Monday, June 25

Natwest Waterlooville - passerby has a lucky escape

I think this post proves that keeping old photos and being in the right place at the right time can pay off. Recently The News reported that a van driver recently escaped death when a marble slab fell onto him from above as he was passing Natwest in Waterlooville.

I just happened to be in Waterlooville today and just happened to have my camera handy. OK yep, I was planning to take some photos of the building whilst also visiting the recycling centre and doing some shopping. But what I wasn't expecting was to see some people inspecting the building and also over hearing the general conversation!

The photo shows the 'inspectors' - probably from the insurance company and Natwest - looking up at where the marble panel was once fixed. The panel fell off the mounting and smashed on the floor. Those things are really heavy. Imagine if it had been the panel above the door whilst someone was walking in or out!

They have removed all three panels now, for obvious safety reasons. Whilst walking by the building I overheard the discussion, which seemed to suggest a number of panels are cracked or a bit loose, although they are mainly at ground level, so not as dangerous.

Some time ago I took some photos of the clocks viewable from the centre of Waterlooville, so I have dug out the one I took of Natwest a few years ago. Here it is:

In this photo you can clearly see the original panels. The middle panel clearly shows the Natwest logo.
Can't really get much worse for Natwest over this last week, what with the total cockup with their computer systems and this in Waterlooville. The impression one gets, is that they are trimming back on maintenance to much in a lot of areas.

Saturday, June 23

Havant Goes Greener Fair 2012

A selection of photos from todays Havant Goes Greener Fair. The wind and rain held off for the day, an improvement on last year and it was busier to. I think there were about 60 stalls in total, up on last year (which was the first year of the event).

The Hampshire Coppice Craftmens Group, I bought a wedge door stop off them last year

Portsmouth Beekeepers always have a good stall - including a live bee hive segment

Wayside Organics

Not sure who these were, but they had a big stall selling herbs and plants

Whizz electric bikes

Emsworth Cycles

Saturday, June 16

BTCV event on Friday

Heads up regarding the Havant Goes Greener Week.

Rachel Moroney of  TCV (previously known as BTCV) will be giving a presentation at Waterlooville Community Centre on Friday 22nd June. The talk will be about volunteering on local conservation projects.

Thursday, June 14

More obesity and diabetes predicted for Havant Borough

As is obvious from my posts, I am interested in real evidence and science when it comes to policy and life in general. New research shows a direct correlation between the over provision of food shops and obesity and diabetes.

The research has been conducted by Professor Makse at City College, The City University of New York. His research shows that individual factors have less impact than collective behaviour. A major influence is the provision of food retailers, including supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and other facilities. The more food related economic activity, the greater the levels of obesity.

How does this translate to local activity in Waterlooville? Well it isn't exactly a secret that the Havant Borough Council have been actively trying to fill the town with cafes, food shops and supermarkets, largely because they approved other out of town retail developments that laid waste to the town centre. The biggest project is the Caetano manufacturing site, now handed over to Sainsburys supermarket. The obsession with the ideology of competition and market forces, will result in higher health bills.

Basically there is a conflict of interest. The flaws in todays unscientific economic theories, result in serious health and environmental problems. This is what happens:

1. You create plenty of opportunities to sell food.
2. Collectively and statistically people get fatter.
3. That results in higher health costs
4. But the current ideology is to limit or reduce state spending
5. The result is a big hole, caused mainly by flawed and unscientific economics that fails to include 'externals'.

Yet the 'right' would advocate personal responsibility, which would be fine if the science supported that idea. But as is often the case, people are social beings, like many species. Yes there is competition, but there is also peer pressure and that is often far more influential.
The science shows that individuals will not determine health, they are instead 'victims' of environmental factors, in this case created by flawed political theories and economics that over supply cheap food.

Will a small amount of spending by the council on health road shows and getting individuals to change do the job??
Again this is not supported by science or any fact. The national government sticking a few public information films on TV, or the council sticking a health caravan in Waterlooville town centre for a day, will do absolutely nothing. However refusing a supermarket planning permission will reduce obesity levels. Yet just about all councils think it is cheaper to allow planning applications for supermarkets. Is it really cheaper to get sued by a supermarket, or is it cheaper to spend millions on obesity and diabetes?? Which is the morally correct choice?

It is interesting that this research is published just as a new series 'The Men Who Made us Fat' starts on BBC2.

Here is the research:
Lazaros K. Gallos, Pablo Barttfeld, Shlomo Havlin, Mariano Sigman, HernĂ¡n A. Makse. Collective behavior in the spatial spreading of obesity. Scientific Reports, 2012; 2 DOI: 10.1038/srep00454

Or if you want it explained in plain'ish' english:

Monday, June 11

Feasting on worms

Common blackbird feeding a juvenile in our garden. The birds seem to be doing better this year. Quite a few Finches, Tits and other small birds have been visiting. This pair have been visiting often. The rain brings the worms out of the lawn and the birds feast on them.

Dead frogs

Unfortunately we found a dead frog in the garden recently, so it looks like one of the local cats caught it. Since we have not seen the second frog, it is likely that has also been killed. We are trying to do as much as possible to keep the cats away and are getting more successful. But it is hard when the owners do not provide the appropriate facilities or welcome for their own cats, by concreting over their garden.

The cats are attracted to our garden because it is more natural, but because fewer and fewer gardens offer wild life friendly features, it also attracts a lot of birds and other creatures. Hence the clash of cultures. Is it the end of the road for cats as pets? They require an industrial complex to produce food for them, which requires a lot of energy and resources. I don't see a lot of good in pet cats these days.