"A word on the spot is worth a cartload of recollections"
James Maggs, Southwold diarist 1797-1890

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Know thy enemy

The English Defence League uncovered, after a 4-month investigation by Matthew Taylor. Video here.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Don't remember his name

Good blogging by Northern Light about the man accused of murdering the Bradford sex workers.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

More Munro madness

There's a serious attempt underway to break the speed record for climbing all 283 of the 3,000+ft mountains in Scotland. You can follow Stephen Pike's progress on his blog, here as he attempts this epic feat in about 40 days.

I hope he raises lots of money for the John Muir Trust, which works to protect Scotland's wild places.

I also hope he doesn't encounter too many dancing sheep, or jelly-fish.

Update 7 June: he's done it: 283 Munros in 39 days, 9 hours and 6 minutes. Amazing.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Dave Birkett repeats Walk of Life

Dave Birkett has climbed Walk of Life, E9 6c, full report here.

I like Pete Robins' assessment of Dave Birkett's character: "Dave Birkett inspires me, ...he's got super-human Cumbrian powers of gnarl and you could imagine [him] charging down the enemy on the front line in a medieval battle."

Here Mr Birkett is onsighting a climb called My Piano, a bold E8.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Why you see so many smiling cyclists

Iain Boal's chart of transport/motion efficiency.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

London sounds

Two hundred and fifty years ago, London sounded different. Nowadays we are used to the steady background hum of motorised road traffic, overlaid by the soft roar of aeroplanes and an occasional ice cream van playing "Greensleeves" in the suburbs. Then, London's streets echoed to the cries of street sellers.

A bit of colour

courtesy of Jane's London. Too many grey suits recently.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Reasons to be cheerful, part 3

Since Thursday's elections the focus of most of the media has been on the outcome of the parliamentary elections. There's been precious little coverage of the council elections, held at the same time. In London these local elections have greatly boosted Labour's power base, a fact that hasn't escaped the notice of London blogger Dave Hill:
The results of Thursday's London borough elections can be quickly summarised: Labour soared, the Conservatives slipped and the Liberal Democrats fell. Labour now has full control of 17 councils, a huge increase of nine, damaging both its main rivals in the process. The Tories gained one and consolidated in their strongholds, but have lost three where they were in overall control and had their numbers depleted in boroughs where they'd been working in coalitions. The chances of these again featuring in our Town Halls have been all but destroyed, because in most cases the Tories' partners had been Lib Dems, and it is they who have lost the most seats of all.
Dave Hill concludes
Set this alongside the successful defending of several key Commons seats [by Labour] and the fact that in parliamentary terms the swing towards the Tories in the capital was just 2.5 percent - about half that in the country as a whole - and you can see that there may be good grounds for thinking that a Labour comeback for the surely imminent post-Brown era may already have taken root in London's ever-churning political soil.
Full blog post here.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Reasons to be cheerful, part 2

One outstanding outcome of the election was Nick Griffin's crushing by Labour in Barking, and relegation to 3rd place.

What's less well known is that Griffin's British National Party lost all 12 of its council seats in Barking & Dagenham, and its only seat in neighbouring Redbridge. Overall the BNP lost 22 councillors.

Bloody brilliant.

Update Sunday 13:00: Adam Bienkov's take

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Whatever your persuasion, vote!

The latest polls indicate a hung parliament with the Tories just short of a majority. Labour are obviously stuffed, in good part because so many people are just bored and want something new.

How solid are the recent Lib Dem poll advances? My guess is that, when people come to put their X in the box, more will vote Tory than are indicated by the polls, and that Cameron will gain a narrow majority. I hope I'm wrong.

Mock posters courtesy of mydavidcameron.com.

Update at 09:00 on 8 May:
So the LibDem poll lead evaporated - more so even than I expected - but I was wrong to assume that would lead to a Tory majority. Britain hasn't endorsed Cameron, which is a good reason to be cheerful.
Can the Tories and LibDems agree to form a coalition government? I can't see it. Cameron prime minister of a minority government, then, probably supported by the Lib Dems - and with an eye on an early general election. Where will that leave the economy?

Update 12 May:
Wrong again! A Lib-Con coalition it is. Brown's gone, and I feel sorry for him. He and Labour have done a lot for the country. This has been a very strange few days.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A breakfast for carnivores

The great London Review of Breakfasts blog has just reviewed Garufa, our local Argentinian restaurant. If you ever fancy steak for breakfast, Garufa is definitely the place.

If you're feeling red blooded you can have a Bloody Mary with the Argentinian breakfast. When I went there I ate it with their Apple Virgin Mojito (mint leaves, apple juice, lime and sugar) instead. Delicious.