Thursday, August 28, 2014

Two TV programmes, two very different reactions.

“Still absolutely reeling from the injustice of last night” is how one person described it. “As if the BBC hadn't shamed themselves enough recently” quotes another. I genuinely don't think I'll ever get over it I'm crying adds a third. So what caused all this outrage? Quite simply they are all talking about Wednesday nights BBC TV Show Great British Bake Off.
For one of the challenges on the show they had to make a Baked Alaska for which they needed ice cream. The contestants made the ice cream themselves and put it in the freezer before making the other parts of the dessert. The show showed one of the contestants, Iain discovering that his ice cream had been taken out of the freezer by Diane, one of the other contestants. Iain, realizing that the ice cream had melted chucked the whole dessert in the bin and so had nothing to show the judges at the end. Mary Berry described this as ‘unacceptable’ and Iain was the baker removed from the show this week.
The reaction on twitter was fast and furious. Diane, a 79 year old Woman’s Institute Judge has been described as evil and a witch by various people on twitter and has been roundly vilified for her alleged ‘sabotage’ of another contestants bake.  At one point 6 out of the top 10 trending topics on twitter was Great British Bake Off related. One ‘Bring back Iain’ tweet has already received nearly 3,000 re-tweets.  Not that it will happen, the whole series has already been filmed. I wonder what it will be like if Diane ends up winning the competition.
It is the sense that this goes against the values of fair play and justice that has caused such an incredibly reaction. The reaction on twitter was more entertaining that the TV show itself. I wonder if the BBC knew that this would get such a huge reaction. The must have expected some reaction as they plugged the incident before the show got aired. To me car-crash TV at its worse.
Compare this to Channel 4’s The Last Leg. A show started during the London Paralympics, hosted by disabled comic Adam Hills which looked at the days sporting events from the Paralympics. Being live it encouraged people to ask those difficult questions that people were afraid to ask about disability using the hashtag #isitok. It has gone on to be a show about the week’s events in general but still with an anti-discriminatory theme. It’s a show that I love.
Following  the death of comic Robin Williams, Adam Hills made a passionate tribute the man and mocked members of the Westboro Baptist Church who planned to pickets Robin’s funeral claiming the he promoted homosexuality through his various roles and often ‘mocked god’. In the last episode Adam posted a tweet stating that he was supporting the Planting Peace’s Fight Hate with Love campaign and that they were raising funds for the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  A charity that Robin Williams was openly passionate about. Planting Peace’s HQ is directly opposite the Westboro Baptist church and have a philosophy of addressing acts of hate and intolerance with compassion and love. So their hate of Robin Williams they are turning to Love for a cause that Robin loved. Adam Hills asked during the show for people to re-tweet his tweet and people have done that in their thousands. However, people have done more than that. Whilst Adam never said on the show to donate money, people have done. At the time of writing nearly $45,000 has been donated by viewers of the show. They were not prompted to do so. This was not a TV appeal for money. Values of injustice has once again came to the fore. For a relatively small show late on a Friday night to get such a reaction is tremendous. All credit to Channel 4, Adam Hills, and all involved in this wonderful piece of TV.
So two different TV shows, two completely different outcomes but both as a result of peoples values of justice and fair play.


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

There is no I in Community

Before you start yes I know the title is wrong. There is an i in community, it’s towards the end of the word. But like the saying there is no I in team I’ve been slowly learning that there should not be I in community either.

As regular readers of my blogs will know I'm setting up an website about historic churches. It is currently at and I think that that could be one of the issues with it. Does it not give the impression that the site belongs to Peter and Susan. It did start as a personal website but slowly and I mean far too slowly, I've come to the realisation that I can’t do it all on my own. It's too big a subject matter for one person. I need to either scale it down or build a community around it. I've slowly taken off personal things from the site. Like marking which churches I have visited, but I've just come to the realisation that this was no where near enough.

