Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

this is as sick as they come

this is a very crude phishing trip but appears with boring regularity: its poor English and the fact that I don’t have an account with HSBC is a bit of a give away…

Dear Customer,
Thank you for banking online with us. We need your help resolving an issue with your account. To give us time to work together on this, we’ve temporarily limited what you can and can’t do with your account until the issue is resolved. 

We understand it may be frustrating not to have full access to your account. We want to work with you to get your account back to normal as quickly as possible.

What’s the problem?
We need you to confirm your identity, sequel to case ID Number: 001-138-771

How you can help?
It’s usually pretty easy to take care of things like this. Most of the time, we just need to verify information about your account or latest transactions.

To help us with this, log in and confirm your identity.

Important Notice: You are strictly advised to confirm your identity to avoid service denial,failure to do so will result in immediate account suspension for security reasons.

Yours Sincerely,
HSBC Online Helpdesk.
Online Banking Security Team.

In which I post examples of malware out in the wild at the moment, looks quite convincing doesn’t it? Have a look at if you don’t believe me

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Monday, November 15th, 2010

blogging about WordPress might appear to be a bizarre thing to do: this is a test bed to see what can be done

big fail at loading an mp3, one more try, even bigger fail with a singulary unhelpful error message ” File type does not meet security guidelines.”  some work  to be done here, might even start with reading the help… hmm, helpful to a point but it would appear that I have to pay for the privilege “The Space Upgrade gives you an additional 5, 15, 25, 50, or 100 gigabytes of storage space, and allows you to upload music in addition to imagesYou cannot upload audio files or music without the space upgrade.”

Well that’s that then, I don’t think I’m prepared to pay $19.97 per annum for the privilege especialy to a company that can’t be arsed to supply meaningful error messages. Why don’t they just tell me that I have to pay for the facility? Not amused, also it’s a very expensive form of storage, $19.97 for 5Gb is way over the top

See if I can link to a  musical URL Sun is Shining, guess that’s a start – at least I can post something to listen a bit more Marley to be going on with  Exodus, then No Woman No Cry. Spot the difference? The  simple way of linking to a URL is via the link button  (the chain symbol on the tool bar, or even simpler,  by pressing alt shift A) Have just discovered that  a whole industry has developed about using WordPress. Using the term ‘codex‘ is highly pretentious and the more I delve, the more complex it appears so to hell with the manual, it’s going to be much easier to suck it and see i.e. to learn by doing by clicking each button  and seeing what happens.



Sunday, November 14th, 2010

where cloud is short for cloud computing, a recently commercialised concept but something I have been doing for years for the banal reason of poverty. The Wiki description reflects the recent adoption of the principle by the majors but the baic principle has been in operation for decades even with the limitations of dial-up connections via WWII era telephone exchanges when keep a connection through a 9600 modem for more than 5 minutes was a result.

It wasn’t rocket science to work out that my data was best left on a distant commercial server  for two reasons (1) that it was physically secure elsewhere and (2) that I would be able to access the data from wherever in the world I happened to be as long as I had some sort of internet access. Privacy was not really a concern as PGP (stood for Pretty Good Privacy) was then freely available (not so much now  since it became a Symantec product) but I would not use that level of encryption any more as the mere use of a 1024 bit key would have a state agency coming through the door with a universal key as soon as it was realised that I was using that level of encryption and therefore up to something no good. Current UK legislation is such that I would be imprisoned for simply failing to disclose my pass key/phrase to anyone authorised to ask for it and I suspect that US legislation would empower the FBI to come and arrest then extradite me to the USA or even a third party state where I could be lost and then  interrogated using a methodology not legally available in the US or the UK.

