Thursday, 30 April 2009

Job vacancies update - 30-APR-2009


We're back for this week's thrilling job vacancies update. The graph above shows how many jobs have been listed on reed.co.uk and the Job Centre Plus websites. And the graph below shows some kind of extrapolated level of job vacancies for the entire UK, based on what Gordon Brown said a few months ago and how the levels on the previous websites have fluctated.


The goodish news is that its kind of levelled out at around 400,000 job vacancies in the UK, which must be very gratifying for the 2.5 million unemployed folk in the UK, me included.

The top job sectors for vacancies according to Reed are Temping, Management and Sales.



But from studiously studying the rest of the sectors, it looks like the ones showing most growth are still Actuarial, Motoring and Automotive, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), and now Leisure and Tourism.

Good luck, and if this has been any help to you, let me know.

Hopefully by next week I'll be able to give you graphs and stuff about the best regions in the UK for jobs. Until then.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Breast Cancer Bloggery

I was at a London Bloggers Meetup last night, my attractive young ladyfriend came along too, as she had been kicking about town earlier.

The meet up was a big one, in the basement of Shish, a kebab restaurant in Old Street that I haven't been to since Tuesday 7th August 2007.

The evening was sponsored by Fashion Targets Breast Cancer UK, free drinks, free pin badges, free USB business cardy things and a little presentation about the charity. It was started in the nineties by Ralph Lauren and aims to raise awareness and money for Breast Cancer. They have a fine range of women's clothes available in Marks n Sparks, Top Shop, River Island, etc.

All the designs seem to be black and with with animals or the charity's target logo. My favourite was this one.

They had a raffle thing, giving away literally loads of clothes and my attractive young ladyfriend was lucky enough to win one (photies later).

They were also showing off their Million Model Catwalk website, which is a fine thing, you upload your photies and it gets superimposed on a catwalk model wearing one of their outfits. On the title page of the website, I think my favourite celeb pretending to be a model is Sarah Cox cos she looks like she's a little drunk late on during a night out in Bolton, stumbling to the side slightly.

According to the leaflets on the tables, around 50,000 women and 300 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and, according to the website, 12,000 die.

As is usual for me after these London Blogger Meetup, here's the first of many list of London Bloggers that should be popping up over the London blogosphere as people write up the event, blogging about the evening.

Interesting folk I spoke to include:-
Aref-Adib
Andy Bargery
Cristiano Betta
Epicurienne
Dr Zoe the Shaman
Barbara from GloCal Travel
The Londoneer
People I made brief eye-contact with include:-
Ridiculant
Fresh Plastic
Lolly
Hayley from PunLimited
My London Diary
People who I didn't talk to or make eye contact with:-
Miss Geeky
Annie Mole
We Are Social
Gregg Fraley
(admittedly some of these aren't people as such, but are blogs written by people who I didn't talk to, make eye-contact with or otherwise recognise)
Actually, it was a quite a quiet one for me, maybe I'm just really shy. There's probably lots of other people who I didn't talk to or make eye contact with, leave a comment and I'll add to the list, then you can just cut and paste it into tyer own blogs and it'll be like a successful venture into post-event networking, rather than me just link baiting.

Afterwards, as we wandered back to Old Street Underground, we were overcome with hunger and popped into the Cay Tre, its a Vietnamese restaurant. We'd been promising each other to sample Vietnamese food for months, and you know what, its great. Its a bit sharper than Chinese food. I had this chilli chicken with rice thing, and my ladyfriend had some kind of crab and prawn dish, I think it had black beans in it too. She's crazy for black beans.

Ooh, modest prices too.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Pigs

Elsewhere on the internet Raedwald allays our fears about this Swine Flu.
The strain that has emerged in Mexico is the same as the H1N1 strain that caused the 1918/1919 pandemic, so let's look at that pandemic.

A third of the population were infected. Of that third, mortality rates were somewhat greater than 2.5%. Mortality was concentrated amongst young adults; children and older adults suffered a lower mortality.

In this pandemic an absolutely worst case of 750k deaths in the UK has been forecast - about in line with the 1918/19 infection. Except they didn't have Tamiflu, or an NHS, or all the things we have now. We also live less crowded lives.

Sadly these days, sickly folk can fly round the world on cheap for a fraction of their benefits.

Whilst I have faith in modern medicine and society, I'm not going to rule out the possibility of The Cassandra Crossing re-enactments on aeroplanes.

Monday, 27 April 2009

The 'email bounce' in meme propagation

Hmm, I had expressed skepticism, so Guido left a comment here yesterday
Blogger Guido Fawkes said...

Bet you it reaches 10k Sunday and doubles on Monday.

26 April 2009 13:36

And now it looks like he's right on the money.


The petition ticked over to 10k signatures at 22:00 on Sunday night and if people keep signing up for the rest of today as they have done all morning then it'll be ticking over 22K at midnight today.

When in doubt, trust Guido

Shoes

I'm standing in a shoe shop in Brent Cross, rather than judging whether shoes look nice, the first, second and third criteria has have before picking up a pair of shoes to look at are:-
  • Price
  • Requirement
  • Comfort
Prices start at around £60 up to £80, even the ones on sale were £40. So far, all out of my price range.

I am unemployed, I survive off of £60 JSA a week, and Housing Benefit which doesn't quite cover rent, so every week my credit card stacks up a wee bit and I keep telling myself that I'll be able to pay it off one day in the future when I have a job.

So to buy any of these shoes, my lifestyle would have to change for a week.

I'd survive on eating just pasta or rice with a sprinkling of herbs. Instead of spending my mornings in Borders avoiding a parking ticket, I'd sit in my car knitting. No gigs, no journeys on the underground, no cinema, no going out for dinner. And all for a pair shoes surplus to requirements.

Christ, I wish I had a job, then a pair of shoes would be something I could save up for rather then something to hold my breath for.

I wish I had a job.

This lifestyle sucks.

When will it all end?

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Liberty or dearth

Via Iain Dale, I find that Brian Michaelthwait Micklethwait is compiling a list of Libertarian bloggers.

