Tuesday, 22 July 2008

5th Annual Cornish Beer Festival 2008

Last Thursday (17/7/08) marked the start of Bath's Star Inn annual 4 day Cornish Beer Festival.
The obvious question is; why a Cornish beer festival at one of Bath's premier real ale pubs owned by Abbey Ales (our local brewery), and famed for its great Bass served in jugs from stillage behind the bar. The answer is that Paul the landlord hails from Hayle? No? - Penzance. He and his brother run pubs for Abbey Ales in Bath. Thus we have Cornish Beer Festivals at The Star Inn. Incidentally there is also a Cornish Ale celebration each spring on St Piran's Day.
As in previous years Paul the landlord managed to source some familiar and some not so familiar ales for us to quaff until our pockets ran dry. There were fresh pastys from the local branch of The Cornish Bakehouse (not my personal favorite) to soak up some of the ale and on Friday Star Gazy Pies appeared.
Now to the important part; the ales. Of the 13 Cornish ales listed on the programme I managed to try 7.
Spingo Special - What a treat - normally the only place to find this finest of strong ales (6.5%) is in and around the Blue Anchor in Helston, where it's brewed behind the Inn. A darker ale fully flavoured, rich in fruit and malt and hops. Delicious, and it went down well with the pasty.
Skinner's Heligan Honey - Gently flavoured with honey from the famous Lost Gardens of Heligan, this pale amber ale from Skinner's Brewery at 4.0%, has a fresh character leading on to the light malty, honied palate and finishing with a crisp hoppyness.
St Austell IPA - As a straight forward thirst quencher, this 3.4% pale ale from St Austell Brewery has a character beyond its strength. The copper colour hints at the slightly richer malt flavour leading to a delicious flowery late hopping, which I suspect is the Willamette hop. At the finish this ale just begs to be drawn again.
By the time I'd reached this end of the row of pumps the Spingo had finished although I did persuade the barman to squeeze the last couple of gulps out for me.
Next on was Sharp's Will's Resolve - At this point my taste buds were becoming a little blurred; however I was surprised by this ale which reminded me very much of Doom Bar from a few years back before Sharp's Brewery upsized the operation. Very pleasant sweet maltyness with a lovely hoppy finish - still with that flowery hint so familiar in many of the Cornish ales.
Unfortunately or not (after 4½ pints) I had to call it a day.
On Saturday afternoon Zena and I made it all the way up Walcot Street and round to the Paragon to see what was left. The tone of the place was slightly subdued, but judging by the absence of all but one of the pump clips arrayed above the stillage, a good time had been had by all; however there were 3 brews still on tap.
Blackawton Brewery's Original Bitter and their Exhibition Ale were on, alongside Keltek's Magik. As I waited to be served the Original finished so that was off the list, but the good news was that the last remaining ale to go on was Skinner's Ginger Tosser.
Keltek Magik - This fine 4.0% quaffing brew has a clean bitterness on the nose and the slightly darker colour gives a hint of the malty richness to follow. It is not over hopped on the finish leaving a sweetness on the palate. Keltek Brewery is on a trading estate in Redruth which perhaps isn't The Cornish Idyll but does produce some good beer.
Next up - Skinner' Ginger Tosser 3.8% - All you'd expect from a Skinner's brew. A golden ale with light hopping and the sweetness of honey washed through to the ginger finish. Delicious.
I finished with a half of Blackawtons Exhibition Ale at 4.7%. Brewed at the Blackawton Brewery in Saltash, probably the most easterly brewery in Cornwall. A rich fruity ale with a broad hoppiness deserving of a little time to fully appreciate the depth of flavour within.
All in all I have to say that this was a great couple of days of drinking and look forward to the next one.
Thanks Paul.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Drunken Delinquents!!

Drunken Delinquents!! Is there a problem?
I'll say there is when a passing group of youths who are patently drunk cast aspersions on your partners sexual history in an attempt to get a rise out of you. After being asked to disburse by police you'd expect that to be it, but to find the same antagonists have followed you to another location is very disturbing. Worse still one of the them was overheard to say that his spell in prison for such behaviour was pointless.
A number of issues are raised by this:
1. Who sold them their last few drinks - It is illegal to sell alcohol to persons you suspect may be drunk.
2. Having been warned by police to 'go home', why were they left to continue there night harassing strangers. Warnings must be enforced.
3. Having been convicted of a drink related offense, why are these morons still allowed out to repeat their offences. A drink related offence should bar you from access to alcohol.
If we're going to allow people the right to drink responsibly then we must have sanctions that protect us from people who abuse that right.
The punishment must be hard enough or there is no deterrent and worse, the deterrent becomes a goal - 'It didn't hurt so I'll do it again.'
Comments please.

