Monthly Archives: June 2021

Links for the 29th of June

Bog trotters, heart attacks, and a paranoid Auntie

Via Hansard, the official record of British parliamentary business, then–Labour MP Joe Ashton informs us of the sort of nonsense that went on when the government had a majority of minus seventeen:

We used to have a bog trotter. When the Division bell rang, we had a top and bottom bog trotter whose job it was to run around all the toilets to see if anyone was locked in. We had to look under the door for feet and, if seen, we looked over the top. If that person was one of theirs we left him, if it was one of ours, we got him out — if necessary with a screwdriver to unlock the door from the outside. That was the sort of nonsense that occurred when the House divided.

I remember the famous case of Leslie Spriggs, the then Member for St. Helens. We had a tied vote and he was brought to the House in an ambulance having suffered a severe heart attack. The two Whips went out to look in the ambulance and there was Leslie Spriggs laid there as though he was dead. I believe that John Stradling Thomas said to Joe Harper, “How do we know that he is alive?” So he leaned forward, turned the knob on the heart machine, the green light went around, and he said, “There, you’ve lost — it’s 311.” That is an absolutely true story. It is the sort of nonsense that used to happen. No one believes it, but it is true.


When Parliament was first broadcast, for the first three days the BBC broadcast everything that came through the loudspeakers. It was libellous, it was unbelievably crude, but it was hilarious. The BBC panicked and said, “Somebody will sue us for libel. If it is in Hansard it is okay, but if it is not in Hansard we will be done for libel.” So the BBC stopped broadcasting everything; now, it jams the broadcast so all people hear is, “Hear, hear, hear.” It is terrified of being sued for libel.

This stems from a 1997 debate on the modernisation of parliamentary procedure. More anecdotes from the same speech can be found on the other side of the link.


21 June 2021

Me writing long run-on sentences for my blog in English: Haha fuck yeah!!! Yes!!

Me having to translate them into Dutch: Well this fucking sucks. What the fuck.

Notes from a walk through Newcastle

The gorgeous gorge that is the Tyne valley has no shortage of winsome views, but the most beautiful, in my opinion, is that which appears to one who goes down the Side.α In the Monument’s shadow, after passing the classical columns of the Theatre Royal and descending Grey Street as it becomes Dean Street, finally taking a turn onto the Side at the bottom, the lucky traveller will find themself towered over by the behemoth that is the Tyne Bridge:

The Tyne Bridge, a soaring green arch over the river, held up by two hulking sandstone-brick towers.
Photo by Alex Liivet. Licenced under CC BY-2.0.
A rickety old set of stairs leads into an area obscured by overgrown shrubbery.
The rotting wooden stairs, as seen on Google street view.

I’m not sure any photograph can ever match what it’s like to be there under that bridge. One of the most remarkable things about this view, though, has nothing to do with the view itself, but rather what happens if one walks down the Quayside for a little while, reaches an empty brownfield plot, and clambers up a set of rotting wooden stairs to its right. Because, inexplicably, just a few metres from the most beautiful view in town, one can find the second most beautiful view in town, a glorious lookout on every bridge linking the two banks of the river.

Seven bridges across the Tyne, flanked by Newcastle’s old buildings on the right and Gateshead’s modern regeneration on the left.

We don’t deserve this city.

I had initially neglected to bring a water bottle along with me; i had only intended a quick jaunt to the centre of town and back, and the foolhardy idea of walking all the way to Wallsend came to me spontaneously. This quickly proved a bad idea, and so i made a trek up to the corner shop, who thankfully had all the bottled water anyone could ever want or need.

After leaving fully rehydrated and ready to walk back, i noticed the most wonderful little thing. A parklet, this small opening of green space with some benches and inscriptions, tucked between a housing area and a construction site. I took some pictures — i would have loved to show them to you, but alas, my phone got stolen in the intervening time between this trip and me writing this post, taking the photographs with it.

Nevertheless, if you’d like to visit (or live vicariously through Google street view), it’s that little park adjacent to 5 Belmont Street. (Google stubbornly refuses to give a proper address, but you can’t miss it!)

An *exceedingly* evil looking office building next to a gigantic white cube bearing the logo "TechnipFMC".

An account of my thought process upon seeing the above building complex:

  • That building looks exceedingly evil, but i can’t quite place my finger on why…
  • I’m going to look the company up.
  • Ah, a fossil fuel company — they are evil!

Just a few yards ahead, crossing a foot-and-cycle bridge, i happened upon some strikingly relevant graffiti, alongside some other pieces which really sum up the modern English psyche: an Extinction Rebellion poster, a crossed out “EDL”,β and a cock and bollocks.

Graffiti on a blue bridge wall. Left to right: An XR poster saying 'Act Now', 'Kyle', 'EDL' (crossed out), 'Erok', 'FLK', and a cock and bollocks.

I carried a record from HMV (the Killers’ Hot Fuss, if you must know) the whole way, and let me tell you, my arms were positively aching by the end of it! At least i had a bag…γ

To sign off, here are some photos whose stories weren’t interesting enough to make the cut, as well as a map of the journey. Thank you for reading this disjoint mess.

Links for the 18th of June

When was this website established?

Readers of this site may have noticed that at the bottom of the front page lies an inscription proudly blaring the alleged date this digital demesne was first set up:

Established on the 14th day of August, 2017 CE
and the 6th day waning of Metageitnion, χϟθ.α AKO

Given that i’m writing a post called “When was this website established?”, you’ve probably worked out that that’s not completely right. It’s a date that could qualify for the founding of this site, but it’s by no means the only one.

The 14th of August, 2017, was the day that i created the account “batavia” (later changed to “marijnflorence” to avoid some unfortunate international associations) on the free web host Neocities, the original — sort of, we’ll get there — host of this website. I picked this date for display because it was a nice, clear starting point, emblazoned on the sidebar of my Neocities profile. But for the first few years of that account’s existence, nothing much happened.

The start of as it currently exists can be traced to the 22nd of March, 2018, when i created a repository on code-sharing site Github with the intent to much around and maybe make a proper personal site. This was transferred to Neocities at some point — i assume about two days later, although i can’t be sure, since Neocities’ dating on old posts is hopelessly vague.

There are two more dates in the running to be the true date of establishment. You see, “batavia” was not my first Neocities site. Far from it, my first attempt at a website was “xoticmatter”, created on the 26th of April, 2017, four months before the August date! I never got around to making much content for it, and at some point i lost the password, leading me to create a new account.

The final date in contention is specifically about the founding of The site used to be hosted on a subdomain of, but on the 8th of January, 2021, i finally coughed up the dosh for a domain name.

Which one of these dates is the “real” date of establishment? One could make a compelling case for any of them, but i’ll be sticking with the current 14th of August, as a nice compromise between the earlier “xoticmatter” position and the later Github and domain name positions.