Monday, May 31

The Clocks of Waterlooville

This post has been inspired by a comment left by Steve in an earlier post. Here I have taken a series of photos of Waterlooville town centre from a location just outside Lloyds TSB bank. I have added arrows to indicate where a total of 3 clocks can be seen. Waterlooville now has 3 fully function clocks all of which have 4 clock faces. Click on the image if you want to view a bigger version of the mash up:

So why the fuss?
Well lets have a look at the clocks. On the left we have the Clock House Building with a working clock visible from quite a distance up and down the streets. It dates back to at least the 1970s, probably earlier (50s or 60s?).

Then in the centre of the image we have St Georges church tower with a clock at the top. This is viewable from the centre and down in the direction of Denmead and Hambledon Road. The current St Georges church was rebuilt in 1970.

So that leaves the clock on the right of the image. We have established that we already had two clocks that have been available for decades, so what about the little tower on the right?
Well in the noughties (about 2005) Havant Borough Council decided we needed another clock in close proximity of two existing clocks (all are within 50 to 200 yards of each other) and as you can see, from Lloyds TSB they can all be seen at the same time.

Yes, in this day and age when political parties encourage us to be independent and fuel consumerism to create economic growth, the days when everyone on the street has a watch, mobile phone or can even ask someone for the time. Yes in these days, our local government approved a new public clock, with all the accompanying expenses.

BTW spot the man with the shopping trolley who appears 3 times in the image. I think he is capable of doing quantum jumps and can appear in many places at the same time!

Sunday, May 30

Work on St Judes Southsea

I think I have broken my record for the number of posts in one month.
Some interesting changes are being made to St Judes in Southsea, A mixture of old and New...

I like this feature. In the new wall just outside the new entrance is a stone seat, for weary worshippers or shoppers to rest their feet:

A modern buttress, that merges the new on the right, with the old on the left:

One of the old buttresses:

I don't think this is actually a new feature, modern yes, but not a part of the new build. Here we have an original gargoyle from the old drainage system replaced with modern guttering. It looks like some water is still getting to the gargoyle, I think it is supposed to be blocked off.

Southsea then and now

Whilst visiting Southsea, I realised I had a photo of the sea wall near the war memorial and aquarium in my collection, so decided to take a similar photo today. This one was taken in the early 1980s or maybe the 1970s, the tide was out and there is no sign of the Spinnaker tower:

Today the tide was high at Noon. The Spinnaker tower is hiding behind the war memorial:

I'll try and get a better photo in future, try and match the exact spot I was standing in the 80s/70s.
The focal length probably also needs to be different.

Love Your Bike Day, Portsmouth 2010

Just got back from the Love Your Bike Day at the Southsea skate park. Here are a lot of photos of the event.

Someone relaxing on their recliner:

The Gocycle electric bike, but unfortunately the company didn't show up with some batteries and other units, I would have liked to have a go:

A custom chopper:

A customised paint job on this childs wooden bike, I think local schools had a go at painting these:

A bamboo bike. This is imported, the frame is made out of bamboo:

Close ups of the bamboo frame:

Actually this trike wasn't being exhibited, it was someone's everyday bike, I liked it because of the child's seat facing backwards at the rear:

Some action shots in the park:

And finally a bike harp. Yep it has strings on the frame with pick-ups that feed into an amp:

Saturday, May 29

Looking for buses from Waterlooville?

I seem to get a lot of visits from people trying to find info and timetables about buses. Oh the wonders of Google Analytics!

So here is some basic information about the local buses. There are two bus companies that operate most of the routes. Generally First operate most of the routes into Portsmouth, whilst Stagecoach operate routes that don't go into Portsmouth. There is of course overlap between the companies and routes.

All the info you need about the timetables and routes can be found on the bus companies web sites:

Stagecoach South

First Bus Hampshire

Also I have these links permanently in my 'Other Links' menu.

Apart from that general info, bus users might also be interested to know that another new bus service will be starting later this year (i forget when). The X43 will operate between Clanfield, Waterlooville, QA Hospital and Portsmouth. Probably using the motorway into Portsmouth like the other 'X' routes.

Wednesday, May 26

Monckton gets a pasting

I came across this presentation by Prof John Abraham this week (via Climate Shifts) and was very impressed by the thoroughness of the research. Christopher Monckton has been doing presentations himself, touring the planet and addressing the US government. Monckton also recently joined UKIP.

