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Yesterday was pretty exhausting as we moved offices from Blackpool to Lancaster University campus.  although we had a removal firm there is still a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to be done.  The poor guys shifting the furniture and boxes must have been exhausted last night.  Our new offices are up two flights of stairs and they looked wasted by the end of the day. All I did was walk here and there making tea and coffee.

We also got to pick up our new phones – v smart and with a reasonable camera – Sony Errikson I think.   We’ve left them charging so hopefully we’ll be able to use them today.


I had a totally new experience this weekend. I had been invited by a friend to go to the semi final of the Rugby League Challenge Cup in Huddersfield. I was initially a little wary but on consideration decided it would be a good idea. Thank goodness I did, it was fantastic. The game was between St Helens and Bradford Bulls. Any doubts I had that I would be bored were quickly dismissed as the action is fast and furious. The ferocity of some of the tackles had me reeling as even up in the stand you could hear the numbing thuds as they collided.


I was sitting with St Helens support staff and within a couple of minutes I was shouting and screaming like the rest of them. The match provided everything with a brilliant drop goal, a fantastic intercept that produced a 60 yard run and a try and as Bradford got more and more frustrated some punch ups. The result was a good one with the Saints winning by 35-14. They’re off to Wembley or as they sang it – Wem-ber-lee. The singing was something else and very very funny. Thanks guys and really entertaining and enjoyable afternoon – I don’t think I’ve clapped so much ever!

Google books are now providing plain text versions of out of copyright books. This is a great bonus for those who use a screen reader. So you can search for favourites or perhaps ones that you hadn’t read before like Villette by Charlotte Bronte. These books had been previously available as a PDF file but these are notoriously difficult for screen readers to cope with. However, I think they have been scanned in as there are some glaring errors – the first line of Wuthering heights for example is ‘I Hate just returned from a visit to my landlord’ when of course it should have been ‘Have just returned’. Oh well it is a step in the right direction.

This is a step forward for the RNIB’s Right to Read campaign. 96% of all books are not available in large print, audio or braille and this campaign aims to highlight this, as 3 million people in the UK are unable to access books as they have a sight problem, dyslexia or other disabilities which mean they cannot read in the conventional way. So having these books available digitally means they are accessible to all. If you aren’t aware of the Right to Read campaign check out the RNIB website.

I’ve just got my internet and phone connection back.  It sort of died on Wednesday afternoon and it has been dead ever since.  The engineer arrived at nine this morning and found the worn out bit of wiring under the carpet and now we’re back on.  The phone company diverted all calls to  my mobile, but as I said to them ‘It’s not the phone I need it’s the internet!’  I ended up camping in a friends house using their machine, which cost me the price of lunch.  What a state of affairs we are in when a day without the intenet is a disaster.

Sauri was just an ordinary Kenyan village two years ago, where hunger, poverty and illness were an everyday part of normal life. Now the maize is taller, the children better fed and the water is cleaner. It is one of the 11 millenium villages to be chosen by the United Nations Millenium project to be an experimental prototype to enable impoverished villages to escape extreme poverty.

It’s an astonishily simple idea, invest approximately $100 for each member of the village for 5 years and see what happens.

African’s are in a poverty trap – they farm a small plot of land for himself and his family, and simply doesn’t have enough assets to make a profit. As the population grows, people have less and less land, and grow poorer. When the farmer has to pay school fees for his children or buy medication, he is forced to sell the few assets he has or else go into debt. But if he had some capital, he could invest in his farm, grow enough to harvest a surplus, sell it, and start making ­money.

The idea to ‘shock’ villages into prosperity with large injections of cash is that of economist Jeffrey Sachs author of ‘The End of Poverty‘. Africa has been ­drip-­fed aid for decades, but it has never received enough to make a difference. What money has trickled in has been wasted on overpriced consultants and misspent on humanitarian relief and food aid, not directed at the root causes of poverty. There is a full report here.

Having seen what Tukae are doing in Tanzania, I’m not surprised.  They are enabling the local population to build up their economy by giving them jobs and support.  Their current Malaria project will bring much needed health care and medicine to the children at Emau Hill.

With all the bad weather – have we actually had a day without rain since May? – I thought I’d post a picture of a construction site in Dubai when the restraining wall from the Arabian sea failed.


The full story is here. I’ll have to be careful – this is turning into something of a construction blog – I’ll be writing about cranes before I know it!

Well it’s over. What started ten years ago with my youngest daughter coming home from primary school and telling me about this book her teacher was reading to them, is now at an end. So thanks to Mr Donockley for started our whole family on this Harry Potter journey and thanks also to J K Rowling for a great ride. I won’t say too much about the final book other than there were some surprises and I did cry.  I also need to go back to Half Blood Prince to check some stuff but I’m sure it will be there.  I can go back to reading proper books now.

Well it’s finished – and it’s brilliant.  Well paced and lots of questions answered.  Been a bit of a marathon, I hadn’t  intended to read it in one sitting but it sort of wouldn’t let me go.   And by the way – I was  right!

Like millions of others, I’ll be reading all this weekend and staying well clear of t’interclacker!  Back when Deathy Hallows is finished.

So that’s my seven wonders – just to recap they are:

A pretty good selection I think, though obviously showing a massive leaning towards industrial architecture, but it’s my list and that’s what I like.

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