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Thursday, 16 March 2006
Time the Avenger

Swadlincote hall

When I saw the slogan below the clock on the town hall I thought of the Pretender’s song:

Nobody’s perfect
Not even a perfect stranger ...

Time, time, hear the bells chime
Over the harbor and the city
Time, one more vodka and lime
To help paralyze that tiny little tick, tick, tick ...

The town fathers (and mothers, if indeed they were involved) of Swadlincote are more likely to have had in mind the words of the scoundrel Lord Byron when choosing a slogan for their clock:

Oh Time! the beautifier of the dead, adorer of the ruin, comforter and only healer when the heart hath bled… Time, the avenger!

The Swadlincote Town Hall was built in 1861 by public subscription, on West Street which is the High Street of Swadlincote.

According to the Swadlincote History Trail (pdf link) site:

In the Domesday Book of 1086, Swadlincote is recorded as just a small village in the more important parish of Church Gresley. Now, however, Swadlincote is South Derbyshire?s largest town. The population at the beginning of the 21st
century was around 30,000 people.

The use of the word town is, perhaps, misleading. Swadlincote is made up of three separate settlements - Swadlincote, Church Gresley and Newhall. These combine with the parishes of Woodville and Castle Gresley to form a band of development across the southern part of the District - lying between Burton on Trent in the west and Ashby de la Zouch in the east.

There are some interesting photos of Swadlincote at the Derby Photos site, including a better quality summertime version of the one above.

Swadlincote has produced the photographer Chris Waller. His catalogue on SamizPhot is here.  I was somewhat surprised however to see that there are no photos tagged Swadlincote on Flickr (at the time of writing). They hide themselves well.

Posted by bigblue on 16/03/2006 at 09:03 PM
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Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Carphone Warehouse Posters

I just wanted to say that I think the posters at a well known mobile phone company have looked really good lately. I hope that the person responsible is being well rewarded.

Link du jour: Goocam, which combines a Google map with open/unprotected CCTV camera streams found using Google searches.

Posted by bigblue on 15/03/2006 at 09:46 PM
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Tuesday, 14 March 2006


This is the largest stone of the megolithic stone circle known as Pen-y-beacon (Blaenau). Situated at the foot of Hay Bluff, it was believed until recently to be the remains of a cairn, or a burial chamber.  This stone is 1.5 metres high and 1.1 metres wide. Flanked by a series of smaller stones it helps to make up a circle that is 30 metres in diameter.  (Source).  A brief historical overview of this landscape can be found on the Clyd Powys Archaeological Trust website.  This unfortunately doesn’t explain the cratered landscape which is visible behind the standing stone.

Posted by bigblue on 14/03/2006 at 11:19 PM
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Monday, 13 March 2006
No sign of them

Slow Men Crossing

I find it useful when driving around the country that there are signs every now and again warning you of Slow Police in the nearby vicinity. If one is needing directions, but in a hurry, then you know to drive on to the next town and ask the police there.  If however time is not of the essence, then you can always stop and ask the local police.

I was therefore interested to see the makeshift sign above, in Ashby-de-la-Zouch today but disappointed that there were no slow men at the crossing. I had just popped out of work, and couldn’t hang around in the hope of seeing them. Who knows how long they would take to get there.

Posted by bigblue on 13/03/2006 at 11:32 PM
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Friday, 10 March 2006
Cheese Market

King Henry VII of England and Wales

This photo better shows the position of the statue of King Henry VII on the side of the building in Hay-on-Wye.  The building is on the site of the original town hall, and was at some stage a covered cheese market. It is still used as a covered market: one day they were selling books and another day it was local food stuffs.

The local artist who produced the sculpture is Edward Folkard F.R.B.S,  sculptor in clay of the human form up to life-size. Market Street, Builth Wells.

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