Friday, November 20, 2015

best london snaps

The snaps from the London trip. Went to Buckingham Palace with Aunty Josie, Marie and Louise. Awesome experience. Shook hands with Prince William. Had cocktails at the Savoy with Martin and tea at the Ritz with Simon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

very short update...

Another big long lapse without updating the blog. Well its because of B4RN, it takes up all the time now, so why not have a look there? - A whole community building its own fibre network.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Skype. A digitalrevolutions success story.

Its been ages since I updated this blog.
I thought I would do it today in the light of what has been going on this last month.
I saw an entry for a competition called the Sheffield Digitalrevolutions DocFest.
I am a great believer in the benefits of digital technology, and I work as a volunteer to help spread the benefits of ICT for a charity called WrayComCom, which is part of a University of Lancaster Living Lab research experiment. We work towards digitalinclusion for all, no matter where they live or how rich or poor they are.
I had to make a film about the benefits digital technology had brought into my life. I decided to feature skype in the film because it has made a tremendous difference to mine. Yesterday the bbc used a clip of the film in the National news, and they also interviewed me on skype, which saved a tremendous amount of carbon and time for either me, or Rory Cellan-Jones and a film crew. To me that shows the importance of rural areas getting a connection to join the digital revolution, as many more virtual meetings could take place in the same way.

When I first started using a computer it was on dial up, and skype chats were about all I could manage. Then we got broadband connection through the local community wifi network. My life changed. I told everyone about it and helped them try it out. They all loved it and they got others to get online to use it.
My uncle bought my aunty a computer and camera so that we could chat to each other and she could point the camera at the screen to show me any problem she was having. It also enabled us to keep in touch all through her chemotherapy because she lives a long way away from me, and little chats and virtual visits helped to keep her cheerful, I know it can never take the place of meeting up face to face, but sometimes that isn’t always possible... brother and sister live in the USA, and at christmas we fire up the skype and the whole family gets together, it makes the day extra special, and we open gifts from each other and admire the decorations on each other’s trees. The time differences mean that the skype is on nearly all day, but the computer lives on the kitchen table so it brings them into our home on every special occasion.

When my mum died we found skype invaluable, because the phone line had to be free waiting for calls from undertakers and stuff, but we had flights and accommodation to book for lots of people, so skype took over, giving us instant access to all the family and a virtual phone line with skypeout to ring hotels if they weren’t online.

Since my grandchildren have been born they have been raised seeing me and talking to me on skype. It means when they come to visit I am not a stranger, and there is no shyness, I am as much a part of their lives as if they all lived next door. There are three of them visiting at the moment, and they loved watching the interview yesterday.

When they get to around 3 or 4 they skype me themselves to tell me all their news. I have been known to virtually babysit while their mums nip upstairs to get the washing or make the beds, me and the kids have a chat and they don’t get up to mischief. We also experimented with virtually potty training the twins, but to be honest it didn’t work all that well.

In the old days people didn’t move far away from where they were born, and the extended family was always around to support the others. Nowadays people move all over the world with their careers, and skype helps bridge the distance and make the world a smaller place. The old gossips over the garden wall now take place over the internet, and the world is better for it. Skype helps make the world go round, and it has been one of the best things in my life.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Free youtube online video converter

Click here to find youtube converter to download the videos to your pc or mac

Friday, June 22, 2007

good quote

Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps, if you are not willing to move your feet.

to farm or not to farm?

Rt Hon David Miliband MP
Secretary of State,
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR

12 June 2007

Dear Secretary of State,

My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs. I would now like to join the “not rearing pigs” business.

In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on, and which is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy.

I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many people already not rearing these?

As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven’t reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?

My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was £1,422 in 1968. That is - until this year, when he received a cheque for not rearing any.

If I get £3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get £6,000 for not rearing 100?

I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4 million from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gases?

Another point: These pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don’t rear?

I am also considering the “not milking cows” business, so please send any information you have on that too. Please could you also include the current Defra advice on set aside fields? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields (of which I seem to have several thousand hectares)?

In view of the above you will realise that I will be totally unemployed, and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits.

I shall of course be voting for your party at the next general election.

Yours faithfully,

farming sense of humour...