He says
My point is not to assess quality, or to wonder whether I personally like them or will want to read them every day or every other day. (This will not, in other words, be the libertarian bit of my personal blogroll.) Nor do I intend to fret about readership numbers. Just how many libertarian bloggers there are out there? Who are they?
I, however, am concerned with fretting about readership and quality or what have you. So I did me a spreadsheet, stuck all the urls into Technorati and ranked them by number of blog reactions (this is the number of times other blogs have linked to that blog)
1. Order-Order (6732 reactions)
2. Samizdata (3331 reactions)
3. Devils Kitchen (2181 reactions)
4. Burning Our Money (2070 reactions)
5. Adam Smith Institute (1391 reactions)
6. Old Holborn (1065 reactions)
7. Craig Murray (948 reactions)
8. An Englishaman's Castle (868 reactions)
9. Tim Worstall (794 reactions)
10. Obnoxia The Clown (689 reactions)
11. Mark Wadsworth (636 reactions)
12. UK Libertarian Party (529 reactions)
13. Bishop Hill (385 reactions)
14. Libertarian Alliance: Blog (334 reactions)
15. The Last Ditch (333 reactions)
16. Little Man What Now (326 reactions)
17. Looking for a voice (320 reactions)
18. Douglas Carswell (314 reactions)
19. Freeborn John (291 reactions)
20. Lander Underclass (269 reactions)
21. Brian Micklethwait (240 reactions)
22. Counting Cats in Zanzibar (162 reactions)
23. Henry North London (144 reactions)
24. Freedom and Whisky (134 reactions)
25. Sinclairs Musings (124 reactions)
26. The Welfare State We're In (89 reactions)
27. Blognor Regis (79 reactions)
28. Liberty Alone (79 reactions)
29. From the Barrel of a Gun (52 reactions)
30. Shades of Grey (52 reactions)
31. Natalie Solent (42 reactions)
32. Charlotte Gore (31 reactions)
33. Robs Blog (27 reactions)
34. ill and ancient (24 reactions)
35. Oxford Libertarian Society (24 reactions)
36. CrozierVision (23 reactions)
37. Englands Freedom (17 reactions)
38. AngloAustria (16 reactions)
39. Public Interest (16 reactions)
40. Michael Jennings (15 reactions)
41. Ferraris for all (10 reactions)
42. Picking Losers (7 reactions)
43. Don't Hold Your Breath (4 reactions)
44. Garner blog (2 reactions)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Propagation of nation specific internet memes

There's a petition currently running on the Number10 website calling for the Prime Minister to resign. Usually disagreeable petitions get rejected before they take root in the nation's consciousness, but this one has been accumulating signatures for over twenty four hours now.

Its mostly been the blogosphere driving it from what I gather, here are the times the politics blogs I've seen it posted on.
The Register - 24/04/09 12:01
Iain Dale - 24/04/09 16:42
Order-Order - 24/04/09 16:57
Raedwald - 24/04/09 17:41
NHS Blog Doctor - 24/04/09 22:14
Samizdata - 24/04/09 23:50
Charles Crawford - 25/04/09 09:30
Here's a graph of how the petition has accumulated signatures so far. The number on the petition website updates every half hour.


So, last night when the blogs were first mentioning it, there were about 500 new sigs per hour, and today its been a steady 170 per hour.

Its been doing the rounds on Twitter and facebook too, but with these things it drops off the bottom of the screen pretty quickly.

Uncle Guido reckons it'll keep going on Monday morning when people start emailing, but I'm skeptical. I've seen these petitions before, there's rarely a second act.

Charles Crawford notices...
What struck my eye was the list of the petitioners themselves. The latest five first names are Harriett, Stephen, Chris, David and Allan. And so on. And on. And on. All classic English names.

Among the first 500 names listed are only a handful (five or so?) that might be said to reflect, hem, the 'diversity of modern Britain' (ie having some sort of Asian/Middle Eastern/African/Islamic/Latin American/European resonance).
Is the British political blogosphere so unrepresentative of 'modern Britain'?

Maybe its just the demographics of people who sign petitions? Like how the demographics of people of go on protest marches

How to encourage a more diverse mix of people to sign it?

Is someone at Number10 actually going through the list of names and cross checking them with some other list of 'the usual suspects'?

Friday, 24 April 2009

Return to the Lost Continent

I see from PopUrls that the Great Pacific Garbage patch is now twice the size of France.

The Telegraph article covers the usual ground about the sailing chap who heading home decided to drive his boat across the North Pacific Gyre, and how its all the fault of modern society using plastic.

Some interesting facts in the article from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Floating beneath the surface of the water, to a depth of 10 metres, was a multitude of small plastic flecks and particles, in many colours, swirling like snowflakes or fish food. An awful thought occurred to Moore and he started measuring the weight of plastic in the water compared to that of plankton. Plastic won, and it wasn't even close. 'We found six times more plastic than plankton, and this was just colossal,' he says. 'No one had any idea this was happening, or what it might mean for marine ecosystems, or even where all this stuff was coming from.'

So ended Moore's retirement. He turned his small volunteer environmental monitoring group into the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, enlisted scientists, launched public awareness campaigns and devoted all his considerable energies to exploring what would become known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and studying the broader problem of marine plastic pollution, which is accumulating in all the world's oceans.

The world's navies and commercial shipping fleets make a significant contribution, he discovered, throwing some 639,000 plastic containers overboard every day, along with their other litter. But after a few more years of sampling ocean water in the gyre and near the mouths of Los Angeles streams, and comparing notes with scientists in Japan and Britain, Moore concluded that 80 per cent of marine plastic was initially discarded on land, and the United Nations Environmental Programme agrees.

And then also in the Telegraph's article there's a bit of coverage of David de Rothschild's Plastiki, plastic boat project which the Guardian covered last week.
In a few weeks, the heir to one of the world's greatest fortunes, David de Rothschild, will set sail across the Pacific - in a boat, the Plastiki, made from plastic bottles and recycled waste. The aim of this extraordinary venture is simple: to focus attention on one of the world's strangest and most unpleasant environmental phenomena: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a rubbish-covered region of ocean, several hundred miles in diameter.
...

"I want the Plastiki to make a statement that it's our lack of reuse, uses and disposal that it is at fault, not the material itself," he said.

The eco-warrior has also designed his mission so that it copies key features of the voyage of the Kon-Tiki in which Thor Heyerdahl - a hero of de Rothschild - sailed across the Pacific to show how ancient South American Indians could have colonised Polynesia. As a result, de Rothschild originally set his launch date for 28 April - exactly 62 years to the day when Heyerdahl set out on his epic journey across the Pacific. However, teething problems with Plastiki recently forced him to postpone departure until later this summer.

Nevertheless, de Rothschild insists his craft will sail in the next few weeks and could one day revolutionise the use of recycled plastics in general and the design of boats in particular. Much will depend on how his craft behaves once the Plastiki expedition is under way, he admitted to the New Yorker recently. His craft should perform well, but could break up, he said.

