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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sheffield Fayre.


100_0474
Originally uploaded by incurable_hippie.
I went to Sheffield Fayre yesterday, at Norfolk Heritage Park in the South-East of Sheffield. It was a fab day, with good community information, craft stalls, free energy-saving lightbulbs (had we got there earlier), and the most amazing prize flowers and vegetables.

Some were huge, others beautiful, some were even perfection. Many were breathtaking and some were odd, or even comical.

I absolutely loved it.

Except the whole battle re-enactments business. Bang bang bang. Bang bang. Bang bang bang. Bang. Bang.

Grown men - hundreds of them - marching around with big fuck-off guns. It was like a playground pretend scene, but made up of adults, in dress-up costume, glorifying battles, wars and death weapons.

Nice.

And so many bangs! At one stage as we were sitting on the grass and cannons were going off a few hundred yards away, a young boy was crying to his dad about how it was scaring him. I was rather tempted to tell him it was scaring me too.

And as if the pretend armies (from the Romans to WWII) weren't enough, we were faced with real armies too! Providing information about joining up, combined with fun rides for the kids. Yeah, get recruiting at a community park fun day, great stuff.

And I didn't donate any money to the army's Benevolent Fund. I didn't feel any benevolence towards them, mainly because the army shows benevolence to no-one.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Eddera-a-dix - unlucky for some.

Through clicking for a random blog on the Yorkshire Bloggers webring, I found myself chez supermum who not only has an intriguing (and I have to say, rather disappointing) link to the Feminist Mormon Housewives blog, she has also linked to an interwebnet corner of amazingness. Oh yes.

Counting Sheep is about the local and ancient dialects used by farmers to count their sheep, which is vital for many reasons explained there.

Having grown up in Lancashire and living now in Yorkshire I have always been fascinated by the local dialects of each, the new words I learned on moving over here, and the little turns of phrase and usages which I find myself using naturally now, to be greeted with a raised eyebrow by many of the old Lancastrian crowd.

In Lancashire I felt I was virtually witnessing the local language and dialects die out. Children and young people just didn't use a lot of the words and phrases that the older generations did. In Sheffield it feels somewhat different. People under the age of 30 or so use at least some aspects of the Yorkshire dialect freely, and it feels less threatened than the Lancs ones, although not altogether thriving.

So, finding the Counting Sheep page filled me with glee. The ways of counting to 20 from village to village, changing, the same, similar, different. Really, really interesting, and very exciting that this info is being gathered. Well, for linguistic geeks like me.

From Bolland (Bowland):
1 - Yain
2 - Tain
3 - Eddera
4 - Peddera
5 - Pit
6 - Tayter
7 - Layter
8 - Overa
9 - Covera
10 - Dix
11 - Yain-a-dix
12 - Tain-a-dix
13 - Eddera-a-dix
14 - Peddera-a-dix
15 - Bumfit
16 - Yain-a-bumfit
17 - Tain-a-bumfit
18 - Eddera-bumfit
19 - Peddera-a-bumfit
20 - Jiggit.

And the other places - nearby and also through Wales, Cumbria, Brittany and Cornwall, are all listed and it is really, really very cool.

You scored as Anarcha-Feminist. Anarcha-feminists put a strong emphasis on the importance of patriachy, arguing that all forms of hierachy can be traced back to man's domination over woman. Although associated with the 1960s, the movement has its roots in the theories of Emma Goldman and Voltarine DeCleyre.

Anarcha-Feminist

100%

Anarcho-Communist

60%

Anarcho-Primitivist

55%

Anarcho-Syndicalist

40%

Anarcho-Capitalist

25%

Christian Anarchist

20%

What kind of Anarchist are you?
created with QuizFarm.com




Some of the new links added to the right today are:

John Peel Day on October 13th.

Ministry of Reshelving. If you feel that Orwell's 1984 would be more at home in the Current Affairs or US / UK Politics sections of your bookshop than they are in the Fiction section, you might want to pay the Ministry of Reshelving a visit.

BBC Free Video Clips for VJs.

The Apostrophe Protection Society and Project Gutenberg should have been in the links for ages, but I have only just got round to putting them in. But they're there now.

Bye for now xx

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Gravitas, Gravity and Grave Errors.

