The Anonymous Widower

The Severn Barrage

It is being reported that the government is abandoning the building of the electricity-generating barrage of the River Severn between Cardiff and Weston-super-Mare.

Years ago, I did a job for Frederick Snow and Partners and at the time, they were proposing a bold barrage of the river to generate up to 10% if the UK’s energy needs. When the barrage was being discussed a couple of years ago, I had a letter published in The Times about the scheme.

Sir, The proposal shown in your paper today is timid. We have an energy crisis, an energy storage crisis, a landfill crisis and an airport crisis in this country and I believe that if we use the resource of the River Severn properly, we can help to solve all of them. A proper solution would also mitigate the problems of flooding in the Severn Valley.

I have knowledge of the proposals put forward by Frederick Snow in the 1960s. He felt that a central spine with a high and a low lake would be the best solution. Turbines would run between the lakes and could provide power when required, but they would also be capable of pumping water back to store energy. In these days of wind turbines relying on winds that don’t always blow, this would be a sensible way of storing the energy from wind power and releasing it as required.

Snow proposed putting energy-based industries such as chlorine and hydrogen production on the spine — but his major proposal was to site a very large airport on it. Could it with proper engineering be built on landfill? After all, it does face in the direction of the prevailing winds and it would be several kilometres from any centre of population, so noise pollution would be reduced to a minimum. As Brunel designed the Great Western to be virtually straight for high-speed running, trains à la TGV could do the journey to London in well under an hour. We either dither or we formulate a bold vision of which Brunel would have been proud.

I suspect that by cancelling we may only be delaying a scheme that will eventually go ahead.  As time passes Snow’s scheme for a central spine and airport will become more not less economical.

  1. The need to store energy from wind turbines and nuclear power stations will become more important.
  2. The high-speed railway to Bristol and Wales will have been electrified.  Also, a properly designed barrage will give another rail route to Wales from London.
  3. A higher percentage of the flights out of the UK, will go to the west. as those to the east will be more likely to be replaced by trains through the Channel Tunnel.  This will mean that an airport in the Bristol Channel will cut carbon emissions by a few percent, due to the shorter journey to the American continent.

October 17, 2010 Posted by | News, World | , , | 9 Comments

Lucky Gordon

Lucky Gordon is mentioned in the Sunday Times magazine today, as there is an article about a new exhibition concerning Christine Keeler.

I never met either, but years ago I used to drink with the musician, Danny Thompson, in the Clopton Crown.  He related how on some of his recording session, Lucky was the chef.  Danny did make a comment about how Lucky served too much rice and peas.

At the time, I seem to remember he was working on the music for a documentary, where a film-maker was taking some elephants over the Alps in a reenactment of Hannibal’s famous expedition.

October 17, 2010 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Adobe Software Upgrade Scam

  I have had several of these e-mails, mostly to e-mail addresses that are only used to register domain names for clients.


This is to remind that a new version of Adobe Acrobat Reader with enhanced features for viewing, creating, editing, printing and internet-sharing PDF documents has been released.

To upgrade your application: 

+ Go to [link removed]
+ Get your options, download and upgrade. 

Thanks and best regards, 
John William

Adobe Acrobat Reader Support 
Copy rights Adobe 2010 © All rights reserved
1022 Marrinbird Rd | Merryton | CA | 91523 | USA

Unless Adobe tell me that it is genuine in a secure and verifiable manner, I’ll assume it’s a scam or some form of trojan or virus delivery.

I did find this note in an Adobe forum, confirming my suspicions.

I also found this in the registration details for the domain.

Domain name:             ADOBE-ACROBAT-SOFTWARE.COM
Name Server:   
Name Server:   
Name Server:   
Creation Date:           2010.10.16
Expiration Date:         2011.10.16

Status:                  DELEGATED

Registrant ID:           ZA5XXWT-RU
Registrant Name:         John Terry
Registrant Organization: John Terry
Registrant Street1:      1729 Park Way
Registrant City:         London
Registrant Postal Code:  H38LA92
Registrant Country:      GB

So it’s some form of Russian scam? Certainly, the UK address is not genuine and John Terry is just an infamous footballer, who most people have heard of the name.

October 17, 2010 Posted by | Computing | , , , | 1 Comment

My State of Health

Since I ended up in Addenbrooke’s a week ago, I’ve not felt well at all. 

  1. My teeth feel like I haven’t cleaned them in a week and it’s almost as if they’re covered in slime, which I guess is the muck pouring out of my sinuses. 
  2. My arm and face are in pain.  But it seems that my left hand is better on the keyboard though!
  3. But at least my eyesight has improved and I am able to use a pair of binoculars.  I thought that yesterday at the football, I followed the match better than at any time since my stroke.
  4. My throat hurts and I suspect that is the coughing to try to clear it.
  5. I thought for a while yesterday that I was totally constipated, but that cleared up this morning.
  6. At least I’m sleeping reasonably well, but I don’t like the number of pain killers I’m taking.  I’m well below limit set by my doctor, so I suppose that is one thing.

I’m seeing a consultant about my sinuses on Tuesday morning, so at least the end might be in sight.

I really hope so!

October 17, 2010 Posted by | Health | , | 1 Comment

Can FIFA be Trusted?

Yet again we’re seeing allegations abut the voting for a major sports event.  In this case it’s the 2018 World Cup, with delegates from Nigeria and Tahiti being accused of being prepared to sell their votes.

FIFA seem to be taking control, but I do wonder if their voting structure makes it very difficult to get everything squeaky clean.

October 17, 2010 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment