Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A fringe post from Edinburgh

Street performer

 Crowd watching 

We are down in Edinburgh for a couple of days at the Edinburgh Fringe. We started with the True to Life exhibition at the Scottish Modern Art Gallery. This is an interesting exhibition of British realist art which was a popular movement between the two World Wars. 

Then it was a hike across town to the Pleasance Courtyard where our neighbour and comedian Twayna Mayne is presenting her show Black Girl during the whole of the festival. Tickets here. Twayna tells of her experience as a child growing up with a non-functioning mother, who she hasn't seen since she was six, and being fostered and finally at the age of 14 being adopted by a white mother, a teacher who lives in Forest Hill (London SE23). Interestingly there were a number of people from Forest Hill in the audience. Definitely recommended – we were very impressed. 

In the evening we went to the excellent Rat Pack Live presented by Nicholas Abrams and Richard Williamson at C in Chambers Street. Afterwards we had a very good meal at Nanyang, a Malaysian restaurant.        

 Scottish Gallery of Modern Art

 There will be no miracles: Scottish Gallery of Modern Art

 Detail of the gallery

Colourful tiles in the toilets at the art gallery

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Newtonmore's Highland Games: 5th August 2017 – a few more photos

 Piper with a frisky busby

Competitor in the individual 
piping competition

 Competitor tossing the haggis

Hammer throw 
Hill race: tartan shorts splashing 
through the stream 

Off to Edinburgh today for a couple of days at the Fringe.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Cycling: reducing the hostility (part 2)

75,000 rode around closed roads in the centre 
of London on 29th July 2017

On Friday I posted Part 1 of Cycling: 'reducing the hostility'looking at what pisses motorists about cyclists' behaviour. Now it is the turn to look at what pisses off cyclists about motorists.  Much of this post is based on the behaviour of some drivers in London.

Overall it is a lack of consideration that cyclists are far more vulnerable than people safely ensconced in their cars a lorries. 

Close pass
It is good to see that the police starting with the West Midland's Police's initiative are targeting and seeking to educate motorists to give cyclists space when passing them. This is a minimum of 1.5 metres. 

In London as a cyclist cars, lorries and buses pass far too close. It is noticeable in the Scottish Highlands cyclists are usually given much more space. They do, however, tend to try and pass where it is not safe to do so on the brow of a hill or a corner when they just can't see. 

In London the stress of driving in a crowded city makes drivers stupidly impatient. Not only not appreciating the need to give cyclists proper space but trying to pass when there isn't space.

SpeedingIt is good to see 20 mph speed limits being introduced across of much of London driving at this speed greatly reducing the likelihood of being killed if you are hit or in a collision with a car. Despite this unfortunately too many motorists drive at well over 30 mph in 20 mph zone. I would like to see many more remote speed cameras to enforce this ban.  

Impatient and reckless driving
Although there are considerate drivers there are too many boy racers who have no consideration for other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Driving far too fast, shooting red lights, driving through bollards and road furniture on the wrong side of the road. Again it would be good to see many more speed and traffic cameras to both discourage reckless driving through fines and driving bans. We have the technology to do this, we don't need to waste scarce police resources on checking idiotic driving.

It is commonplace for cyclists to be verbally abused by drivers complaining that they are being held up when a cyclist rides in the middle of the road or not right in the gutter. 

There is nothing in the Highway Code that requires cyclists to ride in the gutter. There are clearly times when cyclists need to ride well out in the road to be safe, for instance when passing a row of parked car to avoid someone suddenly opening a car door or when passing through road furniture. 

Given the slow average speed of journeys through London impatient drivers often do not benefit from speeding ahead or from the stupid risks that they take. Time to take a more relaxed approach to driving in urban areas.

Can they be persuaded to be more considerate of other road users?