Identify this Bird, Please

Hi. I took this picture of a bird on my feeder yesterday and I can't find it anywhere on the net. I checked the RSPB Bird Identifier which hasn't got enough pictures of birds of each species so finding some females and most juveniles is tricky.

Anyway, have a look at the picture and if you know what it is let me know. Thanks.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Georgian City Kit - More of the Jigsaw

Now I wonder where these pieces'll fit?

Thursday, 17 July 2008

[wnxx] End of the Line: Withdrawn & Stored Locomotives UK

[wnxx] End of the Line: Withdrawn & Stored Locomotives UK
Here's a gem for enthusiasts. This site contains the the entire whereabouts of locomotives on the UK railway network. Generally it logs the comings and goings locations and status of the bits of kit that haul the freight and passengers around this island. Fascinating stuff, enjoy. PS Get the downloads.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The things you can do with a longer lens... AKA Georgian City Kit II

A little while ago I mentioned the 'Georgian City Kit', well now I can show you what I see.

The new shopping/housing/parking/transport interchange being assembled as chunks of bath stone faced concrete slab on a reinforced concrete skeleton - hence 'kit'.

Block A is the building at the top of the site, which has nearly got a complete roof now, was the first to get its clothes. Having seen a slab on a lorry a couple of weeks earlier I was intrigued to find out what bits looked like in place.

Anyway, one of things I noticed at the Iceland end was how the masons had worked the stone 'in situ' to reduce the impact of errors in the architects drawings - NOT!!

Check this out....

...and closer.

It's such a shame.

Happy Birthday to Me

It comes around every year and this time it's on Tuesday; anyway I spotted the item that I'd asked Zena to get me and it was a very good price; so I bought it - a lens - to be precise, an Olympus Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 lens. The fact is' I missed the 10x Optical zoom I had on the Fujifilm S5000 that my daughter has since I bought the Olympus E410.

As a great big - Thank You to Zena here are a couple of pictures of The Girls having a busy day.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

EU accidentally orders ISPs to become copyright police | The Register

EU accidentally orders ISPs to become copyright police The Register

Oh Boy - Can we please kick Europe into touch. There is so much bullshit and bollocks we have to take from the unelected arse'oles in Brussels and twice a week (or whenever) in Strasbourg it can't possibly be worth the Objective 1 funding we get. Give In or Get Out!!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Wow! A Wonderful Weekend

Hi Blog Readers. Well after a couple of days getting my feet back on the ground and under my desk I can now look back on a wonderful weekend.
First off, many, many thanks to The Millbrooker and Mrs The Millbrooker for their hospitality at what turned out to be very short notice. I slept well both nights and your bread is gorgeous.
The weekend came at the end of a week's leave that I still had to take from the previous years quota, otherwise it would have been lost. Having seen the Millbrooker blog entry about the impending Gigspanner gig at Kingsand I found the amazing 'The Butterfly' track on the bands web site and began listening to it on my PC in a continuous loop. A lovelier piece of music I haven't heard for a long time!
The first attempt to contact The Millbrooker about visiting was lost in the ether that is The Inter Web. Second time around using email in place of the blogger comments process yielded a successful communication. I was going to be there for the Friday performance. Woo-Hoo.
Thankfully the journey down to Plymouth was uneventful. Thanks First. The weather was threatening to rain but apart from a few drops and a little drizzle it stayed dry. I found a great hairdresser in central Plymouth who did a good 'No.2' all over (hair and beard) for only £9 - I left a tip. Zena thought I looked too unkempt and didn't want my appearance to reflect badly on her. Thanks Zena.
I made my way on foot down to Stonehouse where I could take the Cremyll Ferry across to Cornwall. Of course there's a break in service at lunch time so I popped into The Vine pub to find a very good pint of Skinners Betty Stoggs and a window seat where I could see the ferry leaving Cremyll.