A farmer was overseeing his animals on a remote field, when suddenly a
brand-new BMW speeds up the farm track towards him.

The driver, a young man in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses
and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the farmer: "If I tell you
exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, Will you give me a

The farmer looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his
peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers: "Aye, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it
to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the
Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his
location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area
in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it
to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he
receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and
the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC
connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few
minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-colour, 150-page report on his hi-tech,
miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the farmer and says: "You have
exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," replies the

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as
the young man stuffs it into the boot of his car.

Then the farmer says to the young man: "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what
your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then replies: "Okay, why

"You work for DEFRA", says the farmer.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "But how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required," answered the farmer. "You showed up here even though
nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a
question I never asked.

"You tried to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a
thing about cows - this is a herd of sheep now give me back my dog

Friday, January 26, 2007

Where does your food come from?

Just Ask!
Please support the CLA in their campaign to promote awareness of the miles our food travels to our tables...
click here

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Wray and Wennet wifi network

Short video made by nwda to promote the benefits of a rural broadband connection, in places where BT cannot reach with phone lines. Broadband notspots exist all over the country. This is an example of a community who JEDI
(just effin did it)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Umbilical Cord Slurry Spreading

Shows how slurry is spread using an injector system which eliminates run off and aerates the soil. It is also a way of cutting down the smell in areas where there is a population of 'townies'. Using this method land can be fertilised closer to water sources and nitrogen levels of compound fertiliser lowered, which benefits the environment and the economy! Application rates are monitored and exactly the right ammount is spread according to the management plans of the farms involved.

New Music Video From David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff - "Jump In My Car"

That's right, it's Hofficial... your favourite cult icon wants to take you home!
The one and only David Hasselhoff of
"Bay Watch" and "Knight Rider" fame returns with a cover of the
1975 classic 'Jump In My Car' and its a doozy.
Recorded in Sydney last year with the legendary Harry Vanda
(AC/DC, The Angels), the Ted Mulry Gang tune has been re-vamped
with full Hoff gusto and this music video promises to rock the
socks off all his Hofficial fans.
Watch it, enjoy it, share it on Google Video,
courtesy of Sony BMG Australia.

Want more? Buy the buy the track on iTunes Australia by clicking here:

Sunday, July 16, 2006

free web pages from google

Create your own web pages, quickly and easily.

Google Page Creator is a free online tool that makes it easy for anyone to create and publish useful, attractive web pages in just minutes.

* No technical knowledge required.
Build high-quality web pages without having to learn HTML or use complex software.

* What you see is what you'll get.
Edit your pages right in your browser, seeing exactly how your finished product will look every step along the way.

* Don't worry about hosting.
Your web pages will live on your own site at
click here for test run

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Topiary Wire art

Topiary Wire art sculptures now on sale at the Plant Cabin at Wray.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Wray fair 2006

New blogspot for Wray scarecrow festival 2006, click here for photos and videos of all the fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is a brilliant tool for cutting costs, you can make free phone calls from one Pc to another using google talk, msn, yahoo, skype etc
or you can even call landlines from your pc, anywhere in the world for a few coppers. Go to and join

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

passing balloon
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Sunday, September 04, 2005

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

No, actually I love quotes. Post here if you have any gooduns. Here is a good one to end the day:
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense".
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson?

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To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
--- inaccurately attributed to
Ralph Waldo Emerson
This was part of a presentation I gave, at the bottom of this slide was another quote, "To steal from one is plagarism to steal from many is research...."

Wray Wireless network blogspot

Wray Com Com

Helen's Blogspot

click here to visit

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The photo says it all, "I'm supposed to be retired" - no such thing in Wray.
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August 2005
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Pod's cattle truck... this brings in the new heifers to the herd...
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

surveys and installs
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farm kid
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Thursday, August 11, 2005

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like Mother of Pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.
He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.
"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.
"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in too?" the traveller asked.

