Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Cities Of The Dead

It took me a while to work out why I always find these new inner city developments in Norwich spooky; walking around them is like being in one of those scenes from end of the world films such as On The Beach, 28 Days/Weeks Later or Doomsday. Whether it is Quayside, or King Street or Paper Mill Yard during a weekday it is if one had walked into an emptied world.

The answer is simple; they are all marketed at Dinkys or the Pink Pound or the Grey pound and because of this there are no children and consequently no one at home during the day. Even in the evening the residents retreat behind uVPC double glazed windows having made sure that the shortest possible distance exists between the comfort of their cars and their front door.

These are silent unnerving places. It is an ironic truth that a development like Quayside is probably quieter than a country village. Please note I did not say better.

Paper Mill Yard - Georgian Frontage

Monday, October 13, 2008

Free For All

Free For All, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Anti Capitalist campaigners in the early Autumn sun. Current events have proved it to be a great career choice; these days they don't have to do much but sit back and watch it all crumble into dust.

Not everything they had was rubbish so maybe there is such a thing as a free lunch. I did not take any of them but some of the books were quite interesting. There was a 1932 edition of the Wellington Book of Photography (the first one not to have tipped in plates) which admittedly the binding was poor but still a good reading copy. There was a 1935 edition of The Camera Book in good to very good condition, tightly bound. As well as descriptions of pre war processes it has some nice line illustration of contemporary cameras. Neither of great value (in capitalist terms the first is worth about a quid, the second about three or four quid in the right place), both of great interest to camera collectors. There were some Collins cleartype hardbound reprints of great "Classics" (Lorna Doone and The Three Musketeers if I remember correctly) Some odd Edwardian editions of Dickens and some Airport paperbacks. There were also some how to do it books on crafts. As I say I did not take any.

One of the drawbacks of once having owned a second hand bookshop is that whenever these guys are out with their stall, people come up to me with books they have snaffled and want a free valuation: two such did on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Green Party And The Lib-Dems Stole Our Post Office

After over a hundred years, from tomorrow there will be no Post Office on Rosary Road. There was a local campaign to keep it open which looked as if might succeed: the grounds for closing it were not that it was running at a loss (it wasn't) or that it was not fulfilling a social need but that it was within two miles of the Central Post Office in the Castle Mall. A petition was started, various members of the great and the good were lobbied, it was publicised in the press.

What happened next beggar's belief. In the run up to the local elections the two main contenders, the Green Party and the Lib Dems decided they would take over the campaign. They each started their own petitions -hence diluting the original. They each ran rival campaigns to save Rosary Road Post Office. Quite simply they muscled in. Party officials and volunteers announced they would handle it and there was no room for the non alligned. In the two weeks before the election we would recieve seperate newsletters from both parties every day boasting about their individual efforts to save the Office. The last one arrived at midday through my letterbox on election day.

Promises were made. Both parties proposed to lobby Lord this, Lady that, etc. Both were going to travel up to London to see this committee, that quango.

And then nothing. The election was won by the Greens and the Lib Dems withdrew their campaign. There was a line in the paper two weeks later that if anyone wanted the Lib Dem petition they should contact them. No one is sure what happened to the Green one. After a fortnight of Green representitives banging on our doors and putting leaflets through our letterboxes none of us have heard a word from the victorious party about anything. No letters, no meetings and definitely nothing about the Post Office campaign.

In the meantime the totally sidelined Friends Of The Rosary Road Post Office campaign had lost all momentum and the branch was earmarked for closure.

Bevan famously described the Conservative Party as "Less Than Vermin", I think we are justified in adding the Greens and the Lib Dems to this.

It is not all bad news. Thursday has been designated "Kick a Green Party member in the bollocks day" and I live in hope that I will live to hear Fidel radio his secret orders to start the revolution in Thorpe Hamlet. I know who I will be stringing up from the lamp posts outside the Old Post Office on that glorious dawn.

