Long term review of Tea Pigs

It’s been quite some time now since I wrote my original review on Tea Pigs, so it’s about time I revisited that review.    So I’m still a big fan of the Redbush tea – the Rooibos crème caramel is still part my daily routine, especially when working late into the night.

That smell of the caramel with the Redbush is just amazing.  There are quite a few others now jumping onto this band waggon now – with Redbush flavours popping up all over.  Even the big brands are starting to introduce options.  But even their vanilla flavours have nothing on the Tea Pigs crème caramel.  So if you like your Redbush tea’s, give it a try.

On the run up to Christmas they have introduced a couple of new tea varieties.  I’ve tried out many of them, but my favourite two are the Apple and Cinnamon and the sweet ginger.   Clearly the Apple and Cinnamon has Christmas written all over it.  The smell and taste put you in a right spirit; and there is a genuine and wonderful apple taste with a good lingering hint of the cinnamon.   It’s just one of those drinks that seems to evoke memories of Christmas and the festive season.

Sweet Ginger is not something I would have traditionally looked to try.  Ginger can be too strong a flavour and not something I would instantly think of for a tea; but this is not harsh at all.  It’s wonderfully warming and calming.  Perfect for the festive season, it makes you want to sit around a warm fire looking out at snow falling.  I take this in my flask on the way to work and the number of people on the train sniffing the air to gulp in a little more of the smell is amazing.

Tea Pigs have now launched a ‘subscribe and save’ option that allows you to put in a regular order for a little bit of discount off your third shop.  I’ve given this a try for the regular stuff and will report on how well it goes later.

It’s great to see the numbers of boutique tea shops growing and I certainly won’t stop trying the competition, but for my day-to-day tea requirements, I’m still shopping at Tea Pigs.

A person with a dream and vision is more powerful that a person with facts and a budget

 

A person with a dream and vision is more powerful that a person with facts and a budget

I know this has been doing the rounds for a while, but it always makes me think.  Can be thought of on many levels, but this is most clearly demonstrated with religion – people give their lives and those of other people to perpetuate that dream and vision.

Let’s hope that these visionaries use their influence to perpetuate tolerance, understanding, and a sustainable future for all.

Recipe for Marrow Chutney

Marrow ChutneyHere is our version of Marrow Chutney – it has a little bit of bite, but nothing to worry the kids.  There is nothing complex about this and uses up the last of the marrow from the garden.  You can also use Courgette if you have them spare.

So, let’s start with the ingredients…

1.5 Kg of Marrow (we also use Courgette)
Salt
250 g shallots
250 g cooking apples
250 g sultanas
20g bruised root ginger
4 teaspoonfuls of spice mix (see our simple blend below)
120 g brown sugar
1 pint (about 570 ml) vinegar

Our simple spice blend is as follows:

2 tablespoons of dried chilli flakes
2 tablespoons of white mustard seeds
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of coriander powder
1 tablespoon of turmeric

First step is quite simple and ideally needs to be done the night before.  Chop, peel and de-seed the marrow – what you want is some small cubes – about 1cm or so.  Put into a colander in the sink and sprinkle liberally with salt.  This will help to remove water and take some of the rather bitter taste out.  We usually do this last thing at night and leave covered until the morning.  Don’t skimp on the salt as it will be washed off.

Salted Diced Marrow

Next step is to do the washing.  You want to get rid of all of the salt, so wash carefully.

IMG_4595

Put your marrow in a large pan and start to add all of the other ingredients.  Apples and shallots need to be cut into similar sized chunks and added.  Our spice mix is simple, but you can use something like pickling spice if you wrap it in muslin and take out at the end.

IMG_4598

 

With all the ingredients added, bring to the boil slowly.  Remember there is quite a bit of vinegar in here, so this is going to be a little bit smelly.  Keep the lid on and slowly simmer until completely cooked with a thick sauce.  You can stir as you go along and this certainly does help even out the contents, but don’t over do it.

