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Archive for December, 2010

Global Warming my Backside

Bellingham at minus 10It makes you laugh…. global warming… here we are in the second winter in a row that beats records for heaven-knows how many years.

This morning I got up at 5.30am and it was minus 13c, apparently the other morning as late as 7am it was minus 16c. Here in the Northeast (at least in Northumberland) we’ve been WHITE for over a week now – though at least the sun is shining today. I’ve never seen as many icicles in my life as we have here on our drainpipes.

Bellingham

Brrrrroadband

IciclesThe weather’s not getting any better here in downtown Wark though it HAS stopped snowing (touch wood)… As you can see I’ve been relieving the boredom (Housitosis) by taking the larger icicles off my walls and planting them. Well, it’s no better or worse than making snow-men!  The picture really doesn’t do these things justice as some of them are 3ft high!!

I’ve just been sitting here for the last hour talking to a reporter from Computer Weekly about broadband and rural connectivity – she wanted to know how technology could help businesses with rising fuel costs etc.. and I took the opportunity to point out that a big cost for many folk today is transport – travel consumes an increasing part of our finances – especially those of us to go back and forth to meetings all over the place… and the likes of teleconferencing has made a big difference.. but it’s all down to communications reliability.

I spent part of this week stuck here in Wark, conferencing in to meetings in Blackpool and at it’s best, your modern PC with something like SKYPE is a great way to cut down on travel costs – but for serious use, you really need reliable broadband – and sadly the places that need this the most in winter -  i.e. rural areas, happen to be amongst the have-nots when it comes to high speed broadband.  Here in Wark I can get something like 5Mbyte downloads – but only a half meg uploads and there doesn’t seem to be any way around that. As conferencing only really makes use of the latter, I’m always worried that any dip in connectivity will mess up the conference-  and of course, it does. This weekend my broadband went off completely for a couple of days and since it came back up, it’s been working but I’m getting warning messages constantly about poor connectivity. 

I’m assuming that large chunks of ice wrapped around the various phone connections from here to the exchange won’t be helping matters! Roll on the warmer weather…

garden in the snow

Another White December

Willow CottageOk, last year didn’t come till the very end but this winter we’re off to a flying start in darkest Northumbria. While the rest of the country enjoys “variable weather” – we’re well and truly in the white stuff and it’s showing no signs of change.

Mid-last week the snow started and temperatures plummeted.. I don’t think we’ve seen anything above 2c since then and most of the time it’s way below zero.

Friday night the broadband went off here at Willow Cottage and stayed off until Monday – thankfully we’ve a “spare” in the form of Orange broadband which only JUST justifies the title. I was supposed to be in Blackpool but the roads here as you’ll see are very dangerous right now. If I had travelled I’d be coming back to even more as right now it’s snowing AGAIN.

Climate change YES, global warming… erm… I don’t think so.

Anyway, enough talk – here are the pictures taken this morning up in Wark.

Garden

Icicle

Wark

Wark