These are my views and no one else's

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Elvis has entered The Walk

I don't normally comment on the buskers and street performers I photograph.

I have to say about this guy that he was completely wrapped up in a world of his own making. As far as he was concerned he was on the stage at Vegas. He wasn't bothered at all with what was going on around him. He hadn't put out a hat to collect money, a card to advertise his services or a pile of tapes for sale. The only time he seemed to notice the passers by was when in his athletic performance he bounced into them. It was a bravura performance that I watched with a mixture of awe and embarrassment.

I just wish I liked the Vegas period Elvis more.

Elvis impersonator on The Walk
Elvis impersonator on The WalkElvis impersonator on The Walk
Elvis impersonator on The Walk

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On The Thorpe Hamlet Crime Beat

Unfinished, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

It is only just a week or so since the calm of Thorpe Hamlet was rocked by the Go! Cow incident and was the scene of the first intervention by Norfolk Constabulary's crack Cattle Squad. It appears now we are in the middle of a crime wave. Residents woke up this week in Lollards Road to find this mural.

This is a photograph of the end wall to Lollards Road overlooking Pull's Ferry. (Rosary Road is on the other side of the wall)

Did the painter(s?) run out of paint and because Godfrey DIY supermarket was closed go home leaving his work unfinished or did he plummet the thirty feet to the ground? Did the baby's bottle, clearly shown discarded in a drainpipe, belong to the painter? Should the police be looking for a baby hopelessly sucking on a can of aerosol paint in the mistaken belief that its a feeding bottle? These are just some of the questions currently furrowing the brows of C.S.I. Thorpe Hamlet

Whatever the answer, the Norwich City Council Swat team, we have been told, is going to clean it off. The cost of this operation will be met by closing the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit for a week. Seems fair to me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ride Of The....

Valkyrie, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Honda Valkyrie seen in Norwich City Centre.
Six cylinders, liquid cooled, 1520cc. The Harley in the background looks puny by comparison. Because (in layman's terms) it sticks out a lot on both sides cornering at speed can be tricky according to the owner but he also said it is better at the fast corners than Harleys.

Not as bad as the pre-war BMW with their sideways fitted cylinder which meant you could knock off the spark plug if there was a kerb on a corner

It's still not a Triumph Rocket though.

I must point out I am a strictly armchair motorcyclist these days and hence do not really know what I am talking about.

Wikipedia on the Valkyrie

Heading For Dead Mans CurveVirtual Biking

Friday, August 15, 2008

Go! Cow

Go! Cow, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Breaking news: outside Godfrey's on Rosary Road. It was herded down Thorpe Road by motorists, who instead of stopping and calling the police, hooted at it. It has been corralled in the car park.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Oh God It's Southwold

Oh God It's Southwold, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

This photo was the cause of my receiving an extraordinary email written in the finest New Age techno gobbledy gook. The sender seemed to think
a)I would know who Sep Kamvar and Jonathan Harris are and
b) that I would care.
(it turns out that they are students of "human feelings from a large number of weblogs" who construct "playful interfaces" out of "art").
The message read

Hi, I'm contacting you today because I'm working with Sep Kamvar and Jonathan Harris on a book about feelings on the web. We found an image on your blog that we found beautiful, and we wanted to get your permission to use it in the book. The book is based on the website We Feel Fine ( In return, we will give you a free copy of the book, signed by the authors, and an invitation to the book launch when the book comes out. A description of the site is below. I'd love to hear back from you and if you provide a mailing address, we can send you a permissions form.
Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been studying human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling". When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the "feeling" expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). The result is a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 - 20,000 new feelings per day.
Using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of demographic slices, offering responses to specific questions like: do Europeans feel sad more often than Americans? Do women feel fat more often than men? Does rainy weather affect how we feel? What are the most representative feelings of female New Yorkers in their 20’s? What do people feel right now in Baghdad? What were people feeling on Valentine's Day? Which are the happiest cities in the world? The saddest? And so on.
At its core, We Feel Fine is an artwork authored by everyone. It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting what's on our blogs, what's in our hearts, what's in our minds. We hope it makes the world seem a little smaller, and we hope it helps people see beauty in the everyday ups and downs of life.

