Monthly Archives: November 2014

  • Turnip Prize shortlist announced

    The Cheddar Valley Gazette has announced the shortlist for this year’s Turnip Prize.

    toy sheep in a cardboard tray labelled ewe-kip
    Ewe-Kip, one of the works on the Turnip Prize shortlist

    This annual award goes to the person who has created something they perceive to be rubbish art.

    The shortlisted works for this year’s award are: Ewe-Kip by Drunken Shepherd; Gogglebox by Abby; Pensive by Leafy; Stick another Shrimp on the Barbie by Aunt Sponge; Ginger Nut by Trees R Green and Breast in Plant by Mike Atkinson.

    The Western Daily Press has a gallery of all the shortlisted entries.

    The presentation of this year’s Turnip Prize will take place at 6.30pm on Monday 1st December at The New Inn, Combe Batch, Wedmore, Somerset.

  • Skip Bins of Easton – the extended version

    An extended version of the original Skip Bins of Easton was produced for screening at last Monday’s Tidy BS5 Residents’ Rubbish Summit (posts passim).

    The summit itself was attended by 26 residents plus 2 local councillors, Marg Hickman and Hibaq Jama, as well as the city council’s neighbourhood manager, Kurt James. Some very clear messages came out of the summit about (the lack of) enforcement and the abuse and unpopularity of the area’s communal bins (aka skip bins. Ed.).

    group photo of residents at Tidybs5 meeting
    Residents spell out their message at the TidyBS5 summit

    Another message that came out clearly was highlighted by Councillor Jama. She’s challenged council officers about the substandard level of service received by the residents of BS5 (principally Easton, Lawrence Hill and Barton Hill) and BS2 (principally St Pauls and St Werburghs). She related that officers use the mantra “It’s the inner city” as an excuse for their lack of action. The meeting also gave a clear message that this attitude is also not acceptable.

  • Takeaway turns up heat on fly-tippers

    Chinese takeaway Sun Hing on Stapleton Road must have had some trouble with fly-tippers in the past.

    As a commercial outlet, the takeaway is required by the council to have – and pay for – its own contract with a waste disposal service.

    If one has paid for a service, then one evidently doesn’t want others (ab)using it for free.

    The sign below has recently appeared above Sun Hing’s bins in Newton Street.

    photo of bins and sign outside Sun Hing takeway on Stapleton Road

    There actually is a CCTV camera covering the bins, but it is out of shot.

    Hat tip: Hannah Crudgington.

  • China testing free WiFi on trains

    Passengers on board Train No. T809 from Guangzhou, China’s third largest city, to Hum Hong station in Kowloon (Hong Kong) enjoyed free wireless internet access for the first time yesterday (Friday), according to ChinaDaily Europe, marking the inauguration of the first WiFi access service on the Chinese railway network.

    image of train providing Guangzhou-Kowloon service
    One of the trains serving the Guanzhou-Kowloon route

    The other 23 trains serving the route will also be fitted with the equipment to provide the service soon. After installation there will be a trial service period of three months before the service is launched officially.

    The equipment on the train is able to provide WiFi for up to 1,000 passengers at a time.

    It is not known whether there will be a charge for the service once it is officially launched.

  • Travelodge produces guide to the West country accent

    Alright me babber? Have you heard that hotel chain Travelodge has produced a guide to the West Country accent? The Gloucestershire Echo has.

    The Echo article has a brief list of common phrases – presumably from Travelodge’s publication – to help visitors get by in the West:

    • Alright me Babber: How are you?
    • Oldies: Holiday
    • Fotawl: Photograph
    • Pown: Pound (Money)
    • Safternun: This afternoon
    • Laters: See you later
    • My luvver: A term of endearment
    • Tiswas: Confused
    • Gurt lush: Really good
    • Babba: Baby

    Adge Cutler
    Adge Cutler – an archetypal West Country man
    The West Country accent is the third most popular in the country, according to research, behind the Geordie and Yorkshire accents (don’t tell my Lancastrian brother-in-law! Ed.).

    One noticeable omission from the glossary above is ‘daps‘, Bristolian dialect for those shoes used for PE in schools, otherwise known as plimsolls or pumps. Bristolians also use the term to describe trainers.

    The research also found that people who speak in West Country accents are less likely to be able to understand the accents of other people from elsewhere in Britain than they could understand Spanish or Italian. Curious (Blige! As one would say in Bristol. Ed.).

