Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

Swans on the Thames. I never knew they had such enormous feet.


Busy day

A busy, but good day, today. And whilst I’ve been dashing around like thing possessed, so has P. And he’s been doing completely different things, with our paths barely crossing.

First thing, a delivery day in the Meadows area of the city. Two new deliverers joined in today, and it was very nice to see them.

I had to leave early to take some flyers about the Lib Dem petition about homophobic bullying to Nottingham Pride, so I spent an hour or so wandering round hundreds of groups asking “Want to help stamp out homophobic bullying?” There were some really interesting responses, including “I’ve already signed the petition” which is great. And some funny answers too — “My feet are already busy helping stamp out poverty, but I’ll sign the petition.” And plenty of people who didn’t want to help at all. At least, they wouldn’t take a flyer. Maybe I shouldn’t have printed the bird on it quite so big.

I spent a happy hour wandering amongst the gay totty handing out leaflets and having brief chats, and bumping into some old acquaintances who didn’t seem to recognise me. I also think I spoke briefly to Reluctant Nomad.

advertise!It was also nice to walk around the stalls at Pride. Lots of local businesses, and not just the gay ones, represented. Tents from several of our local scene bars. The city and county councils. Local FE colleges, trades union and related groups. And strangest of all, Nottingham’s brand new gay sauna — with a lifesize model dalek. I’m intrigued to say the least to know what the link is.

After that, I was gasping for coffee, so nearly drove across town to Starbucks (the horror!) when I remembered that just last week Development Control gave planning permission for a nice looking deli, the Iberian Delight, on the Radford Road, so I popped in there for a double espresso and a Pao de Deus, a sort of sweet roll thing with coconut and sugar on top. It was slightly odd — almost as if they weren’t expecting customers and didn’t know what to do with me. But the coffee was very good and so was the cake.

Back home to, erm, sort out the fish tank. P noticed we’d had a fatality last night, so I finally got around to doing tank related things that I ought to do weekly, but haven’t done since we moved here in December. I cleaned the glass, changed 1/4 of the water, netted out the dead one and flushed it. I also did some bigger things – replaced my Fluval which had almost stopped working entirely with an Elite Stingray (!), fitted a new lightbulb. It remains to be seen whether the lack of cat interest in the fish tank was because previously they couldn’t really see in…

Now I’m taking five to listen to my answerphone messages, grab a cup of tea, return calls, play with the internet (we now have a full cast for Pygmalion), update blog, etc.

Tonight I’m heading over to the reception of some University friends who have tied the knot today.

At some point I have to fit in going to the laundrette, too, so that I have clean clothes to go on holiday with since I won’t be home for over two weeks. I’m off on three very different activities before I return so packing is going to be quite an enterprise and the car will be full: a week in Windsor singing – I’ll probably be wearing shorts under my cassock. A week in Hereford at the Three Choirs, where I need fairly smart clothes. Then two days camping at a pub somewhere off the A1 for the Cix BBQ.

Environmental pledges

A bit late, I’ve signed up at the Environment Agency on some pledges. An interesting mix for people to sign up to. You too can sign, click here.

1. I promise I will take a shower instead of a bath.

I haven’t had a bath in years!
2. I promise I will put a water saving device in my toilet.

We tried this and found it didn’t have nearly enough flush power to deal with… you get the picture. So we thought we’d have a policy of flushing less frequently, but that stained the bowl and smelt bad. So now we’re back up to frequent full flushes. We will get a better design of toilet when we refurb the bathroom.

3. I promise I will turn the tap off when I brush my teeth

Oh, I don’t know how long I’ve done this for, but it’s certainly since before I left home ten years ago.

4. I promise to use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones

How many batteries do I use? My phone, my laptop are obviously rechargeable. I do have many radios with ordinary batteries, one or two torches. Clocks and remote controls don’t really work with rechargeables. So I don’t really do this, but I don’t consider myself a big battery user.

On this point though, it’s worth remembering that dead batteries really shouldn’t go in the domestic waste. Save them up and take them to your tip every so often where they can be reprocessed, and all the nasty but valuable chemicals can be reused and recycled safely.