Not really my cup of tea really, I'm not into the PR side of things, I just want a floating, self-sufficient island, like what Richie Sowa's Spiral Island built in Mexico

I'd heard of this floating island thing before when researching the Lost Continent of Mu, but this Ecoble article is neat cos its got a diagram of how the plastic bottles he uses are assembled.

I reckon if there's bottles floating in the North Pacific Gyre, then an island built there could accumulate it's own mass. According to the wikipedia page for Spiral Island
the roots of the mangroves growing on it, help hold it all together, so once you reach some large mass, it'll have its own self-propagating structural integrity.

Also, I wandered along to the Reprap website earlier today. A Reprap machine is like a cheap 3D printer that prints out solid parts from plastic and can self-replicate about 60% of its own parts. If you get one of these, solar powered, sitting on an island, with a stream of nurdles drifting to it on the currents, you could get it to churn out its own plastic bottles.

LIBOR spread Apr-2008 to Apr-2009

Crikey, its been months since I checked the LIBOR spread.

LIBOR spread Apr-08 to Apr-09

The overnight rates are done in slightly thicker lines so you can see them more easily. UKP, sterling is in green, if you follow the thicker green line you can see steep drops every time the bank of England changes its interest rate. As of a week ago the overnight LIBOR rate for UKP was exactly 0.6%, a click under the rate for the Euro, which for the past year sterling has been just above. Ah well.

It'll be interesting to see what effect the Budget announced last Wednesday will have on LIBOR rates, if any.

Kind of scary that the Swiss Franc has fallen to below Japanese levels. I wonder what that means for the mass exodus of >£150,000 earners from UK to Switzerland that some economics commentators are predicting. Work aboard, but keep your money in UK banks?

For those of you know don't know what LIBOR is, lets look at wikipedia for a few seconds
The London Interbank Offered Rate (or LIBOR) is a daily reference rate based on the interest rates at which banks borrow unsecured funds from other banks in the London wholesale money market (or interbank market)
I get my figures from the BBA website, here.

Validating job vacancy tracking

Over on The Register there's a piece about the IT jobs crisis
Gov figures show IT jobs crisis

IT and telecoms jobs are starting to feel the pinch of the recession.

Although the total number of people working in IT and telecoms is the highest for seven years and demand is up compared to last quarter, there has been a big fall in advertised positions.

Permanent job adverts are down 24 per cent and ads for contractor jobs are down 27 per cent. But there were still 98,000 advertised permanent posts and 23,000 contractor jobs advertised in the period.

The quarterly research from e-skills also found business confidence dropped in the last quarter of 2008 and company liquidations increased. Nevertheless, the sector's unemployment rate fell from last quarter.

My week tracking of the jobs listed on reed.co.uk isn't going to be as thorough or detailed as e-skill's research, and I've only been tracking IT contractor jobs for just over a month, but here's my graph of the decline in vacancies today compared to a month ago.


Its nicely reassuring that my figures are in about the same ballpark as the professionals.

The article goes on with...
The ten skills most often requested by employers are SQL, C, C#, .NET, SQL SVR, Java, Oracle, ASP, C++ and Unix. Four areas seem to be resisting the credit crisis and showed some growth in the third and fourth quarters of last year: WAP, COM, Active X and Sage.

I'm going to have to pick up a few 'Teach-yersel' books and start turning my spreadsheets into SQL database things.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Job vacancies update - 23-APR-2009

Good afternoon and welcome to this week's regular analysis of the UK's job market, brought to you by Chris Gilmour, author of the ground-breaking blog illandancient.

This first graph shows the number of jobs in pink listed on reed.co.uk and in dark blue on the Job Centre Plus website and also in green on the right hand axis is some kind of extrapolated figure for how many job vacancies there are in the UK based on what Gordon Brown said a few months back and how the other lines have decreased since then. I reckon its a good approximation.



So yeah, there's basically 390,000 job vacancies in the UK, down from 400,000 a week ago and christ knows 40,000 less than a month ago. The trend lines on the graphs all point downways, with the UK job vacancies figure dropping by about 1,567 per day. Good luck to the 2,100,000 unemployed folk competing for those jobs.

Yes, I'm well aware that yesterday was Budget Day, and Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer announced measures to help create jobs, so I can't wait to see the lines trending upwards in the coming days, weeks, months, years(?).

Lets look briefly at how the top sectors on reed.co.uk are doing.



It all looks a bit shite to me, even Temp jobs which were doing so well are starting to drift downwards.

Going by my cool spreadsheet, week on week, the best performing sectors are Actuarial, FMCG, Leisure & Tourism and Motoring & Automotive, so if you're applying for jobs, those are the growth areas.

Actually, if you get through to the interview stage when you apply for any of these, then have a look at What Will They Ask, its this fabulous website which reports on what people ask at interviews for various sectors and job types. Its always best to be prepared I guess.

Furthermore, if you happen to be some kind of employer, I'm unemployed at the moment and would really like a nice office job doing filing or research or typing or manufacturing or assembling or gardening or knitting or blogging or process control or data analysis or drawing or digging holes, feel free to get in touch.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Knitting project #9 - The blackberry beret


My Blackberry
Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
Inspired by this photie from Obo-Bobo, I thought I'd make my own.

I had to buy some 5mm 40cm circular needley things, and tried to find a pattern off of t'internet. Your basic trinity / popcorn / blackberry stitch in the round goes like this:-

Trinity/Blackberry Stitch pattern (worked in the round on a multiple of 4 sts):
row 1 (WS) - *(k1, p1, k1) into same st; p3tog;* rep from *.
row 2 - knit.
row 3 - *p3tog; (k1, p1, k1) into same st;* rep from *.
row 4 - knit

There's about 34 trinity stitch 'berry's in the round, and I reckon its going to be a bit tight when I'm finished.

Also, I'm not very sure how to decrease the round, like at what point in the 'berry' development.

Still, for a first attempt, I think its going fine.

Could really do with 6mm circular needley things, and maybe thicker yarn, but I bought a monster ball of this dark blue stuff at a car boot sale for 50p so it'll have to do.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Crunching #1

I'm compiling me a spreadsheet.

It fills my time when I've done all the job applications.

This is a wonderous spreadsheet

I'm going all the charities listed on FakeCharities, going through their accounts on the Charity Commission website and noting down things like annual income, how much comes from which government departments, staffing costs and how much they pay to their highest paid member of staff.