The ferry only takes 7 minutes to cross the Tamar. On the far side is the Edgcumbe Arms. Thus followed my first pint of Cornish ale in a Cornish pub. St Austell's Tribute is always a good beer and the Edgcumbe know how to keep it at its best. Before the bus was due I followed the Tribute with a half of Proper Job also from St Austell Brewery; a delicious, refreshing, citrus, golden, IPA style brew. I'd like to see more of that one.
(I started writing this on Tuesday - It is now Thursday ) Hey Ho!! I left the Edgcumbe Arms 5 minutes before the bus was due to leave and found it waiting. After a brief chat with the driver about his employer (You've guessed it - Fist Group) we were off - I was surprised to find the bus no longer took the picturesque route around Millbrook Lake and Anderton. Apparently when the buses were changed they couldn't use that route so it was changed but the older buses were restored but the route remained unchanged.
Off the bus and straight into the Devon and Cornwall Inn for a fine pint of Moles bitter brewed in Dorset. It was a very pleasant hour I spent there before venturing out into the rain towards Millbrooker Towers. As soon as a Vodafone signal was available I began a call to check someone was at home but as I rounded a corner there was The Millbrooker striding towards me so I hung up, only to get a call back from Mrs The Millbrooker asking if I'd just called (Sorry). I about faced and together we went to the shops TM was after some flour for bread making and I took the opportunity to pick up a pasty from the Spar shop (Delicious after all that Ale).
Once everyone had arrived we ate, not what had been planned but a fine cheese omelet and home made bread before heading off to Kingsand for 'The Gig'. We were to meet the rest of the TM party in The Rising Sun which was heaving. The poor staff were having a great deal of difficulty delivering food to those who'd ordered it but they were consoled by the fact that after a pint we were off up the road to the Community Hall.
As a late bookee my ticket was on the door under the name of 'BathNick' which was appropriate if not a little surprising.
Gigspanner were amazing and I only had to wait until the start of the second half to hear 'The Butterfly'. I will bow to TM's review of the performance at this point. After the gig we joined the band in The Halfway House for more ale and enjoyed the impromptu performance of various well known songs in variable quality. On our return to Milbrooker Towers we enjoyed a couple of drams of the finest single malt before surrendering to sleep.
The following day I stirred at about midday with the vague idea that I walk around Rame would be a fine way to reacquaint myself with the area. After mentioning it to TM we sallied forth with the expectation that there was an adequate window in what was really not very nice weather. I was wrong by the time we got to the top of the lane to Wiggle it was blowing a gale and none of us were dry.

By the time we hit the top of the cliff overlooking Whitsand Bay we had to bend into the teeth of it and we were drenched. The rain was being blown into our faces with such force that it stung. As quickly as possible we made our way down to Cawsand where we dove into The Cross Keys for warmth and ale. The floor was soaked by the time we left. Just as well it wasn't carpet. I think the worst part was putting a wet jacket back on for the mile and a quarter up hill and down dale to Millbrook.

Showers and dry clothes were quickly donned and we reassembled in the living room for the previous days much delayed meat pie that TM prepared. Fully refreshed we awaited the taxi to the second performance of Gigspanner. Owing to the fact that we had a mini bus rather than a taxi and due to there not being another cab available we did a detour twice round the village to collect others going the same way, eventually to the Rising Sun for more of their Skinners Helligan Honey - 2 pints this time although I was the last to sink it and back up the hill to the gig.
The hall was laid out differently this time and as TM recounts - it was a very different gig which I for one enjoyed immensely. All too soon it was over and after bidding our farewells left Gigspanner and started back to Milbrook. I think the plan was to call for the guy who brought us up but he wasn't available so we walked. A very much more pleasant walk than earlier since most of the storm seemed to have passed.
It was an early night for most of us for one reason or another so we had a night cap and found our way to our beds. I wanted to be away soonish in the morning, so woke just before nine. Mrs TM drove TM and me to the Cremyll ferry and after crossing back to Devon walked up through Plymouth to the Station. It was going to be pot luck with the train and I had an idea that I might still get a photo of the Torbay Express on its way to Kingwear. A luck has it sometimes the train to Bath Spa straight through was in 10 minutes - I had just enough time to grab a pile of Ginster's stuff and a pint of skimmed from the station Spar before boarding and a rain storm descended.
As we came in to Newton Abbott I spotted a man with a camcorder setting up so I knew I hadn't missed the express. Getting closer to Exeter through Teignmouth and Dawlish past Red Rock and Dawlish Warren camera'd groups of enthusiasts gazed up the lin and I was sitting well up in case it passed and I missed it. As we pulled in to Exeter St Davids it was there. I could almost hear the curses as an HST pulled in between camera and 34067 Battle of Britain Class 'Tangmere'. I knew I should have got off at Newton Abbott but my train was going all the way and I wanted to be home. I almost nodded a couple of times be fore we arrived in Bath heralded by a sudden downpour - yesterdays weather was still here then.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Are the ice caps melting? | The Register

Are the ice caps melting? The Register: "Dr Richard Feynman said, 'Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.'"