5. I promise to use a reusable bag when I shop, rather than plastic carriers.

I have several reusable bags.

Do I remember to take them with me to the shops? Only occasionally!

6. I promise to air my washing in public – not in the tumble dryer

Oooh. I’m really bad on this one. What with doing all my laundry at the laundrette, it’s really tempting to bung the whole lot in the dryers before I leave and then (theoretically at least) I can just put it away when I get home. Even in this hot weather I’ve been tumble drying my jeans. Very bad. And there’s no question that I’ve put enough coins into the laundrette to have bought myself a washing machine at home several times over. We just have nowhere to put it.

7. I promise I will boil only the water I need, rather than filling the kettle every time.

Yes — more or less. None of the kettles I use most often has a water guage, so the one at home gets filled with a pint glass every time – half a pint to drink, the rest to make sure there’s enough water in there to boil safely. It’s an old kettle and if its too full or too empty the automatic switch is unreliable.

8. I promise I will share my car journeys to work with a colleague, cycle or replace those car journeys with public transport at least once a week.

Hmmm… sort of… I try and go to the Council House by bus. There’s an excellent service from close to my house to the city centre. I can get in very quickly and there’s a bus every five minutes or so in the day. But… the Council car park is very tempting. Particularly if I’m coming home late, when the buses are less frequent, or going somewhere other than home after the trip to the council.

My commute pattern to Chesterfield by car is at such strange times and frequencies that I don’t think there’s much mileage in trying to share that journey. Although for the last few days I’ve been giving a lift to a keen young member who’s interning in the office.

9. I promise that I will pay back the environmental impact of any air travel I take

Have never done this yet. I don’t really have a plan to do any flying this year — except it would be nice to visit two friends in the Geneva area later this year, and we’re vaguely planning to do a European city visit around about December. There are offsetting links on the Environment Agency website.

10. I promise I will organise or volunteer for an environmental project in my local community.

I really should. But maybe after the elections next year.



Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

Just back from a very stimulating two day tour of sustainable and green energy installations with other councillors and senior officers from the City.

Lots to talk about, but no time tonight.

So I will leave you with a photo of a series of “Hybrolights” – solar and wind powered street lights – and a new word:

Pluvial – pertaining to rain

Right Royal year

It’s just panned out that this year, I’ll have been to three Royal residences.  We camped in Sandringham over Easter.  We had the great privilege of attending a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace (I know I’ve still not told you about that yet) and this summer – in just a few weeks, in fact – the choir I sing with are in residence at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

The music list is now here.

50 greatest films

Well, wtf happened to this post?  The WordPress editor has totally arsed it up, inserting multiple redundant strong tags that persist beyond the end of the post.  Even when I manually remove all the strong tags from the post in Textpad, the bloody thing puts them all back in when I copy the text back into the HTML editor. Grr.

Channel 4 this evening. Good list. I’ve seen 19 of them I think.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Not counting this. The videotape ran out, so I’ve only seen about half of it.

A Bout de Souffle

Saw this in Paris. Don’t think I liked it.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God – Not seen.

An old favourite. One of the first films I bought on DVD. Not sure where my Alien DVDs are now — does my brother still have them?

All About Eve

Never actually seen, but a friend has a copy I’ve threatened to borrow, after saying I liked Almodóvar’s Todo sobre mi madre.

Apartment, The
Not seen. In my list to be rented at Lovefilm. Will take forever before I get through my list.

Apocalypse Now

Never seen. Blimey, was that really Martin “Bartlett” Sheen?

Black Narcissus
Boyz N the Hood
Breakfast Club, The
Not seen any of these. Must ask P if knows the Breakfast Club. Apparently THE teen movie for people in their 30s. I wouldn’t know.


Three big musicals I know most of the words to: Cabaret. Rocky Horror. Little Shop. Maybe this time. I’ll be lucky. Maybe this time, he’ll stay…


City of God
Come and See

Not seen.

Dawn of the Dead

Seen as part of my Film MA. Sponsored by a butcher, who provided real offal for the gore scenes.

Donnie Darko

Saw this with P and his sister on a trip to see a Bollywood film. The film turned out to be unsubtitled, and I threw a strop, so we went to see Donnie Darko instead. I thought it was great. She wasn’t quite so thrilled.