Its slow going, and I'm not sure what fancy graphs I'll be able to generate, but every so often I find something interesting. I'm not in the business of judging whether the charities are indeed fake or evil, or what have you, I'm just looking for numbers to present so you can make your own judgements.

There's a charity listed called the Equality Challenge Unit, fakecharities.org has this info:-

Stated Aims

EQUALITY CHALLENGE UNIT SUPPORTS THE HIGHER EDUCATION SECTOR TO REALISE THE POTENTIAL OF ALL STAFF AND STUDENTS WHATEVER THEIR RACE, GENDER, DISABILITY, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, RELIGION AND BELIEF, OR AGE, TO THE BENEFIT OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS, HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIETY.

Context

Equality Challenge Unit covers every aspect of identity politics from the disabled to transexuals. Their website is largely incomprehensible:

ECU works in close partnership with higher education institutions and sector organisations

Our strategy for 2007-10 has four broad objectives:

  • to develop an authoritative system for identifying and measuring equality and diversity in the higher education sector
  • to support higher education institutions in implementing effective equality practices and to disseminate the many examples of excellent practice in individual institutions for the benefit of the whole sector
  • to develop programmes that support sustained institutional change in relation to equality and diversity
  • to be an effective advocate for the development of equality and diversity practice within the sector.
    Annual income is £1,366,645, of which about 90% comes from the government.

    Page 21 of their accounts says they have 12.4 members of staff, the highest paid of whom receives between £110,000 and £120,000 (not excluding pension costs).

    That's 8% of the charity's income goes into the pocket of one person.

    Almost five times median wage.

    Seems like a nice little earner, that's taxpayer's money, mind.

    Right wing dominance of the blogosphere

    I'm not really one for indulging in all this Smeargate thing that's been in the media and the political blogosphere lately, but one thing that keeps catching my eye and attention is the repeated factoid that 'Red Rag' the smearblog set up by 10 Downing Street was to challenge the right wing's dominance of the blogosphere and support/encourage left-of centre blogs.

    I love lists me, top tens and spreadsheets and rankings and stuff.

    Going by technorati blog reactions, the top ten political blogs are:-
    1. Iain Dale (7749 reactions)
    2. Conservative Home (7367 reactions)
    3. Order Order (6732 reactions)
    4. Liberal Conspiracy (4206 reactions)
    5. Harry's Place (3178 reactions)
    6. Lib Dem Voice (3175 reactions)
    7. Political Betting (2433 reactions)
    8. Devils Kitchen (2152 reactions)
    9. Dizzy Thinks (1826 reactions)
    10. Bloggerheads (1308 reactions)
    This top ten is similar to Wikio's top political blog lists. What struck me is that there isn't much of a right-wing dominance. In fact slim majority might be a better description. If you assume that political betting is apolitical then the balance is:-
    Right wing - 5 blogs
    Left wing - 4 blogs
    With most lefties being Lib-Dem. Its not about the left-right divide, the problem is Labour are shite and just don't feature. The left's represented by the Liberal Democrats. They have something they believe in and something to write about. Labour just have whatever message No 10 pass down, which isn't very much. There's no ideaology.

    You knew this already, right?

    Further down the rankings, if you go through the top twenty political blogs on wikio, its the same sort of balance (right - 10 blogs : left - 8). Yeah, there's LabourHome, LabourList and Go Fourth, but the left is by far more represented by the Lib Dems than by Labour.

    Guido's line about...
    In fact the document shows how pathetically weak their whole catch-up strategy is compete with ConservativeHome and Dale. Both of whom are directly referred to in the document. Anyway it reveals some of what Labour was thinking in November.
    ... misses that Labour needs to play catch up with Lib-Dem blogs not just right wing blogs.

    Anyhoo, my point was, that there isn't a Right-wing dominance of the blogosphere, the rankings have it that left and right are pretty balanced, its just Labour don't represent the left wing of the blogosphere.

    Thursday, 16 April 2009

    Money Saving Idea #1 Grow your own garlic - week 9

    Its a bit of a mixed bag of success, growth and stagnation this week.

    Garlic - Darren - 16-APR-2009
    Young Darren looks like he's lost the will to live. One of his leaves was all withered and brown and fell off a few days ago, there's a new leaf thats come up to replace it, but he's looking abit lame compared to his cohorts.

    Garlic - The Twins - 16-APR-2009
    All four of The Twins are in fine form, with the chap on the right looking particularly tall and strong. I'm almost tempted to re-pot these chaps.

    Garlic - Sharon - 16-APR-2009
    Sharon's also doing well, almost as tall as The Twins. She got one long leaf and with shorter ones on either side like two little arms, the hussy.

    Garlic - The Baying Mob - 16-APR-2009
    Out in the garden, the baying mob of garlic planted in the soil are looking grim. Some wee beasties have been nibbling at them, and there was a spider's web bridging them when I went out to have a look earlier today. None of them are as big as the chaps on the windowsill. Is there something wrong with the soil?

    Potato - Steve - 16-APR-2009
    Moving away from garlic now, to my potato plantation. Steve Potato is looking okay, kind of small but healthy on the edge there, he could do with more soil coverage but alas he's too close to the paved area, its his own fault, I feel no guilt.

    Potato - Dave - 16-APR-2009
    And finally at the back, Dave Potato is doing swimmingly, with three sprouty bits and all manner of leaves. I have high hopes for Dave, one day he'll feed the whole family.

    Its like stadium navel-gazing


    Rather neat utility for doing your own spoof Police anti-terrorism posters here.

    Thanks to mostly Quagm and Flashboy on twitter for pointing me there.

    There's rather neat pool of loads of user-generated pics like these on flickr. So here's the slideshow:-

    Job vacancies update - 16-APR-2009

    Green shoots of recovery, aye!

    Here's a graph of the number of job vacancies on reed.co.uk and Job Centre Plus over the past few weeks.

    Using an ingenius piece of statistical extrapolation there's about 400,000 job vacancies in the UK.

    The graph seems to have bottomed out a wee bit and is starting to drift upward over the past week or so.

    This graph shows the number of vacancies reed.co.uk has for each sector for the top couple of sectors.

    They too seem to have levelled out over the past two weeks and are now starting to slowly drift upwards. Looks like I'm going to have to find a new excuse for my state of unemployment.

    According to my great spreadsheet of desire, about half of the sectors listed on reed.co.uk have around 2% more vacancies now than a week ago. I guess its time to polish up the old CV and get back in the tracksuit.