I think a good example of a community website that is similar to the one I'm hoping to create is Open Plaques ( . A site dealing with the Blue Plaques you find on sides of buildings. It's quite a simple site but it is effective in getting its message across. You can see when you look at the site exactly how you are to interact with it. Yes you can look up details of the Blue Plaques around the world, but one word is repeated again and again across the website. That word is Contribute. It's clear that the owners of the website want you to submit data and photographs to the site and give you various ways to submit your photos. That is what is clearly what is missing from my site. You look at it and it is not obvious what it is all about. The transition from personal website to a community website has been too long forthcoming and the website has suffered as a result. There is far too much mention of the word 'I', on my site. I is not a community. And if you did want to contribute to my site, there was no easy way of doing it.

So this is my top tip for any of you doing any sort of community website. Stand back and look at it from the users perspective. Make it obvious that their interaction is key to the site by making it easy to contribute to the site. Show contributions from other people and make it clear that other people have contributed to the site. This will encourage more and more people to join in the community that you are trying to create.

In the mean time, I bought a new domain for the site. (the .org version would be better but is already taken.) I'm also doing a site redesign and I'm using the Open Plaques site as a major source of inspiration. As it's a community I'm building, I'm replacing the subtitle of  'Our mission to visit and photograph every church in Great Britain' with the less individualistic line of 'Documenting Historic Churches of Great Britain'. I'm also adding lots of ways that people can contribute to the site but mainly I'm taking out the word I as there is clearly no I in Community.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

South West Trains and Engineering work.

For the past couple of months Network Rail has had engineering work around the Southampton area on every weekend causing passengers to have to use a replacement bus service. Normally when this happens South West Trains run two replacement bus services. One a direct service from Southampton Airport Parkway to Bournemouth and a second that calls at the intermediate stations.

As you may know, I follow AFC Bournemouth and so on home days a commute down to Bournemouth is necessary. Normally I’d get off at Pokesdown station as this is the nearest to the ground. But on rail replacement days I don’t want the hassle of going on the bus that calls at every station to get to Pokesdown, so I catch the one direct to Bournemouth. This does push up the price of my ticket though but it’s my only realistic option.

So for the past couple of months, myself and many other AFC Bournemouth fans have been catching the bus down to Bournemouth. One of our regulars actually lives in Birmingham. Now that’s dedication.

South West Trains issued tweet the other day stating that they appreciate the patience of Southampton FC fans during the recent Engineering works. Erm so its only Southampton fans that use the trains then? I know plenty of us Bournemouth fans that have been inconvenienced as well. Plus we pay extra for the privilege. I'm sure that there are Portsmouth fans who travel through Southampton for their games that have been inconvenienced as well. Do we get a mention, no we don’t.

Maybe I'm being a bit over-sensitive on this, after all more Southampton fans would have been inconvenienced that from other clubs. But living in this area we do have to push Bournemouth to get a mention above Southampton. I think the last time we got mentioned on the local news ahead of Southampton was when we beat Man Utd in the cup and that was thirty years ago, back when Man Utd. Believe it or not Man Utd were a half decent team back then.

I’m sure South West Trains meant the tweet as a gesture of good will. However it grated with me and didn't help with my opinion of them. Lesson here is to think of all your customers when doing a tweet. They didn't need to mention Southampton FC at all in the tweet. I guess that that they were hoping that the tweet would get re-tweeted by Southampton fans or even mentioned in the press / match day programme. Thus raising their image. For me it actually lowered my image of them. As I said this may be an overreaction, but it’s how I feel and I'm not going to apologise for that.

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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Personal Heath Matters

Following on a bit from my last blog. One more thing that I think there is one thing that many of you don't know about me. It's something that I don't think I’ve ever blogged about it but it's something that has come to the front of my life again. About four years ago we changed our mortgage and we had to get new life insurance. Part of that process involved me getting a medical. The nurse from the insurance company tested my urine and commented on me being a diabetic. I told her I wasn't. She told me to see a doctor. I saw the doctor and yes she was right I am a diabetic (Type 2). Thing is I had no obvious symptoms of the disease. Looking back on that time I did notice that I was going to the loo more. But I just put that down to my age and my weight. Even now I still don't feel that I've got any real symptoms and that's the trouble.

