Category Archives: Design

GastonoME Bury St.Edmunds, UK

The popular and chic GastonoME bistro in Bury St.Edmunds, UK has just relocated to larger premises on the fashionable Abbeygate Street.

Bury (as it is known locally) is a fine and fashionable market town with a wide range of private individual businesses such as jewellers and boutiques, a large Saturday market and a good selection of national chainstores including Debenhams and M&S. There are are also extensive historic public gardens. It’s perfect for a sunny summer Saturday. There is also a great arts venue and a gallery with music and art festivals regularly held. Pay a visit if you want a more relaxed alternative to crowded Cambridge.

I took my wife to GastronoME in Bury for a spot of Saturday lunch and was suitably impressed. We had always liked the ambience and high quality food of GastronoME’s original venue, and they have translated it perfectly into their more accommodating premises. The cafe was crying out to be upgraded to something more spacious and the new situation is spot on.

The design at the new property has the right blend of quirky je ne sais quoi and a reassuringly practical layout that compliments circulation, sight-lines and comfort. The food quality is quite simply 5-Star and the service and friendliness of the proprietor Michael and his staff is second to none. They really do have the savoire-faire to produce a sociable and convivial eating experience that will bring you back. The menu is pitch-perfect, not over-reaching itself, being mettre au point to an accessible modernity that still respects your pocketbook. Chic, yummy, and good for palates of every age.

No one has asked me to write this or paid me in any way for doing so at any point. I just like to share what I find is good with you.

They are good so they will get busy. Do use the booking form on their website at https://www.gastrono-me.co.uk

 

 

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FIU Miami Bridge Collapse questions

I was interested to look at pictures of the recent tragic bridge collapse. Here are what it seems to me may be of significance and some questions to be answered. First lets look at what is where before it happened.

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This photo is before the collapse taken from the side on which the central reservation chevrons face away from the camera on both sides of the bridge, which at this stage is still being moved into position. Note that in the central highway lane on the side of the highway that has lighting poles along the outer margin, there is no crane where I have arrowed down. Along the top of the bridge there are various areas where apparently bolts go through the roof to the upper side. I have circled a couple of these areas. These bolts presumably hold the supporting diagonal braces in position. It appears as if the tension and compression forces in the supporting diagonal braces are either compression or tension and may be directed as per the arrows I have drawn on them, I say appears, I am not an engineer.

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You can check out in the view above  that there is no crane of the side of the bridge on the side to which the central reservation chevrons point. There is some sort of yellow/orange crane boom arm just visible on the opposite side in the top left corner of the photo, but no crane on the right. The bridge is being rolled into position above the main reinforced concrete legs.

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Now look at the still approaching from the side to which the chevrons point, immediately before the collapse. On the left of the still you see the white boom arm of a crane. It was not there when the earlier pictures were taken during the positioning of the bridge onto its legs, and the white boom arm is different to the small area of yellow/orange arm pictured earlier standing on the opposite side to the crane that is shown on the immediately preceeding collapse image above.

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Here above we see the white boom arm crane closer, immediately before the collapse. See it is doing something on the roof of the bridge, near those important bolts.

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Now above we are maybe less than one second away from the collapse. Is that a guy up there  at the hook end of the crane on the roof doing something? It looks like there is something large and so possibly heavy on the end of the lifting cable.

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Now above the moment of collapse. Whatever the crane was holding swings violently as the bridge beneath it collapses. Below, is that a man falling?

Below, a frame later, what/whoever is falling has fallen down further in relation to the boom arm. The person or object is definitely lower and so is falling.

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Above you can see finally dangling, whatever is left of something large on the end of that crane hook. It is as wide as the supporting diagonal inside the bridge. Maybe quite heavy then. See the chevrons by the way?

So, below now we are after the collapse. There is no sign anywhere of the crane with the white boom arm. There is a green mobile elevating work platform which was not there during the collapse.

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Here are my questions:

What was the white boom arm crane doing?

Did someone fall with the roof from on top where the crane was working during the collapse?

Why has the white boom arm crane been removed, surely this is vital evidence and needs to be left in place for forensic investigation?

Did the directions of forces transmitted in the strangely asymmetrically braced bridge design have any bearing on the collapse?

And of course there is that phone call voicemail about cracks from the engineer that wasn’t collected until the day after the collapse. But please don’t let that be the main question, because as I show above, there are other questions also.

 

Rochford reflectors (?)

 

These appear to be four old runway (reflector?) signs. They are along the road at the point where Rochford Road becomes Southend Road (the A1169) beside the railway bridge at Southend Airport (in the county of Essex, UK) – Latitude 51.5668, Longitude 0.7041 – over which I think the southern end of the old cross-runway (no longer used) was approached by aircraft.

I don’t know but guess they either date from 1935 when the airfield become a civilian airport, or after World War II which would mean after 1945. I favour the former as they look very old. They could be any time from 1914 when the airfield was first established by the military shortly after the beginning of World War I. In 1919 the airfield was sold off to the Navarro Aviation Company who ran pleasure flights with two old Avro biplanes – apparently not for long however as the airfield was disused from 1920 to 1935, having reverted to farmland.

Perhaps they would not have had such obvious signs during World War II as airfields were camouflaged and signs removed, which would favour them being post-WWII, but they might be older – 1935? – and have been removed during WWII then replaced.

Of course the airfield was used as a fighter base during WWII but after that, in 1946, Southend Corporation took it on as an airport which they opened in 1947. There was major re-building including a control tower and runways in 1955. Perhaps the posts date from 1955, but to my eyes they look too old for that. Although maybe the pairs of red beacon lights went on in 1955.

Some paired red lights were stuck on to of them at some stage, these are also now defunct. They were also apparently used to mount streetlights. I don’t know if these lights still function, possibly not.