    Wednesday, 15 April 2009

    Knitting project #8 - The scarf

    I finished knitting my scarf thing. Its about 3'6" long and 5" wide with a cool checkered knit and perl pattern. There's probly a special knitting name for it, but I don't know.

    IMG00326

    More stats:-
    345 rows
    28 stitches on each row
    9660 stitches in total

    Used three skeins of yarn

    Material cost

    £2.99 X 3 = £8.97
    (£0.00093 per stitch)

    About 90 seconds per row : 31050 seconds : About 9 hours of labour

    Labour cost

    £5.73 X 9 = £51.57

    So if you're a fan of the Minimum Wage this scarf will cost you about £60

    And if your some kind of heartless oppresser of the worker, it'll cost you around £10.

    To be honest there are a couple of mistakes in the knitting as a result of easily distracted late night drunken knits on the London Underground and snipping off the trailing ends of casting off a little too close to the knot.

    Anyhoo, it'll be on ebay soon.
    My new scarf 01
    Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

    Tuesday, 14 April 2009

    Milking

    Its not often I write something on my blog that gets a link from more authorative sites, so when it happens I milk it as much as I can.

    There was this post about locations of CCTV cameras on Cornhill, which received a link from Wardman Wire and then from Lib Dem Voice.

    And from these we find a news report on the BBC
    On Thursday, a day after the commission took over the inquiry, Mr Hardwick told Channel Four News there was no CCTV footage because there were no cameras in the location.

    Ongoing work

    However, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has now said that although Mr Hardwick believed he was correct at the time, it now appeared there were cameras in the surrounding area.

    From the outset it has been a main line of our inquiry to recover all CCTV from the Corporation of London and from all private premises in the area
    IPCC spokesman

    "From the outset it has been a main line of our inquiry to recover all CCTV from the Corporation of London and from all private premises in the area," said an IPCC spokesman.

    Maybe its just me self-aggrandising and the IPCC knew all along that there were a couple of cameras, but would they have made the statement if I hadn't done the leg work and put the knowledge into the public domain?

    Just in case that is the case, I ought to be more completeist.

    The original diagram and post was a bit of a rush job, and I missed a camera.
    IMG_6671
    If you click on the photie you'll notice a small CCTV camera just under the flagpole of the Cornhill Insurance Company building. Its one of the multidirectional things under translucent hemisphere that you get in shops.
    IMG_6668
    And here, considering Mr Tomlinson was pushed just in front of those three bollards, directly opposite the Insurance building, that CCTV camera could have some valuable footage.

    Actually I rather pride myself on doing a sloppy and unprofessional job, sometimes Ithink that's just my style, but sometimes I think its cos this isn't my profession, no one pays me to do it. And if they did, it wouldn't all be such a bodge.

    This is a revised diagram of the locations of four CCTV cameras.
    Revised diagram of Locations of cameras around Cornhill

    Quantifying the threat

    Aye, so t'other day whilst the rest of the blogosphere was gazing in the mirror admiring their part in the downfall of MacBride, I tried to talk up the threat to mainstream politics of the BNP.

    There's a problem with talking about the BNP, cos they're a bit of a taboo, if a big cheese even mentions them they get free publicity. Luckily I'm a very small cheese so I can say what I like safe in the knowledge that only my 12 regular readers will know.

    So the graph on EU Referendum has it that based on information from Alexa the BNP website gets more traffic than Guido Fawkes. And here in a comment on David Otterwell's blog, Matt Wardman explains that Alexa data isn't very reliable when comparing sites.

    Luckily, we have a whole host of measuring devices on the internet, Alexa is just one. There's Wikio, which lists top UK politics blogs. Their top twenty looks like this:-
    1. Iain Dale's Diary
    2. Order-Order
    3. Liberal Conspiracy
    4. ConservativeHome's ToryDiary
    5. politicalbetting.com
    6. Liberal Democrat Voice
    7. The Devil's Kitchen
    8. Dizzy Thinks
    9. Harry's Place
    10. Labourlist
    11. John Redwood's Diary
    12. Old Holborn
    13. Labourhome
    14. Bloggerheads
    15. Chicken Yoghurt
    16. Stumbling and Mumbling
    17. Archbishop Cranmer
    18. Telegraph Blogs - Daniel Hannan
    19. Benedict Brogan's political blog
    20. EU Referendum
    No great surprises there, its a pretty accurate list, and shows nothing of the BNP menace.

    Total politics lists 13 BNP blogs and they're way down on the wikio rankings.

    However, usually I get my ranking data from Technorati, it gives me numbers that I can put into graphs and stuff.

    You can enter any web address and it gives you several numbers:-
    • 'blog reactions' - How many links there are to that site from other blogs
    • 'Authority' - How many different blogs link to the site
    • 'Rank' - How the authority compares to all the other blogs in the world.
    So technorati is good for ranking blogs, and you can also use it for other types of website.

    If I run wikio's top political blogs into it, I get roughly the same top ten twelve, neatly validating technorati as a means to gauge website ranks.
    1. Iain Dale (7749 reactions)
    2. Conservative Home (7367 reactions)
    3. Order Order (6732 reactions)
    4. Liberal Conspiracy (4206 reactions)
    5. Harry's Place (3178 reactions)
    6. Lib Dem Voice (3175 reactions)
    7. Political Betting (2433 reactions)
    8. Devils Kitchen (2152 reactions)
    9. Dizzy Thinks (1826 reactions)
    10. Old Holborn (1065 reactions)
    11. Tim Worstall (794 reactions)
    12. Labourlist (790 reactions)
    So what does this mean about the thread from the BNP to mainstream politics?

    Well, there's no big BNP blogs out there, the most popular one from Total Politics is nowhere near the top fifty. But, if I sling into Technorati the websites of a few of the biggest political parties, I get this top five
    1. Conservatives (3429 reactions)
    2. BNP (3297 reactions)
    3. Liberal Democrats (2207 reactions)
    4. Labour (965 reactions)
    5. Green (616 reactions)
    6. Libertarian (518 reactions)
    7. UKIP (293 reactions)
    Bearing in mind that UKIP have 12 MEPs, the BNP have an order of magnitude more blogosphere momentum behind them.

    What does it mean, what does it mean?

    I think it means the mainstream blogosphere is really unrepresentative of support for the BNP, and the typical BNP supporter doesn't really do blogs.

    They are under the radar, beware.

