Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reindeer Wanted

Out to Kemble aerodrome from a very wild, wet and cold Manston and then over to Swindon today, for a "Happy 50th Birthday" message for Vicki from husband, John.

Quite awkward and blustery winter conditions, meant several attempts to collect the banner on my part and getting the job done involved rather more luck than judgement as you'll see from the video.

This was the first outing for the new GoPro Hero 3 camera on the wing and it obviously works quite well, although it slipped down slighty during the flight and will have to be tightened next time.

The plan is to use two cameras in future with different views of the action.

Don't forget the Westgate annual fun day this coming Sunday! I've a lunchtime stunt to fly over a football game further north but hope to be back just as it gets dark and the lights come on.

Tomorrow, I've a 1,000 square foot Father Christmas and reindeer to fly over Hastings at dusk, around a searchlight I'm told and I'm thinking it would look rather nice over Westwood Cross as well.

Good news is that plans are well advanced for the return of a Manston airshow in June of 2013. Cllr Alasdair Bruce and I met with the organiser, Sq Ldr Angie Sutton last week and I'm really hoping that this will receive the support it deserves to make it a fabulous event at the airport. Watch this space and I will keep you informed!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Carry On Clive

James Maskell has already passed comment on the sudden and quite unexpected Cabinet job reshuffle at Thanet District Council. This leaves the Labour Leader, Clive Hart, as the exclusive face of public enterprise, more time to focus on developing his plans for greater local economic dystopia and diversity, from the safety of his first floor bunker.

Curiously, the weight of most of Leader's responsibilities now appear to have fallen on the shoulders of  his Cabinet comic, Cllr Michelle Fenner, on account of his deputy and my opposite number, Alan Poole, still languishing in the Australian outback, I assume.

It's all a mystery to me, because everyone knows that Cllr Iris Johnston is really in charge of anything and everything and makes that very clear to all. So why not have done with the pretense, rather than move the titles around in a grand fashion.

More on this later perhaps in between this week's wet and muddy flying jobs.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Running for Cover

George Bernard Shaw
The fuss surrounding Rotherham Council and UKIP, should be of broader concern to all of us after watching this local government farce unfold in the media. Rotherham already 'has form' over the reported concealment of the grooming of young girls within its community and so this week's story serves as an alarm call that all is not well within its social services department.

The director of children's services in Rotherham, Joyce Thacker, insisted yesterday that UKIP's policy on multiculturalism, and previous criticism from a judge that the children's "cultural and ethnic needs" were not being met, informed its decision – a claim that was met with disbelief in Whitehall. She told the BBC: "These children are from EU migrant backgrounds, and UKIP has very clear statements about ending multiculturalism ... and I have to think about how sensitive I am being to those children."

In my view, this story illustrates two uncomfortable facts of political life in 21st century Britain. The first, being the consequences of the silent politicisation of the civil service that began on the day Tony Blair took office; led by the doctrine of unrestricted multiculturalism, which until quite recently was above challenge or sensible public debate.

As a consequence of employment protection legislation and generous entitlement, introduced by the last government, it's almost impossible to remove incompetent officers from local or county councils or indeed, overpaid managers from the BBC, without eye-watering settlement terms.

The second concern, involves local government in some parts of the country, not only wanting to know where you live but in some circumstances, how you voted as well. This may be more true of the band of well-entrenched Labour-controlled councils, stretching in a wide swathe between Liverpool on the west coast and Newcastle on the east and down as far as Birmingham.

Rotherham is even more worrying, because the Council's first reaction was an attempt to defend the indefensible, before being critically rounded-upon by the leadership of all the main political parties. I was deeply unimpressed by the Cabinet Member for Children, who was a living caricature of an unreconstructed Labour local councillor. Whose idea was it to put him in front of a television camera I wonder?

One editorial today, comments: 'there is no doubt that the children removed from the foster care of a UKIP supporting couple are just the latest victims of the culture war being waged by so-called “progressives”. Marxists and Fabians have long waged war on the traditional family since the days of George Bernard Shaw when he wrote in “Socialism and the Family” that socialism…' …

"intervenes between the children and the parents, claiming to support them, protect them, and educate them for its own ampler purposes. Socialism, in fact, is the State family. The old family of the private individual must vanish before it, just as the old water works of private enterprise, or the old gas company. They are incompatible with it. Socialism assails the rampant egotism of the family today… So far as English Socialism is concerned … I must confess that the assault has displayed a quite extraordinary instinct for taking cover, but that is a question of tactics rather than of essential antagonism."

