Inverkip Power Station

Fans of industrial archaeology/Cold War architecture/Stanley Kubrick/obscure buttons and dials may enjoy these photos from Inverkip Power Station. The slideshow is particularly pleasing, full of wonderful details like solid old rotary phones and ghostly log books.

From Wikipedia:

Inverkip Power Station is an oil fired power station built in the 1970's which, by the time of completion, was already uneconomical to run owing to the rising cost of oil. It only reached peak capacity during the miners strike of 1984 and has lain disused since it was mothballed as a strategic reserve in 1988.

Plans are underway for the dismantling of the plant, although no decision has been reached as to a subsequent use for the site.

It's not far from Glasgow on the Clyde Coast. Who knew such wonders lay within.

It seems like all the electrical equipment in the I like household is staging a rebellion. First the Sky box, then the telly, now the computer. The part of this that may concern you is that I've lost my email. If you've sent me anything last week or before and haven't had a reply could you send it again? I can get new email now so we're on the road to recovery. There is something liberating about losing a large backlog of mail that I meant to reply to but deep down I know it's not right to feel that way. I also have no photos or Photoshop so am struggling to pretty up these pages. Normal service resumed as soon as possible.

Following yesterday's interesting debate in the comments here's some background reading on mealtime variations:

Frying times

I took this picture in Ulverston because it sums up something that I'm interested in but can't quite describe. A sort of localness. What I love about Britain is that places can be so close together but so different, and that there's an interesting mix of commonness and localness (these aren't the right words but I can't think of a good alternative). In this case it's mealtimes. We all eat meals, right? But in the north (and north is a movable feast) the words are familiar but they mean different things. And it sounds trivial but it's really, really important because these differences sum up who you are.

I won't embarrass myself by trying to explain the difference between dinner and tea (feel free to interject) but in Cumbria, lunch (or is it dinner?) starts very early. When we went to the Laurel & Hardy Museum the owner was nipping out for fish and chips at 11am. As Scots are always lambasted for having the worst diet in Europe this was comforting. I felt commonness in fried food and localness in timing. And I wondered what the impact of this is on the rest of the day. Is it a sort of breakfast like a king/dine like a pauper sort of thing, or is it chips again for tea (or dinner depending on your location)?

Lately, there have been more things about distinctiveness + geography like Coast and Comedy Map of Great Britain or the Culture Show's alternative plaques. It runs through Nothing To See Here. And as the web is very good for supporting specialisation it's a seam of interestingness worth mining. In this vein I've just finished reading Pies and Prejudice: in search of the north by Stuart Maconie - a sort of overview of localness in the north of England. It tries to define where "the north" is for a start (ironically south from here) and delves into the various parts investigating their rivalries and differences. It's a fascinating, entertaining read, and I wish there was an equivalent for the rest of the country. This Guardian review seems to prove Maconie's point (he's a Lancastrian) that Yorkshiremen are pretty humourless.

We've had a few days away in the Lake District. Prior knowledge helped to avoid most of the touristy bits and hover round the edges instead, visiting Ulverston (home of Stan Laurel and one of the nicest places on earth), Barrow-in-Furness, and up the coast to Whitehaven and beyond. This is a fab part of England. It only takes a few hours to get there from Glasgow but it feels far away and different.

We saw the World's Largest Coloured Pencil at the Pencil Museum in Keswick.

The World's Largest Coloured Pencil

And lots of Hartley's pubs that have this lovely lettering. This is my favourite as Golden Ball is also an excellent Stereolab song.

Golden Ball

And the beach at St Bees which has beautiful big pebbles.

Pebbles at St Bees

There was so much to do it's going to take a while to read it all up (I always come home full of curiosity), get photos onto Flickr and write some entries for Nothing To See Here, so this is just a little taster. Plus it's back to work tomorrow. Have any of you been anywhere nice?

New favourite tune - I Wish I Could Have Loved You More by Candie Payne, from Liverpool. They must pump 60s nostalgia through the water there. This is heavily influenced by lots of good things - cool film soundtracks more than anything else. Enjoy.

Pretoria flats

I was working in Pretoria last week, which was an odd one. It's the first time I've been somewhere and not really seen the place. We were told not to wander about on our own so all I saw was the hotel, the office, the road in between and the mall round the corner. All of which could have been anywhere. I struggled to find something South African and by the end of the week had managed some brinjal and peppadews (nice veg), a pudding that I've forgotten the name of and some biltong which I had to hand into customs. As cultural exchanges go it wasn't one of the best.

Highlands

I've got a penchant for planned cities and administrative capitals (Canberra has a reputation for being boring but I loved it, and Washington has a similar overgrown model village sort of feel) but there wasn't much to recommend Pretoria. There were some nice modernist apartment blocks with great names and lovely signs but beyond that... nothing. It reminded me of Australia more than anything else - same sort of weather, lots of space, similar architecture. I lived in Adelaide for a while and it reminded me of happy times there. It was work so I can't complain really. I've just never had that experience of not being able to get out and get the feel of a place. I was surprised how unsettling it was, feeling sort of trapped and cheated. It was strange to go all the way to Africa and not really find anything different.

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