    Maybe I'm wrong, maybe the BNP get so many reactions cos so many sites link to them with the warning, they are eevil, and so all is good in the world.

    Charter Schools

    The other day I started reading Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, I managed about four pages before I was distracted.

    After Hurricane Katrina and the burst levees in New Orleans, the aging economist Milton Friedman acted very quickly to write an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal which called for the wrecked state schools in the region to be replaced by charter schools.
    One of those who saw opportunity in the floodwaters of New Orleans was the late Milton Friedman, grand guru of unfettered capitalism and credited with writing the rulebook for the contemporary, hyper-mobile global economy. Ninety-three years old and in failing health, "Uncle Miltie", as he was known to his followers, found the strength to write an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal three months after the levees broke. "Most New Orleans schools are in ruins," Friedman observed, "as are the homes of the children who have attended them. The children are now scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity."

    Friedman's radical idea was that instead of spending a portion of the billions of dollars in reconstruction money on rebuilding and improving New Orleans' existing public school system, the government should provide families with vouchers, which they could spend at private institutions.

    As I read it, charter schools operate on a voucher system, much like the Swedish education system that some Torys in the UK wish to bring into get shot of state school that fuck up English kids education. Basically parents get vouchers from the state equal in value to how much is spent on kids education and they get to choose which school to take their kid to. So the successful schools get more money, and failing schools wither on the vine.

    On reading The Shock Doctrine published in 2007, I thought it would be neat to check up how those new charter schools in New Orleans are doing, are they providing a better standard of education for the kids?

    There was a mixed bag of results from google that I'll need to spend more time figuring out.

    Anyhoo, on Radio4 this morning, on the Today Programme, there was a some chap saying that civil servants and big cheeses in the public sector should be forced to send their kids to state school rather than opting out and going to the private sector to get the best education money can buy.

    An interesting sentiment, damning folk to have ill-educated kids. But then I remembered something I'd read from checking out New Orleans charter schools. There was a piece in the New Orleans CityBusiness from March, Quality of charter school system has New Orleans parents opting out of private institutions, about how folk were taking their kids out of private schools and sending them to the state's charter schools, doing in effect what the chap on the Today Programme wanted, but by choice rather than by government compulsion.

    Gaudin said her decision to move her 14-year-old son Remy Gaudin to Lusher Charter School from Stuart Hall School for Boys initially made good civic sense. But now it gives her family a previously unheard of level of financial freedom.

    “When you are looking at $20,000 tuition a year for some of these private high schools, that’s money that we want to earmark for college,” she said. “And when we know that the education opportunity is equal and in many ways better, it doesn’t make any sense, economic or just plain common sense.”

    While Gaudin readily admits that a handful of high performing public schools did exist in Orleans before the state takeover of failing schools and the explosion of charter schools, she said the relatively small number of public schools able to provide the type of education afforded by a private school made paying thousands of dollars for tuition each year worth the expense.

    “The education that we’re getting now in the public school system is outstanding,” she said. “It’s easily comparable and in many ways better than the education we were getting in the private institutions.”

    Sunday, 12 April 2009

    Bigger Fish

    Out on EU Referendum they have this kind of scary graph from Alexa, showing that the BNP are more popular than 'Scourge of Westminster' Guido.

    Guido Fawkes may thus be the darling of the claque but while he rejoices in an Alexa traffic rank of 72,546, the BNP website currently ranks at 47,268 – so much for Hannan's view of the free marketeers taking more naturally to the possibilities of the internet than Lefties.
    Now the BNP aren't in power yet, but they're getting 20% in most of the council elections they've been in in the last few months. Come the Euro elections in June, they're going to get around 12 MEPs, maybe more, and then the forces of justice and righteousless are going to have to tackle them. Sadly we don't really have much in the way for justice and righteousness in tackling MEPs or the EU, most people don't give a shit.

    Here, this is The EU Observer reporting that a memo was sent round the one of the EU Commission's departments coaching officials on how to write emails and reports to hide the fact that lobbiests and companies buy them huge meals and stuff.

    It asks officials to draft documents "with the utmost care" while telling them to avoid making references to informal contacts, such as meals or drinks, with lobbyists.

    "Don't refer to the great lunch you have had with an industry representative privately or add a PS asking if he/she would like to meet for a drink."

    Actually the memo also suggests writing two different versions of reports of meetings to hoodwink the public.
    As a way of avoiding officials having to blank out parts of documents they release to the public, the transparency guide suggests writing two accounts of meetings, a "factual" or neutral one that can be released to the public and a more "personal/subjective" one with assessments and recommendations for follow up that need not be disclosed.
    We do pay a great deal of money for this sort of behaviour by EU civil servants. But no one gives much of a shit.

    However, come general election time when the BNP make terrifying gains, I'm sure the mainstream political blogs will tear them to shreds, but will anyone give a crap by then? They'd be elected into positions of power democratically and have so form of mandate from the people.

    I'm not really one for Searchlight and anti-BNP organisations, I think that defeating the fascists should be the default position of the British, not something for the left-wing only or something to opt into, its the default position. Remember the war, etc. I fear its not going to be enough.

    Evil Doesn't Do Nuance, its not enough just to ignore them and hope they'll go away, the blogging sunshine is going to have to work hard on the BNP.

    Locations of cameras around Cornhill

    I was pretty sure I could see some CCTV cameras on google streetview despite Hardwick, some chap from the IPCC saying there was no CCTV in the area of the attack on Ian Tomlinson.

    So I went along with my wee camera and found one pointing directly at the site of the attack over the heads of the existing photographers and footage, another at the other end of the street point at the back of the attack and also the mont blanc shop's CCTV which may have caught something.

    Thursday, 9 April 2009

    Job vacancies update - 09-APR-2009

    Here's your regular update of what things are like on the UK job vacancies scene.



    Reed.co.uk lists around 102,000 vacancies, which means there's about 410,000 job vacancies in the UK. The Job Centre Plus website's figure varies during the day, so it's hard to track accurately, an Excel trendline has it sloping downwards at about the same rate as the Reed line. The number of jobs falls about about 2% each week.



    This graph shows the state of the top couple of sectors / job types on Reed. We can see that now Temp jobs have started to drift downwards. Graduate job vacancies continue to fall, below that of Financial services who have had a little rise of the past few days.

    Chris Gilmour, author of groundbreaking attack blog IllandAncient, said "If you really want to check out job sectors where there are increasing numbers of vacancies, try Actuarial and Automotive which have been rising by 20% and 5% week since a week ago".

