Monthly archives: April 2014

VoteMatch- find the party with the policies you want

VoteMatch lets you check what you want from your politicians against what they’re offering, in this case in next month’s Euro elections. Unsurprisingly, I agree most with the Greens. It’s always a relief to find you’ve chosen the right party.

I agreed with more BNP policies than UKIP ones. Don’t worry, they still came out last and second last overall.

Customising the Moulton Mini, phase one

Customising the Moulton Mini, phase one, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

I’ve had the Mini for a while now, but it’s spent most of the time sitting in the living room whilst I waited for bits. I’m going for white trim, though that may only last until the end of Critical Mass. I got the Raleigh original white tyres from Ebay, along with the much longer seat post. The saddle came from what’s left of the HandI bikes stockpile and the larger, colour matching, pedals were picked up at a Pop Up Bikes jumble.

12″ tyres are a pain to remove and replace, so the tubes are full of sealant and optimism. I repacked both wheels while I was about it.

Future possibilities include a white chain and decoration with stickers and practice pinstriping. For now, riding around town in the rain and then off to the pub.

A Wander along the Irwell valley

Yesterday, I resurrected an old fair weather tradition. I got on the bike and headed off in a (fairly) random direction until I was a bit lost. This was a lot easier back in the days when the only guidance I had was a copy of the A-to-Z, but it can still be done. As I was following, roughly, the Irwell upstream, coming back by a different route was as simple as crossing over and finding out what was on the other bank. You can scroll through the images above to follow my journey. The Rails to Nowhere image is available on prints from Deviantart and posters and postcards from Redbubble.

I actually started out in the shadow of the railway line, until I hit the Manchester and Bolton Canal. I’ve spotted it a few times on the train up to Cumbria and been meaning to ride along it for a while. This is one of the canals that is never going to be resurrected, as it’s been broken at various points along the route. A small part has become the Salford Lads’ fishing pond. Another bit is a breeding ground for truck tyres, it seems.

Further on, the canal has filled in and become overgrown. Bits have been burned. It was hard to tell whether this was a controlled fire to clear away brush, but there were some signs suggesting it was deliberate. Just beyond the burnt out section a small bridge (does it count as an aqueduct if it’s only a single, small span?) had been demolished. Another reason the canal’s never seeing a boat again.

Eventually, the trail I was on reached the Irwell. By this point, the canal was just some rough low walls that vaguely recalled having water between them once upon a time. I crossed over and carried on upstream until I reached Giant’s Seat Wood and then Ringley Bridge, where I crossed over and came back. My return route took me along the Irwell Sculpture Trail, but I only saw the one sculpture.

Finally, I was back in Salford, landing on tarmac in Kersal. If you’re interested in mildly gothic/half-timbered pubs, the Racecourse Hotel is up for sale. Should dark green faience be more your style, the Pendleton Co-operative Industrial Society building which once housed Houston’s Butchering is also on the market.

Lock, Stock and two infra-red equipped drones

It looks like Guy Ritchie’s first (and best) film needs an update. Nowadays the geezers robbing or “taxing” the dope growers would use a drone to fly around and spot the heat signatures of cannabis farms.

“They are fair game,” he said. “It is not like I’m using my drone to see if people have nice televisions. I am just after drugs to steal and sell, if you break the law then you enter me and my drone’s world.

“Half the time we don’t even need to use violence to get the crop. Growing cannabis has gone mainstream and the people growing it are not gangsters, especially in places like Halesowen, Cradley Heath and Oldbury.”

via Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers – Home News – UK – The Independent.

Why I’m making sure I’m registered to vote

I had a panic yesterday, because I’m not sure whether I’m registered to vote, and the European elections are coming up. I filled in an online form, and should soon be getting the paperwork needed to check and, if necessary, fix the problem.

Here’s one reason why those of us in the North West should vote Green-

I was voting Green anyway, but the chance to get rid of Nick Griffin makes it even better.

If you’re considering voting for a slightly less racist party with a gurning toff as leader, just bear in mind that UKIP aren’t very good at keeping track of their own money* and choose candidates who like to victimise six year olds and call for enforced sterilisation of the sort of people they think shouldn’t be breeding (can’t find the link for that right now, I’ll try to provide it later).

Maybe I won’t wait for the paperwork to arrive. Maybe I should use this site to download a registration form and get it sent off.

*That’s the euphemistic way of saying that Nigel Farage has been accused of raking in expenses and donations which may have been used for anything other than party business. They’re still allegations at the moment, the “other” expenses may turn out to be legitimate. You never know.

Vintage postcards of World War 1

I have a shoe box full of vintage postcards, some of them over a century old, which I have slowly been working my way through and putting up for sale on a site called Delcampe. I think I should share some of them with you. This set all relate to World War 1, mostly showing the devastation after battles.

You can find all the postcards, and some cigarette cards, that I’ve listed at the Spinneyhead store on Delcampe

Fossil Galaxy May Be One of First Ever Formed

A fossil galaxy sounds like the sort of thing Doctor Who would visit.

A tiny galaxy circling the Milky Way may be a fossil left over from the early universe, astronomers say. A recent study found that the stars in the galaxy, called Segue 1, contain fewer heavy elements than those of any other galaxy known, implying that the object may have stopped evolving almost 13 billion years ago. If true, Segue 1 could offer a window into the conditions of the early universe and reveal how some of the first galaxies came to be.

via RDFRS: Fossil Galaxy May Be One of First Ever Formed.

Postcards and prints of my photos from Deviantart and Redbubble

Church Street CDs by Spinneyhead on deviantART

I’ve been delving into my big box of digital images as well as the physical one, and found a few that would be good as prints or postcards. I’m putting pictures up on two different services for this- Redbubble and Deviantart. They each have slightly different inventory, and Deviantart has more because I’ve been using it longer. I ordered some cards from Redbubble a month or so ago and they’re very good quality prints.

Manchester then and now

Jacksons Warehouse-then

I’ve been taking photos of Manchester for nearly twenty-five years. When I went through the boxes of prints that I have, I came up with a plan to revisit some of the images and see what those places look like now.

Jacksons Warehouse-now

So, every so often, I’m going to grab the camera and go and take photos for the Now files and fill up the Manchester- Then and Now set. Scroll through them below, or follow the link for larger versions.

Fighting drought with sculpture

They look like abstract sculptures- skeletal ghosts of vases- but they’ve been carefully designed to harvest moisture from the atmosphere and can be built with locally available materials.

Called WarkaWater towers, each pillar is comprised of two sections: a semi-rigid exoskeleton built by tying stalks of juncus or bamboo together and an internal plastic mesh, reminiscent of the bags oranges come in. The nylon and polypropylene fibres act as a scaffold for condensation, and as the droplets of dew form, they follow the mesh into a basin at the base of the structure.

via Bamboo vase uses dew to fight drought (Wired UK).