Back to the plot: by fixing on Gmail as my primary e-mail provider, as well as an e-mail repository, I have a stable calendar and somewhere to keep important documents with the bonus of technology that syncs well with my iPhone. Google acquired Picasa sometime ago and although there is a slight learning curve, Picasa is a very useful tool for managing and remotely storing photographs and images of any kind.  A recent example of real world use was for the Blackswan‘s Open Competition when the mission was to store pictures of entries of every kind of art work and thence to run the slide show from which the competition judges made their selections of the work that they wanted  to be physically brought for exhibition and judging for the various awards. Although the competition rules clearly specified jpg/jpeg  files on CD with a specific file title i.e. the name of the piece on the entry form  (remember these were only pictures of pieces of art) the some entrants’ interpretation of the rules was such that the Blackswan received images in all formats and in sizes ranging from a couple of hundred Kb up to hundreds of Mb. Flickr would probably achieved the same end and can be used for the same purpose but Picasa worked well on judgement day and provided a medium by which the judges from afar could view the entries in preparation for the day.

Cloud working also works for those boring documents for which a copy needs  to be kept for example the tediousness  of old-school bureaucracies like Mendip District Council one of whose standard delaying tactics is to ask for originals and everything in writing. Although to be fair, the work is done by Capita who have their feet well under the table in Shepton Mallet and presumably other councils around the UK.  I wonder if a Freedom of Information request would oblige the council to reveal where data about me is kept? No sooner than wondered than  done Will blog any reply I get (if any) but seems to me to be a reasonable question: I take care of my data so I’d like to be reassured that the council are happy that its customers’ data is secure in both senses of the word. Of course there is the risk that having the knowledge and temerity to  ask such a question might lead someone to regard me as fit for work…

Have just checked with Google – I have plenty of space left “You are currently using 466MB (6%) of your 7519MB.” (Was very disappointed to discover that WordPress want to charge me nearly $20 a year for a mere 5 megabyte.)

Lost the plot somewhere but to summarise, clouding is the way I have been operating so it’s good to know that the world has caught up with me. My personal data space requirement, even with photographs. is actually very small as it is for most people. Domestic disk sizes are beginning to be measured in terabytes but who uses that much?

In the interest of completeness, feel I should add the fact that the other two majors, Microsoft and Yahoo offer similar service – of the three I prefer the Google version, Yahoo‘s is not as complete and Microsoft‘s is literally clunky with so much advertising that my disk drive won’t keep still and the computer’s fan comes on too much for my peace of mind. But the whole point of clouding is that I need not worry about the age and fragility of any one specific device🙂

Microsoft just sent this link but, like so much Microsoft stuff, it kind of assumes that I am running on Windows 7 with at least 3Gb of memory and a 3GHz+ processor; it’s going to take more (or rather much less ) to move me away from Google.


Saturday, November 13th, 2010

tangle Today’s primary chore is to tidy this mess of wires that lurk beneath my desk and make all this stuff work sometimes. Getting a photograph from phone into a blog is not as straightforward as it might be, reinforcing my prejudice that WordPress is baroque i.e. over-featured. The driver for untangling this mess is the imminent arrival of the Virgin person with the new modem that will take me up to 50Mb which I think, hope will be a wothwhile investment of my limited resources. The line to the Virgin call centre was of such poor audio quality that I don’t know whether I agreed to an installation date of the 13th (today)  or the 30th. Duh, perhaps it would be a good idea to do some untangling right now, just in case🙂  Once the new box has arrived, been installed and the Virgin person has gone, there will be a seriously  geeky chore of rewriting the box’s firmware to replace the Virgin settings so that the box can do everything it’s designed to without the Virgin imposed restrictions.  Massive displacement activity, now trying to install WordPress on this machine, no success so far. Grrr! No sign of installer so far, wonder if I can safely go to the shop for essential weekend supplies. Two upsides so far, now I know how to insert a picture into a blog and also how to edit in full screen, small victories but every little helps. Now taking the extreme measure of cranking up the XP machine really just to see what WordPress is like as a local application and thus find out whether it’s worth hunting down an OpenSUSE 11.3 version. of course the only problem with the XP box is the time it takes to do anything and the fact that windoze software requires a restart after doing anything. Not the only one it seems, there is a Facebook page called Properly Coiled Cables – I am not the only one. Watching the recently AVG firewall pop up every few seconds to tell me about yet another access to the internet is slightly diverting and highly educational. And now Picasa wants to update itself, I think that enough is enough and as soon as I have checked for iPhone updates, I will turn the nerd into a Linux machine (downloading Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat now) Except for one minor detail, Dell do not publish non-windoze drivers fro the V305 printer I have but a quick Google has suggested a Lexmark equivalent that will do the job and I can’t remember the last time I printed anything.  Now working out how to insert photographs