    The Boat That Splashed

    Last night I saw the new Richard Curtis movie, The Boat That Rocked.

    A rather fun movie despite the re-writing of history in having evil Kenneth Branagh's character an uptight killjoy Conservative minister, when in real life it was evil socialist Tony Benn trying to shut down Radio Caroline.

    A nice cast of British comedy heros, maybe even this generation's Shaun Of The Dead. Nick Frost from Spaced, that guy from Flight of the Concords, half the cast of The IT Crowd, Ralph Brown and so on.

    Rather nice scene to watch on high definition DVD where a chap in in a room with fifty or so swinging sixties starlets with their tits out.

    There was about three too many scenes of women on the toilet, perhaps Richard Curtis has some kind of fetish. We did have Julia Roberts on the loo in Notting Hill, seems to be some kind of motif.

    There was a bit in the closing titles where is said that rock and roll was still going strong. It a bit romanticing the truth. Between The Beatles first release and the Sex Pistols demise was about seventeen years, that was rock and roll. Its also been seventeen years since Ace Of Bass released All That She Wants.

    After the pirate radio stations were closed down the BBC started Radio 1 as a pop music station, they had the monopoly on pop music for a few years until my grandfather started the UK's first commercial radio station.
    Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

    Wednesday, 8 April 2009

    Sainburys Pork and Beans


    IMG_6655
    Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
    Wallowing in self-pity, I bought a tin of beans and pork sausages from Sainsburys to have for my tea, only I was expecting a few more baked beans.

    Tuesday, 7 April 2009

    More details on Tomlinson's assault

    The footage shown on the BBC includes a few seconds that the footage on The Guardian website doesn't show.



    First we have the City of London Police officer (red checkered banding on his cap) with a police dog whipping Mr Tomlinson in the right of the picture.
    whip
    He keeps swinging the leash around even after Mr Tomlinson is on the floor.

    Then we have the Metropolitan Police officer (with MP on his helmet) shoving Mr Tomlinson to the floor
    shove

    And finally we have the Field Intelligence officer giving Mr Tomlinson a kick whilst he's on the ground
    kick

    Chris Gilmour, author of the ground breaking attack blog IllandAncient, said "So, what we have is officers from three different units assaulting him, not just one, all in the space of about three seconds."

    BBC quotations

    Three hours later the BBC get the Ian Tomlinson murder footage

    This bit of the article stuck out.

    Daniel Sandford, BBC Home Affairs correspondent, said: "Campaigners have been saying all along that Mr Tomlinson's heart attack may have, in some way, been linked to how the police were treating protesters that evening.

    "This is now going to raise some more serious questions about the police behaviour on that night.

    "Why is it that one of the officers walks up to a man who appears to be walking away from him. He [Mr Tomlinson] does not look like he is 100% co-operative but he is not being uncooperative."

    Cos like in the absense of getting a quote from the IPCC or Boris or Sir Paul Stephenson, or anyone important, the BBC reporter who wrote the article just quotes the BBC correspondent, the chap who's probably sat on the next desk along in the office.

    That's the quality journalism we're paying our licence fee for.

    For fucks sake, couldn't Daniel Sandford have written the article himself? Cutting out the middleman?

    Chris Gilmour, author of groundbreaking attack blog illandancient, said "For fucks sake, couldn't Daniel Sandford have written the fucking article himself? Cutting out the middleman?"

    An hour or so ago, I read a thing on DTN
    There really is no rule of law in the UK anymore, just a spin in the media and a lot of people covering themeselves.
    Aye, media spin and shoddy journalism.

    Ian Tomlinson assaulted by Police video footage


    Over on The Guardian website here.



    Looks like the Eggshell skull thing should apply here. The police shouldn't get away with assaulting members of the public.

    Nor should they ever assault members of the public. We don't pay them for that.

    The officer who did the pushing ought to be tried for murder, and Inspector Giel and Sir Paul Stephenson too. Uncle Boris should slash the Met's budget too, we don't pay them for this sort of thing.

    The chaps with the blue bits on their hi-res jackets are FIT officers, Field Intelligence Team chappies, here's a photoset taken on the day, alas, the photo sets only from 14:00 to 14:50, rather than the 19:20 to 19:35 time frame. The FIT officers in the video were witnesses to the murder.

    Origami Water Bomb - A step by step animated guide

    Here's a wee video I drew of how to fold an origami water bomb, also known as an origami cube or play-cube.

    Crafty

    This rumour of a story from Guido

    http://www.order-order.com/2009/04/new-mps-scam-breaking/

    MPs are renting out buy-to-let properties that they own, to members of their own staff, to whom they authorise payments out of parliamentary expenses. Laundering their expenses via their staff back into their own pockets.

    Part of me thinks "heh, that's crafty", but another part thinks that the UK's current crop of elected politicians are a bunch of cunts who should be hounded out of office and pelted with horseshit, then the rules changed so that they only receive median wage, no second homes allowance and all further expense claims popping up on a twitter-style RSS feed.

    Also by-elections triggered by a 5,000 sig petition.

    Monday, 6 April 2009

    Identify yourself

    I'm just getting round to registering with a GP near the flat I've been in for the past eighteen months.



    The last time I registered with a GP was during freshers week at uni over a decade ago. I was very drunk at the time, going by the alcohol consumption I put on the application form the medic said I'd be dead within six months.



    Anyhoo, here we are, a fortnight after I booked the appountment, and I don't seem to have the correct forms of identification.



    Sure, I have my passport which clearly shows my name, photie, date of birth and that I'm a British national, and also I have my driving licence which shows similar details.



    But sadly this isn't sufficient, I need some form of proof of residence. The address printed and laminated on my driving licence isn't enough. Why?

    "You might have moved house since then."

    So I need to bring a bank statement or tenancy agreement. I tried reasoning, I might have moved house since the other documents were documented too, but this doesn't cut the mustard with the receptionist.



    Luckily I'm able to run home and acquire further documentation, but in the great scheme of things, it doesn't fill me with confidence for the future compulsary ID card. How will having a ID single card resolve the "you might have moved house since then" line of mistrust?

    Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

    The final moments of Ian Tomlinson

    I don't wish to contribute any text to this story that might crop up as google juice, but these are all the images I can find of Ian Tomlinson's final staggered moments and the google street view locations, in approximate time sequence.

