A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Archive for February, 2009


Posted by Alan on February 28, 2009

On Friday I took a slight detour on the way home from work. The district line wasn’t too well so I ended up leaping off at Blackfriars with at least a 5 minute wait to fill out. From Monday the station is closed, so I thought why grab a few shots with the phone.

Leaving the platform itself, I found they’d already started work – by sanding down the posters! This meant some pretty historical (histerical?) posters were on display. I’ve dated the Leathal Weapon one to 1998 but some of the others looked much, much older…

If you need to get around Blackfriars during the closure – see  http://tinyurl.com/4z2k7z

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Snazzy NAS

Posted by Alan on February 28, 2009

Last week I finally got around to setting up my NAS [Network Attached Storage] box. It’s pretty cool. £25 gets you the little enclosure. It plugs into the switch, in the back room – so I can’t hear it when it’s on. It is quite loud mainly due to the fact it is a hard drive and a fan in a small resonating metal box. Seems to work with Windows Vista (after a firmware upgrade), XP and 2K. Haven’t tried Linux yet but I assume it will probably work without many headaches.

Coupled with a 120GB hard drive I bought off Chris, it works well for the TV we download from 4OD, iPlayer, et al. especially now we don’t have a TV aerial!

Next task is to look at using it to backup inportant stuff and to see how secure the public FTP facility is.

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Scouse Culture

Posted by Alan on February 25, 2009

On Sunday I went to Liverpool. It’s been a very long time since I last went to Liverpool and did more than caught a bus. And even then, we pretty much just went round the Beatles museum and went home.

It probably wasn’t the cleverest of excursions. I had absolute craploads of stuff with me, having been back to my parents in Friday (collecting some hardware en-route), then to Nikki’s party where I collected some left-over booze to bring home. I guess that probably counts as tourist fail.

Still, I did manage to see some of the sights and culture. I saw the Mersey and the Liver birds. Had a cup of tea by the albert dock (with a scone, but not cream – lame). Walked round the Tate. Obeyed when the second man asked me to put my bags in the Tate cloakroom (naturally, first time I was suspicious, until I figured out it looked like I was on the rob). Wandered round Liverpool ONE and bought some leftovers from Zavvi. And then it was pretty much home time. Not until I’ve found a home bargains/quality save and stocked up on cheap tat. Just can’t get it in London.

All in all, Liverpool probably doesn’t deserve it’s repuation. Only once did I really feel afraid to get my camera out. And I did anyway… Maybe in the summer I’ll go back and find the rest of the city.

You can find the rest of the photos at http://is.gd/kJFE

Posted in Buildings and Places, Culture, Travelling around | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Kings Cross

Posted by Alan on February 24, 2009

On Friday, I took the train from Kings Cross. This in itself isn’t too unusual for me as I usually pick the cheapest route home rather than the quickest; it’s 30 – 60 minutes longer via Leeds but I had plenty of time to spare on Friday.

As really I had far too much time to spare, I came out of the tube onto Pentonville Road rather than the normal exit and went for a wander. There’s some lovely buildings around Kings Cross/St Pancras (see above) – I wonder how many of them will feature in the area post redevelopment…

I meant to get plenty of work done on the journey home. But the wifi on the train wasn’t working properly, plus Wendy and Anna sat opposite decided that really I should play cards with them. Fair enough I guess!

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Muddy Boots

Posted by Alan on February 17, 2009

This weekend I went training for Bogle. As most of you will know, I’m a long way from being a fit and healthy person, preferring a nice pint and a chat to pretty much anything else.

But! I said I would try to walk Bogle, Manchester RAG’s legendary charity walk. It’s 55 miles long and the route follows a figure of 8 centered on the UMIST campus. Many of my good friends walked it as students whilst I wussed out as a marshal – at least for Bogle 07 and 08. Most of the route is roads, therefore tarmac. My training walk on Saturday gone (a measly 4.95 miles) was mostly on muddy fields. Of course I knew this when I organised the training walk but I was mostly in it for the pint of Stout in the pub at the end of the walk. Old habits die hard and all that.

Read the rest of this entry »

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NUJ Protest

Posted by Alan on February 16, 2009

Today I became an honorary journalist. Well, I say journalist. Not really… Today, around 11am there was a gathering outside New Scotland Yard to protest against new legislation that means the police could prevent you from taking photographs. (It assumes you are a terrorist of course.). 11 am is close enough to lunch to mean I could lunch early!

Mark Thomas was meant to be leading the impromptu gathering (to avoid being an “organised” protest, especially within the SOCA desiginated no-protest area!) but I couldn’t see him anywhere.

The police didn’t move them on for at least an hour (I could see from the warmth of my office!) – though there was a few flashpoints where photographers stopped the traffic on Broadway!

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Down on Avenue Q

Posted by Alan on February 8, 2009

For those of you who haven’t heard of Avenue Q…see above!

Good bit of comedy for a Saturday night. It runs till the end of March so if you have a few quid in your pocket get yourself down to the Noël Coward Theatre.

One more song…!

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Tate Modern

Posted by Alan on February 6, 2009

Today I took my lil’ sister to the tate. I’m not really an arty-type in the sense of paintings so this could have been dreadful. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

The main hall is a fantastic space. Currently a large Ikea-coloured bunkbed, spider and film filled place. Some of the smaller galleries I could take or leave, but there was a few where you could spend ages just absorbing. Definately worth a visit if you happen to be on the south bank….

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Do not pass go

Posted by Alan on February 2, 2009

Yes, today was interesting! Ruth got up really early to go to the gym. About an hour later, she’d made it as far as Leytonstone – one stop down the line towards London. So sensibly, I decided I’d log on and find out about working from home…

A lunch time I took a break and walked up the village centre where I grabbed a few photos and ingredients for a nice warm cooked breakfast. Mmmm.

More photos available at http://alansrandomness.fotodock.co.uk/c1647257.html

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First Snow

Posted by Alan on February 1, 2009

The view from our front room

The view from our front room

Wanstead has had a fair dusting tonight. I’ve never experienced the tube in the snow so tomorrow might be interesting…

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