  1. get photograph onto your hard disk
  2. use the upload/insert option (between Get Shortlink and the font buttons above this edit box)
  3. WTF! attempting upload crashes the browser
  4. is the picture I’m trying to use, the link shows that I have uploaded it to WordPress but still it won’t appear properly
  5. as ever, a sudden outburst of RTFMing did the trick

tangle Hooray, something worked but I don’t think that hand-coding html really counts as working, more of a massive cheat. Firefox and Konqueror won’t even let me edit!? Perhaps it’s time to do something completely different and see if the nerd is going to manage to run Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat and if the photo insertion works there. Not at first attempt, nerd hung up with updates but is significantly quicker than with  XP (have to ask if Firefox deliberately makes Google Chrome downloading difficult. Result, now have Chrome on nerd, apparently now all I need is a WordPress client. Now very confused – no idea how to enable editing anywhere except here. Aha Aha. Aha! One thing sorted – unlike other web based applications, WordPress only permits updates from one machine at a time. Still haven’t wprked out how to insert picture directly, time to watch  a more distant screen, nearly time for The Pillars of the Earth, catching up with Casualty on iPlayer Hooray! At last I’ve managed to upload and post another picture without any html daring-do. I suppose the next task will be to get the printer working but that will cause serious brain ache, no quick click and go so best left for the morrow🙂 Also, image handling seems to be rather too good at crashing the browser, am losing track of the versions littering some disk somewhere on the planet.

And the eventual result of all this nerdy pratting around is to have achieved a Windows free household! Time for sleep methinks.

universal credit

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

This lifted from today’s Daily Mail so it must be true :) meanwhile off to research what  was actually announced and the likely effect of the proposals. Scary! All the different news sources are publishing their different interpretations of what was said and how and whom it will impact for good and bad. Lest we forget, this is all part of the comprehensive spending review – time will tell whether Iain Duncan-Smith will prevail against the Treasury. [one has to question the reliability of a report carrying advertising from Anglo American] This blog from the Guardian pulls few punches, indeed the paper leads with Duncan-Smith’s announcement about his so-called “welfare contract

One factor to be considered is that IDS is not vying for the top job, (a) he’s already had it and (b) bald men just don’t get to be Prime Minister or President – a sad example of the extent of telegenics on populations’ perspectives. I still think that, as far as politicians can ever be, Iain Duncan-Smith is an honourable man – a conviction politician in a similar mould to Tony Benn or Edwina Currie.The protests have started even in Tory Somerset which is cursed by a county council which is cutting hard even before the full effects of the spending review have become public, this appears to be part of a trend by Tory run councils across England which are seizing the moment and cutting front line services , presumably to better protect themselves from central government ordered cost savings. Let’s hope that the Somerset protest help remind the council of its raison d’etre, call me old-fashioned but I’ve always assumed that county/district/town councils exist to provide services for their whole community, not just for those foolish enough to vote for them. Apparently it’s a sin to have been employing foreigners at the expense of native seekers? Duh! There was me thinking that they came because labour was cheap,  easy and not very well regulated the most egregious example in recent years was of course the mass drowning in Morecambe Bay which is of course an illustration of the consequences of red-toothed capitalism. Will a Burnley Incapacity Benefit who refuses a low tide stroll along the beach have his/her benefit stopped for refusing work? Today’s announcement pays no regard to  the simple fact that there is a huge gap between the numbers of jobs available to those looking whatever the coercion, there is a huge skills gap between what’s needed and what’s available and there are huge geographical distances between available work and those seeking work. of course people should be better off working but truth is that UK is a low wage economy, the problem is not that the benefits are too high but rather that wages are too low. Simples, as the famous meerkat might say!