Wikipedia has a great page about the airport, including its history here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Southend_Airport

Another good source was at
http://www.essexlifemag.co.uk/out-about/places/london-southend-airport-80-years-on-1-3779112

My best guess is these posts originate around 1935. They could have been actually erected between 1933 when the airport site was purchased by Southend Council and when it opened in 1935.

Whilst I do not find Essex and Southend the nicest places in the UK, I will put in a good word for Rochford. What a lovely village (although it is really now a suburb of Southend) – olde-world shops, buildings, pubs. Good parking. Southend Airport also looked nice, which is pretty weird for an airport. Apparently it has in recent years been voted best Airport in the UK three times and it has a dedicated railway station. I think I would like Southend as an airport and Rochford is worth a visit if you are in that neck of the woods.

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What a Gas

Hey ho, I took a visit to the National Gas Museum <– click for their website. Yeah, sounds crazy but it is a really interesting tiny museum in the UK city of Leicester (famous for red cheese). IMHO it’s actually one of the best museums in England. Size isn’t everything.

Now BE CAREFUL if you want to visit about whether they are REALLY open. The website might say they are, but the curator has been known to go away and close the museum and not update the website. Phone ahead and ask a human. I drove 100 miles to be there, having checked the website, to be told they were closed for that very reason! However a kind volunteer happened to be there and allowed me to have a private viewing. Wow. Megathanks.

I have only put a very few photos – you need to go see it. They have a Gas Powered radio. Yep there is such a thing (but no photo here – no spoilers).

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Abandoned Ford Thunderbird 1960’s

Abandoned American car Premier Inn A1 Huntingdon UK 2018.jpgI discovered this beautiful American dinosaur, that died a long way from home. Digging in the internet I believe it is a 1964 (or 65/66) Ford Thunderbird Coupe. It sits decaying at Brampton Hut Premier Inn motel car park on the junction of the A1 and A14 at Huntingdon UK. It is so sad to see such an aesthetically pleasing and obviously classic American car in such a stripped condition. Clearly all the external parts of any use as souvenirs or restoration parts for other autos have been taken, so restoring this old giant would be a difficult task. The paint color is I believe called Silver Monk. Who knows who owned it or why they left it there? Probably an airman from one of the many local USAF airbases. I suppose it will eventually be carted away to a scrap yard. I hope someone sees it and decides to restore it. Fully restored it could be worth 20,000 UK Pounds if sold here in England I would estimate. You can see more about the Ford Thunderbird cars at https://www.hagerty.com/apps/valuationtools/1964-ford-thunderbird The jack-frost on the trunk (UK readers say “boot”) has made patterns. So sad such a beautiful old automobile may be lost. It probably could tell a tale of the cold war and the many good times we in Britain have had with our visiting American cousins. A lovely poignant thing.

UPDATE: I went there again. When you have looked below, click here for more: Thunderbird 2

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Woodwork

Here is some pretty and large woodwork. This section is about 10 meters across and sits about 10 meters high. It is just one of many sections that will support a huge roof. A 100 tonne crane does the lifting.

No-one will ever have the chance to see the sky through this woodwork again once the roof goes on, and most people are highly unlikely to get access onto this site currently under construction. So my photo here is just about unique. Enjoy.

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Entourage

Entourage – it’s what they call those funny cut-out people in architectural renderings of things they might build.

Some of the cut-outs available really make you wonder though…

For instance you might ask where your energy drink came from, and what makes your kids hyperactive, and just what you neighbor is into. Wonder no more, the Entourage people reveal all. Now you just wish you hadn’t asked. These architectural cut-outs are REAL and available and are all from the SAME set.

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The Bridge Cafe, Oban, Scotland

No, not at the bridge above, the cafe is in Oban town, a few miles further on from the steel edifice pictured over the title.

The cafe is a complete hidden gem.

Lovely town Oban, but the cafes in town are tourist places and frankly not so all wonderful as they might be.

However hidden away in the unprepossessing environs of an industrial estate that borders on urban-explorable in parts, beside a little green=painted iron bridge near the back of Tesco, is a delightful little cafe.

The owners have created a chic friendly cafe where the discerning will know they have stumbled upon L’Ecosse Profonde (Urbain) – i.e. the “Real” (Urban) Scotland – and can enjoy great value tasty cafe food and drink. No pretensions (unlike my prose), just clean, lightly assembled design from simple components. Excellent. They also have toilets one need not be afraid to use – no really it is a real plus marks.

So, 100 percent recommended. Go out of your way to this less obvious place and get a decent repas instead of tourist-priced auto-fodder. Enjoy living like a local and watching ducks with the Mums.

See the webpage here http://www.bridgecafeoban.co.uk

Trip Advisor apparently calls it a hidden gem – well, YES IT REALLY IS!

It is at
3 Soroba Ln, Oban PA34 4HX
Phone 01631 566697
Opening time on the website – its a daytime place.

I have no commercial connection with the cafe and gain nothing from posting this other than the good feeling that I am telling people about a lovely business that deserves lots of nice customers.

Google stuff about it here https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Bridge+Cafe/@56.4095754,-5.4705996,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x81d13b63895b882!8m2!3d56.4095754!4d-5.4705996

 

Scotland trip 2017

The world may be your oyster, but Scotland is a pearl.

Inveraray, Oban, The Trossachs, Speyside, Loch Fyne, Loch Awe, Lock Tay, The Spey, The Tay, Loch Long, Dunbar…

Scotland is awesome.

All pictures in this blog article are Copyright 2017 by me, except two, which are Copyright 2017 by my Wife, which said exceptional photographs I use here with her permission. None of the images in this article/webpage/blog post may be used without our respective permissions. All Rights Reserved.

One picture is from Yorkshire, England (The 1930’s “No Parking” sign).