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Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Frozen Britain or Winter Wonderland?

January 11, 2010 Comments off

Icicles on the roofWe’ve certainly had some interesting weather here in the UK for the last 3 weeks. The week before Christmas we had a hefty snow dump of the kind I’ve not seen in my almost 9 years living here, and it disappeared enough to be able to resume normal activity just in time for Christmas Day. It required just a few minutes of digging to make two wheel ruts to enable me to be able to park again when I got back from visiting family.

Then last week we got another dump that was easily double that of the earlier one. It was forecast for Tuesday evening, and I made it home just in time to still be able to drive up the spur incline to my house and into my garage. If I’d been 15-20 minute later, I’d either have had to dig my way in or park on the street somewhere and risk the car being battered by one of the two nutters on my street who refuse to acknowledge adverse weather conditions (normally because a couple of people will always go outside to dig him out of his predicament). I had 30cm of snow in my back garden following Tuesday’s snow dump and, although it got as high as 4°C yesterday, it hasn’t really budged. The 30cm of fluffy snow has reduced to 10-15cm of crystalline iciness (a bit like an Icee) with a few centimetres of solid, compacted ice underneath.

If you think I’m being melodramatic, the BBC website has created Special Report: Frozen Britain to cover the event, as it’s such a rare occurrence — particularly in the southern half of the country — and it’s being compared to the previous worst cold-weather event almost 50 years ago. Road grit is running out, gas for heating is running low, snow chains and snow shovels are sold out, and the local shops have empty shelves as the delivery lorries can’t reach them (it’s a hilly area).

The plus side is that my freezer is gradually being emptied of older food that would normally have newer stuff placed on top of it, the cupboards are having a good clean out, I’m saving 50 miles of fuel and up to two hours each weekday, and I’m able to be just as productive from home as I am in the office thanks to stable power and Internet, VPN access and voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephony.

And the neighbourhood kids have been loving it. They’ve been sledging like mad for the last week, the valley has resounded with their laughter and fun, and down by the bridleway, someone had built a huge snowman complete with snow sofa and footrests, giving people something (albeit chilly) to sit on and admire. In this age of parents locking their children indoors for fear of bogey men: good for them!

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Categories: misc Tags: ,

Using Me!: Shall we all be green?

July 7, 2009 Comments off

There’s a new post on a friend’s blog that I think you should read. Here’s an excerpt:

New Scientist published a special edition last month all about the environment but specifically about ‘Sustainability’. It’s all very well adopting things that are ‘Green’ but that is not the same thing as ‘Sustainable’. For example using (corn based) bio-diesel is very green but it is absolutely not sustainable because it takes away crops from other markets pushing up the prices of flour, bread, meat and so on.

The rest of the blog can be found here.

Categories: science Tags: ,

Storm by Tim Minchin

April 28, 2009 Comments off

It’s been a few years since I sat in my living room late one evening watching Paramount Stand Up! (or something) on the then Paramount Comedy channel and I saw a weird-haired, mascara-wearing comic and fellow Sandgroper singing a song about canvas bags:

Tim Minchin – Canvas Bags

I find the song clever and rather moving, and it’s what resolved me to actually do what the song says, rather than just thinking about it. Within a week or so, a friend and I had chipped in and bought 20 canvas bags from Clever Baggers for ourselves and family, and to this day we both independently take our bags to the supermarket.

That video was of course my first encounter with the brilliant, talented… and slightly eccentric Tim Minchin. Since then I’ve bought his three CDs — Darkside, So Rock and Ready For This? — and have tried to make it to his shows, but to date events have conspired against me (including the Nine Lessons & Carols for Godless People show where a twisted knee prevented me going).

He’s back in the UK later this year, so I’ll be going — even if it’s in an iron lung or something equally ludicrous!

And this brings me to his latest sensational piece of creativity. As he talks about his wife and friends in it, it’s entirely likely to be based on fact. But regardless of the details, it’s a great beat poem called Storm:

Storm by Tim Minchin (with text)

It sums up precisely what so many of us feel inside whenever we speak to a “true believer”. And there’s not enough beat poetry anymore…

If you like his stuff, please support him by buying his merchandise — and try to make it to a show, if you can. You won’t regret it.

What-a-sad-world disclaimer: I have no affiliation other than being from the same city, having a similar view of the world, and following him on Twitter!