I’ve called this post ‘universal benefit’ became that was the dominant name of few hours ago  but ‘universal credit now appears to be the working name, confused? I am but then I am just an end-user  in all of this and I’ll need to be careful because there are those who would interpret my blogging as proof of my fitness for work; need to contact fellow ITers who are still working what their get of bed daily rate is. I wager now that it will be just a title more than the minimum wage, currently set at 5.93 GBP (sorry for the apparently pretentiousness use of ISO currency codes, am using a US keyboard). Anyway, just changed the blog’s name – would that real world stuff was so simple…

Was right not to believe the Daily Fail – going to source confirms that the correct title is Universal Credit not Benefit; sort of implies that the journalists had not restricted themselves by reading original sources.

civil unrest

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

First outbreak of action on the streets as the reality of cuts becomes apparent: fuelling the anger is of course Nick Clegg’s volte face – in April 2010 the Liberal Democrats pledged to oppose and indeed, if elected, remove charging for student fees. In private the NUS of course opposes any violence but I bet it’s probably well pleased with having made it to the top of all today’s new bulletins. Still wondering what will be Cameron’s poll tax moment, not student fees but more likely something to be perceived as an attach on the NHS or maybe something completely different out of the blue. The French have a proud record of civil disobedience although this time the, the French parliament voted in favour of am increase in retirement age. If The Countryside Alliance and the SWP find common cause, the Coalition will know that it’s in real trouble. Will the Coalition be dusting off the civil unrest plans from 1984? [note: the orinal title of the George Orwell book was to have been 1948 but his friends in the newly elected Labour government pressed him and his publishers to retitle] Perhaps, but I bet there’s already been a COBRA meeting to discuss the implications and that chief constables are ensuring that they have adequate supplies of tear-gas and rubber bullet. The Met were badly taken by surprise today or did they ignore intelligence in the desire that something would develop that would help their own campaign against the cuts: if social unrest does become a feature of civil society, the thin blue line well be tested as it was in 1984. Will Downing Street be seeking to create a national police force if individual chief constables don’t toe the official line? Probably not, Margaret Thatcher could not do  it although for a short time there was a flying squad put together (uniformed minus  force or rank insignia)  that were set into action against the miners and brought back into action the following year for the Battle of The Beanfield. This flying squad was expensive since it comprised police volunteers from around the UK who were well paid for their  additional  duties and bought new cars or put down house deposits from their unanticipated lucre.

I’ve met people from all sides (there were more than two) who were the Battle of The Beanfield, and over the years I’ve been the kind of person that people talk to. Guess I just have that kind of face but its less dangerous than being on the Road to Basra or in the protests that marked the Velvet Revolution. Local news – it would appear that Frome will lose its two PCSOs so the thin blue line is getting thinner already…

Every time I see the reports of French civil disturbance, I wonder what it might take to set this country alight part of the Thatcher years  strategy to make unrest difficult was by the simple expedient of home’ ownership’ (nobody is a home owner while they have a mortgage, look at the small print) whereas this government seems determined to reduce the numbers of home ‘owners’ thus creating an even larger shiftless population who are stake holders in nothing. Perhaps the state will withhold benefit fromj anyone involved in civil disturbance? Doubt it will be too difficult to identify from the video footage thus proving that those involved were not actively seeking work. The regulatory framework is there already, let’s hope nobody thinks to use benefit suspension/disqualification it as a tool for civil order control.


Monday, November 8th, 2010

Watching an old TV, using my old iPhone to continue blogging, why old? I’m broke and living on or below the official breadline but also because I am a child of the 50’s, a baby boomer who knows how to make things work, particularly computers. The main pc cost < £100 second hand and came with Windows XP Professional but I got so fed up with its (lack of) performance (even the little G3 iBook was better at Google maps which I had a real world need for) so I went Linux, Ubuntu to start with then Mepis and now stable and efficient with OpenSUSE. With some irony, I have a second machine called nerd to run XP in order two maintain a couple of appliances that demand XP or at least Apple OS 10.4 or later to keep this iPhone and the Tomtom satnav up to date with current software.

