Archive for July, 2005

Birmgham Hit By Tornado!

As Mentioned by Chris B in the comments Birmingham was indeed hit by a tornado yesterday. The damage seems to be quite bad from what I

An Olive Branch from Ireland

There’s some good news today, as already mentioned on the London Metblog, that affects the entire United Kingdom: the IRA has officially finished with its armed campaign for a united Ireland. This news seems quite well-timed, given the recent terrorist activities in London and around the rest of the world.

Birmingham is no stranger to such terrorism. The Birmingham Six are particularly infamous for the bombing of two pubs in the city centre, back in November of 1974. See the Wikipedia entry for more information.

So well done, IRA, for finally accepting that the only rational way towards a resolution of their issues is a peaceful one.

Anyway… it’s getting late, so i’m off to veg in front of the tv.

G’night!

Let’s Talk About The Weather

Well, why not? It’s a very British thing to do, and I’m getting into my culture.

Over here in not so sunny Stirchley (so close to Bournville, yet so far…) I think I just heard a rumble of thunder. I love storms. More so when I don’t have to go outside. Oooooooooh, there’s the lightning. I think it’s quite close because the thunder wasn’t far behind. I’d take a picture but:

a) it’s still daylight so you won’t see anything
b) my camera is perilously low on battery power so I’ll have to recharge them
c) I can’t be bothered.

But all you out there reading this in a nice warm climate, or even just a nice dry climate, think of us here in rainy, stormy Birmingham.

On community

I know it’s strange, and I know it’s irrational, but I was very sad to hear that one of the failed london bombers from July 14th stayed so close to us in Birmingham. The arrest was made about 3 miles up the road from me, and it scares me what it will do to this city.

I’ve only lived here for 2 and a half years, after many many years in London, and one of the things that has really struck me about Birmingham is that we’re not a terribly well integrated city. Sure we have a very diverse community, but from where I’m standing we don’t mix so well. I rarely see multi-racial groups of youths, our communities seem to hold each other at arm’s length.

This contrasts to my experiences in inner-city London. I find this a great shame. We’ve got so much more to gain and to learn from each other. Other cultures don’t threaten ours – they enrich it.

Birmingham most technically advanced city in Europe

According to a new report Birmingham is the most technologically advanced city in Europe.

The eGOV initiative (known locally as Implementing Electronic Government) drove local councils to bring in the infrastructure to deliver 100% of services and transactions that could be delivered electronically through electronic means by 2005. Birmingham beat this by a full year. Whilst a number of project managers and external suppliers were involved the key co-ordination and IT skills were provided by a 7 member internal team known as the Technologies Team, this team was disbanded without fanfare in July 2004.

Early on in the eGOV process many councils, including Birmingham, had a nasty shock when the central government announced that simply putting in a call centre and providing telephone contact would not suffice. Many councils had been planning to do just that to achieve a ‘quick win’. Focus switched to the internet and web delivered services. Birmingham upgraded it’s website from one created in Lotus Domino to one created in a bespoke content management system and implemented interactive forms via an off the shelf product with some customisation. A separate system for publishing minutes and results from council meetings swiftly followed.

Further developments very much rely on the outcome of the Business Transformation Strategic Partnership Project where the choice from the two bidding consortia or whether to keep services delivered from in house will greatly determine the direction Birmingham will take in service delivery, indeed if it will deliver services at all…

Krispy Kreme Komes To KBirmingham!


I was walking in to town for lunch today with a friend (Hesam, from the Houston metblog) and we were passing through Victoria square we noticed a growing number of people gathering around a couple of men with a large trolley stacked with white cardboard boxes. Having just passed through the ICC, where the Baptist World Alliance is having some sort of global gathering (which is in no way related to the Godskitchen Global Gathering, which is arguably far more spiritually satisfying ;-)), I assumed it might be a cluster of bible-bashers preaching their piece. We then noticed, however, that the boxes being handed out all carried the familiar logo of Krispy Kreme!!

These fine people are the producers and purveyors of the most delicious and addictive (and sugar packed) doughnuts in the known universe! When I used to live in Houston we used to make regular visits to the local Krispy Kreme store for a fatty Saturday morning treat. Although by the time I’d managed to make my way back to the office the doughnuts were not very warm any more, the melt-in-your-mouth sweetness still provided a great energy boost for the rest of the afternoon.

The new Birmingham location will be opening in Selfridges (within the Bull ring) on September 2nd, at 7am. As it’s Selfridges I guess the prices will be ridiculously overinflated, but these doughnuts will be worth it.

See you there!
(more…)

London Bomb Related Arrests

Four people have been arrested in Birmingham, one in Small Heath and three in Ward End. The person arrested in Small Heath is suspected to be one of the failed July 21st bombers.

Here is a link to the BBC site, with more information:

‘Bomb suspect’ arrested by police

In this report, they say Hay Mills instead of Small Heath and Washwood Heath instead of Ward End. I watched the whole of BBC Breakfast this morning, and they changed the place names halfway through. Who knows! I’ll watch Midlands Today if I can at 1pm, and see what they say.

I don’t know if the places are near each other, I’m not very good at geography at all.

EDITED TO ADD: Some houses around Small Heath have been evacuated, as police have found a suspicious package in one of the houses they were searching. A controlled explosion is to be carried out soon.

Global Gathering 2005!

Next weekend, from 5pm on Friday the 29th until 6pm on Saturday the 30th, 40,000 revellers will descend on Long Marston Airfield (just down the road from Birmingham near Stratford-Upon-Avon) for annual dance music festival known as Global Gathering!

The lineup looks brilliant (if you’re into that kind of music… which I am!): DJ Tiesto, Ferry Corsten, Paul Van Dyk, Armin Van Buuren, Mauro Picotto, Kosheen to name but a few of the bigger ones. But, unfortunately, I shall not be attending this year, instead opting to go to DanceValley, which is the following weekend and held in the Netherlands. Obviously this is a bit more of a hassle instead of just driving down the road to Stratford, but some of the features of DanceValley such as the “silent disco” sound cool!

The M6

One of the worst things about living in this part of the country is being so reliant on the M6. Yes, I *know* I could take the train, but in my line of work when I am in a different place every day, it’s impractical, so shutup.

Anyway. The M6. I thought I knew what traffic jams were when I lived in Kent and was a slave to the M25. Nooooo. No. No, sireee. The true evil is the M6.

This morning I sat for 5 hours (yes, 5 hours) in stationary traffic just north of junction 10 (Willenhall) on the M6. I have no idea why. The sign said the motorway was shut at jn12. No explanation why.

I completely missed my meeting in Crewe. I nearly dozed off twice and in the end got my laptop out and did some emails. This is madness.

I thought that having the M6 toll road (where you pay

Summertime, and the living is easy

I’m writing this just before 7am on a Monday morning towards the end of July.

It has rained most of the night, the skies are overcast and there’s a distinct chill in the air. The weather reader thing says it’s 11 degrees.

British weather never ceases to amaze me. No, really. We’ve had blistering 30 degree days this summer already, and days like yesterday where the best place to be was under a duvet.

Like to keep an eye on the skies near here? Flickr has a user called Birmingham Selly Oak Weather who posts wonderful photos of the skies near Selly Oak every day, and will be doing so for a year.

Check out his entries here .

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.