Paralympic Cyclists Lead The Way For Gold


British cyclist are once again leading the way to Gold Medals at the London 2012 Paralympics.

Sarah Storey has provided Britain’s first gold, and the eighth of her career, on the very first day of the competition.

Jonathan Fox broke the world record in the 100m backstroke heat this morning, then went on to take gold in the final.

Nyree Kindred took silver in the S6 100m backstroke while Hannah Russell took silver in the S12 400m freestyle. And did it in a British record time just to hammer the point home.

And so it goes on. At the time of writing Team GB are 3rd in the medal stakes with seven medals in total. That’s two gold, three silver and two bronze. Not a bad haul for the first day.

Actually it’s brilliant. The national feel good factor has increased exponentially since the conclusion of yesterdays opening ceremony. May it continue to do so.

Let The Games Begin


I’ve been sitting here this evening watching the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Paralympics. Although viewing remotely you cannot help but get caught up in the atmosphere. The enthusiasm being shown by the both the spectators and the athletes is infectious. The show is, as expected, less intricate and in general a lower key affair than the olympics which so dominated our lives earlier this year. Having said that it is no less colourful, no less special.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not normally a sporty person. That is I don’t normally watch sports unless they involve two or four wheels travelling at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. However, I did get hooked by the various disciplines and dipped into most at least once. And some, like handball and volleyball (no, not the beach variety) I watched on numerous occasions. Suffice it to say I am now looking forward to watching the Paralympics, to being introduced to some new and unique sports.

But most of all I am looking forward to, vicariously perhaps, sharing the excitement and the pleasure of the athletes as they compete and as they win their various medals. Of course I want to see Team GB succeed and dominate the medal tables but, just as with the Olympics, it doesn’t really matter. The spectators at the olympics didn’t discriminate. They cheered on all the teams, all the competitors regardless of which country they represented. Of course they cheered louder for the home team, that’s to be expected. So I am looking forward to sharing again in the warmth that was demonstrated during the olympics.

So I say again, Bring It On, Let The Games Begin.

Who hoo – It’s Coming


At last, the wait is over, Series 7 of Dr Who gets underway this Saturday.

For those of us that remember the very first Doctor -William Hartnell, the shaky sets and watching in black and white from the very beginning of this British saga, the latest incarnation is far removed from its roots. The special effects are up there with the very best and the series can still make the cold crinklies run up and down ones spine.

Watch the trailer for the new series…..

Asylum of the Daleks: Saturday, 7.20pm on BBC One!

View From The Conservatory


I haven’t posted from the conservatory for a while. But here are three items to make up for it.

The first is a shot of a Red Admiral, a typical summer visitor who was making the most of our Buddleia or Butterfly Bush. At least in this case it was living up to its name. Most years we have hundreds of flowers but the butterflies don’t come until the flowers have turned brown.

Red Admiral - Vanessa Atalanta
Red Admiral – Vanessa Atalanta

The next is of a Green Woodpecker. Not such a regular visitor to our garden but a welcome one all the same. We do see them in the area and this is the second time in recent months. This was taken through the double glazing so I consider this a lucky shot considering that I had the 300mm lens on as well which makes it a bit more difficult to keep the camera stable.

Green Woodpecker - Picus Viridis
Green Woodpecker – Picus Viridis

And finally a bit of humour. I was just mowing the lawn and popped indoors for a cuppa tea. When I cam back out my mower had all but disappeared. I blame it on this mixed up summer weather that we have had this year.

I only popped indoors for a cuppa

Inspirational – Harry’s Mountain Heroes


Like Harrys Arctic Heroes this new documentary follows a team of five soldiers, who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, as they take on one of the world’s toughest challenges. It follows the team as they attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. Once again this expedition is supported by patron and friend Prince Harry.

Each of the team members has suffered significant damage to their bodies, some have lost parts of limbs or have, due to nerve damage, lost use of limbs. These injuries only serve to make the already demanding task even more of a challenge and this documentary shows the team dealing with altitude, temperatures, night climbs, avalanches and hair-raising ladder crossings over crevasses.

Given the sacrifices that these guys have made for this country and the months of rehabilitation each has endured one can only be amazed at their individual tenacity and strength of will.

Captains Martin Hewitt and David Wiseman, Pivates Jaco van Gass and Karl Hinett, and Doctor Francis Atkinson I salute you. You are an inspiration to us all.

Neil Armstrong – Farewell To A Real Hero


one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind

The man who said those famous words has taken the final step of his life. Yes, Neil Armstrong has passed away at the age of 82 due to complications following heart surgery.

Armstrong was a qualified aeronautical engineer. As a naval pilot he saw action in the Korean War flying over 70 missions. After leaving the navy he became a research pilot and flew many experimental aircraft.

He will, however, be remembered as the first man to walk on the moon. I, like some 500 million people around the world, watched in awe as on July 21st 1969 Apollo 11 touched down on the surface of the moon. We watched as Armstrong and co-astronaut Buzz Aldrin spent several hours on the surface of the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs and we watched their return to planet earth.

After the Apollo program Armstrong spent some time teaching and also as spokesman for American businesses.

Neil Armstrong was a true hero, an inspiration to a generation.

Correspondents say Armstrong remained modest and never allowed himself to be caught up in the glamour of space exploration.

“I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer,” he said in February 2000, in a rare public appearance.

In a statement, his family praised him as a “reluctant American hero” who had “served his nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut”.

The youth of today, who seem to only aspire to fame and celebrity without putting in the work and effort, could do worse than look to him as a role model.

BBC News – Neil Armstrong's death: Reaction.

Employment boost as Waterlooville business park plans are unveiled


I have been a tad busy with work for the last few weeks and have found it virtually impossible to get my head into blog mode let alone focus on local affairs. So I am sorry but this is old news but I wanted to bring it to your attention.

Finally, The News has discovered the planned development right here in Waterlooville. No not the enormous housing development known as WoW (West of Waterlooville). Even The News knows about that. No I’m referring to the development of the BAE site that I brought to your attention in my previous post

This is another of the Havant Borough Council / Portsmouth City Council/ East Hants Council job creation schemes. At least that’s what they say on paper. All of the proposed developments around Waterlooville are supposed to be creating jobs. But not one of them is being sponsored by any company that has signed up to move into the area and actually create those jobs.

The various councils will argue that you have to create the right conditions, prepare the environment to entice these erstwhile employers into the area. However, my fear is that what will be created will be empty commercial / industrial buildings.

We will have the new housing developments filled with a willing work force but no one to employ them. It is easier to build homes and to fill them than it is to get businesses started.

Just listen to the news regarding the economy and the apparent unwillingness of the banks to lend to businesses. To be quite honest I also wonder about the ability of folks to obtain mortgages to buy the new homes being built.

Employment boost as Waterlooville business park plans are unveiled – News – Portsmouth News.

Words For Teenagers


The viral message started its life in an April 2010 newsletter put out by the principal of Kaikohe’s Northland College, John Tapene, quoting a youth court judge’s tough advice for bored teenagers. In short, the judge told teens to stop complaining they had nothing to do, urging them instead to take responsibility and “develop a backbone”.

Words For Teenagers

This cutting has been doing the rounds both via Facebook and email and although this article was originally published two years ago I believe the sentiments expressed have been relevent for many years and are still relevent to this day. Anyway, Mr Tapene’s words struck a chord with me and I felt I had to reproduce them here.