And sometimes the technology works, least ways I have just managed to upload the start of this bit of blogging from the ‘phone to WordPress and down again to this desktop where it will be much easier to add the hyperlinks. To continue the inventory, I have a rarely used Dell V305 printer/scanner/copier, 2 original Bondi Blue iMacs  awaiting a salvage merger and various other carcases which have some reusable bits. Must remember to make contact with the Dan who sometimes appears on freecycle because I reckon that s/he and I could do some mutually useful swapping. the component parts of computers are generally so well made that there is always life in them. I am no good at the soldering iron stuff but I can usually do the logical stuff by searching for and installing the right software. I guess that is quite a useful skill to have and fits well into the 50s mindset of make and mend. Even the ancient  Nikon Coolpix 3200 had a software update waiting on the Nikon website. The television is ancient too but I often find something I can bear to watch thanks to a free Freesat box that I somehow  qualified for as part of this year’s digital switch-over. Not complaining  about that, especially since the changeover plan,as well as a satellite dish and digital TV aerial came with a good FM aerial so I can listen to Radio4 in stereo  without the annoying signal lossiness that comes with movement and internal aerials.


Sunday, November 7th, 2010

The furore has only just begun, Universal Credit is happening,  the Disability Alliance has produced the clearest explanation I have see so far here. [ provides a running collection of URLs] Please note the dates, Universal Credit is not a coalition invention but something that was in process before the 2010 election. No-one could disagree that the current system is over complex, or that an individual should be better of in work than sitting at home watching daytime TV, but the ramifications of putting an undisguised Tory spin (albeit one hopefully softened and humanised by the Liberal Democrats) are only slowly becoming clear. From February 2011, over two million people will be ‘migrated’ off incapacity benefits. The DWP plans to assess 10,000 people each week to establish their capability for work and entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance. This raises an immediate concern, who (and how) will be doing  all the assessing? The DWP is currently running its own staff reduction programme and is already making extensive use of Atos who will be making a fortune out of fitness for work assessments. [Has anyone followed the money and investigated whether there are any politicians or other public employees who will materially benefit from this particular outsourcing? I wish I had a substantial share-holding!]  One consequence of all this assessing will of course be the migration of millions Incapacity benefit   but to where? The unlucky claimants will have their benefit reduced but will still need to eat and shelter but the jobs just don’t exist or when they do, are not where the claimants live. Successful structural reform of the welfare system cannot happen in a social vacuum, the Big Society is a laudable concept but cannot magically create jobs or housing. One likely consequence will be an increase in crime and more general social unrest  as people feed and shelter themselves by doing whatever it takes and/or ease the pain of their uncertain poverty by seeking solace in booze and so-called recreational drugs. Oh, but the police have been told to cut back too! Will the Big Society mind set be somehow morphing the Neighbourhood Watch groups into Neighbourhood Action groups with gangs of citizens assuming what are currently police roles in the maintenance of law and order?

The BBC is doing its best to publicise the likely impact of welfare room as ministers give up their Sundays to queue up to be seen and heard, Gordon Alexander seems to have drawn the short straw, explaining the coalition’s reforms. [are Liberal Democrats be used as the the public face of the Coalition reforms? Are they being set up to take the blame for anything they would otherwise would become David Cameron‘s poll tax moment?]

“Job advisers would be given powers to require tens of thousands of claimants to take part in community work for charities or local councils.” Hang on a minute,  are they intending to recreate the STEP and related job creation programmes of the late 70s? Even back then the Unemployment Benefit Office could invoke the “Refusing Suitable Employment” clause and stop unemployment benefit, the DHSS would then stop or reduce the payment of Supplementary Benefit. I was a benefit office manager at the time, very occasionally a claimant might be threatened with “RSE” by the Jobcentre, then an entity separate from the Unemployment Benefit Office, but the whole concept was risible in an area where the unemployed were almost a third of the working age population and there was not even a supply of cash only jobs on the side let alone tax and NI paying jobs.

Keeping on eye on the press, the Daily Mail‘s headline of “£1 an hour to clear rubbish…new IDS blitz on the workshy” is wholly predictable as is The Guardian‘s “Unemployed told: do four weeks of unpaid work or lose your benefits” Note the difference between the headlines even though the two newspapers are citing the same Iain Duncan-Smith announcement.