Spicy Marrow Chutney

 

Allow to cool slightly and put into steralised jars.  Best to use hot jars and lids, add hot contents and leave to slowly cool.   Once cold store in a cool dark place.  A good larder or top of the fridge is ok.   Remember to put a label on it – especially the date.

iPhone 6 launch but nothing too interesting

After all the hype of Apple Watch, big screens and iOS 8, the launch of new Apple products went ahead last night.  I just can’t help being underwhelmed.  Big screens to catch up with the competition, NFC support to, err catch up with the competition and an iWatch to catch up with the competition.  I’m not sure there is enough there to make people want or need to upgrade.

Still, I’ve no doubt that Apple will do what they do best – they will make it easy to use, make it pervasive and perhaps more importantly create an unstoppable frenzy of consumer demand.

Repairing Discovery 300TDI Auto Cruise Control

Just a quick guide here on repairing the most common problem with Discovery 300TDI Auto cruise control – the vacuum hose.  These rubber hoses seem to quite easily perforate or crack over time and it’s very easy to fix.  Firstly, if the cracks are small and near the joins just cut the hose and reconnect.  This only works if you have enough hose.  In my case the hose has already been cut too short and is actually just dangling in the engine bay.  So a quick trawl over to ebay found new silicon hose cheap enough.

I’ve purchased some silicon hose – 5m of 5mm internal diameter and 10mm outer.  This gives 2.5mm of wall which should be enough.   5m is overkill too, but it leaves about 1m for the toolbox.

Discovery 300TDI Auto Cruise Control Vacuum Hose - simple tools required

Tools required are very basic – a good knife, some pliers and some nice hot water.

First off, I’m starting at the auto speed controller unit thingy (I’m guessing there is a real name for this unit).  The hose here for me has already cut by a previous owner, but clearly this was too short and didn’t reach the t-piece.  So that’s a timely reminder to measure twice and cut once :)

So, taking the old hose off (very easily in my case), I use this to measure the length of new hose required.  Remembering in my case that the hose was too short, so I’ve added to the length (best to measure long and cut back later if your not sure).  Using the hot water to warm the silicon doesn’t seem to make any difference, but as a homage to the old rubber hoses and to make me feel better I’ve done it anyway.

Discovery 300TDI Auto Cruise Control Vacuum Hose - hot waterWith one end connected to the Auto unit, I warm the other end going to the t-peice.  Once connected up it’s time to look at the longer pipe.  Remove from the T around the bulkhead and into the aux battery/jack area.  Here the pipe dives under what would be the battery tray and into the pump.  The pump is not easy to see and whilst it can be removed, I’m not looking to waste time.

Drilling off the jack mounting plate to gain access to vacuum pump

 

So with that thought, I’ve drilled the rivets holding the pump base into place and removed.  This gives just enough access from the top to do the job and I can replace later if needed.  Removal of the old hose shows that it was completely perished and not even connected to the pump.

Now use this pipe to measure a new length – as always a bit longer is better and remember it can be cut back later.  I’m starting by connecting at the pump end.  On the right hand side of the pump are two projections – your aiming for the back one, slightly shorter.  Push it on as far as you can and give it a tug – it should be a secure fit.

Discovery 300TDI Auto Cruise Control Vacuum Hose - to the pump

 

The picture above shows the red silicon hose that I’m using and just visible through the left hold is part of the pump.  Now route the hose back around the bulkhead using the clips where available and trim if required at the t-piece.

Discovery 300TDI Auto Cruise Control Vacuum Hose - T piece connected

 

Connect to the t-piece and you should have replaced most of the hose.  There is one more that goes through the bulkhead into the drivers footwell, but this one is in good condition for me and I’m stopping at this point.    So final picture from me shows a little more of the engine bay and the new red silicone hose.

Discovery 300TDI Auto Cruise Control Vacuum Hose - complete

 

So did it fix the problem… oh yea :)  fully working Cruise Control now on my 300TDI Auto!  Simple fix and only 10 mins of my day used.

Just found a nice guide to the rest of the system – it can be found on Landyzone here.

 

Minions offers some amazing walks

Minions is perhaps not on the top list of Cornwall destinations to visit, but it should be.  This small and sleepy village hosts a whole bunch of Cornish archeology – mining being the most obvious.  The views are stunning and it’s only a few miles to walk to the Cheesewring (cheese ring or Keuswask for some) and the Hurlers (stone circles).  So if your near Bodmin Moor have a look and bring your walking boots as most could walk there all day.

Old Mine Workings near Minions

Old Mine workings

The Cheesewring / Keuswask

A view of Cheesewring / Keuswask

Saving energy with LED replacement MR16 Bulbs

LED lighting is moving forward at a pace at the moment and prices are dropping quickly.  7dayshop have started stocking ‘Ecolight’ branded MR16 bulbs running at 5W.  These are produced in China but are made by the Daewoo group, so at least they meet EU standards.

MR16 24 LED 5W 12V Bulb

 

So, from first looks, they are the typical multi LED configuration and as the ones I’m testing are ‘warm white’ the LED’s are the typical yellow colour when not turned on.   It’s also good to see that the packaging in minimal with no plastics, just recyclable card/paper. The specification of the bulb is good on paper too.  They are 12V MR16 bulbs consuming 5W putting out 370lm of light (about the same as a 40W halogen).  They have a 120 degree projection angle, so are good all round lights.

In line with most LED based bulbs, they are IP44 rated and A rated for energy consumption.  At a hefty 50,000 hours of lifetime, they put all but the most expensive halogens into the shade.  Perhaps one downside is that they are not dimmable.  Not too much of a problem for me, but if you like to change the intensity of your lighting then you will need to look elsewhere.

Installation is a simple as removing the old bulb and installing a new one.  Retrofitting these into an existing installation may cause you problems though.  Some traditional 12V inverters don’t work at such low power consumption levels and you may need to replace them with an LED driver.

So if your MR16 LED bulbs are flickering, you will need to find a lower power constant current driver.  I’ve switched to a Halolite unit, but there are plenty out there to be found.  This will impact your total price as these units are not cheap, so if immediate cost saving is your goal, you may need to look to alternative forms of lighting.

ecolight led mr16 light pattern

The light pattern is good and unless filtered, it’s difficult to see the LED’s.  The Ecolight MR16′s are bright with a warm light – something of a departure from standard halogens that seem quite cold.  I’ve replaced 6 35W halogen bulbs with 6 5W LED bulbs, so my consumption levels have dropped from 210W at 12V to 30W at 12V.  Quite a substantial reduction.  The light levels are higher and with the new drivers installed, flicker free.

Overall, these are an excellent way to reduce the total power consumption, increase the general light levels (compared to 35W MR16 bulbs) and offer a warm light alternative to cold halogens.   If your goal is to save money though – the additional cost of constant current drivers may push this to a long term cost saving measure only.

St Neot Carnival 2014

outrageous grannies at st neot carnivalvisiting carnival queen st neot carnivalpirates! st neot carnivalst neot carnivalkernow pipe band st neot carnivalugly sisters st neot carnivalamazing kernow pipe band st neot carnivalwinning at the tombola st neot carnival

Great picture taken by my 11 yr old daughter Hattie at the Eden Project yesterday #edenphotocomp

Yet another amazing day out at the Eden Project in Cornwall.  So much to see at the moment and some completely scary dinosaurs.  All mine got the bravery stamp :).   Hattie had some fun with the phone though and took a million pictures, her favourite is this lovely green lizard that walked past her!