Thank you for lovely comments following my last post. The funeral was on Thursday and it was fairly harrowing, though also ended quite positively. Well, as positively as these things can be. But thanks, your supportive words mean a lot.

--
It has been well-known for a while now that in areas of America, what used to be Science lessons are now being filled with the oddity that is the theory of Intelligent Design. Not evolution, oh no.

And now, thanks to the joy that is The Onion, we have a shocking new understanding of the world. It is not gravity... oh no, it is actually intelligent falling:
[...]
According to the ECFR paper published simultaneously this week in the International Journal Of Science and the adolescent magazine God's Word For Teens!, there are many phenomena that cannot be explained by secular gravity alone, including such mysteries as how angels fly, how Jesus ascended into Heaven, and how Satan fell when cast out of Paradise.
[...]
.

Every week I love to receive my World Wide Words email newsletter. It contains info on new words and phrases (paternal discrepancy), weird words and phrases (Ignivomous - Vomiting fire), questions on language and word issues. There is also the Sic! section, which even if I don't have time to read the rest of the newsletter, I always make time for. Readers from all over the world send in examples of tenuous, dubious and hilarious uses of language. Some are errors, others are missing clarity, and others are complete nonsense.

My favourite this week:
Last Saturday, as Bernard Robertson-Dunn pointed out, a sub-editor
wrote a remarkable headline over a story on the Web site of the
Independent
: "US editor ignites evolution row at Smithsonian over
editor institute mithsonian engulfed by row over evolution at
centre of row over evolution." Whatever he's on, can I have some?
[The headline has since been corrected to the prosaic "US editor
ignites evolution row at Smithsonian".]

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sheffield WebRing.

This is a newly set up ring for Sheffield people with blogs and / or websites.


Join / List / Random



To qualify, you must live in, or come from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK. The blog or site's subject does not have to be Sheffield-focussed, though.

Photoblogs, online diaries, blogs, websites, message boards and more, are all welcome to join the Sheffield Ring.

Sites which contain pornography or articles / pictures which could be racist, sexist, ableist, xenophobic etc. will not be allowed to join.

All sites which join the ring will need to display the link back to the Sheffield Webring to maintain membership.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sheffield-on-Sea


Posted by Picasa

More photos of the City Centre Seaside here.

An explanation of a landlocked city centre becoming a beach here.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mo Mowlam, Jean Charles de Menezes

R.I.P. Mo.






From Schnews and Active Catalogue:
"We demand a full and speedy public inquiry into Jean's murder. We
believe that the web of deceit that was spun by the Metropolitan
Police means that Sir Iain Blair's position is now untenable and
he should resign immediately. Furthermore we believe that it is
inconceivable that the Home Office and government were not aware
of these circumstances. They failed not only to counter the lies
in the public domain but actively counselled against Jean by press
releasing details of his visa status on the day of his funeral" -
Justice for Jean campaign

Following leaks from inside the IPCC inquiry the mainstream media
has finally grown suspicious of police actions surrounding the
killing of Jean Charles Menezes on a tube train on July 22nd.
Leaks from the inquiry have provided a picture very different from
that initially provided by police.

Furthermore, it would appear that the Met are actively attempting
to intimidate Menezes' family from demanding a public inquiry.
SchNEWS has learned of a campaign of outright obstruction to the
family's involvement in the inquiry, including an attempt to buy
them off.

The leaked witness statements from the inquiry published in the
mainstream press are damning enough. They demonstrate that the
Met's initial reaction was damage limitation and concern for
reputation rather than any attempt to obtain the truth. Ian Blair
(Commissioner of the Met) repeatedly fed the press a diet of
outright falsehoods. We learned that Jean Charles was running, had
vaulted a ticket barrier and refused to stop when challenged. In
some news accounts he was wearing a bulky jacket with wires
protruding, and no overt denials of this were made by police. We
now know that he didn't run, didn't jump the tube, wasn't
challenged and was executed by two officers, while another pinned
his arms to his sides. He was placed under surveillance by an
officer who had left the army a year ago. SchNEWS reckons a year
is quite a short time for a beat bobby to be promoted to an
anti-terrorist unit. How many other soldiers have been
fast-tracked into London's anti-terrorist police we wonder? These
lies were propagated for weeks after the killing, long after the
police must have known they were wrong. Police press releases
peddled lies while the real evidence was suppressed.

