Archive for January, 2007

Wind Damage

Wind Damage 1

Originally uploaded by g4z.

It sure is windy around here lately! I woke up the other morning to find this scene of destruction out in the garden. Some of the fence posts were pulled clean out of the ground (they were embedded in at least a foot of earth)! Fortunately all the houses in the area don’t seem to have suffered any structural damage, unlike what happened in Kensel Rise with those “mini tornados” last month

Cinderella @ The Hippodrome

What better way to spend a rainy Saturday than in the theatre watching a panto? Panto season may be drawing to a close, but the missus and I hadn’t been to one since moving to Birmingham so we thought it was about time (actually, she’d never been to a pantomime in her life! *shock*). Cinderella is on over in the Hippodrome, starring none other than Brian Conley! “Who?!” I hear you say? Well, maybe you didn’t say, but I myself had no idea who he was (I grew up abroad, so missed out on his earlier days of fame).

It’s a great show; the whole cast were excellent and very entertaining for the kids of all ages! ;-) But it’s only on for another two weeks this season, so get down to the Hippodrome if you’re looking for something to do next weekend!

PS There are some pictures on FlickR and a couple of videos on YouTube:

  • FlickR photoset
  • Video 1 (near the start of the panto)
  • Video 2 (Brian trying to get everyone to sing that Amarillo song)
  • Video 3 (Cinderella will go to the ball!)
  • Video 4 (Pre-finale entertainment: kids singing “Old Mac Donald”)

Quit Yer Lurking!


This week is de-lurking week!

To celebrate I’m asking you lot to share a bit about yourselves… it can be anything you want, but I have a couple of questions I’d like to know the answer to:

  • Do you live in Birmingham?
  • If yes, what area / district?
  • If no, where do you live?
  • Are you from Birmingham originally?
  • If not, what brought you to Birmingham?

I also encourage you to pose your own questions you’d like to know about each other!

Brummie schools failing on the basics

Nearly 60% of Birmingham school leavers are failing to pass their English and Maths GCSEs. Overall 59% of school leavers achieve 5 or more passes at GCSE but approximately the same proportion have inadequate literacy and numeracy when they leave school. In one school, Kings Norton High, only 7% achieve 5 or more passes when English and maths are included. Frankley Community achieved only 13% whilst Hodge Hill managed 17%

A government minister has issued a call for action and a focus on these key areas. Response from Birmingham City Council came from Cabinet Member for Education Les Lawrence who deflected criticism with a claim that some other cities also have poorly performing schools.

Birmingham City Council recycles hot air

Birmingham City Council have announced that they intend to become an “example of international best practice in recycling“. Currently they collect paper only from the vast majority of households. Last year I called them to ask about collections of other materials such as plastics, aluminium and glass. Their response was that they were still considering their options and such collections may be rolled out in the future.

Paper collections are hit and miss at best with collections being scheduled on alternate weeks but frequently paper left out for collection is left uncollected. Also many many paper products are excluded from what can be put in the recycling bags, often for apparently spurious reasons. For example at a time when we are advised to shred all mail before disposing of it shredded paper is banned from the recycling bags on the grounds that collectors may cut them selves on the sharp edges, the council’s Environmental department apparently never having heard of gloves.

Sick of Bad Parking?

Happy New Year Birmingham!

To start off 2007 I’ve decided something needs to be done about some of the terrible parking I’ve seen around the city. If you want in on this, head on over to and print out some of the notices to leave on the windscreens of these inconsiderate parkers. If it’s REALLY bad parking then feel free to take a photo and upload it to that website!

Maybe this wouldn’t be such an issue if we all just started taking the bus, as Stephen suggested?

Anti bus snobs to be made to pay

A recent report to Birmingham City Council has reccommended road pricing as the only viable method to get ‘snobby’ drivers who could use buses and trains out of their cars and onto public transport. The report did recognise that improvements in standards of public transport, both the reliability of the service and the standard of the vehicles, would need to go hand in hand with road pricing.

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