Around this time each year I have an annual review. The results this year are not good. My weight, blood sugar level, blood pressure etc which were going down are now up. Trouble is I can't see why. I think everyone's health does suffer at this time of year. The excesses of Christmas play a part. Also for me I know that my activity levels are down. The terrible weather we have been having recently has meant that I've not been able to do any gardening. My walks from the train station to the office have become bus rides. Also I've not been out and about as much as I do in the summer.

So what am I doing about it? I have been having sessions on the exercise bike at home. It's not much but it's a start. I'm trying to get out and walking as much as possible. I have an old aircraft spotting buddy who runs a group called Care for a Walk. About every six months they do walks in the New Forest for the MacMillan Cancer Charity. They do two walks, one of 16 miles and the other of six. I'd love to join then but I feel I need training. I know that I can walk a couple of miles no problem. But six miles? Don’t want to end up in the middle of the forest exhausted. I need to practice, but the weather is just not playing ball at the moment. I do want to push on and maybe, just maybe, join the group for one of the 16 mile walks. But in the mean time I’ve just got to get out there. My health depends on it.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

The man with two middle names.

Couldn't think of a suitable subject for this weeks blog, so I've decided to use the suggested theme this week of things that make me smile and / or things about me that most people don’t know. Trouble is, as any who has met me know I don’t smile a lot. It’s not that I'm an unhappy person, it’s just that I have one of those faces that doesn't smile.  I was at my nieces wedding reception many years ago and I was having a good time. Just sat there chilling out, people watching. I was approached by one of the other guests who told me to cheer up. I tried to explain that I was OK but she wasn't having any of it.  A photograph of me with a genuine smile is a rare thing. That's just me.

So what makes me smile and laugh. Well I do love comedy programmes, they are my favourite genera. I’ll quite happy to watch endless repeats of comedy show, even if I have seen them before. I do like and watch other programmes but never too much. I think I've said before about having a short attention span and getting bored easily with stuff. I can’t watch too much other stuff in a row, but I can watch endless repeats of Harry Hill’s TV Burp.

So, on to the section about me that most people don’t know. Well I'm sure through this blog I've released all sorts of information about me, but here goes.

I was born in 13 East Way, Bournemouth. I weighed over 13lbs at birth and I was nearly a month late.  My mum wanted to called me Darrin. My father wanted the name Oliver. Neither could agree. One evening my mum sat everyone down and went through a baby name book. All names were rejected (or used in the family before) until the they got to the name Peter. My sister said that she liked that name and it a fit of exhaustion my mum declared that it was decided. My name would be Peter Darrin Oliver.

One of my earliest memories was standing the class room on my first day of school crying my eyes out as I didn't want to be left there all day. Another parent was stood next to my mum and said that I could be friends with her son and we'll sit together and look after each other. His name was Gordon and we did become friends. We went all through school together, both primary, junior and senior school. At the age of 16 I went to college and he moved up north and we haven't seen or heard from each other since. I often wonder what happened to him.

My first crush was while I was at junior school. I watched the film Whistle Down the Wind. In it was a young girl named Hayley Mills. When the film was made, she would have been about the same age I was when I watched it. I thought at the time that she was the prettiest girl in the whole wide world. I now have a web page about her which needs updating big time. I did see her for the first time last year in a play in Guildford. 

Well there is a few things about me. Maybe if I'm stuck for a blog post topic in future I may reveal more about the man with two middle names. 

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Best fans in the world (part 2)

First of all I must print a correction to my last blog. AFC Bournemouth didn't beat Burton Albion in the last game of the last season to gain promotion to the Championship. But we beat them the last game of the season the year before to gain promotion from League 2 to League 1. Apologies for that.

It would appear that I wasn't the only one talking about the fund raising by Bournemouth supporters to pay for the away fans coach travel. The story has gain interest in the media.  Our local paper covered the story. They lap stuff like this up and are always on the look out for potential stories that will interest the readers and sell more papers.  But the BBC picked up the story and was on the BBC website. I believe a few national papers also ran the story. Even the Arabic news channel Al Jazeera interviewed someone from the Bournemouth Echo about the story.