Thank you very much for your time,



Privacy Notice:

We Feel Fine only collects and displays data that was already posted publicly on the World Wide Web. We Feel Fine never associates individual human names with the feelings it displays, though it always provides a link to the blog from which any displayed sentence or picture was collected. Also, bloggers may make a blog post invisible to the We Feel Fine crawler by including the following code somewhere in the post: nofeelings. Finally, you may request for an image to be taken down from the site by e-mailing
We Feel Fine is an independent project conceived and created by Jonathan Harris and Sepandar Kamvar. It bears no affiliation to any company or organization.

As if anyone in their right mind wants to "make the world seem a little smaller".

I have always felt it is best if no one knows what is in my heart and my mind (for one thing it puts off girls).

I replied, as follows, to this meaningless waffle. I could not bring myself to start with a hi in the style of the original sender

Thank you for your enquiry about the image

You are mistaken it is not a beautiful image. It was not meant to be. I am sorry but I cannot allow you to use any image of mine that you so misconstrue. Any attempts to do so will result in contact with my solicitors and also my horse whip.


The cheekiest part of the letter was the part that explained that it was up to me to put code into my webpage to prevent their webcrawler hijacking my images.

I recommend that as many people as possible put the following sentences into their blog "I feel nauseous at the whole concept of . I feel horrified at the usage of the English Language by . I feel threatened by the attempts to deify the previously unknown Jonathan Harris and Sepandar Kamvar." Hopefully the webcrawler will get the message.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Steps, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Blogged because this is a rare photo of mine that I like, looks how I wanted it to and (for me at least) says a lot about the Norfolk seaside town of Cromer where it was taken.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


You Gotta Move, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

You gotta move
You gotta move
You gotta move, child
You gotta move
Oh, when the Lor' gets ready
You gotta move

You may be high
You may be low
You may be rich, child
You may be poor
But when the Lor' gets ready
You gotta move

You see that woman
Who walks the street
You see that police
Upon his beat
But then the Lor' gets ready
You gotta move
You gotta move

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sign Of The (Church) Times

Sign Of The (Church) Times, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

St Andrews Trowse has just had its roof replaced after the lead was stripped off it before Christmas.

Another sign on the church announces the use of Smart Water to "fingerprint" the roof. All high flat surfaces on St Andrews have been covered with barbed wire. To my eye anti-climb paint has also been used at higher levels. The alarm system has been beefed up. A church that is sadly never left open* now has all the appearance of being under siege.

I cannot find more recent figures but between January and November 2007 twenty one insurance claims were made from Norfolk churches in respect of the theft of lead.

* In the parish's defence it is only a mile away from St Wandregesilius, Bixley that was the subject of an arson attack in 2005.

St Andrews Trowse From The Southwest

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Open Up Them Pearly Gates

As always I am overstating the case but it is not with giant leaps but inch by inch we lose our freedom.

An example of this axiom is the Norwich City Council's latest wheeze. From 8pm at night until 8am in the morning part of the Riverside Walk will be closed off to all but visitors to the Yacht Station. (For those who don't know this is a popular stroll with local residents in the summer evenings)

Presented with the problem of people returning from the pubs and clubs late at night the worse for wear and casting off boats from the Yacht Station, the council decided not to cause the area to be policed to stop this from happening. They also decided not to punish or make liable the pubs and clubs who were selling the alcohol. They decided instead to punish everyone else by blocking off the staithe at night. People mooring in the boats, we are told, will be given the combination number to the locks but no one else. There was no local consultation about this at all. We lose an amenity, and have to pay for its loss out of the council taxes but we have no say.

Presumably they feel that at 8pm we should all be tucked up in bed with our cocoa and only troublemakers will complain.

