Bristol

Post exclusive: fire brigade incident at non-existent tower block

One thing is certain about life in Bristol: it’s quite unlike living anywhere else and can sometimes be well beyond the borders of the surreal.

This feeling is enhanced by reading the Bristol Post, city’s newspaper of (warped) record.

Just skimming casually through the Post website, readers may easily miss some real exclusives, such as this fire brigade incident reported yesterday by Heather Pickstock, who is alleged to be the paper’s North Somerset reporter.

As shown in the screenshot above, Ms Pickstock informs readers as follows in this fine piece of creative writing:

screenshot of part of article

Crews from Southmead, Temple, Kingswood, Hicks Gate, Bedminster and Pill were called at 9.46pm yesterday to reports of smoke billowing from the sixth floor of a high rise block a Littlecroft House, Pip Street, Eastville.

There’s just one thing wrong with the above sentence: it’s completely incorrect; there’s no Pip Street in Eastville and no high rise block called Littlecroft House either.

A research technique known to ordinary mortals, but not to Ms Pickstock, affectionately known as “5 minutes’ Googling” reveals there’s a a council tower block called Little Cross House in Phipps Street, Southville, a good four miles across the city from Eastville.

The Bristol area can breathe a sigh of relief that Ms Pickstock does not work as a call handler on the 999 emergency switchboard. 😉

Fell is foul

Many of the phrases in common use in English have 2 sources: either the Bible (both the authorised King James version and earlier translations, such as those of Wycliffe and Tyndale. Ed.) and the pen of William Shakespeare.

Indeed, some lovers of the English language actually refer to it euphemistically as “the language of Shakespeare” when someone ignorant commits an indignity with it.

Today’s online edition of the Bristol Post/Live, the city’s newspaper of (warped) record has not difficulty in mangling some of the Bard of Avon’s actual words.

The misquoting of the Bard occurs in a promotional piece advertising a supermarket chain’s substantial breakfast. The piece itself was a cut and paste job lifted from the Post’s Trinity Mirror stablemate, the Manchester Evening News, which itself lifted the item from the Metro, a publication so downmarket its owners the Daily Mail have to give it away.

misquoted Shakespeare quote is one foul swoop

However, neither the MEN nor the Metro saw fit to misquote Shakespeare; that was a solo effort by the Temple Way Ministry of Truth.

The offending sentence is in the final passage shown in the above screenshot, i.e.:

The breakfast contains your entire daily allowance in one foul swoop, but it’s described as the perfect meal for those with a big appetite.

The actual words penned by Shakespeare are not “one foul swoop” but “one fell swoop” and occur in Macbeth, Act 4, scene 3, when Macduff hears that his family have been killed. Macduff remarks:

All my pretty ones?
Did you say all?—O hell-kite!—All?
What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam,
At one fell swoop?

One fowl swoop” is occurs frequently as a variation to the misquotation.

Whether Shakespeare actually invented the phrase himself or was the first to write it down is a matter of debate. Even so, Macbeth was written in 1605, so even the Bard’s the phrase dates back over four centuries.

The adjective “fell” is archaic, meaning evil or cruel, so it’s unsurprising that it’s misquoted. Moreover, in its context tends to occur in literary works such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic “Lord of the Rings” (e.g. fell beasts).

Driverless vehicle turns to theft

This blog has previously documented the carnage on the highways caused by driverless vehicles (posts passim).

The Bristol Post, the city’s newspaper of warped record, has now discovered that driverless vehicles are not only responsible for so-called “accidents“, but have now turned to theft – or attempted theft – as well.

Headline reads Police stop 4X4 on motorway with fake license plates after it tried to steal a caravan

If there’s one crumb of comfort to be gained from the above report, it is that our brave boys and girls in blue would have had no trouble spotting the offending vehicle with those American “license plates“. 😉

Exclusive: Bristol Post changes name to Manchester Evening News

It’s official: the Bristol Post (or is it BristolLive? Ed.) is changing its name to the Manchester Evening News.

And the revelation comes in a piece from no less a personage than Mike Norton, the title’s editor in chief himself, and is hidden away in the details about the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The relevant section is outlined in red in the image below. Click on the image for the full-sized version.

relevant sentence reads: However, the GDPR is not just related to emails. It affects every industry, business, including publishing and therefore ours here at manchestereveningnews.co.uk

Whether production of the Post will be moved up north from the Temple Way Ministry of Truth is not mentioned.

Is Mike Norton guilty of copying and pasting without checking the actual wording?

In Private Eye’s immortal words: we should be told! 🙂

(Crab) apple blossom time

On my way to the shops this fine May morning, my attention was caught by the beauty of the crab apple (Malus sylvestris) blossom on the tree in the small park that runs up the side of Bannerman Road in Easton, as shown below.

Crab apple blossom in Bannerman Road

Crab apple blossom in Bannerman Road

According to the Woodland Trust, the crab apple is a native UK species which thrives in heavy soil in hedgerows, woods and areas of scrub. It’s one of the ancestors of the cultivated apple and individual trees can live up to 100 years and can grow to about 10 metres in height.