I'm certain that Polly Toynbee in the Guardian - fresh from her fact finding visit to Thanet - may see things differently and perhaps find reason to justify the apparent proscription of UKIP as an enemy of the socialist state. However, there are millions of Britains, who are attracted by their policies towards Europe and controlled immigration, without lurching to the far right as a consequence. One might sensibly think that this presents more of a challenge to David Cameron than Ed Miliband but then you have to remember the ideological gulf that frequently exists between the self-absorbed Westminster intellectuals and party members and activists in the regions.

The Rotherham by-election, instead of being a foregone conclusion for Labour, will now prove very revealing. Will UKIP benefit from a 'bounce' protest vote and will head roll at the Council? If they do, then you can bet that employment tribunals and expensive compensation will follow behind closed doors and little or nothing will change a deeply entrenched, Guardian-reading political culture, that perpetuates itself in town halls across England.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Looking Ahead

It's difficult not to believe that Thanet is now being run by characters in a Boulting Brothers comedy but with fewer laughs.

Arlington House and Tesco, Pleasurama, Dreamland, Margate Football Club. animal exports and I think almost every item without exception that the Labour Group took over, twelve months ago, has progressed either not at all or at politburo-style, glacial speed.

Instead, we have the hiring of expensive consultants to help our Council understand Thanet better, an increase in Council Tax, free parking in Birchington at a cost to the local events budget, No Night Flights at Manston, limitless rainbow-coloured diversity and total inclusion, which is nice.

With news in further below of Cllr Rick Everitt, that I'm surprised the local paper hasn't spotted, readers could imagine that Clive Hart's entire Labour governing team here in Thanet is now in danger of being serially unemployed. That's if they aren't on long-term disability, sickness benefit, wintering in Australia or a mixture of several at once. All on the increased councillors' allowances the struggling Labour  members voted-in, immediately after taking control twelve months ago.

The man who manages Thanet's public money and who has given us all a rise in council tax, next year, Labour's football-loving Rick Everitt, the Cabinet Member for Finance, has been attracting some controversial attention of his own in football circles and this has led him to release the following statement over a month ago but which was just bought to my attention.:

“I can confirm that I have today been sacked by the club by email in a letter from Martin Prothero but signed in his absence by the club’s personnel manager Helen Reed. I understand Martin has not been at The Valley today. This is the decision of a disciplinary hearing that took place on Friday, September 28th, 19 days ago, and according to the club is the culmination of a disciplinary process that began on Tuesday, July 10th – more than 14 weeks ago.” – Rick Everitt."

What it all means, I don't know but speculating Charlton fans have their own vigorous opinions. This did lead one Councillor to quip that "Between them, the Labour Cabinet can now spend even more time doing nothing."

Aware of the harsher lessons of the Lord McAlpine story, I won't be exploring the circumstances of this mystery any further and neither will I be accepting any comments on the same.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lost and Found

The Lost Muse of Margate
This week, I had noticed a number of searches passing across this weblog with the phrase 'David Butterwick.' Out of curiosity I wondered what prompted this interest and discovered a story from 2005, which involved the residents of Garlinge, chasing a registered sex-offender from his home in Glebe Road.

Normally there's a reason for intensive searches, many of which can be attributed to a small minority of readers trying to catch-me-out for one comment or another, so they can be properly outraged or offended. However, this time, the reason soon became clear when I had a call from the Daily Mail.

Apparently Mr Butterwick, formerly of Garlinge, is believed by the press, to have committed serious offenses (allegedly I should add) in Belgium, where he sought refuge after leaving Thanet and the Daily Mail is on his trail.

This led to a wider conversation about child safety, which is very topical at present and Thanet's own record of housing registered sex-offenders close to vulnerable young people and children in care, particularly in Margate and Cliftonville. This is a rather all too common complaint, for very good reason and the Daily Mail doesn't need to talk to me to discover the alarming statistics and history of mistakes by well-meaning but frequently incompetent and overworked agencies managing their problems at a distance.

