Cat Pic Week – 3

All this week on Niles’s Blog – photos of cats. Mostly my cats.


Turf war. Sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on with how the cats relate to each other. Sometimes timid cat comes out on top.

Thanks, Studio 60

The creator of the The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin, has for the past year in the US, had a new TV show called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which, I understand, has been jolly good.

There are loads of sparkling-looking clips on Youtube which suggest it’s more sassy, TV for grown-ups much in the vein of West Wing. It arrives on UK tv shortly, and I can’t wait!

Unfortunately, just as it turns up here, it gets cancelled in the States. The programme didn’t get the ratings it deserves, and so it makes way for another show in the autumn.

So, a group of concerned citizens have got together on the various social networking sites to buy an ad in a California newspaper to say “thanks.” Any surplus cash left over from the ad will be forwarded to New Orleans charities such as the ones featured in the show.

Spondon’s finest

I’m supposed to be getting an early night, and yet here I am once more spodding in the middle of the night.

And for why?  I’m watching the videos of Syncsta, from Spondon, in Derby.

Hilarious! And they have a dedicated following worldwide.  And one click leads to another, and before you know, it’s 2am again. Pfft.


When we first moved in, one of our earliest thoughts about what to do to the house was to replace the tired lean-to with a new conservatory.
About two months ago, in talking about what we wanted from a conservatory, we then started to think maybe what we actually wanted was an extension, and started to think about talking to an architect.

This week I found out by chance that it’s National Architect Week, and many practices, including the one a colleague used to extend is house, are offering an hour of time with an architect in exchange for a modest donation to Shelter.  We’ve got our consult booked for a few weeks from now.  This year’s theme is how to make your house more environmentally friendly, which is great.
What we’ll actually end up discussing with the architect by then is anyone’s guess.  The first few weeks of extension planning ended up with a fairly modest proposal.  Then it started to get silly, and the latest des res plan now includes glazing the full height of the house, a mezzanine, a retrofitted solar chimney for passive solar air conditioning.

One thing is certain: following a slightly bizarre set of events, all councillor planning applications to Nottingham City are now decided by the Development Control committee, of which I am a member. For obvious probity reasons, I wouldn’t be allowed to take part in the decision myself, and neither would any of my close friends.  So it will mean in a meeting like today that I have to leave the room while the rest of the councillors get shown photos of my house and discuss the relative planning merits of my plans.

It’s important to me that the extension is fairly green. Not least because since I have invested a lot of time extolling the virtues of sustainable development to the committee, it would be hypocritical of me not to put my money where my mouth is when it comes to my own house!

I’ve been trying to read around the subject of extending houses, but haven’t found a suitable google term.  “Extension” means something else in computing terms, which throws up all sorts of distracting hits in searches.

I did, however, find this lengthy horror story of a loft extension gone wrong. – I spent far too long last night reading it through as the nightmare developed step by step.  Eeep!

Clock worries

Mondays are generally turning into a day when I spend the whole day using the facilities of the Council.  I have several semi-regular meetings spread out over the day, including a catch up with my ward-colleague (a luxury after three-and-a-half years as the only Lib Dem in a ward), various sub committees and private briefings and so on. 

The meetings are spaced fairly evenly through the day, and though there are long gaps between them, if I went home each time, I’d spend most of the day travelling.  I can be more productive by settling down to work in the Council.

So, I’ve spent the day in the building directly under the bells of the clock.  Which have been wrong all day.

It’s quite unsettling.  It took me quite a while to figure out how it was wrong.  Mostly when you hear the clock, it prompts you to check your watch to see what time it is.  The times you’d sit and listen to the bongs to figure out the time are few and far between.

So, there were two sets of problems going on today.  I spotted the problem with the quarter-hour chimes quite quickly – they were quarter of an hour ahead of the real time, so at a quarter-past the the hour, they’d chime half past.  This meant that on the hour, you get the quarter-past, followed by a very long pause, followed by the hour bell. 

I’m guessing the Council House clock has two separate systems for the hour and the quarter hour chimes. In most clocks like this, certainly in the one in Leominster Priory that I used to wind from time to time, there is more than one separate mechanism controlling the various different bits.  The Priory has three separate systems that a) chime the hour, b) chime the quarter hour and c) play a different, long-forgotten hymn tune for each day of the week every four hours from 1am.  They are all tied to the same clock, but the striking mechanisms wind down at different rates, so sometimes if the clock winder doesn’t get his timing right, you get hour strikes and no quarters, or hymn tunes and no hour strikes, etc. 

It wasn’t until 1pm when the clock struck 12 that I realised that in addition to the quarter chime being wrong, the clock was also striking GMT during the BST months.  I’m pretty sure it doesn’t usually do that.

I do hope no-one has been relying on the clock today.  They’d have been greatly confused!