I hate this. Our right to roam is one of our most precious freedoms. Happily the Council are a bunch of cheapskates where their own expenses claims are not involved. They have installed a shoddy Squire combination lock. It took well under 30 seconds to work out the combination. It is 8228. It is the same number for the gates at both ends. I will update this as it changes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sign Of The (Church) Times

Sign Of The (Church) Times, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

St Andrews Trowse has just had its roof replaced after the lead was stripped off it before Christmas.

Another sign on the church announces the use of Smart Water to "fingerprint" the roof. All high flat surfaces on St Andrews have been covered with barbed wire. To my eye anti-climb paint has also been used at higher levels. The alarm system has been beefed up. A church that is sadly never left open* now has all the appearance of being under siege.

I cannot find more recent figures but between January and November 2007 twenty one insurance claims were made from Norfolk churches in respect of the theft of lead.

* In the parish's defence it is only a mile away from St Wandregesilius, Bixley that was the subject of an arson attack in 2005.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Go To The UEA For A Charisma Free Future

Bloody U.E.A. Parents spend ages trying to persuade their kids that going to University is a gateway to an exciting and glamorous future and they go and produce this.... ( and they choose an assistant headteacher in exotic Lowestoft to boot to be the "face" of the campaign).

Is this the worst advertising campaign ever?

No wonder a whole generation has grown up who consider appearing on Celebrity Love Island is a more effective pathway to an exciting career.

I think we should demand that the whole staff of the U.E.A. resign over this one. From the Cleaners to the Chancellor. No exceptions. Further and higher education is not safe in their hands.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Barrack Street Slum Clearance, Norwich

From my collection Part of a map from the City Engineers entitled
JANUARY 17th 1933

I thought it would be interesting at this time when the flats on Barrack Street are awaiting final demolition to post this plan of what the area was like before they were built.

Tiny houses, crammed together, sharing outside WCs and wash houses. An old boy once told me that the whole area was so infested with rats they did not even bother to run away if you approached them in daylight. This kind of housing would have been the lot for the majority of citizens of most of the country. All this is only eighty years away from the lifestyle we have now.

To give you some idea of scale this portion of the map shows about a 300 foot length of Barrack Street. This is about a third of the area shown on the map and features the T-junction formed by Barrack Street and Silver Road. I have been told the area was nicknamed Bottlegate but would like to have this confirmed.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The elephant in the flickr Norfolk groups room

Sign in the window of Trowse Post Office.

There has been a revolution in Norfolk. We have been the subject of a friendly invasion of migrant workers from Poland and Portugal. (Although it is said the Poles are returning home). We have Portugese and Polish Shops, Pubs and even night clubs. Some banks and building societies have employed Polish and Portugese speakers to deal with their new customers. My small corner newsagent has found it profitable to stock Polish brands and beers. It is not just in the towns but also in the villages that one hears European languages being used; it is impossible to go to a car boot sale without meeting migrant workers on both sides of the counter. Interestingly enough this enormous social change has not been reflected in the local flickr group photo pools. Is this because we are a bunch of Racists? Or are we just very unwelcoming?

Indiana Blink And The Quest For The Lost Ho Lid Ayinn

We have all seen that film. Carruthers, in a quest to find the legendary something of something, is cutting his way through the jungle accompanied only by his faithful native bearers and a blonde girl with her silly ass brother. Suddenly a shrunken head is seen atop a pole and all the the bearers throw down their burdens and run away screaming, leaving Carruthers (and the girl) up the Amazon without a machete.

Much the same happened to me on Carrow Road. Only it wasnt a shrunken head but a cone and my bearers, from the local hoody tribe only threw down their traditional Burberrys before sloping off. And I did not have a girl or a silly ass brother with me.

In the distance can be seen the fabulous Temple Of Ka - Na - Ry home of the legendary Queen Delia.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Night And Day

Electric Sail (revisited), originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

On the Floating Restaurant, Drunkard's Leap, Riverside, Norwich.