Its amazing how this story went from local to international is such a short time. In my opinion it shows how much the media loves a good story and how hungry they are for them. One time the BBC invited comments from people on train travel and I sent it a (cheeky) comment about how us train spotters had been getting hassle. The BBC queried my comments and I told them about how I got kicked off the platform at St Pancras in London for train spotting. They ran the story. That afternoon I had phone call after phone call from various newspapers and radio stations. BBC Radio Scotland wanted me for interview the next morning on their breakfast show. About five minuets before I was due to go on air they called to say that they were not going to run my story as Paul McCartney had just announced that his then wife was expecting. Apparently that was a bigger story. 

The moral of the story is that it doesn't take much for a story to go ‘viral’ as they say these days and equally quickly for it to disappear again..

And in case you are wondering, the re-arranged match has been played. At half time some of the Burton fans did a circuit of the pitch carrying a banner thanking the Bournemouth supporters for their generosity.  We applauded them. It was football supporters getting together and I’m glad I witnessed it. It’s a pity that both teams couldn't progress to the next round. Both teams would have benefited greatly from the fourth round tie against some club called Liverpool. ITV thinks this will be a good match as they are going to show the match live. Looks like all media channels want a bit of AFC Bournemouth at the moment,  

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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Best fans in the world?

The FA Cup third round is an important day in many football calendars. In previous years I've dreamt that my team, AFC Bournemouth, would reach the third round and be drawn against a 'big' club. Usually we'd go out in rounds ones or two and so that big prize of a exciting third round tie would never be achieved. However 30 years ago we did reach the third round and did get a ‘top’ club, namely Manchester United. I was there to witness that game. Man U were the cup holders at the time and nobody gave little Bournemouth a chance. But even top teams have a bad day especially on the mud bath that was our pitch at the time. As the Mail on Sunday put in the next day 'The FA Cup, so hard fought for at Wembley last May was thrown away in the mud at Dean Court'. You see, Bournemouth won the match 2-0 and if you ever visit my place, I'll willingly show you the video of the match.  But reminiscing of something that happened 30 years ago isn't the main subject of this blog.

AFC Bournemouth won promotion to the second tier of English football for only the second time in our history last season. Being a championship side we now get a bye in the FA Cup straight to round three. Dreaming of a big tie we got drawn in round three against Burton Albion. A team we beat on the last day of the season last year to secure promotion to the Championship. The cup match should have been played last Saturday but you may have noticed that the weather hasn't been too good of late to say the least and an hour before kick off the ref called the game off.  Most of the Burton supporters would have already arrived in Bournemouth by this time and so what do you think was the reaction of the Bournemouth supporters? Point at the Burton fans and laugh. Tell them that they 'might as well go home' or other such banter that is dished out during the match on the terraces. Yes we are proud to be 'southerners southerners southern-eeeers' who are 'sea sea seasiders'. We live a lovely part of the country away from the 'northern slums'. By the way we consider 'The North' anywhere from Reading upwards!

Anyway back to our reaction to Burton. Well quite simply, we remember how good their stewards and fans treated us when we won promotion last year and this was a chance to thank them. An AFC Bournemouth fan set up a webpage to collect money to pay for coaches to bring the fans down for the rearranged match. They had already forked out money once, it would not be nice for them to have to do it again. Last I heard the webpage had received around £3000, more than enough to pay for all the fans coaches. Any surplus money will go to charity. The spirit  of being part of the football community has reached beyond this small clubs and the webpage received some donations from around the country and abroad. Football fans have long had a bad press but hopefully those days are behind us. For the moment I'm holding my head high and saying that I'm proud to be an AFC Bournemouth supporter because I'm amongst some of the best fans in the world. 

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Friday, December 20, 2013

I don't believe it!

Always been a fan of the comedy series One Foot in the Grave. A well written and well performed piece of TV. I'm also like the programme for one other reason. The vast majority of it was filmed in the Bournemouth area. I love watching it and seeing bits of Bournemouth in the background. We had quite a few TV series films here around that time. Brush Strokes, Waiting for God and The Collectors were done the Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch conurbation. I once walked out of the town hall and almost accidentally appeared in Waiting for God who were filming in the car park.

Victor Meldrew’s house was in Christchurch. He also did some filming outside Bournemouth Town Hall (the scene where he has an argument with a rugby team about the parking of their minibus). Many locations around the town were used in filming.