The common name “crab apple” derives from the tree’s often knarled and crabbed appearance, especially when growing in exposed places.

In the autumn our local tree produces a fine crop of crab apples, as this picture from autumn 2017 shows.

Bannerman Road's crab apple tree bearing fruit in autumn 2017

Bannerman Road’s crab apple tree bearing fruit in autumn 2017

Each autumn I tell myself I shall have to come and gather the fruit to make crab apple jelly. After all, it will be food for free (mostly!).

As an aide-memoire and incentive to myself, below is the recipe for (crab) apple jelly from my trusty 1950s vintage recipe book (hence the imperial measurements. Ed.).

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs crab or cooking apples
  • 2 pints water
  • 1 stick cinnamon, or
  • A few cloves, or
  • Strips of lemon rind
  • 1 lb of sugar per pint of juice obtained

Method
Wash the apples and wipe. Cut into quarters, but do not remove the skin or core. Put the fruit into a pan with the water and the cinnamon, cloves or lemon peel tied in a piece of muslin. Stew until the fruit is soft. Test for pectin. Remove the muslin bag. Turn the contents of the pan into a jelly bag and leave overnight to strain. Measure the juice and heat in a pan. Add 1 lb of warmed sugar to each pint of juice, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until the jelly sets when tested on a cold saucer or plate. Remove the scum. Pot and seal whilst still hot.

Before we leave apple blossom, your correspondent can’t help remembering and old song called “(I’ll Be With You In) Apple Blossom Time“, which he remembers being sung by The Andrews Sisters, which reached no. 5 in the USA in 1941.

However, the song is nearly 20 years older than the success enjoyed with it by Laverne, Maxine and Patty, having been written by Albert Von Tilzer and lyricist Neville Fleeson and copyrighted in 1920.

Local rag now employing greengrocers*

Changes are taking place at the increasingly downmarket Local World group of regional newspaper titles owned by Trinity Mirror.

These changes are also being implemented at the Bristol Post, the city’s newspaper of (warped) record, whose online version now masquerades under the misleading title of BristolLive, as any signs of sentience have yet to be medically confirmed.

As circulation has declined, so have standards to the point where it appears that greengrocers (or should that be greengrocer’s? Ed.) are cheaper to employ than what passes nowadays for journalists – or even journalist’s. This desperate move is amply illustrated by the screenshot below for the latest story lifted from scanning social media.

headline reads Bristol's s**t cycling infrastructure now has it's own Twitter account

In the meantime, locals can expect more news from Homophone Corner (that’s a site to be seen. Ed. 😉 ) and hard-hitting stories of the “Hartcliffe man stubs toe on Bristol Bridge” variety and barely concealed advertisements masquerading as restaurant reviews, mostly for places whose obituaries subsequently describe them as “popular” when they inevitably close down less than a year later.

* Or should that be greengrocer’s? 😉

Over £4K – the cost of dropping 6 cigarette ends in Bristol

Six litter louts have been ordered by magistrates to pay a total of £671.84 each for dropping cigarette ends in central Bristol, making a grand total of £4,031.04, yesterday’s Bristol Post reports.

The individual total of £671.84 is broken down as follows: £440 fine, £187.84 in prosecution costs and a £44 victim surcharge.

All the defendants have been given 28 days to pay.

Cigarette ends are litter too. Disposing of them properly will avoid the risk of a fine.

They were all originally caught littering on 9th and 10th November last year by civil enforcement officers working for Bristol City Council (the so-called litter police. Ed.) and were issued with £75 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for their filthiness. Had the penalties been paid within 10 days, the culprits would only have had to pay £50 each.

As it is, they repeatedly ignored correspondence from Bristol City Council, as well as their summonses to Bristol Magistrates Court, as none of the defendants could be bothered to appear in person.

On average, more than 1,000 people have been issued with FPNs for environmental crimes such as littering and dog fouling each month since the ‘litter police’ started their work.

Bristol Clean Streets logoIt’s good to see the City Council taking a tough line on litter. However, far more ‘litter police’ are needed to cover the rest of the city in addition to the centre. They have made the odd foray into a council-owned public park or two and an occasional jolly to Stapleton Road, but far more rigorous action is going to be needed by the local authority if it is to have any hope of meeting the objectives of Mayor Marvin Rees’ Bristol Clean Streets initiative, i.e. that Bristol will be measurably cleaner by 2020 in terms of litter, fly-tipping, fly-posting, graffiti, dog fouling, chewing gum and weeds (especially as the latter were only being eradicated last year if residents made enough of a fuss! Ed.).

The simple fact is that there would less strain on the public purse and less work for the council in keeping the streets and parks clean if people didn’t drop litter, allow their dogs to foul all over the place, dump fly-tipping and commit other environmental crimes.

Nevertheless, it is good to see that Bristol City Council and local magistrates are sending out a clear message to litter louts to keep Bristol tidy – or its centre at any rate.