In a clear sign of a cover up, Ian Blair delayed the entry of the
Independent Police Complaints Commission into the investigation
for six days. Police obstruction of scrutiny is nothing new. The
years it took the Lawrences, the Stanley family etc etc to gain
even a glimmer of justice are evidence of that. This time however,
the stakes are higher than one family's justice. The shooting of
Jean Charles calls into question how the 'war on terror' will be
fought on the domestic front. Already the right-wing press is
calling for all firearms officers to be exonerated from criminal
charges - i.e State sanctioned death squads. The Menezes' case
calls into question not only Operation Kratos and 'shoot to kill'
but the whole raft of anti-terror policies and the current attack
on civil liberties.

The establishment approach to the inquiry has been to sweep the
matter under the carpet and substitute a version of events more
useful to their agenda. The public perception was meant to be that
a regrettable accident had occurred, but perhaps Menezes was in
many ways culpable. That story is now lies shattered.

TUBEWAY BARMY

One major obstacle to their approach has been the public sympathy
for Jean Charles' family. There have been solidarity
demonstrations both here and Brazil. A broad swathe of the public
can empathise as easily with a young man gunned down on a tube as
they can with the victims of the 7/7 bombings. Just like
terrorists, the police are now to be feared as the agents of
random death. In short the case has turned into a public relations
disaster for the government's policy on terrorism.

The Justice for Jean campaign still have a number of unanswered
questions and are outraged at the revelations of a cover up. They
are demanding a public inquiry. Among the questions they want
answered are:

* "Where did a "shoot to kill" policy emanate from and on what
claimed legal basis? What public debate and democratic
accountability surrounded the coming into being of that policy?"

* Why was the pathologist at the post mortem conducted on July
27th (at which senior investigating police officers were present)
told the following: "This man's death occurred as part of the
emergency relating to the planting of bombs on public transport in
London. On the morning of the 22 July 2005 he was pursued by armed
police officers as a result of surveillance. He was followed into
Stockwell Tube Station where he vaulted over the ticket barrier.
He ran downstairs and onto a tube train where it appears that he
stumbled. The officers then immobilised him and a number of shots
were fired. At the present time I am not sure as to any further
details."

* "What CCTV footage from Stockwell underground station and the
underground train exists? If there is none, why is there none?"

The family are also voicing concern about the processes of the
inquiry. They are demanding to know:

* Are police officers, including those who fired the shots, making
statements as witnesses or as potential suspects i.e. are those
interviews being conducted under caution.

* At what levels police officers, including senior police
officers, are being interviewed and whether they are under caution
or not. Who is being interviewed and by whom?

* Do these include senior police, past and present who appeared to
believe, wrongly, that they were entitled to order a blanket
"shoot to kill" practice.

These and other questions, if asked and answered in public as Jean
Charles' family wish, will surely shed light on areas of domestic
policy concerning civil liberties, the militarization of the
police and the 'war on terror' that Blair & Co. would prefer
shrouded.

read more...


There will be a protest outside Downing Street - Monday 22nd
August at 6pm called by Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

It happens every year, and it makes me so angry.

So, to anyone who did A Levels this time - well done if you got through them at all. They are really work-intensive and hard, and often an awful lot depends on them so they are more stressful than most other exams.

As on this day every year, the news has been full of reports of how A Levels are getting too easy, they are dumbed down, they are a waste of time.

A Level time is so, so awful. If you have had your A Level results today and you have done well - Well Done! - don't listen to a word of what these spoilsports are saying. You have done really, really well and them talking about lies, damn lies and statistics should not be discussing this in the way they are, which seems in every way to downgrade your achievement.

If you have had your A Level results today and you have not done well, or as well as you wanted to, you probably feel even worse. Not only have you not done as well as you wanted to, but the media will lead you to believe that not achieving what you wanted is even worse than it is, because the exams are supposedly so effortless and straight-forward now. This is just not true. Don't beat yourself up, and certainly don't do it on the basis of this national outcry nonsense which I can honestly and truly tell you is discussed every year on this day. Every year. Really. And it has been for years, and it will be for more years.