As for David Butterwick, he's simply the tip of an alarming iceberg and I had to confess that all I knew, was what I recorded in 2005 and the rest is up to them to discover and reveal.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Local Enterprise

Short of ideas for original and reasonably-priced Christmas gifts? Perhaps you share an interest in local or national politics and look-back nostalgically to the days of Harold Wilson, Vic Feather, Arthur Scargill, picket-lines, mills and mines. Indeed, several of our older comrade councillors from Ramsgate, are said to know all the words of the 'Internationale' and occasionally hum it during meetings.

Don't fret, because here in Thanet, the past is never quite forgotten and Maggie never forgiven. Whether this involves distributing, the Socialist Worker, Thanet Watch or even making short propaganda videos protesting the non-existent closure of the QEQM. So you'll be pleased to hear that fashionable Xmas socialist merchandise is now available from our very own

So forget Amazon or eBay, the closure of Argos in Margate or even Westwood Cross and instead shop local on the Internet where the parking is free. Build your own Blue Peter soap-box from easily downloadable instructions and make this a Christmas to remember, buy your grandmother (or even Mary Portas), an iconic 'Arrest Tony Blair' t-shirt. she'll love it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Brilliant Sunshine

As it's such a fabulous day and I really can't thing of anything to write about at the moment, here's the short aerial video I took of Westgate at the end of the summer, for those of you who may have missed-it first time around.

I've now bought a second, higher definition GoPro camera for the aircraft, so I can start being a little more ambitious with the videography for clients next season.

If I can think of anything to add during the remainder of the day, I will. The only thing that immediately springs to mind, is that Sam at the greengrocer, asked me earlier if I had heard any more news on the Tesco Metro application for Westgate. The answer is nothing further as yet but I will keep people informed here or by Twitter.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lost for Comment

All life is here or more accurately, some of life's more unusual internet search terms end-up on my weblog.
Station Rd - Westgate on Sea

Yesterday's more interesting searches included: "Foreign girls massage in Margate Kent" and "Sex offenders in Cliftonville," which says rather more about our local problems than I could possibly speculate.

I'm waiting for the results of the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner elections and based-upon what I saw in Westgate yesterday, I'm not encouraged by the turnout and I see that's 15.1% in Thanet, with 14,671 votes. In Kent as a whole it's 16% with Independent, Ann Barnes, streets ahead in what looks very much like a firm vote against the main political parties and Labour in particular. When I voted late yesterday morning, only sixty people had gone through the polling station and that kind of turnout or indeed apathy could never give even the most optimistic of politicians, any claim to a popular mandate.

Kent Police Commissioner Election Turnout
An informed source also told me yesterday, that property in Adrian Square has been recently purchased by agencies outside of Thanet to house the vulnerable. In fact, I had been walking the area with a journalist. However, if the information is in anyway correct, it coincides with my own worries, a consequence of simple observation and local anecdote and expressed here in the past, that Westgate may be now be an attractive target for displacement. I will be making inquiries because I personally believe that any community under financial stress, as we are, should be sensibly balanced. We can see only too clearly, here in Thanet, what can happen when 'market forces' in welfare, take advantage of our low property prices and large buildings.

I believe, that as a community, we have a right to know if we are subject to changes outside of our own local democratic control and given the financial pressures that now face London's authorities. If we are not consulted then at the very least, we need to be vigilant to what is taking place around us.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Going Dutch

An aviation theme today, with the good news that very soon, we will have regular KLM flights from Manston, to the European super-hub at Schipol and from there, to the Far-east and anywhere else in the world. This is an excellent opportunity for further regeneration, here in Thanet, and let's all hope that The Labour/TIG, 'One World Alliance' don't drop the ball with this heaven-sent opportunity and show the airport the support and flexibility it needs to succeed.

While I wasn't invited to the launch party last night, I understand Council Leader, Clive Hart was there, supported by his deputy-Leader, Councillor Worrow, who working tirelessly in the cause of in-flight diversity, reportedly never left his side. Apparently, there's an emphasis on Thanet Council working with the airline to promote the service and I'm also told it's a very early start for the flight.