Finally, in an opinion piece in the Bristol Post, Tristan Cork takes filthy Bristolians to task for the deplorable state residents leave the city’s parks in every time the weather gets warm. Meanwhile the council has warned people who leave rubbish in parks next to overflowing bins that they will be fined £100 if caught and that the “litter police” are now patrolling parks and have been instructed to issue fixed penalty notices for rubbish deposited around bins, as well as anything left on the grass.

A bridge renaming too far

Today I’ve written to my MP, Thangam Debbonaire, about Whitehall’s plans to rename the Second Severn Crossing and lumber it with the uninspiring and sycophantic moniker of the Prince of Wales Bridge.

Second Severn Crossing

Second Severn Crossing seen from Severn Beach. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This move went down really badly in Wales, particularly in view of the total lack of public consultation and many tens of thousands of people have signed a petition objecting to the move, as reported by Wales Online.

Besides the renaming being described variously as “pathetic“, “insulting” and “patronising” (and there is more than a hint of (neo-)colonialism about it. Ed.), many Welsh residents would like any change of name to be made in honour of someone who has actually done something for Wales, rather than sit around for decades waiting for his mum to die before he can take on her job.

It now looks to be turning out to be equally unpopular in the West Country as the comments on this Bristol Post report seem to suggest.

My email to Thangam is transcribed below.

May I draw your attention to the following piece on the Post’s website: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/backlash-grows-30000-sign-petition-1436994

It’s not just the Welsh that object to it being renamed after Charles Windsor with no public consultation. I, one of your constituents and a long-term republican, also signed the petition. There are enough structures sycophantically named after the royals in any event.

Perhaps you would like to join your Welsh colleagues in campaigning against this arbitrary change dreamed up in Whitehall and now being imposed insensitively upon the Westminster Village’s colony over the Severn! 🙂

Regards, etc.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that most locals either side of the Severn estuary will still continue to refer to it as the Second Severn Crossing, no matter what the sycophants in London SW1 ultimately decide what to name it.

Railway works on (four) track

My home is very close to Stapleton Road railway station and for some time now Network Rail has been carrying out its Four Track project up Filton Bank between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood.

In the final week of July 2017 and the first two weeks of August that year, the disused viaduct over the old course of the River Frome (culverted for the polluting monstrosity that is the M32 motorway. Ed.) and Stapleton Road. The viaduct was originally decommissioned in the early 1980s, allegedly for safety reasons. Network Rail has released a time lapse video of the viaduct’s demise.

This June the replacement viaduct will be in situ and hopefully there will be another time lapse video to record its installation.

Below are a couple of photographs of works now underway for the replacement viaduct.

Piling works for the new viaduct

Piling works underway for the new Stapleton Road viaduct.

General view of the works site for the new viaduct

General view of the works site for the new viaduct

Meanwhile, further down towards Temple Meads, trackbed preparation works are well underway at Lawrence Hill station near the site of the Wain Brook culvert (posts passim). Note the use of geotextile beneath the sand.

Trackbed preparation works at Lawrence Hill

Trackbed preparation works at Lawrence Hill

According to Network Rail, the Filton Bank Four-tracking project will:

  • enable a significant increase in the number of passenger trains, helping to meet growing demand;
  • enable an increase in freight operations, supporting our economy;
  • increase the line’s flexibility, reducing disruption as a result of maintenance.

Since September 2015, Network Rail has been carrying out a broad range of enabling works along Filton Bank, and these will continue up until the new tracks are laid in Autumn 2018. These works include:

  • the provision of a fourth platform at Filton Abbey Wood Station;
  • six major earthwork sites to create new trackbed;
  • around 10 miles of plain line track,12 switch and crossings and three miles of track drainage;
  • upgrades to six underbridges, a new viaduct at Stapleton Road and improvements to three footbridges;
  • resiting of two GSM-R; communications masts;
  • work on around 30 signalling structures;
  • route clearance work at 10 structures.

Trinity Mirror local “news” – readers respond

Ever since the takeover of the Local World newspaper titles by Trinity Mirror in October 2015, several Local World titles seem to or actually have given up on reporting serious local news preferring to give preference to what are essentially advertorials (e.g. restaurant reviews) and trivia instead of the hard work of investigating corruption and wrongdoing in the local corridors of power and/or amongst the
city’s so-called great and good.

This certainly seems to ring true if one examines the Bristol Post, the city’s newspaper of warped record.

Today’s most spectacular piece of trivia from the Temple Way Ministry of Truth concerns an encounter with an unpleasant object in the men’s toilets of McDonalds, not a caterer likely to feature in the aforementioned restaurant reviews (McDonald’s restaurants is a well-known modern oxymoron. Ed.).

When allowed to comment, Post readers are not shy in expressing their views, as shown by the exchange below on the offending article.

comments read 1 This is not news and 2 The Post isn't a newspaper

As alluded to above, most of the Post’s alleged online news content can accurately be described as “clickbait“, which is defined by Wikipedia as “web content whose main goal is to entice users to click on a link to go to a certain webpage or video. Clickbait headlines typically aim to exploit the “curiosity gap,” providing just enough information to make readers curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content“.

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