Kittiwakes in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

We recently returned to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a jewel of a city! This time, we were fortunate enough to see the kittiwakes nesting, both in and around the Tyne Bridge and at the Baltic Mills buidlding.

The Baltic Mill website has a Kittywake cam, and the page says:

NewcastleGateshead Quayside is home to an estimated 700 pairs of breeding kittiwakes. This colony is recognised as being the furthest inland kittiwake colony in the world. Kittiwakes have used the NewcastleGateshead Quayside as a breeding site since the 1960s and have truly become a well-established part of our local and natural heritage.

Kittiwakes are usually coastal birds, however, the kittiwakes that breed along the River Tyne nest, not on cliffs, but on man-made structures like the Tyne Bridge and BALTIC.

The Baltic Mill is a superb modern art gallery. They currently have an exhibition from Canadian artist Rodney Graham, which is much recommended.

Easter egg hunt furore – something of the ridiculous?

Can you see the word “Easter” in the image above? The image is a screenshot of the National Trust website for its Easter activity.

Yet, Theresa May saw fit to interrupt her visit to Saudi Arabia to criticise Cadbury’s and the National Trust for calling the activity an “Egg Hunt” rather than a “Easter Egg Hunt” – even though Easter is emblazoned above the title. Continue reading

Freddie Flintoff, Professor Green, Ruby Wax and others talk about their mental health issues

The charity campaign Heads Together are publishing a series of videos on YouTube where famous and not famous people talk about their mental health issues.

It really is good to see role models opening up about their problems. Below, you’ll find three of the videos. In the top one, Stephen Manderson (aka Professor Green) and Freddie Flintoff talk. Next down, Ruby Wax talks with her husband, TV producer Ed Bye. Continue reading

Filmmaker shows the sinister and, sometimes, bizarre reality of life under dictators

I thoroughly recommend the TV series “Dictatorland”, which is going out on BBC Three at the moment. You can watch the episodes as they are published on BBC iPlayer. Young journalist and filmmaker Benjamin Zand travelled, at some risk to him and his crew, to a number of countries which still have dictatorships. Continue reading

Sparks fly as Newbury’s Sterling Cables Tower is brought down bit by bit…with no Fred Dibnah moment

With a little tweaking from Photomatix and Picasa, my photo above shows work happening this morning at the very top of Newbury’s Sterling Cables Tower. I’ve been keeping an eye on the work on the site everyday for months now. I have enormous admiration for the skill and hard graft of the workers doing the site clearance. It is a huge task.

For weeks now they have been dismantling the tower bit by bit. This morning they started work on taking apart the metal work at the top of the tower.

It seems that there will be no Fred Dibnah moment when the whole thing is blown up in a glorious cloud of dust. However, perhaps when they get to the brickwork lower down perhaps they will start some “wrecking ball” action….