Friday, December 22, 2006

Seas ns greetings...

not a mispritt, a localised lamp failure.
(Shome mishtake, shurely?)

A very merry christmas to both of my readers...

You are here...

In the summer, I grumbled about how our new Town Centre maps were something of a disappointment. You can judge for yourself from this photo.
Rummaging through my disk drive to find it, I came across a photo of another town map, this time from a small fishing village in North Wales. Much more interesting, although it does have the benefit of a harbour and coastal history.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Morley's disappearing angels, now you see them, now you don't...

The three angels in the ceremonial entrance of our Town Hall keep coming and going. Every time I drove or walked past by myself, they were there. Whenever I had company or a camera, they had gone.

Finally, they have been there at the same time as me, David and a Camera. I caught them for posterity below. (The Town Hall staff often store a large chair rack in the porch, presumably depending on how the hall is set out. When they do, they push the angels out of the way and unplug the lights).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The wheels on the bus go round and round...

It is now less than five months until May 3rd, when all of Morley town Council get elected, along with two Leeds City Councillors for Morley North and South. In the mind of the local politician, it is time to get writing, so the local rag letters page is somewhat dominated by posturing, slagging off and counter-accusation.

One issue that occasionally emerges locally is the provision of something called yellow buses for schools, generally aimed at sorting out the congestion at the school gate topping or tailing the day. However, I'm not entirely certain what the point of that is. Yellow buses are an American phenomenon, where kids are bussed in to their school if they live more than a mile or so away. I've experienced yellow buses in Saudi Arabia- where I worked they were reserved for the Contractors whilst the regular staff travelled on Greyhound Coaches- the contrast is the number 213 into town ompared to the National express Coach to London.

However, in any transport system, it is based on a hub and spoke arrangement to where people want to come from (many places) to where they want to go (the common target, the city centre, or in our case, one of many schools). It needs multiple pick-up points and routes to get to the central destination within the desired window and possibly the best way is to live near to where you want to get anyway, or not rely on the taxpayer to fund it should you need to travel further afield.

School buses are nothing new- when I went to senior school I used to recall a number of double-deckers near the school gates, all with their rolling cloth signs turned to "scholars". My occasional visits to nearby High Schools in recent years show that there are a number of coaches at home time, routed to suit demand.

What is so special about painting them yellow? And why do the local Labour party keep banging on about it via the letters page according to some sort of rota? Maybe the current political control of Leeds did away with some school routes which is why the local party wants to make a meal of it. There is always a hidden agenda in local politics...

An early Christmas present...

I used to be an occasional frequenter of a rather good chip shop called Peel Street Fisheries. It was ran by a middle-aged couple and we were on "hello luv" terms, a smile of recognition on the way in and some extra scraps on the product on the way out. Their particular speciality was a Corned-beef Cake, a potato cake made with Argentina's finest. (Yorkshire Fish Cakes tend to be battered layered potato & fish, rather than the breadcrumbed pureed innards from the Supermarket).

Occasionally, I would really push the boat out and have a spam fritter. I am rather fond of them for unknown reasons and the expectation is always better than the outcome!

About a year or so ago, the chip shop changed hands and became a combination Chip shop and Chinese takeaway. This became an opportunity to indulge in another of my irrational food fads, the special curry with fried rice. Their early offerings included a free fortune cookie and they generally include prawn crackers, although they are a little oily to my taste. The staff are very friendly, although I get the impression they don't speak too much English.

I visited on Monday as Karen was working late and included in the meal was a rectangular package that was obviously a Christmas present. On opening it I initially assumed that it was a pair of chopsticks and a reeded place mat, however on unfurling it, David was delighted to find that it was actually a 2007 Calendar which included all of the Chinese New Year definitions. Whilst basically a promotional giveaway, it delighted David who wants to put it on his wall next year.

Another satisfied Customer!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The law is no longer blind...

Have a read of this remarkable piece of law passed in Scotland.

It is particularly aimed at one Company and is a rather disgraceful piece of EU interference which appears to be unjustified and spiteful. The full story is in the online Telegraph here.

Hat tip to Englishman's Castle for the story.

The Government is not your friend, the EU particularly so.

Carols with the Mayor

Today is the Mayor's carol service organised by the Salvation Army. We went to one of these shows a couple of years ago and rather enjoyed it. It was presented theatrically with stage lighting and included some mini performances in amongst the Brass Band music (including a rather unexpected tamborine dance by some of the Salvationesses).

I'm rather fond of Salvationists. They have a very down to earth pragmatic approach to their worship, they get to wear a uniform, they enjoy a good tune and are generally amiable when not selling you the War Cry. One the down side, however, they are evangelical and like all evangelists are looking for an opportunity to lead you astray from the one true path of individualism. They also take the pledge and refrain from lifes little indulgences such as smoking, gambling and the demon drink.

I have it on good authority that fornication is still widely practised, however. Their bodies may be temples to god, although occasionally they let Eros in as does any closely knit community.

Will we be going today? Depends on the family mood- the last show was very long and really should have had an interval!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A little bit of politics...

Both of our likely prospective Labour MPs have come within the radar of Guido Fawkes, the blog of plots, rumours and conspiracy.

Firstly, MP Colin Challen has been accused of telling porkies about his recent bike accident in Trafalgar Square.

Now, Ed Balls has the whiff of Browngate about him with suspicious payments from charities & a rather unflattering picture of what the City really thinks of him.

What a dilemma for the local Labour party, a Watermelon or a Backroom Bruiser?

(Watermelon- green on the outside, red on the inside...)

The winds of change

I visited our local B&Q recently to get a new light switch after one of ours went a bit flaky. When there, I noticed that they are now selling domestic turbines which can be fully fitted for £1,495 including VAT. I took home a leaflet and thought about the economics of doing such a thing. It generates 1kW worth of power whilst the wind is blowing and from this article it can produce up to 2,000 kW/hours of electricity a year. As there are 8,760 hours a year then this suggests a usable wind about 25% of the time. (The rest oof the time, there is insufficient wind or too much and the unit goes into bypass).

As a Kilowatt/hour costs me approximately 10p then I can save a potential £200 a year with a wind turbine and the payback is under 8 years. The safe design life of the device is 10 years, so superficially, it seems viable. However, I strongly suspect that there will be an annual safety inspecion required after year three (at least £40?) and unless electric prices spiral upwards out of control then economics can't justify a purchase. Of course, it doesn't generate any carbon dioxide but what was the environmental cost of manufacture I wonder? The planning application costs certainly tip it over the edge.

There is also the issue of fitting a 1.7m wind turbine onto a modern quasi-semi in a fairly densely packed housing estate. Is the thing going to wail like a banshee and transfer groans and rattles through the brickwork?

It seems that there are 30% grants available that might make it notionally cost-effective, but spending someone else's money doesn't make sense with market forces, the viability still remains suspect.

I await the first turbine application to Morley Town Council Planning Committee with interest!

Christmas Angels- behind bars

I have frequently bemoaned the rather sad Christmas trees outside morley Town Hall. They are a decent size but they are unlit and only the top half is decorated, i.e. above scratter reaching height.

There was a snippet in the local paper a few weeks ago mentioning that the trees were going to be enhanced by one of the High Schools. I've now worked out what they have done, there are three angel type sculptures (from assorted recycled material) placed within the ceremonial entrance of the Town Hall at the top of the colonnade stairs. As it has locked gates at the entrance, it looks like the Angels are banged up in some particularly ornate prison cell!

There are a couple of discharge floodlights there but they aren't on a timeclock, they are lit at the whim of the staff. We passed on Friday at just before 10pm and it was dark within the vestibule so I imagine many passers-by don't even know they are there.

I'd loan you a £5 timeclock fellas, but the Safety Elf would want it PAT tested after a risk assessment on the consequences of plugging it in...