Erin Brockovich

Only saw quite recently thanks to LoveFilm.

Fanny and Alexander -Nope.
Fight Club

Yes. Crazy film once you know the ending.

Heavenly Creatures

Yes, I own all the early Peter Jackson films after a friend enthusiastically described a scene in PJ’s awful debut film. Braindead subsequently became my favourite film, if not actually the German film Kondom des Grauens.

Ipcress File, The
King of Comedy, The


Ladykillers, The

Oh, I must hae done? Surely?

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India

This looked good. Will add it to the list.

Lost in Translation

Urgh. Hated this.


Good soundtrack.


To my shame, never seen, despite owning a copy.

Mulholland Drive

Craaaaazy. I have a bit of a love-hate with David Lynch. My friends all watched Twin Peaks in formative years, and have shown them to me subsequently. Part of my massive cinemagoing time in Paris included a David Lynch retrospective with many of his films. I did like Dune.

Night at the Opera – Nope.

North by Northwest

Nope. Unbelievable. This was already on my list at LF, but will see it eventually.

Pink Flamingos – Nope.

Player, The

Nope, but looked good, so will add to list.

Princess Mononoke – Nope.

Pulp Fiction
“Oh, you must see this, Alex, it’s got one scene you’ll really like.” Turned out my university housemates were talking about the anal rape scene. Hmm. Thanks, guys.

Raising Arizona – Nope.

Royal Tenenbaums, The

Wow. Saw this with friends in the cinema when it came out – in a matinee audience full of people who weren’t really getting the film. We sat there and laughed like loons throughout. Everyone else sat there in stoney silence, and occasionally made faux-whispered thorny remarks. I’m used to sitting there laughing whilst everyone else does that. Remind me to tell you about the Dario Argento version of Phantom of the Opera some day.

Searchers, The
Secrets and Lies


Sexy Beast

I own this one. One of those films you couldn’t quite believe and had to get so you could watch it, then show it to other people to see what they thought too.

Shawshank Redemption, The

Well, yeah. Good story too.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Hell, yeah.

This Sporting Life – Nope.

Three Colours Blue

Saw on BBC 2 while I was doing my A levels. Can’t really remember.

Touch of Evil – Erm, don’t know.

Can’t remember when I actually saw this, but hundreds of people had the poster in our first year at university.

Walkabout – Nope.



Originally uploaded by nilexuk.

It’s been scorchio all week. Blazing sunshine, too hot to work.

Next week the trend looks to continue.

But for Nottingham Lib Dem’s Bring’n’Share picnic in Wollaton Park this weekend — rain, according to the BBC long range forecast.


Who’s for…

Hedgehog Carbonara?

Hedgehog spaghetti carbonara (serves four)

500g spaghetti, 30ml olive oil, 250g lean hedgehog, 1 medium onion (chopped), 125ml water, 60ml dry white wine, 4 eggs, 60ml double cream, 100g grated parmesan cheese

· chop hedgehog into small chunks

· beat eggs and cream together in a bowl. Add half the parmesan cheese

· put pasta in boiling water

· put onions and hedgehog chunks in pan with olive oil on medium heat until onions are almost clear

· add wine and reduce heat

· drain pasta when cooked, combine it with egg, cream and cheese mix

· add meat, onions and wine without draining fat and mix thoroughly

· garnish with remaining parmesan. Serve immediately

Who's for…

Hedgehog Carbonara?

Hedgehog spaghetti carbonara (serves four)

500g spaghetti, 30ml olive oil, 250g lean hedgehog, 1 medium onion (chopped), 125ml water, 60ml dry white wine, 4 eggs, 60ml double cream, 100g grated parmesan cheese

· chop hedgehog into small chunks

· beat eggs and cream together in a bowl. Add half the parmesan cheese

· put pasta in boiling water

· put onions and hedgehog chunks in pan with olive oil on medium heat until onions are almost clear

· add wine and reduce heat

· drain pasta when cooked, combine it with egg, cream and cheese mix

· add meat, onions and wine without draining fat and mix thoroughly

· garnish with remaining parmesan. Serve immediately