A cursory glance at the news shows local authorities implementing massive job cuts, the Tory counties in particular are rushing to cut services, have they forgotten what they are there for? Farage might claim that UKIP is the UK version of the Tea Party But did it in fact covertly infiltrate local authorities back in Margaret Thatcher‘s time and are now seizing the day?

What’s to be done?


Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Computer (mostly applicable to windozers but anyone can be caught by a phishing expedition) health warning, don’t click on any of these spam (also known as spam or even spam) illustrations unless you are sure that your computer knows what it’s doing, some of these messages might be carrying nasties that I have not detected and neutralised, even if there is no malicious payload, some of them might be particularly subtle phishing trips, The major e-mail providers such as Gmail. Hotmail and Yahoo are generally pretty good at spam identification and deletion and the significant client programmes such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora and Thunderbird can be ‘taught’ what is spam and rejected accordingly. One big caveat though, the anti-spam/virus/trojan business is reactive i.e. it publishes update to deal with a new threat or something like it – the vulnerability comes whenever some clever person somewhere in the world devises a malicious algorithm that evades detection and for good measure disables any protection software it encounters. There are plenty of histories of the use of the word spam, Brad Templeton has researched it well, I am inclined towards the Monty Python provenance. If I can be bothered, I’ll use a spare confuser to do nothing but spam that link at every originator of spam/scam/junk it receives. Could also be used to track and deal with Dorries and Rees-Mogg inanities but probably not since they have already exposed their capabilities to Central Office and the general public.

Health warning over, let’s have some fun and see what’s in the Googlemail spam folder…

Boring! There is nothing remarkable or comment worthy below; just serves an illustration of Googlemail’s efficacy. Unlike some of the e-mail providers, Googlemail makes visible and accessible the stuff it has treated as spam – mostly they are showing off but occasionally a genuine e-mail gets treated as spam, usually because it has a potentially dodgy attachment. The most aggravating are those e-mails where the attachment has been stripped by the sender’s SMTP server resulting in “Yes I did, No you didn’t“ (send that to me) telephone rows. As well as the usual Viagra and penis enlargement, the basic theme of the junk is to offer something for nothing. To quote the old saw “if something sounds too good to be true then it probably isn’t (true). What surprises me is that people are taken in by this stuff, why are people susceptible to computer based frauds when ordinarily they would not be taken in for a moment? Not strictly spam but there is a telephone based fraud doing the rounds at the moment. A caller informs you that there your computer is severely infected by a virus, offers to fix the problem and extracts from the gullible payment via credit or debit card. The techno-babble in the script is quite clever and if you don’t know better, you end up believing what the caller is telling you. There are a few ways of dealing with such callers, the first is to register with the Telephone Preference Service which will stop you receiving calls from UK based callers but cannot block off-shore originated calls, putting the phone down works but should you feel like some mild entertainment, string the caller along for a while until you get bored and ask them for their name and number. Googling the words used to identify the scam then reading back the search results verbatim tends to make them go away quickly. Why string them along at all? All the time you spend is time the caller is not using on the next targeted victim.


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135 of 35


Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Frome, starting the very lazy way and posting the first few results of a Google search – I hope that the Tourist Information Centre are suitably gratified that it appears as number 1 in the search results, got to find out what WordPress makes of so much HTML in one go….
Not a lot,  seems to have stripped the links and just about everything else;  can’t really take issue with WordPress about this, it would be all to easy to clog the site completely. Guess I am just going to have to go  through line by line and manually correct the HTML to sort of reflect the results of the googling (see Displacement Activities) search for ‘Frome BA11 UK’ to get the general idea and the satellite and street views

Frome Tourist Information Centre, Somerset attractions, Somerset …the official Frome tourist information website, everything you need to know about frome, tourist information, accommodation in frome, whats on in frome.Bed & Breakfast – Accommodation – Tourist Information Centre –

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia Frome is a town and civil parish in northeast Somerset, England. Located at the eastern end of the Mendip Hills, the town is built on uneven high ground, …History – Governance and public services

Frome Town Talk Events, News, Shops, Shopping, Restaurant Reviews, Jobs … – the Official Web Guide to Frome Town Centre, includes information on this busy, friendly Town, its shops and businesses, tourist facilities