Monday, 30 June 2008

Weekend in Bristol

We've just returned from a weekend in Bristol. Many months ago we purchased tickets for Mick Hucknall's first performance of his 'A Tribute to Bobby' show. For the uninitiated Bobby 'Blue' Bland is a seriously respected blues and R'n'B singer who came to prominence in 50's and 60's America. Mick, who has decided to end the 'Simply Red' part of his performing life has decided on Blues and R'n'B (the real one) as a new direction.

Some weeks after getting the Sunday night tickets an email arrived from his marketing people asking if we would like to take up an offer of joining 500 others at just over £40 a head for the rehearsal - no hesitation - thus we've spent 2 days in Bristol.

Many thanks to friend Wozz who put us up at The Mall pub he runs in The Mall, Clifton.

Saturday lunch was spent at Las Iguanas in Whiteladies Road with a woman that Zena knows from her childhood and her husband. The four of us ate and drank and drank and 8 bottles of wine later we returned very drunk to get ready for the first of the 2 gigs. I have no idea how I managed it but I was still well away as we taxied down to the Colston Hall. The rehearsal gig went down a storm. It was very relaxed and intimate as the band and Mick ran through their set before slipping a couple of SR numbers in.

On Sunday after a roast dinner at The Mall pub we strolled along to Clifton Suspension Bridge. Neither of us are particularly good at heights but we did manage to get over and back. Once back on the Clifton side we went up to the turreted building overlooking the gorge and bridge. Climbing to the top of the tower we took a look inside the camera obscura that someone is restoring. What an amazing device!

The main performance on Sunday was good although there were a couple of times they lost it and one song had to be restarted twice. Once because they messed up and the second time because someone fell ill in the audience (hope he's OK).

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Fist Group are at it again!! Update

Great news for the people and businesses of Colerne.

Small independent bus operator Faresaver will operate a service Monday to Saturday http://www.faresaver.co.uk/timetables/228.pdf

Details of how this has been managed with help from B&NES are here http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/BathNES/media/press+releases/2008/transportstreets/Axed+bus+routes+Council+steps+in.htm

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Sorry People... Fist Group again........

I suspect that this might be turning into an obsession; this constant itch that is 'Fist Group', that rears its ugly head repeatedly; but do you know what? I don't give a twopenny damn.

Last evening I was in a hurry to get home from work - I was to look after my partners niece for a couple of hours.

I had reached the top of Bathwick Hill at 1743 to catch the bus that is due to leave the bus stop at the University at 1741 the next stop on the route is The Youth Hostel and is timed at 1746 which is about a quarter of a mile down the hill. The bus was already on its way down the hill.

A dozen other passengers arrived, waited, chatted, took cover from the rain and walked on down the hill. By 1815 there were still a dozen or so people waiting so in all I estimate that 2 dozen people had expected to catch a bus to town from the top of Bathwick Hill in the previous half hour.

I'd had enough, I knew there wasn't a bus at the top so couldn't really expect a bus empty enough to board within 15 minutes. After missing 2 buses out (1756 & 1811) there was bound to be a queue at the top and this fact was borne out by people who stopped to comment as they continued to walk down the hill.

A couple of minutes later a bus slowly ground its way up the last stretch of the hill full of passengers for the university, followed by another 50 yards behind with a few people on board, followed another 50 yards behind by an empty bus.

By now I'd had enough, I called a taxi to collect me from outside the house across the road (they're not allowed to pick up fares without an address?).

Five minutes later an empty bus - the last one to go up - came down - 'Sorry, not in service' was the only comment. Everyone groaned, shrugged their shoulders and a couple more walked on down the hill.

Finally at about 1828 a laden bus arrived and picked up anyone still left at the stop followed immediately by a less full bus. I declined the opportunity to board as the arrival of the taxi I'd called was imminent.

The cab duly arrived moments later and I was in town before the last bus down.

This morning a went to the bus station to find out what had happened to the buses above and what explanation they could give:

1. It's the University's fault for not letting them know about the Open Day. They had put 2 extra buses on. I pointed out that they only had 4 buses out when I saw all 4 of them between 1745 and 1845.