Eden Project Chair Eden Project You Are Here  eden project med dome

Didcot A Power Station’s Towers Demolished

For a long time, anyone walking along the Ridgeway between Oxfordshire and Berkshire will have used the cooling towers from the Didcot Power Station as a clear landmark.  The first three of these from Didcot A’s coal guzzler were demolished Sunday.  There is lots of media coverage, so no need for me to waffle on, so here are some links to help you learn more:

The Guardian - Didcot power station demolition draws hundreds despite warnings to stay away

GetReading – Where to watch Didcot power station being demolished

Oxford Mail – Didcot’s tumbling towers

 

Is #Gaza Israelis ‘final solution’ to the Palestinian people?

Concentrated into a small strip of land, surrounded with an iron curtain of walls, mines, and machines of war; is Gaza just an extermination camp to allow Israel to wipe the Palestinian people off the map?

It sure looks like it. Over 200 dead to date of writing in the latest conflict to just one Israeli death. Palestinian chrilden slaughtered at play. Trial by bomb and gun.

And yet for all this Israeli fire power, for all their technology and anger, all they are doing is creating another generation with passionate hatred towards their oppressors. Until Israel dismantles the Gaza concentration camp; until they stop the killing and show humility all they do is breed into a nation a passion and belief in the injustice and slaughter they experience.

There is no Plan B here for Israel. They are generating the very thing they are fighting against.

So, the only and final solution for the Israelis must be to destroy their sense of nation, community, and every single life. Gaza is the worlds largest concentration camp with what appears to be just one aim – the complete destruction of the Palestinian nation.

The shame and guilt we should be feeling is that we all let this happen. We buy Israeli goods, supply then with arms and do nothing to help the people of Palestine. I can only hope that both sides see sense, put down their arms, remove the barriers and seek a long lasting peace based on knowledge, co-operation and tolerance.

Review of TP-Link TD-W8968 ADSL2+ Wireless Router

If you don’t have a problem with a crowded 2.4GHz spectrum in your area, then a very low cost ADSL2+ wireless router may be your answer. The TP-Link TD-W8968 is almost too cheap – at around the £30 mark from the likes of Argos, this device is clearly aimed at the lower cost bracket and the consumer market.

So in a house full of Internet addicts, how does this device perform? Well, much better than expected. For comparison here, it’s replacing the BT Home Hub 3.0 a very common device out there and for such a low price a much more viable option that the replacement cost of a BT Home Hub.

TP-Link W8968

A quick look at the specification and both devices are very similar, both run only on the 2.4GHz spectrum with 300Mbit wireless n support, both have four ethernet ports, USB and ADSL2+ modems built in. Ascetically, the TP-Link TD-W8968 does look cleaner and more professional, but the Home Hubs are so common I would suspect that no one notices them any more. The TP-Link TD-W8968 could also be wall mounted and has directional aerials, so there is a touch more flexibility.

At look at power consumption puts them level pegging and on packaging both have minimised the non-recyclable elements and clearly don’t waste packaging materials. Here though you can clearly see BT’s commitment – no fancy colour printed boxes, everything marked with the material type and everything is colour co-ordinated. So wot? well this stops waste, shows people what each item is for and where it’s connected. I wonder how many generic grey cables have been binned before they true need has been recognised.

So how does the ADSL connection compare between the two devices? Our BT Home Hub 3.0 connected to the Internet with a reasonable error rate at 1124Kbps downstream and 448Kbps upstream. Given our distance from the exchange, this is nothing but a miracle. How does the TP-Link TD-W8968 compare? With almost no error rate, the TP-Link is getting 1976Kbps downstream and 448Kbps upstream. I’ve left the TP-Link TD-W8968 two weeks to settle on this speed and the performance improvement is very noticeable – almost double the speed previously achieved and with few errors.

I’m guessing that the BT Home Hub 3.0 is configured with some very conservative settings, on the other hand, the latest firmware for the TP-Link is almost a year newer, so this may be down to highly tuned software settings and hardware capabilities.