The microclimate I discovered on the Isle of Sheppey has moved over Thanet today, and while I think of other things to write, here's a quick video link to the Turkish marriage proposal I ran over Southend pier, just before dusk yesterday. The light wasn't great for the video but if you would like to see what it looks like from the air, then here's the video from my GoPro wing camera.

Time for a 'Wabbit Waffle' and the new micro-pub in Lymington Road, Westgate, will have its grand opening on 25h November at 6.30 pm, now the council has granted it a license and I plan to go along. Lee Birch, the landlord tells me they will be raffling a giant rabbit for charity. This caused me to pause briefly, until I realised it was a really stuffed toy he meant.

Other than reminding everyone to vote for their choice of Police Commissioner on Thursday and expressing my relief, that the High Court has approved the Selective Licensing Scheme I fought with my colleagues to introduce, in deprived areas of Cliftonville and Margate, I will add more later if I have the chance....

Monday, November 12, 2012

BBC - A Great British Pizza Crisis

Forget the BBC's News-night fiasco for a moment as a much bigger story is brewing today. The BBC is reportedly embroiled in what can only be described as a 'Great British Pizza Crisis.'

My well informed spies tell me that Friday evening's BBC Southeast Today report on Lisa Richard's experience of Margate may have breached 'Auntie's' guidelines and one insider richly described the broadcast to me in four brief letters which would breach my own acceptable use policy.

My understanding is that 'Learned Friends' are even now sharpening their legal pencils and that the problem can be divided into two distinct parts.

The first of these surrounds an allegedly unwarranted personal attack on a local business and business woman for expressing an opinion on the town and drumming-it-up into the kind of artificially contrived, class war issue the BBC appears rather overfond of these days.

The second involves the part played by Cllr Ian Driver, an independent (TIG) Ramsgate councillor who was approached for an interview on Lisa Richard's article and subsequently on-air, called for a boycott of her Margate pizza business and a Thanet Council inquiry.

Quite why the BBC approached Cllr Driver still remains unclear, as neither his favourite topics of animal exports, gay marriage or even the closure of Margate hospital were involved. No member of the Council or Labour Cabinet appeared to give balance to the story and they are remaining rather quite on the subject. It won't be lost on readers that TIG is keeping the Labour administration in control of the Council and so any criticism of Councillor's Worrow, Driver and Cohen, is shut-down very quickly indeed, both inside and outside of the Council Chamber.

For any councillor to call for a boycott against a local business is potentially damaging and indeed expensive to the Council. For this to be the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee is viewed by some as an abuse of position and I'm quite interested to see if Council Leader Clive Hart will act or simply sit on his hands and mutter his mantra about diversity and inclusion as usual.

The address for complaints to the BBC is quentin.smith (@) - abbreviated to avoid spam - and he is one the programme's producers. The more expressions of concern he receives on the subject, probably the better.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance 2012

Perfect weather and a well supported ceremony at the War Memorial in Sea Road, Westgate on Sea, today.

My thanks to everyone participating from the different churches, faith groups, civil and voluntary organisations and our armed services, who make this moving community act of remembrance possible each year.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pizza Problems

Lisa Richards appears to have provoked outrage in some quarters, with her description of Margate. BBC's Southeast Today gave it coverage on Friday evening and even a suitably outraged Cllr Ian Driver, never lost for a soap-box on which to climb, announced to the world that he would 'boycott' the fashionable GB Pizza Company. No great loss to their popular thin-crust business I'm sure and as I reminded the BBC, he's from Ramsgate anyway and couldn't they find a Margate Councillor or even the Mayor? Normally, Iris Johnston will spontaneously appear in front of a camera, like magic but not this time it seems.

But hold on a moment, what terrible crime has Ms Richards actually committed other than describe a walk from Margate station which is familiar to many of us, warts and all?

Margate has its problems and I've written about these often enough here. Take any and every depressing statistic of deprivation, health, unemployment and poverty in Kent and frequently in the south of England and you'll find them within a pizza's throw of Lisa Richards new restaurant.

You will also, find aspiration, opportunity and vibrant signs of economic regeneration equally close to her pizza ovens and if you read her story closely, it seems packed with optimism for the town's future but warns of the unpredictable consequences of media exploitation and uncontrolled inward migration on its prospects.

