Aerial view of the riverThe Ditton Corner plot from the airFen Ditton - an aerial view

Home Up Gazette 2005 Gazette 2004 Gazette 2003 Gazette 2002 Gazette 2001 Gazette 2000 Gazette 1999 Gazette 1998 Gazette 1997



Alice in Wonderland icon.jpg (3089 bytes) Gazette banner fs.gif (3341 bytes) Hooray for Henrys icon.jpg (2499 bytes)


it's up there somewhere behind all that cloud...

Totally Eclipsed

At 11 minutes past 11 O’Clock on 11th August 1999, Padstow in Cornwall was in the exact area of totality - of cloud cover that is. The total eclipse of the sun was a great event... on TV.

We took three grandparents and an uncle on the umbrial trail. Our cottage in Cornwall was a granite tower overlooking the Padstow harbour.

Eclipse or Bust

We busied ourselves with some serious surfing (the type you don’t need an internet connection for) on the finest beaches of Cornwall’s coastline.

After a few days of crab-fishing and sand castles, it was time for the astronomical event of a lifetime.  Padstow was in celebratory mood, despite several of its entrepreneurs filing for receivership as the millions of expected punters stayed at home.

Party like it’s 1999

Those of us who did show up partied like it was the end of the world.


There were druids, bonfires, TV pundits and incantations. The town filled with strangely garbed celebrants, including Darth Maul, Tinkerbell and the Wicker Man. Not all of them thought they were in fancy dress. We counted the children at regular intervals.

The Moment of Truth

All the shops shut and there were rumours of a celestial blackout. Right on cue the miraculous cumulo nimbus scurried across from the horizon to cover the sky with a strange greyish white vapour.

Then the crowds watched with horror as it got a bit dark. Then it got a bit lighter again. When it was all over, we went down the pub to recover. Stories of that day will live on for generations. Perhaps Alice’s grandchildren will hear how a few seagulls got a bit confused and a streetlamp came on of its own accord.

We can’t wait for the next event, scheduled for 2064.

Some of us feel the wind in our hair on a 1000 hp speedboat ride 

Speedboat in Padstow harbour

Spooky Sightings.  An Astral Vision of the Event

Son eclipsed


Home News

School Report

Henry (5) started school, joining Alice (8) at St. John’s College School. He has settled in well and is majoring in late Cretaceous therapods.

The new schoolboy and his big sister

Setting off for school












Welcome to Kriszta

Kriszta joined us from Hungary as our au-pair. She cooks great goolash and is a well-known figure in the local night-clubs.

Kriszta, our Au-Pair, plaits Alice’s hair.

Alice plays

Anything for the weekend, sir? Henry gets in trim.

Henry's first haircut











Do The Millenium Wheel!

The Millennium wheel is the latest dance craze on the South Bank.  The family visited it to watch it being built.

Coburn family imitates the Millennium Wheel


St. Peters for Easter

We had a holiday in Italy this Easter, checking out the Pope in St. Peter’s square in Rome. This unwonted piety was counterbalanced by visits to pagan Pompeii and the idyllic Isle of Capri. Mind you, the sea water temperature was scarcely sybaritic.

Where's the Papa?


Business Section

Turkey Earthquake

It happened. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake just east of Istanbul. It was worse than expected.

Andrew and an ITN News Crew amid the rubble of Adapazari

When we did the analysis in 1985 we knew it would be bad. The 7+ magnitude on the Ismit branch of the North Anatolian Fault has been long expected. The Cambridge University study 14 years ago estimated the probable number of deaths at between 8,000 and 25,000.

When it came on 17 August 1999 it killed 35,000 people. The population of the region has virtually doubled in the past decade and the building boom has created entire suburbs of highly vulnerable sub-standard multi-storey apartment buildings.

Andrew was one of the RMS team that flew in to the affected region to survey the damage. For him it was a return to the subject of his Ph.D. thesis - earthquake protection for buildings in Turkey.

Somehow, however, this was not just another earthquake. The children in the refugee camps looked a lot like a son and daughter back home. It was all rather more abstract back in 1985.




AiMing High

Cambridge Architectural Research has another memorable year and launches a new initiative

Now we know how many Directors it takes to fill the Albert Hall.  Our sponsorship night.

Helen’s knowledge of the Deutsche Bahn train timetable is improving daily. She has visited Austria, France and Greece in pursuit of AIR inSTRUCT, NAVAIR and now the fearsome DEMULOG. Familiarity with the more obscure EU acronyms is taking a little longer.

CAR has welcomed archeologist Chris Going as another director, and is fast growing a team to identify the risk from unexploded aerial interdiction (that’s bombs, folks) in the European theatre. Visit our website to find out more:

Maria’s Celeste

Some people sponsor endangered animals. CAR sponsored a rare and unusual instrument - the Celeste - for Cambridge University Musical Society. This shy beast was featured in a magnificent performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony at the Royal Albert Hall in December. Clients and directors were treated to drinks, opera glasses and a spot-the-celeste competition.





RMS dotcom

The year ended with a new role at RMS for Dr. Coburn, heading up a new internet division for the company. RMS has a new president, Hemant Shah, who is restructuring the company for the information age.



Sponsorship of three Ph.D. studentships by an RMS client has launched the Cambridge University Centre for Risk in the Built Environment. Andrew is a member of the steering committee, helping with research proposals.


Reinsurance Book

Andrew’s publications this year include a chapter contributed to the authoritative textbook Carter’s Reinsurance.


The morning commute to London

Commuting in two continents

The morning commute in California

Cheshire Cat Productions 1999