2. I had no idea about traffic conditions in Bath yesterday evening (my fault?). I pointed out that if conditions were bad then they should know about it very quickly on a route that has a 'round trip' time of 30 minutes. Why were there no extra buses put on to meet their commitment to a timetable?

3. If we want more buses we would have to pay higher fares (Blackmail). Fist Group make profit hand over fist at the expense of the taxpayer and private individuals. Fist Group will not put extra buses on because they don't have to. There is no compulsion to provide anything more than a minimum service. Their only legal obligations are to run to the published timetable when they have no one else to blame for not doing so and the great god 'Shareholder Value' - screw the traveling public we'll just have to wait for the next bus.

4. I don't know anything about running a bus company. I pointed out that I had worked for Bristol Omnibus Company some years ago and had been a bus user in Bath for 37 years - I don't drive and don't own a car, of course I know about buses.

The real kicker is that the Chief Executive of Fist Group - M. Leekhead has been given a knighthood for 'Services to Transport'.

Way hay, their shares just dropped another 14p. So much for shareholder value.

When are we going to get the Public Transport Services that this Town, Country and Planet needs to survive the CO2 overload? The answer to that question is - When it gets NATIONALISED - not for profit means proper investment. Public Service must be Public and a Service.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Introducing the 'Georgian City Kit'

This Blog is called Bath 'n' Stuff because at the time that I created it I was in a real piss about the monstrosity that was being perpetrated on us by B&NES, the developers and owners of the Southgate area of Bath.
In particular I was distressed because they had gone to a great deal of trouble to produce a Georgian look alike for the shops, residential and leisure part of the development and then demolished a perfectly balanced piece of 30s built classical Georgian styled construction; only to replace it with a modern glass and concrete horror for the bus station (Fist Group again, sorry).
Anyway the first of the new buildings has now emerged as a forest of concrete pillars supporting concrete floors. This is now being clad in its dressing of precast and Bath stone faced panels some 10ft square and bolted on to the concrete pillars.
A couple of questions come to mind. In the first instance; knowing how porous Bath stone is; how long will it be before lumps of this Bath stone facing start falling off the concrete backing? Secondly; having seen how easy it now is to produce a Georgian style building in Bath stone faced concrete panels; when will we see Georgian Bath spreading across the country? You fake it anywhere now.
Am I right to be worried about the devaluation and disappearance of the artisan crafts and skills that will be wiped away when the last Bath stone mason pops his clogs?

Friday, 6 June 2008

Fist Group Again - Timetables

Now I'm sure that for the few readers I have, this whole Fist Group thing that I have going here is getting boring, so perhaps this'll be the last for a while (here's hoping).
Anyway - yesterday morning I arrived at the bus stop in Corn Street at 0925 and boarded the bus (18) to the University. While passing my Uni-Ten card through the reader I asked the driver when he was off and he replied "0926". I thanked him and he drove off, it was by now 0926. All around town and on the First Bus website the timetable (as described at the time of linking) for the 18 stated that the buses from Corn Street to Claverton Down ran on the hour and quarter hours. I was puzzled because you'd expect the driver to know when and where he's driving as it's all written down on his card but here was a bus that wasn't running to the published University Holiday timetable but one invented by First for their amusement perhaps.
This morning I went in to their office at Bath Bus Station and asked the man there what I should do and was informed that the timetable was in fact wrong but that it would be right next week. Go figure. The suggestion that they get the web based timetables fixed was met with amusement and I suspect that suggesting they correct the sheets on all the Bus Stops would be met with the same response.
Right there you have it. Is this any way to run a Public Access Transport Company??? Ha!!

Friday, 30 May 2008

Fist Group Strike again

The Flying Fuck
I am now convinced (even more than before) that Fist Group are sticking it to us again.

Whilst queuing for the bus this morning I noticed 2 people carrying their folding bicycles. This is not unusual as everyone in Bath knows that getting up the surrounding hills on a bicycle is not easy; thus a folding bicycle allows you to get the bus up the hill and ride the bicycle down.

I was astonished to find that both gentlemen were refused access to the bus. No warning, no notice period, nothing. They and several others have been using the buses in this way for a long time - why the change?

According to a gentleman at Fist Bus Station in Bath, it appears that bicycles should only have been carried if folded and fully enclosed.
Having checked the current(?) Customer Care Terms and Conditions, no such rule exists. There is no specific mention of bicycles. Who's lying?