The very first episode of One Foot in the Grave is when Victor is made redundant from his security job. He gets replaced by a box! I walk past the office where they filmed that everyday I'm in Bournemouth, as it is just down from the train station. The building used to be offices of an insurance company but has been empty for quite a while. Walking past it this week I was horrified to see scaffolding against it and fencing around it with warning signs saying that the building was being demolished (pictures to follow). Given the importance of that building I don’t think it should be demolished. It should be restored and have a blue plaque.  Another piece of TV history will soon disappear and I don’t believe it!   

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Did I tell you that I'm on the payroll of AFC Bournemouth. For an hour and half before each home match day you’ll find me selling tickets for their half time draw. It’s something that I've been doing for nearly 20 years now.. I have built up a bit of a rap-pour with some of the people that I sell tickets to. On the whole it’s an enjoyable experience. Even if my regulars do give me plenty of stick when they don't win.

Up to last season the fixtures were such that we generally had one home game followed by an away one. So my services were called on one a fortnight. We had cup games as well. Johnson Paint Trophy, FA Cup, League Cup etc. But generally there was a pattern. Saturday home game then Saturday away game. Sure we had the occasional two home or two away on the trot, but that was on the odd occasion.

Last season we got promoted to the Championship. It’s only the second time in our history that we've been in the second tier of English football. It was a proud moment.

One big change this season is the fixtures. For a start the Johnstone Paint Trophy has gone. Also we now longer play in rounds one and two of the FA Cup. We do play in the league cup but this year went out to Watford in round two. But long gone in the one home game followed by one away game routine. There doesn't seem to any pattern to our current fixtures. Also, we now get the international breaks as well. This is when the England (as well as many other nations) teams are playing, they arrange it so that there will be no matches in the Premiership and Championship that weekend. This has resulted in some bizarre fixtures schedules. We’ll only have one home game in the whole of November. This will be this Saturday against Derby. This is immediately followed by another home game against south coast rivals Brighton.

(Sings to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory)
We hate Brighton Hove Albion
We hate Reading too
We hate Pompey and Scummers but
Bournemouth we love you

The wife doesn't like the way the fixtures are organised this year without any sort of pattern and I know she isn't alone. Speaking to other people at the football they get similar comment from their other half.

My wife also commented that we get a game on a Sunday as well soon. Namely the 29th December. I'm not sure the reasons behind it, Whether its Christmas, if we are on TV or what it is but it will be odd to play on a Sunday. I have told her that when* we get promoted to the Premier League then due to Sky TV’s influence then Saturday games will probably be a novelty. However a mixed up fixture list would be worth it for a season in the Premier League.

Up The Cherries (In all departments)

*notice I said when and not if!

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Update on my Historic Churches Website

For my #weeklyblogclub blog this week I’d thought I would do a quick update on my Historic Churches Website,

The story so far - I started photographing pretty looking churches. I set up a website to display the photos, I added a section to list churches I’ve yet to visit. Mainly to list stuff that is interesting in that church so I don’t miss it when I visit. This lead me to download the Places of Worship data from the Ordnance Survey Open Data website. This gave me 22,000 points on a map of various Places of Worship, some modern, some historic. And also some missing e.g. Westminster Abbey and the like.

Since then I’ve been working on that data. Deleting the modern churches and putting names (dedication) to the historic ones. It’s a big task. Whilst all counties have had some work on them, so far I managed to ‘complete’ three counties. I’ve deleted all the modern churches and put names to all the historic ones. Those counties I’ve done are Hampshire, Dorset and Norfolk. I’m not saying that my list is the definitive list of historic churches in those counties but I’d like to think that it’s the vast majority of them. My next step on those pages is to add photos and a bit of text about each church.

So far this has taken me some 18 months of work. There is still a huge about to do. So any information from #weeklyblogclub people would be very welcome. Adding names to churches, useful information about them and any photographs would be very gratefully received. Even a line to say that church number 12345 on your site is a modern building would help. So I can remove that dot on the map and concentrate on the historic churches. Any general comments on the site, constructive criticism would also be very welcome either as a reply to this blog or direct to peterolding at In the mean time, I’ve got some work to do!

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