Sunday, 25 September 2016

Weaponising Campanology

PastMySellByDate, Going Postal
Bells have been rung since time immemorial, but full circle bell ringing only began a few hundred years ago in this country. Bells on the continent are rung in various ways either mechanical or manual. Without full circle ringing, i.e. where the bell turns through 360°, the timing of the strike cannot be changed much as it is dictated by the physics of the bell and given that they weigh anything up to 80 cwt or 4 tons (Liverpool Cathedral Tenor Bell), that is a lot of physics.

Control is only achievable when the bell is at or near equilibrium: in other words, it is upside-down and just short of going all the way over (bad and potentially expensive and limb-threatening, see below). In this state, the bell can be accelerated by pulling earlier on the Sally or the tail, or slowed down by holding the bell at the balance for a little longer. Given the weight and momentum of even the lightest bells, unless they are at or near the balance point, there is no hope whatsoever of controlling them.

There is only one other place in the world where full circle bell ringing developed and that is in the Veneto region of Italy. Although there are differences in the design and way the bells are rung, English ringers can ring Venetian bells with a little training and vice-versa. Everywhere else (apart from the former colonies which use the English system), the bells are chimed manually or mechanically/electrically. The latter systems are known as Carillons or large cuckoo clocks.

Saturday, 24 September 2016


Northern man, Going Postal
How does negotiation work?

So, we are about to enter probably the most important negotiation that will happen for many lifetimes the exiting of the UK from the EU and the detaching of that institute's tentacles from all aspects of our lives.

But what is negotiation?  How does it work?  I am not a full-time negotiator, but I do negotiate contracts as part of my job (biggest one was just over #1bn for a ten-year deal) and thought I would share my thoughts on this with you all.

One dictionary definition of negotiation is discussion aimed at reaching an agreement .  By that definition you could argue that negotiation is part of human nature.  Anyone with children knows that they start negotiating from the age of four or five ( Do I have to go to bed now?  Can I just watch one more episode? ).  In many cultures people negotiate every time they buy something (we look down our noses at this and call it haggling ).

Friday, 23 September 2016

Burning Man 2016


One for Chips

  1. An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.


  1. A form of competitive activity or sport played according to rules.
  2. An activity that one engages in for amusement.

In parts of the far North West of England there is a long standing competitive tradition that is slowly disappearing as people pass away or retire from the fray. The history of dominoes can be traced back to 12th Century China and maybe even before, but the game as played in the UK was probably introduced in the early 18th century by the French and from the basic “chip out” game several variations soon developed.

As recently as 1976 there were, in one small area of Cumbria alone, as many as 72 teams of six players (around 700 people with reserves), split into 6 divisions, playing the variation called 5’s & 3’s competitively every Tuesday throughout the winter. It was not uncommon for country pubs, especially those in farming communities, to have four tables going on Sunday afternoons, with players staking small amounts of cash on their ability to beat others. These were the “lock in” days. Farmers would traditionally get their jobs done on a Sunday morning, eat an early roast dinner and then repair to the local hostelry to start drinking and playing just before “closing” time. A game could always be had on Friday nights, with Saturdays (reserved for wives and girlfriends) probably the only night when a determined person couldn’t drum up a four.