Category Archives: Where I live

Shedcam – building a new summerhouse

This week sees a week off work building a summerhouse to replace the old shed. It’s a small garden (c. 10m x 5.5m) so the aim is to make it all rather more courtyard-like, with a small circular lawn in the middle.

To capture the ‘before, during, and after’ (and to prove to my wife that I’m busy!) I set up a webcam. Here’s the latest image (live c. 9am – 9pm):

Shedcam - live view (c. 8am - 9pm) of the summerhouse construction

I’ve been putting daily timelapse videos on Flickr. Here’s the latest:

You can see all previous days, plus some screen captures of the mock-up I did on Google Sketch-up – Shedcam – timelapse videos and static images on Flickr

Cliff Richard, Druids, and the Archbishop of York

These may appear at first glance to be odd bedfellows, but they all seem to share the dubious honour of having received a letter from a Mr Morello, who I have just discovered is a near neighbour of mine.

What he does is not something I can easily explain, so just take a look at some of his letters to find out more! (the links to other letters are top-right on the page)

Blowing a hooligan

It turned out to be a bit breezy in london yesterday. A driver was killed by falling tree, Kew Gardens shut to the public over safety fears, and bicycle journeys were taking either half the time or five times as long, depending on which way you were travelling.

By coincidence I had been giving a talk about Kew the night before and had been asked if the effects of the great storm of 1987 were still being felt. The question reminded me of this page on Kew’s website which tells the remarkable story of how the storm led to a new discovery that has perhaps actually saved some trees since. In their own words:

“In the great hurricane, on 16 October 1987, the whole root plate of the Turner’s Oak, one of our oldest trees, lifted and settled back in the ground. This appeared to rejuvenate it, as it was showing signs of stress and decline due to compaction of the root plate from the many people who take shelter under the broad evergreen crown. This was one of the factors that initiated the present day proactive decompaction programme for mature trees in the arboretum, which began in 1998. This programme involves relieving compaction around the root crown, mulching over the turf and injecting a mixture of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria. Loosening of the soil and injection of the mycorrhizal fungi is being performed using a ‘Terravent’ Soil Decompactor.”

So there you go, if every cloud has a silver lining, then every storm must have a….. errr, not sure what idiom we could make up here.

The Law South of Ealing Broadway

Another laugh or cry experience, The Magistrate’s Blog, otherwise known as The Law West of Ealing Broadway, gives an amazing perspective on human life, as seen through the eyes of one branch of the Law. It is one of those sites I find myself dipping into on a very irregular basis, but then spending ages reading all the posts, heading back in time until either i) I feel I really ought to do some work, ii) the phone rings, iii) my eyes start to glaze over from staring at the screen too much or iv) as happened today, all the above occur simultaneously.

By strange coincidence I witnessed crime just South of Ealing Broadway on a visit to Kew Retail Park at lunchtime today. As I was walking along a security guard was evicting a young bloke (yoof?) from Boots. The first thing that struck me was just how calm and serene the whole event was. In fact I don’t think there was any physical contact, and hardly a word spoken. The guard then reached over and undid the bloke’s tracksuit top, at which point all the bootie fell out. Carrying on the surreal nature of this experience, the offender walked calmly off across the car park, as if he had done his shopping and was heading back home for a nice cup of tea. The security guard was left to clear up the reclaimed goods, which amounted to nothing more than a pile of tooth brushes, albeit about 30 of them.

After that, all that was left to remind me of the incident were the bisbelieving faces of the onlookers, myself included. Did that really happen?

Friday dilemna – stay in, or go out?

Drama hit the tranquility of west London last night when Fire sparked overnight evacuation in South Ealing, just down the road from me. The immediate and real drama was for those in the vicinity, including a few friends of ours, who faced a sudden evacuation in the middle of the night. The BBC reporter seemed a little more vague about it, stating “Hundreds of people were told to stay indoors or leave their homes when a fire broke out overnight”. How exactly were they supposed to make that choice. Perhaps it was if they could see flames? Or if it was starting to feel a bit warm?

Of course to many the biggest ‘drama’, and to me the biggest source of amusement, was the traffic chaos that ensued. When the parents driving five hundred yards to drop their kids off at school met with all the others going back the same five hundred yards cos they had found out the schools were shut, all hell broke loose. Ho hum.