    My copy of the Oxford Companion to the English Language, published 20 years ago, says the following about West Country accents:

    The range of accents in the West Country extends from broad in the working-class and in rural areas through accents modified towards RP in the town and the lower middle class to RP proper in the middle and upper classes. Local speech is rhotic, with a retroflex /r/ in such words as rap, trip and r-coloured vowels in words such as car/cart. Postvocalic /r/ is widely retained in such cities as Bristol and Exeter, despite the influence of RP, which is non-rhotic. In other cities, such as Plymouth and Bournemouth, rhoticity varies. Traces of variable r-pronunciation are found as close to London as Reading and Berkshire.

    The entry then goes on to deal extensively with local grammar, vocabulary and the literary West Country.

    Hat tip: Yelena McCafferty.

  • Coming soon: St Werburghs Christmas Market

    St Werburghs Community Centre will soon be holding its famous indoor Christmas Market, running this time in the evening between 5 and 8pm on Friday 12th December.

    publicity poster for Christmas market

    On offer will be gourmet burgers from the Stovemonkey Smokehouse, fresh Italian coffee and homemade cakes from Rolling Italy, St Werburghs Community Centre’s very own Glühwein and mulled apple juice, plus festive live singing from the brilliant BYOB and Bartones choirs. There will be 45 stalls offering a wide variety of unusual festive gifts, clothes and art, etc., plus mask-making and face painting for the kids and other games, as well as a tombola stall.

    For further details, contact 0117 955 1351 or email heather (at)

  • TidyBS5: the word is spreading

    Down in untidy BS5, the fly-tipping is still continuing, as shown by this fine example of that environmental crime from Heron Road, Easton reported to the council this very morning.

    Heron Road fly-tipping

    However, word of this informal campaign by residents is spreading. Just ahead of Monday’s TidyBS5 residents’ summit (posts passim), news reaches my inbox that the litter picket organised in conjunction with the last Easton & Lawrence Hill Neighbourhood Forum (posts passim) has been discovered by CleanupUK.

    CleanupUK is a charity whose main focus is on helping those who are most in need, usually in areas of deprivation, to combat the litter problem where they are. Through involvement in this activity, people feel their communities are safer, more welcoming and friendlier.

    Read CleanupUK’s post on the TidyBS5 litter picket.

  • Save Avonmouth station building

    Living as I do near the Severn Beach line, I was pleased to read in the Bristol Post that the Victorian railway station building at Avonmouth has been given a temporary reprieve from demolition after campaigners lobbied the city council.

    Network Rail wants to demolish the building, but this seems a daft move given the huge increases in passenger numbers on the Severn Beach line in the last few years. As the building is not currently protected by listing or is in a conservation area, a full planning application would normally not be needed for demolition.

    Council officers say Network Rail has failed to give enough detail about their plans and have refused the demolition application, but could very well approve a new application.

    A petition has been set up asking both the city council and Network Rail to reconsider the future of the station building.

    Until quite recently the building was used as a hairdressers and there is no good reason – apart from the destructive intentions of Network Rail – why it should not be used for commercial purposes again (or even as a station building. Ed.).

    Avonmouth Victorian station building
    Avonmouth’s Victorian station building. Image courtesy of mattbuck/ Wikimedia Commons

    Local MP Charlotte Leslie has joined the ranks of campaigners trying to save it, remarking, “Avonmouth railway station is an irreplaceable part of our heritage and planning officers have a duty to ensure that our future generations benefit from its preservation. Indeed, it is my belief that the building should be subject to a Conservation Order or Listed status – owing to its local historical importance and obvious aesthetical [sic] qualities”.

    Charlotte has been a passionate campaigner throughout her term of office for local rail, including the reopening of the Henbury Loop (posts passim).

  • Tidy BS5 residents’ summit

    On Monday 24th November, a Tidy BS5 summit is being held for residents at Felix Road Adventure Playground, Felix Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0JW (map) from 6.45 to 8.45 pm.

    poster for residents' summit

    The aims of this meeting are:

    • To bring together residents who are concerned about fly-tipping, littering and rubbish and want to work together to do something about it;
    • To identify exactly what the problems are and generate ideas for how to solve them; and
    • To officially launch the Tidy BS5 campaign and a year of action to tackle these problems.

    The meeting is being organised by residents, councillors and Up Our Street and will be chaired by local resident Liz Jones.

    All are welcome and the local media have been invited.

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