friday morning eight a.m. and I'm on the phone to an American in a car. The roads around me don't look so bad, but I know I'm in a bubble.

He's on a handsfree and we're talking about some deal or other. Then I hear a woman's voice. Something about turn left. He mutters "I've never been to Cambridge before" and then "that was the turning, I've just missed it."

Great city, Cambridge.

I muse on the times I've spent there and the right way to stand on a punt.

Three more calls and then I'm on the road. My own sat-nav tells me a different way to somewhere I've visited before. A few red Xs on the map tell me there's a block on the usual route.

So then it's my turn to miss the junction. A right at a roundabout and then onto an elevated section. Except I should have gone hard left after the junction.

I pay the ten minute penalty as I follow an escape-free dual carriageway bypassing Windsor to the M4, where I traverse about four sets of lights while I think about no direction and rolling stones.

Thursday 9 June 2011

waterloo rain set

waterloo with plenty of water
Even more Rivers of London. This time it's Waterloo, with plenty of water running down from the trains and onto the tracks.

I've just arranged to meet someone around here early next week and am hoping for slightly better weather at a spot about two or three minutes walk from the station.

Now what was my weather a week ago?

Ah, yes, I remember.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

a ride across a River of London

Keeping a slight 'Rivers of London' theme going, I spotted this on The Londonist and thought it was worth a ride across the Virtual Thames.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

I finally read the Rivers of London and have already seen one of the ghosts

Rivers of London
I took some books away last week, including one recommended by fellow blogger Nikki-ann.

Well, actually Nikki-ann wrote about the second book in the series but I thought I'd follow her advice and start at the beginning.

'Rivers of London' is by Ben Aaronovitch and a sort of London detective tale, mixed with urban fantasy.

There's parts where the storyline and descriptions are very 21st Century detective and then other parts where it all goes quite wibbly. The main character seems fairly unruffled as he learns about ghosts, mystical rivers and ways to conjure fireballs.

If that stuff is of the heavens, then there's some counterbalance with likably realistic scenes of down-to-earth police processes.

Its also set in the middle of London, with plenty of references to the area around Covent Garden, which should ensure a good number of readers will recognise the venues. Imagine the area between the Punch and Judy pub and the adjacent Actor's church(outside which the jugglers perform for tourists) as the epicentre.

The story clicked into supernatural almost from the start although the expected reactions from the main protagonist were surprisingly restrained considering the alarming and gory events unfolding. Also a revealed plot-line which I then found a tad too predictable - although I guess the point was to speculate how it would be accomplished.

I also found myself studying the dialogue; Aaronovitch writes with a tight style that cracks the pace along nicely. He's written a fair few screenplays and scripts and this shows through in the craft of his writing style.

That created the necessary page turner effect which was very compatible with the beach.

I must admit that when I bought it, the next book was also available as a twoofer so I suspect that the 'Moon over Soho' will be amongst my next reads. Thanks, Nikki-ann, for the suggestion.

And weirdly, when I was in Covent Garden recently, I saw the man in the picture below leaning against the columns, right underneath the Punch and Judy pub and across from St Paul's Church.

Covent Garden

Monday 6 June 2011

hold that hippy fish thought

hippie fish
Today was a suitably hectic restart after a few days on a sunny island in Greece.

Firstly, the rain. Then my sat-nav awakening with little red cars all over the routes to where I needed to be. An extra hour blended onto the journey.

Discovering two last-minute meetings had been snuck onto my schedule.

One was for most of the morning, with a visitor who had flown over specially from Sweden on some kind of Swedish public holiday and the second was for me to present to a group of around 20 people on an unexpected topic.

Before this, my PC decided it was important for me to immediately change my password and follow complicated instructions to press my nose, pat my head and turn around three times before anything would work again.

Fortunately I managed to swerve my way through all of it, and could still smile at then end. I'll admit that thoughts of last week's time at Hippy Fish helped.

Sunday 5 June 2011

nose approaching grindstone again

emptying pockets
Back to base today and a reasonable amount of unpacking.

Just emptying a pocket produced an interesting mix of items ahead of the re-filing of everything into separate compartments, including (don't laugh) the Euro coins back into a Ziploc bag.

I've just rebooted the work PC and am waiting for about 35Mb of messages to tumble in. I'll quietly admit to taking my blackberry along but also to being rather selective about the ones I opened.

I fear my nose may be as ground as the statue of Artemis in Delos by the end of tomorrow. I see I'm back to 19:30-20:00 meetings again already.

Saturday 4 June 2011

sunset over Mykonos

mykonos sunset
Watching the sun go down for the last time before the return trip to the UK.

Of course, we found a beach taverna to sit in with candles on the tables and flaming torches along the shoreline. Add some Greek music, good wine and local food and we were all set.

The next morning didn't need a particularly early departure to catch the plane so we could enjoy the start of another fine and sunny day before packing the few remaining items and heading for the airport.

It rained slightly when we got back to Athens, but we were sure that the weather would remain fine at the little crossroads of the Mediterranean and Aegean where we'd spent the last week.

Friday 3 June 2011

Delos weaves its spells

I've managed to load some of the pictures from Delos. The first one is of the hilltop sanctuary to Zeus, on Mount Cynthia. This is where Leto gave birth Apollo and was the reason for many early pilgrimages by the Naxians to Delos.

But let's go back in time - it's a complex plot.

Delos started out as Adelos which was an invisible island floating in the sea.