Frome Town 1 Paulton Rovers 1 AET (Paulton win 5-4 Frome Town were knocked out of the Red Insure Cup at the first round stage by local rivals Paulton Rovers on Wednesday night. Matt Cooper gave the visitors …

Black Swan Arts – Contemporary arts gallery, shop and cafe in the Black Swan Arts Frome, contemporary arts gallery and studios in Somerset, … Black Swan Arts, 2 Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BB Tel 01373 473980

Frome Town Council – Home – 3 visits – 24 Oct27 Aug 2010 … Frome Town Council – making Frome a better place … Frome is a market town with a charming historic centre and more listed buildings than…

Frome Festival    The annual Frome Festival includes a wide range of events, including live music, films, art exhibitions, dance and music summer –

Frome Rugby Football Club – HomepageFrome Rugby Football Club Rugby Union club Somerset – Southern Counties South – FromeSomerset. –

Frome Community College Frome Community Media Arts College. Students and Parents Links. showcasing student work. Commitment and care for students. Frome newsletter … –

Family and Local History in Frome, Somerset This site is concerned with family and social history in the Hundred of Frome. This consisted of the parishes of Beckington, Berkley, Cloford, Elm

Frome Somerset local information guide – Come and have a look at Frome Somerset England, what’s on, where to eat, how to move to, live and work in Frome

Fairly random but genuine looking and sounding  YouTube clip, there are plenty of really weird ones out there if you feel like YouTube browsing…

This is a lovely form of displacement activity, now I ‘ll start adding some of the other links that describe the places I know. Any blog about Frome must mention the Cheese & Grain a venue that punches above its weight by attracting some big names simply because bands like performing here. Pleasant surprise, the website has been greatly improved since last I looked! I don’t drink any more but many Frome events are lubricated by Frome’s very own micro-brewery . It is attached to The Griffin where the natives are mostly friendly, there is even a congenial backyard for smokers and other outdoor types. Frome has been a market time for at least 1,000 years,  general markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays with a livestock market a few miles away. For some reason Frome has been a backwater for most of the last 100 years and as a result the town has been spared most of the town centre developments that have afflicted most nearby towns. The result has been the survival or creations of independent traders, particularly in the Cheap Street and St Catherines Hill areas. This is turning into a bit of a travelogue, looking in detail helps remind me what a nice part of the world I have ended up in. I came here as a mental health refugee from Gloucester greatly aided by strong support from my daughter and the psychiatrist I was seeing in Gloucester. I landed in supported accommodation run by what was then Mendip Housing (the entity created as the result of the bulk transfer of housing stock from Mendip District Council) currently trading as Flourish Homes but soon I suspect to be known as the Aster Group as more and more functions and staff are taken from the group’s component companies. Not that I am especially alarmed as the service I get as a tenant continues to be good, I don’t believe that bigger necessarily means better. Meanwhile when I do go out< Frome is surprisingly good for real coffee. my favourite place is Dining Divas, situated in the Black Swan Arts complex but there are others, the most pretentious (customers that is, not the not staff) being the La Strada at the top of Cheap Street.  At the start of Stoney Street is the owns’s only natural and organic cafe , the Garden Cafe which includes a roomy barkyard with interesting views of the rear of old Frome buildings. There is no website but The Market Cross cafe is old school and unpretentious; I have not been there for many years so I don’t even know if it serves real coffee, ditto The Settle on Cheap Street.

That’s enough about cafes!