    Google Streetview location

    View Larger Map

    Google Streetview location

    View Larger Map

    Flickr image here



    Another fine blogpost which might be helpful in a public/blogger investigation is this one at Bristles Blog from the BunKRS
    RalPress has identified a couple of CCTV cameras that may cover the area where the death occurred with links to google streetview

    Sunday, 5 April 2009

    Petitions Roundup

    I do very much love the Petitions section of the Number10.gov.uk website. It allows people to start and sign petitions trying to get the government to do things. You have to give you name and address and an email address to confirm your sig, so I guess they're probably building up a database of malcontents, but its not as if they don't already have your details.

    My favourite current petitions:-
    MP 2nd Homes
    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Convert the London 2012 Olympic Village Accomodation into Living accomodation for Members of Parliament and end their second home allowance
    So far its got 74 signatures, its a nice sentiment, kind of topical and cost effective.

    No National Speed Limit reductions
    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Not reduce the national speed limit to 50mph.
    Following the announcement that the government is planning to reduce the national speed limit to 50 miles per hour, we the undersigned oppose this, since it will make no difference to road deaths and the cut in carbon emissions is so insignificantly small it's laughable.
    I think people should be free to drive as fast as they like as long as they don't harm anyone else. I'm not sure about the effect on carbon emissions, but reducing your speed by 10mph has a tremendous effect on fuel efficiency, but again, that should be a personal moral and economic choice, rather than prescribed by teh state. 20,000 signatures, someone might listen, but compared to the fake charities Brake and Living Streets pulling the other way, it'll be difficult.

    Scrap the 696
    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Scrap the unnecessary and draconian usage of the 696 Form from London music events
    The 696 Form compels licensees who wish to hold live music events in 21 London Boroughs to report to the police the names, addresses, aliases and telephone numbers of performers, and most worryingly, the likely ethnicity of their audience. Failure to comply could result in fines or imprisonment. We believe this places unnecessary and frankly Orwellian powers in the hands of the Metropolitan Police, an institution which does not have the best record of racial fairness. The 696 form can only serve to deter the staging of live musical events - a positive form of activity in London and all cities - stifle free expression and quite possible penalise certain genres of music and ethnic audiences. It is an intrusion too far.
    I've written about this one before, it's the polis infringing a little too much, when they could just be using Last.fm. The petitions doing well with 16,000 signatures, but really could do with over 30,000 to get a decent response.

    Crisis in the Democration Republic of The Congo
    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to To drive awareness of the ongoing civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to put pressure on on suppliers of Cobalt, Coltan and Cassiterite to supply only legitimatly supplied ore and to introduce a "fairtrade" option in electrical products
    Only 43 signatures, someone should do something.

    Shrubbery Security

    People steal plants, Be it for personal use or for commercial gardening projects. It's not likely to be an opportunistic crime, but kind of planned. It doesn't take much, you just see the plant you want, and it its small enough, you grab the stem and pull it out, taking care not to damage it too much.

    There are ways and means to prevent people stealing plants, this is a step by step guide to one of them, using chicken wire.

    Tools you will need
    • Wire cutters
    • Leather gardening gloves
    • Sledge hammer
    • Claw hammer
    • Spade
    For each plant you want to secure you will need
    • 1.5m x 1.5m chicken wire
    • 300mm length of 1.5mm wire
    • Three 2' wooden stakes
    • A handful of wee hooky staples for the wire
    1. Whilst wearing the gloves use the wire cutters to cut a slit from the edge to the middle of the chicken wire square

    Rhododendron security

    And gently curl round the base of the plant, taking care not to scratch the stem with any sharp edges.

    2. Whilst wearing the gloves use the 300mm wire to stitch the slit in the chicken wire square back together, starting from the stem side, don't worry if the stitches don't go all the way to the edge of the square, this is not important.

    3.Fold back the edges of the chicken wire by about 6" and dig a shallow trench round the edge of the square, it should only be around 6" deep, and will be filled in shortly.
    Rhododendron security

    4. Put the three stakes under the chicken wire as shown in the photo, so that there is one on either side of the stitched edge. If it is a rhododendron, the rootball will be about the size of a football, so try to put in the stakes so the do not interface with the roots.
    Rhododendron security
    In time the roots with grow out and engulf the stakes.

    Remove the gloves and use the sledgehammer to bang in the stakes so that only two inches or so protrude from the soil.

    5. Use the claw hammer to put staples in to hold the chicken wire against the stakes, you may need to use more than staple.
    Rhododendron security
    When the chicken wire is securely stapled to the stake, you may hammer the stakes so they are flush with the soil.

    6. Fold the edges of the chicken wire into the trench and then bury them with the leftover soil.
    Rhododendron security

    If you're in the mood for mulching, cover the whole shebang with about two inches to hide the chicken wire.

    There is some debate about how much of a security measure this is. Will it stop people from stealing plants, will it just cause people to damage the plants when they give up. Should you leave some of the chicken wire and stakes visible so any villains can see there are security measures in place and it'll put them off. Will any plant thieves actually have wire cutters, rendering the security measure pointless? Since they didn't have spades to start with, any other tools are unlikely.

    Friday, 3 April 2009

    Money Saving Idea #1 Grow your own garlic - week 8

    Garlic - Darren - 02-APR-2009

    Darren's got to be one of the most weedy and ill looking from my brood. He's all crumpled and sad. I've tried giving him love and affection and water and more love, but its having no affect, he's just the garlic version of a cripple. Maybe he peaked too soon, maybe I put to much pressure on him to succeed. I am a bad father.

    On ther other hand, the other kids are doing swell.

    Garlic - The Twins - 02-APR-2009

    The Twins have multiplied, each tub somehow having two sprouty chaps growing, and although they started kind of slowly, they're all tall and strong now.

    Garlic - Sharon - 02-APR-2009

    Sharon, that blessed little hussy is doing, dare I say it, better than the twins too, she's sheltered away on the other side of my windowledge, although not quite as tall as the twins, she seems more wholesome and friendlier.

    Garlic - The baying mob - 02-APR-2009

    Out on ground level in the wee bit of dirt we call the garden, there's a herd of garlic who are doing okay, their leaved have been nibbled on a wee bit by passing insects, but I'm thinking as they have more root space, they'll survive and thrive and will feed me well in the months to come.

    IMG_6645

    The potatos are doing great too, the wee sprouty chaps who I saw the other week have grown and grown. They're all healthy, and no signs of nibbling, although I am concerned that these chaps are going to need more rioot space, and at some point I'll have to transfer them out of the box and into the ground with nibbly beasties.

    Ah well.