Criticism is healthy and can act as a call to action and unlike Councillor Driver who believes her review was arrogant, I'm not so swift to condemn an honest impression of Margate from someone who is investing in the town and its future. Local politicians need to listen and what this story tells me is that the town is heading in the right direction but as a community of diverse and mixed interests, we still have a long way to go in achieving our goals.

Read it for yourself or watch it again on the BBC and tell me what you think.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Arlington Tesco - The Big Picture

Given the BBC's somewhat exaggerated artist's impression of Margate seafront, aired on the local news with the proposed Arlington Tesco development, I thought it only right, that I share the actual impression from the inquiry and not the media's imagined image, for readers to draw their own conclusions.

On a completely separate note there's more fabulous editorial hyperbole on the new TiG-alike website pictured left but if you miss it, I will add it to the existing TIG archive of increasingly bizarre political behavior.

What is curious is that TIG are protesting that their web archive is somehow edited but readers will see it's not and in an event it would be self-defeating to change anything there, because it would be rather foolish of me to assume that I had the only copy of everything that Cllr Worrow and TIG have produced to date.

As I'm sure that James Maskell will publish a report on his own weblog on the evening's Cabinet business, I won't steal his thunder by spending much time on it other than expressing my satisfaction, as Remembrance Sunday approaches at TDC supporting the Armed Forces Covenant, along with a number of other local Councils across the country.

I did comment, that I was saddened to read that in some of our cities, poppy sellers now have to be protected from abuse or indeed violence. I reflected briefly on the importance of supporting the men and women of our armed services at a time, when they too often appear last on the list of social priorities, after leaving the Services, when I believe, they should be towards the top.

At cabinet, I mentioned two men's experiences in context. The first was on a 'Rock Doc' walk in 2011, when I came across a homeless serviceman living in a cave on the beach at Broadstairs; dressed in his desert-pattern combat fatigues and with his belongings neatly folded or hung on a makeshift washing-line at the back of the cave. The other, an SAS officer, 'Dan' I've been privileged to have worked with this year, who by complete coincidence, went to school here in Thanet.

The intensity of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq has had a dramatic impact on the lives of our servicemen and in particular, the frequency of combat and constant fear of EODs. Many have been left with post-traumatic stress disorders and discharged into civilian life by a seemingly ungrateful State, unprepared and without proper resolution.

If you happen to have been, like Dan,'Members of Tony Blair's Travelling Circus' then the level and frequency of counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan, as well as the losses and casualties, have been quite remarkable and gone largely unreported by the media.

The Westgate Remembrance Day parade to the Sea Road war memorial.,starts from St Saviour's church at 11:30 on Sunday and this week, I also had a call from the sister of Victor Jones, the 16-year-old, working in a shop behind the post office, who was killed by a stray shell from one of our offshore any-aircraft forts during World War II. She plans to attend in his memory.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Nasty by Name - Nasty by Nature

I see that Michael Child, has spotted, yet another TIG-like blog revival and possibly with another bogus webmaster, not the mysterious Mr Fox this time but a Mr Jake Gate for those readers good with anagrams.

Although branded as 'Thanet Conservatives' this is visibly a TIG-style weblog #3 and is pictured below. However, it has already changed its front page and you can find the original in the TIG archive. It is depressingly familiar and of similar style, typeface, choice of colours, juvenile bad-spelling and syntax to its sad and somewhat demented predecessors; the others having been lost in mysterious circumstances, leaving behind only the TIG archive, that I saved from digital oblivion, as evidence of their former existence.

This new weblog holds a very nasty sting in its tail and not simply because it links to a number of defamatory allegations in former Councillor, Mark Nottingham's weblog, as some kind of attempt to present tenuous evidence to support their vague arguments against Thanet's Conservatives. Readers may recall that Mark Nottingham was deselected by the Labour Group at the last local election and was also the subject of a private and expensive legal complaint involving allegations, made in his weblog and elsewhere.

