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Thursday, 14 April 2005
Scene of the second fire


This is the building which burnt down in the wee hours of Saturday 9 April 2005, on the Smisby Road, Ashby-de-la-Zouch.  The company is a van hire business, specialising in small and medium size vans.  It is a family-run business aims to provide excellent customer service.  They have a hideous website (beware of rippling effect on text) which doesn’t yet seem to realise that the fire has occured.  The Leicester Fire and Rescue Services posted a report at 2:32 am on Saturday morning:

At approximately 00:51 on the 9th April 2005 a call was received by Fire Control to reports of a building fire at the Tournament Building, Smisby Road, Ashby de la Zouch.
Upon arrival at the incident crews were confronted with a severe fire in the building and quickly requested additional resources.
The building consists of two floors, is approximately 100 x 20 meters and is used for the storage of furniture. At this stage the fire is believed to be located on the first floor and 12 fire appliances are currently using four jets and one aerial monitor to tackle the blaze.

The BBC reportsthat

Leicestershire Police are treating the fire as suspicious and looking at links with Tuesday’s fire.

A colleague told us yesterday that the local rag is also suggesting that someone started the fire deliberately. 

And in a completely different (one hopes) vein, I found this link to a futuristic and cool-looking motorbike, via Londonist.

Posted by bigblue on 14/04/2005 at 10:06 PM
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Wednesday, 13 April 2005
Scene of the first fire


This is the scene of the first fire (of 4 April) next to the superstore in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.  A few small fires are still burning and the remains of the building are smouldering. I found a report on this fire at the Leicestershire Constabulary website.  They say the cause is as yet unknown.  The site of the fire is listed as a plastics factory, and according to the BBC 60 fire fighters were involved in quelling the fire.

Posted by bigblue on 13/04/2005 at 11:18 PM
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Tuesday, 12 April 2005
Master Park - April 2005


Another photo in my ongoing series on Master Park which, like my last photo, is not from the usual angle.

I have been working long hours lately and I feel like I might be coming down with flu. I don’t believe these are unrelated.

Posted by bigblue on 12/04/2005 at 09:23 PM
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This is a skylight in the chapel at Gatton Park. It seems to be constructed in such a way as to both transmit and diffuse light.

Posted by bigblue on 12/04/2005 at 12:45 AM
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Sunday, 10 April 2005
Frog duck


This is the sign you see as you approch the Pond in Southborough, Tunbridge Wells.

In January I posted a item to South Africa, using a registered delivery service provided by Royal Mail.  It never arrived at its destination, so I phoned the Royal Mail helpline, provided the tracking number, and was told that it had been delivered to its destination in Portugal.  I explained that it was supposed to go to South Africa, and the phone advisor replied that I should rather fill in a claim form because the Royal Mail reuses its tracking numbers.  I did so, and yesterday I received a letter from Royal Mail in reply:

Thank you for your enquiry received on 7th April about a missing International Signed For packet, reference number RIxxxxxxxxGB, addressed to:
xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
xxx xxxxxx xxxx
Western Cape
South Africa

I can confirm that your item was despatched from the United Kingdom shortly after it was posted. I regret however, that despite searches being made by the postal administration in South Africa, they have been unable to find any trace of your packet to date.

I would like to assure you we are most concerned when any loss occurs and I have therefore passed the details of your enquiry to our security people. They use this type of information to minimise instances of loss in our system.

In the circumstances, I am now in a position to settle your claim for compensation and therefore enclose a cheque for £23.51, which includes the postage you paid. I hope you will accept this along with my apologies for the concern and inconvenience you have been caused.

If you learn that this packet has subsequently been delivered or have any further information about it, please contact us again.

Your sincerely,
Samantha McBain
Customer Service Advisor

I was a bit perplexed when I read the bit that they had passed the details of my enquiry to their security people.  Did this signify a forthcoming visit from the men in black?  Were they sending MI6 to investigate the missing parcel?

In my mind the case is simple: someone in South Africa stole it, presumably an employee of the postal services. It makes me wonder why I bother to send items registered (signed for) delivery.

Posted by bigblue on 10/04/2005 at 10:32 PM
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Saturday, 09 April 2005
Fire in Ashby-de-la-Zouch


Last week there was a fire in Ashby-de-la-Zouch at a site next door to the superstore. It started on Wednesday in the early hours of the morning (I think) and smouldered for 2 or more days.  I was working long hours at work so didn’t get a chance to take a photograph.  This morning I woke up to see a new plume of smoke arising out of Ashby (on the opposite side of the town, on the Smisby Road).  I took this photo from my bedroom skylight.  I also intended to take a close-up photo when I went into Ashby this morning, but the road was shut (and guarded by a police car).

Posted by bigblue on 09/04/2005 at 08:20 PM
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Thursday, 07 April 2005
The Trombone


I believe this shiny instrument is called a trombone, the granddady of this one representing the papal throne. 

Someone suggested that I feed my inner hippy at hippyshopper. I had a look, but I can’t say that I find 90s kitch masquerading as 60s hip stuff very appealing.  I know a young girl who used to spend all her pocket money at Claire’s Accessories (on the little earings, hair ties, and other cheap stuff).  This site might appeal to her in 20 years when she is feeling nostalgic for something that never was and has a bit more money to throw around.

Posted by bigblue on 07/04/2005 at 11:15 PM
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Wednesday, 06 April 2005
The Tree


I took this photograph of a tree in Gatton Park, Surrey, last friday.  The trees are looking quite fine at the moment - they are still bare but there are the signs of early spring growth at the very end of the branches. Within a month this tree will be filled with leaves.

Apparently Spring will be put on hold this weekend as we are in for a short cold snap.

Posted by bigblue on 06/04/2005 at 11:20 PM
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