Happy Christmas

As 2017 draws to a close spare a thought for everybody working hard over Christmas to make sure ours is happy and safe.

Likewise, for all those who are lonely, recently bereaved or missing somebody special this Christmas. Having been there myself Christmas can be an especially hard time of year when often you feel most alone in a crowd of happy people.

If you need it here are some useful numbers:

Childline: 0800 1111
Samaritans: 116 123
Domestic Violence Hotline: 0808 2000 247
Mind: 0300 123 3393
Age UK: 0800 169 6565

Thanks to everybody for their support this year. It has been fab.

Happy Christmas.

Website makeover

After noticing a few things going pearshaped with some of the category postings and the way the site was rendering on different clients I decided to begin a complete revamp of my website. The old house in Telford is going back on the market so have more time to do a thorough job on my website. The house and work have both been dominating my time since the Summer.

2016 – a year of contrasts

2016 has been an interesting year, full of contrasts and 2017 looks like being the same.

On a personal level, I have found happiness again with a relationship that has shifted my thinking considerably, caused me to turn my eyes away from my hometown of Bridgnorth towards North Shropshire again and West Felton in particular. Of these shifts is my decision to hitch my Wagon to Sandra and West Felton at the beginning of the year has resulted in another decision to stand for Shropshire Council for Whittington Ward in next May’s Elections. It is now over a decade since I was a County Councillor and my life has changed beyond recognition. Losing my seat by 38 votes & going through the wringer, several times over, in my personal life certainly changes your priorities and your perspective. Losing your wife 1 month before your 1st Wedding Aniversary and being made redundant does teach you life lessons most of us could do without learning but eventually have to. However, what doesn’t break you makes you stronger and I am a much stronger person than I have ever been before.

On a political front, we have had Brexit tear up all of the accepted political norms of left and right. The spectrum of Libertarian, freedom and openness versus Authoritarian, centralised and closed has now taken a much bigger profile in the public mood. The political establishment, both the Conservatives and Labour, are deeply divided. The polarisation through the Brexit prism will certainly make the next set of elections very interesting. To top it all off the new World Leader is a nut cluster who will only make the world a less safe place.

For the Liberal Democrats, the year has seen their star rise once more, winning a host of council by-elections in 2016, a parliamentary by-election in Richmond park and two cracking results for the Lib Dems in both Whitney and Sleaford.  So the Lib Dems have 28 Net Gains in Council by-elections with swings of over 20%. In Westmister terms, their average vote share has gone up by nearly 20% to over 30%.

Above all else lets hope 2017 is a great year and that we all can find hope and happiness again.

Foundation Stone Ceremony

Trustees and photographer, Eddie Brown

Today I attended the foundation stone ceremony for Spinners Court, as a Trustee of Bridgnorth Housing Trust. It has been a tremendous effort of the Clerk, the Chairman & all of the Trustees, particularly those including myself on the development committee and on the finance committee.

Spinners Court is the biggest project in the charities 400+ year history. The name Spinners Court was suggested by me to reflect the history of Low Town it, the ‘Spinners’ who worked at the town’s carpet factories and lived in the area and the roots of our charity. Whilst it hasn’t been easy, once the development is finished we will all be able to look back on this site with tremendous satisfaction and pride.

Spinners Court Foundation Stone

3d pointcloud and Mesh from 2D Photos

Bridgnorth Castle 3D Mesh (edges on)

As an experiment I have produced a 3d point cloud and mesh from a series of 2D photographs to compare with other survey methods I use at work to assess the relative accuracy of this method of modelling.

Using photogrametric principles software can now reconstruct/model 3D objects just by using overlapping photographs of the object. If the results bear up then this will produce quite a time saving on site for some projects at work.

The key is to make sure there are plenty of photos with sufficient overlap.

Below are screen grabs of the resulting model.

Bridgnorth Castle (Textured Faces)

Bridgnorth Castle Model (textures on)
Bridgnorth Castle 3D Model (textures on)

Bridgnorth Castle (3D mesh with the edges on)

Bridgnorth Castle 3D Mesh (edges on)
Bridgnorth Castle 3D Mesh (edges on)

Bridgnorth Castle (3D mesh – faces only)

Bridgnorth Castle 3D Mesh (faces only)
Bridgnorth Castle 3D Mesh (faces only)

Below is a quick snap shot using PhotSynth

The final cleaned up point cloud

New house – refurb under way

Last Friday I finally acquired a new house. The house is a 2 storey dorma-bungalow which hasn’t had much done to it since new. So it needs a full refurb. The plan is to get building regs approval and convert the existing attic room into usable space and add an extension using Structural Insulated Panels. The first job is stripping out the existing carpets and fixtures. Ad things progress I will post some more.

IMG_20140415_145603 IMG_20140415_170318 IMG_20140415_165046

As Christmas approaches…

Christmas is a time for joy and celebration but please spare a thought for all those people who are facing a hollow Christmas following bereavement, particularly those who are recently bereaved or who will be bereaved  over the Christmas period.

You are never so alone as when you are in a crowd.

A smiley cheery face can hide a multitude of depression.

Often friends say: “If you need anything just ask.” However, great friends don’t wait to be asked they just do.

Redesign imminent

A while a go I teased a few people with a draft of what my new website might look like. Having been delayed somewhat by a few urgent Web design jobs and the local elections, I am – touch wood – ready to get on with the task at hand. I have temporarily reverted to a bland default WordPress theme after a recent attack, so the task is back at the top of my pile.

Truly inspirational Domestic Violence response from Patrick Stewart

Of all the social media I find Facebook the least savoury. Lets face it Facebook is a huge source of distrust, frustration and angst among friends who should know better and read far too much into some comments. Trolling, internet bullying and other hate crime can be more common than it should be… However, for all the bad, my faith in the power of social media as a force for good gets restored when a hugely significant item is shared by a friend. Something that I had missed yesterday having had a busy day on site in Surrey.

This morning I popped onto Facebook for a quick flick through to find my social media friend Missy Fishy (mrsfishalicious on Facebook) shared a post on the upworthy website.

I have linked to the original YouTube video below so that my puny Search Engine juice goes to the Heather Skye for asking the question, to Oswald Vinueza for recording and sharing the moment and to Patrick Stewart, a true living legend, for sharing his moving and inspirational response to Heather Skye‘s question.

“Violence is never, ever a choice a man should make!”

Patrick Stewart Gives Passionate Response to Question At Comicpalooza 2013 - YouTube

In January I watched the episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ featuring Sir Patrick, which he refers to in the video. This is a great series on the BBC. Patrick’s journey of discovery was one of the better episodes. In the above video Sir Patrick not only talks about his experience of domestic violence against women but also his new understanding the BBC show gave him. He goes on to explain that he now works for Refuge for his mother and Combat Stress for his father.

His reply to Heather Skye shows the true measure of a man. A truly inspirational, though provoking and powerful video.

End domestic Violence: “Make it So!”