Anyway, I strongly recommend watching and listening to Johns presentation, it takes a while to get started, but it is astonishing how many errors John finds in the various slides Monckton uses. When you think of the small and minor errors found in mainstream climate science, it is astonishing to think that Monckton has the courage to even show his face, let alone make any presentation to an audience.

The presentation uses Adobe Presenter, which I believe is based on Flash and should work in most browsers.

John Abraham Presentation

Thursday, May 20

Waterlooville photos

I have been doing this blog for a while now and have focused on stuff that interests me, which inevitably means most posts have an environmental bias. The other thing is that I get a few people visiting the blog from outside the area, including foreign locations.

So I thought I would show some photos of locations around Waterlooville that are sort of connected to the history.

First of all, we have two pubs, The Heroes and The Wellington, that are linked to the Battle of Waterloo (by name) and the soldiers that camped in the area on their way back from the battle.
The Wellington:

The Heroes (i think the sign has a picture of heavy cavalry of the period)
Actually, isn't the foot soldier French?? I'll have to have a closer look in future!
(Added: having looked at some uniforms, the soldier on foot by the horse is closest to the uniform of the Kings German Legion):

As well as the two pubs, a few years ago the local government spent some money re-paving the town centre and created a bus only route through the centre. When they did this they got some artists to create plaques that are embedded in the floor, including this one that commemorates the Waterloo heroes (the text says "The infantry from the Battle of Waterloo camped here on the way back to barracks in 1815"):

Another plaque celebrates the ancient forest of Bere. Which of course is almost non-existent now (well you knew the environment would creep in some where didn't you!). Actually it does still exist as remnants in Jubilee Park, Park Wood and The Queens Enclosure, all of which are within walking distance from the town centre:

The plaques are located along some mock tram tracks that the same artists thought were a good idea. Trams once travelled along tracks from Portsmouth up to Waterlooville and on to Horndean. The mock tracks look nice, but I think I would prefer to see some real trams:

Then there are the new obelisks. Oh dear, does anyone really like them?
On each face they have a picture that is supposed to be linked to Waterlooville, some make sense, others are a bit tenuous:

Tuesday, May 18

New Cycle Path from Denmead

The new cycle path from Denmead up to the new Dukes Meadow development is almost complete. Work is being done to finish it off. Sustrans have been involved in the development, although I am not sure if they provided any funding. I understood they were providing matched funding, although this isn't clear.

The original path to Denmead has been widened. The original curb remains, the darker tarmac will be for cyclists, the older light coloured tarmac will be for pedestrians. This is a shot looking towards Denmead, the work on the path is causing congestion, but that's OK!:

Entrance to the path at 'South Downs View', a few bits to finish off:

Monday, May 17

Love Your Bike

Recently visited Palmerston Road in Portsmouth for a meeting, the first time in a few years. Turned up a bit early, so had a look around.

First thing I noticed was an interesting display of cycles in a Debenhams window. It was for the Portsmouth Love Your Bike event later this month. They seem to have a lot of sponsors this year and the web site is professionally designed. Quite impressive. You can check out custom bikes and stalls on 30th May at various locations, including Southsea Skatepark, Ian Parmiters Antiques and Little Johnny Russell’s.

Actually the main thing that caught my attention in the Debenhams window was the Go Cycle electric bike. Wow! An electric bike that has been designed from scratch and looks the part. The battery is integrated into the frame, but is easily replaceable. The frame is a light magnesium moulded structure, with a built in kick stand. According to the company web site, a shop in Winchester allows test rides.

Whilst waiting for the meeting, I popped into 'Heidi's Swiss Patisserie'.  I thought I was going to experience some continental pastries etc. But was confronted with Chelsea buns, Cornish pasties, iced buns, jacket potatoes, steak pies and donuts. There is a section called Continental breads, but other than standard British tin loaves, the only continental bread I could see was 'Greek' and ciabatta bread. People seem to spend a lot of time thinking up names for their businesses these days,  it's a pity that they can't also put some effort into a business plan that actually matches the name!

If small businesses want to compete, then at least be honest and straight forward, don't pretend to be something your not. Or maybe that is what society is about today, being flash with no substance?

Sunday, May 16

Solar Battery Charger

Bought this solar battery charger/cycle lamp/torch over a year ago. At first I didn't use it much, however I now use it almost exclusively for recharging batteries.

