Daily archives: February 8, 2010

Leaping from tree to tree on the West Didsbury branch line 1

I keep getting distracted from the main aim of the day (making a start on the first page of Point of Contact, since you ask). But at least it’s by good content.

When I popped out for a quick food shop I ummed and ahhed about which direction to go. I’m glad I headed for Burton Road.

Clearing West Didsbury branch line

I’d seen the Save Our Trees signs, but hadn’t realised how urgent they were.

I’m a big kid, and I’m so glad I got to see these grown up Tonka toys in action.

Clearing West Didsbury branch line

First through, but the last I got a picture of, is the one which does the actual cutting. They were on a break when I got this picture, but as they didn’t call the Police when I asked if I could take pictures it would be ungrateful to complain.

Clearing West Didsbury branch line

I may have missed the machine which strips the smaller branches off the trunks and cuts the big sections into more manageable lengths. This John Deere beasty comes through after that work’s been done, picks up the thinner branches and bundles them into convenient lengths.

Clearing West Didsbury branch line

Then this folows and picks up the big trunks.

Clearing West Didsbury branch line

I couldn’t get down to platform level. This is it from up the embankment after cutting but before clearing.

Last train to West Didsbury station

This is a platform level shot of roughly the same spot which I took last year. And here’s a post from a few years ago about a wander along some of the line they’re clearing out. The cover of Global Weirding used a photo I took at one end of the old station platform. I have some other pictures, but they’ll take a bit of digging out.

Tracked radio vehicle/ armoured personnel carrier Tracked radio vehicle/ armoured personnel carrier

Entirely unrelated, but I saw this in the car park of the Four in Hand. I haven’t got a clue what it is, but I know enough war geeks that I might be able to get an answer. The yellow panel on the side is a warning about high voltage radio equipment.

Word of the day- Burking

Burking was a very specific form of murder for money- the killing of suitable specimens for medical research. No doubt it comes from one of its most famous practitioners, William Burke of Burke and Hare fame.

I found out about the name because of a historian’s claim that two of the most highly regarded pioneers of obstetrics, William Hunter and William Smellie (what is it with the Williams, Hare was one as well), may have ordered freshly murdered pregnant women to help their research and run up a body count greater than Burke and Hare and Jack the Ripper combined.

On the subject of Burke and Hare, there’s a graphic novel about them which has been getting some good reviews. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s going on to my (admittedly long) list of books I should get. Buy Burke and Hare from Amazon.

Myebook - Burke and Hare - click here to open my ebook

Political blogs- let’s get local 2

John Ottewell writes for the Manchester Evening News and also posts on their political blog. His is an informed and relatively neutral (the paper ran a campaign against the BNP during the European elections, which he has defended) voice on the politics of Greater Manchester.

But what of the many candidates for Manchester seats?

There are 28 constituencies in Greater Manchester, to become 27 in this year’s election.

Let’s start where I live-

Manchester Withington’s MP is John Leech, the first Liberal or Liberal Democrat to win a Manchester seat since 1929. His blog is johnleechmp.wordpress.com.

The Conservative candidate is Chris Green. I can’t find a blog from him.

Lucy Powell, the Labour candidate, has a website with a news feed. Which is almost a blog.

James Alden is the Green candidate. No blog though.

Bob Gutfreund-Walmsley is standing for UKIP.

Yasmin Zalzala is a former Lib-Dem now standing as an independent who has claimed that she was run out of the party by racists.

There may be other candidates, from parties even more minor than UKIP, but these are the ones I found listed.

Manchester Gorton, where I used to live.

The incumbent is Gerald Kaufman. No blog, or even website as far as I can tell.

Caroline Healy is the Conservative candidate.

Qassim Afzal is the Lib Dem candidate. He has an official site, but it’s a bit sparse.

Justine Hall is standing for the Greens.

Oddly enough, the BNP don’t seem to have a candidate in the constituency that includes Longsight. I guess even people who are that stupid aren’t that stupid.

This is, unsurprisingly, taking a while to compile. Let’s round out this post with the constituency of another high profile MP. I work in Hazel Blears’ constituency, and end up reading the Salford Advertiser more often then my own local paper, so it’s probable I know more about what’s going on there than here. As part of the boundary changes, Salford becomes Salford and Eccles this year.

Hazel Blears is an odd looking little woman best known for causing trouble for Gordon Brown. Nothing that looks like a blog on her official site, but there’s an RSS feed so maybe the news items will get pulled in by my reader as they update.

Matthew Sephton is the Conservative candidate.

Norman Owen is a Lib Dem councillor standing for MP.

Robert Wakefield is the UKIP candidate. The Salford UKIP blog‘s one and only post dates from 2007 AND IS ALL CAPS AND TOO PAINFUL TO READ. It’s possible that Mr. Wakefield is the author of a novel about the crusades. He should talk to my UKIP candidate, who’s a bookseler.

Tina Wingfield is the BNP candidate. No site or blog that I could find, but I did subscribe to the BNP blog, because the ulcer doesn’t make me feel queasy enough.

Steve Morris is standing for the English Democrats. I don’t think the Steve Morris I’ve found results for is the same person.

David Henry has been chosen to stand on the Hazel Must Go platform. His site’s minimalist at the moment.

Joe O’Neill is standing as an Independent, though he’s a Lib Dem councilor. He hasn’t even bothered to write over the placeholders on his official Salford Council page, so I’m not expecting any web presence.

Last, and certainly least, is Richard Carvath. He’s standing as an Independent, on the More Self Righteous and Homophobic Than Anyone Else platform judging by his blog. Everything’s a conspiracy, it would seem, intended to turn our children into French speaking Muslim homosexual perverts or something.

I’ve subscribed to the feeds I’ve found, but I’m using Bloglines, which can be temperamental, so I don’t know how many of them I’ll be able to follow reliably. I’m not a wonky political blogger, I won’t be loading Spinneyhead down with policy discussion. It’s more likely to be anything outrageous that candidates say that’ll make it here.

Further constituencies may be added, these are the three that mean the most to me. If you’d like me to look at yours please tell me. Likewise if you know of any candidates I’ve missed out.