Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Taking to the Streets

A lovely clear day this morning - the roads were very quiet as parents were not involved with ferrying children to school
The skies were completely clear of vapour trails until later in the morning, suggesting that Bristol Airport had fewer flights than usual.
 Saw this "roof garden", i.e. the top of a garage
 Having looked at iPhone holders for potential use in the van,I came up with a low-tech, cheap and simple version - a lump of BluTack...
After lunch, Su dropped Bella and me down to Victoria Park.  Although retired I am still a member of my union (UCU) and so decided to withhold my labour from the marking pile today.  As Bella is a rescue dog, we do not know if she has ever been on a march, so today may have been her first political statement.  She did very well, not being particularly phased by the whistles and vuvuzelas - she was more interested in the tennis ball we found in the park.  Waiting for the march to form up, there were some speeches - and music provided by "Agitpop" - a great name, but the music was stuck in a 70s/80s time warp. "Stand Down Margaret" by The Beat has less bite 30 years on...
 These police were clearly not expecting us to start a riot...
 Banners ready for the march
 A shy member of my union
 Forming up behind the Bath Trades Council banner
 Not just union banners on display
 The march was big by cozy, sleepy Bath standards.  Estimates afterwards were as high as 1,500 people. Bella wasn't the only dog...
 A few people shouted out, "Get back to work" as we marched through Bath.  My response of "I'm a pensioner!" drew no response...  Chatted to this lone counter-protester for a minute - he was less reactionary than the picture might suggest.
 I was taken by this Janus-like protester, making a symbolic link with the Occupy movement
 The march wended its way along George Street, down Milsom Street, past the Theatre Royal and round Queens Square - where the Occupy encampment is set up.  I was impressed by this explanatory notice
 This is the Occupy camp
Some individualised and non-union banners..
A great example of a portable sound system - it was loud too!
 More individual posters - these made by proud children
 A lonely flag at the end of the rally
 The bandstand after all the speeches
 Another individual banner
 And all this took place in the lee of the Royal Crescent.
Fortunately the weather stayed clement throughout the march and speeches - just a bit of drizzle on the way back up the hill coming home. David Cameron is claiming these strikes are a damp squib, but time will prove him wrong...

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

To Nailsea and back

The day started grey with clouds full of rainy promise
 Some colour on this mouldy gate
 And there are  still bindweed flowers out!
 It was a wild wet and windy night, as these fallen branches show
 Ivy berries are very evident now - these are quite delicate ones
 Nearly circular patch of lichen on this wall
 Went over to the wilds of Nailsea - the wind crossing the top of Chew Valley Lake was really strong, blowing the van about.  When I got there I was greeted by this (apparently it is a thermometer - stick it on the window outside, but read the temperature from inside) - just one of the many delights at Bob & Vicky's house
 This is a scan around their back garden - decorated with butterflies, statues of various sizes and other ornamentation.  Their lawn looks so good because it is made of Astroturf.  Comparing that to our forlorn muddy patch makes it a serious contender to new turf...

After a decent panini and a drink in the Ring of Bells, Bob and I played some music for a couple of hours. We even tried out some potentially new material, to be unveiled at some as yet unspecified future performance.  Luckily, the weather had started to perk up by the time I left.
 Very dramatic sky down by Backwell station
 On the way back I pulled in to a lay-by near the airport to photograph the sky.  Only noticed the sign afterwards (never seen one like it).
 This was the sky - a stunning display, and another opportunity to try out the Autostitch app on my iPhone.
 Got back and parked up at the same time as Su got back from walking Bella.  Just finished a lovely meal and looking at the pile of marking next to me - just looking, mind you:-)!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Coolness and Green Pen Moments

Out with Bella this morning into a rather cool day after last night's air frost on the cars and fields. The winter flowering cherry in the front garden is doing rather well - I'm looking forward to more blossom over the next few weeks.
 The grape vine by the front door is shedding its leaves over the path...
 Most of my day has been spent indoors unfortunately.  I decided that I really must crack on with the marking that UWE have asked me to do, so I have had the joy of interfacing with this first year assignment.
 Today, dear readers, I have been using the green pen to provide feedback (thought I would try and channel the spirit of Basil D'Olivera writing to John Arlott - and treat all the students even-handedly).  Actually, it is quite interesting doing real anonymous marking, since I have never met any of the students whose work I am commenting on. I don't know if this will be better for them or not - the second marker will be the judge of that, I guess.
Tomorrow, I will have a respite from this brain-bending - I am off to Nailsea to see Bob and bend my brain against his mandolin playing instead.  No doubt we will have a conversation about Wednesday's forthcoming strike, as he is Branch Secretary of the UCU union at UWE. Such jolly japes :-).  Let's hope the rain passes over by the morning...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Trailing Round North Bristol

Had a sleep in this morning - but still found out about Su's earlier sneaky blog post when my email alerted me to a comment for moderation. Luckily, the day was not rainy as I had expected.
 Took Bella out for an early walk - there are apples still on this tree
 "Simpson's clouds" in the sky
 I've walked past the Mitsubishi van  hundreds of times, but never noticed its ridiculous model title before.
 This afternoon, we went over to Bristol to visit some of the many places involved in the North Bristol Art Trail
 This street art wasn't in the trail, but it should have been!
 After we'd had enough trailing around, we went up to a friend's for tea and cake - on the way, we met Frank outside his house in this fetching garb.