Works really well, although in the current sort of weather (overcast) it takes about a week to charge batteries. But since I am only using it to charge batteries for remote controls and the batteries last years in those things, a week of charging is OK. It came with two adapters for charging AAA batteries (seen in photo). It does AA and AAA NiMH batteries. However these don't seem to work so well with the torch option the unit has, probably need more charging??

I have thought about getting a more powerful solar charger (bigger surface area), so that it is quicker. But since my main use for batteries is in remote controls, I don't see any justification for the expense.

There is something 'cool' about using free energy! At least as long as the charger and batteries are reliable.

Sunday, May 9

Is all carbon the same??

I wrote two posts previously about why Carbon Dioxide was a greenhouse gas and why it was misleading to think of it as a 'trace gas' in the atmosphere.

In this post I thought I would have a look at the Carbon atom. Aren't all carbon atoms the same?? After all an atom is an atom isn't it?

Well no they aren't. In fact plants prefer some carbon atoms to others and fossil fuels have more of one type of Carbon atom to another. So what makes one Carbon atom different to another?

The difference occurs in the nucleus of the Carbon atom, which is made up of Protons and Neutrons. The most stable versions of Carbon (Isotopes) have similar numbers of Protons and Neutrons, when there are to few or to many Neutrons, the Carbon atom tends to be unstable and so doesn't hang around in the environment for long.

The two stable versions of Carbon are Carbon 12 (6 Protons and 6 Neutrons) and Carbon 13 (6 Protons and 7 Neutrons), these are what we find in our environment.

The atmosphere in current times is known to have a certain ratio of C13 to C12. Also we know that plants prefer C12 to C13 in the photosynthesis process. This is also reflected in the Carbon composition of fossil fuels that are made up of ancient plant materials. Compared with the atmosphere, fossil fuels have a lower C13/C12 ratio.

Hence by analysing changes to the Carbon Isotope composition of the atmosphere, it is possible to also determine where the increasing amounts of carbon are coming from. It turns out that the Isotope ratio is changing, showing that more Carbon from fossil fuels is remaining in the atmosphere.

But that isn't the only part of the environment where the Isotope ratio is changing. The same changes are happening in the surface of the Oceans, corals, sponges, and even our food.

So, we have another 'fingerprint' showing that we are changing our environment in many ways and altering the climate by burning fossil fuels.

More Climate Science

Thursday, May 6

Election night fun...

A video clip from Yes Prime Minister:

Tuesday, May 4

A Visit to Havant

I was in Havant recently and noticed a small shop in the Meridian Centre which appeared to be closing down, 'Jon's Bits and Bobs'. Inside he seemed to be selling wool (for knitting) and other similar stuff.
But what was more interesting was the big photocopied letter from Havant Borough Council listing the months of council tax 'Jon' owed, placed prominently on the shop window!

What most people are unaware of is that commercial Council Tax rates are huge. Jon was apparently expected to pay £980 a month, yes that is per month, for an averagely sized small shop. Plus he probably had to pay a similar amount for rent per month as well. I'm estimating some £11,000 per year for Council Tax and a similar amount for rent. So even before thinking about making a profit, a small shop owner needs to have enough people coming in, combined with products with a suitable margin, that will firstly clear some £20,000 per year, plus generate a significant amount above this to pay other bills and provide an income (oh and then there are the other taxes as well!).

So it isn't at all surprising that most shops sell mass produced junk with a guaranteed margin, to produce a significant income to pay the bills. The old shops that could in the past get away with a small number of customers per week, just can not survive and if you add the fact that they have to compete with bigger stores with more political clout, it isn't surprising that that many small shops struggle.

Green Fairs in 2010

This Sunday the Hampshire Green fair takes place at the Sustainability Centre near Clanfield.
Activities include Seeds swap, childrens activities, traditional and rural skills, renewable technology and green shopping.

Date: Sunday 9th May 2010
Time: 10am - 5pm
Location: Sustainability Centre, near Clanfield.

Later in the year (Sat 17th July) PCAN is organising the Portsmouth Green Fair, I think it will be at the Guildhall Square, like last year, although i'm not sure. It is expanding this year to include Portsmouth Green Week (10 - 18th July). 'The News' will apparently have a special supplement during the week, so all in all it looks like a bigger event.
More details at the PCAN web site.

Saturday, May 1

Winter energy consumption

Unsurprisingly, although also disappointingly, my electricity consumption was up on the previous year this winter. However it was still lower than earlier years.

But no need for heating now spring is here, so hopefully in the coming 9 months I can bring the yearly average back down.