But what use is the Internet if you cannot get to it? Just about everything these days requires wireless. Wired is dead. So performance is all. There are going to be no records set with only 300Mbit Wireless N available, but range, especially through walls and bleed into outside spaces becomes more important (last thing I need is daughters complaining at the lack of Internet whilst sunning themselves in the garden). The BT Home Hub 3.0 always seems to lack some get up and go. Wall penetration is limited and it does seem very directional – point the hub in the right way and you get a good signal in one direction.

The TP-Link TD-W8968 is not like this at all. Penetrating through my 1m thick stone walls, the signal bleeds into external areas well and provides good coverage. Nothing is lightning quick here, but good enough for basic browsing, email and limited youtube action.

So far, the TP-Link TD-W8968, has owned the BT Home Hub 3.0 for ADSL and Wireless performance. It’s a draw on environmental issues and ascetics. But whilst the BT Home Hub 3.0 is very simple to set up and get working, it’s biggest let down is the lack of useful features and any real configuration.  The TP-Link TD-W8968 scores highly here with features like:

  • Guest WiFi
  • Customisable settings (such as DNS, QoS, Parental Controls, SPI Firewall etc)
  • Support for USB 3G modems

In conclusion, it’s clear that TP-Link have done a great job with the TD-W8968.  The Home Hub 3.0 wins only on ease of configuration, in every other respect, the TP-Link TD-W8968 is head and shoulders above the BT offering.  My recommendation:  if you need a replacement or new ADSL2+ Wireless Router, then look no further than the TP-Link offering.

PLYMOUTH UNIVERSITY NAMED RUNNER-UP IN NATIONAL IT INNOVATION AWARDS

A project to enhance the internet connections across Plymouth University’s campus has earned recognition from judges at a national awards ceremony.

The major upgrade, part of a programme of investment in state-of-the-art technology, included an overhaul of the wired and wireless networks in more than 1,700 student rooms and other communal areas.

Real IT Awards

The project has now been named runner-up in the Best Use of Cloud category in the Real IT Awards, which aim to recognise outstanding IT innovation across the private and public sector.

Plymouth was the only educational institution on the awards shortlist, with other nominees including multi-national giants such as Volkswagen, E.ON, GlaxoSmithKline and Pepsi, as well as Government departments and public sector bodies.

Adrian Hollister, Head of Strategy and Architecture in Plymouth University’s Technology and Information Services Directorate, said: “When we saw the calibre of the other nominees, we realised that just being on the awards shortlist was a major achievement in itself, and a vindication of all our hard work on this project. Our students expect to be able to access internet services wherever they are on campus, and it is vital we do not rest on our laurels and remain in a position to meet those expectations. Enabling them to stay connected is a key part of their academic and personal development.”

The four-week upgrade was carried out by leading technology service company CAE, and involved providing a 600Mbit Wireless N service and a 100Mbit wired service, giving students full access to the University’s suite of online resources on all their desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile devices. It enables families and friends to access the internet anywhere on campus during visits.

The upgraded service also includes a commitment to enhancing student employability by recruiting ambassadors for the service, who will become the first point of contact and providing out of hours help if required.

John Wright, the University’s Chief Information Officer, added: “This praise is due recognition for our outstanding technology team, who are consistently pushing the boundaries to keep the University ahead of the game. Through constant innovation, we have created an environment where students and staff can stay connected, and the new high performance wireless network has enabled us to achieve our ambition of supporting learning and leisure for all.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The wireless upgrade involved the installation of 400 sector-leading Cisco Meraki wireless access points in halls, which have fast data throughput of 600 megabits per second. These devices are connected to the network using 12. 5km of high-tech cabling – CAT7 is the latest standard of cabling and is designed to work the next generation of technology and last around 20 years. An additional 8 Cisco Meraki wireless access points have been installed throughout the student village to provide students with WiFi access in popular outdoor areas including North Hill.