It was made by King of the gods Zeus when he amorously pursued Titan goddess of the night Asteria. She escaped his advances by turning into a bird and diving towards the sea. But Zeus was angry and turned her into the rock that became the invisible island.

Unabashed, Zeus then turned his attention to Asteria's sister Leto, who he made pregnant.  This somewhat annoyed his wife Hera who cast a spell to stop Leto from giving birth anywhere in the world under the sun.

Leto's labour lasted nine months, whilst Zeus sought a solution so that Leto could give birth. He asked his brother Poseidon, god of the sea, to help and Poseidon took the invisible rock of Adelos (not of this earth or under the sun) and made it stable with four columns of diamond chains. He renamed it, removing the 'A' which is like removing the 'in' in invisible and so the rock became anchored and visible as Delos.

Leto was grateful and immediately pledged to the island that in return for safe birth she would help the inevitably barren island become the richest part of the realm.

Leto found a safe spot to give unaided birth (Hera's spell also prevented Eileithuia - goddess of midwifery from visiting) and the goddess Artemis was born, in the area now known as the Sacred Lake.

A single palm tree marked the spot. Nine days later, the newly born Artemis helped Leto give birth to her twin brother Apollo.

Artemis Apollo and LetoApollo was the god of light and that's another of the powers of Delos. It’s in the sunniest part of Greece and has a light quality all of its own. It became a place of pilgrimage, a place of sport and celebrations and a great trading power of many civilisations through to Roman times.

And to illustrate, further down the hill can be spotted the remains of the much later Roman temple to Isis - an Egyptian goddess.

Isis was the goddess of motherhood but also knew the secret names of gods, giving her great magic protection powers, which was significant in the eventual downfall of Delos.

Despite its great economic power, Delos defended itself with mysticism and magic, rather than conventional fortifications. This made it a pushover when Mithridates, a duplicitous enemy of the Romans looted and destroyed the whole island in 88 BC.

Also take a look at the picture below. It’s of a small part of the island close to the harbour. See the columns rising from what was once a huge and bustling metropolis.There's the remains of a massive sanctuary (forum) area for multiple generations of gods, a complete multi-storied town, a theatre, a huge hippodrome and a huge gymnasium for games of Olympian stature.

Greek mythology and a civilization rise and fall over a 9000 year period, and all occurring before the modern western calendar even started.

Thursday 2 June 2011

Delos and Delightful

We hopped a boat to Delos today, but I can't post any pictures because my Windows notepad won't accept the Lexar Media Jumpshot CF card reader as a USB device. I'd forgotten the intricacies of this compared to my more usual Mac, which just works.

Never mind; the above is a Myconian church.

Delos is the tiny island at the centre of the Cyclades and was once the epicentre of international trade between many empires, helped no doubt by its tax free status. But I'm talking about a couple of millenia ago, when the around 166BC the Romans created the tax avoidance mechanisms to encourage trade.

But to be fair, it had been doing quite well before that when it already operated as a confederacy, driven from the nearby island of Naxos. The Delian Confederation prospered in the circa 1000-500BC period and amassed plenty of cash, which was eventually removed 'for safe keeping' by the Athenians, who took it to Athens and after counting it decided they would spend it on building their Acropolis, Parthenon and so on.

Early politics, eh?

To add to it, the clever Pisistratus, who was the chief Athenian involved, decreed a form of purification for Delos which meant that everyone buried there was moved to the adjacent island and then in a second purification they added that no-one could be born or die on Delos.

Apart from any mystical qualities, this meant that no-one could claim to be from Delos and therefore have claim over any of the borrowed money.

But before any of this - and we are now going back to around 3000 BC, Delos had already built an advanced civilisation, with temples, shops, theatres and major sporting arenas. The remains of this is again visible on the island, which today has a population of about 10 archeologists, but in its heyday from 3000-88BC had a population of around 25,000-30,000 people from the very wealthy to regular citizens as well as a regular quota of slaves.

And even before this, the piece de resistance of the island would be its claim as the birthplace of not one but two of the Greek gods. Firstly Artemis (the huntress - Diana later in Roman) and  secondly Apollo, her twin and the god of light.

There's a proper tale to tell about how all of that came about and how the isleand eventually settled down in it's current location, but I think I'll save that fascinating tale for a day when I have some pictures.

pass the ice and another lemon sorbet sounds good

Just chillin
Sometimes its good to step back from the daily rushing around.

My work pattern can be somewhat 25x8 so its good to appreciate a few days of 0x0. Well okay, I've had a few texts and the emails are still coming through to my blackberry evben when it does have an 'out of office' message switched on.

This break is also a chance to step back and review options.

We shall see...

Wednesday 1 June 2011

a smart car for getting around

The car might look small to those accustomed to other roads, but around here it's still one of the giants.

That is, compared with the scooters and all-terrain-hoppers that many drive.

Being a car, there's no requirement to wear crash helmets (although at times it almost feels as if one should).

Neither, it transpires, is there a legal requirement for the bikers and scooterists on the twisty roads around here to wear any form of headgear.

Best to drive slowly in any case. I've noticed that even the bus drivers and taxis drive sedately around here.

It's also easy to see that the main season hasn't started, because the hire shops are still full of the little four-wheeled scooters in luminous colours and we didn't have any trouble ordering the Smart as a cabrio.

Highly useful as the temperatures nuzzle thirty degrees.