I hope you get what you want, I hope if you want to go to Uni you can do so, and that if you go it is fantastic. I hope if you want a job you find a great one. Doing great in your A Levels is a fantastic feeling, doing badly feels like the end of the world. The intensity will pass, and things will work out, but please ignore the media. Please.

I got my results 10 years ago, I had done well, got into the Uni I wanted to go to, and was really pleased. A close friend didn't. She was devastated, but through clearing she got the course she wanted at a different Uni, and never looked back.

Hang on in there, especially anyone who has had their achievement dampened, or their disappointment fuelled by the insensitive crap that is being churned out.

Friday, August 12, 2005

R.I.P. Robin Cook.

"It has been a favourite theme of commentators that this House no longer occupies a central role in British politics. Nothing could better demonstrate that they are wrong than for this House to stop the commitment of troops in a war that has neither international agreement nor domestic support. I intend to join those tomorrow night who will vote against military action now. It is for that reason, and for that reason alone, and with a heavy heart, that I resign from the government."
So it was Robin Cook's funeral today.

"It is revealing that Britain now has a prime minister who uses "liberal" as a term of abuse, in the way that a North American politician would."
Robin Cook, July 2004

slow download has reproduced his incredible resignation speech when he left Government over the war.

"We should not accept the implicit assumption of Bush's muscular foreign policy that freedom can be delivered from 38,000ft through the bomb doors." Robin Cook, January 2005

"What has come to trouble me is the suspicion that if the 'hanging chads' of Florida had gone the other way and Al Gore had been elected, we would not now be about to commit British troops to action in Iraq."
Robin Cook, March 2003

"There were no international terrorists in Iraq until we went in. It was we who gave the perfect conditions in which Al Qaeda could thrive."
Robin Cook.

"It's hard to see how we are going to secure both of these [climate change and peace in the Middle East] with a president in America who is not committed to them."
Robin Cook.

"The longer we remain in Iraq the more our occupation becomes part of the problem... rather than the solution."
Robin Cook.

"We cannot base our military strategy on the assumption that Saddam is weak and at the same time justify pre-emptive action on the claim that he is a threat."
Robin Cook.

See also Robin Cook's column in the Guardian.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hands Off Our Homes!

Six years ago I was looking for somewhere to live, as I was had got to the end of the contract for my student house. On buses and various other places around Sheffield there were ads for their social housing, advertising the fact that there were lower rents and no bonds to pay. This all appealed to me and I applied and a few weeks later moved into a council flat.

I was living somewhere bigger, and cheaper, than I ever could have with private renting, and not having to give anyone a £severalhundred bond was very helpful during this period, as I had no income at all.

I had thought that there were rules as to who could and couldn't get council properties, but discovered that mostly this was true. I also learned that Sheffield was one of the few places in the country which had more council properties than they needed. I thought (and still think) that this is a great state of affairs, and it means that it is available and accessible to people quickly, as it was for me.

Of course, there were areas it was more difficult to get into, which required long waiting times, but the availability of others in other, maybe less desirable, areas was positive.

And then at some point, council housing estates started being demolished. Some were in very bad disrepair, and others were not popular. Others needed money spending on them that wasn't available, and others because there were a lot of social problems.

I lived on Park Hill, and neighbours just down the road in the Claywood Flats were told that they all had to move out of their homes because the flats (tower blocks) were being demolished. Many of the tenants did not want to have to move, but there was no choice.

A few years later, it was announced (in the newspaper!) that Park Hill flats were going to be sold to developers and then private buyers, private business and a housing association. There was a lot of anger amongst residents because we found out the news from the local paper, we had not been consulted (although the tenants association had been), and all of a sudden it was a done deal.

In any case, the clearance started and I, among thousands of others, have moved away. But finding a new property - even with the extra priority points I was awarded because of being part of a compulsory clearance - was really, really difficult. It was becoming clear that many council properties were being demolished or sold, and they just weren't being replaced.

Claywood Flats had been demolished, as had Norfolk Park (including 15 tower blocks), and Park Hill and Skye Edge flats were being cleared. St George's flats were being demolished too, and somewhere around that point was when I lost track.