For more information about this press release, contact Plymouth University Press & PR Officer Alan Williams on 01752 588004 or email alan.williams@plymouth.ac.uk.

About Plymouth University

Consistently ranked as one of the leading universities in the UK, and awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2012, Plymouth has a strong record of excellence, enterprise and innovation across its teaching and research activities. Distinguished by its long-term engagement with business and the community, the University enjoys outstanding links with employers and plays a key role in civic and regional leadership. It is the only university in the world to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark in recognition of its work in support of the sector.

With around 30,000 students, including those studying higher education at its partner colleges throughout the South West, the University is one of largest in the UK. It enjoys a high rate of graduate employment and has recently invested more than £150 million in its estate and facilities to enhance the student experience and support world-class research.

Plymouth has embedded sustainability across its operations, and is the overall best performing university in the People & Planet Green League. It is the first modern university to found a medical and dental school – the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry – and is the leading provider of Higher Education in Cornwall. For more information, please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk

Think Green Party in European Elections 2014

What a great advert for the Green Party. If your ever thinking of an alternative just spend a minute or two watching this and decide what’s best for you, your family, community and country.

Wantage, Letcombe Regis, East Challow Circular Walk

Circular route from the centre of the market town of Wantage. Good selection of road, gravel, mud with excellent dog walking potential. Ends walking via the old Berks & Wilts canal and back into the centre of town.  Only 5 miles and a good selection of views and walking conditions.  A great one for the dogs.  There is a full description of the waypoints and route on ViewRanger.  Enjoy.

Bodge after bodge – amateur hour

The electrics in the new house scare me slightly.  Just replacing bulbs with energy efficient LED and CFL bulbs has revealed a whole bunch of hidden problems.  The electric shock off the porch light was interesting, though I couldn’t feel my arm for an hour (lighting circuit power was turned off); but the second kitchen lights are type of what I can expect here and what needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

Placed directly on top of a 12V halogen bulb this component is toast.  I am surprised that there was not a fire or at least a loud bang.  Previous owners of the house seemed to have continued on oblivious to their bodges though.  Let’s hope I can get around to fixing it all before one of the bodges comes to bite me.

Theft of lightbulbs in Brightwalton village occur unabated as neighbours go around stealing others people external lights. Why this phenomenon is occurring is a mystery, though speculation is that old wannabe middle class nimbys are looking for nocturnal pleasures. Others say that it’s part of a fantasy jacuzzi cult. Who knows…

Heading to the European Elections

We are on the run up to the European Elections and it’s fascinating to see how little media coverage the Green Party receive. Others, who are more controversial and more extreme seem to get the attention. I guess this is in the interests of the broadcasters, who are after controversy to sell their stories, but it would be nice to think that the Green Party, with ever increasing local, national and EU representation would get the opportunity to put opinion forward.

I guess though this debate goes back to the state and privately owned media. A more transparent process, would certainly help to unlock our democracy and perhaps even make it a little more honest and accountable.

Fukushima ground water exceeds 2 million becquerels per litre

It’s been quite some time since the triple melt down at Fukushima Japan.  Whilst the Japanese struggle to clear up and manage the situation, TEPCO announced that values ​​of 2.1 million becquerels per litre were measured on Friday 27th.  The Japan Times recently reported:

Tepco found 950 million becquerels of cesium and 520 million becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances, including strontium, in the water from 13 meters [~43 feet] underground.

Water from 1 meter down contained 340 million becquerels, and a sample from 7 meters down contained 350 million becquerels.

Let’s all hope that they get on top of the situation soon and that nations around the world will rethink their strategy on nuclear energy.  Imagine a similar incident in the UK – could we survive if a county or two were so highly irradiated that we had to abandon them?

Satsuma Toilet Roll Fire Lighter

So with the festive time of year approaching fast and the numbers of satsumas and clementines filling the shelves, most people love to sock up on this fruit.  So this is a neat little tip that combines the waste skin from these fruits and turns them into a fairly good fire lighter.  What you need is a toilet roll tube, lots of skin and a bit of time.  Start with the tube on it’s end and slowly pack it with the skins.  Each new layer must dry completely before adding the next, so you may need to do several of these at the same time.  Once full, leave to completely dry – south facing window should be enough, even in winter.

What you end up with is a solid tube of orange peel which is very flammable and burns for enough time to get a good wood fire going.  Smells nice too when burning!

1st world middle class petitions – locals with no lives

Doesn’t seem like two years ago, but to the day, my middle class NIMBY neighbour knocked on the door and ask me to sign a petition.  The middle classing revolting?  No, it was a petition against the white van parked on the opposite side of the road to their house.  What a first world problem, how trivial and pathetic.  The neighbour opposite works at least 5 day a week gardening and these NIMBY’s were out there to seek to stop him working.  After making him redundant unable to continue his business, I can only assume that a petition would follow complaining that the poor chap was now on benefits and eating into the tax they pay (or perhaps largely avoid paying).

I do wish that the energies of these people could be used for something good for once and not to try and keep their social status (as the van was surely reducing the price of their tiny middle class house and the oiks living opposite must surely belong in another village [sic]).  Why these sorts of people go to a small community I’ve no idea.  They contribute nothing positive and spend their lives disrupting others to keep their old fashioned middle class ways.  Perhaps a ‘secondment’ to a 3rd world country would put their trivial lives into perspective.

Will our greed see Fracking on the agenda

Our greed has pushed fracking to the headlines as analysis shows that the gas deposits within shale rock could provide massive volumes of natural gas in England. We have two routes of investment here, clearly we as a country can invest in shale gas extraction (fracking) or we could look to spend the investment in renewable energies.

The problem with renewal energies is that it’s often the NIMBY crowd who don’t want to see this adopted. It’s not in their interests and after all, fracking just puts a few gas towers in someone else’s community. But in reality it’s likely to be their problem. There won’t be one or two towers, there will be hundreds, covering prime home counties as well as the midlands and north. NIMBY Tory and Lib Dem areas will suddenly be awoken with the reality of events.

But the bounty of cash for the local community will silence some.

Still those same NIMBY’s will be complaining about the price of gas (and not thinking about how they can reduce their consumption) and they will be convinced that the prices of gas may go down for their central heating.

They won’t be thinking about any long term damage. They won’t learn from the examples in the US and Germany. They won’t have spent time watching Gasland or many of the other documentaries out there showing the consequences.

Such is this selfish generation that we have produced that only when the impact becomes personal to them, will they act and complain. They will take the local community cash, they will take a bigger glug on cheaper gas, and then whinge when it goes wrong for them. Of course, if it doesn’t impact them, they will ignore it.

Seriously though, could we, should we, pump a chemical soup into our bedrock and not expect consequences?

Take some time and watch Gasland.

Five more new chick’s hatch

Five more new Chicks have hatched after being nursed by Lady Baldrick the Blackrock.  All looking like a healthy addition to the flock.  Now is the wait to find out what sex they are…

Lady Baldrick's new chicks

Blogging vs territorial and financial institutions

With the news that a number of bloggers have been banned from entering the country, I wonder how this freedom of opinion will change the way territorial institutions will see their role in managing populations.  The US and China are well known for censoring anything that would upset their political systems, the UK has clearly been doing this for some time by managing the press and media; but bloggers are a problem for these countries – they put in writing what they think.  They do so without the corporate or social controls put in place to sensor ‘professional journalists’.

Currently ‘freedom of the press’ is expressed by journalists in a small number of businesses that are on the whole, out there to make money.  They are constrained by this and constrained by the limitations that may be placed upon them by territorial institutions that may see them as a threat to their beliefs or methods of social control.  They are also at the influence of these same bodies who may be willing to fund their efforts on the basis of their support.  It’s a form of parasitic relationship, where they both rely upon each other for survival (i.e. it’s not in their interests to upset their parasitic partner).

