Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Tories, social gulfs, hmmm

The BBC says today “Tories tackle 'huge social gulf'”. Leaving aside the fact that the BBC's headline isn't telling the truth - another of those headlines that don't reflect what the piece actually says – the Tories are not tackling the gulf, they're only talking about it. And I doubt very much that they'll do anything significant once in power

This is a deliberate rewriting of history – they're talking about urban issues, and they're talking about fixing the society that they say Labour broke. But if you have any memory that goes back into the 80s, you know that the Conservatives played their own very significant part in the breakdown of cities then, from which Labour have failed to help them recover. So, if they actually did anything about it once they got into power they would in fact be fixing their own mess. And they were not in the slightest bit interested in it at the time. I can remember the virulence of their response when Faith In The City came out in 1985. I doubt very much that they will actually do anything – far too many of their current and putative future MPs idolise Mrs T far too much to bring in the kind of policies that will make a difference.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

We're going to get a wind turbine!!

Hazel Blears has made a good decision. Yes, I know, I had to go and lie down in a darkened room for some time, and I'm now only just strong enough to blog about it.

The hill that provides the background to the title of this blog will sooner, rather than later, I hope, have a wind turbine on it.

And this, according to an artist's impression, is what it will look like:

Image borrowed from Glyndebourne (pdf).

There's more about it here.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Fun with a chair

We recently acquired two chairs made by a cross eyed Sri Lankan odd job man about a hundred years ago. I kid you not - one of my ancestors by marriage was in the colonial service. Anyway, one of them fell apart this morning when my son sat on it, so I spent the morning putting it back together again. As it's an heirloom its emotional value is immense. Its practical value is probably negative; I'd have been better off going to Ikea (yes, I said Ikea) and getting a flatpack replacement.

Anyway in the course of trying to get it to work, i.e. to support some weight, I realised that the said cross eyed Sri Lankan odd job man had a capacity for making things eerily similar to mine, although he was probably more ingenious. Following that logic I started working on the assumption that nothing that was intended to fit did actually fit. This worked quite well, especially when I realised that there were two currents of idiosyncratic DIY going on because the chair had at various points in its life been lovingly "repaired" by other people with the same level of skill as me. Woodwork was one of the subjects I failed at school.

Anyway, I did pretty well with this chair. I managed to figure out how to get the sides and the front to speak to each other again, and then to marry as if they were one.

But I hadn't followed my own logic through well enough....

When the frame fitted together, the seat didn't fit the frame.

I hammered it into place. Sometimes ingenuity just has to give way to a good bashing.

Sunday, 20 July 2008


This is me enjoying the Digilab at the Open University.

And this is the monitor for the demo computer at the Digilab.

Unfortunately the last user at the Digilab disconnected it and the tech support could not for the life of them figure out how to reconnect it. There were an awful lot of wires behind it.

So much to the pleasure of my audience I gave an old fashioned face to face tutorial with no visual aids for half an hour. It seemed to go well.

I don't know my own strength

I was nearly up to punch number 5000 today when the hook holding the punchbag broke :-(

Pope backs Archbishop

"Pope rides to Rowan's rescue". So says the Independent. I'm sure they're right. I'm also sure that his main reason for saying "he does not support the defection of conservative Anglicans to the Roman Catholic Church" is that he doesn't want to have that bunch of trouble makers in his church.

So he seems quite a sensible guy actually.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Oh, the irony

Paul Walter got there before me, but, in the light of the Ray Lewis affair, which would never have been an issue if Johnson had had him properly checked out before appointing him, there is a certain irony about Boris Johnson using his overpaid Daily Telegraph column not long before to bemoan the amount of checking that's needed for some jobs. If only his file on Lewis had been "six inches thick". That bit's at the end of the column - and apparently it's the reason why we didn't make the European Championships.

PS the comments beneath the article are further energetic proof of the crazed mentality and strangely stunted world view of many Telegraph readers.