That’s it – I’m done with French stuff

I’m surprised at the government’s emollient attitude to the French closure of their border to us. I understand the concern of the French authorities to the new variant of Covid 19, though closing borders is surely an overreaction. The trucks travelling to Europe through Dover to Calais are mostly empty, have just one driver, who hasn’t interacted with people in the UK, so their catching the new variant virus is unlikely.

I’m pondering how I might respond to the French provocation. More on my next blog post.

Some manufacturing good news

My early career was in manufacturing, where we made things, and I loved it. I always feel a bit of warmth when I read about where manufacturing is prospering.

Yesterday I read, in the MTDMFG website, that Oyster Yachts “is continuing to seek additional workforce at its Southampton headquarters and its Norfolk manufacturing centre in Wroxham”. Here’s what the company say they are seeking, “We have cast our search wide to attract experts beyond traditional boat building, specifically, individuals with transferable skills; trades including electricians and joiners. We are looking for a variety expert tradesmen and women such as joiners, electricians, laminators, painters and engineers, as well as experienced boat builders”

I know you’d want me to post a photo of one of their yachts, so here you are, courtesy of Oyster Yachts, an Oyster 595.

It’s not all bad

There’s much doom and gloom around, what the ‘gloomsters’ portray says Boris. I know we’re all in a deep economic hole, which we will get out of. How quickly we do that is the question. Your blog author here hasn’t all the answers, he wishes he had. One solution is private investment, either in an existing business, or perhaps a start-up business. Whatever, I like to see private investment.

Yesterday I went for an eye test. Not having had one for a while, I feared the process of aging on my eyesight, and the expense of new glasses, I was pleasantly surprised at being given a clean bill of health, with no need for new glasses.

I went to Specsavers in Camberley. Over the years I’ve tried many Opticians. It’s Specsavers who reminded me of the need for a new eye test, helpfully they have my details as I’ve used them in the past, while others I’ve used haven’t.

My point, in this blog post, is that Specsavers in Camberley has invested in new optical testing machinery, and quite a lot of it too, in addition to having an expanded store. For businesses that continue to invest, their reward is increased business and customer loyalty. Yep, I know Covid19 is a dampener. It’s just that life, and business, carries on, and things tend to get better. So, it’s not all bad. Photo of my spectacles in the case, and my spare pair.

Surrey Heath’s flourishing garden centre ‘golden mile’

Surrey Heath is blessed with a ‘golden mile’ of horticultural businesses and garden centres on a stretch of the A30 in Bagshot and Windlesham. There surely cannot be anywhere else in the country with such a concentration of garden centres and horticultural businesses.

This concentration is supported and appreciated by customers, perhaps not so by a local borough council. I’ve long argued that this feature of our borough should be promoted and supported by the Council.

I first wrote about this feature of our borough in 2009 in Supporting the horticultural ‘Golden Mile’, and subsequently in 2013 in The joys of Surrey Heath’s horticultural golden mile, and latterly in The sad gradual decline of the horticultural ‘golden mile’ in Surrey Heath. It’s a pleasure to note that in recent weeks that what was Wyevale Garden Centre has not become a housing development, and now has new garden centre and farm shop.

The new businesses are Windlesham Gardener, and Seasons Farm Shop, both look excellent additions to the ‘Golden Mile’. I wish both businesses well, who’ll provide healthy competition to the other nearby garden centres. Here are my photos of our recent visits.

Aircraft condensation trails begin to return

Stuck in my garden office, finishing my submissions to Historic England for Grade II listing of Surrey Heath milestones, I noticed two things. The much enjoyed clear blue skies of the last weeks may not be so clear in the weeks ahead, and being diverted by the range of birds visiting the bird bath outside my office window – more on this in the next blog post.

Aircraft condensation trails are returning to the sky over our house. Not yet in great numbers, but a reminder that the clear blue skies of recent times won’t last forever.

Goldman Sachs: “arguably London is the Artificial Intelligence capital of the world”

Serendipity is wonderful thing, don’t you agree.