When are Fist Group going to wake up and get real - they need all the customers they can get - shareholder value (37% down since January '08) - and our towns, country, and planet needs all the passenger miles it can get onto the buses and out of their cars. A great big Doh!!! To Fist Group again.
Fist Group are incapable of providing a public service - It is neither Public nor Service.
Bath needs a proper public service vehicle provider that acctujally gives a sh*t about our town and the people in it. Come on B&NES kick them out!!!
Why 'Fist Group'? I call them Fist Group because they are fisting everyone of their fare paying passengers and any local authority that has to use them to provide subsidised bus routes.

Friday, 2 May 2008

A Broadband Saga - Satisfaction

I have today received a telephone call from Caroline at BT Customer Service asking whether my issue had been resolved satifactorily.
She took my point that a satifactory conclusion could have been arrived at at the time of the incident but agreed that that was hardly possible now.
BT do not offer compensation for loss of service or anything else however as a gesture she could offer me 6 months free line rental.
I graciously accepted their offer on the proviso that there training had been improved and all call centre staff now knew that it is possible to change the name on a subsribers account without them losing any services provisioned on their line and that they knew how to do it.
Thank you BT.

December Post
March Post

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Logo Madness (or could it be blindness)

This is a cracker if wasted public money amuses you.
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) felt they needed to rebrand their identity to more closely associate the identity with their market. I know its bollocks but stay with me.
After discussions with a consultant in these things they came up with the original idea of using the department initials in a simple but creative fashion - squash them together thus:

To see what happens when the logo is rotated clockwise 90° click here.

Brilliant eh?

(Taken from The Register)

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Fist Group are at it again!!

Wow. This is turning into a veritable Fist Group Hate-Fest!!

A few miles to the east of Bath is a delightful village called Colerne. A pub, a Church, a village school, everything you'd expect of a small English village (pop. About 2500). From the end of June it will be cut-off for anyone without access to a car. This is ironic as Colerne has been working very hard to become an Eco-friendly village.

No longer will it be possible to catch a bus up Bannerdown to Colerne to enjoy lunch and a beer at The Fox and Hounds.

No longer will you be able to catch the bus up to Hunters Hall to visit Rocks East Woodland.

In a decent world where public transport might be a service, you'd need a proper socio-economic review before arbitrarily ending a service. As a company Fist Group should be investing in their services, promoting and marketing them in partnership with communities and local businesses for mutual benefit.

The 'We're stopping it 'cos nobody wants it' attitude is complacent and non-productive. A bus will always be undersubscribed if it's not running when it's wanted. Early buses for people and school children to get in to Bath; late services on Fridays and Saturdays for people returning from an evening eating and drinking in Bath or Colerne. If there's no service of course it won't be used.

Where are the posters promoting the local out of town services to the hundreds of thousands of visitors to Bath? What a great opportunity for anyone else who thinks they might be able to make a living from it. Best of luck to them, and show Fist Group shareholders how bad their management is.

Google has 3,110 references to Colerne and the 228. A large proportion of these pages contain directions and 'How to find us' type pages that will have to be rewritten. There's a job for someone.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

It could happen to anyone?

A friend of mine fowarded this pic to me and I couldn't resist posting it here.
These men are installing bollards to stop cars parking on the pavement outside an Irish sports bar. They are cleaning up at the end of the day. How long do you think it will be before they realize?

Found on Scottish Webcams Live

Chronicle items that aroused my interest

First up is the item about Fist Groups non-running of the Bristol - Weymouth seaside specials this year. BEACH TRAIN SERVICE CUTS? Appalling!!!

Oddly enough the second item also has a Fist Group element to it. The plan to use the old Midland Railway track bed from Locksbrook to Windsor Bridge as a bus route. As if there aren't enough roads. TRANSIT ROUTE PROTEST GROUP CONTINUES FIGHT and a followup TRANSPORT CHIEF TO HEAR BUS WORRIES

You'll find my comments at the bottom of the first 2 items as NickC

Just so there's no illusions about what is being done to the bottom of town in the name of Transport Integration check this out. NEW LOOK FOR STATION AFTER £10M FACELIFT Surprise, surprise - Guess who runs the dominant bus and rail services in Bath - It's Fist Group again.

My thanks to The Bath Chronicle which used to be an evening paper then went daily and has now deteriorated to a weekly.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Alastair Darling is Barred

A Search UK on Google brings up 32400 entries for 'Alastair Darling is Barred'.
I am very glad to see that the campaign against Alistair Darling has gathered apace. If anyone missed it the Chancellor of the Exchequer decided to put 4p on the price of a pint of beer. The stated aim was to reduce the amount of 'binge drinking' in the UK (or is it just England and Wales?). A counter productive strategy since drinking beer in pubs is a much more tightly controlled activity than purchasing spirits in supermarkets and drinking at home.