"I'm sorry; sir, but we don't accept pets."
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
"Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there".
The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in." "How about my friend here?" the traveller gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveller filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, and then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them.
"What do you call this place?" the traveller asked.
"This is Heaven," he answered.
"Well, that's confusing," the traveller said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."
"Oh, you mean the place with the Gold Street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell."
"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"
"No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."
Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes
to us without writing a word, maybe this could explain:
When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do. You forward jokes.
When you have nothing to say, but still want to keep contact, you forward jokes.
When you have something to say, but don't know what, and don't know how, you forward jokes.
And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get?
A forwarded joke.
So my friend, next time if you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile ,

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Pony Express replaced by Broadband
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This photo shows Joel at the top of the field looking to find a signal to connect a remote farm to the wireless mesh.

Monday, May 02, 2005

kids stuff
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dough models
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the painter
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the potter
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pretty practical presents
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the eagles
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mini golf
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charity stall
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wins a coconut
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throwing coconuts
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getting ready for the start of the fair
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stalls at wray fair
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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Chairman of Governors, Little Miss Fickle
Posted by Hello

The Mayor of Lancaster, John Day with his daughter the Lady Mayoress opening the Wifi Craft Barn and Tea Room in the Village, April 2005. Paul Maycock (chairman of Wray Community Communications) and Deborah Perrins on left, Pat Stavely the owner of the Tea rooms on right.
Posted by Hello

The Wild Indians in the Institute, Wray Fair 2005
Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Today the sun is shining and I have found my blog again since I lost it last November. Since then I have been helping to set up our network in the village using wifi. We use mesh boxes to send the signal round the village. It has been a steep learning curve for us all.
Our biggest job is trying to get funding from all the different agencies purporting to support rural enterprises which are endeavouring to build networks to bridge the digital divide. Can you get anything out of them?
Not to worry, we will keep plodding on ourselves.

Monday, November 01, 2004

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since I started this blog.
I have been involved with a committee setting up a wireless network in our village. Our goal is to get broadband access out to the farmers who can't get a sustainable ADSL service. If you want to see what we have been doing check out our website and the diary of our trials and tribulations is posted there. Bit like a blog really.
It has been a real interesting twelve months, and we have learned a lot. that is why I never did any more posting in this blog, it has been real busy round here.
The farm like many more around here is dying on it's feet, and maybe the way to fight back is through the internet and greater information access. who knows?
I will post again soon, my blogger is now in my list of favourites so I should remember...

shock horror no entries for a year!
l will get going again soon

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Today is Saturday, August 2nd, Derek and mum's birthdays. We have been out to lunch to celebrate. The sun has come out and we are having a barbie tonight. Marie is washing the car, Derek is checking the ploughing, Mark is power harrowing the clay hill, Brian has just finished ploughing it and has gone home. Jill has taken Amy for a ride because she has german measles and is miserable and hot so a ride will put her to sleep. Anton is going round and round his field mowing for second cut silo. He will be dizzy by now. That is all that is happening here today.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Well it is a wet Wednesday morning and I have just organised a Statue workshop. It is at Billingtons Craft Centre at Catforth near Preston on September 6th. We will be making garden statues out of recycled materials. Derek was late up today so he is still milking the cows, it is 8.30 am and should be breakfast time now. I am going to do Gladys's hair this morning, then I am making a mermaid statue. If I don't get interupted I will also make a wreath or two for the Christmas collection. chance would be a fine thing. Mum and dad have sold their house, so will now be looking for somewhere to live. Emily hasn't had her calf yet, I dreamt about it last night, I hope we don't have to wait much longer. I can hear the engine changing tune so I had better get the bacon on. Back later...

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Hey, just posted my first entry and I see the time says 2.10pm. I am on GMT so it is really 22:10pm. Not that it really matters but just to keep the record straigh so to speak. Goodnight.
Right then, this is my very first entry on my very first blog. I hope I am not the only one who is ever going to read it, but if I am then so be it.
I intend to use this blog to describe what happens here every day. It will probably be very boring to most people but I don't care, I am going to do it anyway.
Today has been a good day. It has rained all day but it hasn't mattered cos my Aunty Josie and Bronte came to see me and we had a good laugh. I also got loads of funny jokes in my email, so all in all I have had a Good day. It is late now, well late for me, so I am off to the pit and will start this blog in earnest tomorrow now I have got it set up. Yahoo, I am a blogger.