was reading in the

I was reading in the paper yesterday that The Labour Party are shunning seaside towns. In 2006 they’re holding their conference in Manchester. I think one guy hit the nail on the head when discussing Blackpool: “It amazes me that the Labour party, which is a working-class party, doesn’t want to come to the main working-class resort in the country”. Yeah, that’s right, it probably is an image thing.

“Unlike other seaside destinations, Brighton has always been popular with delegates, and Labour signed a two-year deal to stage the 2004 and 2005 conferences on the Sussex coast”.
By coincidence 2006 is when the council plan to start the demolition of the conference centre (huzzah!). It’s going to be replaced with a new combined conference and concert venue. So, basically, the same thing only less ugly, presumably.

From what I can gather, the area under development is pretty big, and by 2008 could include flats, an extra floor on top of the Churchill Square shopping centre, and the planning options I’ve seen use words like “bold”, “holistic” and “landmark” — but they would, wouldn’t they.

The new conference/gig venue will be smaller (under 2,000 seats compared to the current 5,500) but “state of the art”. Which sounds a little odd until you realize that the International Ice Arena at Black Rock, near the marina, will be an 11,000 seat venue. That’s scheduled to open in 2007, assuming it’s even started. I’m guessing the ice part can be covered over, because the prospect of filling an 11,000 seater stadium for some ice skating sounds… challenging.

It also raises the question of why the council would allow something that size there, but not a 22,000 seater football stadium in Falmer. But that’s a whole other story.

On Sunday Paul introduced

View of a windmill

On Sunday, Paul introduced us to a short cycle route that has the benefit of getting you “off road” pretty quickly. At the top of Hove park there’s a narrow route you can take up-hill which leads to the A27/Devil’s Dyke roundabout. You cross the road from there and it’s all downhill through some woods back to the London road. Short, but sometimes that’s all you need.

Cycle route map

Click to view a larger version of the map, which I glued together from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

Sir Oliver horse came

“Sir Oliver’s horse came ambling home to Oliver’s abode”

I’ve been carrying that phrase around in my head for… a long time. Since Mrs Wilson, my secondary school maths teacher, put it in our heads as a mnemonic for remembering how sin, cos and tan are based on the ratios of the sides of triangles (scream if you want to go nerdier). Anyway, these last couple of days, for no obvious reason, I started wondering about the following meaningless questions:
Who was Oliver? How did he get his knighthood? What had he been doing to lose his faithful horse? Did it involve trigonometry? Maybe there’s a story there.

The main news of

The main news of the day eclipsed this somewhat, but I’ll report it now…

Last year Andy dressed up in a santa costume and hit the sea on Christmas day. He made the local paper, which was kind of fun.

This year Jeremy, Andy, Ben and Kirsty all went in on Christmas Day in santa costumes. Alas, we weren’t there to witness this, but on Boxing Day (American cousins: it’s December 26th) Jeremy called with the news that a photo of Kirsty had made it into the News of the World. We later found out that a similar picture had made it into Mail on Sunday, both national papers.

At the news agent I discovered just how much they’d upped the ante: they were there on the front page of the Independent. Above the fold. On a proper grown up paper. And a fantastic photo (but not a great scan, by me):

Andy, Ben and Jeremy

Nice work! The photo was also used in a BBC report: Brave swimmers take festive dip.

Bloggers raise cash for Tsunami relief

I got an email from Anders Jacobsen this morning, asking me to consider posting links to aid agencies for the Tsunami relief funds. In return he will give $1 to the British Red Cross. So, in the interest of helping raise some extra cash I’ve included the html that he provided.

International aid organizations:


North America:

Anders Jacobsen: Webloggers: Give to tsunami victims and I’ll give too!

On a related note, I had an email from Andy Budd the other day about BlogAid – he’s encouraging bloggers to pledge their income from the blog (through ads etc) to one of the relief funds.

got my copy of

I got my copy of the SkiClub magazine yesterday, and it had a feature on MountMaps which look like quite a handy evolution in ski maps – 3D representations of ski terrain. Currently they’ve got maps of the Three Valleys, SkiWelt, Whistler and Big White. If they had them for any of the places we’re visiting this year (Fernie, Kimberley and Panorama) I’d probably buy one to see how they work in the wild.

New Year in Morzine

We spent the break between Christmas and into the New Year in Morzine, staying with Jonny and Lisa at the lovely Ride and Slide chalet in Morzine.

We managed to fit in three and a half days snowboarding in the Avoriaz area and progressed onto our first red runs. Our favourite area was Lindarets, and our favourite runs were Combe a Floret (a gentle, winding, tree lined blue) and Tannes (quite a wide and gentle red).