The upshot is that if Alistair Darling wants to drive the already declining pub trade further into the ground then increasing the tax on beer is the best way to do it. Thus the idea was born to bar him from every pub in the land. If he is unable to get a pint of good ale anywhere in the country then perhaps he'll rethink this appalling strategy.

On behalf of CAMRA Mike Benner penned a most succinct letter in support of pubs against the tax rise. Mike Benner's letter can be found here.

Support your local landlord drink more beer. If he's gone bust then it's everyone round to mine for home brewed ale (just something I'm musing on at the mo').

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

WANTED for Conspiracy and Identity Theft

Nice one here that I picked up from The Register (it's probably the only thing I read) on the continuing campaign against our Government allowing our identities to be stolen.

Privacy International have published this poster for download and printing - please do so and display prominently.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

A Shameless Introduction

I've recently started watching a series on Channel 4 called Shameless which is now in its fifth season. UPDATE - Shameless 2011 Intro
The one thing that caught my imagination more than any other aspect of the show is the piece spoken by the hero(?) Frank Gallagher as the titles roll which goes like this:

Tickets this way to the Chatsworth Express! Come and watch pikeys making a mess of their lives they were given by Him upstairs! And kids, they're convinced, aren't actually theirs.
What sounds on earth could EVER replace kids needing money? Or wives in yer face... 'cause this, people reckon - and me included - is why pubs and drugs were kindly invented to calm us all down and stop us going mental! These are Chatsworth estate's BASIC essentials!
We are worth every penny for grinding your axes...You shit on our heads, but, you pay the taxes!
Imagine Britain without Chatsworth buccaneers, we'll cum on your face for the price of a beer... eh?
Make poverty history! Cheaper drugs now! Make poverty history! Cheaper drugs now!
Heh heh heh heh... scatter! Party!

YouTube of course have the new version above when you search for new shameless intro and the original version is here.
Outstanding British drama.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Tom Paxton and an elusive CD

If anyone out there remembers* the late 60s then you will have heard of Tom Paxton. Amongst his large collection of albums released is one called "The Compleat Tom Paxton" and more recently "The Compleat Tom Paxton (Even Compleater)".

The recording was done in 1970 as a 'Live' concert at "The Bitter End" in New York. The 'Even Compleater' version was released in 2004 with 6 additional tracks on a 2 CD set.

What I am looking for is anyone with a copy of either version of the CD that they would be willing to sell.

Any responses gratefully received. Suffice it to say I have ordered it on-line from several suppliers who have all subsequently been unable to supply due to stock control issues - They don't actually have it but never realise until someone orders it.

* "If you can remember anything about the sixties, you weren't really there." Paul Kantner

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Westgate Street - Shambles

They're still at it. Lorries I mean, mounting pavements and trashing the slabs.

When are B&NES going to stop this destruction and manage the access better. It must cost a fortune replacing and repairing the paving repeatedly. Patches of ugly black Tarmac are spreading down the street.
The worst thing is that road users have this strange idea that they have the right to displace anyone in their way. You try pointing out to a lorry driver that he shouldn't be on our pavement and they get bloody rude.
What road users have to realise is that the days of personal transport and nation road distribution networks are numbered. Our roads and towns and country and ultimately the planet can't sustain their use much longer.
There should be comprehensive pedestrian rights over all highways. One day it will be so.

Friday, 14 March 2008

A Broadband Saga - Sometime later

Way back in the mists of time (last December) you may remember there was a total cock-up by BT which resulted in me losing my land line number and the associated Pipex Broadband connection. At the time I wrote a letter of complaint to BT at there Customer Services(?) office in Durham with copies to Ofcom, BT Openreach, Pipex and BBC Watchdog.

To date I have only received a sympathetic response - from the BBC.

Do YOU think anyone actually gives a shit? What a waste of my time their reputations (already in tatters) and in the case of Ofcom - tax payers money.

What a lot of BOLLOCKS!!!

Budget - Bull's Doo-doos

Well, well, well! No surprises in the budget are there. Tinkering, take some away, give back a little less and call it a speech.

