Friday, May 18, 2007

What Sally was doing in the Alley

I find it reassuring that Norfolk County Council decided to put this sign up in three languages because it has been constantly preying upon my mind that continental types are taking cheap flights into Norwich International Airport merely to urinate up the back passages of Norwich Citizens - and everyone knows their wee smells different to ours.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

From Our Show Business Correspondent

Change Of Career, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

To stay ahead in show business you have to continually reinvent yourself. He has an extraordinary ability to naturally talk in soundbites. He told me (with a Norwich accent)

"They can't call me The Puppet Man no more cuz I'm the Karaoke Man. I think it do a bit better. Only thing is I can't remember all the words so I have to put my own in"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Last Ride

My grandfather used to boast that he was the last person to ever use Surlingham Ferry. It happened this way.

He was a doctor and while acting as a locum in the 1960s he was called out after midnight on a stormy night to attend a woman in Surlingham who had just gone into labour. He arranged for Tom Ellis (the son of local naturalist Ted Ellis) to row him across the ferry. Halfway over they noticed that the boat was filling up with water in a way that could not be attributed to the torrential rain. As they stepped out of the dinghy it sank into the water never to rise again. He sprinted up the road with soaking wet clothes and found that his patient had her baby without him. (She was mortified, he remembered, that the doctor had come round and the house was 'in a mess')

Me And The Devil

Postwick All Saints, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

The Parish Church of All Saints, Postwick. Postwick, as anyone in Norfolk will tell you, is pronounced POZZICK and interestingly enough the Domesday Book gives it a french spelling Possuic which suggests to me that the proper pronounciation was always thus. The spelling of the village name is probably the result of a fantasy of some early mapmaker.

This photograph is taken from the very spot upon which I was standing when at the age of nine my friend Alan Williams, told me that if I pointed my finger at a gravestone then my hand would turn black and rot away. I can still, after all these years, hear the shock in his voice as he warned me of my fate. Only washing it with holy water would save my arm he told me. Now Holy Water is not something readily available in Anglican Churchyards but after some thought we decided puddlewater from the graveyard would be just as good as it came from sacred ground. Due only to this use of muddy rainwater I am writing this entry with both my hands intact.

(Shamefacedly I must admit that even now I check myself if I should unthinkingly point my finger in a churchyard.)

Another related superstition from childhood that comes to mind was if a Bible fell on the ground three times then it was no longer holy and thus no use for swearing oaths, warding off vampires etc.. Indeed it could even be a malign influence and attract the very evil one hoped to avoid. The trouble was, I recall, that you could not tell a Holy Bible from an unholy one.

These and other tales made up a kind of secret annexe to the official religion we were taught at home and school and were only spoken of among ourselves and never never mentioned to adults.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

From My Bedroom Window - Sunset Norwich Cathedral 05 05 07

I had decided in advance that I would take yet another photograph in my series From My Bedroom Window for the highly trailed flickr group Twenty Four Hours Of Flickr 05 05 07.

Came the day though the sky was overcast and as mundane as a view of a medieval cathedral steeple can be. :-)

The clouds began to clear in the late afternoon but I still could not get excited by what I was viewing through my lens. Just before Sunset the sky took on a rose hue as the sun dipped down behind Magdelan Street and I took this photo. After five seconds the sky returned to a more normal blue but I already had this photo.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Local Elections

Local Elections, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

We had three visits from the Greens and one from Labour - nothing from the Conservatives (we hang 'em high round here) or the Liberal Democrats. I was amazed by the low standard of election material we got and by the hazy ideas by the people electioneering on our doorstep as to what City Councillors actually do.

The Greens, were sadly, the most inept. The first guy to come to our door seemed mad and was 'off message' where the local manifesto was concerned. Another asked me in the middle of our conversation where Rosary Road was and seemed only mildly enlightened when I told him we were standing on it.

They all seemed to mix up the actions of the Parliamentary Labour Party with those of the Local Party with the first guy declaiming that one could not vote Labour because "They led us into Iraq". This summoned up an image for me of Steve Morphew (Leader of the Labour Party in the Council) personally raising a Pal's Regiment in the Mile Cross Estate and marching them down to Thorpe Station while singing "We Don't Want To Lose You But We Feel You Have To Go"

The Labour guy had the appearance of a make-weight who was fighting the ward because he had been told to.

I never spoke to the Lib Dem candidate but every time I saw him in the distance he was wearing an orange bri-nylon shirt.

The final result, if anyone cares, of this battle of the second rate was
J Conway (Green) 952;
J Holdcroft (Labour) 428;
J Hooke (Liberal Democrat)* 953;
G Richards (Conservative) 429.
Liberal Democrats hold, majority of 1 vote.

It went to three counts with the Greens winning the first by one vote and losing the next two. Apparently it was a night of high drama.

The original count had the Green party leading by one vote. The Liberal Democrats's asked for and got a recount which put them in the lead. The Greens asked for another recount which when completed still had the Liberal Democrats's ahead by one vote.

A tearful Green candidate begged for there to be another recount but this was turned down by the electoral officer (whatever his office is called) on the grounds that it was (a) very late and (b) that the Greens had lost two out of three of the counts.

Rumours abound that the Greens are going to complain about this and try to have the decision overturned. For myself I just don't care. As I have indicated, that although I did vote, I could not engage with any of the partys or their campaigns. The most worrying thing for me is that the vote in South Norfolk and Broadland suggest that if Norwich expands as a local authority we will be in a Conservative run area. I may have to move.

Friday, May 04, 2007

PhotoArtmaster Classic

PhotoArtmasterClassic3, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Free this month with Digital Camera The Magazine for today's photographer comes a program called PhotoArtmaster Classic from fo2Pix which normally sells for all of £5.99 (nine dollars in the states which suggests an unfavourable rate of exchange for the pound).

The fo2Pix blurb says "All the PhotoArtMaster products are unique as they are the only creative software that automatically generate hundreds of variants, or ‘Sources’, based on the original digital photograph or scan. PhotoArtMaster Classic 1.5 generates over 47 such Sources. The Sources, which are accessible via 4 Tabs at the bottom of the Studio Editor screen, are composed of sketches, monochrome and colour palettes, under-paintings and highlights. The 4 Tabs included in the Studio Editor are: Colours; Main Colours; Main Edges; and Hints: Photo Art"

With a non intuitive front end and documentation that consists of a silent movie (really) it offers, despite the promises, results that are available from a hundred other programs and plugins (many of the latter free). As with all these so-called art programs the better the original the better the 'art'. The result turn out to be the kind of designs that would appear on cheap table place mats in the 1970s. Once used a couple of times it is doubtful that one would go back to it which leads me to think I paid the right price for my free copy.

The program seems to use more memory than Photoshop (on my system at least) and so I suggest you use it in conjunction with a Ram freeing program like the excellent freeware FreeRAM XP Pro. from