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British Expat Newsletter:
16 March 2005

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: BE gets an uplift!
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Sponsor
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Joke and quotation

This week

Our big news this week is that after months of slogging away, we finally went live with British Expat’s uplift at the weekend. The main BE site has had a major revamp, not just through a new look but also by introducing a database-driven content management system. It’s a big step in the right direction – it makes things easier for you, the reader, to find. It also means that we’ll be able to add things to the site more quickly and easily in the future. We’ll be rolling out facelifts for other parts of the site in the coming weeks too.

Now that we’ve got the new system up and running we’ve been able to devote a bit more time to adding content. This week we’ve been averaging a new article a day – from regulars like our gardening pal in Caithness, Mike Clark, and Trevor Dykes in darkest Dipwytch, as well as from others – and we have plenty more new articles just waiting to be uploaded.

We also introduced a new feature: Photo of the Week. British Expat’s lucky enough to have some great photographers among its readers – we’ll be bringing you the best of the bunch on our front page every week! If you’d like to join in, please visit the Photographers & Artists board on the forum for details of how to submit your pictures. Some of our regulars on the forum have already posted some really beautiful and striking photos – why not have a look?
British Expat Forum: Photographers and Artists

This week’s photo is from the Sanctuary of Truth, just down the road from us. A huge building made entirely of wood and with many ornate carvings of gods and angels, the Sanctuary of Truth is an impressive sight and well worth a visit. But the local expat community aren’t too awestruck by it. It’s been hit by lightning at least three times already (there’s a thunderstorm going on as I write this. Erk!) and the construction work – which started in 1981 – is still by no means over (the last 15% is expected to take another 15 years!) so the expats have dubbed it the “Temple of Doom”.
Sanctuary of Truth

(The locals of various cities have a tendency to come up with funny nicknames for their buildings and statues. Birmingham’s fountain and statue “The River” in Victoria Square is universally known as the “Floozie in the Jacuzzi”, the statue of Molly Malone in Dublin’s Grafton Street is the “Tart with the Cart”, and 30 St Mary Axe in the City of London is irrevocably the “Erotic Gherkin”.)

Maintaining the Sanctuary of Truth is likely to be a big problem in years to come. Being wood, it’s particularly at risk from infestation, the sea air (it’s right on the seafront) and sun, not to mention the lightning. Another risk is from developers – old buildings in Thailand are routinely torn down to build newer, bigger ones, without too much heed to the architectural or historical significance of the older building. (Private Eye‘s “Piloti” would need a magazine to himself.) I’m mildly surprised to see that Thailand doesn’t feature on the World Monument Fund’s list of 100 endangered sites – perhaps because the destruction/reconstruction cycle’s been going on for so long already.

But it’s not just the big monuments such as the Great Wall of China.  It’s important to conserve the smaller places of historical importance.  We recently featured Bletchley Park Post Office on the website – the little post office with a big secret.  Bletchley Park, of course, is famous as “Station X” – the site where 12,000 code-breakers worked during World War II to break enemy coded messages. Saved from demolition in 1994, it’s now a museum. The former post office now serves as a gift shop, but also produces limited-edition first day covers for stamp-collectors.
The Magic Enigma

And some time ago Mike Clark wrote a moving piece, “Ring of Bright Otters”, about the dereliction into which Gavin Maxwell’s home Camusfearna was allowed to fall. Happily, not all of Maxwell’s legacy has suffered the same fate – Mike recently met the people from the Eilean Bàn Trust, where Maxwell lived for the final twenty months of his life, and was impressed with their work. You can find Mike’s original article here:
Ring of Bright Otters

Any interesting monuments where you are? Why not tell us about them on the forum – and perhaps submit a photo for Photo of the Week while you’re at it?

Virtual Snacks

Just a couple of suggestions if you have a little time to spare:

http://www.wmf.org/ – World Monuments Fund. This very interesting site includes a list of the world’s 100 most endangered monuments.  It has a clickable map so you can search for the ones nearest to you.

http://www.bletchleycovers.com – if you’re interested in philately, World War II history or codebreaking, you’ll find this a worthwhile site to visit. They’ve just launched a new set of 300 first-day covers with the issue on 15 March of the Royal Mail’s “Magic” stamps. Have a look!

http://www.eileanban.org/ Eilean Bàn Trust & Bright Water Visitor Centre. Lots of information about Eilean Bàn and the conservation work going on there. Some nice photos too.

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • frangy pangy (3)
  • what does harry potter s dick look like (3)
  • lifesize sex dolls (2)
  • why are they poor in canada (2)
  • cabin crew eye drops (2)
  • helen s british cooking site is no more (2)
  • potatoes plastic (2)
  • frensh taking dictionary (2)
  • parts of carrots (2)
  • the french saying see you later (1)
  • should i ask out tattie (1)
  • british stewed rhubarb (1)

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

Kay
Editor
British Expat Magazine

Quotation

“Those only deserve a monument who do not need one.”

William Hazlitt, writer (1778-1830)

Joke

A tourist is travelling with a guide through one of the thickest jungles in Latin America, when they come across an ancient Mayan temple. The tourist is entranced by the temple, and asks the guide for details. To this, the guide states that archaeologists are carrying out excavations, and still finding great treasures. The tourist then asks how old the temple is.

“This temple is 2,503 years old,” replies the guide.

Impressed at this accurate dating, the tourist inquires as to how the guide came by this precise figure.

“Easy,” replies the guide, “the archaeologists said the temple was 2,500 years old, and that was three years ago.”

PG Author: Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

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