Aldershot – the coucil’s response

Post length: 498 words, just over 2 minutes.

I wrote back in August about a consultation put out by Rushmoor Borough Council regarding a £4.5 million pound regenration scheme of the Aldershot town centre. The response I posted on my blog was the response I gave to the council in feedback. I was apparently one of 280 people to provide feedback on the scheme, and last Monday I recieved an email from the council regarding the consultation.

The majority of you were very positive about the plans and you also took the time to share your own ideas to regenerate the town, which included everything from encouraging new shops to Aldershot, supporting businesses, tidying up shop fronts and building on the town’s Victorian heritage.

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Posted on Monday 29th December, 2014 at 10:06 am in Obiter dicta.
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Your move, Victor

Post length: 1,313 words, almost 6 minutes.

Following Victor Ponta’s defeat to the (presumably soon to be ex-)mayor of Sibiu in Sunday’s second-round runoff presidential election in Romania, questions are bound to be asked regarding his political future.

Ponta has been the country’s Prime Minister since 2012 and has had a somewhat frosty relationship with the outgoing President Traian Băsescu. This conflict often lead to delays and political manoeuvrings playing a large part in new legislation being passed into law. Ponta and his PSD party had hoped that, by winning the presidency as well as holding a majority in government, they could ease this process. It was argued that this would lead to stronger government able to pass the tough legislation required to strengthen the economy (and appease, among others, the IMF).

Ponta has stated he has no reason stand down as Prime Minister, and it is not until 2016 that the country will go to the polls to elect a new government. So what pressures will Ponta be facing right now?

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Posted on Monday 24th November, 2014 at 9:12 am in Obiter dicta.
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UCA Student Filming

Post length: 207 words, almost 1 minute.

We got a note through the door a couple of days ago about a UCA student film due to be made in the car park which my desk overlooks. It’s not the first time the car park has been used for student filming — a couple of months ago a scene was filmed at night involving a car — but it is the first time we’ve been told in advance. I guess it might be as a result of the use of an imitation firearm. (Incidentally, I doubt that the story involves an imitation firearm as stated in the note. Rather I suspect that the story involves a real firearm for which they are using an imitation one.) So far I have spotted the British policeman, but not the firearm.

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Posted on Saturday 22nd November, 2014 at 11:17 am in Obiter dicta.
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Romanian Presidential Election: A Letter to Europe

Post length: 680 words, just over 3 minutes.

In the wake of the mess of last Sunday’s first round in the Romanian Presidential, I helped Monica to write a letter to our local MEPs asking for their help to ensure that the second round, due to take place on the 16th of November, is carried out in as fair and transparent way as is possible. A slight variation of this was also sent to a few relevant members of the European Commission.

Update Not a single non-automated “please make sure you include your home address” response was received between sending the emails and the 2nd round elections last Sunday (16th November). Not even to say “sorry I can’t help.” This is a very disappointing response from across the political spectrum. I appreciate that MEPs have large areas with lots of constituents, but if they don’t have the staff time to even acknowledge communication from the people who voted for them I would suggest that they really need to look at the organisation of their offices. I may well pursue this, at least with my own party. If I do I’ll certainly keep this blog updated.

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Posted on Friday 7th November, 2014 at 9:15 am in Obiter dicta.
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Presidential Poster Bingo

Post length: 155 words, about 0 and a half minutes.

Inspired by Bucharest Life’s post about the lack of campaign posters for all but two of the Romanian Presidential candidates, and with an hour to spare around Crângași in Bucharest’s Sector 6 last Friday, I decided to play a little game of Presidential poster bingo. I managed to collect 7 out of a possible 14, and a few funny looks along the way (especially while taking the Ponta photo). Some (Macovei) were harder to spot than others (Tariceanu). [read more]

Posted on Monday 27th October, 2014 at 6:13 pm in Obiter dicta.
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Aldershot – our town centre coming together

Post length: 1,008 words, about 4 and a half minutes.

Rushmoor Borough Council recently put out a consultation on proposed improvements to Aldershot town centre. The proposals cover three phases of work to improve the environment of the main shopping areas and pedestrian approaches to the town’s main shopping areas. Further details of the proposals can be viewed on the Rushmoor website.

Having lived and worked in the Aldershot area for going on 9 years now (some of the work work having even been related to improving the image of Aldershot town centre), combined with my amateur interest in town planning, I have more than a passing interest in these proposals so decided to respond to the consultation. Below are my thoughts, recorded for posterity. I will be interested to see the further discussion of these plans amongst the elected members of the council in coming months. [read more]

Posted on Thursday 21st August, 2014 at 8:50 am in Obiter dicta.
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City Break in Rome

Post length: 1,258 words, about 5 and a half minutes.