So I was interested to hear that on today's Thinking Allowed, which I was listening to earlier, they were talking about high rise flats in Sheffield and, more specifically, their demolition. It was focussed on the Norfolk Park area of the city.

Between 1963 and 1966, after slum clearance, 15 tower blocks, several hundred maisonettes and several hundred terraced houses were built. Homes for 9000 people were built in 3 years, and they were very popular, modern and desirable, with huge waiting lists for new tenants.

However, as time went on problems began to emerge, as a result of bad maintenance, problems with the original building, changes in how the Housing Benefit system worked, and huge problems within the local economy due to the demise of the steel industry.

In the 90s, the demolition of all 15 tower blocks, and most of the other properties began. The newly built tram system had just come into operation before the demolition and clearance process started, so their stops for the area were hugely underused. It was only four and a half years after the demolition that the first of the new properties were built, and the big, big delay in rebuilding has caused problems.

People who were determined to come back to Norfolk Park when it was rebuilt are not actually doing so, as they have lived in their supposedly-interim areas for so long now that they are quite settled, so instead of reuniting the local communities, as the properties are built, a whole new population will be moving in. A lot of shops are boarded up. And as the new properties are mainly either privately owned or run by a Housing Association, rents are higher and the tenancy agreements are less secure.

Listening to this programme this afternoon really got me thinking again about the whole situation. Sheffield has gone from having an excess of Council Housing, to having huge waiting lists and difficulty getting in to even quite unpopular areas. Communities are being broken up, and tenants feel like promises are being broken, and big decisions are being made which might not be the correct ones.

Photos of Park Hill Flats, Sheffield

Photos of Demolition of Claywood Flats, Sheffield, by 'nibbler'

Photos of Demolition of St George's Flats, Sheffield

Defend Council Housing

----

And hippie blog has bypassed 15,000 visitors :D

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Strawberry Sickness.

Do You Remember That Time Strawberry Ice Cream Made You Sick is a summary of a research study in which it was found that when psychologists implant memories of having been sick after strawberry ice-cream as a child made people less likely to want to eat strawberry ice cream. This is presented as a potentially great dieting tool.

I commented and said the following:
I'm really, really wary of this idea. As a child I developed emetophobia severe enough that I eventually stopped eating at all, as that seemed the most effective way to never be sick. This led to secondary anorexia, which then became the primary problem.

Nowadays I still utterly fear being sick, but unlike then it doesn't rule my life. I generally eat what I want to, go where I want to, see who I want to, without having to plan it all around likeliness of sickness.

But for several years, terror at the thought of being sick meant that I was petrified of a lot of food, especially any which had any association with sickness (something I'd eaten before being sick, something I'd read about causing food poisoning, something I ate before seeing someone who looked pale or ill, something I'd eaten without being close enough to a toilet in case I was going to be sick, you see the theme...). So for a long time I ate virtually nothing.

This was a totally miserable period of my life, and I don't think weight loss is important enough to try and deliberately induce these feelings and fears in people. It seems an irresponsible way of practicing.

I really feel this strongly. It brought me so, so much misery when I was younger - and still does in fact, but generally in a more manageable way. But if I ever, god forbid, am sick, I get totally terrified. I can't help but think inducing this in someone to help them lose weight, could be really damaging.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Just Imagine... (1)

These people...



They send you freepost envelopes, they send you pages and pages of drivel... What else to do, than a bit of honest collage...


'Imagine Finance are no friends of mine'


'Just imagine how your home may be repossessed'


'Thousands of our customers can not keep up repayments'


'Please hesitate before securing debts against your home'


'Imagine inconvenient payments'

continued... imagine finance part 2
--
Freedom Finance 2
Freedom Finance 1

Just Imagine... (2)


And then they give you all the space on the back of the envelope to play with too..


'Imagine a better life without debts'


'No ifs, no buts. Contact a debt counsellor now!'


'I would certainly not do business with your company'.


Imagine Finance Part 1
--
Freedom Finance 2
Freedom Finance 1

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Intermittent Chocolate God Everybody Gay Fly Moon Sunshine.