Hardly rocket science, wondering what difference it makes to save this file as .html? Will I be more likely to keep the links or will it just help confuse WordPress some more? What do I make of Frome so far, how does living here compare with the Forest of Dean, Rotherhithe or Prague? It’s different from any of the three cited, easier for me to be whoever me is. For a start it’s much safer living somewhere nothing much happens or when it does makes a splash story for the Frome Times or the Somerst Standard(rarely much particularly hard news, more of an advertising vehicle which would be quite good for fire lighting if only I had a fireplace). Mike at the shop is a good local news source, he’s a good listener and his customers tell him what’s occurring. I suppose a happy consequence of living in the same place for a number of years, it won’t be long before I have lived here longer than I did at Na Šafránce! Does that mean I am finally settling down or just that I am getting old? Whatever, Frome is not a bad place to be doing it; the social infrastructure works it is possible to find a good doctor, there is a dental practice that welcomes NHS patients, all the various health services are accessible and Frome even has a new hospital. I remember discussing the differences between here and Gloucester where there is a noticeably higher staff turnover, came to the conclusion that staff stay in post longer simply because this is a much nice place to live, raise a family &c. The communications infrastructure is pretty good too, there is still a railway station whence it is a possible to get a through train to Paddington and bus services connecting Frome with the other towns in the area. In other words it’s possible to live a life without a car.

My oh my. just found an interesting factoid (while researching the dragon issue as part of a Facebook conversation) namely that  the Rees-Mogg dynasty once owned a colliery, in other words yet another Tory MP supply comes from 19th century coal exploitation, it’s not just South Wales and Yorkshire/Lancashire but even infects more bucolic parts of the country.

QUOTE Either way, the young Rees Moggs are difficult to ignore. One satirist likens writing about their travails to, “dispatching a straightforward half-volley pitched a few feet wide of off-stump”. He adds: “Jacob and his sister embody everything Cameron doesn’t want to see on his benches, and everything I do. They are unreconstructed toffs, ardent tax-cutters, and slightly obsessive Eurosceptics. Most importantly, they’ve always had an unerring knack of ending up in the news.” UNQUOTE

I think that the population of Frome is jolly pleased to have not elected the Honourable Annunziata Rees-Mogg as its MP, preferring to return David Heath with an against the trend increased majority

Rudely interrupted by the window cleaner (had to get dressed earlier than I’d intended)  one day I might be shamed into cleaning the inside windows too. Still need to find a way of automatically harvesting Facebook status comments into this or any other blog: blog activity keeps being interrupted by conversations about dragons and the (non)availability of virgins, especially because the phone keeps notifying me of Facebook status updates. Time to go out and look for some mythical beasts or at least ask Mike at the shop if any of his suppliers can provide such a thing….

Fiddlesticks, apparently in Frome there is no demand for dragons or virgins so the wholesalers stopped supplying either years ago😦

As usual nothing worth watching on TV nor via the internet, even Facebook as gone suspiciously quiet, am I missing something? Getting well into grump old man mode now, I really dislike all the Halloween nonsense that is everywhere, Strangly enough it did not really exist as a ‘festival’ until after the first UK showings of the Spielberg film ET yet now the retailers’ experiences put Halloween only second only to Christmas as an easy merchandising and revenue generating opportunity. And the Americans take it so seriously! Roll on Guy Fawkes Night, at least that is done in remembrance of real people and a real event and I don’t suppose there is any harm in reminding parliamentarians that one day someone might succeed in blowing them all away. Meanwhile, a Facebook thread just gave me good reason to post which I’ll share here so as to be able to find again in the future. Back to Frome, this week’s lead in the Somerset Standard is “Supermarket plans to transform town centre” Find it interesting that Pang Properties who already own most of the town are involved, guess the whole scheme will depend on Anthony’s approval. I suspect that this story will run and run so that in the end folk will be so fed up with hearing about it that Tesco or whichever retailer will provide the anchor store will just send in the bulldozers one day when the price of the rumour blighted land drops to a purchasable level and the surrounding land owners acquiesce to what ever proposal restores their own  landholdings’ values. An uncynical view might be that there are people looking to the future and have a desire to end the town’s dependence on the motorcar. ASDA and Sainsbury’s both have branches on the outskirts and  of course, do sell the cheapest petrol hereabouts. Wait and see time, most of the land proposed for redevelopment is post-industrial wasteland, the biggest problem will be vehicular access but I am quietly confident that imaginative road engineering supplemented by enough brown envelopes will succeed. Of course if the retailers really looked to the future, they would pay for spur sidings from Frome’s railway lines so that they could supply the shops regardless of lorry freight costs although in reality, the big retailers will lobby for state provided infrastructure changes when their lorries cost too much. Probably not in my life time… …

Also worth visiting is