That nasty sting, flagged by Michael Child in his weblog report and which I can confirm, is that Mark Nottingham's defunct weblog may be infected with an unpleasant payload according to Google which flags the presence of potentially malicious code or scripts when its 'bots' crawl the Web for content updates. Anyone whose own anti-viral protection isn't absolutely up-to-date, may risk potentially catastrophic consequences, if they follow the embedded link. I have deliberately not included this link here to avoid the possibility of being party to any reader's Personal Computer disaster. As I happen to be somewhat involved with the PC security industry on a professional basis and I prefer to pay attention to Google's caution as I know how easily weblogs can be infected with malware and how frequently they are leveraged as attack platforms in the business.

Quite how anyone' could be so stupid or malicious as to embed a potentially poisoned-link in a blog page, I really don't know but it's possible that whoever did this now has a PC which has the digital equivalent of a 'dose of the clap' and is 'owned' by a Russian serious and organised crime group and its resources or information can be accessed at will.

I will let readers draw their own conclusions on who may lie behind this new weblog, their motives and sadly, their complete lack of intelligence but please make sure your AV is up-to-date and follow any embedded links to former Cllr Nottingham's fantasy revelations at your own risk!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Christ of the Steps

Christ of the Steps
The Isle of Thanet is of course plagued by graffiti but nobody was more surprised than me, to stumble across a portrait of what looks very much like the face of Christ, drawn in charcoal and chalk. This is on the wall of the steps down to the beach from the cliff, at St Mildred's Bay, in Westgate, just past the end of the now defunct putting green.

So is this vandalism or inspired art in the style of  the Turin Shroud or the anonymous street artist 'Banksy?'

As Margate, thanks to the emerging Turner effect, is now becoming a centre of modern art culture, would you like to see more of such original art of is there no place at all for any graffiti, artistic or not, in the public spaces around Thanet?

With all the rain, best see it quickly if you are curious as it may wash off soon!

Christ of the Steps in St Mildred's Bay

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Worth Every Penny!

You'll see from the photo I've discovered the secret directions to Tracey Emin's studio but catching-up with the local news over the last week, I see that outside of the fiasco surrounding the development of the Pleasurama site in Ramsgate, the announcement of a rise in Council Tax next year has been causing some heated discussion. One letter, in the Thanet Gazette, even suggested that Councillors should sacrifice their allowances to cover the rise.

While I don't believe that radical proposal from a member of the public, would quite cover the looming shortfall predicted for the Council's finances next year, there's a kernel of truth in there which the local paper has missed.

It was the present Labour administration, shortly after seizing control, with the support of John Worrow's TIG's at Christmas, that promptly created another Cabinet position and voted-in a rise in Councilllors' allowances, which the Conservatives, led by Cllr Martin Wise, the Shadow portfolio holder for finance, argued fiercely against.

if you happen to be a fan of detective novels, then you'll be familiar with the expression: 'Motive, Opportunity and Ability;' the fundamental constituents of any crime. One might argue that in politics the same expression is frequently true, so why the rise you might ask; particularly in the middle of a deep recession?

Normally, when an administration takes control in Thanet, there are three, best-compensated, 'plum' committees, which go to the 'movers and shakers' in any political group; normally based on experience, ability and service. These are Scrutiny, Planning and Audit.

For Clive Hart's Labour adminstration to seize control as it did last year, he needed the support of the 'Fabulous three,' Councillors Worrow, Driver and Cohen. So while no Party could sensibly conceive of handing responsibility and with this, a generous allowance to any one of these eccentric political characters within the present system, Labour had no option but to cut a very Faustian deal to turn the Council around. As I predicted here, this is what actually happened.

That left the bigger beasts in the Labour group, without anything more than their modest Councillor allowances and so while the Conservatives had been saving money, running a very lean Cabinet; for example, I had both Planning and the Environment portfolios on a single special responsibility allowance, Labour promptly created another Cabinet role and consequently increased the expense to the local taxpayer.

But let's not forget what consistently takes place when Labour takes control locally perhaps or even at Westminster. Allowances increase and this is exactly what happened here.

So, Motive, Opportunity and Ability, all neatly wrapped with a 4.8% increase in allowances to keep the rank and file happy. But of course there may be a perfectly simple and alternative explanation for all of this that eludes me for now.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Return of the Native

As readers may have guessed, I've been away this week and my general direction of travel is illustrated in at least one of my iPhone photos and the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall.

Once I've cleared the growing backlog of bills, email and letters, I'll be blogging again; hopefully catching-up over the weekend.