Electric Sail

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Economics In Pictures

Economics In Pictures, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

I have been photographing this particular developement pretty much since work was started.

Because of the downturn in the housing market the bulk of the workforce have now been pulled off the job leaving only a skeleton crew. This is quite a blow for the City planners as this private developement was in their eyes the big one. Anyone remember how the first one million pound flat in Norwich was trumpeted last year? I feel sorry for the people (probably a company actually) who bought it because they are going to be in the middle of a building site for a bit longer than they originally thought.

Who said there wasn't a house sales crisis?

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Standards Committee is nothing to do with driving standards then.

The current Chairman Of Norfolk County Council demonstrates just how difficult it is to drive between those pesky white lines. In mitigation he is driving a Ford Mondeo EDGE but hey its HIS council this year and if he wants to park on the grass he jolly well will.

I just hope he is not on any steering committee.....

Reflected Glory

One of the most moving things about the war memorials we see in almost every church in the land is how the people who erected it usually remain anonymous. We are left to imagine the widow's tears.

Jaguar GR1 XW563 at Norfolk County Hall

Not so these days. Far more prominently positioned and in larger type than the plaque describing how this "gate guardian stands as a permanent memorial to those members of the Jaguar Force who have lost their lives during the course of their duties" is this plaque describing how Patrick T Hacon unveiled this one. May his name live for evermore.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A message from a bad place

Seen in Upper Goat Lane, Norwich, England.

Lets be honest. In a world overburdened by visual imagery and messages most graffiti comes across as so much visual static - even the arty ones such as those by Banksy one notices because of the desecration as much as the aesthetics. Very occasionally something seen out of the corner of the eye will stick in the mind. Was this written as a warning to someone or did someone write it as a reflection of their own situation?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Exile From Crinkly Bottom

I don't know what you call them (The opposite of tableau vivant - tableau mordant maybe) but the displays at Norwich Castle are without exception hilarious.

Noel Edmonds (for it is he) can be plainly seen being ejected from a night club by an extremely camp bouncer in Roman costume. Proof, if proof was needed, that "our Noel" has been around for far too long. His helecopter is hidden behind the houses.

The one below shows someone who looks suspiciously like Brian Sewell getting it in the neck from a Roman soldier presumably the target of his art criticism.

Brian Sewell Gets It In The Neck

The glimpse of the Iceni Village in the background is weirdly reminiscent of Thorpe Marriot the commuter "village" created in the 1980s on the outskirts of Taverham. The Iceni village does not appear to have a pub, shop, post office, school, church or village hall either.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Salhouse Broad - Swan, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

We are always in two minds about swans; we are impressed by their beauty and grace but wary of their wrath. Much like Blake's Tiger.

(Not another photograph of a swan you might say. They are a flickr favourite along with pictures of kittens with balls of string and appealing looking puppies. I was pleased with this one however because for once I got it right and did not "burn" out the details of the feathers in a glare of white. Photographing the thing in a fog helped.)

Salhouse Broad - Grace

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A light dusting of snow - The beckoning light

In Norwich we are so used to the presence of the Cathedral that we usually forget it is ever present on the skyline and we have for certain lost the sense of awe that it must have inspired when the Norman's first had it built.

Myself and young Master Menace Blink had gone outside just after dawn (well you try and keep a ten year old inside when there is any kind of snow on the ground).

Through the black silhouettes of the trees I saw the Sun's light hitting the Cathedral. The normally grey to yellow stone glowed like a candle.

It is an old saw that there are no atheists in a foxhole. I am not sure that is true but rather I think it is moments like this that cause doubters to doubt.

Photo uploaded as a late Christmas present for Simon K.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Rosary Road Weather Report

Rosary Road Weather Report, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

A pinch and a punch,
The first of the month

......................and no returns

Friday, January 25, 2008

In The Night Garden

In The Night Garden, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

In The Night Garden 2