The Anonymous Widower

Forty Years On!

It is almost forty years since C and myself moved into the Barbican with our young family.

Now they are building the Heron next door.

The Heron Peeks Above the Barbican

The Barbican and its three iconic towers were very much of the 1960s, just as the Heron is of today. The Barbican with its sculptured concrete is pretty much unique, but from what I’ve read and seen, the Heron will be very modern and have a very much lower carbon footprint.

All of the towers in the Barbican will share one thing with the Heron and that is superb views.  But the view from the Heron won’t have the view we did of Whitbread‘s working brewery complete with its dray horses, that in the 1970s still performed some of the local deliveries in the city.

But living in the Barbican was a pleasureable experience in the 1970s and we all liked it. I still felt good as I went back to the complex to visit the library to do some research for a book.

I hope living in the Heron will be just as pleasureable.  But it will probably not have the eclectic mix of people that the Barbican had when it opened.  I suspect now the Barbican has changed, what with buy-to-let, second homes in the country and the changes brought by the credit crunch.

May 10, 2011 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

What Will Sepp Blatter Do Now?

Lord Triesman didn’t hold his punches when in front of a parliamentary committee, he accused four FIFA members of improper behaviour over the bidding for the 2018 World Cup.

If I was Lord Triesman, I would take a few places of the list of where I might go for a holiday.

May 10, 2011 Posted by | News, Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

Another Scam Like The CFX Group

I have just received an almost identical e-mail to the one I received from the CFX Group.



Your order has been accepted. Your order reference is 198668.

 Terms of delivery and the date can be found with the auto-generated msword file located at:


Best regards, Tel.: (734) 687 65 784

The e-mail I received was actually addressed to a legitimate company who supply milking machines. Note the xxx obscure the dangerous bit.

One characteristic of the e-mails is that they contain a link to a file called  This file probably contains some sort of virus.  There are more details here.

Interestingly, the web site http:\\ is registered in Spain.  The site containing the virus in the CFX Group case also was registered there!

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Computing | , , | 2 Comments

European Court Rules Against Max Mosley

It is being reported that the European Court has ruled against Max Mosley.

My late father would be pleased to have seen this judgment.

He always claimed, that he got Max’s odious father with a tomato in the 1930s. It may even have been at the Battle of  Cable Street. My father was there as a Londoner of Jewish ancestry, so he hated Oswald Mosley with a passion.  Interestingly, my father was very much on the left of the Tory party, and he was not the only person with that political persuasion, who was there to stop Oswald Mosley and his blackshirts marching.

May 10, 2011 Posted by | News, World | , , | 2 Comments

Zopa’s Credit Checking

I’ve just received my financial statement for the tax year ended on the 5th April 2011 from Zopa.

The interesting line says that the capital written off this year due to bad debts was nothing. Incidentally, I’ve only had three contracts go bad in 2,500, that have been written and they have cost me just over £300 out of over £50,000 invested.

So on those figures, I think I can say that Zopa checks on who they accept for loans are very good.

Perhaps if some banks had been as careful we wouldn’t have had a banking crisis!

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Finance | , | 5 Comments

Cable Thefts on the Railways

New figures suggest that cable thefts on the railways are increasing dramatically, as they were up 52% between 2010-2011 and the previous year.

It would appear that the two main problems are the high price of scrap copper and the fact that many scrap yards give cash back on a no-questions-asked basis!

I always remember some work I did with British Rail about twenty years ago, where we were analysing signal faults on one particular main line. There the copper cables had een exchanged for fibre-optic ones and we found that most breakages occurred because of over-zealous track gangs over-tamping the ballast between the track. My software,  Daisy, showed that in one area they didn’t occur at the same rate and the better performance was due to some members of the track gang knowing about signalling.  So that problem was solved by better training of the gangs.

However, in one area we found that there were a large number of incidents of deliberately-cut fibre optic cables. This area had been a particularly bad area for the theft of cables and it turned out the thieves were cutting the cables in the vain hope that they would be replaced with stealable copper.

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment