... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Sunday 29 July 2018

Oh I do like to be beside the... riverside

Well, our day trip destination seemed to get both my readers guessing (not Adrian, because he already knew - but I'm sure would have got it if we hadn't already discussed it) - but (ex) Stacross Jim got it in one - we were in Matlock Bath, and what a splendid place it was. Like Stourport, it's a riverside town (or possibly even village) so far from the sea that it became the next best thing for the local populace, and  has taken on some of the attributes and atmosphere of the real thing. 

It was such a gorgeous sunny day that I didn't visit the aquarium (with the town's last remaining petrifying well, 'a source of curiosity and amazement'),
or the lead mining museum (whose website doesn't appear to be working), or any of the many amusement arcades tastefully lining the main parade.

But I did have an ice cream in the 'secret garden' behind Hall's shop,
purchased for one and all in a tradition established in Cleethorpes in 2015, by the Boss, and pie and chips in a very traditional seaside style pie and fish restaurant - you could tell we weren't very far from home though, because there was Hendo's on the table, which was good, because thanks to Adrian and Linda, I do like it on my mushy peas. And after lunch five of us, including the Boss, wnet out on a rowing boat, expertly propelled by our chief administrator, who honed his skills kayaking on the Bridgewater Canal.
We rounded off an all too short day with a stroll back along the Lovers Walk.

In the morning, a colleague and I made a detour to somewhere else entirely to get a canal and tot-shopping fix.

Thursday 26 July 2018

Like Stourport, but even better

No one else understood what I meant, but that was my verdict on this year's works outing destination. Previously we've been to Cleethorpes (twice) and Saltaire, but this beat them both (although Saltaire was good).

We had ice cream in a splendidly opulent ice cream shop, a slap up fish lunch dinner, went boating on the river, walked along the canal, and took in some industrial heritage and antique purchasing (although we did have to stroll into the next town for those). There were plenty of indoor attractions that we might have taken in if the weather hadn't been so brilliant, and outdoor ones that we might have done had we not been too stingy.

A glorious, weird and wonderful place, and only an hour in the charabanc (hardly time to open a second bottle of  brown ale).

I'd go there again.
Like Stourport, only better. What do you think?

Wednesday 25 July 2018

What's in a name?

I like a bit of nominative determinism.
One of the best ever examples of the name being suited to the job was that of  Lee King, who was the BW employee responsible for the maintenance of locks on the GU.

But while we're on the subject of bins, this one's quite good.

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Fifty percent extra, free

This is another post for my Sheffield reader.

I got a leaflet through the door yesterday:

Every household in Sheffield is getting a new bin. A third one. That's a fifty percent increase in binnage across the city. Tens if not hundreds of thousands more bins in Sheffield's front gardens, alleyways, passageways and gennels, and on the pavements.

The new bin is for recycling tins, glass and plastic, as this illustration helpfully shows:

Actually, I love the illustrations. If you look at it through a jeweller's eyeglass (and why wouldn't you?) the bottles and tins are all labelled - 'milk', 'wine', 'baked beans', 'pop' and the irresistible can of 'drink'.

This is not to get us to recycle more (in fact, it might even lead to recycling less). I can't see it saving money (those bins can't be cheap). But it will make things considerably easier for the waste contractors, Veolia.

Currently we can recycle all those things (indeed, Sheffield City Council seem far less fussy than Lewes District, who would leave your whole boxful behind if it had a yogurt pot - EVEN AN EXPLICITLY RECYCLABLE POLYPROPYLENE ONE - in it. Currently we have a blue bin and a blue box. Once a fortnight we put them both out, with bottles etc in one, and paper etc in the other. Which is which is up to the householder, depending on what they create more of. I actually don't use my box at all - I just alternate what I put out, as I don't even half fill a bin in a fortnight.

Now, the boxes are a bit of a pain, it's true. Stuff blows/falls out of them, or gets soaked. They have - or had - elasticated covers, but these are all falling apart now and blowing about like something you wouldn't want to get on your prop. In case you were wondering what to do with the soon to be redundant box, the council have thoughtfully stepped in with the answer:

Overall, then, greater recycling capacity, hooray. But as a Green friend pointed out, this could actually mean less recycling. Each recycling bin will now be emptied every 28 days (with refuse collection continuing fortnightly as now, inbetween) - that's four weeks between collections of paper, and four weeks between collections of bottles and cans. Say you threw out very little paper, but lots of bottles and cans, you might have had more than half a bin of bottles and cans every fortnight; maybe even a full one. And your box of paper would have been collected every fortnight as well. So when your brown bin is full in three weeks and there's a week to go before it's collected, where are the rest of the the bottles and cans going to go? Into the black dustbin, of course. Ditto with paper and card. Not that Veolia will mind - they've an incinerator to keep going after all.

Meanwhile I now have to find room for a third bin that I don't need and will never fill.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Archaeology of a road

This is what my road looked like a couple of months ago:

This is what it looked like as they prepared it for resurfacing:

This is what it looks like now:

At least they've left the pavement alone:

One of the (very many) conditions of the original lease on the house in 1899 was that the lessee, at his own expense, would 'make and complete ... a good flagged footpath ... of the width of eight feet.'

Here's an interesting regional (or is it a class) observation.

The steps to the front door:

The steps to the back door:

Friday 13 July 2018

Where's my windlass?

Introducing Aurora Rose (already known as Rory), who I just know is going to be a boater - look at that right arm.

Congratulations to Sebastian and Izzi. What else can I say?

Sunday 8 July 2018

The best thing about gender-neutral toilets

I've just spent two days at the Foundation Year Network Annual Conference - an excellent opportunity to share ideas and experiences within our misunderstood little corner of HE, and to be inspired by what some people are doing.

The conference was hosted by the University of Nottingham, whose Students' Union building has the most fantastic gender neutral - or indeed any variety of - toilets I've yet encountered. A long corridor of self-contained, private, spacious rooms each with their own toilet, washbasin and hand-dryer. One day all public toilets will be like this (I wish).

The building we were in had a similar set-up, but on a smaller scale. As I approached I saw two blokes standing about in the vague vicinity. 'Is this a queue?' I asked. 'Yes' they said. And in my head I smiled a big smile and thought 'welcome to my world.'