Long Walk to Freedom

is an excellent book (isbn 978-0-349-10653-3). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
I maintain that nurture, rather than nature, is the primary moulder of personality.
I did well in school not so much through cleverness as through doggedness.
These [meetings] were not scheduled, but were called as needed... Everyone who wanted to speak did so... People spoke without interruption...
Majority rule was a foreign notion. A minority was not to be crushed by a majority.
This metal wire, he said, pointing above, is an example of Western manufacturing, which is skilful but cold, clever but soulless.
I could compensate for lack of natural aptitude with diligence and discipline. I applied this to everything I did.
There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have changed.
Gaur believed in finding solutions rather than spouting theory.
I was far more certain in those days of what I was against than what I was for.
If fine bodies and impressive physiques were essential to being a leader, I saw that few among us would have qualified.
If you wait for textbook conditions, they will never occur.
Class, Nyerere always insisted, was alien to Africa; socialism indigenous.
I did not think this view [always rejecting bail] should be universally applied and believed we should examine the issue on a case-by-case basis.
Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose because I will not part with it at any price or under any pressure.

cyber-dojo server is up

The first cyber-dojo server is up, at http://www.cyber-dojo.org Please note the hyphen - the url without the hyphen was not available. The infrastructure is very very very rudimentary, but it's a start. Something to learn from and build on. Any feedback always welcome.

Have you got any strawberries?

I was driving along the A303 towards Gatwick last week and passed several stalls selling strawberries. It reminded me of an incident many years ago, before the kids were born, on the same road when Natalie and I stopped to buy some. We approached the stall. The only thing it sold was strawberries. It was a strawberry stall. Everywhere you looked here were open punnets of strawberries. With a twinkle in my eye I looked at the two young lads manning the stall and watched their puzzled faces as I asked "Have you got any strawberries?"

The World's Least Favourite Airline?

I had a great family cruise on NCL's Norwegian Gem visiting Venice, Dubrovnik, Izmir, Athens, and Nafplion. I particularly liked Dubrovnik and the ruins at Ephesus are truly spectacular and were well worth the long taxi ride from Izmir. NCL was faultless in all respects and I have no hesitation wholeheartedly recommending NCL, it's cruises and its staff.

But not British Airways…the BA flight home from Venice to Gatwick was a joke. There were numerous check in desks at the airport and the only one with a sizeable queue was BA's. In fact the BA queue was so long it blocked one side of the building from the other. I looked (and asked) for some self-service check-in desks and found quite a few from many airline companies but none from BA. The day's first flight from Venice to Gatwick was so late we got to see the end of that fiasco too. It was over-booked and several people queued for two and half hours in sweltering heat only to fail to get a boarding pass. These people naturally joined the queue for the next flight so that flight was overbooked too. But did anyone walk along the queue offering cash to anyone willing to take a later flight? No. So once again some people at the end of the queue were going to fail to get a ticket after queuing for several hours. While the first flight's queue was queueing security had to be called because everything was so badly organised. As usual one of the check-in desks was reserved for Club-something-or-other and so sat mostly idle while the queue lengthened and people grew more and more irate.

We were on the second BA flight out. Having seen the problems from earlier in the day we joined the queue very early. It was a wise move as the queueing was just as badly organised. Eventually we got to the check-in desk and just after we had got our boarding passes I happened to see a not-so-easy-to-see note offering €250 if you took a flight the next day. And just after we had got our boarding passes the check-in lady told us the flight was delayed for an hour - which of course meant it would be delayed for more than one hour - why do they always underestimate the delay? If we had been told the flight had been delayed before we started checking in we might well have taken the offer. We certainly would have given it some serious consideration. And why if they know it's an hour late don't they show that information on the departure boards?

It would have been so easy for BA to do the little things that showed they cared about their customers. Something as simple as providing some kind of cool drink for people while they queued in the heat. It wouldn't be much, but it would be something and it would change the situation so completely. But no.

Over and over you felt BA simply didn't care about you.

I fly quite a lot and from now on if I have a choice - and on several routes I do - I'm not going to fly BA.