My blog recommendations for the day:

- NonCompliance - Mcbeth does an incredible mix of photos and words. She is insightful and immensely perceptive, and writes with an unparalleled eloquence (of the type that makes me use phrases such as unparalleled eloquence...). Quote, "Now this one, she's something. Really something. You probably already know this, but the cherishable ones, I think, are the ones who don't think they are. Hidden gems. It's not my job to make someone see their worth, but I sure can see it if it's there, and when it is there - oh my yes. The eyes, the smile - oh my yes. Now I'm beginning to understand what it is that you must be seeing in beatific winsome glances. I kissed her, you know. It was just a soft kiss on her cheek, but I meant six years worth of please let me catch up in that kiss. I called her while driving home, to tell her that I intended not to aim for her cheek the next time. She laughed and blushed across the telephone lines and though I was mystified how I possibly could find the courage within myself to follow through, I think about her eyes, her smile - oh my yes. So I am learning what you also have had to learn, that I can aim with delightful accuracy the next time."

- Chocolate and Zucchini is as close to eating as you can get without actually eating. You will taste, smell and crave with every line you read. Quote, "Softshell crabs are crabs that have newly molted, so they are still small, and their shell is still, well, soft, so the whole thing can be eaten (and don't you oh-poor-adolescent-crab me). This dish had so many of my trigger ingredients that I simply couldn't pass it (Crab, avocado, lime and ginger? Dish! Will you marry me?) and it was indeed just what I'd hoped, a great combination of tastes and textures, very refreshing."

- GodSpeak - listen to God's weekly message to the world here. Am I allowed to make a stupid pun about a God Podcast being a Godcast?? But fun, anyway. Quote, "In other news, Britney Spears grew up. Get used to it, people [...] Anybody who went to see Star Wars today instead of going to Church is a lame-assed bastard. You won't go to hell for it, but I gotta tell you, I'm irked."

My animation, vid, song recommendations for the day:

- Everybody Dance Now - a lad who often finds his roommate dancing madly to 80s/90s dance music sets up a webcam in the room. The results are surprisingly good!

- GayBar: Bush and Blair Mix - you may have seen the original Gay Bar animation, but this Bush / Blair adaptation is very funny, with good lip synching.

- Fly Guy is an interactive animation which is clever, subtle, cute and quite relaxing and fun.

- We Like Tha Moon is an oldie but a goodie.

and Bring Me Sunshine just makes me smile. Good old Eric and Ernie.

(Many more here).

And finally... See, see! Hippie google logo. Fun!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Imagining my Day, Living my Day, and Imagining an Imagining.

Today was supposed to go like this:
Go into town on the bus, go to Post Office to collect money and pay bills. Then go to bank to pay more bills, get some food in, and then see social worker. Then home.

Today actually went like this:
Go into town on the tram, go to the Post Office who tell me that they can't do my money, but they don't know who should be doing it. Go to JobCentre Plus to find out which Post Office I need to go to, and after being directed to a phone on the wall, listen to a phone ring for 25 minutes then give up before anyone answers. Ring an outside line and call the switchboard, who put me through in a matter of seconds. Find out that I need to go to a Post Office miles away. Cry.

Go to bus stop to get to appointment with social worker. Wait 35 minutes for a bus that should come every 6-7, eventually give in and phone and cancel when 20 minutes into appointment time and still no buses.

Decide to try and find the Post Office miles away. Get a bus, am always pretty scared on bus routes I don't know. Find the Post Office, get money, pay most bills (except one where they would have charged £1.65 to pay a bill of £3.75). Wait for bus to get back into town. A bus that isn't going my way comes and pulls in, while a woman in a car pulls out, there is an awful crunching noise. I check the woman is ok, but judging by the yelling when she and the bus driver come face to face, I think she is fine (but angry). He apologised and took responsibility (although I wasn't sure it was entirely his fault), a woman comes out of her house to see what is happening, and I am glad to see that the bus I do want comes.

Back into town, crossing a road (with the green man, of course), almost get flattened by an idiot taxi driver speeding through a red light. Man from behind runs to check I'm ok and rather understates, 'that was close'. Yes it was.

Shop, food, bus, home. Phew. Not at all as it was supposed to be.

If you want to pretend, albeit briefly, that the world is not as disastrously awful as it actually is, why not listen to George Bush singing 'Imagine'?