Alcohol duty: Why present a tax increase across the board as a way to curb binge drinking? Patent, high gloss, gold plated, bollocks. Those that 'need' to drink will continue to do so. In that respect it's probably yet another tax on those less able to manage their lives. For the rest of we ale quaffers it's yet another nail in the coffin of our local hostelries. BBC Report. If the government want to do something about people drinking too much then this strategy is flawed. Your local landlord is not permitted to serve you alcohol if you're drunk. Sainsbury's or ASDA or any of the others will happily take £25 off you for 2 litres of Vodka and a mixer with or without 79p/litre more duty and you can still be in A&E with a poisoned liver within hours. This increase in duty will not reduce binge drinking. BBC Report.

Tax on Gas Guzzlers: This is pointless. If you can afford a big engined car you can afford the tax. It will do nothing for reducing pollution or encouraging the use of public transport. It's just another source of revenue for the Exchequer. Hey and guess what - You know the income won't go into improving public transport!!!

Conclusion: Overall I think this Budget demonstrates conclusively that this government(?) is bankrupt of ideas and should be ousted at the earliest opportunity. Sailing blissfully into a global financial meltdown with no attempt to got our borrowing requirement under control is a recipe for a disaster that the people of this country will have to pay for for years to come. God(?) bless us and all who sail with us!!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Minister defends National ID Register security | The Register

Minister defends National ID Register security The Register

"Home Office minister Meg Hillier defended the government's plans...", "fewer than 100 people will have access to the National Identity Database", doesn't really square with "asked exactly which bodies would be allowed access and in what circumstances. Hillier said that the number of institutions were too many to list".

You've got to hand it to her; you will not find better quality bullshit anywhere else on this planet. How can they possibly expect us to believe this crap is beyond imagination.

Some of us may have voted for this bunch of schiesters last time around but the wholesale erosion of our freedom and sovereignty that they have sanctioned would certainly exlude them from my future list of possible candidates to mandate.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Facebook loses a few bitches | The Register

Facebook loses a few bitches The Register

Well it does look as though The Millbrooker is neither the first and certainly not the last to leave social networking sites alone. They certainly are not a necessary part of online and connected existence.
Personally I can't stand the endless stream of pointless games that compare everyone you've said hello to with everyone else.
It's just got rather boring!!

Mergers and Acquisitions

Following the Microsoft offer to Yahoo!, The Register came up with a competition to name the new organisation the results of which are here. Enjoy!!

Monday, 25 February 2008

One Month on...

A brief rant - 3 things that bugged me this morning.

1. Why can't my doctors surgery allow me to collect a repeat prescription on Saturday mornings? Our surgery doubles as the local NHS Direct Walk-in Centre. It is staffed lit and heated but because the surgery reception is not open I cannot collect my prescription, that repeats every 2 months, losing me an hours work time every time.

2. Not many years ago I took several pictures of a lorry with it's front off-side wheel stuck firmly in Boots of Westgate Street's cellar. http://people.bath.ac.uk/mnsngc/20030730/Lorry_in_a_Hole.htm . These pictures were subsequently published in the then daily Bath Evening Chronicle. Needless to say the grating that failed was replaced by a steel sheet and tarmac patching. Despite the cost of constantly repairing and patching the situation is allowed to persist and yet again my morning walk up to the bus stop in the High Street was disturbed by lorries driving down our pavements with the distinctive crunch as yet more slabs crack.

3. Why do people who board the bus to the University insist on clustering at the front preventing full access to the rear. It misleads the driver into thinking his bus is full and deprives following passengers of a timely arrival at their destination. I thinks it's ignorant and selfish.

Whoops!!!!! There goes my Blood Pressure again!!!!

Friday, 25 January 2008


We'd all like to to see the government we want; be it left right or centre (wherever that is this week) but this blog really is a fine piece of on going work. Enjoy The Ideal Government.

A posting a little way down on 22/01/08 says it all for the ID Cards farce. No, not farce; ID cards are not funny. It refers to the news that Accenture and BAE do not want to be involved - as John Oates of The Register puts it - 'Let's walk quietly away from this impending disaster'.

BRB Just had to push this one out when I saw it.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

The Millbrooker came to Bath

It was truly a surprise to get a text on Monday last from my dear friend The Millbrooker.

At the time I was gently working my way round Gateshead's Metro Centre with Rhiannon who was desperately trying to spend yet more money on clothes, prior to returning to Bath by air a couple of hours later, and that's a story in itself.

The New Inn's brews were as good as ever and we had a really good time wending our way through verbal trivia for a few hours.

Cheers to all.