Last week Monica and I went off for a short break to Rome. We stayed about a week, landing Tuesday and flying home again on Saturday. I wasn’t expecting much before we flew out there — I’m not really a great fan of travelling and visiting places — but I suppose I would be doing somewhat of an injustice to say that it was as bad as I expected.

Getting from Fiumicino airport south-west of Rome was surprisingly painless (if a little expensive) thanks to the direct train, the Leonardo Express, which takes you right into the city’s main terminus, Roma Termini. We opted to use the automatic ticket machines at the airport which quite happily gave us the option to complete the transaction in English (We did however end up paying for the tickets on a debit card because the machine refused to take our notes, despite promising it would.) From there it was a short hop on the city’s B Metro line to Colloseo and a short walk to the self-catering apartment which we had rented.

We chose to buy the Roma Pass for the week. [read more]

Posted on Monday 28th July, 2014 at 4:14 pm in Obiter dicta.
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The Love Tour: Radio in the Community

Post length: 1,111 words, almost 5 minutes.

I’ve long been a supporter of independent local radio and listened to it in one form or another for as long as I’ve had my own tuner. I remember waking up listening to Mark Page and I think back fondly to keeping the radio on quietly at night, hoping my parents wouldn’t hear, to listen to Alex Hall both on The Pulse (I honestly think that Alex was a big part of my love of talk radio). When I was at university I would dip in and out of The Bay and was of course involved with the student radio station 87.7 Bailrigg FM. These days while I mostly get my music from BBC Radio 2 when I’m at home, I usually pick up an hour or so of LBC each evening depending on who is presenting.

The recent trend towards networked programming and heavily branded groups of stations is something which really saddens me. While I appreciate that there are (relatively high) costs involved with putting out a radio station and that, as commercial entities, each station has to make a profit [read more]

Posted on Tuesday 15th July, 2014 at 9:29 am in Arts & Ents, Obiter dicta.
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The Farnham Diary: Police, Social Media & Modern Writing

Post length: 875 words, almost 4 minutes.

Each month I eagerly await the thud of The Farnham Diary dropping onto the doormat. Not for the news and local information it contains but for the pedantic nit-picking and the no-holds-barred comment section “View Point.” (There is also the excellent “Bricks and mortar reporter” section which, as an amateur town planner and fully signed up, card-carrying, curtain twitching nosy neighbour, makes up for the fact I don’t have the time to stroll around town and take note of which shops have opened and which have closed recently.) This month’s edition proved not to be a let down.

In the View Point section (pages 10 and 11 of the digital version, above) under the heading “Spaying it around…” was printed a quotation from what seems to be a press update sent by the Farnham Neighbourhood Police Team to local newspapers. The quotation in question was asking editors to assist the police in raising awareness of the existence a of police office in the local fire station. The plea was casual and light-hearted, using a reference to the town’s old police station — the closure and ongoing physical state of which is a contentious issue in the town — to make a very valid point: there there is still a local police presence in Farnham. [read more]

Posted on Tuesday 24th June, 2014 at 8:54 am in Obiter dicta.
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Does Romania Need a Cheerleader?

Post length: 642 words, almost 3 minutes.

Or, more specifically, does Romania need this cheerleader? Please don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a personal attack on the author. Ethan seems to be nice guy with a genuine love of the country and the girl who has opened his eyes to it. He appears to be humble and willing to  accept when his personal knowledge is lacking (the comment and response on this post is a great example). Yet sometimes it feels like the blog strays from light pro-Romania reading, to full on propaganda.

I am in the same situation as Ethan: I’m a 30(ish) year old British guy in a relationship with a Romanian girl, I have been travelling backwards and forwards between Britain and Romania since 2011 and, despite what I was told I would think before I visited for the first time, I really like the country. I understand where he’s coming from. I also recognise that Romania has taken a bit of a beating at the hands of the right-wing media in the UK in recent years (fuelled no doubt by the recent popularity of UKIP), as well as suffering from a lack of high-profile official tourism publicity (when was the last time you saw an advert funded by the Romanian tourist board?). But despite Ethan’s best intentions, does a sickly sweet fansite really achieve anything? [read more]

Posted on Monday 9th June, 2014 at 1:31 pm in Obiter dicta.
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