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Thursday, 09 March 2006
Henry VII of England and Wales

Statue Henry VII

This photograph is of a:

Standing figure of Henry VII, attached to end wall of building. Figure looking to left, wearing crown and holding orb in left hand, right arm across chest holding sceptre.

The building stands on the site of the original town hall built in the reign of James I. The present building dates from 1840. The lower part was used as a cheese market. The statue of Henry VII was funded largely by Mr. Steve Felgate together with a number of other contributions.

From: Public Monument and Sculpture Association National Recording Project. The statue is made from fibreglass bonded with aluminous cement and was unveiled on 19th March 1995.

Wikipedia has a biography of Henry VII, who was father of the more famous Henry VIII. He ascended to the throne after defeating King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth.

Francis Bacon described King Henry’s aloofness as follows:

He was of a high mind, and loved his own will and his own way; as one that revered himself, and would reign indeed. Had he been a private man he would have been termed proud: But in a wise Prince, it was but keeping of distance; which indeed he did towards all; not admitting any near or full approach either to his power or to his secrets. For he was governed by none.

Posted by bigblue on 09/03/2006 at 09:29 PM
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Wednesday, 08 March 2006
Hay Castle

Hay Castle

Another perspective of Hay Castle, which I wrote about yesterday.

Reflecting on what I wrote yesterday, the Cistercian Way project seems to encapsulate the Wales brand: churches and abbeys, rugby, stone age historical sites, castles, sheep farms, picturesque villages, the industrial heritage, mines, Roman sites, pilgrimage routes, canals, green valleys and mountains, coastlines, a Celtic heritage, song and legends, and holy wells.

Branding the identity of countries was a subject of Excess Baggage last week.  Simon Anholt spoke about the importance of a nation’s brand.

What role do governments, tourist boards and even independent guide books play in making over and marketing national identities and why is it even necessary to do it?

Until this coming Saturday the program can be listened to here.

Apparently the latest Australian adverts marketing that country are contraversial down under. Sandi Toksvig described them

as fundementally trying to persuade hundreds of thousands of us not to go to New Zealand.

It was only after listening to the Excess Baggage program that I understood why this ad was contraversial.  Rather than explain this, I will sumarise some of the key points by Simon Anholt concerning the importance of country brands:

  • It’s not governments that brand countries, it’s people that brand countries;
  • People have simple narratives in their heads about what countries are (the Homer Simpson syndrome);
  • These narratives are very like product brands;
  • Trying to manage the image of your country is very much self-defence. If you don’t manage it in some way you will end up with a reputation that is unfair/out-of-date/wrong/etc.
  • The alternative to not branding your country is not not-branding your country, it’s letting someone else do it for you, and you might end up with a reputation that is unfortunate;
  • This effect is noticable in a continent such as Africa which has a negative brand, that impacts all African countries very unfairly: a mix of genocide from Rwanda, aids from Botswana, corruption from Nigeria, civil war from Sierra Leone, ...
  • Every country, at some level, has the reputation it deserves: if Belgium has a reputation of being boring then it is probably a bit like that;
  • You can’t change peoples established beliefs about a country through communications;
  • If a country wants to change its image it has to change its behaviour;
  • The technique of brand analysis is useful only to a point because you can’t fix and manage the country brand like a commercial brand;
  • Much of the Australian brand comes from one film: Crocodile Dundee.

There are a lot more interesting points in the program, and if you listen to it you will find out The Albatross, which the most remote pub in the world (it’s not in Australia) and why it sells South African beer.

Posted by bigblue on 08/03/2006 at 10:18 PM
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Ali Farka Touré 1939 - 2006

Ali Farka Touré

One of my favourite musicians, the Malian Ali Farka Touré, has passed away. Obituaries are all over.

The entry at the African Music Encyclopaedia is sparse.  There is a better biography at the International Music Network.

The photo above is from Les films d’ici.

Posted by bigblue on 08/03/2006 at 08:20 PM
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Tuesday, 07 March 2006
Castello de haia

Hay Castle

This is Hay Castle, a staging post of the Cistercian Way, which is marketed as

more than a long-distance path: it is a walk into the heart of Wales. Explore the great abbeys of the Cistercian order, the little churches of the Welsh hills, the amazing geology of the Pembrokeshire coast, Stone Age burial mounds, medieval castles and sheep-farms, picturesque landscaped gardens and the industrial heritage of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Walk along Roman roads, medieval pilgrimage routes and nineteenth-century canal towpaths. Let the route take you to friendly villages, remote mountains and spectacular coastlines. Learn about Wales - land of song and legends, mines and chapels, rugby and holy wells.

(over at the The Cistercian Way project website).

This castle is the Second Hay Castle, the first one was Norman, and was built in about 1100 on a site near the present Cattle Market. There’s (yet another) good article on the castle at About.

Posted by bigblue on 07/03/2006 at 09:51 PM
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Monday, 06 March 2006
Is it just fantasy?

Outwood Mill

This is Outwood Mill in Outwood, Surrey.  It is Britain?s oldest working windmill, having been built in 1665 by Thomas Budgen of nearby Nutfield.  The type of mill is called a post mill because the whole body of the mill (weighing about 25 tons) rotates on a central post (in this case made of an enormous oak tree) so that the sails can face the wind.

The mill is 39 feet high, while the sails are 60 feet across.  In new money that is 12 metres and 18 metres respectively.  The mill has two floors, with the top floor housing the mill stones and the bottom floor where the bins that catch the flour reside. 

The mill is still used to produce flour but this is only sold to visitors to the mill. Opening hours are on Sunday afternoons between 2 and 6 pm, from Easter to October (and at other times by appointment - it is popular for school outings).  English Heritage have listed the mill as a Grade 1 building and it has won awards over the years and has appeared in a number of television programmes.  You can see the windmill on Google Earth at N 51° 11.607 W 000° 06.099, although the quality of the view is not very good at this stage.

As always Surrey Choicenet has a good page for visitors to Outwood Mill.  I wonder if the mill is still for sale.

Posted by bigblue on 06/03/2006 at 09:59 PM
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Sunday, 05 March 2006
Is this the real thing?


As this photograph is a give-away, the guess where this is? scenario I was planning (on the suggestion of David at work) will have to be deferred for a while.

Posted by bigblue on 05/03/2006 at 10:22 PM
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Saturday, 04 March 2006


Can you see the family resemblence?

It was over ten years ago but it seems the other day when we used to regularly sit around on a weekend making things with papier-mâché, décolage, and clay. We had one of those afternoons today chez bluemeanie as we made a face-mould of each the three of us with plâtre de Paris.  I am not sure what we will do with them next. We have discussed using the mould to produce our faces in clay or to make masks.

Posted by bigblue on 04/03/2006 at 10:27 PM
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Thursday, 02 March 2006


This photo completes a set of four, which cover the four “corners” of an intersection at Capel-y-Ffin, in Wales. The others are here, here and here.

Suw points to the scandal that is the supermarkets selling endangered fish. It just goes to show that we emote over whales, dogs etc. (when we find them on someone else’s plate) but we engage in our own levels of hypocrisy (as the term is commonly used).

Chicken Yoghurt has a tribute to Linda Smith who died this week.

Posted by bigblue on 02/03/2006 at 10:19 PM
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