Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs—you know, those nice people who collect taxes and disburse stipends—have managed to ‘lose’ CDs containing the personal details of every family in the country with children under sixteen. That’s twenty-five million people in total. According to Chancellor Alistair Darling:
Two things I’d never done before Friday: eat a medlar, and visit a synagogue.
The nearest Metro station to Castle Hill is Moskva tér, which turned out to be the least salubrious part of the city I’d seen so far. A piece of rutted tarmac interwoven by tram tacks, some of them disused, its lack of charm is only enhanced by the ugly structures set up within it, and by the hawkers selling random stuff—umbrellas, lace, lottery tickets.
My first feeling on arriving in a place where I know none of the language is usually one of terror. I’m so used to knowing enough to get by that to be completely unable to understand anything is a strange and unsettling experience.
I haven’t written anything about this year’s Euruko (European Ruby Conference) yet, have I? I enjoyed it. It was nice to visit somewhere apart from Munich this time. Much as I like Munich, after three years in a row there, it was good to have a change.
In Bratislava’s main station, there’s a mural depicting the achievements of Socialism. You know, all the normal things like the oppressed breaking their chains, scientific endeavour symbolised by Sputnik, and pleasingly multi-ethnic groupings getting on together.
I spent most of yesterday wandering around Vienna, then took a train to Bratislava, so I had little idea about what was going on in the outside world. In the evening, I was eating dinner in a restaurant when I saw something that made my blood run cold.
I parked my bike in the cycle stands in the middle of High Holborn this morning at 08:45. I came back an hour later, and …