Bloggers have the potential to loose these boundaries.  They have the ability to speak freely, to air their opinion and to upset the symbiotic relationship of the press and the state.

Bloggers also have a sinister side too – it’s all too easy for the territorial and financial institutions to ignore the press and publish their propaganda directly.  The US blogging scene is marred by this approach.

It is these two categories of bloggers that make territorial institutions nervous.  A rival can use the blogging platform to push their message, their change agenda and their culture into other societies; and an openly free and opinionated public can change the traditional balance of power within their society (in the UK, general opinion is filtered by a small self serving elite and re-purposed through the professional press and media).

So, this elite and their territorial and financial institutions have a vested interest to use blogging in conflicted ways: to understand threats/opportunities; and through chastisement and stigma, dissuade free opinion and free expression.

Blogging could become an important freedom of expression.  Something embraced not as rogue opinion but as a valued contribution to the development of a modern society – one where all opinion is valued and self moderated.

Good creative work from Katy Hollister

Katy Hollister has completed some work at Oxford University as part of her arts programme and we finally have some of the results back. I like the thinking and style of the mirror, so I’ve attached a picture below.  Wonder what she would be capable of given the best and most creative environments available from some schools out there.

20130606-212814.jpg

Dawlish to Teignmouth Coastal Walk

The walk from Dawlish to Teignmouth is something I’ve done many times, so I thought it about time I put the route down in the blog.  The views are stunning and it’s a largely simple flat and level walk (along the sea wall between the sandy beaches and railway line).  Not recommended at high tide with a bit of bad weather – or at least you are likely to get very wet and may have to find alternative routes to avoid the sea walls.   There are some steep climbs, but you could avoid this will a longer walk along the roads if required.

 

The new blog has arrived!

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated the blog, so it’s had a well needed make over. Moving from the older Serendipity platform to WordPress will help me keep things up-to-date and should keep me on top of the latest features available on the web.

So a big thank you to those that have helped me create this site and hello to a new set of technology.

Old Serendipity Blog

The Old Adrian Hollister Blog

Adrian Hollister’s photostream

The Barn CafeHigh footpaths in LetcombeGood track but slippery chalk in the wetView from the Ridgeway down towards WantageBridalway to LetcombeSign from Ridgeway to Letcombe
Steep in places, but great to walkQuirky StileBrightwalton ChurchOverlooking East ChallowClear but not flowing waterBerks and Wilts Canal  59
Berks and Wilts Canal  14Berks and Wilts Canal  56Berks and Wilts Canal  11Berks and Wilts Canal  53Berks and Wilts Canal  50Berks and Wilts Canal  7
Berks and Wilts Canal  47Berks and Wilts Canal  4Berks and Wilts Canal  44Berks and Wilts Canal  41Berks and Wilts Canal  39Berks and Wilts Canal  80

Planning permission – the route to more cash?

We’ve recently gone through planning for our house, to convert something run down into something useful to the community and hopefully attract families back into the village. Families help keep open the local schools, clubs and other facilities – something that is lost when childless and older people retire to villages. The planning process worked well, with the local typical nutty tory NIMBY’s failing on their attempt of character assignation and intimidation of my girls (how brave they were picking on girls).

Old Trees Elevations

Old Trees Elevations

What surprised me is the value that has been added to the house as a building plot. It’s a huge amount of money and we’ve had a large number of builders that want to buy the land and hope that they can build two or more properties. It’s tempting to take the money and run – with the increase in value we could certainly buy a very nice house and we would leave the NIMBY’s living next to a building plot.

Food for thought I think.

BT Infinity 2 = damn quick

BT Infinity 2 installed and working. What an amazingly quick service. Now if only BT could roll this out to rural locations…