It’s the Internet that provides most of my serendipity experiences, and here’s one such that provides an understanding of technology markets.

Jo Hannaford, of Goldman Sachs, describes technology innovation in Europe, saying that in the Kings Cross area of London, the closeness of the Crick Institute for cancer research, the Alan Turing institute for artificial intelligence, Google Deepmind, and the not too far away Facebook London site, constitute a thriving tech hub that she says it can be argued is the artificial intelligence capital of the world.

There are other technology hubs in Europe that she mentions. These “Exchanges at Goldman Sachs“provide great primers by experts on the state of technology and business.

Click on the image below to link to the YouTube discussion.


Reckon actors soon to arrive at Netflix film set off Deepcut Bridge Road

Noting, at the end of January, that Netflix are constructing a film set in Deepcut, it looks as though the set build is near completion and that actors will arrive soon.

See HERE for my earlier article, in which I mentioned that the film set is a recreation of a medieval village, the building of which completes in March, after which filming begins, lasting till September 2019. The film is in the Netflix Cursed series, and here’s what they say the film is about it,

In this fresh take on the Arthurian legend, teenager Nimue joins forces with mercenary Arthur on a quest to find Merlin and deliver an ancient sword.

Here are my latest photos of the site, taken yesterday. Expanding my photo of the film set you can see there are wooden tiles on one the buildings, and there’s a door into the closed set, so we’re unlikely to see any of the scenes of the film. The direction sign is sending all the film trucks via Frith Hill Road, many of the trucks can be seen through the hedgerows.

The changing centre of Birmingham

At the end of February we travelled by train to Birmingham for a family gathering. Just four of us, we are not a big family.

Dear wife attended a meeting of a society at which she’s a member, and afterwards we all met up for afternoon tea. A couple of us walked from where we met at New Street station along New Street up to the City Council House to view the changes to Centenary Square.

What changes they are. The old central library building [see photo], an eyesore from the moment it was built, is no more. The new library is a big improvement – now called the Library of Birmingham, although I’m not a fan of the exterior cladding.

Chamberlain Square, Paradise Circus, and Centenary Square have all dramatically changed. My how Birmingham does love reinventing itself. The Registry Office, where we were married, is also now demolished. Such are the changes that I hardly remember what was there before. Although the Hall of Memory, of which more later, retains it’s place, and is, thankfully, not crowded in by the new buildings. From the new Library’s viewing platforms you can see how things are changing.

I took some photos, pretty poor ones I’m afraid, that show some of the changes. As there were hoardings everywhere, taking photos was awkward. Better to view the photos in the BBC article Will Birmingham’s boom benefit all?


Netflix film set off Deepcut Bridge Road in Surrey Heath

What I’m writing here isn’t news to many of you, whom I know are both more curious than me, and also better at knowing about local goings on.

Anyway, here goes. There’s a film set being built on the Ministry of Defence land at Frith Hill, just off Deepcut Bridge Road in Surrey Heath. Today I walked past the site and took the photo below.

A bit of googling reveals that it’s a site for a Netflix film in their Cursed series, and here’s what they say the film is about it,

In this fresh take on the Arthurian legend, teenager Nimue joins forces with mercenary Arthur on a quest to find Merlin and deliver an ancient sword.

The film set is a recreation of a medieval village, the building of which completes in March, after which filming begins, lasting till September 2019.

Top 10 Country GDP Ranking History 1960 – 2017

Here’s a fascinating dynamic animated graphic from the The Visual Capitalist website.

It shows the GDP ranking history of the top ten countries for 57 years, fro 1960 to 2017. The GDP [Gross Domestic Product] data is from the World Bank.

The points I note from this graphic are that the UK, and France jockey for position over the years. The absence of Germany in the early years is due to them only providing their GDP data to the World Bank from 1970.

The rise of and fall of Japan is to some degree a reflection in currency movement. All the data is in dollars. China’s rise in the ranking in is such a short period is staggering. It’s similarly intersting to see India rising up the ranking, and also to see Italy’s fall.